Back in October, my sister stunned me by asking me to make her a crocheted blanket for Christmas. Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity. I went for my usual granny square with double-v edging because of the wool that Jessica had chosen for me - I like the effect of the multi-coloured yarn when working in rounds. Jessica's selection was really chunky and pretty heavy. I've never got through balls of wool so quickly. I needed a new ball of wool every day! I would have used just coloured yarn but I couldn't get hold of it so I had to add a significant amount of monochrome in there too. I still think it's a damn fine item and I was very reluctant to give it away!
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
I've turned my attention to my sister's tree now; her style is somewhat different from mine! I have to admit though, these have been my favourite baubles to create this year and I'm really pleased with how they've come out...
These are made from fillable baubles, which means that the glitter is all enclosed! Jessica and I painted the inside of the baubles with clear PVA glue and poured in the glitter. She also helped me make the horns from Fimo Soft. I then painted the eyes with acrylic paint and made the ears from card before using my cool glue gun to put it all together with a few ribbon roses and crystal flower to finish them off. We've made four large and two small unicorns and I can't promise that Sarah will get all six because I think Jessica is going to love them!
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
The tree is up but that doesn't mean that we've finished making baubles for the year. No, no, there's always room for more.
There's nothing festive about a fox but I don't care, she's so cute...
I also painted a far more festive robin. They are both created using polystyrene eggs, acrylic paints and the tails and ears are painted card attached with my cool melt glue gun. I love that glue gun so much!
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Let's have a break from all this Christmas talk for a moment and have a look at a selection of Harry Potter style wands I have been creating shall we?!
These have been so much fun to make and are going to be sold to raise funds for the Friends of Braiswick Primary next week. They are made from chopsticks, air-drying clay, melting glue (I preferred using my cool melt glue gun but hot glue would be fine) and a selection of acrylic paints. Cheap as chips and utterly fabulous results. This won't be the last time I make these!
Monday, 26 November 2018
So, this is what we did with our Christmas tree and snowman figures from yesterday. We glued them to the base of fillable baubles and added a scoop of artificial snow and glitter to create fabulous little snow globe baubles.
We also used a miniature gold bottle-brush tree to do the same thing, which will look stunning on our tree but has far less charm and character than our entirely homemade ones above!
Sunday, 25 November 2018
My word, Jessica enjoyed crafting with Fimo this afternoon. I had picked up a Fimo Soft Christmas Kit when it was on offer a few weeks ago so we had some good colours to play with and a moulding tray to try out but we quickly went rogue and decided to try making candy-canes. Jessica was so good at making them; I was so impressed! The ones pictured above are all her own work and I love them all! The bigger ones, at least, are definitely destined for my Christmas tree.
It is such a long time since I last dabbled with polymer clay (we're talking a couple of decades here!) and I'd forgotten just how good it is. It's wonderfully simple and very satisfying. As well as the candy-canes and a few little things from the moulding tray we made this snowman and Christmas tree together. I have a feeling we'll be making more before the festive season is through! Just wait until you see what we did with these figures later in the day...
Sunday, 18 November 2018
This weekend I've been creating incredibly fiddly decorations for my own tree. I love these snowflakes but I am a little concerned that they'll get a bit lost once the whole tree is up. Only time will tell I suppose. There is something incredibly satisfying in the process of working with wire and beads. It takes patience, attention to detail and a steady hand. My crafting pliers are my best friend and my final pieces twinkle and shine!
Saturday, 17 November 2018
Jessica and I had a load of air drying clay left lying around, slowly drying out without use so I thought I'd try out something new. We rolled it out reasonably thin and used a cookie cutter to cut out trees. The hole was punched using a straw and then they were left to dry for a few days. Unfortunately they seem to have a tendency to curl up slightly and whilst this adds to the charm it does also make them more vulnerable to breaking when decorating.
Once completely dry, we tried a couple of different ideas for decorating them but this one is my favourite, Jessica used ink pads to decorate the tree with her fingerprints. It's vibrant and beautiful and I'm excited to hang it up when Christmas finally arrives.
Wednesday, 31 October 2018
I love these quirky little decorations. Wrap a curtain hook in your choice of wool then add a Christmas charm. That's it. Super simple but I think they'd look fabulous on any Christmas tree. I got these snowflake charms from Poundland in a pack of six - what a bargain!
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
Half term is over, which means that the Christmas crafting season is well and truly upon us. Jessica and I have topped up our Christmas supplies from Hobbycraft so it's full steam ahead. This evening's project was a wreath ornament made from wire, hundreds of seed beads and three jingly bells. This was fiddly and time consuming but definitely worth it.
Friday, 19 October 2018
Inspired by an Easter post on Kids Craft Room, which I had filed away for future use, I created this hand-painted Christmas decoration made from a ceramic egg yesterday. I managed to pick up a couple of sets of ceramic eggs from Hobbycraft in the sales after Easter and set them aside to use for Christmas. As you may have already noticed, I really like using egg shapes to make tree decorations. I suppose this is because they are easier than spheres to craft into animals and we are partial to cute animals in this house.
I used acrylic paints throughout but I could definitely do with investing in some better acrylics at some point. The white and gold are a bit thin so coverage was poor and there was no way I was going to get a smooth finish. I decided that reindeers are pretty shaggy so I tried to embrace the texture! The ears, antlers and tail are painted card which have then been glued to the decoration using a cool glue gun and I painted over the join to conceal the glue.
This little reindeer may well end up being the star attraction on my Christmas tree this year. I just love it!
Thursday, 18 October 2018
We may be just a little obsessed with these sensory bags now! Just look what we made today though. A sensory pumpkin made from a paper plate and filled with threads of wool, actual pumpkin seeds and squidgy squishy hand sanitiser. It's a total winner!
Tuesday, 16 October 2018
Monday, 15 October 2018
We had a fantastically messy time exploring pumpkins at Toddler Group this morning, flung seeds aside! There was digging, scooping, squishing, squealing, cheering, towering and even some cleaning!
However, I also wanted a mess free sensory play activity for those children who, like Jessica, really do not embrace the mess for one reason or another. We had some Halloween sprinkles left over in the craft supplies from an activity the group must have done before my time so Jessica and I made some sensory bags. We both love them as did the grown-ups and Heathlands pupils that were visiting the group today. I've used laminating pouches sealed around the edges with an iron - genius idea Andrea, I would never have thought of this but it works brilliantly. Inside the pouches (sealed on three sides before filling) we have used plastic sprinkes, glitter, paint, soap and hand sanitiser in various combinations to create slightly different bags each time. I'll definitely be making more of these bags with different themes another time. Fabulous!
Sunday, 14 October 2018
I just had to do a penguin, I couldn't help myself! Look how cute this creature is...
I thought I'd also give you a quick idea of how I create a piece like this...
1. Start with a polystyrene shape, in this case an egg.
2. Thread a loop of cotton or similar from bottom to top. This is easier to do before you start needle felting and it means that the thread is further secured by the wool roving that is felted over the top.
3. Mark out your design on the polystyrene in pen.
4. Start felting - loosen up pieces of wool before felting them into place using a barbed needle being very careful not to catch your fingers on the barbs! The more you stab, the denser the wool will become.
5. Cover the whole shape in base colours before adding details such as eyes and beaks,
6. Add the features. You may have to do some shaping on a polystyrene or sponge block before felting them to your design.
7. Use scissors to trim away any excess fluff that you don't want on your finished decoration.
Go on, have a go, you know you want to!
Saturday, 13 October 2018
I usually wait until half term to start my Christmas crafting. However, with Jessica starting school, I have more time on my hands this year and have been itching to get going. My first new tree decoration of the year is not the slightest bit festive but will make a quirky, characterful addition to our tree I think. This fat cat was created by needle felting onto a polystyrene egg, which is, by far, my favourite way of needle felting. Meow!
Tuesday, 9 October 2018
I have made no secret of the fact that I have struggled with crochet. I've battled with my tension and have always found it difficult to start with a straight chain. I've been happy to stitch into a circle and have no problem stitching into the chain after the first row but you can't crochet an item if you can't get started. Incidentally, I have the same issues with knitting but have less inclination to improve my skills with two needles. Anyway, I was determined to crack it with a hook, so I had another go last week and goodness me, I managed it.
Jessica is now the proud owner of a handmade scarf, with tassels of course!
Wednesday, 3 October 2018
My daughter has a huge array of soft toys. Most of them are cats of one variety or another and they are all very well loved and cared for by Jessica. As a result of this caring nature she seems to think that every one of them needs a blanket of their own. That keeps me very busy both with my crochet hook and sewing machine. This one now belongs to her cub cheetah, Honey. It consists of four granny squares stitched together with a nice wide border of triple crochet in Jessica's choice of colours.
Monday, 1 October 2018
Jessica has been helping me to trial a sensory bag idea for Toddler Group after school today. Paint and shaving foam inside a bag taped to the table for a mess-free sensory activity. What's not to love?!
Sunday, 16 September 2018
Our craft for Toddler group tomorrow is a little bit different. As we did last year, we will be creating a display for the Harvest Festival at St Mary's Church. This time around we're going to be making an apple tree. I'm planning to get children's handprints to use as leaves and we will be making a bumper crop of rosy red apples for the tree. These apples will be crafted with copious amounts of PVA glue on top of plastic lids. When the lid is covered in glue the children will be able to stick a wide selection of red things to their lid. I love using PVA on top of plastic because once it's dried it just peels off and you're left with these lovely pieces of artwork that make brilliant suncatchers. I'm hoping I can pull off creating the actual display but for now we need to let the children have some red messy fun!
Saturday, 15 September 2018
Jessica created this birthday cake card using ripped double sided sticky tape and some spare foil sheets from our Galt Foil Art kit. The process worked really well and I'm now planning some similarly simple Christmas card designs. It's never too early to think about Christmas as a crafter - particularly for one whose child has just started school!
Tuesday, 11 September 2018
Jessica brought her first book home from school today. She had chosen one about a trip to an ice cream shop. It's a book with just pictures and she enjoyed telling the story after she'd spent a while studying the images by herself. At the end of the story there are a number of questions to answer and then a few suggestions of other things you could do or discuss to engage further with the themes. We decided to make our own ice cream picture.
We cut up a polystyrene pizza base into a wedge to use as the cone, a rectangle for a flake and two circles for vanilla and strawberry ice cream. We printed the paint with these shapes using the textured side for the cone. Jessica mixed red and green paint to make the brown for the cone and flake before adding glitter glue as sauce, glitter and paper stars as sprinkles, foam shapes to be marshmallows and a paper strawberry complete with felt-tipped pips.
This all worked so well that I'll definitely be doing it at Toddler group later in the year.
Monday, 10 September 2018
It's the first day of school, you're suddenly restricted in your choice of clothes, your book bag has been accessorised with a cat keyring from your summer holiday but it's still basically the same as the other 59 book bags that enter the building along with yours for the first time today. You like to be a little different and you definitely like everyone to know how much you love cats so what you really need is for your Mum, who is trying to come to terms with her little girl starting school today, to have made you a very special, very catty PE bag. Well, Jessica, you're in luck. I mastered eyelets and rustled up this fabulous bag just for you!
This was a really simple sew that took well under an hour and Jessica was thrilled!
Saturday, 8 September 2018
Now, these really take me back! I haven't introduced Jessica to velvet pictures before but I will definitely be buying some more. This one gave me a very welcome quiet afternoon at the end of the long summer holidays. She was so focused and did the whole thing in one sitting, which I hadn't expected. She was really pleased with the neat finish that the black velvet sides give as they help stop you going over the edges too badly. I picked this one up in Home Bargains I think but Galt do a very inexpensive book of 10 lovely designs that we'll try next.
Friday, 7 September 2018
We ordered my sister's birthday present from George this year and used their Click and Collect service. When we picked it up her crockery was in a large cardboard box so we decided to decorate the box rather than wrap them up in paper this year. It was so much more fun! Jessica wanted to make it into a tiger so we painted it orange and black before adding some unique features...
Monday, 27 August 2018
We have quite a few family birthdays in August so Jessica has been busy creating some beautiful cards this month. I am responsible for the cutting out but I do as I'm told and Jessica takes over once she has all the shapes she needs. Here are four of her most recent makes...
Friday, 17 August 2018
This is a rare but fabulous sight - Jessica roped her Daddy into doing some craft with her! I bought this kit to bulk up an order from Amazon earlier in the year and have kept it by me until this evening. This Galt Fab Foil Art kit is brilliant. So simple, so effective and so satisfying! With 8 pictures to create it will keep Jessica busy for quite a while too. You peel off sections of image to reveal a sticky surface that you cover and rub with foil. My little lady thinks it's absolutely amazing and I can understand why. Here's the first one she's completed...
Friday, 3 August 2018
This was a brillant buy for our summer crafting - Galt Beady Animals Kit - which I bought when it was half price on Amazon. The kit comes with three small ceramic animals, a spatula-type tool and six generous pots of beady modelling material. The modelling material is weird to touch but once you get used to it, it's fantastic to use. It claims to be mess-free but that really does depend on what you do with it! There's no chance of spillage and it is self-contained but I'd hate to see what happened if you managed to get a big lump of it in your hair or on your clothes! Anyway, you pick out small bits of the beady stuff and smooth it over the ceramic model. It's very pliable and really easy for little fingers to do. Once you're happy with your creature just let it air-dry for 24 hours and hey presto you have a unique and fabulous looking creation like Jessica's giraffe here...
I love Jessica's face on this one. She soon got used to it but the stuff really is a bit strange when you first start handling it...
This little giraffe hardly took any modelling material either so we're going to have tonnes left even when we've completed all three so we've bought a couple of other things to try it out on another time. Watch this space! Unfortunately the half price offer has finished on Amazon now but I think it's probably still worth a punt at full price if you fancy it.
Thursday, 2 August 2018
Oh, we enjoyed making these! One cork, seven pendants, what a shame corks aren't quite so abundant anymore! I will admit that Jessica is always excited when she's allowed to use my Sharpies but this little project involved Sharpies and jewellery making so we were onto a double winner from the start.
I sliced a cork into seven pieces and painted front them on one surface with white acrylic. Once dry I added the screw in eyes and then we decorated the pendants before adding string to turn them into necklaces. Jessica told me what to do on each one as an outline and then she coloured in most of the charms. I've instructed Daddy not to throw away any corks in the future because these were too good to not be repeated...