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1. “Glad you’re here” by Making Lemonade. Image theirs.

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I am very sad that we don’t celebrate thanksgiving in Australia. This however gives me the opportunity to think thankfully at Christmas time.

Here are some simple ideas from around the blog world, that can be incorporated in your Christmas celebrations particularly in regards to the table.

Some are beautifully quirky, some ingenious, some worthy of a yearly repeat, some child friendly and some all of the above. Let me know if you get inspired and use some, it’s great to hear from you.

"The Giving Plate" by Adventures of an Orthodox  Mom. Image from there. .

“The Giving Plate” by Adventures of an Orthodox Mom. Image from there.

"Conversation Plates" by Together Counts Blog. Idea and image sourced there.

“Conversation Plates” by Together Counts Blog. Idea and image sourced there.

DIY minimalistic cultery holder. Image and instructions from A Birds Leap.

DIY minimalistic cultery holder. Image and instructions from A Birds Leap.

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A sock for your cutlery. Image from Pinterest.

Single place cards. Image from Pinterest.

Single place cards. Image from Pinterest.

Gold Spray painted animals (or possibly nativity characters) with paper luggage tags attached. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Gold Spray painted animals (or possibly nativity characters) with paper luggage tags attached. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Another beautifully simple idea from Style Me Pretty. Image theirs.

Another beautifully simple idea from Style Me Pretty. Image theirs.

Carnival Straws on Bottled drinks with tags. Source: Ruffled.

Carnival Straws on Bottled drinks with tags. Source: Ruffled.

Would work just as well on green leaves. Image from Once wed.

Would work just as well on green leaves. Image from Once wed.

Gratitude Rolls by Beauty and Bedlam. Image theirs.

Gratitude Rolls by Beauty and Bedlam. Image theirs.

SImple sensorial details. Image from Vintage House.

SImple sensorial details. Image from Vintage House.

What I want for Christmas is thanksfulness! Source: The cottage at 341 south.

What I want for Christmas is thanksfulness! Source: The cottage at 341 south.

Kraft Paper table of thanks. Image from Art Bar Blog

Kraft Paper table of thanks. Image from Art Bar Blog

Fruity Place markers. Image from Style Me Pretty.

Fruity Place markers. Image from Style Me Pretty.

THe Thankful Tree. Idea and image from Kids Activities Blog.

THe Thankful Tree. Idea and image from Kids Activities Blog.

Or if you prefer pears..... This idea and image from The Knot.

Or if you prefer pears….. This idea and image from The Knot.

Fairy Lights in jars. Image from Making Lemonade.

Fairy Lights in jars. Image from Making Lemonade.

.... and if you just don't know where to start because Finishing School wasn't part of yours (or my) education.... Layouts. Source: daniellemj-workspace

…. and if you just don’t know where to start because Finishing School wasn’t part of yours (or my) education…. Layouts. Source: daniellemj-workspace

Alternatively..... Image from Antiquaria Vintage.

Alternatively….. Image from Antiquaria Vintage.

I’m a bit in two minds about Valentine’s Day. Some of me sits on the “It’s a created day that is all about retailers and spending money” and the other side of me feels it’s great to be reminded to tell the people we love….that we love them in a more intentional way.

This year I feel more of the second…. hence the post….. but have tried to make it a little more creative (rather than spendy) because self created things almost always* help communicate the love better.

Ideas For Creative Dates

Hand Held Ice Skating Date In A Jar

1. Ice skating date in a Jar. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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2. Hot Chocolate in a Jar (stay in) Date. Image from the Wintrop Chronicles.

Spa In A Jar

3. Spar in a Jar. Image from The Gunny Sack.

Super Lovey- Dovey

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4. 52 things I love about you in a jar. Image from The Gunny Sack.

love potion number 9 valentine supplies

5. Love Potion No. 9. Image from Shaken Together Life.

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6. A little envelope of notes for your loved one. Image from Oh hello friend.

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7. Sharpie Mug. Image Sister’s Suitcase.

For the Kids

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8. Love Lead pencils. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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9. Robot Valentine’s. Image from Lisa Storms.

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10. Monster Pencils. Image by the 36th Avenue.

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11. Don’t ever change…. Image from Jac & Lyn Murphy.

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12. Burst My Bubble Valentine’s. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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13. I’m Bananas for you and You’re Grrrrrreat. Image from Lisa Storm.

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14. Arrow pencils and printables. Image from Design. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

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15. Origami Heart Wrapped lolly Pop. Image A Kiss Of Colour.

Ideas to Bake

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16. Nutella Love Letter Pancakes. Image by Kitchen Simplicity.

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17. Sparkly Cookies. Image from The Gunny Sack.

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18. Valentine snack mix. Image by Glorious Treats.

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19. The Nutella/Espresso cup cake.Image from mandy Ash Craft.

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20. Valentine’s cookies. Image Wedding Chicks.

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21. Heart shaped pies. Image Babble.

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22. Red Velvet Cupcakes in a Jar. Image My Baking Addiction.

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23. Strawberry and Cream scones. Image Sanae Ishida.

Countdowns to Valentine’s Day (or count on….) 

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24. The Valentine tree. Image from Simple as that blog.

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25. Cute countdown. Image by Dear lizzy.

Valentines Advent Calendar - thehouseofsmiths.com

26. Bit late for this year….. A countdown to the day. Image from THe House Of Smiths.

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27. 14 acts of love. Image from Make and takes.

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28. Countdown to kisses. Image from the Olds family

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29. DIY printable calendar. Image from Paige of Style.

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30. Just one of the activities in the 14 days of love. Image from Pink Pistachio.

Cards

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31. I love you this much. Image from Day in my life.

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32. Sewn hearts card. Image from The creative Place.

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33. Birthday candle card. Image from Real Simple.

Everything else.

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34. Mini polaroid Magnets. Image from Ambrosia Girl.

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35. Valentines “fortune’ cookies”. Image from Design. Wash.Rinse. Repeat.

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36. Message in a bottle. Image from Oh hello friend.

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37. Wall heart. Image Oleander and Palm.

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38. Washi banner. Image: Fancy Little Things.

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39. Printable PDF. Image from The girl creative.

* Yes if you have asked for something specifically ….or have been promised something and you receive a sweet handmade gift, you won’t feel the love!

Oh, I bet you thought this was never coming!
You can find the first half of the giant list of fete and fair tutorials and printables here, along with the criteria I used to decide on what was included and what I left out.
If you still want more ideas you can see some past items we have made (although not all have accompanying tutorials)
Enjoy.

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  1. The Scrapbooking Jar by Crate Paper Blog
  2.  Chalkboard Serving Platter by Wit and Whistle.
  3. Knitted Snake by Purl Bee 
  4.  Paper Fortune Cookies by design wash rinse repeat.
  5.  Pebble Mat by Junk Hippie 
  6.  Clay bird ornament by JessicaJane Handmade.
  7.  Owl cushion by button bird designs.
  8.  Pillowcase shopping bag by Grow Mama.
  9.  Mouse Ornaments by Family Fun 
  10. Crocheted Washcloths by Purl Bee 
  11. Monster Bags by harrysdesk 
  12.  Pram cards by The Pleated Poppy
  13.  Salt dough Christmas Ornaments by Oleander and Palm 
  14. Rice filled heating Owls for children by Just another Hang Up.
  15.  Beaded Heart Wand by First Palette
  16. Circle Zip Earbud Pouch by dog under my desk
  17.  Tea Bag gift Tag by The Studio Of Mae.
  18. Cardboard Horses by Design Sponge
  19. Mooshy Belly Bunny by Chez Beeper Bebe 
  20. Felt Crowns by hellobee
  21. Easy Drawstring Bag by Purl Bee 
  22. Recycled Book Bird Decoration by Under the Table and Dreaming
  23. Present Cards by Craft and Creativity
  24. Babies Triange Dress by Purl Bee 
  25. Monster Slime by all things simple 
  26. DIY ice cream sundae box by family bits.
  27. Monster bibs by stubbornly crafty.
  28. Cloud and rain mobile by dailylike recipe?
  29. Bunting by the yvestown blog.
  30. Lunchsacks by All people quilt.

Enjoy….and let me know if you think you might make anything.

Monster/Fort Kit mash-up.

October 24, 2012

Yes, the monsters are back!

Lately…. I mixed together two of my favourite creative gifts into a monster/fort mash-up.

Previously,I have made fort kits  for gifts. I got the idea from saltwater kids, who got it at Bloom.

The contents of the monster pillow.

…and more recently I have been making monsters. You can see a tutorial here if you would like to make your own.

For this particularly creative  9 year old boy, I joined them together.

I’m particularly loving the eyes!

The monster fort mash! ….and a cheeky foot.

Would the 9 year old boys in your life like these?

 

Facebook Friday

October 5, 2012

A quick and easy idea…… Thanks Curbly.

Monster tutorial

September 29, 2012

The Blanket Monster. ‘Blanket’
Use me for a library bag, PJ bag, music bag, laptop bag…. things I haven’t thought of….bag.

Tutorial for A4 size monster…..

What you will need.

  • a zipper (approx 49cm)
  • 15cm x 100cm mouth fabric (red)
  • 10cm x 50cm teeth fabric (white)
  • an old blanket or bedspread with tasselled edge.
  • small amount of fabric for eyeballs.
  • 2 buttons.
  • thread
  • thick thread for sewing o the eyes.

How to make it.

MOUTH:

1.Cut 2 rectangles 49cm x 13cm for the mouth (red)

2. Fold each piece in half length-wise and iron.

3. Pin folded edge of red moth rectangle to zipper on either side.

Machine the folded edge to either side of the zipper….. but not too close.

Press.

hint: The further your fabric from the zipper the less likely it is to get caught when opening and closing….and exposes the zipper more, which is what we want in this case.

TEETH:

  1. Cut 4 (or more) 8cm x 8cm squares for the teeth.

2. Fold in half diagonally and iron…..

….. fold in half diagonally and iron again.

TEETH!

3. Position the teeth (point down and cut edge matching the cut edge of the red) along the cut edge of the mouth (red) pieces. (I did 5cm from each end for the top, and 12cm from each end for the bottom)

ARMS:

1. Cut 2 rectangles 25cm x 14cm along the fringed edge. The measurements include the fringe.

2. With right sides together, machine down the non fringed edge with 1.5cm seam allowance.

3. Turn back to right sides… forming a cylinder like shape. Press with the seam down the middle of the arm. (this reduces the bulk in sewing it together later).

BODY (Part1) :

  1. Cut 1 rectangle 49cm x 51cm. (blanket fabric)
  2. Cut another rectangle 49cm x 20cm.
  3. Machine (with right sides together) the rectangles on either side of the mouth piece along the 49cm edges.

4. Iron so that the teeth head toward the zipper ( press seams away from mouth on the wrong side)…..

EYES:

Cut 2 circles (black and white).

2. Position them on the smaller rectangle above the mouth.

3. With a needle and thick thread position and sew on the eyes.

BODY (Part2): 

1. Position the monsters arms where you would like them. Position them with the fringing toward the middle and with the seam facing up.

2. With right sides together and zipper open about 10cm, line up the cut edges of the triangles to form a large rectangle. Pin.

3. Machine the sides together. Stitch the seam again where the arms are positioned to reinforce them.

LEGS:

1. Along the bottom edge create the legs by measuring across 12cm from each side seam and putting a pin….then up into the monster 12cm and placing a pin.

2. With a ruler join up the dots and cut through both layers of blanket to create the leg shape. Machine together along the newly cut line. Seam allowance 1.5cm.

HORNS:

  1. Now for the top (horns). Coming diagonally down from the top corners about 3cm and put a dot ( don’t come lower than your eyes) draw a line from one dot to the other using a ruler. This is your machining line.
  2. Machine.

FINISHING OFF:

  1. Trim excess fabric from the corners being careful not the cut your stitching.
  2. Turn your monster inside out through the zipper hole.
  3. Push the horns and legs out with the end of your scissors to get a nice point.
  4. Press

5. Enjoy and love your monster.

Hatshesup costume  from last year.

It is my habit to only make one costume a year for book week and for all the rest to come from our dress-up box…. or someone else’s.

This keeps the cost and stress down, and helps the kids get creative about which character they want to be.

Last year it was the  11 year old (now 12) who got a special costume made.

I though, just in time for this year I would share a tutorial of how I made the bib.

If you want to create one and don’t sew, you can follow the along, but just use cardboard as the base and instead of stitching the finishes on, use glue. If you do it this way there is no need for lining or binding and would be much less time consuming.

So with no further chatter……..

The Pharaoh Bib Tutorial

What you will need

  • Cardboard or paper to make pattern
  • base fabric ( I used blue velvet) a rich colour is best
  • lining fabric (I used gold satin)
  • bias binding (again gold)
  • Iron-on stiff interfacing
  • Large gold sequins
  • Gold wool
  • Gold thread
  • Gold fabric paint tube
  • Contrasting fabric to reverse applique (I used a gold silk)
  • pencil, scissors, sewing machine and thread.

How to do it.

The pattern 

1. Start with a rectangle approx 42cm x 18cm

2. Using the measurements given create this shape (It is half of the bib…. doing it this way means you get a symmetrical result) Click on the image to enlarge.

3. Folding your base fabric in half and placing the fold on the edge marked “place on the fold” cut the basic shape.

4. Cut another of these pattern pieces in the same way for both your lining and interfacing. You should now have 3 different coloured fabrics (base, lining and interfacing) all the same shape.

5. Back on your pattern piece sketch out an idea of how you will lay on your ‘design’. Egyptian patterns are very repetitive and tend to follow the shape of the item. Start about 1.5cm in from the edge (this is where your bias will be sewn) and create a design that works towards the centre. Make sure you leave some of your background fabric to show through.

6. Put your lining to one side and just work with your base cloth (blue) and your interfacing now.

Iron the interfacing to your base cloth (wrong side of base fabric to shiny side of interfacing) using a dry iron.

 

7. Transfer your design onto the interfacing.

8. Sew your sequins and stitching on in the design you have chosen. (glue if you like it will be much quicker)

9. Place your other gold fabric behind the area you want to reverse applique ( have it show through) Sew, with a machine, the shape you have designed from the right side of your bib. Do this to both sides of your bib to keep it symmetrical.

10. On the decorated side of your bib lift the base fabric away from the gold fabric you have just sewn on. Carefully cut away the base fabric very close to your machine stitching.

It should look like this…..
Now do the other side.

11. Paint your reverse appliqued sections and allow to dry.

12. With right sides together lay your lining onto your bib. Stitch the straight edge with 1cm seam allowance.

13. Turn bib so that the wrong sides are together. Give it a really good press with the iron. Be careful of the sequins as they can melt! Best to iron from the lining side.

Pin lining and base bib together at neck edge and outside edge.

14. Machine your bias binding around the outside edge. Do the same with the neck edge leaving 15-20cm at the beginning and end of the neck edge. This will be your tie to secure it around the neck. Fold over to encase the cut edges (trim if you need to)  and pin.

15. Using slip stitch, hand sew the bias binding down on the lining side. Tie a knot in the neck edge bias strings to secure.

16. Now, if my directions are clear, you will have your own unique version of this.

To complete the costume use the fabric and decorations you have left over to make a headband and armbands. Strips which velcro together. Wear over a long thin white dress (or a white sheet worn in a cylinder shape) with a straight black wig and go nuts with the eye make-up.

Time to “Walk like an Egyptian”

Let me know how you go. I’d love to see your creations.

 

Stamp World.

June 12, 2012

Image from The Crafty Cow.

A great idea to think about for the upcoming holidays.

Click on the photo for the original post and a printable world map template to help your making.

The gorgeous birthday girl with the jelly cake that did work. Photos by the lovely Charles Francis.

Our excitable 6 year old enjoyed a crazy mad science party a few weeks ago now.

When she suggested the idea I was a little out of my depth….. not having enjoyed science that much through school…. so I did what I do best and searched the internet for party ideas. Tim also had the great insight to ask some family friends of ours to help with the activities. They are a family full of crazy, fun, sciency folk and they did a marvellous job of entertaining and exciting the masses.

Because I was so thankful to all the people out there in cyber space posting their great ideas for me to use ….I thought  would put all the links together in one post for you to use and steal and enjoy.

Click to play this Smilebox invite
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Another free invite by Smilebox

 The invite was made using the excellent Smilebox. So easy , and so free!

Playing with IT…. the slimy stuff.

Norfolk Kids have a great recipe for custard powder gooey slimy stuff!

The super geeks preparing the rocket for launching.

The water rocket was a great hit with the Dad’s and the kids.

The Aquapod bottle launcher could quickly become a family favourite. The launcher is safe and with just a bike pump and water sends the rocket about 100m in the air.

….. a little palaeontology anyone?

Wack with a hammer to reveal a dinosaur inside. A hit!

…similar ideas at Kids Activities Suite 101.

Marbled fingernail painting….

…a little something like this.

6 year old in her scrubs playing with ‘squishy circuits’.

‘Squishy Circuits’ are the brainchild of AnnMarie Thomas. See her TED talk here. These are super cool!!

Yes, it’s an old faithful….pass the parcel. The treats inside included ‘Smarties’ and ‘Nerds’ and crystal stickers.

No link here. I adapted this game all by myself.

Even when we really had no idea what we were doing we looked the part in our lab coats. These came courtesy of the high school our friend works at. They had authentic chemical stains.

Making ice-cream to eat with our birthday ‘cake’….which was actually jelly. BIrthday girls looks a bit sceptical about this one.

We jiggled and wiggled to science music making our ice cream. You can find the recipe here.

….ooops just realised that you all have seen this outfit before on a different birthday girl. Yes the girls do borrow each others clothes.

And speaking of food…..

An exploding (not really) jelly cake.

Made this one up too after the disaster of the ‘molecule cake’ 

Inside the test tubes was a jelly snake, and it’s hard to see but the jelly was layered lime aqua and pink.

A very cool and easy way to layer jelly. The link is down but you can see from the images here how to do it. All you need is a muffin tray.

It doesn’t show fully in the photo but these drinks were colour layered….it’s all to do with sugar content.

I found this cool idea at the sisters cafe. It also works in a larger jug.

A little difficult to see….. ‘Build a molecule’ tray of round food and toothpicks. Also little specimen cups full of jelly.

The ‘build a molecule’ idea came from Come together Kids. This blog has lots more ideas re:science party.

Balloons and flower balls as party favours. If you look closely you can see the water has H20 labels.

I have talked and made these tissue paper balls before. The instructions can be found at Martha Stewart (I couldn’t do a party without her) and the idea for re-labelling the bottles of water from Kara’s party ideas. As you could imagine ….there are lots more ideas for different parties to be found here.

Last of all 13 year old and I made bunting of real chemical elements (with a few made up ones).

Were you aware the R is the element Random and Da is the element Daring?

…… not to leave out science fiction …… see chemical element Et……

The idea for the bunting came from Apartment Therapy.

6 year old in excellent company…… mad scientist together.

I used the image of Einstein from the invitations…… then photographer 6 year old doing the same face. After a short fiddle with the colours in photo shop….. we had our bunting.

How do you start putting together ideas for a themed party?

What are the best ones you have ever hosted or been too and why?

The finished product. No extra wrapping required.

In keeping with the making of gifts idea from previous posts…. I attempted a variation of the Fort Building Kits by Saltwater Kids posted in a great big list of gifts for boys and girls last Christmas.

I have been wanting to try these for ages, and I am pretty sure I will make more after this success.

The theme of the party was mermaids…. so I purchased fabric appropriate to the sea, included some sequin length, white fur trim and a few gold coins to contribute to the sea idea.

Because I wanted the lovely Lily to be able to use it for other creative play, I decided to call it a fun-kit rather than a fort kit in the hope that it would open up the imaginative possibilities rather than close than down. I imagine her using the contents not just for forts but backdrops for ‘shows’, dress-ups, dancing, picnics or playing mermaids or other sea creatures.

I included a frangipani hairclip just….because it was gorgeous.

One fabric was a sea blue cotton and the other a watery print blue chiffon.

….I hope she enjoys playing with it as much as 8 year old and I enjoyed pulling it together.

Her mum sent me through this photo of an early incarnation of the fun-fit.

Nice one Lily.

An early incarnation of the fun(fort)-kit. Thanks Laura for the picture.

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