My Creative Space … no-sew applique

On Christmas Day when I saw the gorgeous little top (below) that my clever sister in law made for her one year old daughter, I loved it!  The words certainly suit my little niece!   

What impressed me the most was the no-sew aspect.  I thought that maybe without sewing that it would easily come away or fray, but she showed me one that she’d made months ago and had been through many wears and washes and it looked just the same!  I’ve always been a little daunted by the technique of applique – seemed far too time consuming and fiddly –  imagine sewing around all of those small letters!  Needless to say, I was inspired and of course I just had to have a go! 

On New Years Day we attended a fourth birthday party of a lovely little friend which seemed like the perfect time to try out the no-sew applique for her gift.  I didn’t have any t-shirts on hand, but I had some bags left over from when we did our apple printing.

With the help of my trusty four year old designer, we really enjoyed the process and couldn’t stop with one.  They were so quick and easy, we may now be slightly addicted!   My box of fabric scraps is of epic proportions, so I’m always glad to find a way to use them up! 

I followed her instructions and just typed the words into my computer and reversed them.  Then I printed them out and stuck them onto some paper-backed fusible webbing.  The same stuff that I use for my fabric covered cards.  Then I ironed them on to scraps of fabric and cut around them with my fabric scissors, peeled off the backing and ironed them very securely on to the bag.

For the images, I just googled free applique images and found some great ones!  The ballerina and deer image came from here. I then followed the same process as I did with the letters.

A year ago, I put together a series of posts under the heading of ‘Simple Handmade Gifts for Girls‘…. I’ll be adding this post to the list.  Have a squiz if you are interested in finding some quick and easy last minute handmade gift ideas for girls and if you have any ideas to add to the series – do let me know!

Joining in, belatedly, with a whole bunch of clever ladies over at my creative space.  

Christmas Cookies in a Jar

Cookies in a jar are very popular here at Frog Goose & Bear.  

We made Anna’s Emergency Cookies in a Jar earlier last year and they were such a hit and they were sooooo yummy that we made 25 of them as party favours for Ebony’s farm party in June.  

Frog and Bear are giving Christmas Cookies in a jar to their kinder teachers this year and we made a few more to give to some lovely friends & neighbours to show how very grateful we are for their friendship and support over the year. 

 This is a great activity to do in bulk and great for all ages to be involved. It’s also great to whip up really quickly if needed in a hurry as you probably have most of the ingredients on hand. 

I took the easy road and purchased the Christmas Cookies label pdf from Katrina at the Organised Housewife for only a couple of dollars.  I used Anna’s recipe because it’s tried and true here at FGB and fitted into my small jars and thankfully required the same instructions, but I’m sure Katrina’s recipe is just as delicious. 

I purchase my jars at a kitchen supply store, Costante Imports in Melbourne.  They have a fantastic supply of jars in bulk in all shapes and sizes and I purchase the 720ml jar and squish it in really hard when I put in the oats layer so it all fits.
The Christmas M&M’s can be purchased in the Christmas section (and not in the confectionary aisle) at most supermarkets.

We also made these for our last MOPS of the year last week and it was probably the most popular craft for the year!

 What are you giving your kids teachers this year?

Do you do a bulk run of something to give to neighbours and friends at Christmas?

Are you sorted for Christmas or flying by the seat of your pants like me?  

I may look organised, but it’s all smoke and mirrors.  The beauty of all the things we do here at FGB is that they are easy peasy and require little effort for a big effect!

For more Christmas crafts from Frog, Goose and Bear, you can click here.

The bottomless jar of Vanilla Extract

Did you know that you could make your own vanilla extract?

I noticed a few people around the blogosphere making them around Christmas time as gifts and I had big plans to do the same, but I only ended up making one – a gift for myself.


Fill a small jar with unflavoured vodka and pop in a couple of vanilla pods.  You might like to cut the vanilla pods in half lengthways first to let the goodness out.  Pop the lid back on and let it brew for a 3-4 months.

That’s it!

The beauty of this method is that when the jar is running a little low, you simply add some more vodka!  A bottomless jar of vanilla!  

I made this bottle back in December and it’s ready to use now.  The smell is divine.  If truth be known, I probably went overboard with vanilla pods

They would make a great little gift by adding this little free printable from the Graphics Fairy* of a vintage vanilla extract label.

Have you made vanilla extract before?

What is your favourite use for vanilla extract?  
Mine is adding it to cream and piling it on a bowl full of strawberries.  Yum!

For more easy recipes, head over here.

*If you are a fan of vintage graphics – you will find this site to be your mecca!

P.S.  I have seen many, many tutorials online for making your own vanilla extract and brandy & rum can also be used.  Here is a more detailed tutorial should you need it.


The Christmas before last, the kids & I made some Christmas Cocoa in a Jar as gifts.  A little while ago, I came across some more DIY hot cocoa recipes via pinterest.  I thought they might be a fun & simple MOPS activity and a great gift idea as well.

You can find the recipes to make your own mocha, peppermint, mexican or classic cocoa over here.  I halved the recipes to fit in these jars.  Each of these particular cocoa blends are really, really delicious, but the beauty of these is that you can play around with the recipes to make your own perfect blend.  It’s a great activity for the kids to be involved in as well.
When we made our Christmas cocoa mix we filled the jar to the very top, making it tricky to combine the contents in order to make the hot chocolate.  The contents had to be emptied into a bowl, combined and then returned to the jar.  This time, I didn’t fill the jars as high so the ingredients could be combined by simply shaking the jar.

As chocolate is such a big part of the easter tradition that I thought maybe it could be fun to gift some Easter hot chocolate!

We go camping* every Easter holidays with my family.  We’re heading off soon for a few nights away.  The kids are talking about nothing else.

This is the perfect camping drink as it doesn’t require milk.  Cozy cup of hot cocoa by the fire in the evenings.  Can’t wait!

What are you up to this Easter?  Do you have a camping tradition?  What Easter traditions do you & your family have?

* the real deal kind of camping – in the middle of nowhere, no electricity, no running water, no showers and the shovel & toilet roll over your shoulder to find a good tree kind of toilet.


This year, I am once again co-ordinating the craft activities for my MOPS* group.  Once a fortnight I need to come up with a 30 minute craft for a group of gorgeous women.  Some are seasoned crafters and others are new to expressing their creative side.  I love the challenge!  I’m really excited about the fun crafts we’ll be making this year.

One of the crafts that we’ve done already this year is to make clay necklaces.**
You might remember the clay decos that Goose & I made at Christmas time.  Same concept.  Oven baked clay imprinted with leaves.

We also made some with newspaper imprints.  If you want to give this a go, remember that the image comes out in reverse.  The one attached to the necklace on the picture below is from a picture of a tomato plant from a Bunnings ad.

We attached them at the back, by first of all putting a dob of hot glue onto a small split ring and then attaching this onto the back of the cooked clay with superglue. We then slid it onto the wire necklace.  It also means that the clay images are also interchangeable.  

Oven baked clay comes in all different colours, so the possibilities are endless.
I’ve been loving working with this simple and easy to use clay lately. The kids really enjoy playing with it too and making their own creations. 

Sage & Daisy leaves were my faves.

I’m keen to try making some small bowls like this & this.  
Have you used clay before?  What have you made?

I’ve been collecting simple craft ideas on my pinterest page.  If you have any ideas for me – I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Joining in with our creative spaces once again.

There are MOPS groups all over the world.  MOPS is short for ‘Mothers of Preschoolers’ and according to our facebook page - MOPS offers a caring & accepting atmosphere where Mums have an opportunity to share concerns, make friends, explore areas of creativity and learn.  We have some really worthwhile speakers & discussions.

** Thanks Claire & Candy for the inspiration!  & thanks Claire for making 30 of those split ring/hot glue combos!

My Creative Space – Miniature Bunting

I haven’t joined in with the fabulously inspiring ‘creative space’ for a long time…

Inspired by many other clever gals across the internet and my stash of origami paper, I’ve been making some mini bunting birthday cards for friends.

Then I tried making some mini bunting by just sewing triangles together.  

I made these ones from an old Melbourne street directory for an extremely well-travelled 3 year old who has a thing for maps and had an aeroplane themed birthday party.
I also made some for my extremely well travelled sister-in-law who has a ‘thing’ for bunting and is currently living overseas.  Thought they might reminder her of home.

I quite enjoyed making them as I have a ‘thing’ for cutting paper with scissors.
It is a great ‘in-front-of-the-telly’ activity.  I need some more of those in my life.  I spend far too much time on the move and ‘getting stuff done’ after the kids go to bed and I need to allow myself some time just to sit in front of the telly.  This way at least I can still feel productive and not like I’m completely wasting my time.
Such frivolous time wastage can sometimes feel like a thing of the past for me.  Pre-children.  They just don’t seem as urgent as the thousand other things that need to be done.  After pushing myself far too hard on too many occasions, since starting this blog, I am starting to realise that these things are possibly even more important for a mother sometimes.  When we have taken some time out doing something that relaxes or refreshes us we are much better mothers and much better people.  Sometimes those dishes just have to wait and cutting up paper triangles can be even better for the soul of someone like me who is completely energised by doing something a little bit crafty, creative and frivolous.  

Do you feel like you are wasting your time if you just sit and watch telly, read a book (or a blog), go for a walk, sit at the park watching your kids or cutting up paper triangles?  Or are you good at looking after yourself?

To check out other creative souls, head on over here.  You’ll be stuck for hours and just maybe, that might not necessarily be a bad thing.

Last minute Gifts…

Goose decided yesterday that she would like to give some gifts on Christmas day.  In the past we have always done a kriskringle amongst the adults and all adults give gifts to the children.  So we had a little look in the kitchen cupboard to see what we could do.  We thought of Christmas cookies in a jar, which are easy, perfect for last minute gifts and always popular, but Granny no longer eats chocolate…

 so she made her Aunt’s and Grandmothers some homemade bath bomb cupcakes!

We raided the kitchen cupboard for bicarb soda, citric acid, corn flour & orange essence. Then raided the orange tree to grate some orange zest.  Mixed with a little water and popped them into some silicone muffin trays.
Wrapped, like all of our pressies this year, with brown paper, pine leaves and the clay decos that Goose and I made a few weeks ago.

This year she made her cousins reindeer noses just like she gave her school mates and her uncles some chocolate bark made with dark chocolate melts, dried cranberries and pistachios.  

She enjoyed making this one!  
And her little sister enjoyed attempting to steal one while her mother was distracted taking a photo!  Great last minute ‘plate’ to bring on Christmas or Boxing Day as it literally takes 10 minutes to make from start to finish and tastes fantastic!

How do you do the gift thing on Christmas Day?  
Do your kids give pressies?  Or just receive?

If you are looking for some last minute handmade gift ideas for girls, you might like to check these out…

For the bath bomb recipe – check out this post.

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS…part fifteen {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas…
Amy from Giggleberry has a very successful business making gorgeous, gorgeous bunting and is a party Mumma after my own heart! Just like me, she just can’t help herself when it comes to adding those extra touches to making any occasion that little bit more special!  Her blog is full of bunting and fun ideas and I’d highly recommend a visit!  I saw this brilliant idea a little while ago on her blog and she has kindly agreed to share it with you all here on FGB.

DIY Icecream Sundae Kit

Need a cute hostess gift? How about a gift for a teenager (seriously how tricky can those ones be!) or maybe a house warming present or even a ‘just because’ gift?

This idea has all of those covered – An Ice Cream Sundae Kit!!

I saw THIS one from Family Bites on Pinterest and knew I would be using it!  With a selection of sprinkles, some chocolate sauce (homemade or store bought), cones, tissue paper, small glass jar, ribbon and a gift box you’re ready to put your kit together… these are just the items I chose to put in the box but you could include any sundae toppings you wish!

I re-packaged the sprinkles into resealable cello bags and the chocolate sauce into the glass jar then added a scrap of fabric and a ribbon to the lid of the jar. To make these extra cute you can make up some labels for everything (my printer is not playing at the moment so I went without labels). 

Then all you have to do is arrange your selection of goodies into a tissue paper lined gift box.

This box of goodies is for a couple so I added a set of ‘My Ice Cream, Your Ice Cream‘ spoons I bought from Beach House Living to the box and was ready to pop the lid on then tie a final ribbon around the whole thing.

Include a little card to let the recipient know they just need to add their favourite ice cream and you’ve got yourself one truly cute little gift that I know I would love to receive!!

What a fun idea!  I imagine at this time of year, you could add a bit of Christmas fun to this package with green & red sprinkles, green & red M&M’s or edible glitter.  You could even add a touch of science by giving them the ingredients for them to make their very own icecream (some UHT cream, some sugar & ziplock bag along with the recipe) in the box also.  You could even add another step and dip the tops, or insides, of the cones in chocolate & sprinkles, like these ones.

Thanks so much Amy for letting me share this fun & simple, yet very clever idea!
I love the idea of repackaging something to make it look even more exciting and adding the personal touch.  Amy has another similar idea (great for teacher gifts) on her blog at the moment over here.

I also came across another repackaging idea here which even has a link (via the comments section) to the cool free labels that they used.

This is the last in the series of simple handmade gifts for girls.  Thanks so much to those of you who guest posted and contributed their own ideas along the way!  I have just added a page on the top of my blog, collating all of the wonderful ideas!  Hopefully you’ve all got some ideas for Christmas and beyond!  If you have made anything from these tutorials – please let me know, I’d love to hear from you!  

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part ten {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas… 

This week the beautiful Brenda from Mira Narnie is sharing with us a gorgeously simple and very versatile gift for a girl of any age!  Brenda is a beautiful, stylish & talented soul and was one of the very first blogs that I started following.  I have always felt a kindred spirit and I am very lucky to have actually met her IRL* on a number of occasions.  I’d highly recommend heading over to her neck of the woods.  Thanks Brenda!

The Drawstring Bag

I love handmade gifts for girls.  I love making them, and I love when my little girl receives them.  So when Emma invited me to contribute to this segment, I was a little chuffed, but just delighted to have an excuse to make something oh so girly.   This project is a simple one, so great if you are a beginner and if your sewing skills are more advanced, don’t dismiss the humble draw string bag, as it’s a great way to stash other goodies that you make your recipient.
So this is what you will need.
A piece of fabric (mine was 28cm x 48cm)
sewing machine
ribbon or twill for threading (about 65cm)
Step 1.

Cut your fabric to your desired length.  Fold in half with right sides together.  Sew down one side from top to bottom.

Sew on the other side, but leave a one inch gap about one inch down (as this will form the casing for the ribbon to go through later).

Step 2.

  Iron the seams of that gap so that they are lying flat. 

Now, top stitch all around that gap, so as to neaten the edge.

Step 3. 

Turn down the opening of the bag about 1cm and press.

 Then turn down again hiding the raw edge, ensuring that your casing opening is at the top edge.  Press this again. Pin to secure and sew all around your bag making sure you don’t sew that little opening.

Step 4.

Take your ribbon of choice and attach the saftey pin.  Use the saftey pin to help you guide the ribbon through the casing.  Join the two ends of the ribbon and tie a knot to prevent it slipping back through and so your lovely little bag can adorn a little girls wrist.

Step 5.

Give it all another press and your done!  Fill it with other handmade delights and give to a gorgeous girl you know.  I made two at once. 

One is for my daughter ballet slippers and the other bag will be a birthday gift.

Thanks Emma for having me and happy sewing everyone
Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you! 

* IRL – “In Real Life”.


This week Goose made a fun and simple ribbon wand as a gift for her sister’s birthday on the weekend.  
Ribbon Wands

There are a few different ways of making them, but we simply cut some ribbon into the same length and then shoved a drawing pin (push pin) through the ribbons and then through the top of a piece of dowel.  I have also seen them made with wooden chopsticks instead of dowel.

You may have noticed that our drawing pin is extra cute.  It is made the same way as the fabric covered buttons but using a pin back.*  

You can also find a (just as simple & probably more sturdy) ribbon wand tutorial over here using an eyelet screw instead of a drawing pin.

I imagine that the ribbon wand would be a lovely addition to a gift of one of these gorgeous, yet simple tutus that Maxabella & Sannah have been making.  The tutorial to these super simple no-sew (yes, no-sew!) tutus can be found here.

The ribbon wands would make great party favours.  I’m just wondering if I can fit them into a ‘supergirl’ theme…. for this Saturday’s party…?

Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you!

These pin backs can be purchased from the suppliers mentioned in this post.
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