Springy flowers Mothering Sunday card

I’ve got a horrible cold at the moment, so I’ve not felt like doing much other than the bare essentials of getting through the day with the boys, but I thought writing this short post would cheer me up. We like to make cards where possible, which often means doing a photo collage online, getting it printed, and sticking it to some ready folded cards. For Mother’s Day this year, as we have done in previous years, I thought it would be nice for the boys and me to do some craft together.

I scoured our craft box and found some coloured paper, glue, mini pompoms, small foam shapes, and furry wires. I cut some flower shapes out of two colours of paper, one colour bigger than the other, and a pot for the flowers to sit in. Then the boys (mainly Andrew whilst Joel tipped the pompoms out the bag!) helped me stick it all together. First we assembled the flower heads with glue and finished them with a mini pompom in the middle. Then we stuck them with tape to the top of the furry wires which became stalks. The other end of the stalks then fastened to the card with tape, and we glued the pot over the top. To finish off we stuck some leaf shaped foam bits to the card on either side of the stalks.

And there you go, a simple but effective Mother’s Day card – we made two identical, one for each Granny/Grandma.

IMG 1842

 

Mini Creations
Creative Challenge

The making of a superhero (or 2)

This week, as well as Joel’s first birthday, has included the 31st October. Now to lots of people that means Halloween, but we’re not into celebrating something that originated in dark things, even though these days it’s just a vastly over commercialised festival that most people take part in without any intention of deliberately celebrating evil. Instead we like to join in with the annual ‘Light Party’ that’s put on at our Church, celebrating all things light, including Jesus who we believe is the ‘Light of the World’. We still have lots of fun dressing up, eating treats and spending time with friends, we just do it in a way that doesn’t remember anything like witches, ghost and the devil.

This year’s theme was ‘superheroes’, and children who went were encouraged to dress up as a superhero if they wanted to. I knew that Andrew would want to join in, and thought it would be cute if Joel did too. I also knew that I didn’t have much time to make costumes (a couple of hours last Saturday morning), but I did a quick search on Pinterest and got a few ideas for quick and easy superhero costumes.

costumes

I decided that the superhero kit would include: a cape with letter design, a belt, wrist cuffs with lightening bolt design, and a mask. They then wore ordinary clothes with these accessories – for Joel that was a nappy, leg warmers and a plain top; for Andrew that was trousers and a top that I painted a star on last Christmas for the Nativity Play, with pants on the outside. Andrew’s colour theme was yellow (mainly influenced by the star), and Joel’s was green (mainly influenced by his green star leg warmers).

superhero Collage 3

The capes were made from an old black t-shirt of Daddy’s. I hemmed the edges quickly, and folded over the top, sewed it down and passed a length of elastic through to make a simple cape. I also appliquéd a letter in the centre for each of them: A for Andrew and J for Joel.

The belts and wrist cuffs were made from duck tape stuck onto paper, and then coloured card stuck on with double sided tape to make the ‘buckles’ and lightening bolt details. I was inspired by Martha Stewart’s blog to use duck tape for these. I then used snaps (which I use for nappy making) to secure them around the waist/wrist.

For the masks I simply cut out a mask shape, cut eye holes in, and fastened some elastic to go around the head using tape. I was amazed that Joel actually kept his on his forehead for the whole party, and Andrew wore his on his eyes for a while before it broke after some rather enthusiastic bouncing on the bouncy castle.

superhero Collage 1

superhero Collage 2

It was really hard to get good photos of them in the costumes at the party, most of mine are really blurry because they wouldn’t stay still! But I think you get the idea from the photo I took of the costumes before the superheroes got into them 😉 We had a lot of fun at the party; the boys (and I, and Grandma and Pop who came too) were all exhausted afterwards because they were constantly on the go exploring all the different games and activities that there were on offer, just like little superheroes who can never really rest with all the important work they have to do!

superhero Collage 4

Easter egg crafts – chocolate and card (not together!)

This Easter Andrew is at an age when he has just enough of an attention span to have a go at some simple crafts. Of course if it involves chocolate he’s very keen to help, and his attention span is somewhat increased when it comes to edible molten gooeyness – I wonder why?! But he’s also very into stickers and sticking, so I knew we could also have a go at making some cards that involve sticking.

Chocolate mini (or pinny) eggs

Andrew has been calling mini eggs ‘pinny eggs’ since he first had one a couple of weeks ago when we baked these cupcakes. I’m not quite sure why, given that he can say ‘m’ (as in mummy) and I’ve only ever called them mini eggs, but he’s obviously just got it into his head that they are pinny eggs. The ‘p’ sound is made with the same part of the mouth as the ‘m’ sound – the lips coming together and then opening again – but the ‘m’ also involves air being let out through the nose (it’s a nasal consonant). Anyway, that’s enough of a linguistic digression!IMG_0576

I was given some moulds for making chocolate mini eggs a few years ago. This year we made some white chocolate ones with Green and Black’s lovely vanilla white chocolate, and some dark chocolate ones with Asda Extra Special 75% cocoa dark chocolate with cocoa nibs which give a lovely crunchy texture (we made these as presents but had to sample them of course!) The moulds create half eggs when you pour molten chocolate into them, and then we sandwiched each pair of halves together using some milk chocolate. We left them to set in the fridge overnight between each stage and also before packing them up into presents.IMG_0587

We used cupcake cases to put a few of each type of egg in. Here they are all ready to give to Andrew’s grandparents (who have been told not to read this until tomorrow!)IMG_0589

Egg collage cards

These were really simple to make. First I cut an egg shape out of some yellow card – my tip for getting a nice even and symmetrical shape is to fold a rectangle of card in half lengthways and cut a semi-oval around the opposite side to the folded edge, then unfold it and you have an egg. I then stuck strips of double-sided tape all over the egg and removed the backing to the tape, which left a sticky surface all over the egg. We chose various scraps of paper, tissue paper, felt and mesh from my craft stash, in nice bright and spring-like colours, and I cut them into small squares and rectangles. Andrew then had fun sticking them all over the egg, with a bit of help from me. He found it ‘really funny’ (his words) that his finger tips kept sticking to the egg as he stuck bits on 🙂 When it was all covered, I stuck it onto the front of a pre-folded white A6 card with double-sided tape. It was a simple as that.

He was more bothered about rolling the tape around the table once we'd finished sticking!
He was more bothered about rolling the tape around the table once we’d finished sticking!

IMG_0573

Daffodil card for Mothering Sunday

I’ve been getting Andrew into helping me make simple cards recently. I bought a bargain bumper pack of plain white A6 cards with envelopes, and we’ve had a lot of fun together sticking things onto them. We made one for Granny’s birthday and Andrew and Joel’s cousin’s Baptism last month, and now Mothering Sunday is the occasion. I know it’s a bit late to use this idea now for a Mother’s day card, but I thought the daffodil design would work well for Easter too, so I’m sharing it on here. It’s not an amazing picture; I just about had chance to take one whilst still not feeling well earlier in the week before we had to get them in the post to arrive by today. Thankfully we made them just before the bug struck, and hopefully you get the idea from this picture.daff card

It was very simple to make. The yellow petals are a ‘pinwheel’, which you make by cutting a square of card the size of the space you want to fill and cutting a slit from each of the four corners to almost the centre; you then fold alternate corners (there are now 8) into the centre and stick them down with double-sided tape. The orange middle bit is made from an egg box, by cutting out one egg holder and cutting a zigzag shape into it from the top; we then painted it orange and stuck it into the centre when dry, using double-sided tape. The stem is a green drinking straw cut to size and stuck on with double-sided tape. Obviously I did all the cutting, but Andrew was very happy to help stick and paint.

We made one for each mum – Granny and Grandma. We have heard that they like them, so that’s a success! I have been given my own live daffodil and a handmade card from my boys 🙂live daff

Star Christmas cards

There seems to be a bit of a star theme going on on this blog this Christmas! First there were the cupcakes we made for my friend’s sister’s charity fundraising efforts, then Andrew’s nativity play costume, and now these homemade cards. One of my reasons for choosing a star as the shape to feature on the cards was that I wanted to use the finger paints that I bought last year (they seem to last ages, even having used them a few times since last Christmas) to do some potato stamp painting, and a star is a shape that is both Christmassy and simple enough that I could easily make a potato stamp using a star biscuit cutter that we have. Plus Andrew is a big fan of stars, particularly the song Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, so I knew he’d enjoy making cards with stars on.

Potato stamp cut with biscuit cutter and knife is ready to roll (or stamp!)

Potato stamp painting is something I haven’t done for a long time, and it reminds me of early school days. It’s such an easy and cheap way to make your own stamp – a baking potato cost me about 30p, and we already had a star cutter for making biscuits and playing with play dough. I cut the potato in half, and pressed the cutter into it and took it out again; I then cut out the potato from around the edges of the star to the edge of the potato, to a depth of about 0.5cm.

Andrew enjoying helping me paint the stamp before pressing it onto the paper.

The paint we used was some blue finger paint that came as a set of 4 pots (with red, yellow and green too). We stamped one blue star into the centre of A5 orange paper (A4 cut in half) – blue and orange are complementary colours, so the star stands out well on the background. Once the paint was dry, we stuck some glittery mini star stickers randomly around the big star, to make it look like a starry sky (with a bit of imagination 😉 ). Then to assemble the cards, I chopped a 1cm border off each edge of the orange paper, and stuck it down using double-sided tape onto A4 brown thick card folded in half.

11 stars drying overnight on our kitchen floor.

I always like to make (or buy) my Christmas cards with a design that reflects the real reason for Christmas, rather than something seasonal like snowmen, robins or holly. That was another reason for choosing a star – it was a star that marked the place where Jesus was born, so it had a vital role in the first Christmas. To go with this star design, I printed the text of a Bible verse that tells of the Magi’s (or ‘kings’ or ‘wise men’ as they are traditionally known) encounter with the star that shone over Bethlehem:

The star the Magi had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.
Matthew 2:9-10

We then stuck this verse onto the inside of the cards, the opposite side to where I wanted to write the greeting. I used a silver pen to write on the brown card. And that’s all there was to our card making, pretty simple really, but something Andrew could get involved with and enjoy doing!

A finished card, ready to write and send!

For Fathers’ Day: Thanks Daddy

I have to admit, Fathers’ Day did creep up on me a bit unawares this year. I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve been shopping less than usual because of the pregnancy sickness and tiredness, but I guess I usually rely on the shops bombarding me with signs that it’s (not so) nearly Fathers’ Day. Anyway, I was in the supermarket the other day and realised I’d done nothing about it. None of the cards there particularly grabbed me as suitable for Andrew to give to Daddy, so I thought I’d try and squeeze in a bit of easy craft time whilst Andrew was napping one day, and come up with a card. I knew I wouldn’t get time to make one for our dads too (sorry Dad if you’re reading this…) so we bought them another day in town. Here’s what I knocked together in less than an hour before the giver of the card woke up….

Thanks Daddy for... ...reading books to me (an opening book), ...taking me to the park (a slippery slide - pretty simple design but hopefully gets the point across!) ...
... and most of all changing all those nappies! (and putting them in the washing machine!)

The inspiration for the nappies idea came from another mummy blogger and artist, Aly.

For Father’s day itself tomorrow, we’re going to a family fun afternoon at Tom’s workplace (King’s College, Cambridge), organised by the students for the staff and their little ones. It looks to be a fun thing to do, and it was Daddy who suggested we do it, so I hope it’ll be a fun thing to do together to celebrate Fathers’ Day. There will be a bouncy castle, face painting, games, a barbeque (not sure I’ll be so into that) and much more. Andrew might be a bit young to appreciate everything, but I’m sure the atmosphere will be fantastic. Are you planning anything special for Fathers’ Day? Hope you have fun and that any Dads involved feel appreciated.

Personalised birthday cards: Grandad’s birdies

After the success of Granny’s Garden, I decided to have a go at making some birds to go on a card for my dad’s birthday. Over the past few years he’s got into bird-watching, particularly in my parents’ back garden, and has rigged up all sorts of camera technology to get quite fascinating pictures and videos of birds as they come and eat/drink/nest in the garden. If you’re interested, he has a website displaying all his finds, called Garden Twitter. He’s be really chuffed if more people went and had a look.

Anyway, that’s not really the main point of this post. I know nothing about birds, and would find it hard to tell you any names of those that land in the garden other than the obese pigeons that you can’t fail to notice. So I had to do some research in order to make the birds on the card as realistic as possible (OK, maybe realistic is the wrong word, because they’re cartoon-like, but I mean they have the right colours in the right places on their bodies!) That’s where the RSPB website came in handy, with its very useful colour sketches of birds that I know Dad has seen in the garden – perfect 🙂

Here’s a step by step guide to how I made ‘Grandad’s Birdies’…. (p.s. in case you were wondering, this post was written a while ago but I couldn’t publish it til after his birthday – I’m still busy with other things at the moment, so little blogging action 🙁 )

1. I started with a piece of thick brown A4 card
2. I folded it into three - the 2 side sections (which will become the front of the card) were deliberately unequal in size
3. I made a bluetit, by cutting a body, wing feathers, tail feathers, face and top of head feathers out of different textured papers
4. Here's the finished bluetit
5. I made a robin - just like I made the bluetit, using the same shapes but in different colours of paper
6. Here's a greenfinch - made in the same way again
7. Here's a goldfinch - made in the same way again
8. I then stuck the bluetit onto the wider front section, and then cut round him with a craft knife until reaching his tail, and then carried on cutting a straight line from him to the top and the botton of the card (making this front section less wide than it was, but still wide enough to meet the other front section when closed, as shown in the picture)
9. Now for the inside of the card... I cut out a tree from some coloured papers, and a piece of blue paper to be the 'sky' as well as a flowery piece to be the 'garden'
10. Then the other 3 birds found their home in or on the tree - all this sticking was done using double-sided tape by the way
11. I then drew round bluetit with silver pen, and on the flap underneath where he sits, I then cut out the centre of the bird-shaped silver outline that was now drawn onto it.
12. The idea of this hole was that it allows us to peak through at the garden of birds just before we open the whole card up. I also stuck a Happy Birthday sticker on the left and flap (the other side to the peep hole)
13. I added some flowery paper onto the front of the card, the same height as it was inside, so it's in keeping and continuity with the garden inside
14. The final touch was some writing on the front - Where are Grandad's birdies? Beau (the name of his Bluetit on his website) knows!.... then you open the card and find them in the garden, you see 😉

Bright and easy Mothering Sunday cards

Happy Mothering Sunday, Granny and Grandma!

I know it’s a bit late, but I couldn’t publish this until I knew our mums had seen their cards because they actually read the blog! This was just a quick idea that I came up with quite last minute as we’d had a busy weekend last week and I suddenly realised we needed to post something by midweek so they would get there. After the success of our footprint angel cards at Christmas, I thought I’d use Andrew’s hand prints this time. Except we didn’t have the energy to get the paint out, because since Christmas he’s become even more wriggly and strong, so keeping him from putting paint soaked hands into mouth would be more of a task than I wanted on a weekday morning. Instead I chose to draw around his hands, which remarkably he let me do without too much persuasion – I think he was interested in the soft feel of the foamy paper I used.

One left hand outline and one right hand outline were achieved, and formed the outline of a flower head. I then cut a stem, some leaves and a middle bit (which I guess represents the stigma/style/stamens according to Wikipedia) out of some different textured papers. This flower was then stuck onto a card made from two strips of thick brown card, held together with bright pink ribbon.

Two thick strips of brown card, A4 in length, folded in half
Pink ribbon holding the two strips together at the bottom, fixed with double-sided tape
Flower pieces assembled on card, fixed with DS tape

We hope they brightened our mums’ days, their second Mothering Sunday as Granny and Grandma!

Incidentally, I like using the term ‘Mothering Sunday’ instead of ‘Mothers’ Day’. It dates back earlier than the modern name for the day, to when people traditionally visited their ‘mother’ church on that Sunday. This was a local big church or a cathedral, and a special service was held for this, the 4th Sunday in Lent (that’s why Mothering Sunday moves around each year, in line with Easter). My reason for liking ‘Mothering Sunday’ is because it reminds me that being a mum is a job, it involves constant actions and ‘doings’, which can be described together as ‘mothering’. This gets lost in the term ‘Mothers’ Day’. I only appreciated this since being a mum myself, and now I appreciate my own mum’s (and Grandmas’ and mum-in-law’s) mothering even more.

Personalised birthday cards: Granny’s Garden

It’s that time of year again: my parents’ birthdays are here (one in February and one in March). They have lots of things and I never know what to buy them. So this year I decided to make them personalised cards for a present, because I know they will appreciate something that was hand made. (I also popped some cinema vouchers inside for Mum – I can’t say yet what will be in Dad’s as his birthday hasn’t come yet.) Here’s how I made the card called ‘Granny’s Garden’….

I started with a piece of A4 chocolate brown stiff card in a landscape orientation
I folded it into 3 in a zig-zag kind of way: the height of the folded card is the shorter side of A4, and each third is about 10cm wide. I cut off a piece from the top of the middle section and the front section using wavy pinking scissors to create a wavy edge, cutting from one side to the other in a diagonal direction.
I cut a piece of green paper with a geometric pattern about 5mm less wide on both sides than the front section of the brown card. I cut the top with wavy pinking scissors to create a wavy edge at the same angle as the card. I then made a plant bed (see next picture).
To make a plant bed just like Granny has (but hers aren't pink!), I cut a small rectangle of brown card for the soil, two longer strips of pink stripy paper, two shorter thinner strips and finally 4 very short and thin bits for the corner posts. It was all stuck together using double-sided tape, and likewise stuck onto the brown card. I added some small bits of thick green wool to be the vegetables, stuck on with PVA glue at the base only so they flap around at the top.
I then attached two cocktail sticks to the inside of the card, which would later be used to hold the bunting up. They were stuck on with PVA glue and then a small rectangle of brown card on top to cover up the stick where it was attached on the card.
This was the trickiest and fiddliest bit. I made some bunting using lilac craft wire and little triangles cut out of various patterned papers. I folded each triangle over the top of the wire by about 3mm, and stuck it down back on itself using double-sided tape. I used contrasting patterns and colours for each successive triangle as I went along. Finally I wrote 'Granny's Garden' on the finished bunting using a black gel pen.
I attached the bunting to the back of the card at the top using double sided tape and then sticking a small piece of brown card over the top using more DS-tape to hide the wire where it was stuck down. At the other end I tied the wire around the cocktail stick and put a small blob of PVA glue to stop it springing up again. The bottom piece of bunting was attached at both ends to a cocktail stick in the same way.
I then stuck a piece of coloured paper with a flowery pattern on the middle section of the card, about 5mm less wide on both sides than the card itself so there was a brown border. I also cut the top using waving pinking scissors to create a wavy edge. I stuck a button on with PVA glue on the centre of the big blue and green flower on the top right (see below)
I then cut out a wheelbarrow shape, a fork and a trowel in different coloured papers that contrasted with the green background. They were stuck on using DS-tape, and then I drew around the wheelbarrow with a black gel pen. A black button for its wheel, stuck on with PVA glue, completed the wheelbarrow.
Inside a Happy Birthday sticker completed the card, and it was then ready to write for Granny.
There we are: Granny's Garden

I love making things and this project reminded why I like doing it for other people – I like to see them receive something personalised and made with love. I find it very relaxing and it’s the kind of thing I do when Daddy and Andrew go out together on a Saturday morning. There will be more of this kind of craft coming up on the blog when I get the chance.

Christmas card craft

This year I wanted Andrew to help make some Christmas cards for family. What I came up with would take too long to do for all the friends we wanted to send greetings to too. I’ve had to wait til now of course to put this online (and I thought it would be best to do it before the end of the year – I’m just in time), otherwise it would have spoiled the surprise for any of them who read this blog. So here is a step by step guide on how we made footprint angel cards!

  1. Andrew got stripped to his nappy (it was nice and warm on the floor as we have underfloor heating), and I laid out some newspaper. We opened a pot of red finger paint which I bought from Hobbycraft. Andrew held a (still sealed!) pot of yellow finger paint, so his hands were kept amused.
  2. My glamorous assistant Tom (dressed in old clothes) sat Andrew on his lap in front of the newspaper, and held his (A’s!) legs out in front. I laid some A5 pieces of cream card on the newspaper.
  3. In a rather speedy manoeuvre, I got a dollop of paint on my fingers, and smeared it onto the soles of his feet before he had chance to grab them, then on the shout of ‘Lift!’, Tom hoisted Andrew up whilst I directed his feet to stand on a piece of card. Once the red footprints were firmly established, I pulled the card away and Tom sat Andrew down again.
  4. When they were dry, I then transformed each set of footprints into an angel by drawing a head, body and halo in pencil to fit with the footprints as wings. A black gel-ink pen then made the pencil lines bolder, before I went round the whole angel shape with glitter glue, plus the halo on top.
  5. We still have quite a lot of A4 chocolate brown card left over from the wedding stationary that we made (we got married in 2008!), so I folded several pieces in half to make A5 cards. I then cut round each angel with about a 2mm border of cream card beyond the glitter line, and stuck it onto the centre of a brown card with double sided tape.
  6. The finishing touch was a verse from the book of Luke in the Bible, telling of what an angel said to the shepherds who were watching their flocks on a hillside near Bethlehem on the night that Jesus was born. I stuck this to the inside of the card, again using double sided tape.
  7. It took 3 sittings to get 14 sets of footprints from the little fella (artists can be temperamental you know). I decided to ring the changes and use green paint on the 3rd go – it looks quite effective with purple glitter I think.

(Andrew had to be dunked straight in the bath afterwards, and he loved the green water!

A green bath!

We even found that a little hand had managed to grab the bathroom door on the way in!)

Look what we found on the bathroom door

There we go – handmade Christmas cards using the raw talent of Andrew’s feet! Tom’s words were: ‘they’re random, but in a good way’….what do you think?!