I have a long term love of suncatchers. I adore the way they catch the light and brighten up windows. It doesn’t have to be ultra sunshiney, hey even brighten up dark dismal windows too. The boys also love making them and gifting them to people too, so they are a win win make here!
Do your kids give their teachers a gift at the end of the year to say thank you for teaching them? My boys have always made something as a token of their appreciation to their teachers. At Christmas we are renowned for our thumbprint robin or reindeer mugs, so we like to shake it up more »
Do your kids decorate eggs for easter? It is one of the things the boys love and they have egg decorating competitions at school, cubs and also the Easter Party we attend annually. We are one of those families that believe in the kids decorating their own eggs, so I sit on my hands and more »
I have been looking after my friends three year old and we have been having so much fun with some easy, but satisfying craft projects. One of which is this super simple paper plate nests for our pompom chicks. Once we made these he had so much fun playing with both the nests and chicks.
We are so looking forward to the Easter holidays at the Mad House and one of our traditions is to decorate eggs. Not only as it is fun to do, but also for a competition at my brothers club and the cubs too. We never do anything overly elaborate, but we really enjoy it.
Spring is my favorite season and yellow my favorite colour, so this Paper plate hand print chick really makes my heart sing. It is a simple craft, but is a fun way to include your child’s hand print in to crafting. Chicks are a perfect signifier for spring or Easter and if you are a more »
I love Easter. It really is a wonderful time of the year. A time of renewal, a time for rejoicing and also new beginnings. I love to decorate our home with the changes of seasons and Easter is no exception. I also love how our decorations are building up and being added to over the more »
Is there anything better than receiving a homemade gift made with love? This beautiful button bracelet would be the perfect Mothers Day gift or tween craft. I would be delighted to be the recipient of this gorgeous unique piece of jewellery which was made by Utterly Scrummy Food for Family’s daughter. How to make a more »
Picture tile coasters make great gifts for Mums or Grandparents and are so easy and fun to make. They also make great frugal teachers gifts. We picked up our tiles from the discount section of the DIY superstore as the box was broken and it was £1 for 10 four inch tiles and we have more »
I love Mother’s Day. Yes it might be overly commercial, but it is a wonderful reminder for us all that Mothers are amazing. Plus with two little boys in the house that love giving and making cards and gifts it is the perfect opportunity for them to express their creativity. As much as I adore more »
I can almost taste it, Spring is in the air and that means a whole new bored jar and a whole new list of low cost or no cost activities for Spring for kids and families. Sometimes we just need a nudge in the right direction, some inspiration to encourage our kids away from technology more »
I love making the most of what we have and that is what Fabulously Frugal is all about for me this week. Making the most of things that we already have in the home and recycling or upcycling them to make playsets.
Spring is on it’s way in the UK and I for one am looking forward to spring flowers, but you can have flowers all year round and they mean so much when they are fantastic kid made flowers. So We have a round up of homemade flowers for kids to make. These homemade flowers are perfect more »
My husband’s family are farmers. Dairy Farmers, but the start of Spring is always heralded by the arrival of Spring Lambs. 2015 marks the start of the Chinese Year of the Sheep too. So I have 35 Spring Lamb and Sheep crafts to share with you. We have a super selection of sheep and lamb more »
Who does love a homemade gift. They are much more thoughtful that a purchased one. I love the thought and love that goes into them, plus they are often less expensive too. We have some amazing links to last weeks Fabulously Frugal, so please do keep them coming. I know that these gifts would make more »
With Valentines Day nearly upon us, free Valentine’s Day Printables are a fantastic way to celebrate the day and keep the kids busy too. Today I have 5 child friendly Valentines Day printable sets to share with you including gift tags, valentines cards to colour, cake toppers, labels and gift tags. Free Valentines Printables
My kids love recycled art projects, they are a great way of using up our household recycling and repurposing it into something amazing and it seems like we are not the only ones. At last weeks Fabulously Frugal Linky we had some amazing recycled art projects and activities linked up. Recycled Art Projects
We love pom poms. They are fantastic for using up scraps of yarn and making them is great fine motor skills for the boys. With 2015 being the Chinese year of the Sheep and the new Shaun the sheep movie die out anytime, we decided to try our hands at making pompom sheep.
We love salt dough. It is a brilliant art and craft material and we love creating with it. It is not just a kids craft material and to demonstrate that we wanted to share with you our heart shaped salt dough jewellery which is the perfect craft for preschoolers through to teens. We used our more »
I have a real thing for washi tape as a kids craft material. It is easy to tear (even for little hands) and looks great. These homemade washi tape heart cards are perfect for valentines day and look great too. How to make washi tape heart cards
Our solstice tealight holders were so much fun to make and we loved using them, that we decided to make some salt dough heart shaped candle holders for valentines day. This recipe for salt dough will make about 10 candle holders. These are so much fun to make and were so simple that the boys more »
We love making pieces of art that we can display seasonally in The Mad House. Last year we made a family fingerprint heart canvas and I have been thinking about making a family fingerprint relief heart art canvas since then. We finally got round to making it and it was so much fun to make and perfect more »
Do your kids send thank you cards? The MiniMad’s send thank you cards their have made every year. Last year it was thumbprint Robin thank you cards, this year it is fingerprint monster thank you cards. We love giving fingerprint monster cards as they encourage people to get creative and add their own monsters to more »
My boys adore crackers and our homemade crackers were such a hit, we decided to make a variation for new Year, so here you have our new years wish crackers. Instead of jokes, these crackers each contain a wish we would like to come true in the coming year. We also filled them with festive more »
Is there anything better than receiving a homemade card……. yes, a homemade gift and I love receiving gift a child has made. Over the years the boys have made lots of gifts, in fact it is something that we have become know for. We make the Grandparents and family gifts and also their teachers get more »
Both my boys take part in the annual remembrance parade as Cubs and this year it is the 100 anniversary of the start of World War One. This has really captured the boys imagination, so we made Poppy Pinwheels. Remembrance Day, Armistice Day or Veteran’s Day as it is sometimes called is November 11th. Materials: more »
Here’s an easy poppy craft, which is a great Remembrance Day activity for children. We have made a display of poppies and a paper plate poppy wreath, but you can use the same technique to make a poppy brooch by added a pin on the rear or a display of poppies for your home, church or more »
I have seen salt art on a lot of blogs and have really wanted to try it with the boys. With Guy Fawkes and Bonfire night on the horizon it was the perfect time to try some salt art fireworks. Materials Glue – PVA, Elmers or school glue Table salt Watercolour paints Droppers Black Paper more »
Do you remember making your own scratch paper when you were younger? Well I certainly do and it is great fun to make with your kids and perfect for Firework pictures too. Whilst we were making the fireworks we talked about how dangerous they are close up, but how colourful and beautiful they are. I more »
With the darker nights and the clocks due to go back, we love brightening up The Mad House and one way we do that is with Jam Jar/Mason Jar Lanterns or tealight holder. These Halloween lanterns are really easy to make Look great too, so I have teamed up with Betta Living to show you more »
An autumn paper plate leaf wreath is the perfect fall activity or craft to make with your kids whatever their age. Paper plates remain one of my favorite ways to make wreaths with kids due to their affordability, but also their flexibility. What you will need to make your paper plate wreaths
The Autumn sun is a lot lower in the sky and now is the perfect time to make some wonderful Autumn/Fall leaf sun catchers. The boys and I have such fun making these suncatcher and they are really effective and look beautiful when the sun shines through them singing the colours on to walls. Materials more »
Inspired by Fun at Home with Kids fall watercolour resist leaves we decided to get our new glue gun out and make an Autumn/Fall watercolour resist leaf garland. We were sent two glue guns (one low melt, which is perfect for crafts and younger children and one high melt from Glue Guns Direct). We decided to more »
Preschoolers love gluing and sticking and this Autumn leaves and tree sticking craft is a great craft for preschoolers and is a simple and pretty much mess free activity. By preparing all the items you need before you can leave it as a great invitation to play. Fall leaves activity Preparation
I love crafting and art. I would do something everyday of I got the chance. This week we managed to grab a full day with Frugal Family and after spending the morning at the Skate Park we had a crafty afternoon decorating plain white pumps with fabric pens. This is the perfect craft for tweens more »
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. We are busy “dumping the junk” in The Mad House. We have noticed that when the boys grab junk food that we suffer the consequences in their behaviour. We needed to find a drink that I could freeze more »
Do you gift to your kids teachers? I do and have done since the boys went to preschool. I want to thank the teachers for a fab job they do looking after my children. I trust them to look after my most precious things (my children) and this is a BIG thing for me.
I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser. I have two football mad little boys and also a football mad husband, so with the spirit of a family night in, I decided that I more »
Before I was a mother I never understood the meaning of mother’s day, well that isnt quite true it was before my boys started making me things. Yes Mothers Day and Fathers Day might be cheesy, but it is wonderful too. The joy of getting something homemade from your children is irreplaceable oh and the more »
We love giving homemade personalised gifts here in The Mad House and we have been busy pinning personalised and monogrammed mugs for ages. Mini decided that these would make a great Fathers Day mug for MadDad (don’t panic Father’s day isn’t till the 15th June this year). These are so simple to make and if more »
I thought I would start off with a really simple craft on the Cricut Explore . Some table decorations for a spring themed tea party. I wanted to get the hang of using the new design space software and use the free images and do something simple with the boys.
We were challenged by Innocent kids to reproduce a magic trick from the back of their Kids Juices packets as part of their magic circle. There are seven #innocentmagic tricks and seven of the Innocent gangs favourite bloggers have been chosen to perform. We were sent a sample of Innocent’s new juice flavour tropical, which both more »
Whilst we were busy with the washi tape we decided to have a go at making some easter cards. Again we used our Cricut Mini, but it was super simple and the MiniMads’ were certainly in charge. Not only did they chose the tape combination, but they picked the images and words too!
I am a huge fan of art, craft and drawing (as you possibly know if you read my blog regularly) and when John Lewis Insurance asked me to share my favourite drawing of what matters most to my children it was a hard, hard job as I love pretty much everything they produce for different more »
We have a “Bored Jar” and every so often I update it and as the Easter holidays and Spring are upon us I thought I would update it with a Spring theme. So here are my Low Spend or No Spend Easter Holiday and spring Activities
Just in time for the Easter Holidays Walkers are offering half price tickets to Chessington World of Adventures Resort and the 12 SEA LIFE aquariums and sanctuaries across the UK.
Whoop, my boys finnish school on Friday and are off until 22nd April, so we have plenty of time to do lots of Easter crafts and have lots of family fun time together. This week I am going to concentrate on Easter Egg Craft Ideas. We love decorating our Easter Tree with eggs and the more »
There is nothing nicer than a homemade card, especially one made by your kids. I am a huge fan of homemade mother’s day cards made by my boys and I have pictures of all the ones they have made during the years. So with Mothering Sunday this Sunday, I thought I would share with you more »
When I was pregnant I seemed to have such a heightened sense of smell and have passed that on to Minimad. Maxi has been under the weather lately and noticed that when his nose was blocked foods didn’t taste the same or as strong, so I thought we would explore this.
I have to say that as a couple MadDad and I have never really been in to celebrating Valentines Day. Mainly due to the fact that it is our wedding anniversary in March and we tend to celebrate that much more than Valentines, however, since having the boys things have changed. It seems that they more »
If you children are anything like mine then they will always return form an outing with some sort of treasure. We are lucky to live five minutes from a beach and I have to check the boys pockets each time we come home as they always have stones in them. Stones or beach pebbles are more »
We are big readers in The Mad House and love books. So when Bostik invited us to be part of their craft club and come up with something with a selection of craft things they sent us we decided to make heart bookmarks in celebration of reading and valentines. Simple glued Bookmark
We are working on reducing the boys reliance on technology and we decided to make fingerprint thank you cards for part of our #ScreenFree time. I think that it is really important for the boys to say thank you for the gifts they receive and as a family we love to give and receive hand more »
I love this time of year, It makes me feel all crafty so the boys and I decided to make some vintage spool christmas decorations to combine my love of sewing and their of making things for Christmas. They love looking back at the decorations they have made in previous years.
Every year we make salt dough or corn flour ornaments and unfortunately they got damp in storage and they were ruined, so this got me thinking about using air drying clay for a more permanent christmas decoration.
Initially I made three from some left over clay we had and decorated them myself with out the boys involvement and was really pleased with the way they turned out. So I decided to have a go with the boys.
Air drying clay
Plastic roller (i used the boys old playdough one!
Silicon cooking mat
Clear sealant or modge podge
decorations (we used buttons and felt)
Glue (we used a craft glue gun)
I would recommend that you make your ornaments a couple of days in advance to decorating them.
Firstly work the air drying clay well in your hands until it becomes more supple and easier to roil.
Roll out an amount on the silicone mat (4mm) is an idea depth.
Using a cookie cutter cut out your decoration shapes.
Remove the decorations from the mat on to a board to dry.
Using a straw make a hole in the top to thread your ribbon.
Also smooth the sides of your ornaments to make for smoother edges.
Allow to dry (do not dry over a heat source or they will crack.
Once dry take the nail file and smooth any rough edges.
Then apply a clear sealant or modge podge (PVA). I did this with my first set of ornaments.
Decorate and attach the ribbon.
The second set I did with the boys are a lot more rough and ready, but then they do like to take over and so they should. They decided to decorate them before we even sealed them. However, they look great and I am really pleased with them
The amazing Rachelle at Tinkerlab has a regular Creative Table Inspiration hashtag on Instagram that I love and it has really helped me in the way that I plan for my After School Fun Activities with the boys. This week we have been decorating some snowflakes that we have been sent from Yellow Moon.
I am going to be bringing you a new regular feature here at The Mad House, After School Fun (thanks to the Evil Overlord for making me a snazzy badge!). During the summer my boys who are seven and eight tend to play out after school. There is lots of cricket, football (soccer) and bike more »
holds stronger and longer to a multitude of surfaces. This time they asked us to produce a fabulous window scene. Me and the minimads had a chat about what they wanted to do and if they wanted me to help. The result was an Autumn scene and a rainbow and NO they wanted to do it all on their own.
So I sat on my hands, which was blooming hard to do and gave them the post it notes, scissors and some window crayons and left them to it. The result is the below art work, which is amazing and delights me. They worked together to produce this on our french doors between the dining room and the conservatory. Me and MadDad thoroughly enjoyed sitting and watching whilst they explained what they were doing and why and the discussion soon lead to why trees leaves change colours over the Autumn and how rainbows are just refracted light through the rain water.
3M have just launched Post-It Notes Colour Cubes which have many more bright and lovely colours. Why not check out Post-It UK Facebook Page for more information on the new range of Post-It Notes and see other peoples pictures too.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees (without the fan if possible)
Place a layer of silver foil over a cold baking tray
Iron your crisp packet (I put it under a towel)
Place the crisp packets on the tray and then place in the oven
Watch as they miraculously start to shrink (you think nothing is happening and then POW all of a sudden they start)
As soon as they stop getting any smaller remove from the oven and place a heavy book over them to ensure they stay flat
I punched a hole in the packet before placing in the oven for the one we turned in to a keyring. We then put an old keychain through the hole.
You could also make badges by gluing a badge back to one.
Learn how to bubble write
Write a book report
Try some decoupage
Write a letter to a penpal
Make fingerprint art
plan and cook a meal
Make a masking tape race track or town
Make your own play dough
Make paper flowers
Looking for more ideas, then Cass at Frugal Family has some more great rainy day ideas on her blog.
The notebooks were from the pound shop and the stamps we already have, but you can pick up similar from ebay, just search for 70 piece Alphabet/Number/Symbol Stamping Kit, they are about £10 and brilliant for all sorts of things.
We used washi tape or stick on stamps to hide the smudge marks!
We also bought the two main teachers a brill stamp set from Skull and Cross Buns on Etsy.
If you are in London and fancy getting a look at the taxi, then the itinerary is below:
8.15AM-Harrods (SW1X 7XL)
8.15-8.25AM- Harrods (SW1X 7XL) to Marble Arch (W1H 7DL)
8.25-8.40AM Marble Arch (W1H 7DL) to Oxford Circus
8.40-8.50AM Oxford Circus to Piccadilly Circus
8.50-9.00AM Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square
9.00-9.20AM Trafalgar Square to Buckingham Palace
9.20-9.30AM Buckingham Palace to Houses of Parliament
9.30-9.40AM Houses of Parliament to Big Ben
9.40-9.45AM Big Ben to Embankment
9.45-9.55AM Embankment to Covent Garden
12.00-2.00PM- Canary Wharf including stopping off at Unit 1330, Cabot Place, Canary Wharf, London E14 4QT.
3.00-3.05PM- London Bridge to Tower to Tower of London
3.05-3.15PM- Tower of London to The Gherkin
3.15-3.25PM- The Gherkin to Cannon Street
3.25-3.40PM- Cannon Street to Tate Modern
3.40-4.00PM- Tate Modern to St.Paul’s Cathedral.
4.00-4.30PM St.Paul’s Cathedral to Cromwell Road
4.30-4.45PM Cromwell Road to W12 7SL
One such activity, which is perfect for all the family is colouring on fabric. The fabric is from Ikea (TIDNY)and is only £7 per meter and the fabric pens are £7.99 from Yellow Moon. It is an ongoing project and once it is all coloured in I am going to set the c0louring by ironing the fabric and then make it into cushion covers for the family room.
The fabric is really think, so is perfect for children of all ages as you do not have to worry about younger children being heavy handed and ripping the paper or the colour bleeding through. We are also going to get the fabric paints out and use them to do some of the colouring too.
I love this for so many reasons. It is something that we can all do (adults too), it is a quiet activity that gives us time to chat and laugh together as you can see from the images below!
The boys really enjoyed being allowed to stick the post-it notes to the wall and I felt safe in the knowledge knowing that they would not mark the paintwork or stick permanently.
We used Super Sticky fully adhesive Post-it notes which are in fab vibrant colours. 3M have just launched Post-It Notes Colour Cubes which have many more bright and lovely colours. Why not check out Post-It UK Facebook Page for more information on the new range of Post-It Notes and see other peoples pictures too.
We are really focussing on trying to encourage our boys to move away from the electronic and take up more tactile pursuits! I gave you some ideas for encouraging writing earlier in the week, but I wanted to concentrate on recording holiday memories this time. When I was younger one of the most exciting aspects of any family holiday was receiving the developed film back from the chemist and putting together an album of the photographs and writing the name of the holiday in the inside page.
In todays digital world I find that my images stay on my PC, phone and on the digital photo frame we have and that made me sad, so I decided to encourage Maxi to make a scrapbook of our recent Orlando visit. This was made even easier as we were gifted a whole host of scrapbooking things in a travel theme from
Whilst we were in Orlando Maxi made sure that he took maps, leaflets and keep all his tickets in to the theme parks, so in addition to any pictures I printed out he could also keep all this memorabilia and have a wonderful physical memory of our holiday.
Firstly we sat at the PC and decided which images to print. In future I think that I would send them off to an online provider to print, that way we could have a better quality print.
Then we cut all the photographs out using the guillotine and then I let Maxi lose with the glue and a pen!
As much as I wanted everything to be neat and in a certain way, I knew that it was best that I just stayed on the sideline and let him fill the scrapbook in how he wanted it to be. Afterall this is his holiday memories we are recording.
Card making doesn’t get much easier than this!
Make bunting flags equally spaced on the twine using the washi tape by foling it over on each other.
Then cut a triange shape to the bunting using scissors
Stick on to the card with tape at the rear of each side.
This is one of those craft activities that you can do whilst mindlessly watching the TV. Sometimes on an evening when I spend time with MadDad I have the urge to craft, but it needs to be be something that I can do whilst chatting about our day and perhaps watching TV or listening to music. These masking (washi) tape eggs really fitted the bill.
To make it even easier you could use polystyrene eggs rather than blown eggs and then you wouldn’t worry about pressing too hard either. All I did was place strips of tape length way on the eggs from heat to point and kept going over lapping each time.
They would look lovely hunt onto a branch as an Easter tree too, however, mine make me happy in one of my many cake stands and dishes.
Method – Chicks
Make a largeish pom pom in yellow wool for the chick’s body
In yellow felt cut out two shapes for the chicks wings and one for the chicks tail feathers. Also cut a small triangle for the chicks beak – in future ones I will make this orange to stand out more.
Stick the wings and tail to the pom pom using a glue gun.
Stick the eyes and beak on using fabric glue
Maggie at Red Ted Art (who has a new craft book out) hosts a weekly Google + Hangout and this weeks was all about Pine cone crafts. Mini has been studying nocturnal animals this week, so we decided to make a pine-cone owl.
This is one of those crafts that you can adjust dependent on the age of your child bu cutting out all the felt (or foam) and allowing them to glue it or they can cut it out and glue it too. I made templates for the boys to draw around on the felt with a soft pencil and they cut out the felt themselves.
Felt (or craft foam) in yellow, brown and orange
Glue gun or glue (Maxi uses a glue gun, but mini uses craft PVA)
Cut out in yellow a figure of eight shape for the base of the eyes larger than your googly eyes and stick the eyes to it.
Then using orange felt or foam cut out a small triangle for the beak and curves with points which are the owls feet.
You cut out a square in brown for the owls hat – approximately 2 inches in size, but this depends on your pine cone.
Cut two triangles for the owls wings
225g icing sugar, sifted
115g Condensed Milk
Gradually mix the icing sugar together with the condensed milk. We used the mixer for this on slow.
Add peppermint extract to taste and knead until smooth.
Dust a clean surface with icing sugar and roll out the mixture to 5mm thickness. Cut into shapes with small cutter (the boys chose hearts and bells).
Leave in a cool place to dry for two to three hours.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water.
3. Drizzle the peppermint creams with the melted chocolate
Allow to set.
This keeps refrigerated for up to three weeks.
Mini’s favorite place in the whole wide world is London. He loves visiting it, loves reading about it and sleeps in a London themed room. So when it came to making him a quilt (my first one ever) it had to be London themed. I have had this fabric and the deciding for this quilt for over six months thanks to Kelly, but have discovered that cutting fabric is my kryptonite I just can not bring myself to cut it at all. Knowing that I had to get past my fear, I booked in for a sewing class. I go two hours a week on a Tuesday and the quilt was my first project.
No how to on this post, as it was very straight forward, although I do wish I had been able to get red bells, instead of painting them and spraying them with matt clear sealer.
This wreath was inspired by a Christmas decoration I had seen at Salisbury’s and took a photo of. I used two thicknesses of florists wire, a think one to form the hear and then a thinner one to connect all the bells. The ribbon is red gingham from my stash. I have popped in on the front door, but instead of just hooking over the hanger, I have wrapped it round it. MadDad was concerned that it would jingle in the wind and bother us, but the only time it makes a noise is when the door is opened and closed.
When I take this one down I will be replacing it with an Easter one.
If you have made a wreath I would love to see it.
I bet you have all seen those beautiful pictures of ice marbles on Pinterest. Well during the recent cold snap and snow in the UK I decided it was the perfect time to give them a try.
So I filled up my balloons with food coloring and water and let them out to freeze and guess what………………………
There are lots of people out there that think they can not craft. That want to make and create, both on their own and with their children and Ella at PurpleMum has asked for help, as she feels that she can not craft with her children. So I was more than happy and between us we have decided to start the Crap Crafter Challenge #crapcrafter.
Each month I am going to send a little package of things to Ella and do a post of activities that she can do on her own and with her children. Ella will then do a post letting us see how she got on. We will have a linky on each of the posts for anyone that wants to join in and will be using the hast tag crapcrafter
This month we are focusing on Valentines and heart crafts. Nice and easy things that can be done when you are short of time.
Buy a cheap plastic table cloth to make clean up easier.
If you have a fear of glitter then get to Poundland and get some glitter glue, they do them in pots so you can plain them on rather than just shake the glitter over glue.
Remember when you are crafting with children do not have a need for perfection, let them do there own thing and have their own outcome.
Paper plates are great for using as paint palate
Have a bowl of soapy water near or the sink full and doors open to it to make clean up easier.
Heart lolly flowers
Heart Book Marks
Jam Jar Valentine candle holders
I have lots of other simple and easy valentine crafts pinned on my Valentine Pinterest Board
My front door was looking very sorry for itself after I took down and packed away the Christmas Wreath. SO I decided that I would challenge myself to make a wreath for each of the seasons this year.
My inspiration for January was a wreath I saw on Instagram by Snugglefeet. I decided on this one as it used up things that I already had on my stash and all I needed to buy was the polystyrene ring.
It only took me an hour to make and was really fun to do too.
In fact it took less time and effort to make the cards than it did to hassle them to filling them in. I really do want the boys to have good manners and thank you cards are part and parcel of receiving gifts in The Mad House, but at six and seven I feel that the responsibility for writing them should come down to the boys and that I no longer should have to send them in their behalf, but what a palaver. I ended up nagging and nagging them to get them done.
Do you make your children write thank you cards? If so how do you encourage them to complete them?
There is something about Christmas that just inspires me and I think I have said before we do not buy the adults in our family Christmas gifts, so this year I decided to make use of my dried orange slices and make some home made christmas wreaths for my mother in law and sister in law.
Artificial wreath (I wanted it to last year to year)
Dried orange slices
Cinnamon sticks (from the florist as they are much cheaper)
Decorations (I used both wooden ones and also felt one too)
I got my smaller wreaths from Tesco for 97p and the larger ones from Hobby Craft on a three for two for £3.49
Firstly I dried my oranges slices and allowed them to dry.
For each wreath I made five orange, ribbon and cinnamon decorations by tying a bow in the ribbon and threading some florist wire through the back, then thread the wire through the orange slice. Using the glue gun apply a blob of glue to the rear of the orange and attach the cinnamon stick and wrap with the wire and allow to dry.
Then position your orange decorations on the wreath and using the wire tie them in.
Attach any other decorations or embellishments either with florists wire or a hot glue gun.
ave always loved the look of dried orange slices and there were plenty of them used in decorations at York Christmas Market when we visited, so I wanted to try making some myself They are very easy to make and really effective too.
Wire tray (I used one of my cooling trays)
The hardest part of this is having the patience to wait for them to be dry!
Slice your oranges in to 1 cm strips. Make sure that you cut the oranges cross ways so you get the pretty segmented look. Discard the ends.
Blot any excess juice on to a paper towel or tea towel.
Place the slices on to a wire rack.
Place in your oven at 90 degrees centigrade for 3 hours, turning once.
Allow to dry overnight.
I made a second batch and dipped them in lemon juice which is supposed to preserve the colour, but there was no difference at all! The house smelt delicious when I was drying them and you could also use a dehydrator if you have one, but it is days like today that have been dreaming about owning an Aga.
I was invited to London this week by Smart Shoppers to a workshop all about making your own spa treatments. Not only are these treatments free of all nasty’s, they are much less expensive that buying them. Plus it is so much fun to make them and they are perfect to gift.
I then placed the fabric in the baskets and on to an existing wrack that we already have. I used some hampers to store quilt filling and stuffed toy filling on top of the unit. I like using the hampers as you can squash it all in and then fasten it!
I would love to know how you store your fabric and other items for crafting.
We love making our own cards here in The Mad House, But I do realise that this might not be the same for everyone with children, but I thought I would share with you our favorite Christmas Cards that we have made. I think that Christmas cards that the children have made are a lovely more »
Heart petal flowers are a really simple way to make flowers for someone special, not for any reason, just to say I love you. They would also make a really great gift to say thank you to any teacher at this time of the year. Materials Tissue Paper Heart Punch or template and scissors Paper more »
This one goes out to all of you with little ones, ones that scribble and just love free art. Materials Paper Masking tape, as low tack as possible crayons, pens, pencils, glitter, paint I know that I keep going on about not passing your perfectionism on to your children and letting them express themselves, but more »
Well this week, we are going with a valentines theme. Yep seasonal over here at TheMadHouse. Again, I am hoping to inspire you out there with children to craft and play with them. To get over your need for perfectionism and fear of mess and just go with the flow and enjoy. If we do more »
Lets start the year with an oldie but a goodie and this is something that you can take out when you are lacking in motivation or just need a little break. Once you have made it you will never again buy it and trust me adding essential oils makes it so nice. Materials/Ingredients 1 and more »
I think that Christmas cards that the children have made are a lovely thing to give, but often they can be messy, difficult, time consuming and complicated to make. Not these easy stenciled christmas cards that are kid made. Firstly you need: Card Masking tape Green Paint Sponges Glue Sequins or stars Glitter You start by more »
We love salt dough here in TheMadHouse. It is an inexpensive and fun way of making and modeling. I picked up a set of cookie cutters from tesco for 99p. They are small, but they are fine until we fine some larger ones and have a few spare pennies. Basic recipe 2 cups of plain flour more »
I do, remember them I mean. Shrinky dinks the fabulous shrinking plastic, that you pop in the oven for a minute and it twists, curls and then ends up 7 times smaller. MaxiMad was complaining that all the school book bags look the same and it is difficult to pick his out, so I decided more »
MiniMad loves gluing and sticking, it is one of his favorite craft activities and he would do it all day and every day if given the chance. My one tip for this is to have everything accessible and easily seen, so that children can do all of this themselves. In my sticking box, as he more »
The mini’s were invited to a craft afternoon at our local children’s centre. It was still raining this afternoon, so along we went. The boys had great fun as usual and went a little overboard on the glitter and all things sparkly (they take after their mum on that one) Here is a selection of more »
Today was another raining British summer day today, so we decided to paint some stones that we collected the other weekend at the beach. The minimads have been examining bugs and lady birds lately in the garden, so I thought we could make our own colourful stone bugs. This was a really easy activity for more »
We have had a wonderful day again we spent the morning at the swimming pool as we do on a Wednesday at Duckings and it is really nice to have both the minimads there together again. Their interaction is really improving and they really enjoyed throwing the ball to each other. The both stayed within more »
It has been very wet here again so we decided to crack open the craft cupboard again and this time so something with paper plates. Each of the boys decorated their paper plates with water colour tablet paints from the pound shop. Then they cut out images from the Tesco Magazine (any food magazine is more »
We have had great fun making these this afternoon, we picked up the idea from the summer issue of the Tesco Magazine and it was really easy. Ingredients 275g plain flour 200g cold butter 100g icing sugar 2 egg yolks lolly sticks To Decorate egg white sprinkles basically, you add the butter and flour and more »
In between the rain we managed to do some pavement painting. I found the idea here at kiddo and have been waiting for a rain free day to give it a try. All you need is Cornflour Water Food colouring Containers brushes or foam You just combine the water, cornflour and food colouring in containers. more »
If you have every been unlucky enough to have a flat tyre or a breakdown with children in the car, you will understand just how much of a lifesaver having something they can do in the car is. With this in mind I have been busy putting together some drawing, reading and craft packs for more »
My boys like most children love jelly’s, but they also love making them. One of my abiding memories of childhood is sitting on the kitchen counter top eating jelly cubes. With this in mind we make jelly’s the old fashioned way and I half the cubes and save the rest for next time. Today we more »
The MiniMads played with ice treasures I had frozen earlier this afternoon. It is a great idea that I borrowed from a friend. I froze small items eg plastic dino’s, bugs and beads in layers in a bowl and then let them lose with salt toothbrushes and spray bottles filled with coloured warm water. It more »