How to make your own bath salts

As Mother’s Day is approaching here in Australia (Sun 11th May) I thought I’d share a post that I wrote for Kidspot this time last year – how to make your own bath salts.  It is a quick and easy Mother’s Day gift that is simple enough for the youngest of children to make for their Mum’s, Grandma’s or special women in their lives …

Last year my daughter purchased me some bath salts as a gift for Mother’s Day.  When I used them all up in one go in a long and relaxing bath all on my own, she was disappointed that I hadn’t saved any bath salts for her!  After refraining from having a little discussion on the art of gift giving and the concept of Mother’s Day, I told her that she could always make some for herself.  If you’d like to make some too, here is what we did.

You will need:

Epsom salt
Food colouring
Essential oil
Mixing bowl

1. Pour the Epsom salt into the mixing bowl.  Any amount will do.  My kids were fascinated by the salt that looked like snow and they couldn’t resist running their fingers through it.

2. Add a drop or two of food dye to the salt and stir with a spoon to integrate the colour.  Any colour will do – we chose purple to match our lavender essential oil.

3. Add a few drops of essential oil.  We chose lavender as it was all that we had in the cupboard and it is known for it’s soothing & calming qualities.  Nikki mentions some of the benefits of particular essential oils in this article.

4.  Mix the salt, colour and scent around with your spoon until they are all combined

We couldn’t resist having a good smell or two – it smelled divine!

 5.  Why not make some more using a different colour?  With my girls, pink and purple are always the colour of choice!

6.  Pop it into a jar for storage, or pretty it up as a gift.  We thought that it would be fun to layer the two colours and package them up as gifts.  Don’t you just love five year old’s handwriting?

7. Now go and run the bath and relax with a soothing lavender scented soak in the tub – you deserve it!

What is your favourite way to relax?  Do you ever make time for a bath?


You might like to try making some bath bombs to go with it as it uses some of the same ingredients and is also fun and simple to make with kids.

You can find some more gifts to make in jars in this post and some more Mother’s Day gifts for you to make in this post. xo


Unleash Creative: A day of crafty indulgence

I was lucky enough to attend the first Unleash Creative event in Melbourne on Saturday! For me, it was creative heaven.  So much colour and creativity and how wonderful to be allowed to set aside a whole day to just craft and hang out with other lovely folk who share the same passion!  And not just any crafts either – new to me, super cool crafts!   Not to mention all the party inspiration that was there too (I just can’t help myself and always have half an eye out for party ideas) and I’ve come home with a list a mile long of recommended craft supply stores, party shops, how to’s, where to’s, etc, etc.

   Here are my pics from the day … 
How cool is that wall (above) decorated with origami paper and double sided tape!
We were each given one of four coloured name tags when we walked in and we stuck with that group for the day.  These are the gorgeous blue ladies – thanks for making it a fun day!
Our clever clogs teachers for the day (pictured below) were:

and the whole day was put together by super organiser extrordinaire Magdalena Franco.
Here are my four creations for the day …
My cuckoo clock (bottom left pic) is not quite finished, but if you like all things kitsch and kooky, there is a full tutorial including downloadable templates over on Allira’s blog complete with a deer head and dangling toadstools.
This was just the beginning of many Unleash Creative events across Australia.  

Check out the Unleash Creative website for more deets!
I must also mention the deliciously exquisite dessert table for morning tea made by the super clever Caz from Nectar and Stone (I must admit to having tasted her goodies on another occasion and both times they have been divine)

along with the most amazingly scrumptious lunchboxes by Miss Jackson (I’m not exaggerating here!  I’d love one of those delivered every day, thanks! (seriously, please!)

I know I’ve used a lot of descriptives like awesome and gorgeous and amazing, but I came out of the day on a creative high, feeling both content and inspired.  We all have our thing that makes us feel alive and for me, it’s getting those creative juices flowing.  Huge thanks for letting me be a part of the day Magdalena - can’t wait for the next one! 

You’ll find more pics of the day on instagram under the hashtag #ucmelb.

On leaving we were given the BEST goodie bag ever with generous gifts from some of my favourites – thanks to blank, little shop of, lovemaedandelynewoodsfolk & more!

What is it that makes you feel refreshed, rejuvenated and alive?

The beginnings of a baking party …

Just some quick snaps taken on my iphone of the invitations that Goose and I made for her baking party this weekend.  
If you’d like to give them a try for your own baking party, we just printed the invitation onto some card and sewed baking paper onto the front using pink thread and a zig zag stitch.
Before you sew up the fourth side, you slide in a teaspoonful of edible sprinkles (slightly tricky!) and push them as far down as you can so that you don’t sew over them.  Then you sew up the final side.

 Trim the sides of the baking paper so that it is the same as the card underneath and you’re done!
We also made very simple envelopes for our invitations before we popped them in the post.  We did this for a bit of fun, but also because our invitations didn’t fit into the envelopes that we had on hand.  I found these A4 sheets of cupcake paper at ALDI a few months ago and knew it would be perfect for this party.  A bit of washi tape with a rainbow sprinkle pattern made it even more fun.  

Goose has made some garlands using cupcake wrappers, straws and doilies and we’ll be spending the day baking and preparing on Saturday before the party.

Have you ever had a baking party?  
Stay tuned for party pics next week!

Collecting ideas for baking party on pinterest here

For more Frog Goose and Bear parties head over here … 

An ‘Around the World’ themed birthday party

Last week, at the beginning of Melbourne’s heatwave, I helped a friend organise a fun party for her daughter’s fifth birthday.  As a well travelled little girl with parent’s who travel often and extended family and friends living all over the world she chose the perfect theme!  She also desperately wanted to wear her new traditional South Korean costume that her Mum had brought back from a recent trip overseas.  All the children arrived in costumes from all over the world.  Adorable.

As the day was over forty degrees celcius (that’s over 104 degrees faranheit) and the party was at 10.30 in the morning, the food was simple with nothing that required the oven being turned on! 

Along with some cupcakes with flags of the world toothpicks and aeroplane shaped fairy bread, there was food that represented each continent of the world:
Asia – sushi platter , fruit in ceramic spoons (pictured above)
Europe – cheese platter
North America – Oreo cookies
South America – corn chips and guacamole & popcorn
Australia – vegemite sandwiches
Africa – bread and dips
Antarctica – drinks station with lots and lots of ice!

When the children entered the house they were each given their own passport in which they had to write their own name and draw a picture of themselves.  The birthday girl’s Dad did a superb job of making the passports by photocopying his own passport, blocking out some details and then stapling the pages together.
The party guests were also given their own travel bag to collect all their goodies that they would make and collect throughout the party.
Around the house, there were seven activity stations set up.  Each one representing a different continent.  When the children travelled to each table (aka continent) they could complete the activity and receive a stamp in their passport.

The children decorated paper fans in Asia

Made their own Guatemalan worry dolls in South America
(Big thanks to Steph for this timely idea!)
Made American Indian head dresses in North America

Threaded wooden bead bracelets in Africa
Coloured in Babushka doll pictures in Europe

Had their face or hands dot painted in Aboriginal style in Australia along with an Australian flag tattoo …
And splashed their feet in ice and water in Antarctica!
There were also ice slushies and the drinks station in this area.
As well as these fun activities there was also a giant globe pinata 

 a Japanese game of giant Mikado (aka pick up sticks) as well as a paper plane making station, a dress up station with costumes from all over the world and a book reading corner with a selection of books from all over the world.

My kids had such a great time collecting stamps from each of the continents and doing the activities.  This has now become one of my all time fave party themes!  There is just so much scope to be creative and to change things to suit the weather, your child’s age or interests and whatever props you happen to have on hand.  Such an educational theme as well!
If you’re looking for more party ideas, you might like to check out some

Looking forward

Beginning the year in my usual FIFO (fly in fly out) blogging style…

In the past I have begun each year with a reflective type post with a thought or two on the year that was and the year ahead, like these ones.  This year, all I know about the year ahead is that it is a year full of possibility.  With my youngest heading off to school for the first time (she is so excited!), the oldest beginning grade five at a new school (she was lucky enough to receive a scholarship to the local private school – so proud), the middle changing schools (to one that is closer to our house since our move last year) and the hubby finishing off his PhD (it is due in a few weeks!!?!!) and going back to his crazy work hours, it is a year of change and a new era for all of us in a lot of ways.  I have no idea what it will contain but I have a few ideas and hopes for this bloggy space as well as dabbling in some party planning and crafty projects and getting my kids (and myself) through the changes that this year will bring, along with more space to breathe and slow down and maybe get more than boiled eggs and soldiers on the table for dinner each night.
I’ll still be in holiday mode until school goes back and then it might take me a wee while to get us all settled into our new schools and pace of life but then the plan is that I’ll visit this space on a more regular basis in the year ahead.

If you happen to be on instagram or facebook then you’ll know that I’m a lot more regular over there. They are like a quick form of blogging on the run.  

What does this year hold for you?  

* My family looking for terracotta sculptures at Bruno’s Art & Sculpture Garden on a recent visit to Marysville, Victoria.

This year’s handmade teacher gifts

Yesterday after school, the girls and I made some mini terrariums to give to their school and kinder teachers as Christmas gifts.  Making a handmade gift for the children’s teachers has become a little tradition here at FGB.  I purchased the jars from ‘Provincial Living’ for a few dollars and got the succulents, succulent potting mix, activated charcoal and pebbles from my local nursery.*  You can find a full tutorial here in the FGB archives.
Bear decided that he didn’t want to give a terrarium to his teachers, so he and I made some of our cheat’s chocolate Christmas puddings today to package up for his teachers as well as quite a few more to bring along to Christmas parties and to give to neighbours/friends.

I know handmade gifts are not for all, but I also know there are many who read this blog who share my love of handmade who may be looking for ideas so, along with the terrariums and chocolate puddings, here is a collection of handmade gifts that we’ve made in the past that would be perfect for Christmas gifts for teachers, neighbours or friends.  They are all simple enough for the kids to help with, inexpensive, can be made in bulk and more importantly, can be made last minute!  

Clay Decorations with their name imprinted

this tutorial is for Easter chocolates, but just switch the mould to a Christmas one and it is perfectly transferrable!
Other cool handmade teacher gift ideas that I’ve seen around the traps are these clay necklaces or teacup candles or bookmarks and to be honest I also think that a hand written card from your child letting the teacher know how much they have been appreciated could possibly be one of the best handmade gifts of all.

From a slightly different angle, a fabulous gift that I know a few friends have done is to give a charity gift card like this one for $10 which goes toward teacher training in a developing country or this one for $5 for education supplies.

Do your children give gifts to their teachers?
Am I the only crazy one who does handmade?

* I now have lots of soil, charcoal, pebbles and succulents left, so for those of you who know me in the off-blog world, if you would like to make some of these – feel free to pop over!

How to make a mini paper wreath

I was at a friends house last week and she was making lots of adorable little paper wreaths to give to friends for Christmas.  They looked gorgeous all packaged up ready to give.  I had my camera with me, so I asked her to show me how she made them …

1.  Cut 8 pieces of paper into 4cm x 8cm rectangles.

 2. Fold the rectangle in half lengthways.

3. Fold it in half the other way.

4. Open it out again and fold the corners up.

You are folding from the open end up toward the folded end.

5. Fold it back in half again.

6.  Do the same with each of your eight pieces of paper.

7.  One by one you’ll need to fit the pieces of paper inside each other until you have a complete circle.

8.  Now you can attach a piece of ribbon and hang it on your tree.  

Below are some more handmade Christmas decoration ideas from the Frog Goose and Bear archives that you might like to try …

Do you have a Christmas tree up yet at your house?

The “Friends who make things market”

Goodness life has been busying up and I’m struggling to find time to blog.  Sorry folks. Still active over on facebook and instagram though if you’re on those platforms.  I know lots of you have been asking when I’ll be posting the photos of Frog’s Fancy Nancy 5th Birthday Soiree and the answer is VERY soon, but in the meantime I wanted to quickly share about a market Goose and I attended last weekend…

Long time readers will remember a few years ago some friends held a gorgeous market in their backyard a few times a year.  You can see the pics from some of those markets here and here.  After a break for a few years, the market was back last weekend and at an even better location.  Look there is a rare pic of me!

A wonderful community vibe as it’s really only advertised by word of mouth and the stall holders are friends and friends of friends so everyone mills around chatting and they hand out sandwiches and baked goodies.  This year there were some gorgeous kids doing face painting and they’d made some salt dough decorations which you could paint on the day along with a sausage sizzle.

Goose and I had a stall each.  I made fabric covered cards, clay decos and 3D rainbow cloud garlands.  She made little DIY peg people kits along with all the pieces for kids to make their own peg person on the day.  She had such a wonderful time.  For a child who is hard to wake in the mornings she was up at 6.30am all dressed and ready to pack the car! 

She sold all 15 of her packs and has since had orders for 25 more, so she’s pretty chuffed!
All on her own she decided that she would like her profits to go to her friend in Rwanda. A girl whose education we support who shares a birthday with Goose from a school her Granny is involved in.  You can read about when Granny met her over here.

My fun and clever sister Clare had a stall selling vintage games that she had made.

The biggest hit by far was her fake vomit!!  Her husband made it using latex and dried soup mix!  Hilarious and far too realistic looking!  I’d love to give it a try!

My gorgeous friend Caroline who makes the most beautiful things was there also.  Those adorable little sausage dogs flew out the door!  Lucky for you she also has an online store so you can get in on the action also.  I purchased a few of her slip-cover headbands that you can swap and change as often as the outfit (among other things!).

Such a fun day!  Thank you so much to all of the lovely friends and family who came and supported Goose and I on the day.  It was much appreciated!  I’m also hoping to do one more market stall before Christmas and I’ll let you all know the details when that is confirmed.

As we’re still in the process of putting together packs to fulfill the orders, let me know in the comments section below if you’d like some.  $2.50 each or $3 each if you’d like them sent to you in the mail. They contain everything you need to make 2 magnetic peg people.

Have your kids ever had a market stall?  

Here are a few links to some gorgeous entrepreneurial Mums and kids that I know ….

- Jacqueline’s boys annual reindeer food shop.
- Simoney’s kids halloween lemonade stand to put a positive spin on halloween.
includes link to her tutorial on how to make your own rustic lemonade stand
- Kirra’s kids lemon-aid stand to raise money for a well through World Vision.  

P.S.  If you are really interested in craft packs for your kids, there is a great little company, run by two Aussie Mums, called ‘Kiddie Create‘ who deliver awesome little craft packs regularly to your door with everything that you need inside.  They even do customised kids party packs!

Blogging and Me

I’ve been a bit of a haphazard blogger of late.  It’s not that I don’t want to blog – I really do!  I write posts in my head all of the time.  I do stuff with the kids, in the kitchen and out and about.  I even take photos and plan to write a blog post about it and I have a thousand ideas in my head for blog posts … but I get to the end of the day and I am just utterly exhausted!  I used to push through that exhaustion and keep going, but I’m working on telling myself that I don’t need to be doing all of the things I think I should be doing, but instead focusing a little more on my mental health as this is my year to breathe, to take things slow and not push myself to the extremes that I have in the past.  

I need to look after myself for a bit and that might mean only blogging here sporadically for a wee while.  I have big hopes and dreams for this space so please don’t think that my lack of regular blogging is a sign that I’m fading out.  I’m certainly not.  I just need to recover from the roller coaster that was the last few years and to enjoy this last year before all of my children are at school.  

I’ll just continue to be random in my posting and plod along for just a small while longer and not put pressure on myself in the knowledge that blogging isn’t the most important thing in my life, it just adds to it.  It adds a wonderful and terribly encouraging and positive element to my life and I would deeply miss it if it wasn’t there.  I’m OK with that.  I don’t need to prove myself to anyone.  (That is a hard statement to make for a perfectionist who actually feels the need to prove herself to herself all of the time!) I blog here at Frog Goose & Bear purely for my own enjoyment.

The weekend before last, I attended the Kidspot Bloggers Masterclass. The main topic of the day was about finding your voice and what is uniquely ‘you’.  Part of doing that is working out why we started our blog in the first place and what is our main reason for doing it.  So I’ve been pondering that for the last week and remembered that I started this blog for me.  I started this blog because I love to share ideas with others. I get a tremendous kick out of inspiring/empowering/encouraging others to squeeze a little creativeness into their life.  I really do. I also started this blog as a way to connect with and be inspired by other like-minded crafty souls in a time where I was really feeling stuck at home with 3 young kidlets.  I blogged in part for therapy.  In the three and a bit years that I’ve been blogging, I’ve achieved my goals.  I think I’ve grown heaps and my confidence in my own abilities has increased ten fold.  

I walked away from the masterclass after listening to the panel thinking that I needed to do more.  To blog more often, be more consistent, to have a schedule, to connect more.  But then after a few days I came to my senses.  It’s ok doing things in your own way and in your time.  To do your own thing.  To be uniquely you and true to yourself.  So that is what I’m choosing to take away from the day for now (along with a whole lot of other really useful stuff that I’ll totally use in the future and the lovely fact that I got to meet and hang out with some beautiful friends and meet some new ones).  

However, all is not lost … If you so desire, you can still connect with me on a more regular basis.  I’m more active on face book if you’d like to follow me there and also on pinterest.  I’m also really excited to be blogging over at Kidspot Village Voices at the moment in their ‘Magic of Play’ Series.  You can catch me there once a fortnight blogging about quick and easy activities for kids along with ways to incorporate kids into your everyday activities.  What could be better than getting paid to play with your kids?!  I will of course still be blogging here at Frog Goose and Bear in the usual sporadic way – we do have a birthday party coming up after all! Stay tuned for some lego party madness!

Also, and this is pretty exciting folks … in a couple of days time I am going to the US with my husband!  In a couple of days I am doing to the US with my husband!  I’m joining him for a week while he attends a small conference in Lake Tahoe and my amazingly generous mother and mother-in-law are staying with our children.  It only came into being just over a week ago.  I am still in shock and taking a while to get my head around the fact that it is actually happening!  Maybe on Saturday when I’m on the plane it’ll start to sink in.  I have never been so unprepared for a trip overseas in all of my life, but I’m not sure that I actually mind.  I have my ticket and my passport sorted and I’ll have my husband all to myself for a whole week.  What more could I want?!

In case you were wondering, these photos are of my kids setting up their own ‘Fancy Nancy: Ooh la la beauty spa’  on a pyjama day this week in the school holidays.  I think I chose to add the photos to this post as I feel they represent in some small way my need for a little, long forgotten, self pampering.

Have you ever done a last minute overseas trip with no planning whatsoever?  
Are you in desperate need just to slow down, look after yourself and take the time to just breathe life in?

P.S.  I wrote this ridiculously long essay of a post as a bit of therapy for myself and to let you in a little deeper than usual.  Just in case you happen to be remotely interested in this break from the usual craft sharing kind of post, I have done a few more reflectively gushy posts in the past here.

DIY Clay herb labels

We’ve been imprinting leaves into clay over in these parts.  Just like we did with our clay necklaces and our little clay decorations, but this time we used stamps as well to make labels for the herbs in our garden.

and little worms to go in the garden as well.

Frog had lots of fun imprinting the leaves into the clay over and over again and using the rolling pin.

The labels have been very helpful when sending the kids outside to pick herbs while I’m cooking dinner …

Do you grow herbs at your house?  What is your favourite herb?  
Mine is definitely mint.  I  absolutely love the smell, but in reality boring old parsley probably gets used more than any other.

For more crafty things to do with kids head over to FGB’s Kids Craft Page …

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