Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Tissue Paper Tulips

We have our first tulips out in the garden and our fishy suncatchers were looking a little sad so we've made a few tissue paper tulips to brighten up our windows. I love the authentic looking droopy leaves! 

To make these we:

1. cut tulip shape apertures from a piece of purple paper

2. covered with contact paper

3. stuck small pieces of tissue paper to the contact paper until the whole tulip was covered

4. cut around the tulip leaving a thin purple border

5. taped a tissue paper stem and leaf to the back of the tulip

6. taped to the window

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Fun with Shaving Foam (Marbling & more)

I was feeling brave enough to try marbling with Jessica using shaving foam and liquid watercolours at the weekend. It sounded like fun and it was (to some extent) but we weren't very good at it. Reading up on an article about the process on The Artful Parent it would seem that I missed out a crucial step. I neglected to scrape off the foam as soon as we'd taken the print. This has resulted in a bit of a sticky mess but I'll know better next time I suppose! 

We filled a craft tray with shaving foam and dripped some liquid watercolours on top. Using a cocktail stick, Jessica swirled the colours around a bit and placed the card lightly on top. At this stage I should have scrapped the foam off using something like a palette knife but I just left them. When I came to remove the partly dried foam it was sticky and has proved difficult to remove; you can see the residue on the picture.

Having given up on this craft fairly quickly I gave Jessica some of her cups and spoons and let her just play. As she stirred the foam it became nice and stiff, much like beating meringue. She said it was like icing, which gave us the idea of making shaving cream cakes. This was great fun. Jess filled her silicone cupcake cases with the thick foam and then sprinkled them with glitter. She cut up some straws to use as candles too. I love it when great ideas just emerge from our play! We'll definitely be making a mess with shaving foam again!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Easter Bonnets

It was our last session at Toddler group before Easter this morning.  We made Easter bonnets from paper plates and bowls. I made the bonnets and attached the ribbons beforehand and let the little ones loose with Easter stickers, pom poms and tissue paper. Here are some of their masterpieces...

They were all very proud of their creations and enjoyed posing for photos before doing a mini parade for us. Here's Jessica showing off her bonnet back at home later...

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Melted Crayon Stones

There is something wonderful about melting wax. Whether it's candle wax or crayons I find it slightly entrancing. So, it's no surprise that I've been curious to try this craft for a while but as it's not preschool friendly I have had to wait for a good opportunity to give it a go. I will admit that Jessica absolutely did join in and loved doing so but there were very strict rules applied and close and careful supervision given. I don't recommend it for young children.

Having chosen a couple of large stones from the garden I gave them a quick wash and then put them on one of my crafting baking sheets that I had also covered in foil. This was ideal because the hot wax doesn't melt through the foil and the baking sheet doesn't stay hot for very long once it's out of the oven making it much easier for Jessica to get involved safely. The stones went into a preheated oven (c. 180 degrees Celsius) for 15 minutes. I set to work on them as soon as they were out and Jess joined me about 5 minutes later.

To create the beautiful patterns all we did was hold some crayons (paper removed) on the stones and allow the crayon to melt and run freely. It was so easy and I love the results...

These are all images of the stones while the crayon was still molten. Having dried overnight they are less glossy but every bit as interesting. It was a really fun processes and we liked seeing how the wax kept  following the same paths down the rocks due to their uneven surfaces. We will be doing this again I think. However, I now have no idea what to do with these two lumps of decorated stone and would leave crayon marks where-ever they go. I have applied a coat of acrylic varnish (which has restored some of the glossy appearance) to see if that helps stop the crayon rubbing off but I'm sceptical and think that on this occasion they might just have to find a home somewhere in the garden where they can't do any harm.

Friday, 24 March 2017

Cotton Pad Birds

This one comes from a Happy Hooligan post from a couple of years ago. It popped up on my Facebook feed this week and when Jess said she wanted to make a chick card for Gran for Mother's Day I couldn't resist giving these a go. I love the simplicity of them, especially as they are so full of charm!

We got the pipettes out again for this craft (they are rapidly becoming crafting staples for us) and dripped liquid watercolours over cotton pads. They took a really long time to dry (we left them overnight) but it was worth the wait. We then glued on a feather tail, foam beak and a couple of googly eyes of Jessica's choosing. I must admit, I like them best when she doesn't choose eyes that match! The little lady likes them so much that she had to keep two for herself and, of course, she absolutely had to mount them on hot pink card...

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Colour mixing with pipettes

Jessica really enjoyed exploring colour mixing yesterday. We used watercolours in an ice cube tray starting with the three primary colours (blue, yellow and red) and mixed drips of colours using a pipette. 

She was really methodical about trying each combination of colours so at one point we did have a tray with all three primary and all three secondary colours in. She then continued to have fun mixing them up until she managed to get them all the same colour. We must have been a little short of red because she didn't quite end up with brown!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Marshmallow Geometry

We had a lot of fun shape building with cocktail sticks and marshmallows this morning. We made some 2D shapes first and Jess was keen to tell me how many sticks and marshmallows we'd used for each shape. Then we built up our models so that they would stand creating pyramids and prisms. She told me that the Go Jetters visit The Pyramids and pretended that the cube was an icy cold ice cube. She also commented that the square based pyramid had a more space on the bottom than the tetrahedron. You're never too young to enjoy a spot of geometry!

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Paper Towel Roses

We're getting ready for Mother's Day at Toddler Group tomorrow. This week we'll be decorating upcycled toilet roll vases and making paper towel roses. 

There are two types of rose here. The first one has kept us busy with watercolours and pipette painting. We've been dripping watercolours onto kitchen paper and then leaving them to dry all over the house!

Once they're dry we separate the two sheets of paper on each towel and then cut each one in half to form rectangles. You need two rectangles for each rose and they both need to be folded twice to create long, thin rectangles with four layers. Attach one end of one of them to a straw (we used plastic tape) and then keep wrapping. At the end of the first piece I have just carried on with the second (no need to tape together) before using the plastic tape at the base to secure the rose to the straw.

The second type is made from unpainted kitchen towel in the same way and then coloured in using felt-tip pens. They're quite striking.

I have glued cotton pads to the base of the toilet rolls so that the flowers don't fall through the bottom and have covered them in coloured paper ready for the little ones to use stickers to decorate them. Here is the trial one that Jess made...

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Embossing on Ceramics

Please forgive me for the unseasonal timing of this post but there was no way I could wait until next Christmas to share this craft. I bought lots of ceramic decorations from Hobbycraft last Christmas and decided to try out something that we'd never done before. 

I have an embossing pen and ink pad that Jessica and I used to emboss onto the ceramics. It was brilliant. Jess loved tipping the powders over the ink and shaking them off as well as watching the magic of the melting under the heat gun. We did them all one colour at a time and were careful to have a large cork mat underneath because the ceramics get incredibly hot. These looked beautiful on the tree.

I was particularly tickled by Jessica's insistence that the snowmen all needed legs and I absolutely love her reindeer. That was my favourite decoration last year I think.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Troll and My Little Pony Playground

I knew these boxes that David receives his razors in were going to come in useful! This one has made a fabulous playground for Jessica's ponies and Trolls erasers. I feel she has been pretty sparing with the sticker decorations but she was adamant that it was finished and has already spent hours playing with it. The best thing is it still closes so it's a very portable little playground.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

DIY Toddler Birthday Cake

When Jess turned 2 we had a big joint birthday and (late) housewarming party so we needed a lot of cake! I made a big madeira cake and covered it in white icing before mixing up a selection of different coloured icings for Jessica to get creative with. She had a ball throwing it all around but I have to admit that I did lead her to believe it was paint until she'd finished. You should have seen her face when I told her it was actually icing and that she could lick the bowls out! I'd never get away with it now!

Here's her finished cake alongside the one I made carefully following instructions from Wilton. I was thrilled with both of them. The fox worked really well and was so easy to do. I'd highly recommend giving it a go if you have an animal lover in your house...

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Chalk Painting

Today was a day to be in the garden so once we had cut the lawn for the first time this year, done yet more weeding, played football and watered the plants we set to a bit of chalk painting. 

Here's what to do:

1. Scrape some chalk off a stick into a bowl. I have used a child's knife before but I used a big flat shell today, which worked really well and was much more comfortable to use.  

2. Mix the chalk powder with a small amount of water. It doesn't really matter how much, you just get a different vibrancy according to how much water you use. We used a pipette and mixed in no more than 10ml of water into each colour, probably more like 5ml.

3. Get creative or make a mess depending on your perspective!

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Rocking Bird

We made these gorgeous birds at Toddler group in the Autumn term. They are made from a folded circle so that they stand up like a card but rock gently when tapped on top. Goggly eyes and feathers, what is there not to love?!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Bunnies, bunnies, bunnies

We made and baked 25 salt dough bunnies last week ready for Toddler group this morning. I painted them with gold acrylic paint to seal them for decoration by the little ones.

Jess painted this one as a trial. I'm sure she's not supposed to be quite as sinister as she looks! There were a great deal of bunnies painted red this morning for some reason.

We also decorated paper bunnies this morning and attached magnetic tape to the back of them. Jessica's thrilled to be able to attach it to the radiators and such. A built-in fridge may be aesthetically pleasing but we're definitely missing out on the wonderful world of magnets!

Friday, 10 March 2017

Painty Paw Prints

Messy play anyone? Some of Jessica's favourite characters got into a little mischief this week when we broke out the washable paint and went about playing with them on a big piece of paper.

I don't know what we'll do with the resulting piece of paw print paper yet but just look how much fun Jess had creating it...


This little kitty looks like she had as much fun as Jess!

On this occasion I also let Jess do the washing up. She really enjoyed getting the animals all bubbly and clean before rubbing them dry in a towel. It was a great little activity to keep the little lady happy and occupied (if not clean and tidy) for an hour. We'll definitely do it again.

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Marbled Eggs

For about the last month Jessica has been walking around with a polystyrene ball pretending that it is an egg. She's taken such good care of it that it has hatched multiple times with little pink and orange dinosaurs. So, as we're in to Lent now I bought her a whole bag full from Home Bargains for under £1. Now I should imagine we'll spend weeks decorating them in one way or another. We've marbled our first half dozen... 

Jessica did these all herself and didn't do it as I normally would but they still worked very well. Jess wanted to do them one colour at a time and she swirled the eggs around in the water. Ordinarily I would add a few drops of each colour to a tub of water and use a stick to swirl the inks before quickly dipping the eggs in. Either way, these make excellent dinosaur eggs for my nurturing daughter!

Here she is hard at work. One dip...
Two dips... 


She thoroughly enjoyed this craft. Can you tell?!

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

DIY French Knitting (toilet rolls and craft sticks)

Meet Flopsy - one of Jessica's beautiful toy bunnies. She's a very well treated rabbit and is even the proud owner of a very attractive scarf created from some last scraps of wool, a toilet roll and five craft sticks. 

I taped the craft sticks to the toilet roll and set about French knitting...

A traditional knitting doll uses four pegs but there is no reason, from what I can tell, why you shouldn't use more. The fewer sticks or pegs you use the looser your knit will be. I really enjoyed using the large scale tool for this. I have a knitting doll but I've struggled to keep everything loose enough to be able to use it with ease. I also had some super chunky wool by me so I've gone even bigger scale to make a dressing up scarf for Jess. How fortunate that David had a tube from his Christmas White Port that I could use!

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