Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Fabric teabags

After fiddling around with a few different styles, I settled on the most realistic teabag of all that I tried. I ended up deconstructing an extra large teapot bag and used that as my template. A teabag is just a long tube really. Once I had a bundle of the tubes, I moved over to the ironing board. I pinched in the bottoms, then with a hot iron, I firmly ironed over the folds. The next step is to decide how to fold over the tops. There are a number of ways of doing this (I will apologies in advance for my next explanation, I'm not up to speed on sewing terms and how to clearly explain what I have done!). I chose to fold the tops over (seppartly) to the inside, then I sewed some teabags along the entire top edge, adding in the cord as I went. With other bags, I tacked the two outer corners together, then a tack top center to attach the cord....Does that make sense!!?????
Again, please excuse more poor explanation, I am so new to both hand and machine sewing, I'm learning as I go!

For little people who understand that its more than just a cup of tea.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Walnut Shell Pincushions

On a wet winter day last year in June, I pulled out my collection of walnut shells and jar of felted balls. With no particular game in mind, I tipped everything out onto the floor and said "lets play!" The colours of the felt balls could lift any grey mood, so soft, bright and happy. As the kids started shoving balls of different colours and sizes into the walnut shells, we soon saw little creatures come to life. 

So what began as play turned into a project. Quite disgracefully, I never finished them. My idea was to make embroidery knots all over their wings, but I encountered a problem when attempting this, the knots pulled through their felted bodies. I tried everything to make the knots hold, I gave up exasperated. So they sit in my craft room, wistfully eying me every time I walk into the room. I must revisit this project again, they are too cute to continue ignoring!

It would take nothing to finish these little cuties, I just need a different approach!

Walnut Shell Pincushions

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Sultana Boat traktatie - Party Treats

Sultana Boat's for my daughter to take to school on her 5th Birthday last year.

I purchased a bag of the individual boxes containing sultanas and wrapped them up in three different patterned paper. I highly recommend measuring and cutting the paper so they perfectly fit the boxes. The extra effort measuring makes the final wrapped box so much neater. Though the flags would be easy to make with a toothpick and decorative tape, I bought these and just added the sail. Using a needle, I made a little hole into the wrapped boxes so it was easier to push the sail through.


Sultana Boat traktatie - Party treat

Sunday, 18 August 2013

DIY Crayons

Don't know what to do with all those broken crayons?!

Get a silicon oven proof mold. Remove any existing paper from the crayons then break them up into really little pieces. Fill the molds, slightly over filling them. Place on a normal baking tray (this will make getting the mold out of the oven much easier) in a moderate oven and bake for around ±10min. Once melted, carefully remove from the oven and let cool before popping them out of the mold. Then voilĂ , new usable crayons for the kids!

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Smarties Birthday Cake

With my husband away on location for work, my son's first day of school and his Birthday all falling within days of each other, I decided I just couldn't face doing the elaborate Lighting McQueen cake that was requested. Instead, I found a few images of smarties cakes and asked the little man to choose one. This is how my version turned out.

I used this icing recipe, which I highly recommend.
Two bags of mini kit kat's and these are actually m&m's. Smarties are more pastel in colour, which would also look beautiful, but I was after a stronger, vibrant look.

This was a wonderfully easy cake to make and it just looks so colourful and happy. Maybe I'll try Lighting McQueen next year : )

Pom Pom cupcake traktatie - party treats

Two days ago was my sons first day of school, a pretty big occasion. Yesterday was his 4th Birthday... its been a pretty big week for him. I think having his Birthday at school so soon has helped ease him into the first days of school really well.

I had been keen to start making the Pom Poms, but after I'd started, wondered what I'd gotten myself into. Fortunately for me, my parents were visiting from Australia, mum took charge and we (or more mum) Pom Pommed away over a few evenings until they were completed.

My little man was happy, the kids were all thrilled (and very happy with the treat hiding in the bottom) and I had some lovely feedback from many of the parents. Success!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Kitchen Science - Conflour Slime

Roughly the same quantity of water to cornflour, 1/2 cup,1 cup, if you have several children you may want to use the whole box (200g) just depends how much you want to make. With the flour in a bowl or container, slowly add the water bit by bit and gently mix together by hand. The flour initially goes hard on contact with the water but keep slowly working it through. Add more water or flour to get the right consistency - when your gentle with it, it should be liquid slime, scrape your fingers through it quickly and it should go solid. You can add colouring but be careful, too much will stain hands. This stuff keeps my kids entertained for ages, they are amazed by how it goes from liquid to solid. I don't know if its called cornstarch or cornflour in Australia, but I do know you can get it in the supermarket, its called maiszetmeel here in The Netherlands. I only ever make it when the weather is good so we can take it outside as the kids go crazy with it. Easy to clean up with just water, super cheap, wonderful hands on fun.

maiszetmeel slime

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Sheep traktatie - party treats

Today was my sons last day of Peuterspeelzaal (kinder). It was a combined celebration for both the end of school year and an early Birthday party for the two oldest boys that turn four over the summer holidays.

I made simple, yum yet healthy traktatie (treats). Yogurt covered rice biscuits made into sheep.

I made two similar but slightly different templates and cut out all the pieces, I found nail scissors pretty good for this fiddly job, a hole punch for the eyes and a white pencil for the nostrils. I then stuck them onto the rice bicuits the morning of the party with a mixture of water and powder sugar.

Friday, 21 June 2013

'Love in a Mist'

When we arrived at our holiday house last summer, the Nigella damascena, commonly known as 'Love in a Mist', had all but finished flowering for the season. Over the next few weeks, the kids watched how the vibrant green stems and leaves faded into a beautiful soft green straw colour, while the seed pods developed and swelled like big pregnant bellies. By the time our vacation was over, the Nigella pods were just beginning to crack, ready to shake their seeds free. They were too glorious to leave behind, so before we left we pulled out whole armfuls, bundled them up and carefully packed them into the back of the car. We uprooted the remaining plants and shook out their seed. In three weeks we head back to this little peace of paradise, hopefully the kids will find a whole new crop of Nigella and we can repeat the whole process again. A lovely way for the kids to learn about the life cycle on an annual.

Our craft-room is in the attic, we work in there nearly everyday, so what better place to hang them for us to admire!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Little walnut tree

I thought a nice way to begin this little blog, would be to share how my children learn how life can sprout from a nut shell.

We have numerous walnut trees trying to begin their life in my garden, courtesy of the clumsy local birds. Unfortunately the garden isn't large enough to house them, so out they must go.  I do spare the odd one though, the lucky survivors get to spent  the remainder of their lives on a window sill in a glass jar filled with glass stones. It's a lovely way for the kids to see how the plant emerges from the shell, sending roots down into the jar, a little brown trunk up and branches out, soon to unveil lime green leaves. It will grow happily like this for many months before it finally drowns. A sad end, but an educational journey.