Category Archives: School Holiday Entertainment

Autumn Tree, Family Craft Activity

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Autumn Tree, Family Craft Activity

This week I am excited to feature a project from a local crafty mumma from All Tizzied Up .  She and her gorgeous girls have brought nature and some textiles together to create a colourful fall themed wall hanging.  

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They have gathered up some bark and leaves and painted the leaves while still fresh using acrylic craft paint.  The paint has slowed down the drying out process and kept them supple so they don’t crack through the next few steps.  The rest if fairly self explanatory, or run your mouse over each picture for more details.

Once all the collage was together, mum then filled in the surrounds of the tree with blue paint and there you have it.

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Spooky Halloween Doorway Hanging.

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Spooky Halloween Doorway Hanging.

I saw some similar ghosts on Pinterest and thought we’d give them a go.  We made them earlier in the week, but it took me a few days to decide what to do with them.  A door hanging seemed perfect!

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The cheese cloth/white gauze was from Spotlight and only $2 per meter.  We used 2 meters for the 18 ghosts.  Each ghost needed 2 layers, as the cloth is quite transparent.  After I cut out the squares, Ms4 put the ghosts together.  Some how I have lost the photos of this step.

For the larger ghosts, we used eyes with backs on them, like you’d use making softies or teddies.  The spike on the back worked well to hold the cheese cloth in place too.  For the smaller ones we just glued on googley eyes with craft glue.  I had intended to make some bats and spiders to add as well, but when I laid out the ghosts, they covered the area better than expected.  Plus I have so many projects on the go at the moment, I thought I best actually get one finished.  We did add some plastic spiders for effect.  Using the longest needle I owned (which really needed to be another 2cm longer) I threaded each item onto 4 separate strings.  I used doubled over crochet cotton as it was the most appropriately coloured thing I had on hand.  Fishing line tends to get tangled too easy, so I avoided it this time. I attached the strings to a rod we had in the shed, but any stick would have been fine.  And there you have it.  As with most of my projects lately, they are really hard to take photos of!  Hopefully you get the idea!

If you’d like to see more family craft activities, please follow this blog and Pinterest!

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School Holiday Fun – Rainbow Spaghetti!

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School Holiday Fun – Rainbow Spaghetti!

I actually made this for the little 2, thinking it would keep them entertained for an hour while I got some work done.  Turns out the older kids loved it too. Can’t really blame them, it feels cool and looks so pretty!  I just used one standard pack of pasta, if you were doing this at a birthday party, you might want to use 2 or 3 for lots of kids.  Separate into equal groups of as many colours as you have, then cook each pile at a time, rinsing the saucepan between colours.  You don’t need a lot of water, so it heats up quick.  The whole process only took about 30 minutes for 5 colours.  More details if you run your mouse over the images.  Enjoy.

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Halloween Craft For Kids, Finger Print Gift Tags

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Halloween Craft For Kids, Finger Print Gift Tags

I love finger print critters, and had never actually made them with my kids.  So this seemed like the perfect opportunity.  A bit of parent help is needed for the finishing touches, but there is plenty of steps the little kids can help with along the way.  You can click on the pictures for more detailed instructions, but it is all pretty straight forward as you can see.

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All we used was some card, white paint, googly eyes (and some sequins) silver paint pen, ribbon, clear cellophane, and lollies to fill.

Halloween Toddler Craft, DIY Treat Boxes

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Halloween Toddler Craft, DIY Treat Boxes

I know many Australians still have not accepted Halloween, ‘it’s a silly American tradition’, even though it is not American, but anyway, they really should, because it is heaps of harmless fun and the kids love it.  Our new neighbourhood really gets into it, I think I enjoy it more than Christmas!

But of course, it’s not just about the dressing up and lollies, halloween craft is lots of fun too. Maybe it’s because I am new to it, but it seems so much more fun than Easter and Christmas craft.  Today I just did a simple project with the little kids as the older 2 were not home.  I had another idea in my head, but have decided to keep that for later in the school holidays.  I am hoping to get quite a few Halloween themed projects in over the next 2 weeks while the kids are off.

I cut out some Halloween shapes in the potatoes while Ms4 gathered the paint and plastic plates.  The boxes were just from the grocery store, but they are available at many places, $2 shops etc. We had to allow each side to dry before doing the other side, as you need to apply pressure for best results, rather than trying to stamp the assembled boxes.  Once both sides were dry we applied another coat of glitter paint, and some embellishments, again, one side at a time.  The weather was nice today so the whole project only took a couple of hours even while waiting for things to dry.

 

I am pretty happy with the results.  Would have liked some different coloured boxes for variety, and was disappointed we are out of black paint for the bats, but over all, not bad for an afternoons work.

 

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Ten Tin Bowling! Recycled Cans – Toddler Activity.

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Ten Tin Bowling! Recycled Cans – Toddler Activity.

 

The hardest part of this project was collecting the cans!  To make stacking easier, make sure all 10 cans are the same height.  Obviously you don’t need to cover the cans with paper, but I think it made it a bit more fun.   I just cut some scrap booking paper to size, fixed with tape, and they’re done.

 

 

This activity develops hand eye coordination, cognitive and gross motor skills.  Once you’ve had enough, the cans can just go into the recycling!   The kids loved the noise they make as they smashed to the ground.  Older kids could keep score and make a more competitive game out of it.

 

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Kids in the Kitchen, Egg Bread (French Toast)

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Kids in the Kitchen, Egg Bread (French Toast)

Here is another super simple meal idea that the kids can cook themselves.  Most people would consider it a breakfast dish, but we have had it as dinner on busy nights or when  we don’t feel like a huge meal.

All you need is fresh bread, lots of eggs (roughly 2 per person) dash of milk, butter or oil for the fry pan and what ever your desired sauce might be.  BBQ, tomato, maple syrup and bacon!

 

In a flat bottom bowl, whisk the eggs with a dash of milk, soak the bread for a few seconds each side, then place into a hot oiled pan.  Flip once the underside has started to brown and repeat.  Easy as that!

* You don’t actually need to use milk, but I find it helps the egg soak into the bread quicker.

Teaching Kids To Sew – Make a Hair Scrunchie!

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Teaching Kids To Sew – Make a Hair Scrunchie!

I was just saying to my other half, I find it odd how many people think the ability to use a sewing machine is something rare or difficult. He agreed that it is very simple, no harder than driving a car. 2 minutes later as I was taking up Miss 4s curtains, I managed to catch the middle of the curtain in the seam, creating a huge unpicking job, and of course my quick-un-pick has grown legs and run off, so I had to do it the hard way. Murphy and his law are cruel, and now I see why many people choose not to sew!

That aside, I still think we should all learn the basics of sewing, even if the days of making your own clothes to save money are long gone (fabric is SO expensive!). So when my boys showed interest in sewing after my last little project, I jumped at the opportunity to teach them some basics on the machine. The easiest thing to sew has to be a scrunchie!

The process is very straight forward, so I am sure I don’t need to go into much more detail than what is in the caption on the pictures. Apart from a pretty wonky seam by Mr9 (which you can’t notice once finished), they were a success and Ms4 was happy to model their efforts to the world. We used fabric with lines on it as I figured that would be easier to follow for beginners, but you can use just about anything, make them any size and thickness.

Gotta love a bit of 90s hair fashion! Where’s the crimper!

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Owl Family Craft Project

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Owl Family Craft Project

To be honest, craft is the last thing I was in the mood for this weekend. After some tragic news on Saturday morning, the tone of what was planned to be a fun 3 day weekend, soon turned into a very sombre one indeed.  All I really wanted to do was hug my pillow and cry.  But my children don’t really understand grief, so after 24 hours of my moping around, they were climbing the walls.  I was inspired by this project from an activity I saw at school a few weeks ago, of individual owls as they related to the letter O (letter of the week).  I thought a little owl family with the kids prints would look very cute.

The concept is quite simple like most of my projects, and as you can see in the photos below, so I wont go into too much detail.  I let the kids choose from my scrapbooking paper a pattern they liked, but you could just as easily use plain colours.  The background is just 2 school scrap books centre pages sticky taped together, then washed with blue water colour as demonstrated by Mr 8.  Once dry, I ironed the paper to make it flat again.  I drew the owl body and Mr 8 and I cut them out.  The eyes were traced from a circular cookie cutter and cut out.  The black dots made with a hole punch.  I just drew one foot, then used it as a stencil for the rest of the feet, so they are all similar.

The kids then chose their wing colour.  I placed the body on the background and had the children do their hand prints one at a time, starting in the middle.  This way I didn’t have to worry too much about working out the spacing. Once they were all done, I sketched in a branch and Mr 8 painted it in. Then it was just a case of glueing eyes, pupils, beaks and feet.  We added some leaves cut out from green paper to the branch and there you have it.  A little owl family hand print keepsake.

Materials:

Paper, Scissors, hole punch, water colour, coloured card and paper, glue stick, craft paint.

If you have got this far, thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the post and it inspires you to do something just as fun and rewarding with your young family.  But if I can just ask one small thing of you, next time the opportunity arises, please donate to childhood cancer research in your country.  Currently only 5% of research funds go towards childhood cancer research, so please pinpoint your donations to this very important cause. This beast needs to be stopped.

DIY Sun catcher/Wind chime.

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DIY Sun catcher/Wind chime.

This project was inspired by another bloggers post, which I can’t find again on Pinterest, so will have to edit it back in later when I can find it.  Anyway, I ended up doing something completely different to hers, because I couldn’t get my hands on the right kind of cups.  The original mobile was created with plastic (recycling number 6) disposable drinking cups.  I hunted high and low however, the only ones of them here were solid colours, so I had to settle for these shot glasses.  The shot glasses are a lot thicker though, so the entire method required adjusting.  As you can see in the gallery images, melting these at a low heat basically make little plastic globs that would only be good for playing jacks with.   Eventually I worked out that by turning the heat up enough, I could get them to melt flat.  However, they did emit a nasty smell at this temp, so I took the project out to the BBQ.  

Adding the next colour

Adding the next colour

After melting the first cups, I added another cup, so there was enough plastic to cover the base of each muffin hole.  I was not too worried about thickness, some ended up with 3 cups, I broke a few cups up to splash some other colour around.  The BBQ was set to 220C with the lid down.   After cooling, this is what you get; 

The finished disks

The finished disks

 

They actually set really hard and when clicked together sound like glass rather than plastic.  Makes them perfect for a wind chime.  Just like with my previous sun catcher, I drilled holes in the sides of each piece using a normal drill bit.  None of them broke this time, which was an extra win.  Then we threaded some fishing line through, held each end together and threaded random shiny and transparent beads along the 2 lines. Admittedly I do have a ridiculously huge stash of beads and stones accumulated from over the years, but you can pick up cheap beads at $2 shops that will still make the project inexpensive if you were starting from scratch.  The first line was 11cm, then I continued along making each one 1cm longer, there is 17 in total.  My darling partner tied them on to the pre made metal loop (from spotlight – and much to his disappointment, he is not a crafty person).  Once they were all tied on, I just slid them around until they were spaced evenly.  And done! 

Close up

Close up

 

** Please note, breathing in the fumes from melting plastic is probably not a very good idea.  So if you do try this at home, try to use the BBQ or make sure the room is well ventilated, and preferably don’t be near the oven while its all happening.  It not like burning tyres or anything, but it sure doesn’t smell like something you should be breathing in! 

 

Decorated Eggs, Easter Egg Dying and Decorating.

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Decorated Eggs, Easter Egg Dying and Decorating.

While we did the Tie Dying, I also started experimenting with a few other methods of colouring eggs using a home made dye using ingredients that almost everyone has already in their kitchen.  These were some of the results;

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These are obviously pretty straight forward.  Dyed in a food colouring/vinegar/warm water mixture.  Then a scrap booking embelishment stuck on.  Would have preferred embellishments without the clear plastic behind them, but the craft shop didn’t have any like that and you can’t really tell from a distance anyway.

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I love how these turned out.  Just use leaves from the garden, lay over the eggs then cover with a stocking or pantyhose.  I actually used some stocking I had on hand and didn’t even need to ruin them in the process.  Dip dye for a few minutes and you’re done.

Crepe paper results

Crepe paper results

 

We actually discovered this dying method accidentally.  After we had finished the Tie Dying from a previous post, we placed the eggs on this pre shredded crepe paper.   Some of the eggs still had a bit of water in them from the boiling process, so when that ran out and wet the paper, the colour transferred onto the eggs!  So I took it a step further, wet a hand full and covered them in it.  The results are pretty cool I think!

The dying solution we used was 3 parts hot tap water to one part vinegar, with as much food colouring as you wanted, we only used about a teaspoon per large cup.

Some of the other patterns we created can be seen below.

Easter Craft, Cute Little Chicks.

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Easter Craft, Cute Little Chicks.

Another very wet weekend has resulted in craft overload in this house.  Today we made some little chickens.  We will call them Easter Chicks, but they could really just be birds and would still be just as cute!  All we used was some small styrofoam balls, paint, google eyes a pack of feathers and a few different glues and double sided tape.  Oh, and some of those pre stuck felt shapes.  First we put the balls on a skewer to hold them up to paint.  The paint, like everything at the moment, took forever to dry, even under the ceiling fan.  Then we added the eyes and beaks.  It was a bit of trial and error with the glue, as some glue dissolves the styrofoam.  But we got there eventually, with some scrap booking glue.

Glue on eyes.

Glue on eyes.

 

For the beak, we just cut off petals from a foam flower sticker (which you will see further on).  We used several different methods to make the wings.  For thicker wings I folded over a feather from the centre, and secured both sides together with some double sided tape.  This worked well, but was a lot of fiddling around and you could see the tape through some, which I was not happy with.  Others I just cut away one side of the feather, to make it more a wing shape.  Then for the crazy birds I just stick the feathers straight in the side, to make them look like they were running.  Way cute!  Twisted some pipe cleaners to make legs and we were done.

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Ms 4 wanted to make a nest for them, so I grabbed some sugar cane mulch and let her build one outside, she then sprinkled a few flowers around which I thought was a great idea, so told her to get more.

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The coloured eggs are from another project we did this weekend, I will post more on them tomorrow.  They finished it off nicely though I think.

 

Bubble Painting Easter Garland, Toddler Craft Activity

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Bubble Painting Easter Garland, Toddler Craft Activity

Bubble painting is nothing new for toddlers and preschoolers, but we have never done it at home and I thought it would create a cute finish for some paper eggs.

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Most people will have all this stuff lying around the house, so its a cheap activity too.  Dish washing liquid, food colouring, drinking straws, paper (in this case egg shapes) a bowl and a splash of water. I just Google Image searched ‘easter eggs’ and found some egg shapes, copied into Word, adjusted the size and printed.  Could have drawn them myself, but I was being lazy.  The bigger 2 kids helped cut some out and I cut out the rest. The mixture is equal parts water, food colouring and detergent, you can use more water, but the less you use the more vibrant colours are achieved. Then the fun begins!

Yellow bubbles.

Yellow bubbles.

Simply blow the bubbles so they rise well above the sides of the bowl then place the paper flat on top.  You may need to tip your bowl slightly to keep the straw submerged.  Be sure to place the paper as quickly as possible.  The bubbles will actually last quite a while if untouched, but the colour drops to the bottom quickly, so the longer you wait the less colour will transfer to the paper.

Samples of our creations.

Samples of our creations.

Once dried (on a dry day they would only take a few minutes to dry, but due to never ending rain in Sunny Queensland, they took a lot longer) we attempted to punch holes in the top to string them up with, but due to the moisture in the air, the paper just can’t get crisp enough to punch as such, so we stuck small sections of straw to the back with sticky tape.  This actually worked out really well, as it meant they face forwards rather than side ways all the time.  We used some more coloured straws (cut into 3rds) to space the eggs out then alternated sizes along the way.

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And there you have it.  Its hard to take a photo of, but its really pretty.  Currently hanging in the hallway.  If the sun ever comes out again, I will take a photo of it in natural light to bring out the colours better.

 

Tie Die Eggs – Easter Craft, Egg Decorating

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Tie Die Eggs – Easter Craft, Egg Decorating

In Australia, Easter in my experience at least, is all about chocolate eggs.  The only time I decorated an egg was in grade 3, for a decorating competition.  But apparently in other parts of the world its just what you do at Easter time.  A friend showed me this idea and I just had to give it a go!  I rushed out to the local Op shops that afternoon and fumbled through a rack of ties trying to find any that were 100% silk (they must be 100% silk, polyester will not work). One shop charged $1 each and the other wanted up to $5 each, I told them they were dreaming and talked them down to $2.

$20 worth of Op shop pure silk ties

$20 worth of Op shop pure silk ties

 

You can do this with boiled eggs, but I wanted to be able to keep them for future years or at least future craft projects.  So rather than using whole eggs, we blew the eggs.  That was a challenge in its self, but once I got the hang of it, I cleared out a dozen eggs and away we went.  Cut the stitching at the back of the tie so you can open it up, remove any lining and cut a piece big enough to cover your egg.  Making sure the dark side (what was once the outside of the tie) is against the egg. Secure with a twist tie or as I did, rubber bands as tight as possible without breaking the egg. You want as much surface contact as you can get.  I then removed the excess fabric to make putting on the second layer easier.

All wrapped up tight in the first layer (print facing egg)

All wrapped up tight in the first layer (print facing egg)

 

Then wrap a layer of plain fabric (I used some flannel and calico I had in the scrap fabric bag) and secure again with another band.  Fill a saucepan with water and half a cup of vinegar (I didn’t measure, but would have used more than half a cup of white vinegar) and bring to the boil.  Different directions state different cooking times, from 5 minutes to 20, I went with closer to 20 minutes.  Then the exciting part!

Love the colours and patterns in this one.

Love the colours and patterns in this one.

 

Remove from the water and allow to cool.  Remove fabric and discover what you have created!  Don’t forget to blow out the water that may have ended up inside again if you used hollow eggs.  Out of the 11 we made, 3 didn’t work at all.  I can’t say for sure, but I think they were ‘fake 100% silk’ ties those ones!

Easter egg decorating

Easter egg decorating

 

So, looks like we are having scrambled eggs and omelettes for dinner tonight.

 

Valentine Heart Activities for the Kids, with a side of FAIL!

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Valentine Heart Activities for the Kids, with a side of FAIL!

The concept here is very simple, so the results are totally worth it. Gather up any old crayons, or you could even buy new ones if you like, but with 4 kids in the house, we have plenty of old odd sets.  Let the kids remove the paper (strengthening fine motor skills for the win!) and snap or cut into small enough pieces to fit in your desired mould.  *make sure your mould is heat proof!

IMG_1115Heat the oven to around 120c, it really doesn’t need to be very hot. Place in the oven on another hard tray (like a pizza tray) because they will be super runny before they set again and you don’t want crayon spilt inside your oven – ask me how I know?   If you do happen to spill a few drops, wipe it off with paper towel straight away, much easier to remove it while its still runny.

Once they are all fully melted, remove from the oven to cool.  I put them in the fridge after a while, because I am impatient.  Then just press them out of the moulds and you’re done.

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And now for the fail.  Originally I wanted to make crayon rings, for something a bit different on valentines day.  So along with my heart tray, I ordered a ring tray.  We were all set to go and excitedly looking forward to the results.

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But alas, this tray must have been for the freezer only.  I was sitting at my desk and thought ‘what is that smell’ walked to the oven to check and holey smokes!  I opened the door quickly, at which point the lot burst into flames!  So I threw some water on it in my panicked state.  The results?

IMG_1079A house full of toxic smoke and a colourful mess to clean up!  Oh dear.  So please, learn from my mistake, make sure you check the temperature ratings!

Valentine Craft for Toddlers

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Valentine Craft for Toddlers

Super quick and easy to set up, minimal mess and cute results.  Bend a cardboard tube, toilet roll for example, and fix the top with some tape to keep its shape.  If you have some heart shape cookie cutters, they will work too.  We also made 2 potato stamps.  Some coloured paper, paint and let them at it.

 

 

The potato stamps worked out much better, as neither of the younger 2 had the dexterity required to get the roll to print properly.  You could finish them off and write messages on with a sharpie as I did in the last image, or you could just use them as decorations rather than cards.

Wind Chime / Sun Catcher

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Wind Chime / Sun Catcher

Continuing on from the Christmas decorations we made a few weeks back, using the same principal we put together this wind chime or out door decoration.  I’ll spare too much description, as its all talked about in the previous post (linked above), and its pretty straight forward anyway.

So this time we just made all stars, the kids chose their colour schemes and I wasn’t too worried about a colour theme as such.  More colour the better.  Once cooled, again we drilled small holes into a corner of each one, then threaded some fishing line to hang from a branch.  I used a tiny dot of hot glue to keep the fishing line in position.  And that’s it!  Easy peasy.

This is about the 4th time we have made sun catcher type things, and every.single.time there is no sun when I go to take photos of it.  I will hopefully update this when the some decides to come out again.

Back to School – Book covering, (without the swearing)

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Back to School – Book covering, (without the swearing)

This really doesn’t require a tutorial, its more of a brag than anything.  There is a certain amount of nostalgia attached to covering school books.  The smell of that fresh new paper, shiny new pencils, no dog ears, all your books neat in a row.  Then to personalise them with pretty covers and name labels.  Yes, I looooved coving my books at school – says anyone that doesn’t have school age children.  That was me too, until my eldest son started 1st grade.  BUT THE TRUTH!  The truth is, contact is the DEVIL!  Thats right folks,  he walks among us, in the shape of a cylindrical role of pretty coloured sticky plastic.   What was once a lovely memory of my own child hood, now just about brings tears to my eyes.  I do not remember it ever being to difficult!  The bubbles, THE F’N bubbles, creases, more bubbles, AHHHHHH.  OMG.  So, after 3 years of torturing myself, my partner, and my walls (things were thrown) I finally got out early enough in the back to school season to get my hands on clear plastic sleeves.  There is a God!  He was hiding at Office Works the whole time.   A few rolls of gift wrap from the $2 shop and we are set!

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The boys had 20, yes, 20 writing books EACH this year.  The sleeves come in packs of 5, for around $3 a pack.  3 – 5 meter rolls of wrapping paper, $2 each at the Reject Shop. Scissors and tape.

Wrap the cover of the book just as you would with contact, but secure with sticky tape on the insides.  It took just under an hour to cover all of one child’s books.

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Slide the covers over the top, and you’re done.  (please excuse the revolting nails that badly needed refilling).

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No swearing, no bubbles, no torn covers, no bubbles, no books thrown, no tantrums or tears and more importantly, no bubbles.  Just lovely, shiny clean covered books, ready for the new school year.

 

Valentine Craft – Hanging hearts Wall/door Decoration

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Valentine Craft – Hanging hearts Wall/door Decoration

I saw something similar to this on Pinterest, thought we would give it a go.  I just used some scrap booking paper we had already, picked out 10 different pink patterns.  Using the paper cutter, cut strips approximately 1 inch wide.  Then folded them in half, ready to be rolled, as demonstrated by Ms 4 below.  The kids did them around a round pencil, but you can also curl them with a blade like you do curling/gift ribbon.  The blade was much quicker, but I was not letting the kids do that.

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Once both sides are curled towards the middle, fix the to sides together in the centre of the heart with a staple.  I didn’t worry to much about a uniform size.  Variety is the spice of life and all that.

You could use a coat hanger, pice of dowel, or even just a long stick for the hanging frame.  We used some mettle light extension rods we had in the shed, kept them thinking they would come in handy some day and looky here, perfect size for a door way!   I decided on 5 strings of 10 hearts, because lets be honest, the novelty was already wearing off making them after the first 10.

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Then came the tricky part, threading them onto the fishing line.  I temporarily hung the rod from a fan so I could manoeuvre around it easier.  Then threaded through the centre of the heart and tied a knot around where it is stapled together, so the line was centre.  THEN, using a needle, threaded the remaining line through the centre at the bottom of the heart, to keep the heart upright.  Thankfully putting fishing line through a needle is very easy!  The threading process probably took 10 minutes for each strand.  To finish off, I hung some sparkly gift ribbon between each row.  And there you have it!

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Beaded Mobile/Chandelier/Wind chime Family project.

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Beaded Mobile/Chandelier/Wind chime Family project.

Sorry if the beads are getting old.  I really made this up as I went along. I wanted to use the rings I had bought to make Christmas Wreaths but never got around to.   I thought this was something we could all do together and the results are pretty cute, although would do it differently next time.

 

Ending the wire

 

We threaded some plastic jewels with beading wire, to make the ends. Then created patterns with different coloured beads, around 20cm long.

ends ready for string

 

Finish off the ends by wrapping the wire into a loop around some needle nose pliers.  The loop needs to be big enough to not let the beads slide off, and to allow you to thread more string on in the next step.

Then I just tied them around the ring, suspended it with some gift ribbon and suspended a glass sun catcher in the middle.  All pretty straight forward. Ms 4 wants to hang it from her light, but as she has a light fan combo, there is nothing to hang it from.

 

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