Friday, 22 July 2011

Star Biscuits - Gift Ideas

I admit, I like cheating, whenever possible. If it saves me time, effort or mess, count me in. I've noticed cheating can also save you some pennies sometimes too. The recipe for these biscuits involved going to Asda (or wherever you choose to do your shopping!) and buying a packet of shortbread biscuit mix. Easy. Simply add butter and mix until a dough is formed. The kids followed these simple steps with ease and with no mess at all. Fantastic. I very kindly rolled out the dough for them, they then set to work with their pastry cutters. Obviously you can cut the biscuits to any shape you like but I quite like the star shape for presents, I dont know why but I think they look nicer. Once they'd been in the oven for about 30 minutes and cooled on the rack we then set about making them into lovely gifts. We made these for all the teaching staff where my children currently attend nursery / pre-school as a parting thank you gift. As there are 11 staff I decided to make up two packets of mix on the basis that I thought 4 biscuits each would be enough.
We decided we'd make up pretty little parcels with cellophane (which can be bought from most craft shops or florist suppliers). We cut a square of card a fraction larger than the stars and then piled them on top. Wrap in larger square of cellophane to make a tube and then secure the side and bottom to make a bag. Tie the top with a pretty bit of ribbon. If you've used a see through cellophane you can write a message on the back of each piece of card so it can be seen through the plastic.

 The leftover dough got made into more biscuits for a jar for Grandad's Birthday. Recycling at it's best - Jar (washed out coffee jar) Ribbon (those annoying bits of ribbon that are used to hang tops onto coathangers, when you snip them off don't throw them away - keep them for making gift tags!) Card Tag (an old birthday card that had a nice star design on the front so I chopped it out and kept it for such an occassion)

Schools Out For Summer....

Well, that's it. Six and a half weeks of the little darlings all to myself. I have to say, I'm filled with a strange mixture of relief and dread at the thought of it. I'm looking forward to doing more crafty stuff with them and not having to get up at 7am every morning. Then there's the flip-side, how will I keep them entertained for the next few weeks? That's one of the reasons I started this blog, to give me a bit more motivation to think of 'things to do'. We've started as we mean to go a parting gift to all the staff we made biscuits - see how we got on here.....

Star Biscuits

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

More Retail Therapy

My blog seems to consist more about shopping so far than actually doing any craft. I can assure you that this is is not a fair representation of things to come (promise!). In fairness, both my little ones are in nursery today so I have been doing a little research whilst it's been quieter around the house.

I find arts & crafts shops a little on the expensive side normally but sometimes you just can't find what you want anywhere else and you just have to bite the bullet. I'm a huge fan of ebay for searching out things a bit cheaper, for example I managed to get a tube of green fabric paint for a couple of quid recently which may seem trivial but I would've spent that driving to my nearest craft store.

Anyway, whilst researching today, I noticed the lovely people at Hobbycraft will give you a £5 voucher just for signing up to their email newsletters, which I thought was jolly nice of them.
Hobbycraft are also offering free delivery of online orders over £30 and they now accept PayPal as payment.

So I did, and I now have £5 to spend (£25 minimum spend I think but that's easily done). I shall be using it to put towards a big bundle of goodies to keep us busy over the summer holidays.

Click below to get your voucher:

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Another Visit to the 'Rainy Day' Cupboard

After a rather uninspiring visit to Ikea on Friday we have had to resort to the 'Rainy Day' cupboard again. This treasure trove is full of bits & bobs I've picked up on various shopping trips & then put away for when the children are particularly bored and dont want to play with anything else. Todays plug is for a fab item I found in Hawkins Bazaar but you can also get them here...

Animal & Monster Hand Tattoos - What a great idea! A little tricky to put on the first time but once you've got the hang of it (and as long as the children in question keep still long enough) they get easier with practice. It kept them amused for a suprising length of time I found. It's amazing what little stories they can make up with a transfer stuck to their hands and making their animal or monster talk by moving their fingers like crab pincers. Just the sort of thing you can shove in a day bag if you're going on a train journey or something. Dont forget to take a bottle of water, a flannel or something to mop any excess water and a little sponge. Sorry it's not a great photo but that's partly because I'm right handed and my right hand is in the picture.....well, I had to join in!

Friday, 8 July 2011

Resource Hunting Expedition Today

We're having a day off making a mess in the house today. As it's raining and I have access to the family car for the day (a rare treat!) I asked the kids if they'd like to go out somewhere and do something. After explaining to the eldest that it was ok to go outside in the rain she decided on Ikea. Or, as she refers to it 'The Blue Castle', which if you have seen the Coventry store with its giant blue sides and flags on the top, does resemble a blue castle, slightly, if the onlooker happens to be 4 years old. This may sound like a dull shopping trip with the inevitable visit to the cafe for a free coffee for Mum & meatballs for the kids but no...this is a RHE - Resource Hunting Expedition.

I admit, I quite like shopping. Only in the sense that I enjoy hunting out bargains. In the same way I enjoy car boot sales or charity shops, I walk around Ikea looking at things and then wondering how I can make them into something else with the kids. An example of this would be duvet covers - Ikea did have some wonderfully cheap duvet covers that were about £3 (not sure if they still do them? Guess I'll find out soon!) Great fun for the kids to do potato painting on with a good old fashioned spud and some fabric paint. Even if you dont want to make a duvet cover, at that price you could chop it up and make bags, cushions...anything you fancy. Will report back after the expedition.....

Found a lovely link on How to make your own potato stamper...

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Mess Free Baking - Well, Nearly...

With two little darlings I find baking a bit of a nightmare, in that, which ever one I'm not watching that second will empty a bag of flour onto the floor or something similar. I discovered some wonderful Dr Oetker baking trays in Aldi the other day. You simply add water or milk to the mix (depending on the instructions obviously!) and stir it well & stick it in the oven - job done! Perfect for a quick, easy & virtually mess free baking session. I've seen various ones, bread & cake mixes, possibly not all Dr Oetker but all the ones we've tried have been good. Anything you can bake in a tray gets my vote as an easy one for the kids to tackle. We cooked a Dr Oetker lemon & poppy seed cake yesterday, which was gorgeous. The Mediteranean bread mix was also a hit. Just right for pulling out of the cupboard on a rainy day.

Alphabet scrapbook

I spent about an hour cutting out pictures last night from magazines and catalogues (anything that was in the recycling bag!) whilst I sat watching tv. The kids now have a lovely pile of pictures that they are going to stick in their 'alphabet book'. An inexpensive scrapbook was purchased and lettered with each letter of the alphabet and then the little ones take it in turns to stick a picture onto the appropriate letter's page (after saying what the picture name begins with ie; 'a' for apple etc). They've been doing the book for a few weeks now and it's quite full and they're both doing really well with their reading & recognising letters. They can also refer back to it when they want to see their work, which they enjoy almost as much as doing it.

Tidying up

I have just realised that I am worse than the kids for tidying up. This is not good. This morning they have quite happily been having a 'sticking' day. Magazines cut up and then they stick the images onto paper to make a rather interesting collage. My eldest daughter has spent a very long time meticulously cutting out little girls to stick on her page, only to snip off the top of their heads before gluing them down. Might hide that one before we have the school inspection for her starting in September. Hmm...

Anyway, there are lots of little slithers of paper all over the kitchen floor....I must go pick them up.

New to Blogging

Well, hello. I'm just a bit new to all of this. I'm bit of a techno dinosaur. We've only just got broadband in our house. I was inspired to set up a blog which rather losely I hope will inspire others to do more creative activities with their own children. It may just turn into a rant every now and again. Anyway, I hope that, if you're reading this, which obviously you are, you enjoy it.

Crafty Mum x