Creating Laminated Pennants – Tutorial

I’ve had a massive (ahem, year long) break from blogging – but I feel renewed and full of ideas, so …I’m BACK!!!!!!

The break is a whole other story, and one that I will come back to in a later post… but for now, some fun!

Lately I’ve gone a bit pennant crazy, and I’ve started making paper pennants that I hope to sell. But here’s a fun and easy idea that you can do at home, if you have access to a laminator!

laminated pennant

laminated pennant

Whilst I was making some the other day, I was blotting my paintbrush on some tissue paper and as it dried I thought, “hmm that looks too good to throw away!” So it go me to thinking about all the scrap bits of paper that I create. Also my son had had just been painting and there were a few pieces of paper that I felt were just desperate to be made into something… (So often my son’s do lovely pieces of ‘art’ that just aren’t quite up to being framed, and yet I feel awful at the thought of recycling them.). So I decided to turn the leftovers into something for the boys rooms instead! And so the idea for some fun pennants for each of their rooms was born. I wanted one pennant to have J’s name, the other to have a line from one of our favourite books. It was super easy and fun for us to do together (well mostly, although do take care when using a laminator and craft knife please!!)

blotting paper

 

scrap painted paper

 

All you have to do for each pennant is either leave your scrap art paper whole or cut out you shapes (I wanted to write some text but if your child is old enough to use scissors let them create their own master piece!)

Then simply use  a glue stick to lightly adhere the shapes onto the inside of a laminator pocket and then insert it into your pre-warmed machine.

laminating DSCF0653Obviously take EXTREME care when allowing your little one to ‘help’ you!!

my helper

text in laminator pocket

 

in the window

in the window

You could just stop there – as you can see I cut one of the finished pieces into a heart shape. But for the pennants, keep reading…

(The next part I had to do by myself whilst my ‘helper’ had a snack..!)

Draw and then cut our your child’s name or favourite quote using a craft knife. Make sure you have a cutting mat down! Then you will need some chord or string – I used gold just to be fancy but really anything will do. Trim your pennant to size and cut the bottom into a ‘v’ shape. I made a template out of A4 paper and used a craft knife and ruler but scissors will be fine if thats all you have. Using a hole punch make two holes at the top and knot one end of your chord, thread it through to the desired length and then cut and knot the other end.

laminated pennant

Est voila! You have your very own kids room pennant!

 

 

Clean Mud ‘Recipe’

What do you do when your two year old throws two new rolls of toilet paper in the bath??

You make clean mud of course!

Clean mud recipe - Sensory play

ingredients for clean mud

I hate waste, and throwing things away unecessarily, so was slightly horrified when my toddler took my husbands words of “put these in the bathroom for me” a little too literally… (I could see it happening in my mind’s eye the second the words were out of his mouth as the bath had just been poured, why do men not think?!) So I fished the soggy rolls out of the bath, and set them to one side, then when my little darlings were washed and dried and fast asleep I went on Pinterest find inspiration. Of course.

And voila! Clean mud was there jumping off the sceen demading to be made the following day, and I was happily satisfied that I had triumphed in the face of disaster. Okay not disater, wet loo paper. Still its a good reslut in my book!

Clean Mud Recipe:

  • 2 toilet rolls (they do not have to be wet!)
  • 1 bar of soap
  • Warm water
  • you will also need a cheese grater and a large container to make the mud in.

Usually you would take a couple of rolls toilet paper and shred it into a large bowl, bucket or storage bin. Since my rolls were pre-dampened, (the inner cardboard tubes just slipped straight out by the way) I just had to tear at them and added enough warm water to the bowl to saturate them. Then I got busy grating in the soap. Usually I would have let S do this but he was happy playing with a friend and so I just got on with it to avoid arguments! next you just need to squish it about till its all muched up and dough like, then its time to play!

Clean mud

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clean mud - Glitter mud pies

clean mud piesWe added glitter and plates so we could make some ‘real’ mud pies. it was a great sensory play activity that they could really have fun moulding and squeezing. Perfect for a rainy day! Unfortunately S got a bit carried away and poor M got a faceful of mud pie and glitter (had it not been cruel it would have made a great photo)… So that was the end of the clean mud for that day…. But aside from that and since finding glitter in every nook and cranny of my house for the rest of eternity, I would say it was great fun all round and much better then throwing the toilet rolls away, so I have to thank little J really for his impulsive act of ‘helpfulness’! I will definately make this again, next time though, I will try it outdoors.

Still, at least their hands (and faces) were very clean afterwards!! x

Slime!

slime recipe

My son was so excited by this activity. You only have to say the words “lets make slime” to any 4 year old boy to watch their face light up with joy! The fact that is was green, (his all time favourite colour) just made it all the more wow-tastic.

Now we have made gloop many times before, which is just cornflour and water mixed together. If you haven’t made it you must, its a wonderful sensory activity for any toddler or child. This time however I wanted to make something a bit more, well, slimey, for my boys to really get their teeth (or rather hands) into.

slime dough

slime

The mixture is one of those that you can tweak a bit to make it more runny or more firm and ‘dough’ like depending on how much water you add. The best way to go is on the ‘less is more’ principle and just keep adding a little more water at a time until it is the right kind of sliminess for your liking!

Slime Recipe:

  •  2 and 1/4 cups cornflour
  • 1/2 cup shampoo
  • 5-7 tablespoons of water. (start with 5, mix and see if you need more. Once you have gone too runny its hard to get it doughy again)

optional:

  • a few drops of food colouring

Put your cornflour in a bowl and mix in the shampoo, I just bought some cheap shampoo at the $2 shop as it was bright green and smelled nice! Add a few drops of food colouring if you wish, if your shampoo is not brightly coloured enough. Now add the water a tablespoon at a time and mix well before adding each extra tablespoon. As you can see from the first photo, ours went a bit runny, however as we played with it it lost some of the moisture and became more dough like. It is more fun when doughy as it seems to have a stretchy, shinny, gooeyness which the boys loved. We could do handprints and roll it into balls, then watch as the balls ‘melted’ off our hands. DSCF1353 DSCF1352

J liked it best when it was in a bowl, with more water added so he could stir it around and around. There are not many photos of the firmer dough as I was so busy playing with it (with the boys ahem..) that it was hard to keep my hands clean enough to take photos! I stored the firmer dough in an airtight tub so we could play with it again. I would say it lats for a few days but not that long.  You may just need to add a touch more water to rejuvinate it! Oh and by the way, it looks crazy-scary-messy I know, like “aghhhh why would you ever make this in your house you mad person???”… but trust me, it’s actually not that messy and is sooo easy to clean up with just the wipe of a wet cloth. Promise ;-P x

NB here are a few extra photos of a firmer version of the slime made on a separate occasion. homemade slimeslimehomemade slimeslime ball

DIY Fossils with salt dough

DIY fossils

A super easy craft activity that my boys LOVED. All you need is a simple salt dough and either items found from nature or toy dinosuars (or both!)

Salt dough recipe

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 3/4 cup hot water (or there abouts)
  • black food colouring

Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Then add the oil. Add about a teaspoon of black food colouring to the hot water water and slowly pour it into the mixture, stirring as you go. If dough becomes too wet add a little more flour, or too dry add more water at a tablespoon a time. Kneed until it is a nice smooth dough.DSCF1216Divide dough into roughly equal sized parts and roll each piece to about 1 cm thick. let your childs imagination take over, as they choose which fossils to make. We went on a ‘nature walk’ to select shells, leaves, and things such as seed pods, and also used a selection of plastic dinosaurs.

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I didn’t manage to get many photos as S needed a bit of help during the process, but I think its easy enough to work out what to do!

Bake them in the oven at 120 c (I used fan mode) for 1-2 hours, I greased the baking tray lightly with spray oil first, and turned the ‘fossils’ every half hour until they felt hollow and seemed thoroughly dried out. It depends on the thickness of your dough. You may need to remove some sooner then others before they get brown.DSCF1226DIY salt dough fossilsVarnish if you like, but we left ours as they were. S took his proudly to his Montessori pre-school where they have placed them in a basket with a magnifying glass for the other children to explore, so we have since made another batch and he seemed to enjoy it even more. x

DIY fabric printing tutorial part 1 – Making stamps

diy fabric printingI have finally got back into printing fabric, its only been, oh, 10 years since I completed my degree in printed surface design… A few things got in the way (ahem..) but the urge to print has finally returned! I thought I would share an example of how to make your own stamps. Fabric printing is such fun and the results are pretty instantaneous and so satisfying, and you can achieve great results without the need to buy expensive equipment. But of course it doesn’t have to be limited to fabric, paper is just as satisfying to print onto and great to do with kids too.

For the stamps you will need:

  • blocks of wood, bottles tops, corks or other material to stick your stamps onto (get creative and look in your recycling!)
  • craft foam
  • a pen
  • craft knife and/or scissors
  • strong glue (glue gun or craft glue)
  • cutting board (if using craft knife)

DIY stamps

DSCF1075

Cut out your shapes. For complicated shapes, you can draw your design on paper first, cut it out then trace around it onto your craft foam.

Glue down your shapes.

DSCF1082 DSCF1076

DSCF1079 Here I used corks and milk bottle tops for smaller shapes

To print your stamps you will need:

  • fabric paint (I used fastex)
  • plate/pallet or similar for mixing colours on
  • sponge or sponge dabber
  • something to mix paints with e.g paintbrush or small spoon
  • for larger quantities of mixed fabric paint you may want to store leftovers in a clean lidded jam jar or tub.
  • masking tape
  • suitable printing surface*

*I will be adding another tutorial on how to create a printing surface. For small scale projects you can just masking tape your fabric to a table, but bear in mind that the ink make sink through to the table.

DSCF1356Mix your desired colour, and dab the ink onto your stamp with your sponge.

DSCF1089DSCF1358Here I tied and elastic band around a sponge to give it a more ’rounded’ area for dabbing with. (please excuse my claw like hand!)

testing the stampsTesting out the stamps on paper or smaller scraps of fabric first is a great idea…! It will save you wasting your chosen fabric as the stamp may print differently to how you imagined and it takes a few goes to get the pressure right. Also it will give you a chance to see if the colour you have chosen is correct.

DIY fabric printing Here you can see how my fabric tightly stretched onto my printing surface and taped down to keep the fabric from moving as I print.

Have fun! x

Tamari Roasted Nuts & Seeds

I love a salty snack, give me savoury over sweet anyday. This is the perfect ‘throw in your mouth and munch’ snack for any time of the day to keep the hanger at bay (translation – hunger+anger)tamari roasted nuts and seeds

Tasty, healthy, quick and easy and also gluten free. I am a bit slack with measurements, so these are approximate!

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup raw pistachios
  • 1/2 cup pumkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons gluten free tamari soy sauce
  • (optional) a pinch of dried herbs, I used rosemary but experiment with your favourite such as a pinch of cayene for a kick!

Preheat oven to 170 (150 fan) celcius.

Stir all nuts/seeds together in a mixing bowl with the tamari, then spread in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake for 10-12 minuits until golden in colour then leave to cool. They will become crispy as they cool so don’t panic if they seem soggy! Once cool, trasfer to an airtight container, or serve straight away.

In a beautiful vintage teacup, if possible 😉 x

Toasted Muesli recipe

toasted muesli

I loooooove homemade, toasted muesli. I have been making it for over 7 years, always variations of the same adapted recipe, and I still love it. Which for me is rare as I am nothing if not a fairweather friend when it comes to food (and well, most things…) but my love affair with this crunchy stuff has stood the test of time. It’s not only yum-tastic, but also fills me up and keeps me going much longer then any other breakfast. I used to hate breakfast (toast, meh, cornflakes, ugh,) but not since this bad boy came into my life. Ok, so you get it, I love toasted muesli.

So here is my recipe!

This makes a big batch (about 1.5kgs) which lasts only about a week in our house…

  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1/2 cup of oil. I use rice bran, but any veg oil will do (olive works fine)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup brown sugar (depends on your sweet tooth) or stevia or omit this altogether
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 3 cups quick porriage oats
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup LSA (optional)
  • 1 cup pumkin seeds/pepitas
  • 1 cup cashews (raw)
  • 1 cup descicated coconut
  • 1 cup bran
  • tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • dried fruit of your choice e.g. sultanas, cranberries, apricots etc (add after cooking)

The best thing about this recipe is it is very forgiving if you are not exact with your measurements. I just make it by eye now and it always turns out fine. Also feel free to substitute any of the nuts/seeds for ones you prefer or have handy, again, it doesn’t really matter as long as your base of wet ingredients and oats is the same(ish).

Method:

Pretty simple, turn your oven on to 180 C and measure out the first 3 ingredients into a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar has melted and it starts to boil (it sort of looks like ‘foam’) stiring all the time, for about 2 minutes, no longer. It was hard to photograph this stage as you need to keep stiring otherwise you will end up with toffee!oil, sugar and honey

Place all your other dry ingredients (except for the dried friut!) into a large deep baking dish. DSCF9097Mix them together (I use my hands) then pour over the oil mixture. Stir it thoroughly so all the dry ingredients are coated, making sure you have got into the corners of the pan (or bowl – of course you can do it in a mixing bowl fist – I don’t simply to save dishes).

Now pop the baking tray in the oven, and set a timer for 10 mins. You will need to stir the muesli every ten mins or so, otherwise the edges will catch and burn. It takes anywhere between 30 mins and 1 hour to cook, so just keep setting the timer and stiring untill it is a lovely, toasted, golden colour. It is a bit of a faff the first time but once you get to know how long your oven takes it is less so. I tend to turn off the oven when it’s done, give it a final stir and leave it in the oven until it’s cooled. Then once its cool you can add any dried fruit that you like (if any) and trasfer it to an airtight container until breakfast. Of if you are like me, pop some in a bowl to enjoy straight away! x Toasted muesli with homemade yoghurt breakfast of champions