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!

 

 

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An Obsession with Polymer Clay

So, it appears I have gone “cray cray” over polymer clay. Ever since seeing a friend wearing a necklace a few weeks ago with these beautifully coloured beads that looked as if they were made of sugar candy, I knew I had to get my hands on the stuff. I literally started dreaming about it. And now I have, I have found it is deeply theraputic to mix different coloured clay to exactly the right shade, and shape the clay into perfectly round balls, or try to create a geometric shape that doesn’t look like a half chewed peice of cheese (harder then you would think). The best thing about it is its relatively mess free but still very tactile, doesn’t take up much space and I can craft away at the kitchen table whilst listening to a bit of BBC radio and sipping on a cup of tea. Bliss. But then I realised that I needed to have a purpose, rather then just aimlessly making shapes, so inspired by that necklace that started me off I am dipping my toes into making some jewellery. Dangerous waters I feel, as polymer clay can easily be Bad with a caplital B…a box of goodies

The supplies arrived. You gotta love the internet! Oops I may have sneaked in more then just polymer clay…

 candy beads

Ok so the clay I am using is called Premo Sculpty, but I know that ‘another’ name for this stuff, the name I remember it by, is Fimo. But Fimo, woah, wait a minute, that is just not cool. I mean, its for kids surely? – I first found love with polymer clay back when I was about 12, I remember hours spent creating ‘delightful’ jewellery containing teeny tiny models of fruit. A whole greengrocers strung on a necklace if I remember correctly. Ahhh bless my mum for wearing my creations! Luckily, I feel my skill level and tastes may have (fingers tightly crossed) improved 20 years on so I am hoping that my new found obsession may acually be profitable this time round. And I am determined to make fimo, ahem, I mean polyer clay, cool again! Yeah baby! (Memo to self – steering well clear of miniture bananas is key)

Ta Dah!!! Freshly baked clay beads and earings (No fruits were attempted at any stage)

polymer earings

tutti fruiti polymer necklaceI hope I’m still allowed to use fruity colours…?

Its still a work in progress creating them into wearable peices of jewellery but I hope to have enough made up to be able to sell them soon! I am thinking etsy and my facebook page… I will also do a little tutorial too so watch this space…………………………….. (Not actually that space. That would be silly) x

Salad Spinner Art

Salad Spinner ArtThe most fun you (and your kids) will ever have with a salad spinner…

You will need:

  • A salad spinner (no, really?!)
  • paper
  • scissors
  • pen
  • non-toxic poster paint, watered down slightly if it is thick.
  • blu tack or masking tape
  • child, or children, if you decide to let them join in…

Take the inner basket out of your salad spinner and draw around it on a peice of paper so you have an idea of how lagre your paper will be. Use this as your template and cut several peices of paper into this circle shape.

use a piece of blu-tack or masking tape folded over ontu itself to secure a piece of precut paper inside of the basket.

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Let your child (or go on, have a go yourself) put a few blobs of slightly watered down paint on to the middle of the peice of paper. Be as experimental with colours as you like! Get them to try the 3 primary colours to guess what colours will be created (using red and yellow for example).

Pop the lid on and SPIN BABY SPIN!!!!

DSCF1335 DSCF1334 DSCF1329Remove your paper and admire your artwork! Then try another, and another… (be warned, salad spinner art is seriously addictive so be sure to have enough paper handy!)

Spin Art

Make sure you wash your spinner thorughly, before using it actually spin salad (or keep a spinner just for art making purposes!) x

 

Ginger Biscuits – Gluten & Dairy Free

Ginger cookies, gluten free

I saw this idea on pinterest, where a pattern has been pressed into each biscuit, and couldn’t resist giving it a go!

I was craving ginger biscuits and S was keen to do some baking so I adapted a recipe to suit him being gluten free and was pretty happy with the results. My husband didn’t even complain about them being gluten free (usually he can tell the difference) So they must’ve been good!

Ginger biscuit/cookie recipe*:

  • 150g dairy free magarine
  • 220g soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 360g gluten free flour (I used Healtheries baking mix its by far the best I’ve found)
  • 1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • pinch of salt

*you can use regular butter and flour, if you don’t need to make them GF or dairy free!

Preheat oven to 170 centigrade (375 f) and grease 2 baking trays with non stick paper (ignore the fact that I used tin foil, I was out of baking paper when I made these and the foil was not my greatest idea) If you like you can halve the mixture once it is a dough, wrap it in plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge for a few days before baking a second batch.

Cream magarine, and sugar until pale and creamy then beat in egg. You can use a mixer but I used elbow grease! Add flour,  baking powder, ginger and vanilla essence then a pinch of salt and beat with a wooden spoon until a dough has formed.

ginger cookie dough

DSCF1121 My little helper x

Next, roll walnut sized amounts in to balls and place an even distance apart on a baking tray like so:DSCF1132

To make the pretty patterns on the cookies I used a small bowl I had which had a cut glass pattern in the bottom. You can find similar patterns on the bottom of some brady type glasses, have a scour of your local charity/op shops for inspiring biscuit stampers! I sprayed the bowl lightly with cooking oil first.

baking patterns

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Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes – check at the 12 min mark and remove as soon as they are a golden brown colour.

ginger biscuits

Store in an airtight container or serve with a good old cuppa tea! x

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

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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

Pimp my spoons

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(Sorry about low quality photos – waiting for my new iphone and can’t wait!)

Saw this done on pinterest (where else! I LOOOOOOVE pinterest!!!) and couldn’t resist giving it a go. Too easy, who doesn’t have old tester pots or leftover paints lying around!? All you need then is some plain wooden spoons, masking (painters) tape and a paint brush!

ImageImage

So to make your plain old boring spoons instantly fabulous, just mask off a portion of the spoon that you want to paint, paint it with the colour of your choice, and leave to dry. I rested the bit of the spoon covered in masking tape on a tray edge so they dried evenly and didn’t stick to anything… When the first cost is dry, add a second coat and leave to dry again before removing tape.  (So HARD, I am sooo impatient!) Of course you could go out and buy some acrylic craft paint in a special colour if you want to spoons to match your decor… And if you really want them to see the distance and be safe to use in a dishwasher I’d probably add a coat of clear matt varnish, but I am much too slap-dash for that! I was so pleased that I made some as a gift for a friend’s birthday, and printed out a nice hand-typed recipe to go along with it.

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My lovely spoons chillin’ in their new home, a mason jar.

x