Room for improvement

So I have been very very slack on my blogging activities – and any activities – recently and wanted to fill you in on some happy news that we are having a baby come and live with us! A boy baby! November is his estimated arrival time – just in time for Rose’s third birthday, but I’ve heard that boys are more likely to be late? I’ll let you know when he arrives – although do hope to be back before then. Although I really just keep forgetting what I’m meant to be doing most of the time despite my good intentions. And I fall asleep a lot too.

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In other news I am on summer holidays now, and we are doing some home improvements which is another distraction. I am preparing for a winter of hibernation (sort of – minus the sleep element). Every toddler free moment recently has been spent removing about three layers of fifty year old textured and painted wallpaper from our hallway, but we are making good progress now and we had fun with tester pots trying to decide on which shade of not-quite-white we wanted to use. Rose enjoyed this, although if she had her way we would be using ‘ra ra red’ (not tested).

It’s nice to be able to sit down in the evenings again. I might even pick up some knitting. And I have a month of Eastenders to catch up with too…

 

Fastest Easter Hat in the West

This week has been quite a busy one for us here so sorry for being a bit quiet! But today we did a little make so I thought I would share that, and also say hello. Hello!

Last week was quite topsy turvy as Rose’s nursery day swapped round. This meant though that we have very short notice of a little easter bonnet homework she has been set. We do actually have an easter bonnet from last year that I think I might take in too, but we managed to put together this little last minute crown today which I think is quite sweet and Rose describes as ‘so pretty’.

So if you find yourself in this predicament, here is what we did…. (you might be able to use our crown as the basis for a much grander easter hat)

You will need: Anything you can find really, especially some green card and yellow and pink paper or card, paints, stickers, tissue paper, glitter etc etc (we just used the card and paint mostly, I haven’t given up on adding some stickers in the morning though!)

I used two pieces of A4 green card and cut them both in half lengthways. Then I drew some jagged grass shapes along the edge and cut them out.

Using my yellow and pink card I cut out lots of flower shapes – daffodil shapes from the yellow and tulip shapes from the pink. I had saved some egg boxes which I thought would make good daffodil trumpets, but Rich had thrown them away (in the bin, not even the recycling – no hope) so maybe that is a good idea if you have those. I thought also we could add some texture with some tissue paper, but then I forgot that. I just mention these things so you know about my grand intentions!

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quick easter hat make

Next I got Rose to paint it all – just to jazz it up a bit (and make sure it at least looked like she was involved somewhere in the making process – although I admit, she really didn’t care about this project!) I tried to get her to paint the green card with green and the yellow with yellow and the pink with pink, as I thought that doubled up as a sort of educational colour match type activity. Rose really liked dipping her brush in as many different colours of paint as she could before randomly adding it to the card. Then just run off for a bit. We sort of achieved my vision though…

flowers stuck on our quick easter hat

We let it dry for a little while and then used some glue to assemble our spring garden crown. I layered the green card to give a bit of depth to the ‘grass’ and then we glued the flowers on. Mostly I did this bit. But Rose was really impressed with how pretty (she thought) it looked.

quick easter hat make

Then I tried to get her to stick some of her coloured dot stickers on but she didn’t want to.

So then when everything was good and dry, I used a stapler to form the pieces into a ring that would fit Rose’s head. Hurruh!
finished easter bonnet

I hope you haven’t had any mad panic nursery homework (or any type of homework) to complete this weekend and have had a nice rest instead!

Cement to be

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December was quite a busy month for me as I decided this Christmas I wanted to make some gifts for my nearest and dearest.

I saw this amazing tutorial for concrete planters on Laura and Tia’s wonderful Little Button Diaries blog and knew I really really wanted to try it.

It’s something completely different to anything I’ve ever attempted before – I didn’t even know it was possible to make something from concrete without any special equipment or tools – all that’s required is a few empty pots and some cement which I discovered is readily available in B&Q and just needs water adding to it. Hurruh! I had also never used spray paint before, and was very nervous about the warning on the can ‘if you feel ill contact a poisons expert’. That mostly made me nervous because I have no idea where to find a poisons expert, and if I was feeling ill that would be a difficult task. It is definitely recommended to do the painting outside, but as I live in a flat I don’t really have a suitable outdoor space. I did open my kitchen window up as wide as it would go though, which in December, living so close to the sea, was quite exhilarating! (you can’t see the wind in these pictures!)

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I went through a bit of a process of trial and error, but found this really satisfying once I found my feet with it. I had two cement type products to try – one was a ready mix concrete which consisted of cement and sand, but I found this a bit crumbly so bought some cement without the sand and found this was too dense – BUT mixing them together and all was goo-oo-ood. Laura used cement and sand and changed her ratios to find the best blend so this is really what I did and I would say a good way to go. I would say it is not really a good last minute present make (unless you have been through this little process) but it’s definitely an original and lovely gift.

Hop over to Little Button Diaries for the full tutorial!

 

Printing Christmas trees

When it comes to Christmas, i normally have a very last minute approach to my preparations, but learnt my lesson last year and am trying much harder this time round to do things in good time.

I like to handmake my cards, and was quite excited at the idea of getting Rose involved with my christmas cards this year.

There are some great ideas using children’s hand prints to make pictures of reindeer, angels and christmas trees. I decided the christmas tree idea would be good for us, as Rose loves her dot stickers (endless packets of dot stickers) and i imagined those making good baubles, and a decorated christmas tree seemed like the design best suited to Rose’s freestyle approach.

The first step was the hand printing.

So i was feeling pretty confident. A friend of mine did this with her one year old last year, i knew then that we were not ready for this activity at that stage, but really thought a year on we would be there….

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Rose liked painting her hands, but the hand prints did not really happen. She just ended up looking like a miniature hulk. We started quite a good production line though with me cutting and folding the cards as she painted and printed the ‘trees’.

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She did really well though, and i thought her trees were really lovely, if not exactly what i had in mind!

The next step was to decorate our trees. We used some of the dot stickers we had already, but i found some lovely glittery dots too just for an extra festive touch.

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I was really inspired by Rose and her printing attempts, and decided to have a go at some cards myself.

I have never really done a lot of painting before, but wanted to have a go at some potato printing and thought this was a good technique to try for my little christmas card production line. I used one big potato and two small potatoes and kept it really simple by just cutting out some elongated triangle ‘tree’ shapes. I mixed up some green paint and varied the shades a little by adding blue, white and black paints in different areas and mixing them up.

I used a paint brush to apply the paint to my stamps so they were not too gloopy. i liked the effect of doing a print, then doing a slightly fainter print afterwards without reapplying the paint. i liked the texture that came through from the heavier ones though, and how the lighter ones were more smooth.

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I liked the way the cards looked, but decided it would be nice to add some more colour to them, and christmas cheer.

I thought about adding sticker baubles like Rose’s cards, but decided it might be better to stick with printing. I used the end of my paintbrush dipped in paint to print on little dots. perfect!

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And it’s not even December!

Have you made your christmas cards? Have you had any success with toddler hand printing?

hello hallowe’en

I have never really been one for Hallowe’en celebrations, but i decided this year to jump on it and make some fun activities for Rose and me. I saw this blog post from ispy DIY about no carve pumpkins, and the picture of the pumpkin covered in little dots reminded me a lot of a sticker book of Rose’s where we had to stick spots on the ladybirds. Rose enjoyed that activity, telling me the colours she liked and sticking them on, so when i saw it i thought it looked like something she would like, and festive to boot.

Our pumpkin didn’t turn out quite as dotty as i first imagined, but it is quite psychedelic and we had a lot of fun make it. It was quite a nice project for us as broke down into two sessions of crafting fun.

We started off by painting our pumpkin as i thought this would give a nice base for our stickers. There was a bit of a novelty value in painting a pumpkin too! We just used some poster paint which we got from our little toyshop locally. Rose has learnt the word ‘splash’. i am still finding paint splatters (please don’t let this put you off)

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I also bought some black card for another little project to help pass some of the time, but our pumpkin was quite wet in places so I left it overnight before the next phase.

Rose peeling off stickers for her no carve pumpkin Rose sticking stickers to her no carve pumpkin

I managed to find some little stickers stickers inexpensively in one of the stationary shops – a selection of coloured spots and stars, so once our pumpkins were dry it was sticker time. I didn’t need to explain it to Rose, she knew what she was doing.

 halloween mask cut outhandmade halloween masks work in progress

With the painted card from earlier, i made a little paper template and cut out some mask shapes – we added the last of our stickers then threaded through some elastic to make them into something we can wear to scare daddy when he got home from work. (we made him a mask too!) They are not really very scary though, more like friendly Halloween.

Here are our finished projects. a good week’s work (Rose doesn’t like wearing masks, so Rich and I posed with baby for a ‘scary’ face selfie).

no carve painted and stickered pumpkinscary faces in handmade masks

Happy friendly hallowe’en everyone! Please let me know how you celebrate.
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