Friday, 22 March 2013

Simple Projects for Children

I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to crafting with my little boy.  I’ve been collecting together crafting goodies and projects for him since long before he was born, so I really hope he shares my passion for making things!  With the Easter holidays upon us, and no sign of spring yet, I thought I’d share with you a couple of projects that proved very popular with young children at Craft Planet demos I did before I had Bob.  Please let me know if your little ones enjoy making them, I’d love to see piccies of their creations!

Feathery headdress

This simple headdress is great for dressing up games and fancy dress parties for girls and boys (think Cowboys and Indians, or 1920’s flapper girls).

  1. Cut a symmetrical curved strip from the long side of an A4 sheet of funky foam using decorative scissors.  Make a hole at each edge with a pokey tool.
  2. Decorate the front of the funky foam strip with foam shapes.  I used the swirls from the inside of the wings of the foam butterflies too.  Fix feathers along the back of the top edge using silicone glue, duck tape or a cold melt glue gun.
  3. Thread the ends of a pipe cleaner through the holes at the edges of the foam strip, and twist to secure (making sure there are no sharp bits protruding).  Twist a loop in the middle of the pipe cleaner for an adjustable fit.  You can use elastic instead, but it's not as pretty.
Shopping list:
Funky foam
Decorative scissors, eg XCU 2521106 or XCU 2521108.
Chenille stems, eg CPT 6601106
Foam shapes – small or large pack

Pen or brush holder

This part-recycled pen or brush pot can be simplified for younger children and, with the range of paints and foam stamps available, can be made to match a child’s room.

  1. Cover a toilet roll inner tube with red card or paper.  Stamp flowers onto yellow card, paper or felt using foam stamps and orange paint, let dry, then cut out leaving a border.  Stick around the top half of the tube.  Younger children can just stamp the flowers directly onto the red card/paper and let dry before covering the tube.
  2. Cut a strip of yellow card or paper using decorative scissors and stick around the top of the tube.
  3. Stick coloured matchsticks around the bottom of the tube using tacky glue.  Cut a funky foam circle or square a bit larger than the tube using decorative scissors and stick to the bottom of the tube as a base.  Older children can cut the matchsticks to different lengths for a more interesting finish.
Shopping list:
Foam stamps – eg CPT 6661103 for girls or CPT 6661105 for boys
Coloured paper
Acrylic paint

Door name sign

An easy project for boys and girls.  
  1. Cut a rectangle of funky foam with a curved end approximately 9x19cm.  Cut a circle out of the middle of the curved end and join the circle up with the top curve to create a hook.
  2. Decorate with the child’s name and stickers representing their hobbies and interests.
Shopping list:
Acrylic paint 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Manda's March Marmalade

I've always fancied making preserves, but I've always had this idea that it's more difficult than normal cooking so, apart from my Christmas mincemeat, I had never got round to it.  People talk about setting points as though getting a proper set jam is a dark art, requiring special skills, and probably some kind of secret dance performed naked under a full moon.  Probably ;-)  I also wasn't sure if I'd be able to bring myself to add all the sugar required, which is silly, as I have no idea how much they add in the marmalade factory.

We have our veggies delivered by the very lovely Riverford people, and when they had their marmalade kits on offer, I decided to take the plunge and see just how hard this 'setting' malarky really is.  The only snag is that I don't have a muslin bag, and I have a demanding toddler who barely gives me time to make the food we need to eat.  I do own a slow cooker though, and some quick Googling found this perfect recipe for me: no muslin bag, no pulpy squeezing, no chopping, and half the sugar in the Riverford recipe.

My Mum & Dad came to visit last weekend, so I finally made marmalade!  My marmalade pack had 8 seville oranges and 2 lemons, and I cut them into quarters and chopped them in the food processor.  The recipe I found (by Diminishing Lucy) had no added water, but my chopped fruit looked quite dry.  As Lucy is Australian, I thought her fruit might be more juicy, so I added 3/4 litre of water.  The final ingredient was 1kg of sugar, and I cooked it all in the slow cooker on high for 4-5 hours.
My slow cooker has room for a few more oranges :-)

The result is 7 jars of gorgeous tangy marmalade and it set beautifully, and with no naked dancing!  Well, no more than usual anyway.  It turns out that my 20 year old food processor isn't man enough for pips though - I picked quite a few out of the finished marmalade before getting bored and deciding it'd be easier to take the odd pip off of my toast as they appear.

I'm definitely hooked, and can't wait until there's a strawberry pick-your-own open so I can try my hand at jam.  If you have a favourite preserve recipe for the slow cooker, I'd love to hear about it - please leave me a link on my comments so I can try it out.

Right then, time for toast :-)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

March Crafting Cafe Challenge - Favourite Colour

When I signed up for the Crafting Cafe design team I was a bit sad that I only needed to post once a month, but it's just as well as this month's flown by!  The theme for March is "My Favourite Colour", the sponsor is Delicious Doodles, and I picked their vintage chevy image to work with.

I already had some great papers in mind when I picked the image - Tim Holtz's 'Destinations' paper stack that I bought earlier this year.  The papers are double sided, with travel images on one side, and gorgeous textures on the other.  I didn't know exactly what I was going to do for my project until this weekend though, when I visited my friends at Country View Crafts and spotted these fab cog Nestabilities dies in the warehouse.  I also decided I 'needed' these embossing folders for the project - I used the cog folder in that set to emboss the medium cog after cutting it from grey Coordinations card. It's a shame I didn't spot this 3D embossing folder though, as I would have 'needed' that too :-)  Here's what I came up with.  It's quite different to my normal style, so I'd love any feedback.

The cogs, card blank and sentiment peel-off are all coloured using an espresso paint dabber.  I used paint rather than ink and peel-off markers to get a more textured finish.  The car is coloured using Promarkers, and I've used two colours of blue (powder blue and pastel blue) plus quite a bit of grey, so the car looks more old and used.

I'd like to claim that this project is my first foray into steampunk, but I must confess that I only have a vague idea of what counts as steampunk.  It's got cogs though, so maybe that's enough.  Or maybe that's like Yankee Doodle Dandy sticking a feather in his hat and thinking he'd managed to pull off 'macaroni' style!  What do you think?

I'd like to enter this project into the following challenges:
Crafty cardmakers
Delicious Doodles
Left of centre