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!

 

 

It’s been… AGES!!!!

Oh sigh, I’m one of those people that once I’m in a groove, I am great – I am in the flow, I am productive, I am consistent… BUT, if I get out of the groove – Totally hopelss at getting back in it! So this is what has happened here, I got out of the groove.. I neglected my blog. Life took over. Motherhood. Yes that’s right, Real Life.

And hey, you know what, I realised that is OK!

As the days went past I grew more distant from my bog as life got busier, and it got harder to get myself to add a new post. I kept telling myself I should. And then the guilt took over. Which is a horrible, silly thing to feel about a blog. This was supposed to be fun, a way of sharing my ideas and creative experiences, a way of sharing my motherhood. Not a ball and chain around my ankle, a lead weight on my shoulders. It was not supposed to bring me down. I have enough demands already to add another self imposed one to the list. So I have had to have a serious word with myself, and let go of the guilt, and the pressure, and let go a bit. It is ok to get out of the groove here. So long as I can focus on the important things in life, having fun with my boys and trying to find time to be creative for myself. I am going to stop feeling like this is something I HAVE to do, and more like it is something I WANT to do. Not necessarily once a week (my original aim) but simply when the whimsy takes me. (I no, don’t think I have ever written the word ‘whimsy’ in my life before).

So what I have I been up to in the past 7 or so weeks? Too many things to count!

Here are a selection of some moments…

MAIDFinallly got some business cards printed for my new lable. ‘MAID” stands for Maker, Artist, Illustrator and Designer. Whoop! I will be adding things to http://www.phoebegander.com for sale in New Zeland, but again, progress is slow due to my limited time to be creative!

IMG_2288 Flower and shell arrangement for me from Sen. Love him. X

DSCF1458Making felt pizzas.

DSCF1751

Zuchinni brownies. Making. Eating. YUM.IMG_3046These two. XXXXXXXX

Right, I have quite a few blog posts to add, but they will come when I have the time and energy, and not a moment sooner! x

 

Table Salt Drawing – Easy Creative Fun!

table salt activitiesSometimes, its the most simple and basic of ingredients or items found already in the home, which make for the most absorbing and fun activities… This one is an easy, quick to set up activity perfect for some quiet concentration on a rainy day.

Take table salt, a pretty dull but staple pantry item, and one that you would not readily assosiate with children (!!) but oh! The fun they can have with it! (supervised… of course!) Ok yes, they will at some stage probably stick a wet finger in and then lick it. They are children after all, and it looks so temptingly similar to sugar… But if that’s the only way to learn that it doesn’t taste good then its not something to get too stressed about!

For this activity you will only need table salt and a deep sided tray. I used a large oven baking try. Then you can use your imagination as to what you provide your child to play with (or indeed, theirs) My son chose a few toy cars at first, and made tracks in the salt, pretending it was snow. He was quite excited by the tracks that the cars were making, and then he started to draw in it with his finger, so I gave him a chopstick to use which he just loved.

Driving toy cars in table saltDSCF1391DSCF1399DSCF1393 DSCF1395

My son is quite (I think) talented at drawing and yet it is not something he will generally choose to do, he would much prefer a construction activity over sitting at the table with paper and pens, he gets too easily frustrated when the drawing goes ‘wrong’ and not how he wants it to look. However, he loves this activity – salt drawing is more of a tactile experience then ordinary drawing, and mistakes can easily be shaken away. He makes me take photos of his ‘best work’ so that it can be treasured forever.

So give it a go! And if you are the type of parent that feels like the ought to do more ‘creative stuff’ with your little one, but just can’t face anythig that will result in sticky mess, ease your conscience and reach for the salt! It will only require the most minimal clean up (at worst a simple bit of sweeping that you can even encourage your child to do) and they LOVE it. It will keep them engaged far longer then a magnetic doodle board, or the TV, and encourage their imagination and fine moter skills, whilst you can pat yourself on the back for being a ‘creative mother’. Yay! x

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.

DSCF1326

 

 

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

DSCF1136

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 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