Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas presents for Andy's cousins

For the cousins' Christmas presents this year we are making DIY Bird Feeder Kits!  I came across the idea of making bird feeders out of pine cones a while back but then there's the issue of peanut butter smearing everywhere so how do you store it to gift!?  So I came up with the idea of making up a kit so each cousin can make his/her own feeder. :) 

So if you're still looking for gift ideas here's what I did...

First make the instruction tags.  I cut out squares of green card and used some pictures from a roll of Christmas gift wrap to decorate it...

Punch a hole in the top corner of each tag and write step by step instructions on the back of the tag.

Now gather your supplies.  Pine cones (we collected ours when we went camping last week), Peanut butter, bird seed, ribbon (1m per kit), containers for peanut butter, containers for seeds, sandwich/or freezer bags, tags and Popsicle sticks (I thought the Popsicle stick would be the perfect size and shape to get into the grooves).

Now fill your containers with peanut butter in some and seeds in the others (we found the pill containers were perfect for the seeds).

Fill each bag with a pine cone, a container of peanut butter, a container of seeds a popsicle stick and a piece of ribbon cut into a length of 50cm.  Thread another 50cm length of ribbon through the punched hole in the tag and tie the bag shut with a knot and a bow.

Now make a bird feeder with your lil' 'un.  Take the Popsicle stick and smear peanut butter onto each 'spike' of the pine cone (or you can simply roll it in the peanut butter and then roll it in the seeds).  Cover the p. butter with the seeds. Tie one end of the ribbon round the top and the other end round a branch in your tree.

Happy bird watching and Merry Christmas! :)

I linked this to:
ABC and 123 Show And Tell
Christmas Sharing Time

Holiday Baking

Yesterday Andy and I felt like baking so in the morning while I was busy with breakfast I quickly made a batch of sugar cookie dough and kept it in the fridge till we were ready to bake it later when the housework and other activities for the day was done.

First we cut out gingerbread boys and girls and stars with our cookie cutters and decorated them with choc chips and other sprinkles...

Then when they were baked and cooled I put different colour butter icing in bags and snipped the tip to make it into a piping bag.  To get white butter icing use the white wooden spoon margarine not the yellow marg.  We used white for the facial features and hair and red and blue for the clothes..

Andy iced his own ones...

But got a little carried away with the excitement of icing...

So Mommy had to doctor them a little to avoid hectic hyperactivity...

And then of coarse we ate them...

It was my dad's birthday 2 weeks ago so for the fun of it we thought we'd try our hand at decorating cupcakes in a special way - not just icing and sprinkles.  We were first inspired to be more adventurous with cup cakes when our neighbour blessed us with the most gorgeous gift of gorgeous cup cakes a few weeks ago.  So we found this video and just HAD TO make these super cute sunflowers for my dad's birthday.  The middle is made with oreo's which give the perfect colour and hight and we made the ladybird's out of mini smarties...

To give the petals that variegated, realistic look you put yellow on one side of the piping bag and orange on the other so the two colours pipe out together.

Hope everyone else is also having fun in the kitchen these holidays!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Animal Hospital

Andy chose this activity out of The Rainy Day Book by Jane Bull.

He painted a medium sized cardboard box yesterday so this morning we made the door out of the cut off flaps of the box opening.

The latch...

Putting his doggie toy in the pet hospital for some special TLC... I've had that dog since I was two :)

He took a bowl and put some scraps of wool yarn for Dog's special food...


Monday, November 22, 2010

Felted Soap project made easy for kids...

Andy really enjoyed this activity.  We're making lots more for Christmas presents. It's so great that Andy can make his own useful presents for his cousins.

Take some pure wool roving (can be purchased at your local yarn store) and a piece of soap and cover the soap with thin layers of roving alternating the direction of laying the fibers until the soap is covered with a few layers (about 3 or 4).  It's fun to use different colours.

Slightly wet it with hot water so the fibers stick a little better to the soap then put it into a plastic bag making a knot near the soap to close the bag (I used a see-through small freezer bag - you could also use a zip lock bag).  Doing this makes it much easier for kids because the fibers shifts a lot in the beginning before it starts felting and the bag helps keep it in place on the soap.

You then let your child rub it vigorously as much as they want.  After doing this for a while I like to shock the fibers to help it felt easier so we took it out the bag and got a glass bowl of hot water.  We then put the soap under a a running tap of cold water and then briefly dipped it in the hot water before placing it back into the bag to rub again.  The sudden cold water wash shocks the fibers into locking tighter together as does the combination of rubbing (agitation), soap and warm water.  Do this procedure a few time (about 3 or 4) until the felt is dense and to your satisfaction.  Wash the 'foam' off with cold water and roll in a towel or some roller towel (kitchen paper towel) to get the excess water out and leave over night to dry.

Our dried soaps... (I like the way Andy arranged his soap to be purple on the top and bottom and green round the sides)

How to use: Wet it when bathing or showering and work up a bit of lather then rub on your skin as you would a cloth or sponge.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rubber Stamp people

We recently got a great art book out the library. I like to give a book to Andy and ask him to choose which craft he wants to do so this time he chose rubber stamped people.  It was fun and of coarse I joined in to experience the fun with him.

You literally take a rubber (pencil eraser) and cut it into the following shapes...

Then you take strips of paper and a sponge with some black paint on and stamp the body parts in different directions for fun little men.  I just cut the top off of a kitchen sponge and used it for the paint.  The only black paint we had was fabric paint (which I bought for painting the face onto a rag doll for a family members sewing project) which worked perfectly.

He asked me to make stamps for a car so I cut those out too...

With this masterpiece he smudged a stamp to create a ... Spaceship!

We used bits of his art and some imagination to make a birthday card for one of his cousins' up coming 8th birthday...

And we made another card with scrap pieces of scrapbook paper, beads and felt for the sister of the cousin who's turning 8 so she won't feel left out...

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My Personal Blog

I started a new blog (used to have one but not using that anymore) for all my crafty projects (mainly knitting) that I'm working on.  So now Andy, Jane and me each have a blog to record our interests and enjoy in years to come.  Pop on over to Ann's Work Basket if you're interested in seeing what's on my needles. :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Some Randomness

Every night we tell Andy to choose some books to read before bedtime.  One night I got met by this!  Andy's bedtime reading selection... Wishful thinking!!!

We had a lovely family outing strawberry picking.  Andy LOVES strawberries.  It's impossible for him to stop eating it even if he's full so I have to do a spot of daily strawberry consumption monitoring.

And of coarse he spends loads of time with his little sister.  Kissing, hugging, cuddling, kissing, kissing, kissing and just in case I didn't mention it... kissing.  Often poor little Jane is caught between Andy attaching her one cheek and me the other with hundreds of kisses :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Andy's 4th Birthday Party

We had Andy's party at a indoor play place near to where we live called Kidz PlayZone.  And oh boy was it worth every cent!  The kids had a wonderful time and I didn't have any washing up - win/win situation I would say :)

Andy said he wanted a Tigger theme cause he chose the Winnie the Pooh party room so here's some pics of his Tigger party...

Having fun on the trampoline...

Jumping Castle...

The party room...

Party packs on the table.  Tigger buckets with lids...

The cake!  I ordered the cake from them cause I could hardly manage making the adult platters let alone bake and ice a cake.  It was sooooo delicious!  Andy loved it!

Tucking in.  Each party pack for 2 year olds and up had a 'real' cell phone as the party favor.  It's the case of a real cell phone with all the proper buttons and heavy too but obviously without a working screen.  They had such fun making phone calls.  In fact I had to wait for Andy to finish his conversation on his new cell phone before we could cut the cake.

I made some sweet and savoury platters for the adults table...

All in all we had a wonderful time and I will not be surprised if Andy's 5th birthday party is done in exactly the same way.  Why try improove on something that worked so well, hey!? 


Farm take-along set

I try to have some 'creative' time for myself once a day so whether it's knitting 5 stitches or sewing a bib at least I keep my creative bug under control :)  Another thing I like to do is to read my favourite blogs once a week (usually on a weekend when I have a free hour or two when Luke takes Andy out and Jane is asleep).  I spotted this lovely project on Frugal Family Fun for a Farm take-along toy and I knew I just HAD TO make it for Andy's ever growing collection of farm animal toys.  I started the project about a month ago and completed it last week.  It was so much fun!  It could easily be done in a day if you have the opportunity of sewing without interruption.  It was so simple.  I just took her photo as a guide and made my own out of felt.  The playmat was hand stitched everything else I did on the sewing machine.

For a bit of a 3D effect to the play mat I stitched this lilly pad out of felt...

Andy took it with to his grandparents on the weekend and him and his cousin had such fun playing farm under the dining room table :)

Friday, July 30, 2010

Jelly Sweets Fun

For our activities today we spent some time in the kitchen. First we made some yummy lemon and poppy seed muffins (inspired by the delicious muffins my sister-in-law made on Monday) ...

Then the pirate made some gummy sweets with jelly (we made half the recipe)...

These came out great. It's like eating jelly but just in a much more fun form. It doesn't show up very nice on the photo but we made butterflies, bears and of course dinosaurs...

T-rex didn't survive very long...


Some of my blog readers have told me they can't post comments so I went through the settings and changed it from 'registered users only' to 'anyone' so there should be no problems with posting comments now.

I know when Andy is older he will look back on this blog and enjoy all your comments.

Thank you!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Rainbow Rice

This is one of the best activities yet! Yesterday we took 4kgs of rice and divided it into 4 large ziplock bags. We put a generous splash of water into each bag, sealed it and squashed it around so all the rice grains were wet then we added a generous splash of food colouring and mixed it around again until it was well coated.

We then put it on trays to dry over night. I lined the trays with foil in case it got stained but it wasn't necessary cause the rice held the colour very well.

I put the rice into a large plastic container that has a lid so now we can store our rice container and play with it whenever we want.

Of course Andy played with it first thing this morning and the colours stayed separate for about a split second but it looks even prettier when mixed.

I bought a mini rake and spade and funnel for him to play with but be collected all his toy animals and insects and they're all having a great time in the rainbow rice (he's playing with it now as I type). You could also make it into a discovery center and hide things in it for them to dig out and find.