Unexpected crafting!

I know I’m a crafter, so this title in itself is rather unexpected.  However, our Alice has been unwell really for a few weeks now, but she’s finally given in to being fully blown ill and is currently enjoying / enduring  some restful time off school.

This has meant I am now totally behind with my preparations for Halloween and Christmas, but that’s the life of a crafting Mum!  So today I decided to find something for both of us to do that would help lift Alice’s spirits and maybe go some way to starting my stash of Christmas decorations.

I’ve been thinking about making some simple, no knit hat decorations for a while and this seemed the ideal opportunity with a willing helper too!  What I wasn’t counting on was how much she loved making them.

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We had such a great crafty afternoon watching ‘Equestria Girls’ on dvd and making these hats, that she decided she wanted to make them and sell them too.  So it rather turned into me being her assistant and she’s planning on taking her little stash to her dance class at weekend and maybe even to the school Christmas Fair! I’m hoping that she will make her own gifts for her teachers this year too.

I think she may have caught the crafting bug – much better than the virus she is recovering from.

Happy crafting
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Half Term crafting

I can’t believe that half term is over again. This year is flying. With only a week to fill, there’s not that much we can do really. After a visit to Grandma, a shopping trip and a treat cinema visit that is.

So this week, we’ve been making some cards. Firstly was a get well soon card for Nana (my Mother-in-law) who has been a bit under the weather recently and had a hospital procedure. I let Alice loose with my small die collection and she chose my newest purchase, a spellbinders bow set to make this lovely card.

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While Alice was busy making her card I made a birthday card for her friend. She chose all the papers and the main topper, but I put it all together.

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Alice was given a large loomband set for her birthday and she decided she would like to make her Nana a gift to go with the card. So we looked through a book with instructions on how to make some loom band charms. She picked one of the simple patterns and made a could of tulips. A regular size one made using two bands for each link, and the smaller one which uses a single band doubled over for each link. The regular one was much easier to do for me, but her little fingers managed well on both. She loved it and has reignited her love for all things loom band. The house is now full of bracelets and necklaces!

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I’m going to have to think of something different to make over the Easter holidays. They aren’t that far off now.

Happy crafting
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Early Christmas Baking

Now that the Christmas holidays have started it’s time to get into the spirit of things and do a spot of festive baking. It’s very therapeutic to get out the mincemeat and make up some tasty treats. I decided to begin with a batch of my mincemeat parcels. They are so tasty and make a lovely alternative to a mince pie. I have a number of packs of frozen filo pastry in the freezer that need to be used, so this was an ideal quick bake.

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After the parcels were finished, I enlisted Alice to make some festive ginger biscuits that we could share with friends and family over the holidays. The recipe we have is in a little Hello Kitty Christmas book that we bought for Alice a few years ago. It’s a really simple recipe and makes absolutely loads of biscuit dough. We chose some different Christmassy cutters and set about making the biscuits.

It was a good job there was loads of dough because I had a minor moment with my oven and completely burned the first two batches! I forgot just how fast my oven is when I’m baking. Anyway, we still managed to make about 60 or so biscuits for sharing. Alice’s favourite part of the baking process is the decorating, and we used plenty of icing pens, hundreds and thousands, and other little Christmassy bits from my cupboard.

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Once finished we took some round to the neighbours, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

Happy crafting
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Christmas is coming…..

There’s no escaping it now, Christmas is definitely on the way!  I’ve so far managed to escape Black Friday, which appears to have become a whole week this year, other than being bombarded with e-mails, and I have tried to avoid Cyber Monday with being a little bit more organized and ordering things over the last few weeks.  Now I’m just waiting for everything to arrive.

This weekend we have gone head-long into Christmas crafting mode in the house, as Alice brought home her letter detailing all the Christmas activities on at school in December, and her plastic cup for the pot goody stall!  It’s the Christmas Fair on Friday, so we’ve been thinking about what to turn the pot into this year.  We’ve already had a snowman and 2 Christmas trees, so it’s time to think of something else.

We did the traditional list of Christmas or Winter ideas, and had  browse around Pinterest and Google images for ideas.  We eventually settled on an ambitious design or Santa stuck in a chimney pot, complete with reindeer, snow and a robin!

We raided the box of model-making items for a tissue box, teabag box and two toilet roll tubes, then attacked my crafty stash for some dark paper, found some brown paper with the wrapping paper and some bits from old Christmas cards for embellishments.  There was pva glue, double-sided tape and felt everywhere!!  Wax crayons are great for drawing brickwork, and you just can’t make anything for Christmas without using some cotton wool for snow!

We had great fun messing up the kitchen, and here’s the finished result.

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I had to make the hat and I sewed the face to it.  We then filled the pot with little goodies – mainly glitters, glitter glue, crayons, pens and some sweeties.

I think it’s our best one yet, what do you reckon?

Happy Christmas 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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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
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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
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Crafting for School

Like most schools, my daughter’s primary school has a summer and a winter fair each year.  These are run by the staff and pupils, and many of the stalls have items the pupils have crafted in school.  By far the most popular stall is the ‘pot goody’ dice roll.

The children are all given a plastic pint pot and asked to ‘decorate it’ in a given theme and fill it with little gifts.  It’s a great idea and there are some amazing creations every time.  We always have some fun trying to think of something to make.  The best one from each class wins a prize, and then all the ‘pots’ are prizes in the ‘pot goody’ dice roll game at the fair.

So this week, we have had to squeeze in making a ‘summer themed pot goody’.  I decided to have a look through all our previous makes for some inspiration.  Unfortunately, they have mostly been winter ones so far!  P1180745It was fun looking through the pictures with my daughter, watching how she has grown up since her first year in nursery!  We loved making this little snowman, I don’t know how she didn’t win this, maybe I should have worked harder on the carrot nose!

Next up was the summer, pirate theme!  Now this was a difficult one.

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It was fun making the face from paper plates and it’s such a great way of using up bits from the crafty stash box! I don’t think she won this one either, but it was fun making the pirate just the same.

The next two entries we found are both winter ones, and I seem to have let the side down somewhat as they are both Christmas trees!
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The first was when she was in reception and the second was last Christmas. It’s great when she gets to make something fun and add as much embellishment as she wants.

This year’s theme of Summer conjured up lots of ideas between us, flowers, sunshine, bucket and spade, sandcastle, but we settled in the end for a bee!

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We had to raid some of my crafty stash as well as the general box this time as painting wasn’t something we had a lot of time for this week. But I found some yellow washi tape and black ribbon for the bee body. We used some white funky foam for the wings and eyes and black pipe-cleaners for the antennae and mouth.  We then went mad with papers cutting out flowers and leaves using punches and dies.  We stuck them all onto a paper plate (coloured green), layering up some of the flowers and curling some petals to add dimension!  We finished by sticking the bee on to the flowers and added a few small flowers onto the bee’s body.  He’s (I’m pretty sure he’s a he bee) been filled with sweets and some pencils.

Having taken her bee to school this morning, she’s now waiting to see if she has won the prize this time.  Fingers crossed!  We should find out at the fair tomorrow.

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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