Playing with Wool

Last Sunday we had a pyjama day.  All day.  
Sadly, all day pyjama days are an extremely rare occurrence in our house and we relish them.  Goose was wanting to ‘craft’ so I showed her the pinterest board where I’d been collecting ideas for the next ‘rainy/pyjama day’.

It’s nice having a nine year old as she can get on and do things all by herself without me having to supervise.
To make these yarn wrapped vases, you use a paint brush to cover a jar or bottle with pva glue and, starting at the bottom, slowly wrap the wool around jar.  As you can probably tell from the photos, by the time she did the white one she had started to lose her patience a little….

 She originally wanted to make a pen-pot but they ended up as vases.

This shot makes me smile.  Styling the shot.  She didn’t like the way that I did it apparently and, as it was her art, she wanted to make sure that it was displayed correctly.  ;)  All shots in this post are styled by her.  She popped the flowers in and sprinkled rose petals and placed everything just so.  xo

Love that girl.  I love how she inspires me to be creative.

Granny taught her to knit a few years ago and she loves it.  
She is currently knitting a bright pink scarf.

Ojo De Dios (also known as God’s eyes).  One of Goose’s school friends taught her and they were quite the craze at school for a while, and she made many!  
You can find a tutorial here.

For more wool crafts that are simple enough for kids to make, you might enjoy:

- finger knitted scarf (& finger knitting tutorial)

DIY Mother’s Day Gift – Bath Bombs

Mother’s Day is coming very soon here in Australia and in the lead up I thought I’d do a couple of posts on quick and simple (yet still stylish) gifts for Mums that kids can be involved in or totally make on their own.  I’m notoriously late in organising pressies and can often be found quickly whipping something up the night before.  These gifts all fit into that category – perfect last minute gifts!

Last year bath bombs were all the rage at our place.  These pics were snapped a year ago when Frog and I were having a practise before we made them with the MOPS Mums.  I’ve been meaning to share them with you ever since…

You’ll see pics of two colours here which I hope isn’t too confusing.  The purple mix was for lavender bath bombs where we used dried lavender, lavender essential oil and purple food dye and the yellow mix was for citrus bath bombs where we used grated lemon and lime rind, lemon essence and yellow food dye.  
BATH BOMB RECIPE:


1. Mix dry ingredients together:
½ cup baking soda
¼ cup citric acid
¼ cup corn flour

2. Mix together wet ingredients:
½ tspn dried lavender or grated peel if desired
2 drops grapeseed oil
2 drops of colouring 
2 drops of essential oil or essence

3.  Slowly add wet mixture to dry mixture.

4.  Add some water, using a spray bottle, a little at a time and mix together with your hands until it becomes a thick, slightly damp powder.

The pic below is an example of how much water to put in.  When you scrunch it up in your hand, if it holds it’s shape, you have enough.  If you put in too much water you’ll know as it starts to expand when you put it in the moulds and won’t stay put! 


5. Pack the mixture firmly into silicone molds.  I used ice cube & mini muffin trays.

Frog was 3 years old at the time these pics were taken and even though, as you can see, a rather large mess was created, she was very involved in the process and did lots of it on her own (under a watchful eye of course)!


6.  Leave them to dry in the mold for about 10 minutes before popping them out of the mold onto a teatowel to dry.  Leave them overnight to really harden. Or you can just leave them in the mold overnight before popping them out in the morning.

7. The next morning, once they are completely dry, run yourself a bath! Or package them up as a gift for Mother’s Day!
Above is a pic of some that we made one Christmas using orange rind and essential oil – the smell was divine!

You might also like to try making some bubble bath to go with the gift like the one we made below.  See this post for our recipe.

Stay tuned over the next week for more quick and easy gifts that you can make for Mother’s Day, or any time of the year really.

What are you doing for Mother’s Day this year?

An Easter Chocolate Gift … a tutorial


These simple chocolate treats can be made in 10 minutes – seriously!  
The hardest part is trying not to lick your fingers until the end!


What you will need:

- Compound Chocolate Melts
- Chocolate Mould Trays
- Spatula
- Bowl


1. Start by melting your chocolate.  As you really don’t want to get water in the chocolate, it’s best to use the microwave to melt your chocolate.  Just pop it the microwave for 30 secs at a time and give it a stir until it melts.  You want it really runny.

N.B.  It needs to be compound chocolate.  I use Nestle Milk Melts.  Just check on the back of the packet and it will let you know if it is “real milk chocolate” or “compound milk chocolate”.  The compound choc can be popped in the fridge/freezer without discolouration and has more of a sheen, but it does still work with the real milk choc kind.

2. Pour some chocolate onto the mould.  Most of these moulds were from my childhood and I love the vintage look they bring but I have seen them at craft stores, Spotlight, online and even my local post office!


3. Spread the chocolate out across the tray using a spatula or butter knife.



4. Using the spatula (or butter knife) scrape the excess chocolate from the top of the tray back into the bowl.

5. Gently pick up the tray and tap it numerous times on the table.  You can do this by lifting it a couple of centimetres above the table and dropping it gently over and over again.  This process minimises the air bubbles.  You will see some bubbles on the top as they make their way from the bottom.  This is good.


6. Pop your chocolate mould sheets full of chocolate into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes.  You’ll know they are ready when you turn it over and you can see it starting to get slightly whitish in colour through the plastic, or it sounds a little crackly.  You’ll just know, believe me.


7.  To release the chocolate from the mould, turn the sheet upside down and gently tap it on the table.  Make sure you do this gently and close to the table as you don’t want the chocolates to break on their way down.  If they don’t come out easily, just pop it back in the freezer for a bit as they may not be set enough.


8. Et voila!  You have made your own Easter chocolates! 

9. We had some egg shaped moulds that we stuck together to make whole eggs by pressing the egg halves onto some baking paper on a baking tray that had been heated in the oven.  


10. Press the two melted sides together and you have a whole egg!  If you wanted to make them look a little smoother and get rid of the line that joins them, apparently you can use a hair dryer to melt it and smooth it out a little.

11. Pop them in a pretty little box and give them as gifts!

These little beauties were shipped off to the children’s kinder and school teachers this morning with a little card attached.

Here are the gifts we gave the kids teachers last Easter.
Do you give Easter gifts?
Are you addicted to chocolate like me?!
For more FGB Easter crafts you might like to check out this post.

For more quick & easy recipes you might like to check out this page.



Wishing you all a wonderful Easter with your families.  We are off on our annual camping trip tomorrow with my extended family.  Fingers crossed that the rain holds off! 
What are you doing this Easter weekend?

P.S. A huge thanks to Andrea who gave me all the wonderful tips to make these last week!!

LAMINATED BOOKMARKS

Earlier on in the year, the kids and I made bookmarks.  While the school holidays are still in full swing I thought now might be the time to share it.  It all started when Frog wanted to be just like Goose.  Nothing new there.  Goose (almost 9) reads “chapter books” and therefore needs a bookmark.  Frog (aged 4) looks at picture books and does not really need a bookmark, but kept pinching Goose’s as she thought they were pretty and if Goose had them, why couldn’t she?!  After the suggestion of making her own backfired with the flimsy paper just not being sturdy enough and the inevitable tantrum ensued, I brought out the big guns – the laminator!  Do you have one?  I inherited my Mums last year and I’m in love.
We used origami paper, scrapbooking paper, book pages, map pages, birthday cards and anything we could get our hands on!  We cut them into rectangle shapes using a paper trimmer and using a corner punch, we rounded the corners.

I inherited a laminator from my Mum – how cool are they?!  We popped our paper strips into the laminator sheet and put them through the machine as per instructions.

Once through the laminator, we trimmed around the edges of each bookmark using scissors with a border of a couple of millimetres.  On some of them we then punched a hold at the top with a hole punch and added some ribbon for something extra.


Needless to say, with that amount of bookmarks (and by no means do these pictures contain all that we made!) there are no longer bookmark arguments at our house.  If one gets lost, another one is easy to find!  I think they’d make a lovely gift also, particularly with a child’s drawing or a photo on them.

Are your children insatiable readers?  Are they forever losing their bookmarks?  Do you have ten books on the go at one time and need multiple bookmarks yourself?

Head over here for more FGB kids craft ideas.

Some Lavender Craft for the Holidays


The last few days have been particularly hot in Melbourne which has meant that we have spent a lot more time inside than usual.  Finally having some time on her hands, Goose has been an insatiable craft fiend.  
She was given the book Little Things for Busy Hands by Katie Evans last year for her birthday and it has been getting a very good work out!  It’s a great little book designed especially for kids to use with minimal help from adults.  It is perfect for her age*.  In no time at all she had whipped up frog purses for each of her siblings, a monster puppet and, with a bit of help, a pink pony softie for her little sister.  She’s planning on making the fabric mat next.  Here are some photos of some lavender cocoons that she made from the same book a couple of months ago.  
All you need is a some lavender and some fabric strips or ribbon.  The long thin type of lavender would work much better and would end up with a lot neater finish, but this is just what we had in our garden.
Not necessarily the neatest, but great tucked away in the undies drawer or hung in your wardrobe.  I hung these ones up near the Christmas tree last month as I thought they were a little bit festive.
There are many many tutorials in blogland for the lavender cocoon (or lavender wand as they are sometimes known), all of which use ribbon and not fabric and are really, really neat and perfect.  I like the look of these ones though.  Something different.  Here is one of those tutorials with simple step by step instructions.


While we are on the topic, another lavender craft that makes a great little addition to the undies drawer or a gift for Grandma, is the lavender sachet.  


The lavender sachet is a basic rectangle shape, two pieces sewn together inside out but leaving a gap,  the right way around, then filled with dried lavender and hand sewn together.  Here is a tutorial if you’d like something more detailed!  Or here is a simple & cute hand-sew tutorial for younger kids to make.
Just like lemon trees, lavender seems to be a staple plant found in gardens all across Australia.  No doubt due to the fact that it is a hardy plant that requires little water.  Do you have a lavender plant at your house?  Do you love the smell or does it give you a headache?  Have you used lavender in your crafty projects?
Head over here for more FGB Kids Craft Ideas to occupy your kids during the holidays.

* Goose is nearly nine years old.

Planting in Eggshells

We’ve been planting tiny succulents in eggshells.  

You can head over to Village Voices for the FGB tutorial to see how we made them if you’d like to have a go at making some yourself.  They are super easy and I love seeing them on our kitchen windowsill whenever I’m at the sink.

I’m really excited to be doing a whole lot of crafts using eggshells for Village Voices over the next few months.  

Have you ever used eggshells for craft?

A Father’s Day Craft – The Mo Mug

This week at MOPS we made moustache mugs for Father’s Day.

           

Mugs were only $1 from kmart and I found these awesome porcelain pens here that you just draw on and you’re done.  No baking required!  You just let it dry for three days (although it is dry to touch quite quickly) and then it is dishwasher safe.  Easy!

I don’t trust my drawing skills at all so I printed out a free moustache printable, cut out the mo shape, traced around it with a pencil onto the mug and then used the porcelain pen.  I can’t seem to find the free printable that I used, but I’ve just come across this one that has a whole of lot of different shaped moustaches made especially to use on mugs!  

Teamed up with this free printable card from One Charming Party I think it makes the perfect Father’s Day gift!
In searching on pinterest (yes, I am addicted) I came across lots of fantastic and simple designs for using porcelain pens on mugs and plates.  I’d love to give these a try next.  These pens are obviously nice and easy for kids to use as well.

The kids have all been to their obligatory Father’s Day stalls at kinder and school.  Always makes me smile what they bring home.  

Are you all sorted for Father’s Day?

AN APPLE PRINT SHOPPING BAG


Although we made these apple print shopping bags at MOPS, it’d be a great craft for kids to do.  Fruit can make some great patterns.  I purchased the bags here for only $1.50 each.  We chopped an apple in half, painted each half with fabric paint and stamped them onto the fabric.  After the paint dried we ironed the fabric as per paint instructions.  I remember doing the same thing onto wrapping paper when I was a kid.  I also think apple stamping would look great on tea towels and would make a great gift.


Have you ever done any fruit stamping?  What did you stamp?


Try the FGB kids craft page for more kids craft ideas.




The inspiration for these bags came from here, thanks to pinterest.

A Recycled Easter Craft

When I was growing up every Easter eve, my cousins, sisters and I would make easter baskets with whatever bits & pieces were at hand.  The next morning we would wake to discover that Easter Bunny had hidden them and we needed to find the chocolate filled baskets.

Every Tuesday morning Frog, Bear & I head along to playgroup.  I like to pretend that I go so that the kids can play with other kids, but in reality, they do that often, at many other places.  I really go for me.  I go to hang out with a fantastic small group of down to earth & supportive women who really have become such wonderful friends.  



Last week at playgroup we made easter baskets using old soft drink bottles and had a lovely egg hunt around the gardens of the playgroup.



To make your own recycled easter baskets, you’ll need an empty 1.25litre plastic soft drink* bottle.
Using a stanley knife** or a pair of kitchen scissors, cut off the bottom of the plastic bottle.  Then, to make the handle, cut another strip, approx 1.5 inches wide from the bottom of the remaining top half of the bottle.  Attach this strip to the bottom of the bottle to make a basket.  You can use a stapler here or punch a hole into both the handle and the basket and join them with ribbon or string. Decorate to your hearts desire. Yes, I decorated one too, I just couldn’t help myself!  I had to make a sample after all.




We’ll be keeping our baskets and leaving them out on Easter Eve in the hope that Easter Bunny might find them.  What Easter traditions did you have when you were growing up that you have revived with your own children?

* That’s soda for my friends in the US.  However, this would work with milk cartons or juice bottles also.
** & that’s a box cutter for my US friends.   ;)


Some more egg decorating…

For some reason this year, I’ve got right into the whole easter craft thing!  We normally do one or two easter craft activities, but this year I can’t seem to stop!  It is most likely due to getting so much wonderful inspiration from fellow bloggers!


 Along with the fact that my children are getting older.  I no longer have babies, but children who are interested in, & capable (ish) of crafting along with me – with the exception of Bear.  “I’m not into craft, Mum” he often tells me.  His artwork folder at kinder is usually empty.  However, every now and then he ventures out of his ‘no craft’ box and surprises me.  

Last week when Bear and I were the only ones at home and I was preparing the MOPS craft for the week he was really keen on joining in.  It might have been about him wanting to experiment with colour & eggs, but it also might have been about spending some quality time with Mum which is sometimes hard to come by with this gentle & mild middle child who resides between two boisterous & defiant sisters.


We blew our eggs & used this simple dying technique.  We made these patterns using double sided tape (the stripes) & white crayon (the dots & words).  I saw today some gorgeous vintage lace eggs that I’d love to try next.  Egg dying is an Easter tradition in many households.  Is egg dying an Easter tradition at your house?


If you’re interested you’ll find more easter crafts over at the FGB kids craft page & even more over here on Red Ted’s Art collection of Easter crafts.


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