Sunday, 30 December 2012

School Market Stall

V. blurry but this was our stall as manned by R for the photo.  We even managed to turn a respectable overall profit so that all products completed or otherwise now at home owe me absolutely nothing.  Roll on the next one!

Loopy Ribbon Flower Headband/Hairclip

I made and sold over half a dozen of these headbands at the recent Christmas Market at my kids school - in fact it was the single biggest seller design-wise and  I now several on order in a variety of colours! Of course the flower itself could also be attached to a hairclip or comb or badge.  If you would like to make your own follow this link to a YouTube vid to make one with 8 petals. 

Saturday, 24 November 2012

crochet puff flower scarf

When I get time I've got to make some of these for my Folksy shop. 

It's a little bit empty right now as I have a whole basket of hairclips to list but I also have a craft fair coming up so stand by for it to get a whole lot fuller.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Monday, 12 November 2012

Handmade Christmas Decorations

Following rave reviews for the decorations R and I have made so far we decided to put them on Folksy to see if others like them as much as we do!  Of course this means we now have an online shop - very exciting!
Here is what we have made so far
Handmade Christmas decorations for sale

Monday, 22 October 2012

Recycled Paper Ornaments

One of the things that I am trying to do this year is spend more time making things with my daughter.  One of the things we have made this week was our own version of these polish star ornaments.  For our version we used an old (falling apart) paperback which was an aged yellow colour.  R gets the prize for cutting out all the circles!  We plan to dry brush a little gold onto the points to make it a little more pretty and they will go on the stall at the school Christmas fair.  Photo to follow when we finish the final one.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Tie Dye T-shirts

One of the things R got to do this holiday was a Brownie Fun Day on the first weekend.  R was very excited about one activity in particular - tie-dying a t-shirt.  Unfortunately the experience did not live up to expectation and the white t-shirt she was sent with came home a creamy colour instead of the golden yellow with patterns promised on the day; although the rest of the day more than made up for any disappointment!
When R got home she was a little upset her top hadn't worked and I said "Never mind we'll do some here at home."  Truth to tell it had already been on my to-do list for this summer and had been removed once I found the Brownies were doing it.  True to my word we went out yesterday and bought three different colours of dye and some sports t-shirts from Tescos.  (about £10 spent in all)
Here is what we did:
First we decided if we wanted stripes or circles for our pattern. For stripes we folded the t-shirt backwards and forwards like an accordion until we had a long thin sausage.  Then we tied string at intervals along the body - we made sure to pull the string tight (at this point R realised this is where she went wrong last time as her string was so loose it came undone in the dye bath).  For circles we pinched part of the shirt between finger and thumb and tied string round this about 1 inch down to hold it in place.  We then continued down the cone shape formed by the fabric tying string tightly at intervals all the way down.
The resultant pile looked like this:
We then threw these in the washing machine to have a rinse and short spin so they would be left quite damp.
Whilst the washing machine was doing its thing we prepare our 3 dye baths according to the instructions on the packet.  Luckily the beautiful sunshine meant we could do this in the garden otherwise we would have stood everything in the bathtub.

The kids were then allowed to lower the t-shirts in and stir them gently round.  We came back and gave them another stir every 10 minutes or so for about three quarters of an hour (to ensure the dye soaked in evenly; if the t-shitrts floated the top the bit poking out of the water would not take the dye as deeply). Amazingly all three were riveted the whole time by these magic potions.
Then came the big reveal.  First we had to wash off the excess dye in LOTS of changes of clean water (not one to do if you are worried about the water meter).  Then with our hearts in our mouths we cut the string away.  Would it work, if the string was not tight enough or the time spent in the dye was too long they would be a solid colour and whilst they were nice colours all our work would be ruined.

This is what we got....

Cue three amazed kids, one impressed Dad and a relieved Mum. Even the Brownie top got a make over with the green dye and is now R's favourite so much so she went round the neighbourhood telling everyone!  The rest of the dye is stored away for another day;  since she now knows how to do it and has been told any light coloured thing will do R has designs on her sheets, duvet, curtains.....

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Summer Holidays are here!

The summer holidays are finally here in the UK with a vengeance this week. Unlike other countries the UK only gets about 6 weeks off school. I must be weird because whilst other parents all around are bemoaning the fact that they have to put up with the company of their little darlings for a whole six weeks I actually like the company of my kids and wish it were longer. One parent I was talking to the other day actually described it as "torture" and this was in front of her children!
In order to keep us all happy and avoid spending everyday in front of the DVD player I did a little inspiration search a few days ago and have a plan for things for us to do together that don't involve us spending a fortune. (I hope!)

Here are the links I plan to use first:
Science kit with instructions and materials from Girl with a Gluegun.  One a day for 17 days and I'm sure I can add other experiments in the same vein.
Dinosaur ice excavation from Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas
Angry Birds from Sun Scholars
101 ways to embrace summer and 101 more ways to embrace summer from Home Your Way

Yesterday was spent gathering together all the materials I think we will need for the long haul.  This year I have also included a notebook for each kid so we can use them as a journal.  R and A will be writing in them themselves - B will be telling me what to write.  A struggles with literacy at school and I hope doing this everyday about the things he has enjoyed doing will give him much needed writing practice.  B starts Reception Year in September (how did that happen!) and he still doesn't want to write anything himself; apart from the letter B on everything including the walls, his sisters pictures etc etc etc...

After a lazy start we had painted dinosaurs (A and B) and butterfly prints (R) completed yesterday.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Repurposed school clothes-hair clips and slides

R has grown out of last summers school uniform dresses.  Being in the UK the dresses themselves had not seen an awful lot of wear (though not as little as this year!) but the school does not have a "swap-shop" where items like these can be passed onto others.  Instead of sending them to the charity shop I decided to reuse the fabric and my newly learned crochet skills to make some hair clips for R.

These caused such a stir at school that I used all the fabric making a batch to sell at the school summer fair next week.  Normally something like this sells for about £2-2.50 in the shops; I'm going to charge just £1 and we'll see if they go, as a bonus R gets to earn a number skills Brownie badge if she helps with the change.  All we need now is good weather!

Update - all we needed was parents of children at the school to volunteer to man the stalls ready for the crowds; unfortunately this did not happen, only 3 people volunteered (of which I was one) and so it has been cancelled.  The cynic in me says that the first people who will complain that school trips and swimming are too expensive this coming school year are going to be those who wouldn't donate even half an hour of their time to help with what is for the school the biggest fundraiser of the year.  Here's hoping we can recoup the loss somehow!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Jubilee Weekend - Kings and Queens Song

As part of the Queens Diamond Jubilee we have been having/preparing for all kinds of parties.  The kids have also been singing this ad infinitum!

(from the BBC's Horrible History series)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The Olympic Torch Comes To Yeovil!

This morning we got up at the crack of dawn and together with what seemed like half the population of Somerset we took the kids to see this once in a lifetime spectacle.

If you look very carefully at the photos (taken by the kids) you can see a lady in white carrying the Olympic Torch in the first photo.  She then touches her lit torch to the unlit torch of the man in white and transfers the flame to him before he runs off holding it aloft. Not something that we will get a chance to see again and we were in just the right place for the official transfer so we got to see the torch up close for about a couple of minutes.  Happy kids after seeing the "Limpet" torch as B calls it!

Monday, 23 April 2012

How to Crochet a Flower - Tutorial

Just followed this to make some lovely flowers. I have to admit that I stopped after 1 row of petals for one; too many little people suddenly going "What are you doing?" and getting their heads in the way;) The second I stopped after the second row of petals.  Easy to follow and good results - everything a tutorial should be even for a complete beginner like me!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

More Resources on Free For Kids

We have now past 50 posts on the Free For Kids sister blog. Some are new links; some are old favourites already listed here.  As always all are FREE (cheapskate that I am) so if you are looking for new resources click on the link above.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Gardening with Kids

Spring is definitely sprung in this corner of Somerset.  Despite a proven black thumb we have decided to give growing some of our own food a go again this year.  This is not as easy as it sounds since although we do have a garden it is all planted with shrubs and so any "kids plants" end up in patio pots.  All is well for the first few weeks when everyone wants to join in but once the novelty has worn off all the watering is down to muggins here!  Add to this journeys to the Continent to visit Daddy during the school holidays and we usually end up with pots full of dead plants before the summer is through.
However, totally undaunted all three kids decided that they would like to plant some seeds (even "not putting my hands in that!"B), so I did something different this year and got a little plastic greenhouse to start the seeds off in. At £10 from Wilko it is not too much of an investment.

Whether it will work or not this year remains to be seen.  Never mind if it doesn't we still had fun planting everything and playing in the sunshine anyway...
As well as playing with the seeds and soil we found this flower pinwheel to make and play with.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

New Blog

No I am not abandoning Blogger but I have had some comments that it is getting so the only things I post these days are resources links!
This is for several reasons.
The first is that B is at Nursery every morning and so the time I spend with him has been substantially cut.  The second reason is that I actually find lots more (good and free!) activities than I actually use - I think it is only far to share these finds.
The third reason is that even when we do present the resources to the kids they may not like to do them and a post stating the fact is not worth posting.
In order to balance the situation I have started a sister blog where I can list just the resource links.

Whilst it is empty at the moment I plan to populate it with resources that are free/sorted by theme/ sorted by activity and with a wide age range just as we have always done here; and of course it will get more frequent posts than this blog because it is easy to grab screen shots but not so easy to grab photos of kids actually doing the activity.
I will post updates here as and when I use resources as well so if your looking for printables come and visit the new blog.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Animal Dominoes

Busy Bee Kids Printables are a wonderful website and have five sets of animal dominoes to download and print for free. The sets on offer are farm animals, ocean animals, bugs, safari and dinosaurs.

Each pdf file has two pages and basic instructions.  Click here to go to the site.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Letter T:T is for turtle:Maze

Free to download here from Print Activities.

Letter S:S is for sunflower:Sunflower math mat

Free counting game to download from here at Making Learning Fun.  Print one board per child.  Have them roll the dice and then cover the appropriate number of sunflowers with sunflower seeds (or any other appropriate manipulatives) First one to cover all their flowers is the winner.  Good for a flowers/gardening/summer theme.

Letter D:D is for dinosaur:Lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter F:F is for flower:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter H: h is for heart:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter R:R is for rocket:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter B:B is for Bee:Lacing Template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter R:R is for rooster:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter P:P is for pig:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter S:S is for sheep:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Turtle master list

Letter T:T is for turtle:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter P:P is for Panda:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter O:O is for owl:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter H:H is for hare:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter K:K is for kangaroo:lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village

Letter D:D is for duck:duckling lacing template

Free to download here from Activity Village.

Letter R:R is for rabbit:lacing template

Another rabbit (or bunny) lacing template this time without the letter itself.  This one is free to download here from Activity Village.

Letter A:a is for alligator:lacing card

Free to download here from Activity Village

Monday, 20 February 2012

Story Writing Paper: Dragon

Free to download from Activity Village this paper comes complete with a cartoon dragon all ready for budding author to colour in.  Available in both plain ruled and handwriting versions it makes a great starting point if illustrating writing is off putting for your learner.  Other story writing papers are available as well - click here to go to the index page.

Writing paper/frames/journal pages:Master list

With the labels tab getting VERY long I am trying to organise things better by having some posts containing master lists of the resources available/linked to on this blog.  These can be accessed from the tabs above.
This list is the writing paper etc on the blog and will be updated periodically to include new additions.