School Christmas Fair Preparations

Once again we have the school Christmas fair to look forward too. I will be having a stall with all my tree decorations, some garlands and plenty of cards. This year, it’s being co-run by the newly formed friends group of parent volunteers, who all have their own ideas on what will work best.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the request for each child to fill and decorate a plastic pint pot for the Pot Goody stall. This is one of the most popular stalls among the children. Plus each class has a prize on offer for the best decoration. So this week we have been thinking about how we can do something a bit different. We’ve done several Christmas trees, a snowman and Santa getting stuck in a chimney, so this has not been an easy task!

Alice has been set on making a reindeer, though I can’t quite work out how she thinks we’ll make one. So after much discussion, we settled on a Christmas Cracker, filled with sweets and decorated with lots of bits and bobs from old Christmas cards. I think it looks fantastic. I hope for her sake that she wins, she’s been so disappointed in previous years.

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Fingers crossed.
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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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Summer Holiday Crafting

While I’ve been off my feet for a while this summer and since the end of the Olympics, I’ve been encouraging Alice to get a bit more creative. To be fair, it hasn’t been that difficult as we’ve had a few rainy miserable days here and it’s always fun to empty the making box all over the kitchen table.

Alice traded in some of her lizard cards from Explore Learning for a set of t-shirt graffiti pens, so we ordered her a couple of cheap white t-shirts to have a play with. They arrived earlier today so she had a great afternoon finding her inner fashion designer.

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I love how she put a design on the back too!

I’ve also encouraged her to start making cards for her friend’s birthdays. Her friend Daisy was seven at weekend and she wanted to make a bird card like the ones I’ve been making recently, so I gave her a choice of some of the girly floral papers to make one with. This is pretty much all her own work with the exception of the mounting for the happy birthday flag. Her friend loved the card and I do too.  I think it’s great how she made the bird fly, adding in a second wing behind.

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Another craft I’ve tried to do with Alice is some basic sewing.  I think it’s a skill everyone should master, even if it only means being able to sew on a button.  I know it is a skill that will help with her Brownie badges.  So on a recent trip to Clark Crafts in Ramsbottom, I found this little kit.  As she loves cats at the moment, this looked like the ideal kit to start with.

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It’s a pretty simple kit and comes with everything needed to make the cat, including stuffing and a needle (plastic).  It took a few goes, but she finally mastered the basic running stitch to put all the pieces together, then spent a good half hour deciding where all the embellishment pieces would go.  She loves the finished cat and it has slept by her bed every night!  I need to make sure she doesn’t lose this liking for sewing and get out some of the other kits I have hidden away that she hasn’t been interested in up to now.

Well it’s back to school next week, so it’s time for me to get on with some more sewing – name tapes in uniform!  And I must remember to get a new dance uniform too.

Happy crafting
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Birthday Crafting

Today is my husband’s birthday so we can finally give him all the things we’ve been making this week.

Alice made him a card in her own special style! I think he’ll love it when he gets home from work later. The envelope is a complete delight and makes absolutely no sense to anyone that hasn’t read ‘Danger in Everywhere’.

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And later it will be time for cake too! I made this sponge sandwich yesterday. It’s a simple all-in-one sponge mix with cocoa powder and Alice and I filled it with peanut butter! We then topped it with chocolate spread and flaked almonds (we’ll put a candle on it after tea tonight).

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I don’t think it’s my best ever cake and I’m really not sure about the peanut butter. I think this could end up very dry, so we might be eating it with ice cream.

I’ve also made a batch of biscuits which he’s already got and taken to work. I hope they go down well amongst his colleagues.

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And here’s my card. It took me ages to find some inspitation for this one. I’ve done so many bike racing cards over the last few years I wanted to do something different. I struggled to find a picture of a camera, so went with his other interest – red wine!

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So Happy Birthday Mr B.

Have a great day
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Paint-a-Pot

As we approach the end of the school year, we seem to be on a never ending run of parties – and not just children’s.

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What I am pleased to find is that now she’s seven, Alice’s party invitations have become a bit more adventurous than a soft play centre.  Today we’ve been at Emily’s Paint-a-Pot in Prestwich. Each child was able to choose an animal to paint and was given instruction on how to go about it. It felt far more grown up than the usual running wild amidst screaming kids of all ages! So we left them to it and had a stroll around Heaton Park before the rain set in and we headed back. The party room is upstairs and we could hear squeals of delight along with the traditional rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to you.’ They were all obviously having a great time. We stayed downstairs in the main painting room, where we had a very lovely cuppa and a look at all the drying pots. It’s a pretty little place and they don’t just cater for children. I was intrigued to see they run Pottery and Prosecco evenings. Something I quite fancy, I wonder why?!

Alice really enjoyed her afternoon. She painted a cat and can’t wait for it to be finished off in the kiln.

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It’s a great place to go on a rainy day, and while not a cheap activity, it is something different to what we generally do at home, so it’s definitely somewhere I hope to visit again. Next time I want to have a go too.

Happy crafting
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Making Marzipan

My daughter, Alice, was given a lovely baking set and set of recipe cards for her birthday and we have been looking longingly at all the lovely things we could make. So with the weather being so miserable this weekend, we got everything out and decided to have a go at making almond hearts. Now we could have done this very easily and just bought some almond paste / marzipan, but we thought we’d do it properly and use the whole recipe. Having quickly looked in the baking cupboard I thought we had everything we needed, so it was with great dismay I discovered we had no ground almonds at all!

This meant a much lengthier than planned walk round the neighbourhood shops looking for ground almonds. Eventually after 4 local shops and over an hour of walking we found some and head back home for a cup of tea and to get making.

The recipe is very simple but involved quite a lot of kneading. We split the paste in half and coloured one half with red food colouring. Then left it in the fridge for a while to harden up a bit and make it easier to roll out.

We were both quite impatient to make the hearts, so I did the rolling out and Alice cut out the shapes.  We did think about making some stars too, but the hearts looked so lovely in the different colours we thought we’d stick with them.  They’ve really got us in the mood for Valentine’s Day too, although I don’t think they will last that long to give out to all her friends!!

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This is definitely a recipe we will try again.  It’s fairly simple although it has left me with most of a tin of condensed milk.  I shall have to get my thinking cap on and see what I can make with the rest of it, it’s far too good an ingredient to waste.

Happy crafting
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