Last week of the School Holidays

Well this summer holiday really has flown by. I can’t believe we’re in the last week already, where has the time gone – does this mean I am getting really old? I feel like my feet haven’t touched the ground at all this week, as we’ve been visiting family, playing with friends and having fun in town.

We started the week with a trip into Ramsbottom and any trip there has to include a visit to the Aladdin’s cave that is Clark Crafts. I was determined (as always) not to spend a small fortune, but it’s so much easier said than done. We had a really good browse around all the products, finding more things that we ‘need’. I was quite good and just bought some more card blanks, but we found a lovely little craft kit to keep little ones amused.

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And at only £2.50, it was a bargain! We added some rainbow stickers (essential for any self respecting 6 year old) and foam shapes to the mix before calling in at the wine shop for Hubby’s birthday present. Well it wouldn’t do not to get him something from our lovely shopping trip.

Once home, the kits were immediately opened and the house was suddenly full of pom poms and pipe-cleaners. This kit is great, it came complete with self-sticking googly eyes as well as flat back gems, lolly sticks, and glue. My daughter started to make some spiders first, no glue required on these and all her own work, she cut up the pipe-cleaners for the legs and wrapped them around the pom pom bodies.

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We then had a look at what was left – absolutely loads – and decided on a caterpillar. She chose the order of the pom poms and I threaded them on a piece of cotton for her. We completed the look with googly eyes, a mouth cut from a piece of funky foam and rainbow antennae and hair made from pieces of pipecleaner. A truly rainbow hungry caterpillar, I think you’ll agree. Very cute though.

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She’s now thinking of other creatures she can make with the remaining pom poms. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

We’ve also had a trip to the Fusiliers Museum in Bury this week, where they had a craft session making peg dolls. The theme was heroes and heroines of the wars. So of course, we made a superhero dog with special ice powers, a posh lady and little red riding hood!

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This has sparked the imagination and inspired, we made a trip to find dolly pegs and tissue paper, as my daughter wants to tell her Rainbows group leaders about it and make them with the group. We have several little green aliens and red superhero peg dolls peeping out around the house now!

After making peg dolls we headed over the art gallery where there were crayons and paper available to do some art. We have been inspired this week watching Big Blue Live and Big Blue UK, so sea creatures have featured heavily in drawings. Here we have the pick of the art from the art gallery. Superb attention to detail I hope you’ll agree.

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Now it’s back to sorting out all the school uniform and making sure everything fits! I hope she doesn’t need more new shoes…

Happy crafting
x

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Holiday Hama Beads!

This week has been a big week for crafting, as the weather hasn’t been all that great. We had an afternoon with one of my daughters friends and she loves to do arts and crafts. So I managed to teach two 6 year olds to finger knit! I keep finding little strings of knitting all round the house now.   We also had a go at some French knitting, but that was a bit awkward for them to hold, so I ended up doing most of that one.

Anyway, we also have my husbands birthday coming up very soon and we had to do some serious making this week in preparation!  Out came the making box and the kitchen table was soon lost under piles of paper, funky foam, feathers and glitter!

This first creation is a desert island jigsaw for her friend to do.  The pieces are all leaves for a palm tree in the centre of the desert island.  She drew all the palm leaves and then very carefully cut them out.  I really like the little boat sailing into the picture, but I’m not quite sure what the tulip is doing in the sea!

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Her next creation is a rather fantastic card / picture for her Dad’s birthday next week.  She used loads of different ideas, and spent a lot of time using stencils and cutting out the birds, leaves and heart.  She also made her own envelope for a little letter!  I was pretty impressed with all the ideas she had and her attention to detail.  It’s such a jolly little picture with all the birds singing and a smiley sunshine – apparently the leaves have been blown off the tree and are slowing drifting to the ground.

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Next she wanted to have a go at some decoupage! Typically she couldn’t choose something simple for her first attempt. No sign of any die-cut sheets here! She found a set of Scooby Doo images we bought her quite a while ago and had a good effort cutting out each image, then ‘pinching’ my 3d foam tape to layer them up!

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What was great about this was that her friend saw one of the images she had created and she had to explain how she had done it for her!

Later this week we had a really bad weather day, so we got out the hama beads and while I was finishing off some projects, she set to work on some new creations for me to iron! This one took some time! She wanted to make some bunting, and then decided to add in a magician, complete with magic hat, wand and rabbit,  We also have the sun, moon and a magic star sparkle.  To complete the scene we have the always required dragonfly and some minecraft slime!!! This was a completely single-handed creation and took the best part of an afternoon. I love the imagination that’s gone into this and how she thought about all the little details with the stripes on the hat for the ribbon and the wand has white tips too. Brilliant!

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It’s such a shame the scene is so long as it was quite hard to get a good picture of. Here’s some of the smaller creations she also made. The seahorse is a template provided, but the butterfly is her own work, using a heart shaped board.

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I’m waiting for some more creepy crawlies to find their way into the makes over the rest of the holidays, as she’s taken a real love to snails in the garden! Eugh!

Happy crafting
x

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Holiday Baking

This weekend we were invited to a friend’s annual summer barbecue party. As usual they were providing all the food, so I suggested I would take something for dessert as they hadn’t decided on anything yet! So it was an early start and out with the baking things.

I thought about scones, but settled on a Victoria Sandwich and some biscuits. I didn’t know how many people would be there so I needed something easy to divide up.

As I was going to be pushed for time, I decided on the all-in-one sponge mix from my Delia Smith book. I started with the basic vanilla sponge, splitting the mixture across two cake tins.

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As I still had plenty of ingredients left, I thought I ‘d make another sponge, chocolate this time. I also added some extra chocolate chips to the mixture. I have watched quite a few baking shows recently (being a fan of cake is great with the GBBO back again for another series), and have picked up the tip of rolling fruit in flour before adding it to a mixture so that it doesn’t sink when baking. So I rolled the chocolate chips in flour before adding them to the mixture. It certainly seemed to work as they were pretty evenly distributed in the sponge. Again I decided to make this into a sandwich cake and split the mixture across two tins.

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While the four sponges were baking I started on some raisin biscuits, using the Easter biscuit recipe we all love. I didn’t have a lemon, so they were minus lemon zest, but they are equally as tasty.

So here’s the baking after everything came out of the oven.

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Next it was time to prepare the fillings for the sandwich cakes. My vanilla one was to have raspberry jam and vanilla buttercream, while I decided on chocolate spread and vanilla buttercream for the chocolate chip cake. I thought I had split the buttercream in half, but I obviously wasn’t paying attention as the chocolate cake ended up with twice the amount of the vanilla cake!

Anyway, I finished them both off with a dusting icing sugar, and here’s how they turned out.

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They might not win any prizes on Bake Off, but they are most definitely the best sandwich cakes I have made. And I am pleased to say they went down pretty well at the barbecue too. I managed to get sixteen slices out of each cake. Just the right size! I did manage to snaffle a piece of each and they tasted pretty good too. My daughter loved the Victoria Sandwich and Hubby loved the Chocolate Chip Sandwich – I liked them both, but then I love cake!! As it’s my husband’s birthday next week, I can see another baking session coming on, it will save on buying a cake covered in icing which he hates!

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Craft Fair

It’s always difficult to find the time to craft during the school holidays, with my little one running around and needing entertaining, I hardly have a minute to myself. This summer holiday has been no exception, organising playdays with friends visiting us and going to visit others, as well as looking for low cost activities not too far from home.

However, in amongst the hive of activity that is our home and a sneaky few days away in Menorca, I have managed to book myself a stall at a new local craft fair. It’s being held at Ramsbottom Library on October 31st, so just the right time for people starting their Christmas shopping, or for the more organised, the ones looking for some unique gifts. So I am trying to find some time to work on my stock.

It’s looking like a great fair, and it’s on for three days. I’m just doing the Saturday. It’s being held in the adult learning centre attached to the library and will be full of local crafters with all types of products. I’m really looking forward to meeting some more local makers and to see what fantastic wares they bring. There will be locally produced refreshments available too!

I hope to post more information as soon as I have it, but in the meantime, get the date in your diary as I would love to see you there.

Happy crafting
x

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A new crochet project

While reading a recent issue of craftseller magazine, I was drawn to have a look at another craft blog, by the lovely lady at moji-moji designs. As I am still addicted to crochet and learning new stitches and skills with it, I have found this blog really interesting. I have to say my daughter also loves all the creations on there.

So I decided to have a go at one of the free patterns published on the site. As I have been making owls for my cards recently, they are somehow taken over my crafting! These little coin purses looked ideal for my daughter and her friends for taking a little pocket money out on their adventures, or for keeping little treasures close.

I decided to use some of my king cole dollymix dk yarns for these as the colours are so bright and vibrant. The basic purse shape was fairly straightforward to make, although I did have several attempts at the row that makes the flap bend over the purse! The eye patches and beak were a bit fiddly as they are quite small. But I think the hardest part for me is sewing them all together. It was quite tricky to keep the point of the flap inside the beak while sewing it. I then struggled with finding buttons the right size for the eyes. Typical! I have thousands of buttons in my craft stash and hardly any tiny black ones! So I compromised and found some purple and orange ones instead.

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I couldn’t find anything suitable for the blue owl, so had to raid Mum’s button jar! (Any excuse for a visit with her and the cats) Fortunately I also had a sewing box still at Mums which has plenty of press-studs in, so I was able to finish of the purses when I got home. So here are the finished articles, complete with chain handles.

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I’m quite pleased with how they turned out. My daughter loves her little blue one and her friends have loved theirs too.

I think I will try them in a thicker yarn and larger hook size next time.

I can’t wait to have a go at some of the other patterns off this blog too. My daughter has already asked for some of the little owls and a nest. Well that should keep me busy for a while!!

Happy crafting
x

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Finished Cushion

This is a project I’ve been sitting on (literally) for ages. I was using up some pure wool I have had for ages and covering a cushion that my dearly loved cats pulled to pieces.

So here’s the cushion I’ve been sitting on for months

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It didn’t need much to finish it off, sewing something into the flower centres and then sewing up the edge. I plumped for adding coloured buttons to the flowers and raided my button stash for different styles and colours to co-ordinate with the living room.

So here it is finally finished. I think it looks lovely on the settee.

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The only problem now is that I need to make some more to cover the other cushions!!!!

Happy crafting
x

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