Tag Archives: diy

Upcycled pallet planters

Upcycled pallet planters

As part of the never-ending garden makeovers going on around here, I wanted 2 large barrels. I needed something off the ground so that my darling chooks and dogs would not dig them up, and the plants in them would have some chance of becoming established.  But then I saw how much barrels were and the idea went wayyyyyy down the list of priorities. I mean who is going to spend $200 to save some $3 petunias?

The blank canvas

The blank canvas.

I happened to be at Bunnings just a few days after Christmas, and their pallet recycling pile was massive, presumably from all the extra Christmas stock. I grabbed a long pallet for another project then inspiration struck! I called Mr. SAHL and he was on board.  What better reason to pull out all those power tools I buy him.

Unfortunately, heaps of the photos of the progress have gone missing, so what was going to be a step by step guide cannot be.  But hopefully, this blog can be inspiration enough anyway.  I was aiming for pots at least 70cm tall to deter the chooks. But you can make them any size you like really.


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I was originally planning on painting them, but now I kind of like the rustic finish, even with the random chunks of blue. 🙂


And we have progress.  The temporary fence is in place to keep the dogs and chooks out while the groundcover, lychee, and pomegranate trees get established. The middle section is where we will be building an aviary in a few months time. Stay tuned!


DIY Party Favours

DIY Party Favours

We only have parties every 3rd birthday in our house as organising parties for 4 kids every year would be a full-time job (plus I’d need a 3rd job to pay for them).  So when we do have a party, I like to try to make it ‘next level’.  This month my daughter will be having her 9th birthday party with 10 close friends at home.  I thought rather than just the usual party bags filled with cheap lollies and plastic noisemakers, I’d try to make it a bit more grown up and special for them.  Here is one of the ideas we came up with to include in the party favours.  They worked out to $1 each and took about an hour for the 2 of us to put together.

You can purchase these packs studs in an assortment of colours and sizes from most Kmarts for just $2.  With only 10 guests we just split a pack in half, but there is no reason you couldn’t break them down further if you were to have more guests.

Image from http://www.kmart.com.au/

The background ‘thank you’ note was created on PicMonkey which is a really fun and easy editing website that even the kids can navigate. I inserted the image into a Word document to make it easier to adjust the size and estimate how big they needed to be on an A4 page.

Once we decided on an appropriate size for our image, we simply printed and cut them out and stuck on the strips of card that came with the earrings, using a glue stick.

Then it was simply a case of transferring the earrings over to the new home pushing them through the pink layer of paper.

If you plan on doing this project buy one more pack than you need as unfortunately some of them did break as we were removing from the cards – but at $2 for 10 pairs it’s hardly worth complaining about nor making another trip to Kmart. 🙂

And there you have it.  Thank you cards with a gift, all for $1 each plus a bit of ink and paper.  Happy party planning. 🙂

Rustic Clay Wind Chime

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


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.


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





3 Easy DIY Fancy Dress Costumes.

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. 🙂 


School Hair Clips and Hot Glue Burns.


So Ms5 started big school this year and she has been wearing lovely hair bows every day thanks to the wonderful All Tizzied Up.  But I figure at the rate we lose hair bands in general, she will soon be requiring more.  So I thought I’d give making some a go.


I ordered a stack of plain clips from ebay, I think it was $5 for 100 or something equally ridiculously cheap.  The ribbon was the only kind in the school colours that I could get my hands on at the local $2 shop.  The various widths limited my design options, but I am pretty happy with the results for a first attempt.


I have been warned by the pro not to get addicted! I can see how easy that might be though!  Beside the row of buttons one, they are all basically just loops or figure 8s of ribbon, glued on top of each other.  The buttons nicely cover up the mess in the middle too!  Might have to watch some tutorials on other kinds of bows when I get my hands on some more ribbon.


By the way, just in case anyone was not aware, hot glue burns like fire.  Yep, true story, just ask my finger.

Easy Sun Catcher, Kids Craft

Easy Sun Catcher, Kids Craft

Everyone loves a sun catcher – well according to Pinterest they do! This is basically the same concept as the Valentine Hearts  we did a few weeks back, but instead of random shapes, we used a punch to make stars and circles etc from the cellophane. Once laminated, we cut out smaller shapes and hung them from a branch with some beads.


This is yet another almost impossible thing to photograph, it looks so much more bright and colourful in real life. I don’t know why I keep doing this to myself, or maybe I just need to do a photography coarse, or even read the instructions for my DSLR…

Kids Valentine Craft, Love Heart Entrance – Bubble Painting.

Kids Valentine Craft, Love Heart Entrance – Bubble Painting.

We have done a bubble painting project before for Easter, it is so easy and the results are always cool, so we have tried it again this time just using pink.  We also used some pink paper as well as the white, where as last time we just used white paper.

Valentine Door Hanging,

Valentine Door Hanging,


Again I cheated and printed out some heart shapes, rather than drawing them all just so all the sizes were consistent.  You could obviously trace around a cookie cutter too, but hey, did I mention I am lazy?  I didn’t really measure out the ingredients for the bubble paint, it really was a squeeze of dishwashing liquid, splash of food colouring and a splash of tap water.  Then let the kids blow bubbles in the mixture until the bubbles come up over the top of the bowl.  Get them to quickly place the paper gently over the bubbles and the patterns will transfer to the paper. Instead of cutting each shape out first this time, we did the painting then cut them out after they were dry.  Then it was just a case of attaching them to some gift ribbon with tape.  I stuck them to the wall with blue tac.


If you wanted to make these hang in a door way, it would be a good idea to paint both sides of the paper, so they can spin and still look pretty on both sides.

Kids Valentine Craft – Stained Glass Hearts

Kids Valentine Craft – Stained Glass Hearts

I was determine to do some Valentine craft today with the kids before we ran out of time.  I had an idea in my head of what I wanted to do, but we couldn’t find the type of paper I needed.  While picking up some other bits and pieces from the grocery store, we found A4 laminate sheets on special and decided to grab some for the craft cupboard. I had a look around Pinterest for inspiration and then it finally came to me, lucky we grabbed those sheets!

The steps are pretty self explanatory I think, but you can see more instructions by clicking on or running your mouse over each photo below.

The similar projects I have seen on Pinterest use clear book contact, which you could also use if you don’t have a laminating machine.  The laminate sleeves give a much clearer finish though.  I was worried at first that the cellophane might melt as it went through the heat, but it was fine.


Ribbon Roses, Valentine Craft

Ribbon Roses, Valentine Craft

All Tizzied Up has taught her daughters how to make these ribbon flowers just as she did when she was a kid.  Very cute and pretty easy once you get the hang of it.





All you need is some ribbon (thickness will determine how big the flower head ends up being), some felt if you would like to add leaves, styrofoam ball, wooden skewer and some pipe cleaners for the stem.  Step by step photos and instructions can be found by running over or clicking on the picture gallery below.





Valentine Craft, Love Heart Door Hanger Part 2

Valentine Craft, Love Heart Door Hanger Part 2

This is another variation of our earlier Valentine Door Hanger , the main difference is rather than hanging the hearts from strings, we hot glued them to a flat ribbon.  The finer details can be found in the previous post or by hovering over the images below.



Method and recipe for making the hearts can be found on the previous blog entry.

Valentine Craft, Love Heart Door Hanger.

Valentine Craft, Love Heart Door Hanger.

We made 2 different variations of valentine door hangers, but both styles use the same materials.  The hearts are made from salt dough, the same as those DIY Christmas ornaments you see all over Pinterest. There is plenty of recipes and methods available online.  The bows are a basic bow that again you’d see on Pinterest.  There is hundreds of bow tutorials all over the internet too, but I kind of made it up as I was going along.  


We used the following recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1/2 cup fine table salt
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2/3 cup chilled water

Mix all ingredients as you would biscuits, using some extra flour as necessary along the way to stop it sticking.  Roll out 7mm thick, cut into shapes then bake at 120C for 2.5 to 3 hrs.  Once cooled, we painted them with craft acrylic paint.

The top bow feature for this one was made by cutting 4 equal lengths of ribbon, putting a small line of hot glue in the centre of one at a time, folding each end into the middle to create a single bow shape.  Then doing the same with the next ribbon, pilling them up as I went.  You can see this in the photos.  Finished off with a button.

Then it was just a case of threading the hearts, adding some extra ribbons and glueing all together at the back.


Sew-less Softie. Easy Craft Project.

Sew-less Softie.  Easy Craft Project.

This was one of those moments I love, when something just pops into your head and you think ‘yes, yes, yes I know what we’ll do!’ and it WORKS!   Originally it was supposed to be an octopus (8 legs) but Mr3 is calling it a spider and I think it looks a bit like a jellyfish, so what ever floats ya boat I suppose!



Mr8 chose green fabric, but I really wish we had used something a bit more fun.  The purple and white string livens it up a bit though.  Just run over or click on each photo for the steps.



Rainbow Tutu Bag. With Step By Step Instructions.

Rainbow Tutu Bag.  With Step By Step Instructions.

How cute are these? And so simple to make if you can get your hands on a few cheap materials. All Tizzied Up and her girls put these together as little Christmas gift bags.



All you need is some tulle in your choice of colours, a cheap elastic headband and some small calico or reusable bags (available at most $2 shops) and some ribbon or other embellishments if you choose.  Oh, and a hot glue gun, of course!

Cut the  tulle into lengths long enough to reach the bottom of your bags when folded over.  For these bags, that was 30cm. You can buy tulle in 15cm wide rolls, this makes the job a lot easier than cutting the strips from a large piece, it is quite fiddly to work with.  Fold the now cut strip of tulle in half and push the folded part through the bottom row of the head band so it is poking through a little, then thread the 2 loose ends through the loop you have just created and pull tight.  Repeat this process right around the head band.  Stretch over the bag and hold in place with a few spots of hot glue.

For the embellishment on the above bag, several ribbons were secured with hot glue, then piled together and stuck down, finishing off with a fabric embellishment.  You could use anything though, buttons, curly ribbons, or just leave it as a plain skirt.  Here is another example that All Tizzied Up made for my DD as she is a huge Peppa fan.



More detailed instructions available by running over the photos below.


DIY Christmas Bell Mobile

DIY Christmas Bell Mobile

If you like working with fabric like my friends at All Tizzied Up , here’s a simple Christmas craft decoration you can put together with the kids that will last for years to come.




Once you have gathered the fabric you want to use, all you need is some styrofoam bells, ribbon, hot glue and sharp scissors and you’re ready to get crafty.  The smaller kids can get working on the covering the loop while an adult does the hot glue bits.  The rest of the steps are covered in the photos below.


3 Easy Mini Christmas Tree Decorations

3 Easy Mini Christmas Tree Decorations






My crafty mum friend at All Tizzied Up has been very busy putting together some Christmas Craft projects with the family.  Thought we’d share for inspiration.




They created 3 different trees from styrofoam cone shapes using buttons, ribbon, felt, and every crafters favourite tool – a hot glue gun!



The felt tree was created by layering leaf shape felt pieces working from the bottom up, then decorating with plastic jewels.


This one is simply a case of measuring out same lengths or ribbon, fixing with hot glue, then twisting, gluing again.  Glue 2 of these together to create a flower type shape and attach to the cone.  Again, finishing with some jewels to look like ornaments.

The button one is covered in aluminium foil, before attaching buttons all over with hot glue.

So if you are wondering what to do this weekend before Christmas, maybe get out the craft supplies and get crafty with the kids.  Would make a great addition and talking point for your Christmas table on Wednesday!


Christmas Craft for Kids, Snowflake Garland

Christmas Craft for Kids, Snowflake Garland


We started making snow flakes from patty cake pans – as you do, they were so pretty, I figured we should use them for something more than making a mess.





I am sure everyone has made snow flakes before, so I won’t worry about elaborating on instructions.  We used the tin foil patty cake pans, then laminated them so they wouldn’t break and could be strung up easier.  I strung them up with fishing line, but any kind of string would have been fine.  Pretty Cool results I think.


Easy Kids Craft – Hanging Christmas Decoration


These are really simple to make and kids of all ages can help.  Mr8 actually showed me how to make one, then we extended on the concept to create this hanging ornament.


It is really just 2 card board stars slotted into each other at right angles to create a ‘3D star’ as he calls them.  But we made 4 different sized and hung them form some cotton.  We covered each star with some paper from a themed wrapping pack, so they were not all exactly the same, but similar enough to ‘match’.  The whole project took about 20 minutes for 3 of us and looks pretty cool!  Further instructions available if you open or scroll over each picture.

Home Made Teacher Gifts, Peppermint Bath Bombs

Home Made Teacher Gifts, Peppermint Bath Bombs

It’s that time of year again folks. Time to thank the dozen different day care providers, half of which I don’t even know the names of, for putting up with my darling children 2 days each week.

This year I decided to make something that all the kids could help with, as last years gift required minimal effort from the kids.  So we made Bath Bombs and I am happy to report they were a success (we tested one out last night!) 


I used 2 different recipes, the first one was here

Dry ingredients: 

  • Baking Soda – 8 ounces
  • Citric Acid – 4 ounces
  • Corn Starch – 4 ounces
  • Salts – 4 ounces

Wet Ingredients:

  • Water – .75 tbsp
  • Essential or Fragrance Oil – 2 tsp (I used peppermint, as it is Christmassy)
  • Oil – 2.5 tbsp
  • Food coloring – 1 or 2 drops
  • .

For the pink lot, I used this recipe

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid powder (use fine grade, available from chemists or pool supply shops)
  • Sieve
  • Potpourri or herbal teabags such as chamomile, lemon, rosehip or peppermint
  • An essential oil such as peppermint, lavender, geranium
  • Sweet almond oil (I just used vegetable oil)
  • Food colouring
  • Rubber gloves
  • Moulds from craft shops

Which came from here

The method I used for both was the same though.  Mixed all dry ingredients in a large bowl, then had Mr8 ever so slowly pour in the wet ingredients while I stirred like a mad woman.  With the second recipe, it doesn’t actually call for corn flour (starch) but I decided to throw a handful in just to make the recipe go further.  The second lot stuck together better than the first recipe while wet, but they have both dried lovely and firm and both fizz wonderfully in the bath tub.

We made the round ones in some empty plastic Christmas ornaments like the blogger in the first link did, as well as some smaller ones in some Aldi silicone trays.  If I was to make them again, I think I’d find a mould that was spherical, but a bit smaller, so you end up with more bombs from your mix.  I left the silicone tray ones to dry over night, and they popped out easily the next day.

It is summer here right now, and humid, which can destroy the bombs.  So before putting them in the little draw strings bags ($2 for 5 at the cheap shop) I wrapped them in cling wrap to protect them from moisture.

Added a little thank you note and Merry Christmas tag to the bags and we are ready to drop them off.

Make Your Own Sensory Santa Slime.

Make Your Own Sensory Santa Slime.

Ok, so the school holidays have not quite started here, but this looked like too much fun and I had a fairly light schedule for the day, so we gave it a go.  The best part is, unlike normal play dough, it is not going to go bad when stored between uses.


The recipe I followed required Elmers Glitter Glue, but after searching everywhere in a 20km radius I was still empty handed.  Apparently Elmers is available in Australia now, but from what I can tell it is only the white stuff, and I really wanted the clear version for this project.  So I just used non toxic craft glue, added my own glitter and was thankfully able to achieve the results I was after.  The recipe came from this delightful blog  

Santa Slime Recipe 

Combine the above ingredients in a bowl
 In a separate bowl combine
  • 3/4 teaspoons of borax
  • 1 & 1/3 cups very warm water
Once the ingredients of both bowls are mixed, combine them and mix, the slime will form almost instantly.

– See more at: http://www.growingajeweledrose.com/2013/12/santa-slime-recipe.html#sthash.MROKZyw1.dpuf

As I mixed up the ingredients I found it very hard to believe it needed all that water – but it really did, and then some!  Not sure if it was because I used so much glitter or because the make up of the glue I used was different than Elmers, but it turned out really firm, almost like play dough, and certainly didn’t ooze like I anticipated.  After I got over the initial disappointment, I figured I could either spend another $11 on glue or try to fix it – had nothing to lose, so I added more water to a section of it in a bowl (which did nothing while cool) and put it in the microwave for 2 minutes.  Yes, it worked, the slime took on more water and began to get runnier.  I continued to do this in sections, increasing the time in the microwave and the amount of water until I had the desired texture.  

The kids have been having heaps of fun with it, even the older 2.  We ended up with about 3 litres of slime after adding all the extra water, so plenty to share between the 4 of them.  If I make it again using the same glue, I will use twice as much water from the start, because adding some extra borax to thicken will be a lot easier than adding extra water was!

Christmas Tree Decoration

Christmas Tree Decoration

Maybe I should rename this blog ‘101 alternate uses for Christmas Baubles’, lol.  Here is something we put together this afternoon.  It took about 45 minutes and stands over a meter tall.  As usual, I struggled to take a photo of it, I really need to learn how to use my camera properly.

Christmas Tree

The sticks are those ornamental ones you buy from home decor shops, I think these ones actually came from The Reject Shop as around $4 a bundle. We cut them to size with secateurs and  glued with hot glue, I reinforced the corners with zip ties.  The stem is glued on – it is not weight bearing!  Then starting at the top we glued the bead string to one side, worked out the length needed to reach the other side, cut the string, threaded on some baubles, and glued the cut end to the other side.  Repeat, working your way down the tree.  To create the zig zag look, the strands are 12cm/5cm apart down each side.

Once upright, I shortened each string on the baubles by just tying another knot in them.  Glued on the star (came with the pack of baubles, $8 for the lot), and we are done.


Bauble Tree.

Bauble Tree.