Rustic Clay Wind Chime

Standard
Rustic Clay Wind Chime

It has been entirely too long between entries.  Life gets like that though I guess. I actually made this wind chime back in May, but have not had a chance to blog about it. Pretty sad when you can’t find a spare half hour in 7 months… but hopefully I will make up for that over the next 3 weeks while my schedule is not so hectic.

I am really happy with the way this project turned out, but it may not be something everyone can make at home, as you will need access to a kiln for the baking of the clay.  I am lucky enough to have that access:)  The discs were made from potters clay, available from any good craft shop, about $30 for 10kg (it’s really heavy when wet!). I rolled some clay out to around 5mm thick, then cut the circles out using a metal egg ring.  I then used a variety of leaves and flowers from around the garden, laid them over the clay and rolled over gently with a rolling pin, just enough to create the patterns as you can see.

Clay craft

Clay circles with leaf and flower prints.

Once baked and cooled, it was time for assembly.  Mr 5 and Miss 6 were happy to help decorate the pieces of fishing line with some chunky transparent glass beads I had in my bead stash.

Threading beads

Threading the beads on fishing line before assembly

We then went on a hunt for the perfect stick, attached it to a chair and began assembly.  I wanted the discs to taper down, so this was not something the kids could help with.

Assembly of wind chime

Assembling

Once I was happy with the positioning of each string, I tied them in a few more knots and decorated the top hanging twine.  Cut off any loose ends and it’s done.  As simple as that.

IMG_8881

Each disc touches the next ever so slightly, making a lovely sound in the breeze, without being too noisy.

IMG_8873

 

 

 

Simple Christmas Card Ideas – Part 2

Standard
Simple Christmas Card Ideas – Part 2

Christmas craft that doubles up as a math lesson! Hehe.

This activity really doesn’t require much explanation.  All you need is some paddle pop sticks, sharp scissors or secateurs, some craft glue and card stock. Work out how tall you want your tree.  If you want to make a pattern, decide on that now too. We just went random.  Measure out on the sticks 1cm, then 2cm on the next one, 3cm and so on.  Cut the sticks where you have marked them.  Set them out on the table then add a generous amount of glue to your card, stick them down and you’re done!

We added a little green tree trunk to ours too, but that is optional.  You could also add some other little squares of stick as decorations if you wanted.

Paddle pop Christmas Tree.

Paddle pop Christmas Tree.

Simple Christmas Card Ideas, Part 1.

Standard
Simple Christmas Card Ideas, Part 1.

Here’s a simple card decoration idea that doubles up as a fine motor activity.

For all the card projects this year I am using plain black card stock.  They were $2 for a pack of 12 at a $2 shop.

For this project you will need some coloured paper or thin cardboard, craft glue and any decorations you like (we kept it simple with an angel sequin)

Trace out a tree shape on the back of one of the pieces of paper.

IMG_7222

Fold the other coloured paper in half to double it over then bring all 3 pieces together and cut along the outline so you end up with 3 identical shapes.

IMG_7223

Using a pencil draw some lines across the back of one of the trees.  Then tear carefully along the lines as demonstrated by Ms5

IMG_7225

Cover the other colour tree completely with glue, then stick down every second piece of torn paper.

IMG_7228

Allow to dry and secure to your card stock:)

Torn paper christmas tree.

Torn paper christmas tree.

Christmas Craft For Kids – Cup Cake Christmas Trees.

Standard
Christmas Craft For Kids – Cup Cake Christmas Trees.

These are so easy to make and turned out super cute.  Inspiration actually came form some fish scales I saw some students at school making.

IMG_7101

All you need is some cup cake papers, cardboard (we used an old cereal box) glue stick (or paper glue) and scissors.  We just used cup cake papers we had in the cupboard, the striped green is my favourite.

Draw and cut out a tree shape.  For the first few, I drew lines as a guide for the rows so that Ms 5 didn’t just stick the papers all over the place.  This created the layers or ‘tiers’.  By the time she got to do her own at the end, she didn’t need lines anymore as she understood the process.

IMG_7068

Just press down the flat part (the bottom) of the cup cake paper, not the corrugated part. Once the bottom line is covered, move up to the next row and repeat until you get to the top.

IMG_7070

Ms5 decided to finish them off with a yellow paper sticking out the top like a star.  Great idea!

Cupcake Tree

Cupcake Tree

treee

Freaking 4s, aka; walking talking contraception.

Standard
Freaking 4s, aka; walking talking contraception.

It has been a really long day… week, month actually.  I feel like I have 99 problems and most of them are Mr 4.

I have always said 4 is the worst age, everyone talks about ‘terrible twos’, *coughbullshitcough*.  2 is a delightful rainbow filled walk in the park on the perfect spring day. It is just a cute, smiles and cuddles filled warm up run for 3 and then the ultimate evil that each child becomes, known as Freaking 4s.

Ironically this is also the 4th time I have been through this – saved the best ’til last too.  So it’s not a case of a FTM shocked at this new unknown stage.  I know there is another side – and on days like today, that and the cold bottle of wine waiting in the fridge are about the only thing that keep me going.

Everyone has a favourite and a least favourite stage and while I am yet to suffer as a parent of a teen, I will stand by 4 being THE worst age.  (opinion subject to change in 5 years :p)

Newborns are hard work, all that crying and not knowing what is wrong, the lack of sleep, the post pregnancy hormone crash, but the hardest part is really adjusting your life and accepting that you will never sleep again.  Once you get through that, they’re just divine.  I’d honestly take 3 week old colicky triplets with poor latch over one 4 year old.

Then there is that awkward, not new born, but not mobile stage.  Yeah, that has it’s down side, especially on your back. Like wrangling a hungry octopus out of water.  Oh and introduction to solids, novelty wears off that after your first!  But they sleep a bit more (with any luck) and they give lovely cuddles and the cutest toofless grins.

Toddlers, who doesn’t love a toddler?  Baby proof your house and they’re just a walking babbling bundle of fun?  Easy to entertain, no backchat, inquisitive, full of new milestone, every day brings a new surprise.

Aaand then we head to 2.  You’ve still got the cute toddler thing, just with a side serve or attitude and cheek.  They still have day naps if you’re lucky and toddler talk alone makes it worth it.  “Quick mumma, da gwasspopper needs da ambwance to take him to da hopitable! The baby days diary gets a work out recording all that cute.

Three, helloooo big kid.  Suddenly we have style, we have taste, we have empathy and compassion. We have worked out what we do and don’t want, even if that is chicken nuggets and not vegetables.  We are ‘into’ things, we carry around little collections or things we find and sometimes leave them in our pockets for mummy to find – after she’s done the washing. Language is developing at a rapid rate, you can play games with them, teach them, you think you’ve just got this parenting thing mastered and your child will be the next president with all that new found independence and the way they are picking up everything you put down…

Until suddenly – 4.  Oh emm geee.  There is attitude, there is defiance, there is button pushing and testing beyond limits.  There is too many times when you want to lock yourself in a room and cry.  WHERE IS MY TIME OUT!  The arguments, the back chat, the tantrums   – hang on, didn’t we grow out of them 18 months ago?  What the eff just happened to my perfect child? You start looking at them from different angles wondering if maybe there was a mix up at the hospital and would it be too late to get your money back?

But you deal, you hold back the tears, you keep calm, pick up your shattered parenting confidence and carry on. Because this is the year that really matters.  This is the time to sort out your child before they go out into the big bad world to become part of the ‘system’.  This is your last chance to make them the wonderful little human you want them to be.  And thankfully, speaking from experience, it does get easier from here.  For a few years at least:)

In the meantime, we have wine, we have the comfort of knowing we are not alone and that at the end of each day, they eventually go to sleep.

4

A duck walked up to a lemonade stand…

Standard

and he said to the man, running the stand ‘hey, have you got any grapes?’

Not sure if it was inspired by this or too many episodes of The Simpsons, but Mr 9 wanted to start a lemonade stand.  Only a few problems with this; we don’t have a supply of lemons, we don’t know how to make lemonade and we don’t have enough foot traffic outside our house to make it worth our while… But I didn’t want to quash his ambition altogether.  So what can a small boy do to make some money? The answer was staring me down – literally.  Breed fish.

I grew up with aquariums, my father also a fish hobbyist. There’s never been a time in my life that I have not had at least one tank (if not several) running. My kids already have many of the basic fish keeping skills having always had tanks around them too, so this seems like a good hobby to get them into.  We are just sticking with live bearers at this stage, as they are the easiest as far as I am concerned.  If they stay enthusiastic we can move on to more complicated fish later.

While it may not be a proper business for him as such, as I wont make him responsible for over head costs (food, electricity etc) the project offers lots more.  Its about life, death, birth, cleaning and maintaining something, responsibility and science, with water testing, how temperature is relevant to breeding etc.  So while they might only make a few dollars from it, the over all life experience will be much more beneficial, and they’ll have no idea they’re even learning.:)

This is only the 3rd week of monitoring and taking extra special care of the fish to promote breeding and we already have over 30 babies.  Now to keep them alive until they are fully grown!

3 Easy DIY Fancy Dress Costumes.

Standard
3 Easy DIY Fancy Dress Costumes.

It’s that time of year again mums and dads!  The painful time when your kids want to dress up as something that you can’t possibly find at a costume shop.  AKA Book Week!  This year was made extra painful by the fact I only realised at lunch time the day before, that I TOO had to dress up for work!  So I needed something we could whip up in one evening – these are the results. 

I wanted Mr9 to go as Mr Bump, but apparently he is too old for that.  So he wanted to be an MnM, even though that has nothing to do with book week… 

I needed to be able to sit and write in my costume, so a cardboard front was not going to work.  As poorly demonstrated in the photo, the body took its square shape while I held my hands up, which is all I needed for the parade part of the day. So it worked well.  I simply worked out the length I wanted it, doubled it over then brought one corner across to make a right angle triangle. Cut away the excess and the hard part is done! 

Then it was simply a case of drawing on the face and cutting a slit for the head hole. My ‘weights’ are old rope reals that we happened to have in the garage (for storing Christmas lights) and the hat was $2 from a junk shop.  

Little Miss Sunshine and the MnM are just variations of the same.  Trace a circle (work out how big you can go for the size of the costume wearer) We made a compass with ribbon and 2 pens.  Rather than painting, you could just use the correct colour card and maybe back it with some firmer cardboard, but we left this too last minute so had to paint.  The yellow craft paint required a layer of white under it as it was too transparent alone to give you that very ‘bright’ yellow that LMS required.  

We hand drew LMS facial features with pencil then went over them again with black marker.  The hair was cut from felt, but if you didn’t have any felt you could just draw the lines on for her hair (that’s all she has in the books anyway).  The plaits are 3 pieces of felt, hot glued to the back of the card.  

The MnM is much the same, but we used some templates for the facial features from this blog.  Which made life much easier.  I cut away the eye lids however and traced them back on so they were a consistent red.   Then it was just a case of fixing some straps to the back so they could be worn hands free. For this I simply attached some ribbon to the back with ample sticky tape.  Leaving a piece of ribbon hanging out the bottom, which was then stuck over the top in the opposite direction to avoid the ribbon sliding out of the tape.  The ribbons were still firmly secured at the end of the day.  

I think given more time some white gloves for each of these costumes would have finished them off nicely.  Other than that, not a bad outcome for a few hours work the night before. :) 

little-miss-sunshine