21 Simple gifts to make for Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day is this Sunday (11th May) here in Australia.  I’ve compiled a quick list for you of fun and simple handmade gift ideas that you can whip up with the kids for Mother’s Day gifts. These are all things that we have made over the last few years and quite a few of them would be great made in bulk for Mother’s Day stalls as well.
For those of us who are a little time poor, but still love to dabble in a bit of creative DIY, these are all the kinds of gifts that you can grab the supplies for during the week (if you don’t already have them on hand) and then whip up on Saturday ready for Mother’s Day on Sunday.  Seriously.
Just click on the link in the heading and it’ll take you to a step by step tutorial for each one, or at least a link to one.  Enjoy!
1. Terrariums in jars
We made the ones in the pic below for teacher gifts at Christmas time.  You can find cool jars of all sizes at op shops & discount stores.

2. Bath salts

Any colour or scent will do and these babies don’t take long at all!

3. Soup-in-a-jar

Great gift for a new Mum who could do with a meal.  I find it difficult enough getting a meal on my own table, let alone making one for someone else, but this tutorial shares how to get the kids involved in this one, making it totally manageable.

4. Chocolates
We made the chocolate below by simply melting dark chocolate, pouring it onto some baking paper on a cookie tray and sprinkling with chopped pistachios and dried cranberries.  When it had set we broke it into pieces.  The link above leads to a tutorial for making your own chocolates using a mould.  Moulds in various shapes and sizes can be found at Spotlight, Riot art, online or your local cake supply store.

5. Cookies-in-a-jar
These jars were made as party favours for Goose’s baking party earlier this year and we’ve used them for party favours at a farm party and for Christmas presents and new Mum presents.  Click on the link above to find a link to the recipe that we used.  These are great to make in bulk and just have in the cupboard for emergencies too!

6. Decoupaged tissue box or letter
My girls made these out of paper serviettes and glue.  Click on the link for the full tutorial.

7. Wool wrapped jars
Sometimes the most inexpensive gifts can be the best!  You’ll see more, along with a simple how-to, if you follow the link.

8. Clay herb labels
Imprinting leaves and stamps into oven baked clay and you’ve got some herb labels that will last forever out in the garden.

9. Clay necklaces
Same as the herb labels, these are made by imprinting leaves onto clay, then attached to a necklace or a brooch back.  For more clay jewellery ideas, clay beads are so much easier to make than you’d realise!

10. Laminated bookmarks
Made with whatever paper scraps you have lying around, they would also look cute with kids drawings or pressed flowers.

11. Masala Chai tea sachets
We used seed packet sized envelopes from Officeworks and popped enough chai ingredients for one into the bag.  Make a cute label and you’re done.  Click on link above for recipe.

12. Make your own Hot Chocolate-in-a-jar.
Perfect for this time of year as the weather starts to get colder.

13. Sew your own teatowel.

Cut a rectangle from linen/cotton blend fabric and give it a hem. I added a small piece of twill tape on mine to make a little fancier ;).  I’d love to find some plain linen/cotton fabric and get the kids to paint or draw with fabric paint or fabric markers.

14. Sew a Bag Bag
You know those things you put your spare plastic bags in from the supermarket.
For those times when you forget your green bag again!

You’ll find a great bag-bag tutorial here.

15. Decorate a Shopping Bag
In counteraction to the last suggestion, for those mothers who do actually remember their bags at the supermarket a little more regularly, decorating a calico shopping bag is something we love to do.  Whether it is apple printingfabric paint or no-sew applique. We buy our bags from here.

16. Sew a Wheat Bag

The nights are getting colder here in Melbourne and our wheat bags are coming out every night.  Just a minute & a half in the microwave and the bed is nice and toasty.  There are some gorgeous corduroy fabrics around which are lovely and soft.  There is a tutorial here if you’d like to give these a try.  Perfect project for a beginner sewer.

17. Fabric Covered Gift Cards
Here is a tutorial for how to make your own fabric covered cards. I often give these away in a nice tin for the recipient to use whenever a card is required.

18. Fabric Covered Coat hangers
I made these babies for my Mum last year.  If you like my scruffy & tattered look, I followed this tutorial, however one step up from coathangers, impeccably made & not frayed or tattered in the slightest, my friend Jane from Planet Joy makes beautiful made to order Liberty fabric wrapped wire words.  (Sometimes it’s easier to buy handmade than to make yourself, right?)

19. No-sew Upcycled Tshirt Scarf

20. Vintage Button Earrings
Just glue some earring backs on the back of some vintage buttons (or small toys or clay beads) and you have some pretty funky earrings. Details of earring back suppliers in the post.

21. Homemade bath bombs

BONUS:  I just remembered these from a few years ago and they definitely need a revisit!

22. Homemade Bubble bath and Chocolate Body Scrub

If you have any question whatsoever about any of these crafts, you know that you can always just ask, right?  I’m pretty good at replying and always happy to help.

Does your school or kinder have a Mother’s Day stall?  Do they ask you to donate?  My kids are each at new schools this year, so I am interested to see whether the tackiest of tacky gifts will be the same!  Not that I don’t cherish each and every gift that I receive of course! ;)

Make your own “Winter Warmer” Soup-in-a-Jar

Mother’s Day is next weekend and today is a blistering cold day here in Melbourne town which makes it the perfect day to get the kids onto making you (or Grandma) a mother’s day gift.  Here is an idea for a quick and easy gift that is especially useful on days like today.  You might even like to make an extra one and have it for dinner tonight.

I don’t know about you, but for me winter brings with it the desire for plenty of nice big bowls of warm and hearty soup.  Unfortunately winter also brings with it a little lethargy and can’t be bothered cooking-ness as well.  I’d much rather be rugged up in front of the fire on days like today, but unfortunately for me the children must still be fed.  I have discovered the perfect solution … let me share with you my recipe for ‘winter warmer’ soup in a jar… easy enough for the kids to make all on their own!

‘WINTER’ WARMER SOUP IN A JAR
YOU’LL NEED

Ingredients

1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried onion flakes
2 tsp. vegetable stock powder
1/4 cup yellow split peas
1/4 cup green split peas
1/4 cup pearl barley
1/4 cup red lentils
1/4 cup soup pasta/risoni

You’ll also need

300ml jar with lid
1 teaspoon measure
1 quarter cup measure
8 bowls to hold ingredients

HOW TO MAKE IT

1. Set up ingredients in bowls along the table in order of the list above.  No need to measure out at this stage, just pour more than you need into each bowl.  This was Frog’s favourite part.

2. Make labels and place in front of the corresponding bowls, so that your child knows what amount of each ingredient to put into the jar.  Two x 1 teaspoon labels, one x 2 teaspoon label and 5 x quarter cup labels.

3. Get your child to one by one, place the ingredients into the jar, in order of the list above, creating layers as they go. The layers give a fun effect, but if this is just too tricky for your child, put them all into the jar and let them create their own effect – as long as it’s the right amount, it’ll still taste the same!

While they’re there, they might as well keep going and fill more jars!  It won’t matter if the jar is larger than 300ml, any jar will do.

4. Pop the lid on carefully so as not to disturb the layers.  Not that it really matters as it is fun to shake and it still looks pretty all mixed together.

5.  Make a label for your jar with instructions, so that you (or your gift recipient) knows what to do when it’s time to cook the soup.  Glue the label straight onto the jar, or attach it with string or ribbon.  If you’d like the labels that I used, just email me and I’ll send you the printables, otherwise the instructions are as follows:

1. In a large saucepan, add contents of jar to 6-8 cups of boiling water.
2. Bring to boil and, with lid on, simmer gently for 45 mins or until ingredients are soft.
3. Stir regularly to prevent sticking.
4. Makes 4 hearty serves.  Enjoy!
P.S. You could get creative by adding fried bacon, shredded chicken or grated carrot into the mix!

6. When you’re done you can always let your child use the leftovers to create some soup art with some white glue, paint brush & a piece of card… It could keep them occupied for at least another 15 minutes!

This ‘Winter warmer’ soup-in-a-jar makes a great gift or to have in the pantry for those days that you really can’t be bothered preparing a meal!

So, there you go. You got to put your feet up in front of the fire and your preschooler has just made dinner for the next 2 Sundays as well as a gift for your friend whose just had a baby.  So helpful … although it may be a little messy! Perhaps you could let them loose with the vacuum cleaner afterwards – mine seem to love that!

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If you’d like to give these a go and use the gorgeous printable labels that my clever friend Jess designed for me then just email me and I’ll send it right to you.

You can find some more simple handmade Mother’s Day gift ideas here.  All perfect for the last minute (that’s how we like to roll here!)

Stay tuned for even more on Tuesday morning here on the blog. Keep warm my friends!

* This tutorial was originally published on Kidspot in June 2013.

A recycled paper Easter nest { guest post }

Today’s guest post is from one of my very favourite bloggers, Steph from this Brown Wren.  Steph and I have been blogging buddies for years now and I have always adore the gentle approach to life that she has and her creativity is something that just flows from all that she does.  Steph takes the most beautiful photos as you can see below along with a beautiful Easter nest tutorial which she has made with her two adorable children from recycled newspaper that she has made especially for us.  


I remember placing the basket at the end of my bed and carefully creeping under the covers so as not to disturb it. Usually home for dinner rolls when my parents entertained friends it now, filled with shredded paper, waited patiently for the Easter Bunny’s foil encrusted bounty.  It was always a rather meagre offering compared to some of today’s standards but for my brother and I, it was plenty.  I can vividly recall that first cloyingly sweet mouthful of chocolate while I swept bed hair out of my face and sleep out of my eyes.

This year we’re hunting out fair trade chocolates to extend the spirit of Easter beyond our home.  We have created little paper nests from old newspapers and our babies will wake to a few small chocolates and something Mumma made…perhaps a little knitted bunny each. We will gift the littles in our extended family with small homemade chocolates and biscuits while the adults will receive a virtual chicken. A gift pledged to those in need to encourage hope, growth and new life; the true essence of this time.

A modest affair steeped in simplicity and resonating with our love of this earth and our fellow man.

Steph x
We used the local paper cut into small squares to make two small and one larger nest. The paper was soaked in boiling water for about ten minutes and then handfuls were blitzed in the blender with extra water. The pulp was pressed into a sieve to remove a lot of the water and when it was not too wet, not too dry, it was pushed into an oiled bowl. We took care to press everything together well to avoid cracks.  A few days drying and the nests were gently eased from their vessels. Some earthy paint and last year’s blown eggs and an Easter spirit is starting to glow in our home. 

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Thanks so much Steph for this beautiful post.  How adorable is that little tongue of concentration.  What a beautiful idea to purchase a virtual chicken as an Easter gift.  

As a little side, Steph has just this week opened a little online store selling beautiful handmade sleepwear for children from vintage fabrics.  You’ll love it!

This craft is part of an Easter series here on Frog Goose and Bear and in this last week before Easter we have been sharing an Easter themed craft or activity every day, so if you’d like to see the rest of the posts in this series, just click here …

Some easy peasy Easter recipes to make with kids.

Earlier this week we had a lovely time with some of our favourite little friends making these simple chocolate Easter nests that have become an annual tradition in our house.

200g of melted chocolate, mixed together with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and a packet of Chang’s Oriental Fried Noodles, spooned onto some baking paper.  Place some Cadbury mini eggs on top to look like little eggs in a nest and pop it in the fridge to set and your done!

MORE EASTER RECIPES:

mini Easter chocolates
We made these little Easter chocolates earlier this week when my 2 year old niece came over.  It is as simple as pouring melted chocolate into a mould.  We used vintage moulds that I kept from my childhood to make these.

mini marshmallow nests

Another twist on the Easter nest are these scrumptious looking marshmallow nests made by my clever friend Lucy the Kitchenmaid containing only rice bubbles, marshmallows and butter.  My kids would love these!
Chocolate marshmallow eggs
While we are on the topic of Lucy and her delicious recipes, she also shares the recipe for this deliciously beautiful homemade chocolate marshmallow egg over on her blog.  This one does look ever so slightly trickier and is probably one for the adults to attempt, but looks oh so worth it!
Hot cross buns
These hot cross buns from Cathie of Melbourne Epicure also look delicious and fun to make with the kids.  Along with the recipe, she also includes how to make them egg and dairy free.


Do you have any Easter recipes that have become an annual tradition at your house?

This post is part of an Easter series.  For more Easter crafts and recipes, click on the image below.  All simple activities that will keep you & your kids busy over the school holidays right up until Easter Sunday.

Crafty fun at The School’s Kids Holiday Camp

Last week I had the opportunity to be ‘intern’ for the day and help out at the Kids Holiday Camp run by Megan Morton’s The School down here in Melbourne at the Abbotsford Convent masterfully organised by the fabulous Ms Candy Sparkles.  

The camp ran for three days and the children could attend just one day or all three. Each day was different, but the day that I was there, the kids made dream creatures with the super talented Madeleine Stamer in the morning and sparkle terrariums with Candy in the afternoon among much more creativeness along the way like feathery & sparkly crowns, pom poms, dancing in the rain, eating hot cross buns and drinking hot chocolate.

Madeleine also drew an extra special Easter design especially for the kids in this class to colour using watercolours (you can see it in the top pic).  She has been generous enough to share the design as a free download over on her blog if you’d like to print it out for yourself.

Goose (aged 10) came along with me on the day and had a ball!  Goose made the delightful Pheonix dream creature in the picture above which is now hanging above her bed.  She is a huge fan of anything creative and her words at the end of the day were “Can we do that again?  No, let me rephrase that – when are we doing that again?”

The School in Sydney runs amazing classes for both adults and children covering all things creative and stylish and can often be found running classes in other parts of the country as well.  Candy is running a Kids Holiday Camp in Sydney too and there are still places left for Tuesday and Wednesday this week so if you’re a Sydney-sider, go and check out the website for more details coz I know your kids would just love it!

Being around kids expressing their creativity is something that I just can’t get enough of.

What have you been up to during the school hols?  Do you go crazy with activities or spend lots of lazy days in your pj’s or a mix of both?

If you or your kidlets are up for any Easter crafting, you might like to check out our Easter Craft Series for some fun and simple Easter themed crafts, recipes and activities.

P.S.  Big thanks to my beautiful friend Susannah for looking after Frog & Bear (as well as her own three kids) for the whole day so that Goose and I could go along to this.  Where would we be without friends like this ? xo

How to make an Easter Bunny Mask { guest post }

Today’s guest post is from the gorgeous Jo from the wonderful blog Little Melbourne.  I came across Jo’s very handy blog last year and have found it a wonderful resource on what to do around Melbourne with the kids.  With school holidays coming up here in Victoria, I suggest you quickly go over and like her facebook page so that you’re in the know about all that’s happening in and around Melbourne and then head back here for a great tutorial on how to make an Easter Bunny mask that she has put together for us!

There’s so many wild and wonderful things to make with a simple paper plate and this Easter bunny mask is no exception.  This is a pretty easy activity, one you could help your toddler with or your older child could make it on their own.

Here’s what you need to begin:
  • White and black Craft paper (or ordinary paper would do)
  • Paper plate
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Coloured texta’s
  • Paddle pop stick
  • Masking/Packing tape
How to:
  1. Begin by cutting a circle in the middle of the paper plate – large enough to see your child’s face.
  2. Using the white paper, cut out 2 ears and colour them in grey and pink then use the masking tape to attach to the back of the plate.
  3. Using the black paper cut out 6 long strips and gently curl the ends then attach with the glue.
  4. Attach the paddle pop stick using the masking tape.
  5. Bunny mask complete!
If you were keen to add to your bunny mask and ‘pretty it up’, some white cotton wool would be fun with added sequins or glitter, or, instead of the black paper as whiskers you could use black pipe cleaners.


































If you’re after an Easter Event to wear your homemade bunny mask to, here’s where to EXPLORE in Melbourne and beyond.
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This post is part of a series here on Frog, Goose and Bear of Easter crafts, recipes and activities.  If you’d like to share something Eastery with us here on FGB, I’d love to hear from you!  Just shoot me an email.  For more Eastery posts in this series, just click on the picture below …

Are you planning on attending any Easter events this year?

Easter Craft: how to make a clucking chicken

This post was published back in 2011 (excuse the terrible photography) but it is still visited very often on this site and as chickens are particularly popular at Easter time, I thought I’d include it in our current series of all things Easter…

http://froggooseandbear.blogspot.com.au/search/label/easter%20series%202014

This plastic cup looks and sounds just like a chicken! It really does. The sound is much more accurate than the looks if we’re being honest… ;)

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Take one disposable plastic or polystyrene cup and poke a small hole in the bottom.

2. Tie a large knot in a piece of nylon string and thread it through the hole, leaving the knot on the outside so that the string won’t go through when it’s tugged on.

3. Decorate your cup so that it somewhat resembles a chicken. Stick on some feathers and some paper cut as eyes & beak or just drawing on with textas will do the trick.

4. Cut a small rectangular piece of kitchen sponge. You might like to tie it on the end of your piece of string so you don’t lose it.

5. To make the chicken cluck: slightly dampen the sponge, fold the sponge over the string (at the top) and run the sponge down the string holding it firmly with quick, short tugs and it makes a loud clucking sound.

N.B. the string really needs to be polyester (the shiny stuff) or the noise won’t be as effective (or it just plain won’t work!)


Do you have any fun craft activities of the chicken and egg variety?  You might like to join in the #getyourcrafton challenge over at Me and My Shadow or certainly head over for ideas if you don’t!

For more Easter related crafts, activities or recipes you might like to follow the current FGB Easter series.  You can be notified of a new post via email if you join our mailing list over there on the right or follow along on facebook or instagram.

Have you started eating hot cross buns and getting into the Easter spirit yet or am I killing you by starting you thinking about Easter far too early??

http://froggooseandbear.blogspot.com.au/p/kids-craft.html
For more kids craft ideas, check out the FGB Kids Craft page here.

An Easter craft & ten things you can do with plastic eggs.


OK, so it’s a little early to be thinking about Easter.  Way too early for me, as I thrive on the last minute rush.  Well, maybe thrive is not quite the right word, but last minute is often the way we roll around here.  I’ve been writing a couple of Easter craft tutorials for Kidspot and so I’ve got into the Easter frame of mind a little earlier than usual.  


This year, here in Victoria, Easter is at the end of the school holidays which gives us a good couple of weeks of school holiday time to get into some Easter themed crafting with the kids.  For the next six weeks I’m going to be posting lots of Easter craft ideas.  This might also include some re-posting of a few from the FGB archives for all of my lovely new followers who might have missed them.  If you have a gorgeous Easter craft to share, I’d love to include some guest posts. 

I found these adorable clear plastic eggs at my new favourite, locally based, packaging supply store, Pack-it-in.  We made these Easter egg terrariums using fake moss and flowers, some foam eggs (purchased here) and made the nest using florist wire.

The possibilities of what you could put inside these as Easter gifts is endless!  I particularly like that they lend themselves to non-chocolatey goodies. I can imagine colourful confetti, balloons and mini streamers just for a colourful explosion of fun, filled with mini toys or a little game or activity like those we put in our bon-bons.  I actually found a list here of 40 non-candy items that fit inside a plastic egg.
I couldn’t resist including the photo above.  Little Miss Frog was feeling a little ignored as I was taking photos in the courtyard and it took me a while (observant parent that I am) to notice the cheeky faces she was pulling in the background. 
Here are ten cool ideas that I have come across in blog land using plastic eggs as the base for some awesome crafts and activities for both kids and adults:
  1. egg shaped bird feeders
  2. easter bath bombs
  3. easter seed bomb
  4. super fun egg maracas
  5. recreate the christian easter story
  6. bakers twine covered eggs
  7. fabric decoupaged eggs
  8. egg shaped rice crispies
  9. glowsticks in eggs for nighttime egg hunt
  10. an easter egg lunch hunt
Have you started thinking about Easter yet?  

Have you got any awesome Easter craft ideas?  I’d love to share them with FGB readers, so shoot me an email and we can organise a guest post!  You don’t have to have a blog to do this either.

If you’re looking for more Easter craft ideas, 
you might like to head to the FGB kids craft page.
http://www.froggooseandbear.blogspot.com.au/p/kids-craft.html

Some more crafty posts from FGB elsewhere …

For most of this year, I’ve been writing a post once a fortnight over at Kidspot Village 
Voices.  They’ve been sponsored by Hasbro Playskool and have all been about the magic of play for children. Tutorials on simple fifteen minute activities to do with your kids as well as ways to incorporate and entertain your kids in your every day as, let’s face it, we don’t all have the option of child free time and things still need to get done!  I have been meaning to share them with you over here, so here they are, in no particular order, all in one big go!

Just click on each photo to be taken to the post…



http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/make-your-own-magnetic-peg-dolls/


http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/how-to-make-green-slimy-goop/




http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/chalk-and-toy-imaginative-fun-for-kids/

http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/chocolate-grissini-wands/



http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/how-to-make-a-bracelet-using-wool-and-a-cereal-box/

http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/pine-cone-bird-feeder/



http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/make-a-puppet-theatre/

http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/pretend-school-role-playing/



http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/hairy-caterpillar/

http://blogs.kidspot.com.au/villagevoices/make-a-pretty-princess-crown/

This month on Kidspot Village Voices is a whole month of play with even more posts than usual.  I’ll let you know via facebook any new posts that I have written or just check in every day to Village Voices for posts by the other clever creative gals who are writing for the campaign also.

What are your kids favourite activities at the moment?

You can find even more fun activities for kids on our FGB Kids Craft page …


Decoupage with kids …

A little while ago, Goose (aged 9) asked if we could spend more time together crafting.

It seems that just like her Mum, she needs a bit of creativity in her life to energise her and give her that buzz that you get when you are doing something that you love.  There is nothing she likes more, apparently, than to potter around in my craft room sticking, painting, sewing, gluing, creating.  Although I knew she enjoyed doing any crafty things that we did around these parts (which sadly are more few and far between than ever before) I underestimated just how much she enjoyed and valued it.  I think a bit of needing quality time on her own with her Mum is a little part of it too as she told me that I had to do it with her, not just potter nearby.  So, we’ve now marked one Saturday a month in the diary to craft, just the two of us.  We are very different in so many ways, so it’s nice to have something that we share.  We’ve missed one already, but hopefully we’ll be regular … 

The first time we met, we decoupaged…



If you’d like to give it a go too, this is how we did it …

You will need:

- tissue box cover (we purchased ours at Spotlight)
- paper serviettes 
- mod podge (special glue from craft shops)
- paint brush

1. Tear up your paper serviettes into small pieces.

2. Paint the mod podge glue both underneath and on top of the serviette.

3. Continue to cover the box with serviettes and mod podge until completely covered.  

4. Depending on the thickness and colour of your serviettes you may have to do lots of layers like we did.  Allow time to dry in between layers.

When Frog saw what Goose had been doing, of course she had to have a go too!  She had a cardboard letter A that we had also purchased from Spotlight and so decorated that. You can decoupage anything!  You can see that she did less layers on hers, but it still looks fine.  Both girls love having theirs on display in their room.

Are you good at spending regular one on one time with your kids?  
What do you do with them?  

Do you decoupage?  Any tips? 

For more Frog, Goose and Bear crafty activity ideas for you to do with your kids, click here…

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