Elegant Easter Eggs

You might remember that last year there was a little Japanese fad going on at our house… and that when I came across this idea I had to give it a try.  A year on, I still have a love for Japanese origami paper.  As my recent bunting cards may attest.

 I ended up only making one egg last year, the sparkly blue one in the photos (I’d accidentally purchased glitter modpodge) and it is still in good condition a year on.*  



You can find the full instructions on how to make them over here.  
Mine were more of a slapdash kind of job, not quite as fiddly as Martha suggests, but I think they still turned out quite well.  Origami paper works well for this project because it works best with thin paper.  We might end up doing them for the MOPS craft this week.

These eggs are fun for the kids to try as well.  
Frog was very proud of this one that she & I made below!



Joining in today with Jodie, the Haby Goddess in her new Make-Grow-Thrift linky.

Do you do easter crafts?  I love any excuse really – adds to the magic maybe…

* the eggs were blown so they’ll last for a long time – as long as you don’t drop them!

P.S.  I just had to include this dodgy little photo taken a year ago of Goose & Frog blowing some eggs.  
Gorgeous kids – they grow up too fast!

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.

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part five

Some more quick and simple handmade gifts for girls for you…

Paper has always been a favourite craft medium of mine.  Japanese paper* is something that we have a soft spot for at our house and due to Goose’s love of all things Japanese, we have it in abundance.  
As well as a cute gift, these ideas would make great party favours also!

I made this fabric covered notepad using the same method that I used to make my Christmas cards last year.  Ironing fabric on to the cover using vliesofix.  Simple, but very effective.  Full tutorial here.

I just wrapped some paper around the pencil and eraser using some mod podge glue.  
Full tutorial on pencil here.

I love how something plain & inexpensive…


can quickly be made into something cute & giftworthy.

To make the peg magnets, I simply used double sided tape and stuck the pegs onto a sheet of patterned paper and used my scissors to cut around the peg.  I then attached a magnet onto the back.  I can imagine the gift above being given with a fabric covered notebook or some free printable stationery like this one.


Goose and I made up this little package for our lovely friend Shannon’s birthday last week – who also happens to be our gorgeous babysitter!


fabric covered notebook – tutorial here
paper covered pencil – tutorial here.
origami covered erasor
paper beaded bracelet – tutorial here
origami paper crane – tutorial here
paper garland made from a mix of old sheet music & origami paper.

Shannon is in her mid twenties, but the same things could easily be modified for a younger girl…


Take out the tea and add some origami paper and an instruction sheet on how to make their own origami creatures.  There are many simple origami tutorials to be found here.

The Japanese card above was made from an old children’s encylopedia, along with some origami paper.

Stay tuned for more simple handmade gifts for girls and even some guest posts from some other crafty handmade gift givers in the coming weeks.  If you are interested in doing a guest post for this simple handmade gifts for girls series – send me an email - I’d love to hear from you!

Linking in today with one of my favourite creative places on the web.



* I purchase all of our origami paper from ebay where there are many different sizes and prints to choose from.  I have found this store particularly prompt & helpful.

MY CREATIVE SPACE…when a party lives on…

Long after a party is over at our house, the theme seems to live on for quite some time. It’s the same with every party. I could never justify the expense or effort on things that would never be used again, so maybe that’s the reason that the Japanese influence is still strong at FGB headquarters.

We repeated the blossom tree craft last week at playgroup and each and every birthday card leaving our house in the last month has looked very much like this one….

A ‘how to make a paper crane’ tutorial was the Show & Tell last week along with a paper crane for each child in the class – I did mention she was obsessed didn’t I?! We now have them hanging along the kitchen window also and some gorgeous little origami hearts were made for each of us on Valentine’s Day.

Last week, just to use our asian soup spoons we had Chicken & Sweet Corn soup for dinner and on the
menu almost every day for lunch at the moment…

Cherry blossom sandwiches anyone?*

And I can’t forget Japanese Poker. Of course, as mentioned previously, all party decos stay up in the shed until the next party and once a month Mr FGB has a poker night in the shed. So this month the boys enjoyed Japanese rice snacks, Japanese lollies along with some Japanese beer and according to their fortune cookies, not all of them were going home rich men.

Do you find this happens at your house after a party….or is it just me? Maybe after all of the effort it takes, I just can’t let go?

How do you let your creative juices flow? Head over here to see some others.

* We did this another day with beetroot dip and open sandwiches – pink blossoms! A bit of creative fun never goes astray – we must amuse ourselves whenever we can and right now – I really only have room to move in the small things :)

MY CREATIVE SPACE…

To continue with my little obsession with origami paper, we used the scraps from Goose’s party to make some fun little peg magnets to stick on the fridge. They were super easy thanks to Aimee’s great tutorial and Goose and I loved making them! We even skipped the last half of the tutorial and made them without the modpodge as I liked the matte look better. There are now far too many on our fridge holding various artworks, lists and photos.

This year, just because I didn’t have enough to do (ha!) I am co-ordinating the “craft” activities at my MOPS* group. This morning we all made peg magnets and then attached them to some of my favorite printable lists**. I am a huge fan of making lists – couldn’t survive without them – and if I am going to be surrounded by them, I might as well make them pleasing to the eye, I say!

If you have any ideas for quick and easy craft ideas, please pass them this way.
If you’d like to see how others are being creative head over to Kootoyoo.



*MOPS – Mothers Of Pre Schoolers – a lovely nurturing group who meet once a fortnight at our church giving time out and bit of rejuvenation to worn out Mums like me!

** The printable notepaper pictured was purchased here. There are cute free ones here. Others we had at MOPS were this and this. I’m a little addicted to printable notepaper…

JAPANESE PARTY {the activities}

I like the idea of walking into a party and having something to get involved in right away, so I often have a number of different activities going on and the kids can do the rounds. It does involve having other adults to help you. These are the activities we had at Goose’s Japanese party.

CHERRY BLOSSOM TREE PICTURES
I painted a branch and photocopied it onto pieces of card. We provided some geisha girl stickers, some cherry blossom shaped cutouts (punched out using our origami scraps & some Japanese writing) and some leaf shaped stamps & Japanese symbol stamps (that I already had in my stash) along with some red ink and some pink tissue paper to scrunch up and make their own cherry blossom tree picture. This idea was borrowed from here.

ORIGAMI PAPER FOLDING
We had an origami paper folding table set up with origami paper and printed a few simple origami animal shapes from here and stuck them on the wall with one of each that Goose had already made up. This is the first activity most kids headed for. You can see the table in the background of the photo below.

PAPER FAN DECORATING
I found some blank paper fans at Riot Art and the kids decorated them with textas. Thanks Anna for the idea!

GIANT MIKADO (AKA ‘PICK UP STICKS’)
If you’ve never played this game, see here for more details. This was my Mum’s set that she has had for years, but I have seen them for sale at Australian Geographic.

FUKUWARAI
Translated “Lucky Laugh” in English and traditionally played around New Year in Japan. Just like Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey, players are blindfolded & must try to stick the eyes, nose, mouth & cheeks in the correct places on the face. Thanks to my sister Clare for drawing the face!
You can find more information on the game of Fukuwarai here and some free Fukuwarai printables here.

We also did pass the parcel on the birthday girls request, which we played to the music of the 80′s classic ‘Turning Japanese’ by The Vapors and had a Guess How Many Japanese Lollies in the Jar competition.


P.S. Some other activities that I liked, but we didn’t end up doing are :
- writing your name in Japanese. You can type your name into this website and it tells you your name in Japanese.
- Get the kids to race each other using chopsticks to pick up cheerios or lollies and transfer them from one bowl to another.

MY CREATIVE SPACE…in Japanese style!


My creative medium of choice would most definitely have to be paper. I feel much more confident with paper than I do with fabric or food or any other type of creative endeavour. I have a new paper crush on Japanese origami paper. In preparation for Goose’s Japanese themed birthday party, Goose & I have been playing around with paper…

I always like the idea of making water a more enticing option at parties so Goose and I peeled off the original labels, googled the Japanese symbol for water and used a free Japanese style font from here to type ‘Water’ (for those who don’t actually read Japanese). Then we stuck them on some of our favorite origami paper with a glue stick and we had some very cool looking water bottles, if I do say so myself!

We also had some fun making our very own cocktail umbrellas with origami paper also. Follow the tutorial here if you’d like to make some of your own. We drank it in little shot glasses – meant to be representing somewhat the little teacups used in Japan – containing some peach tea granita.

To make your own granita there is a tutorial here, but we just made up some Bickford’s Peach Tea cordial and poured it into a metal slice tin, popped it in the freezer for a couple of hours, then scraped it with a fork roughly every hour after that until it became a granita type consistency. To drink/eat, we poured (using a Japanese teapot of course) some soda water on top of the granita for a fun refreshment at the party! A sprig of mint from the garden doesn’t go astray either.

Continuing on our paper theme Goose continued to make literally hundreds of paper cranes, her obsession knows no bounds…

Being summer and all, it was the wrong season for some real blossom branches, so we used some scrunched up pink tissue paper to make our very own cherry blossom tree.

As I am more than a little party obsessed and because my party posts are the most popular on this little blog of mine with people searching for ideas for their own parties (just as I do myself!), I’ll be breaking the party up into many different posts with as much detail as possible, so stay tuned for quite a bit more Japanese inspired creativeness over the coming week!


P.S. While on the topic of Japanese, paper and parties, you’ll find some great Japanese style printables – some of which I used in the party – here, here, here and here.

A JAPANESE GOOSE

Goose learns Japanese at school and really loves it. This year she has decided on a Japanese theme for her 7th birthday party. This week we’ve been making paper fans that double as party invitations.* So much easier having a party at the end of the school holidays as party prep becomes the perfect holiday activity!

We are now beginning to fold a thousand origami paper cranes. Well….maybe not quite a thousand, but since reading ‘Sadako & the thousand paper cranes‘ recently, Goose is keen…20 down, 980 to go! She even chose to continue making them after dinner tonight over her usual reading time – now that’s a big call! Surprisingly, Mr FGB (as he will henceforth be known) has become a little addicted. He is sitting in front of the TV as I type, folding the little birds and is quite proud of himself – and rightly so!

If you are interested in joining our new craze, there are very simple instructions here. If you do visit the link, you’ll also see what we plan to do with some of the cranes.

Stay tuned for more Japanese party prep over the coming weeks.


** The adorable little Japanese printables came from here.
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