January Birthdays

January and February are busy months for birthdays and anniversaries for us. So the beginning of the year is always taken up with family crafting. This year I’ve decided to have a real go at using up some of the numerous card-making kits I’ve bought over the years and see what I can come up with.

The great things is that all the people celebrating are of different generations and have totally different likes.

I started off with my in-laws. I was inspired by a visit to see the Flying Scotsman on our local steam railway and made this card for my Father-in-Law using a Hunkydory kit.

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I followed this with a card for my Mother-in-Law, using another Hunkydory kit, this time the little book of birthdays. Such lovely designs and I just couldn’t help adding some die cut butterflies!

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Next it’s my nephew’s first birthday. So not a card he would appreciate so much as one for his parents! I was given a set of balloon dies and some number dies for Christmas which was perfect for this occasion. This is a great card for using up offcuts of papers.

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I’ve also made cards for my Brother-in-Law, Sister-in-Law and my husbands Best man. The little book of birthdays and male images have been a great investment here!

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Finally for now is my other nephew’s fifth birthday in a couple of weeks time. He’s mad about Star Wars at the moment, so I made him a spaceman card. I hope he likes it.

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Well it’s time to get back to desk, I have my Mum’s birthday and Mum and Dad’s 45th wedding anniversary to make for, as well as Valentine’s Day!

Happy crafting
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Half Term Art

This half term we’ve been lucky to all have the week off and we decided on doing some new things as a family.

So on Monday we were up and out early for a trip out to the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. I last went there when I was doing my art GCSE, back in around 1987/8, so I was looking forward to seeing all the changes. It was not really a surprise to find it nothing like I remembered. The galleries are really bright and airy, and the exhibitions are full of thought invoking pieces of art and sculpture. One of the most interesting pieces was a large cave-like structure adorned with knitting and crochet. It was very spookily lit, which made us think it was an old cave filled with cobwebs – very appropriate for this time of year. However, we were informed by one of the staff that it was actually the ‘Womb Room’ and with the low lighting inside it felt very warm and cosy.

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As it’s half term, there were several activities on offer for children. We opted for the ‘art hamper’ where we filled a small picnic hamper with art supplies and found an inspiring spot to make our own art. We decided on a bench overlooking the art garden and we all came up with something unique! It was great to do some drawing again, I realised it’s been a very long time since I actually sat down to draw a still life. But we all had fun and came away with our own piece of art.

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We finished the visit with the ‘welly walk’ around the sculptures in Whitworth Park. The weather was glorious, so we made the most of the dry conditions and played in the leaves, collecting some for possible future crafting back home. The walk involved trying to work out which of sculptures to find, using some slightly cryptic clues. We had great fun and particularly liked the out-of-season snowman and the upside-down trees!

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After lunch we headed off to The Imperial War Museum North, somewhere else I have been previously, but many years ago now. On arrival we were met with another menu of activities for half term, and we found ourselves in a studio doing still life drawing! This time of items from the Second World War. It was great that the parents were also encouraged to take part not just the children. So we all had another go with some beautiful pencils, drawing gas masks, goggles and incendiary bombs! This was all part of the ‘Big Draw’ and the gallery of work was pretty impressive – children and adults.

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We didn’t have anywhere near enough time to see all of the exhibitions, but we did do the Horrible Histories ‘Blitzed Brits’ exhibit, which was very popular with my daughter, even if she wasn’t really understanding everything. She loved doing the activity booklet, following the clues and getting hands on with all the interactive exhibits. It turns out I would have been a bomb disposal expert in the war!! Not sure I would have been any good at that, I see me more as a land girl or knitting socks for the troops.

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It was dark by the time we came out of the museum, so we had a quick walk over the ship canal to Media City, looking in vain for the Blue Peter garden, whilst enjoying the lights and the incredible moon. A quick cuppa in the Lowry while my husband set about taking plenty of arty photos in the dark, and then it was time to go home, thoroughly worn out!

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A great day out which we finished with a chippy tea. I would thoroughly recommend looking into any of these attractions and I think we will be going back to them again very soon. It was brilliant to do so much art too, I will have to see what else is on offer for the Big Draw week.

Happy crafting
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Back to School

Half Term is over already and we haven’t done half of the things we set out to do! We have had lots of fun and done some crafting at home as well as the decoupage at the library.

After a hectic start to the holidays we had a relaxing couple of days in the middle, where I caught up with my paperwork and we both did some making. This has ranged from lots of loom bands again (thanks to an activity at Rainbows) – pottery and drawing.

We had a clear out of a toy cupboard and found a pottery set that had only been partially used. So while I was busy making cards, my daughter was having fun playing with air drying clay.

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She made an uneven box with a lid, a candle holder and a dinosaur! Not a bad afternoon’s work.

It’s great now she’s getting older as she will do her own thing without wanting to do everything I’m doing. So we get to share the space and enjoy each other’s company, listening to the radio and singing along. I managed to make about 7 cards without her input or wanting everything I was using. It was a fun way to spend a very dull and miserable afternoon. So much for Summer!

She’s back at school now and enjoying all her different activities, while I get to crack on with my knitting and card-making. It’s certainly quiet around here!

Let’s hope we do get some sunshine and have something of a summer. I would like to do some outdoor crafting soon.

Happy crafting
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Half Term Crafting Fun

I can’t believe that half term is almost over already. It’s gone so fast I’ve hardly had chance to sit down.

We haven’t done a huge amount of crafting yet as we’ve been on all of our visits with friends and family, and we are well and truly exhausted with all the walking around. But we had a great trip to Manchester yesterday visiting one of our favourite places, John Rylands Library. There’s usually something on there over the school holidays, and this time we found a decoupage class. It was in the traditional form of decoupage, using copies of some of the incredible collection from the library. We were provided with everything we could possibly need to decoupage a small trinket box however we liked.

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What a fabulous way to spend a few hours. We had great fun, considering my daughter is only 6 she concentrated for over 2 hours to make her box. It was ell past our normal lunch time when she finished. This is definitely a craft we will do more of at home. So I need to keep a look out for items to cover and stock up on pva glue!

Here’s my finished box. Very different from my daughter’s.

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Happy crafting
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Half Term again!

It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since the Easter holidays! Half Term certainly has come around fast.  So the burning question is, how do I fit some crafting into this week of hospital appointments, playdates and phonics screening revision?!

I don’t want to spend the entire week indoors doing phonics practice on the computer, so I’ve arranged a few trips out, one to Chatsworth and I’m going to combine a hospital appointment with a trio into Manchester.  We haven’t been into the city for some time so it will be a girls day out.  After the softplay centre visit and a birthday party that only leaves us with a couple of days to fill, ideal for some crafting – particularly if the weather forecasts are correct!

It would appear that my friend has saved the day and the arrival of belated birthday and Christmas presents for my daughter have reaped great crafting goodies – a doodle book, glitter pictures, painting by numbers and glitter pens!  Maybe this will be a fun messy crafting holiday!

Happy half term crafting
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Half Term Baking

This half term holiday has been a real whirlwind, from a funeral and birthdays to swimming lessons, hospital visit, Chinese New Year and a couple of family days out.  So there hasn’t been a huge amount of time for crafting.

But we did manage a little bit of baking for Mum’s birthday.  My daughter, now 6, loves to help and she really wanted to make something for her Grandma.  So on the way home from a funeral , we stopped at a Lakeland shop, which only sold kitchen accessories.  It was a great shop and lovely to browse around.  I could have spent a small fortune but was sensible!  We bought some chocolate cupcake frosting, pink wafer flowers and small chocolate beans.

Once home we decided that some cupcakes would be the perfect gift.  I chose the simple, all-in-one sponge recipe and we made two different flavours – vanilla with cherry, and double chocolate!  The smell in the kitchen was delicious.

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Once cooked and cooled. we had great fun decorating them. I used some ready-to-roll icing and an imprinted roller and then cut them into circles to top the vanilla cakes, my daughter then finished them off with the pink wafer flowers. The chocolate ones I topped with the chocolate cupcake frosting, which came in a tube with a piping nozzle! Of course they had to have small chocolate beans added. I think they looked great. We chose the four best and presented them in a lovely cupcake box.

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Mum enjoyed them too and we shared the remaining cakes around. A lovely little crafting session.

Happy crafting
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