Thursday, 28 September 2017

Driftwood Wands

My lovely nephew, Archie, is currently Harry Potter obsessed so Jessica and I gathered up a few driftwood sticks on our holidays in Northumberland with the intention of turning them into wands for his birthday next weekend. I have burned various designs on them and created a little display box for him. Fingers crossed that he'll like them!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Vegetable Printing

We were exploring harvest at Toddler group this morning. Alonside a myriad of other fabulous activities the children got to do some good, old fashioned vegetable printing. We used bunches of celery tied together to make flower-like prints. I used cookie cutters to make potato stampers and we cut apples two different ways to see different prints. Best of all though, we used corn-on-the-cob rollers. I cannot tell you how happy I was when the cobettes were exactly the right size for my rollers!

The finished art work doesn't much reflect how they made them but the little ones seemed to have a lot of fun!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Salt Dough Mice

Salt dough bodies, acorn cup ears and plaited wool tails, these were bound to be a winner!

Jessica made the salt dough and formed the mouse bodies before nursery yesterday. We then painted the bodies and inside of the ears together in the evening before I took over with the fiddly and hot bits - the ears and tails were attached using my hot glue gun. We love the finished family.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Autumn Hedgehogs

I spotted this autumnal craft on Easy Peasy and Fun a while ago and filed a screenshot of it on my phone to be attempted one day. I never really got into Pinterest, not sure why, but my screenshot folder is always bursting with images of the wonderful things that other people make. 

As it was a beautiful, warm September day today it seemed like a good day to find some crisp, dry leaves that would be perfect for this activity. As it turns out we managed to collect them all in the car park at nursery and I think the oak leaves work well. Andreja (author of Easy Peasy and Fun) makes her hedgehog from a paper plate but we just used some card and plenty of double-sided sticky tape. She is 3D and does stand up on her own. I made her base triangular so that her nose comes to a point. We think she's pretty cool!

She's even been off on her adventures in our garden. She seemed to particularly like my Livingstone Daisies!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Portraits on Acetate

It's more than a decade since I regularly used acetates in my lessons yet I had a packet of them upstairs in my craft room completely covered in A-level Maths. I sat in front of the telly meticulously cleaning them last night before putting card frames around a few of them to use with Jessica. 

This afternoon we tried a couple of different ways to draw portraits on acetate. Firstly I held the acetate to my face and asked her to draw me. It isn't the first time we've done it but this time she neglected to give me a mouth and my nose is enormous! However, I'm particularly pleased with my eyelashes...

Next we placed a photograph under some acetate and drew over the top. This encouraged her to really look at the features and she drew hair around her face rather than sticking up out the top of her head for the first time. We taped the photo and acetate to the table and used Sharpies to draw on the acetate.

Here was my effort with the same photograph last night...

Monday, 18 September 2017

Salt Dough Donuts

I can't help it, I just love salt dough! We made a batch with cinnamon and nutmeg in it this week and made them into donuts for Jessica's ever growing bakery. We topped them with acrylic paint icing and a good dollop of glitter sprinkles. Yum!

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Harvest Window

We will be making harvest window decorations at Toddler group this week. These will then adorn a window in a local church for their harvest service at the end of the month. We've got paper plate scarecrows, tissue paper apples and bubble wrap sweetcorn to keep us busy. Here are Jessica's examples ready for the session on Monday...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Owlette Costume

Jessica is a big fan of PJ masks and has been nagging me to make her an "Owlette" costume for some time. I can't be doing with trying to make exact copies of costumes and Jessica is happy to use her imagination to some extent so, for now at least, we've stuck to some superhero wings and mask...

Making these wings gave me plenty of practice with bias binding, which I haven't used a huge amount before. I attached ribbon at the top and elastic hoops for her arms so that she can run around with wings out and hands free. Jess decided how to decorate the mask, which is made of stiff felt. She chose to use feathers and glitter glue. Not an authentic Owlette mask but it's very pretty!

I could be wrong but I think she likes it...

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Salt Dough Acorns

Autumn is upon us and with it a whole new season of crafting. Harvest crafts, Halloween and the lengthy crafting preparations for Christmas are but a few things that will keep me busy in the coming months. 

After collecting Jessica from nursery this afternoon we were in no hurry so we sat down on the path outside and explored some acorns. We twisted them out of their cups, rattled them, opened them, skinned them and left them for the squirrels to collect. Jessica thinks autumn is their favourite time of year; she's probably right. We thought we'd take some home to paint and turn into little people with hats on but that wouldn't be fair on the squirrels so I had a better idea...

Let me introduce you to our salt dough acorn family! 

We collected a handful of acorn cups in the woods near our house and then refilled them with balls of salt dough. I popped them in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for about 40 minutes, allowed them to cool and then we decorated them using Sharpies. I baked them hotter and faster than I usually would because I wanted the dough to expand slightly so that the hats would be secure. They were fiddly things for Jessica to draw on but she did incredibly well. Here's a closer look...

David wanted to know why we had done this. To be honest, I have no answer to the question. There's little we can do with them now they're finished but the process was fun and it came from one of those special moments when I was just sitting in the sunshine enjoying my daughter and helping her to discover the amazing world around her. I went with the flow and this is where it took us. I suspect we might even do it again!

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Dragonflies Galore

It was back to preschool for Jessica yesterday where we discovered that she has moved into the newly opened Dragonfly room. This was such exciting news that we have spent rather a lot of today making and playing with dragonflies in various forms. Five of these went with her to nursery this afternoon and did not return with her but will proudly adorn the classroom from now on. Jessica was very much involved in making all of these although she was happy to leave the fiddly bits to me. She often insists that she can do these things herself but today was content to accept that the wire work was probably a step too far!

Seed beads and beading wire...

Wooden beads, tiny bells and craft wire... I attached string to hold it up and it makes a really delightful jingly noise as it flies!

Pipe cleaner, beads, straws, paper, paint and washi tape...

Lollipop stick, washi tape, coloured film and sharpies...

A stick, PVC tape, contact paper, card and glitter... The picture's not great but the wings are translucent with patches of glitter. This one flew around the garden for about an hour this morning!

Bugle beads rather than seed beads for the body...

Hama beads instead of seed beads... Much easier for Jess to do herself.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Bag for Gran

For Gran's birthday this year, Jessica decided she wanted to paint a bag for her. We used a calico bag from Hobbycraft  and watered down acrylic paints. It's always good to paint on something other than paper! The technique has worked well for us and I like how bold the colours stay. Jessica really enjoyed doing this one.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Apple Trees

It was our first day back at Toddler group today. Next week we're all off to an orchard to enjoy some fresh, juicy apples (weather permitting) so I thought we'd make our own apple trees this week. Paper, glue, toilet roll tubes and a craft punch - surely a winner! Actually, we were very low on numbers this week as the school's are all on inset so there were only about twelve trees made and at least half of them all went home together - sorry, Karen! The children did a combination of tissue paper and shredded paper and a few of them also made blackcurrant bushes and blueberry trees using some scrunched up purple tissue paper. I loved them.

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