Sunday, 14 December 2014

Advent activities: halfway report

Earlier this month, I posted about how I made a (rather last minute) advent calendar full of activities for my little boy.  We lost a couple of days to illness, but so far we're doing well.  Bob has only recently become interested in crafting, and his endurance for it is still pretty low, but we've finished a couple of projects together - here's our half time report:

Foam chains

This foam chain is made from a Craft Planet kit that slots together, so needs no sticking.  The plan was for quite a long chain, decorated with stickers and punched out holly leaves.  Bob got bored of the sticking after one loop, (I've done soooooo well not to 'finish' the project), but he enjoyed making the chain - it's as long as Bob is tall.  I can see the start of a Christmas tradition...

By the way, the painting the chain is decorating is by my Dad #prouddaughter :-)

Lolly stick snowflakes

Between my addiction to Waitrose's dark chocolate and ginger ice creams and Bob's penchant for rocket lollies, we end up with quite a few lolly sticks that I can't bring myself to throw away, so I was pleased to find something fun to do with them.  We painted them white, smeared glitter glue all over them and then stuck them together.  I resisted the temptation to even out the paint or the glitter :-)

Bob really enjoyed this project as it meant he got to use two of the things he covets the most in my craft room - my heat gun (to hurry up the paint drying), and my Big Bite (to make hanger holes in them).  He also enjoyed painting the craft tray with glitter glue once we'd finished :-)

What we used:
Craft Planet
Big Bite
Silver thread
White acrylic paint, silver Glitz It glitter glue

Pottery decorations

We painted some decorations at Hitchin's "Pots of Art" studio (highly recommended by the way!).  They have toys for the children, and Bob found these hard to resist, but he did paint a couple of things.   I helped with the star on the tree and did an extra coat of red on the spiderman after he'd finished, but otherwise it's all his own work.  I was especially impressed with how he did the spiderman - For one eye, I guided Bob's hand around the shape first.  He then repeated the movement on his own to paint both eyes, and this was his best ever job of staying in the lines.

Snowy fairy cakes

Bob loves to use the food processor, so loves making cakes.  These are made to a modified version of a Mary Berry recipe for Queen Cakes from her "Fast Cakes" book (inherited from my Nanna).  We halved the sugar, added cocoa powder and mixed spice, and decorated with white vermicelli to look like snow.  We started decorating with sugar paste holly leaves too, but they were mostly going straight into Bob, so we gave up before he had too much of a sugar rush!

Coconut snowmen

We made up some coconut pyramid mixture and formed it into snowmen using two sizes of measuring spoon to make balls.  We did add dabs of orange food colouring for their carroty noses too, but that didn't really show up after cooking.  Bob didn't like the flavour, so lost interest in adding any more decoration, but he did enjoy using an electric grinder to chop up coconut strands when we ran out of dessicated coconut :-)

Other stuff

We've also put up our tree and some other decorations, spread out over several days.  The first bit of decorating involved a visit to the loft, which Bob thought was very exciting!  Bob's bed is very tinselly, and so, for a while, was one of the dogs :-)

What's coming up?

For the second half of advent, there'll be a couple of parties, Christmas biscuits, sausage rolls, glass painting, and card making.  I still have a few blank days, so I'd love to hear from you if you have any suggestions.

Happy crafting


Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Crafting Cafe December Challenge - Favourite Makes of 2014

There's no sponsor over at the Crafting Cafe this month, instead the challenge is to share your favourite project of the year.  There are some lovely things being shared by the design team, so please pop along and see.  My faves are here.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Activity Advent

I bought an advent calendar kit when Bob was tiny, but hadn't had a proper think about what I wanted to do with it until this week.  As is, the kit makes up a greetings card in the style of an advent calendar, with just pictures inside each window, but I wanted to make it something more interesting, and I didn't really want to make it sweet-based.  This week I finally decided to make it an activity advent calendar instead.

I made up the calendar as a flat project in two layers - the window layer and the back, putting the pictures that came with it aside for other projects.  Instead, each window opens to reveal a Christmassy activity to do with Bob.  Quite a few of them are crafting projects to do (decorations and cards), but there are also cooking projects (like Christmas biscuits, and the Christmas eve sausage rolls). trips to Christmas events, and preparation things like putting up the tree and other decorations, one room at a time.  I thought it would add to the excitement if the house gets gradually more Christmassy as December goes on, particularly if it all happens with his involvement.  It also makes a nice compromise between giving him a good long time of having decorations and my own preference of putting things up very close to Christmas.

I've fixed the two layers of the calendar together with brads, so a different sheet of activities can be put in each year, and so that things we always do at weekends can be moved around year to year.  I haven't finished planning all the activities, so they're all in pencil at the moment.  I'd love to hear about any Christmas activities you like to do with your little ones.  I'll report back every few days with what we've been up to!

Happy Crafting!

What I used:
Papermania "Noel" A4 advent calendar card kit
Whispers permanent markers (to colour the numbers)