16 articles Articles posted in Crafts

Updating My Custom Doll House

Updating My Custom Doll HouseThis is a picture of the house halfway through being built.

You may remember that I posted some years ago now about the doll house that my Nan and Grandad built for me when I was a child, and how I planned to renovate it. Well, life well and truly got in the way and it has, unfortunately, lived in my mother-in-law’s loft since then. However, with the summer holidays getting close, I’ll have a lot more time on my hands and I’ve decided to make it a priority. Here are some of the things I plan to do:

Wallpaper

When I first started planning the renovation, I had thought about going to my local DIY superstore and getting sme wallpaper samples to use. However, it turns out that dolls house wallpaper is actually a thing! It can be bought by the sheet and is self-adhesive, with much smaller print which looks better on the little walls.

Floor Coverings

Most of the rooms are carpeted and in great condition, but on the surfaces which aren’t carpeted, I plan to use some really funky checkerboard floor tiles that I’ve seen. They’re perfect for a small floor and will give the whole house a nice updated look and I can’t wait to see what the finished effect will look like.

Roof Repairs

As I said in my old post, the roof tiles are individually cut out of a teracotta colours lino to look like the real thing. I don’t want to retile the while roof as that would be an enormous job, so I plan to find something which is as close to the original material as possible and patch the roof up where it needs it. I’m hoping to get it looking back to its original glory, but I’m nowhere near as skilled as my lovely Grandad, so I just hope I can do him justice.

Me with my doll houseYes, that is tiny me!

Curtains

The curtains that my Nan made for the doll house are still pretty good, but the fabric is a little dated and could do with some modernisation. Thankfully, I’m fairly decent with a sewing machine and I can do a good job of updating all of the curtains and soft fabrics in the house. I’ll probably choose a fabric which co-oridinates with the new wallpaper so that it all goes well together.

Furniture

This is the one area where I may choose to outsource and buy replacements for the furniture, instead of attempting to make my own. Aside from having nowhere near the skill of my grandparents in this area, I don’t have the tools OR the space to do this type of work, so I’ll hit eBay, Facebook and maybe Freecycle to see if I can source a whole house worth of new furniture that way.

The Best Flower Crafts for Kids

Kids Flower CraftsArts and crafts are important for your child’s development. Not only can they get their creative juices flowing, and let their imagination run wild, but the holding of pens and paintbrushes can help improve their fine motor skills.

Plus, there is no better time to do some crafting, and as the weather begins to get warmer and the flowers begin to bloom, there is plenty to spark your child’s imagination.

From potting plants to sunflower competitions, if you’ve been spending more time outdoors as a family, why not use nature as your inspiration for your next crafting session with your kids.

Here are our top flower-themed activities for you and your little ones to get your hands on, and most importantly, have fun!

Flower hand painting

With bright shades and interesting petal shapes, flowers make the perfect, colourful spring time picture. Plus, when paint is involved, things can get messy and fun!

Tulips have a unique shape and come in a variety of colours, so why not make them the subject of your kids’ crafting session. Even better, you get to create the painting using your little one’s hands.

To make a tulip painting you will need:

  • Paper
  • Plate or paper plate
  • Colourful paint, including green
  • Paintbrush
  • Apron (if you think things will get messy)

First, encourage your child or guide them to paint a green stem on the paper, and then add some large green leaves. If you have a bunch of tulips to hand, it can help to mirror the shape. Next is the best bit – and made need some adult supervision if your child is younger.

Your child then places their hand on a plate of coloured paint, making sure that its completely covered. Then, press their hand firmly on the paper at the top of the stem. Keep the fingers together, and then slowly spread them out to create the tulip shape.

The picture is then complete! You can do this on a folded piece to make a greetings card, or cut out the hand-print flower and stick on the top of a lolly stick to make a pretty bookmark. You can also experiment with shapes and colour.

Try yellow as the main colour, and spread the hand out completely when pressing on the paper – you can then fill the middle with some black paint to create a beautiful sunflower picture. Again, if you’ve been growing sunflowers in your garden, you can take the activity outside and use them as inspiration.

Egg box flowers

The best crafts are made from the materials you can find around your house, reusing something that possibly could have been thrown away. For example, an old egg box is a great starting point to make a colourful and interesting, homemade bunch of flowers.

To make egg box flowers you will need:

  • Egg box
  • Scissors
  • Colourful paint
  • Green pipe cleaners or lolly sticks
  • Buttons (optional)
  • Ribbon (optional)

Firstly, if you’re child is old enough, let them cut each section of the egg box individually, or you can step in to help. Then, you cover the whole section in colourful paint – whichever colour your little one chooses. If using them, stick a button in the middle of the box to create the centre of the flower. Or you can simply paint the centre with a contrasting colour.

Finally, stick the egg box flower to the top of a green painted lolly stick or pipe cleaner. If you wish, you can bunch up a few of them and tie together with a coloured ribbon, taking inspiration from the flowers you find outdoors. You can use them to decorate the kid’s own section of your garden.

Tissue paper blossoms

If paint isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other materials that can represent the colours and flowers that we see in nature. The texture of tissue paper can be used to create blossoms – the perfect activity for spring as we begin to see these bloom all around us!

To make a blossom picture, you will need:

  • Pink tissue paper
  • A piece of paper
  • Glue
  • Brown pen, crayon or pencil

The first step is the most fun for little ones, as you need to screw up all the tissue paper into little balls. Set aside whilst you encourage or help your child to draw a tree trunk and some branches on the piece of paper, with either a crayon, pen or pencil. Then, they can stick the tissue paper flower buds onto the branches they’ve drawn, until the paper is full and a beautiful blossom tree has been created.

You can use any shade of tissue paper you like to create the blossom picture, and with nature as your inspiration, the possibilities are endless!

Quilling Homemade Christmas Cards

Quilling Homemade Christmas Cards - Finished CardGiven the fact that it’s been a REALLY sucky year for most of us, Christmas will be a nice distraction from everything else. This year, us and our extended family have decided to keep the gift giving to just the kids of the family, so that we can make it all the more special for them. However, that doesn’t stop me from creating extra special Christmas cards for everyone, and this year I’ve even learned a new skill to help me – quilling!

Click on the image to see the quilling in action!

When I was researching the type of card I wanted to make, I stumbled across some festive greetings using quilling. For those who don’t know, quilling is a paper craft with uses coiled strips of paper to create shapes and patterns. I had a quilling kit when I was a tween and I loved it then, but I’d basically forgotten everything I’d learned by the time I tried it again. I also planned to use a graffiti font on the card, but my printer went kaput, right at the most inconvenient moment. *eyeroll*

As well as quilling strips and some papercraft tools, I used an 8x8in blank greetings card, some tacky glue (it’s stickier and dries fast for crafting), a gold marker, some gold edging stickers, mini Christmas bells and some Christmas pompoms. I also used a compass, ruler and pencil for sketching out the rough shapes before I stuck anything on.

Quilling the TreeQuilling Homemade Christmas Cards - Creating the Tree

I started by making the quills for the tree by coiling a whole strip tightly, then allowing it to unfurl a little. I then glued the loose end in place with a tiny dot of glue, held it until dry and then pinched one end of the coil of paper to create the shape. To create the star and tree pot, I shaped them after coiling in a similar way, and then I used the gold marker to write the message on the front. Finally, I just stuck all of the other bits on in the right place!

Adding the Text

Quilling Homemade Christmas Cards - Gold WritingIt took me a little under half an hour, from sketching out the final design to everything being done, and I think the overall effect is well worth the effort! What’s more, I really enjoyed making the card and I can’t wait to make a whole load more to send to the special people in our lives. I’m thinking of making a different design on every card, but that might just be a stunning case of me biting off more than I can chew, as usual!

I absolutely love making handmade gifts and cards for people. Now that I have a new skill, I’ll definitely be doing more of it. Have you ever tried quilling? Are you making handmade cards or gifts this year? Leave me a comment below telling me all about it, especially if you have inspiration for my next design!

Day of the Dead Sugar Skull Craft #BostikBlogger

day-of-the-dead-sugar-skull-craftSo, a little while ago I was asked if I’d like to be a Bostik Blogger, which basically involves being sent a box of craft materials each month and coming up with something relevant. Seeing as we’re on the run-up to Halloween, and Halloween is basically Sausage’s favourite holiday, I thought we’d do something Day of the Dead related, which is the Mexican day to celebrate those who aren’t with us anymore and celebrated on the same day as Halloween.

Having “age-gap kids” as I do (there’s five and a half years between Sausage and BB) means that we need crafts which are engaging enough to keep Sausage interested whilst being simple enough for BB to get involved with, which is why this simple Day of the Dead mask is perfect for both of them – plenty of BLING for Sausage but lots of simple shapes and sticking-on for BB!

Here’s What You Need: img_20161122_114327_hdr

1 paper plate, Bostik White Glue, Bostik Glitter pens, scissors, A black felt tip or permanent marker, Various sequins and pom-poms for decoration, a lolly stick

Cut the plate into the desired skull shape

img_20161122_114430_hdrMark between and around the ‘teeth’ with your black marker and draw your eye and nose shapes with a pencil (I drew around something for the eyes because my freehand is rubbish!)

img_20161122_114724_hdrGo around the eyes and nose with your black pen and fill then completely

img_20161122_114948_hdrStick sequins around the eyes and in the nose using your Bostik white glue

img_20161122_120326_hdrOnce the glue has semi-dried, outline the eyes with whatever colour of glitter glue you like

img_20161122_120508_hdrStick the pom-poms along the top edge of the skull. Add decorations on the cheeks using more sequins and glitter glue to create patterns. Stick a stick to the back of the mask.

img_20161122_121046_hdr

And you’re done! It really is that simple. Given the small amount of effort it takes, I really think this is such a lovely craft and we’ll definitely be making a whole load of them to decorate the house with! You could even cut the eyes out and use them as masks with a little elastic stapled to the sides.

Do you love Halloween and Day of the Dead? I’d love to see your crafts so please do leave me a link below!

Unique Teacher Gift Idea

It’s that time of year when everyone’s thoughts are turning to gifts for teachers, the angels who’ve dealt with our kids for the past ten months! Sausage always likes to do something totally different, which means that the standard ‘box of choc or bottle of wine’ are totally out of the question. Pinterest is our FRIEND! Something Sausage like the look of this year was a personalised name plate for her teacher’s desk, something like this:

Acrylic Teacher Gift

Always ones to share the wealth, we thought we’d give you a little guide to how something like this can be made cheaply and effectively.

  1. Find somewhere online which sells cut-to-size acrylic and order a piece which is roughly 12″ x 4″ x 2″, plus a piece for the base which is slightly larger and flatter.
  2. Use a hot glue gun to glue the two pieces together so that the flat piece acts as a base and allow to dry thoroughly.
  3. Use chalk pens to write your teacher’s name on the front, and use contrasting colours to create a swirl pattern around it.

And that’s it, it really is THAT simple! I have a lot of friends who are teachers and they all say that the gifts they love the most at the end of the year are the ones which are home made or personalised in some way. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they also love the odd bottle of wine and box of chocs, but there’s only SO much boozing and eating you can do in one summer!

Are you handmaking your child’s teacher gift this year? If so, I’d love to see what you’ve made or what you’re planning to make so either leave me a comment below of find me on Facebook and leave me a photo on the Mum’s the Word Facebook page. Thanks for reading!

How to Make a Paper Fortune Teller (video)

Paper Fortune Teller
Sausage and Burrito Baby are lucky to have an amazing relationship with my mother-in-law, who really is a truly awesome Nan to them both. They love spending time at Nanny’s house, not least of all because she has loads of toys and craft stuff set up for them to use. Sausage often sits there for hours with Nanny’s selections of paper, pens, glue, tape and other bits, happily making wonderful creations which she gives to us as gifts. One thing she LOVES to make is a paper fortune teller, something that I also loved when I was a kid too, although she can’t seem to remember how to fold them herself, so that responsibility always falls to me.

On Saturday, we went to MIL’s for the afternoon as we so often do, and Sausage wanted to make a fortune teller and I decided to get her to record me making one so that she could watch the video next time and make it for yourself, but it gave me the idea to share it here! I hope you find it useful…

How to make a paper fortune teller

Sausage uses a whole load of different “fortunes” on hers; for instance, one of these ones she used as a “which Pokemon trainer would you be”! It gives kids more hours of fun that you’d ever think a single sheet of paper could, allows them to be creative and is just a really sweet, simple little activity which can be done anywhere AND reduces screen time.

They’re also really good for helping with spelling; sometimes, instead of writing a colour on the outside, Sausage will do a blob of the corresponding colour which means that she has to remember the spelling of the word every time she does a fortune. Simple enough, you might think, but making them use colours like “turquoise” can really take it up a notch!

Do your little people know how to make fortune tellers? Is it something you’ve passed down to them from your own childhood? What do yours write inside their fortune tellers? Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

BKD London Baking Kits Review and Discount Code #bkdbakes

If there’s one thing that Sausage and I love to do together, it’s baking. We’re never happier than when we’re in the kitchen, working together to make something tasty for the family, so when the lovely folk at BKD London got in touch and asked if we’d like to try one of their baking kits for kids, we agreed straight away. Even the boxes they come in are gorgeous!

BKD London Gingerbread Kit

The kits contain everything you need to make gingerbread men, apart from butter and golden syrup, including the cutter and everything to decorate them. The instructions were really clear – so much so that I basically stood back and let Sausage do everything herself (minus a little help with measuring and weighing).

BKD London Gingerbread Kit

The whole process from beginning to end was super simple – the only part that Sausage didn’t like was having to wait for her gingerbread dough to chill before she could roll it out! Here’s the finished product:

BKD London cookies

They tasted absolutely delicious!

These kits come in a number of varieties (I’ve got my eye on the unicorns!) and would make an amazing sticking filler for any kid who loves baking. The best news is that we’ve got a 10% off code for all Mum’s the Word readers. Just enter the code MUMSTHEWORD10 at the checkout. Happy baking!

Our Favourite Halloween Crafts

Sausage is a huge fan of Halloween. In fact, just the other day, she told me that Halloween was actually her favourite, ahead of Christmas; if a kid chooses something ahead of a holiday which involves copious amounts of presents, you know it’s serious! I do my best to indulge her love of Halloween with costumes and pumpkins and a yearly viewing of Ghostbusters, but this year the goalposts have changed. This year, we’re living in a village which actually DOES STUFF for Halloween!

On Saturday evening, we’ll pop over to the other half of the village to meet in the Mission Hall. From there we’ll indulge in a supper of hot dogs before all the families go trick or treating together! Sausage is beside herself with excitement as we’ve never done trick or treating before. Houses who wish to be involved are to place a pumpkin outside, so we thought we’d go one step further and make some awesome Halloween crafts for our display, and we’ve been searching blogs for inspiration. Here are our favourites:

These glowing ghosts over at Adventures of Adam are so simple, yet wonderfully effective and would make a lovely window display for Halloween night.

Toddler-made-ghosts

These tissue paper pumpkins from Parenthood Highs and Lows are wonderfully easy to make and look fab, and I reckon even Burrito Baby could get involved with making them.

Tissue paper Pumpkins

As someone with a Pokemon FANATIC as a daughter, I know for a fact that we’ll be making this at some point this week! Go to In The Playroom for full instructions.

Pumpkin-pikachu-pin

Another craft which would look fantastic as part of a window display and is super simple to do are these clothes peg mummies from Thinly Spread. Their googly eyes and wavy arms don’t make them look too scary, making them perfect for toddlers and little ones.

clothes peg mummies

If you’re looking for some fun, spooky treats to give out to Trick or Treaters, these brilliant spider cakes from Pink Oddy are just the thing and they’re great fun for the kids to make, too.

spier_eight_eyes

We love a bit of bunting in our house and this super-simple Halloween version from Daisies and Pie is a great addition to any Halloween house, especially if you’re throwing a party.

happy-halloween-bunting-1024x1024

I’ve been wanting to make these Jelly Worms for ages as they make the perfect gruesome Halloween sweets, but I’ve never got around to it. Luckily, The Gingerbread House has a great tutorial to help you make your own.

Jelly Worms

These lanterns would be the perfect accompaniment to Trick or Treating, especially if you used battery powered tealights or glowsticks, as the tutorial from Mum in the Madhouse suggests.

Halloween-Crafts-Mason-Jar-Lanterns

These sugar skull dolls from Zing Zing Tree could not be more appropriate for us this year as Sausage is going to be dressed as a real-life Day of the Dead Senorita this year, so these will definitely be being made by us!

Sugar-Skull-Doll-Tutorial

Sausage and I were a bit late to the Hama beading party but now we’ve discovered them, we’re massive fans. This spooky glow-in-the-dark Hama craft from Hannah Spannah would be brilliant to hang in windows or on gate posts on the night itself.

Halloween Hama

If you have a little one (or even yourself) who isn’t keen on the full dress-up experience, then these autumnal Halloween masks from Dilly Drops could be the perfect solution.

Halloween Masks

Finally, these pop-up ghosts from Diary of a First Child make a really gentle ‘trick’ if people aren’t in the giving mood but you don’t want to go full-on and egg people’s houses! People will find it so adorable that they’re bound to muster up a treat after seeing them!

Pop Up Ghost

What will you be making this week?

Be Prepared: 5 Ways to Keep the Kids Entertained this summer

Kids are off school during the summer, which means there is no more homework to keep them busy (and quiet) in the afternoons – so they can become restless and noisy which ends up giving the parents a huge headache. Two options spring to mind – you could switch on the television and put a DVD on for them or you could go a step further and get the kids involved in some arts and crafts to release their creative streaks and keep them entertained for longer. Let’s go with the second and examine some ideas.

Keep a scrapbook

Kids are only young once so why not keep a scrapbook of their summer holidays? This is a great craft idea because kids can make memories of their favourite days by sticking pictures, tickets, brochures and maps of their adventures on the pages of their scrapbook. Craft Superstore have everything you need to make your kids’ scrapbook wonderful, including fun and colourful stickers to really enhance the creative appeal of the book. When they grow up, your kids can look back at the summer of a lifetime.

Egg Carton Boats

Take some old egg cartons from the fridge and paint them with your kids. Add a stick with a mini sail and test the boat’s endurance on the water. This will be perfect for the extra hot days of summer when kids are splashing about the paddling pool and need something to play with. They can take their favourite toys on board (if they fit) and pretend they have just set sail for an epic sea adventure. The plus side is that this craft will also encourage you and the kids to recycle more instead of just throwing used cartons away.

Button Bracelets

A handy summer craft for kids that they can do indoors or on rainy days is making their own button bracelets. This is also a great excuse for you to use up all those old buttons in your sowing kit. According to Martha Stewart, the steps to making a button bracelet are to thread elastic through shanks and turning every second button upside down to allow it to overlap. Once the bracelet fits around your kid’s wrist, it’s time to trim the elastic and tie it in place.

Birdhouse Decoration

Invite wildlife into your garden this summer with a decorative bird shelter, stocked with food and treats to attract all sorts of birds. Before hanging up the house, give your kids the chance to paint it how they please. They can add polka dots or draw little chickens on the wood to make it seem more homely for the birds – www.parentmap.com advises that you use peanut butter, birdseed and pine cones mixed together as the perfect bird treat.

Shell Creations

If you’re taking a trip to the beach this summer, bring an empty plastic bag and have your kids gather together their favourite sea shells. Once you get home you can glue them together to make little creatures, which can be painted and decorated. To take it a step further, create an enchanting wind chime with shells, string and a long stick. This is perfect to hang outside the door or up in the childrens’ room.

Best Home Made Christmas Decorations

Since Sausage came along, I’ve made it a bit of a Christmas tradition to make home made Christmas decorations to go on the tree and around the house. We always make our own paper chains, usually from Christmas printed paper or old rolls of wrapping paper from the year before but the main event is the decorations for the tree. I have a dream that, one day, when I’m old, none of the decorations on my tree will be shop bought, but all handmade by the girls and I over the years, so that when our grandchildren, should we be lucky enough to have them, come over for Christmas I can show them all the treasures their Mum and Aunty made when they were little.

This year, as it’s BB’s first Christmas, I thought we’d make salt-dough stars from their hand prints – we’ll cut out the shape of their hands (providing BB plays ball!) and then decorate them with white paint and glitter.

Some of my blogging chums have got some absolutely stunning ideas for home made decorations so I thought I’d pull together some of my favourites, to give you some inspiration for the run-up to the festive season:

Cas from Mummy Never Sleeps wrote a guest post for Carolin at Mummy Alarm showing us how to make a gorgeous, kid-friendly, cheap window display from things you’ve probably already got around the house. home made paper christmas decorations

Joy over at Pink Oddy has made some simple but effective salt dough stars which are perfect for making with little ones. I also love how versatile these are in terms of the millions of different ways you could decorate them, even to match a specific colour scheme or as gifts for family or class teachers.

Christmas Salt Dough Stars

As a single Mum, my friend Aly from Bug, Bird, Bee is one of those amazing people who makes her budget stretch as far as possible by foraging, making home made gifts and some seriously savvy charity shop shopping and I’m always impressed by her skills. I love these Hama bead (which you can buy from Craft Merrily) creations for Christmas and I can totally see a Hama bead Angel sitting at the top of our tree!

Christmas Hama Bead Angels

My friend Vanessa from HPMcQ is one of those people who is ridiculously stylish and talented so I just knew her handmade decorations would be something aspirational – and I wasn’t wrong. These paper tealight houses (for battery operated tealights, of course) are utterly adorable and would look at home on even the most minimalist of mantlepieces. I really want to try making these but I suspect they might be a ‘mummy-only’ project!

Christmas Battery Operated Tealight Houses

I absolutely LOVE this home made wreath, for which Ali at Kids Chaos used upcycled books. I’ve never been one for outdoor decorations before but I love this idea so much that I’m definitely going to put something on my front door this year. We’ve actually got a pine-cone giving tree in our garden AND a holly bush, so I’m thinking I might be able to make this without any expenditure whatsoever!

upcycled books christmas wreath

For me, Christmas should be a time to treat all of your senses, and these cinnamon stick tree decorations from Cass at Frugal Family are the perfect way to tantalise your sense of smell! Nothing says Christmas like the smell of cinnamon, and true to form, these gorgeous decorations are super cheap to make. home made cinnamon stick tree decoration

No craft round up would be complete without something from the Queen of Craft, Maggy at Red Ted Art! Her site is awash with amazing Christmas-themed crafts, but these cork snowmen and Rudolph would make such a lovely, colourful addition to any tree – and it’s always good to have an excuse to accumulate a lot of corks!

Cork Snowmen

Otilia, over at Romanian Mum, made this gorgeous paper tree garland, which I reckon Sausage would love to make too, especially as it involves glitter glue! I guess we could use other shapes too, such as snowmen and stars.paper Christmas tree garland

My own offering may not be quite as slick at the others, but I was so super impressed that my woollen baubles worked last year! They’re super messy to make but very cheap as you only need water balloons, wool and PVA glue.

home made woollen christmas baubles

All of these will be added to a Pinterest board of the best home made Christmas decorations from around the web, so if you’ve got a post you’d like me to add, please leave a comment below with a link to the post. We’d love for you to follow the board too, so you can see all of the new Pins as they’re added.

Follow Mum’s The Word’s board Home Made Christmas Decorations on Pinterest.

Thanks for reading and happy Christmas crafting!