Friday, July 15, 2016

DIY: wooden peg star fairy wand

With a gold-sequin tutu, gold wings and gold butterfly mask, my golden girl Immy was just missing a gold fairy wand to complete her outfit. You see, she had a silver fairy wand. And apparently, one cannot mix their metallics when dressing as a fairy. So inspired by Sofia's so-pretty gold Christmas stars made from wooden pegs (do you remember making wooden peg crafts at school? I made a trivet), I decided to adapt it slightly to include a stick for a wand. And now her look is complete! So we celebrated with a sprinkle of gold confetti and glitter because, well, why not! Want to DIY? Here's how... (I do apologise for my lack of images. I thought I'd taken more...) 


  • 8 wooden pegs
  • Two long thin and flat paddle pop sticks (I honestly don't know if that's what they are. They are from one of those dollar store craft shops.)
  • Glue (I used craft glue to stick the pegs together but a hot glue gun to create the star)
  • Gold spray paint (I will never buy cheap spray paint again. I've tried a whole bunch of paints and usually stick to Rustoleum or White Knight.)

How to:

Step 1: Remove the metal spring holding the two peg pieces together by gently twisting the peg until it starts to pop off (haha "pop off" - my kids would be so happy I wrote that).

Step 2: Flip the two halves of the peg so the outside edges are now flush against each other. Glue together ensuring the two halves are in perfect alignment. Repeat until seven of the eight pegs have been glued inside-out. Leave to dry.

Step 3: Glue the two paddle pop sticks together. Leave to dry.

Step 4: Sandwich the paddle pop stick between the last peg halves and glue in place. You might want to use a hot glue gun here too for extra hold.

Step 5: Using four of the pegs, create a cross by matching the diagonal edges of the end of the peg together. They will fit naturally. Glue together with a hot glue gun.

Step 6: In the gaps of the cross, glue in another peg, creating a star wand. Spray paint and leave to dry. Wave around and watch pretend magic happen!

I'm not sure how long it will last, but it's fun for now. So much fun that Immy had to take it on our walk the other day after I took these pictures. It was getting late and cold so she quickly winterised her outfit (below). Ha!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Kids craft DIY: food and flora collage

My favourite crafts are the ones where you can use what you have already - or use things from a little hunt and gather around the neighbourhood. Then it's a drawn-out craft with bonus exercise! I was looking at the bow pasta the other day thinking how cute it would look as a little bow tie on a illustration. And so today's craft idea was born! I told Layla what I was thinking and she was in - she went around and picked some flowers and greenery from the garden, thought up her scenario of a ballet dancer and asked me to draw the girl. She then glued on the tutu from flower petals, painted a tree ("an autumn tree") and after changing her mind from rice snow to glitter snow, she then painted an ice rink and drew some ice skates onto her ballet shoes! She thought the couple would look pretty smart with a top hat with a feather and framed with some elbow pasta. I love watching her in creative mode and seeing what she comes up with. We hunted around the craft cupboard for little beads and other sequins and had fun getting creative - I had to make one too! This kind of craft is really only limited by your imagination - so many things in your garden, your pantry and craft cupboard can be used: beads, gum nuts, sticks, tiny stones, foil, confetti, leaves, feathers, sequins, buttons... you get the idea. I think a really small version could be sweet made up as gift tags or a birthday card. And while white or coloured backgrounds would look great too, I can't help but think things stand out a little more on the black cardboard. And happily, the watercolours worked too - although a little less bright than they'd appear on a white background.

Black cardboard
White ink pen
Watercolours - these ones are the best (Spotlight also sells it). I must have bought 5 of these palettes over the past couple of years. The colours are pretty and they dry so quickly - I've even used them on the wall of my home.
An assortment of food, flora and any other crafty bits and pieces you can gather together

Easy how to:

Step 1: Suggest a scenario or have your child think something up. Draw the basics - a simple person is easy and they can "dress" them and fill in their surroundings. A house is also a good one.

Step 2: Let them go! Let them paint, glue, rearrange and sprinkle till their heart's content. The pasta can be painted before or after it's glued in place. It's really not worth of a step-by-step, is it?! Here are  some close ups of the others...

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Kids craft DIY: paper plate lion mask

I have this great love of paper plates. I use them for everything. A pile of 50 goes really, really quickly in my house. Aside from parties, they're often folded up into little boxes for mini craft storage or picnic packaging, cut up into gift tags or just used as craft paper - they kids draw on them and cut them up into all sorts of random things - and then we even make good use of the off-cuts for maths homework working out! They're also so brilliant for crafts. I'm running a free kids craft stand at an upcoming fete and decided pretty quickly I'd create some crafts around paper plates. One of them will be these lion masks for the younger kids. We'll most likely shred some newspaper or whatever paper we can get our hands on for the fete, but these shades of tissue paper and tinsel are perfect for a lion's mane. 

Paper plate
Shredded tissue paper and tinsel (from dollar stores)
Single hole punch (or just use the scalpel)
Face paint or eyeliner pencil

Easy how-to:

 Step 1: Cut around the base of the paper plate with the scalpel so you have a hole.

Step 2: Using the circle you've just cut out, cut two ears and set aside.

Step 3: Punch a hole on either side of the plate. Thread and tie your elastic to create a mask.

Step 4: Cut your shredded tissue paper and tinsel into smaller pieces so they're not too much longer than the edge of the plate. Mix them up a little for a more "natural" mane! Glue the face of the paper plate and stick the mane in place.

Step 5: Glue the ears in place.

  Step 6: Gently cut around the inside of the mask to trim away excess "hair" so it doesn't tickle your child's face! Be careful not to snip through the elastic.

Step 7: Leave to dry in the sun and in the meantime, paint on a nose and some whiskers. Once the glue is dry, pop the mask on your child's head. The plate can be popped outwards to sit nicer on their face. ROAAR!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Kids craft DIY: winter nature crown

 Ugh, winter. We don't get on at all. I quite enjoyed winter when it was still summer-like weather, but then the cold had to come and ruin everything. And now the school holidays are here and of course so is the rain! ALL WEEK, apparently. So it's going to be one big craft-a-thon here these next few days, me thinks. I have a few up my sleeve and I'll do my best to post them here in case you're in the same boat and after some kids craft inspiration. 

Perhaps you could start with a nature crown. Last week, a flower hunt on the walk home from school yielded lots of pretty flowers, so I added them to a stick crown I'd started making a day earlier. A little greenery sandwiched in-between and it became quite the flora headpiece. It's not one to last for long - and it's hardly made delicately (hello glue gun!) - but they'll have fun feeling like a woodland fairy queen for a day...

Two strips of fabric
Sticks in assorted lengths
An assortment of flowers
A bit of greenery - we used a few sprigs from our conifer trees
A hot glue gun

Easy how-to
1. Glue your sticks to one length of the fabric in the centre.
2. Glue on the greenery followed by flowers
3. Run the glue gun along the whole length of the fabric over the flowers and press the second strip over the top, sandwiching the sticks and flowers in-between the two strips of fabric.
4. Wrap around the head and pin place or use velcro dots to hold in place.

See? Easy! I'd have made the fabric strips slightly narrower as it did swamp Layla's little head! Ha! Contrary to the first few pics where she is all Grumplestiltskin* (because my camera not focusing was keeping her from running on the rocks. The horror), she loved the crown. Tomorrow? We're making lion masks. Rrrrrooooarr.

*Grumplestiltskin is my favourite tease for when they're grumpy. Annika is the grumpiest Grumplestiltskin of all. She's hilarious.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

A handmade scrap-fabric birthday banner

With so many new additions to our extended family in recent years, birthday season is now pretty much all year round. Except August. I don't think anyone was born in August, thank goodness - it's nice to have a whole month off... But in our immediate family, we have six a year to celebrate - that's six weeks in a year we leave the house decorated with banners, balloons, streamers or whatever else we threw up for said birthday person. We each get a week for the house to look special (or, frankly, until the balloons pop or the streamers dampen in the cool air, stretch and are tripped over. Then it's all over red rover.) To add to the specialness, I've been meaning to make a proper fabric bunting for, oh, the best part of 10 years. I always thought it would nice to have one bunting to suit all family members. Instead, I've spent the last 10 years worth of kids birthdays making paper versions!

Last week I was looking at all the scrap bits of random fabric I have in my fabric box and just started laying them out in a pattern that went together: blues, greens, greys, whites, dusty pinks in stripes, florals, solids and textures. I realised there was a piece of fabric to represent each of us. And some special bits in there too - vintage fabric from my Nana's estate; a dress the girls all wore to death that could not be repaired; one of Steve's old business shirts; new pieces I loved; older faves I've made other clothes out of. Some of the fabric was too small to create proper triangle bunting bits, so I got to cutting them into random strips - some fat, some skinny, some short, some long. I'd seen something similar a few years back at Purl Soho, which I loved and was inspired by. I did back-to-back pieces so it would be the same from either side and stitched it all together, adding ribbon-like lengths to the ends to hang. I hung it up last week for my birthday and haven't taken it down yet. It kind of looks nice just hanging there - not too birthday-ish! I love that it's made with tiny pieces of our family's history, that it's made with basically scrap and useless pieces and that it is the right amount of girlie and masculine to suit the four of us girls as well as Steve and Zak. And also that its rough edges will likely fray over the years, ageing a little more each time it makes an appearance - just like the birthday boy or girl it'll be hung up for when it does.