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!

quick easter hat makequick easter hat make
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!

Happy holly leaf wreath

I found this sweet book in the library last week. It is a really nice little one full of little festive makes children could manage. My child is still quite small though and not really able to stitch yet, but she likes to glue, and luckily there  a lovely little project i thought might be a good one for us to tackle together – a festive fabric wreath.

I did the preparation myself – first cutting out a card ring for the base using a tea plate and a mug as templates. Then cutting out some holly leaf shapes from all my green fabrics (i have a bit of a surplus of green at the moment, for a little secret christmas present project) I cut out five leaves from each of 4 different shades of green cotton, some green felt and some grey cotton.

Then it was time to get toddler involved! i mixed up some PVA glue with water to make it runnier, and gave this to Rose in a little tub. She dipped the leaves in and ‘arranged’ them around the ring (i might have helped a teeny bit with the arrangement – but only a teeny bit). It was quite a good idea to soak the leaves like this as it was easy for Rose to manage – she got the idea really quickly – and the leaves all stuck well. And it also meant that when it dried the fabric had a starched quality. The only problem i found was where we tried this with the felt leaves they were just a bit heavy and needed an extra gluing with normal strength glue afterwards.

Next i made some little baubles for the wreath. I used some brightly coloured fabric scraps and cut out circles of varying sizes (i drew these freehand so they are a little wonky). I layered some of the fabrics on top of each other, gluing them with the same watered down glue mixture as we used on our leaves, and embellished them a little with some buttons and a few stitches.

Lastly i taped a loop of ribbon to the back so that i could hang our little wreath up near our christmas tree. It’s so pretty, i am proud of Rose and my good work on this little project.


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….


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’.


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.


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!


And it’s not even December!

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

Our Autumn Leaf Lantern

Rose really enjoys walking about our little town, and her newest favourite pastime is picking up leaves we find on the way. She is quite discerning, and not just any old leaf goes into her little yellow bucket, so i thought it would be nice to do something with her little collections.

collecting autumn leaves 98376855-4582-46D1-98BD-A51FB69F2943 766F3329-E1C4-4002-B8FF-5534046903DC E8FBF6CC-2DFF-48BB-A48B-723746F87FC8

I read about a festival called St Martin’s day. It falls on 11th November and is less known in the UK being overshadowed by rememberance day, but in europe is known as a sort of harvest festival. It seems to be celebrated in various ways across europe, from feasts to lantern processions. In Germany children carry their own handmade paper lanterns through the streets i found one example of a lady who had made lanterns with her child using the autumn leaves they had collected. I loved her lantern so much i really wanted to give it a go. A perfect project for Rose and I to try.

There is a perfect guide in the link above, but read on if you want to see what we did.

autumn leaves

(i apologise in advance for the lack of photographs in this post – Rose chewed the memory card from my camera this morning and so my lantern photos are a gonna! arrrgh! Luckily there were a few phone photos to save (or at least help redeem) the day!)

What we used:

our collection of autumn leaves
some newspaper and heavy books (for pressing)
greaseproof paper
an empty dairylea box
PVA glue, scissors, a pencil, a tape measure
a little bit of lace to trim (optional)

The first step was to press our leaves by laying them between sheets of newspaper a few sheets deep and placing heavy books on top. I left mine for about 24 hours, and it gave them a nice flat appearance to help give our lantern a smooth finish.

Next I measured around my cheese box and added about 1.5cm and used this number to cut a length of grease proof paper (mine was 36.5cm in total) The other lanterns I had seen used white grease proof paper but i decided to just use the brown stuff I already had. I quite liked the effect of it though.

The next step was to fold the paper in half lengthwise to make a crease down the centre. And then time for some glueing! To start we just wanted to paint one half of our paper with the glue. I think this was Rose’s favourite bit! We then worked together to arrange the leaves over the glued area. Rose struggled a little as she usually likes to layer her stickers over the top of one another, but this didn’t work with the leaves. She was very open to my suggestions though and our finished arrangement looked rather grand.

We then painted the other half of the paper with glue and i folded it over to make a leaf sandwich. While the glue was still wet i wrapped the paper around the cheese box and glued the overlapped edge (i used a little masking tape to hold it in place until it dried). I think that the glue was still wet inside the paper helped the paper take to the curved lantern shape.

I cut out the middle of one of the cheese box halves and glued these to top and bottom inside the lantern to help stabilise it. And just for a final finishing touch i added a little bit of old lace trim.

autumn leaf lantern in the dark autumn leaf lantern

I am not sure that  paper is the best material for a lantern, so i put my candle in a jar first – but maybe these are best for outdoor use – or perhaps with fairy lights would be better. I think it would also be a nice technique for making a little window hanging to let the sun shine through.

Happy St. Martins Day! xx

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)

painting a pumpkin no carvepainting a pumpkin no carve for children

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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