Tag Archives: kids

Little Boy Blue

20 Feb

bobblesI recently finished the blanket I have been making for my cousin’s baby.

I was surprised at how wonderfully it turned out, as while I was making it I was having second thoughts about the square and colours I had chosen and to be honest I really didn’t  like it that much.

However, joining the squares and adding the border really transformed it and I now love it.

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The square I used comes from Edie Eckman it combines bobbles with spike dc to create a peak a boo feel.

I joined them together with dc in the back loop only. This was something I had never done, I had always used both loops. By using back loops only the squares are really enhanced as they seem to get a little border around them.

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I was attempting to do a bit of stash busting when I started the blanket, so this led me in my colour choices. I already had the light and dark blues and the white. I added the gunmetal  for some sophistication and keep it masculine as the baby is a boy. It is all acrylic, the gunmetal is 8 ply, thick , squishy and will be so warm for the coming winter.

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For the border I mimicked the same style from the square, I toyed with a more embellished edge but in the end kept it simple and that was the perfect choice.

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I didn’t block the squares individually nor have I blocked the final product, since the yarn and pattern are quite sturdy I am happy with the way it sits, I may change my  mind on this though before April.

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I am really happy with this blanket, I love the tactile bobbles and I can imagine babies loving them too. I am in love with the colours too, the combination of neutrals and brights has to be my favourite.

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Balloon Print Monsters

7 Feb

I’ve recently noticed that my darling Duckman is quite artistically inclined, which is something I wasn’t prepared for. Rooster, although he does enjoy art when he does it, he rarely seeks it out. Duckie on the other hand draws on everything, I am trying to teach him, with out much luck, that we only draw on paper, however he is rather free spirited and draws wherever and on what ever takes his fancy. Yesterday I discovered a master piece on our newly laid timber floor, thankfully it was done in pencil and will be easily removed.

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So with this new realisation, my February goal of more kid art and some one on one time with Duckie now Rooster is at school we embarked on balloon printing.

This is so simply and such fun.

All you need is

balloons

paint

a small cup or bowl to hold the paint

goggle eyes (optional)

markers

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First of all you need to blow up the balloon, not too big as it needs to be easily handled by little hands and it also needs to fit into the bowl of paint.

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Add some paint to your bowl.

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Dip the balloon into the paint and press it onto some paper.

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It does slip around so you need to be firm.

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We placed the eyes on while the paint was wet so that they stuck once the paint was dry.

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 You don’t need to use eyes, you could just draw them on.

Once the paint is dry use the markers to add personality.

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Easy peasy isn’t it?

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I am totally in love with the tie-dyed effect of this printing, and the texture of it. I think it would make some pretty rad wrapping paper.

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Little Duckie had a great time. Watching his creativity is super awesome. He turned his prints into a mixed media collage with the addition of some washi tape.


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Snap Painting

14 Jul

During the week I promised The Minimen we would do some snap painting, we ended up being to busy during the week to do it so from early this morning Rooster was onto me to do it today.DSC_0714

So after a visit to the farmers markets, a quick Facebook check in and a lot of nagging I finally set them up to do their painting.

Snap painting is so easy and you should have most things you need around the house.

Gather some rubber bands, something to wrap the bands around, we used a plastic container but a shoe box or even a cake tin would also work well, paper that will fit inside your chosen box and of course paints.DSC_0695

Put your paper in the bottom of your container then wrap the bands around the container at varying intervals.

At this point it the kids will love to explore the sounds the rubber bands make when being snapped. Both Rooster and Dukman are really into music, so they both had a blast playing their “guitars”.

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After the musical diversion we used our fingers to smother the bands in paint, DSC_0699

then it was time to flick away!DSC_0704

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Even Duckman joined in with this activity, usually he is distracted by being outside when we paint, but this one

was right up his alley.

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Both Minimen really enjoyed this art activity and stayed focused the whole time and they ended up with some really great paintings! I had been expecting this to be really messy with all the flicking bands flinging paint everywhere, however, it wasn’t any thing like that. All the paint managed to make it to its desired destination, which left a super easy clean up. This is something I really like.

This was a great activity. It provides tactile and musical experiences and it was really interesting to watch the way the paint splattered when the band was flicked and it will be engaging for a range of ages.

Here’s some of the art works The Minimen created

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Home-made Water Colour Paints

20 Jun

There are an abundance of home-made paint recipes on Pinterest and since our store-bought water colours have been destroyed due to a little over zealous water adding and then subsequent colour mixing I decided to give one of these recipes a go.
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The one I chose comes from All Parenting. It seemed easy enough and they had very pretty pictures, which was what drew me to that particular one.

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  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 3/4 cup of white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp of corn syrup (this is not available in Australia so I used glucose syrup, which is made from corn so I guess it is similar)
  • 1 cup of corn flour
  • food colours
  • a jug with a spout
  • ice-cube tray

How to make it

  • Put the baking soda in the jug
  • Add the vinegar slowly as it will bubble and you don’t want it to overflow
  • Wait until the bubbling stops and mix well
  • Add the corn syrup
  • Add the corn flour and mix wellDSC_0708

It is quite thick and gooey!

Carefully pour it into the ice-cube tray, don’t over fill it or your colours will mix together.DSC_0709

I used a toothpick to scoop up a little bit of colour and mix into each cube, some of my cubes were too full and they overflowed into the cube next to it.DSC_0711

They need to sit over night or maybe as long as a few days before they are able to be used.

After sitting overnight they had firmed up and were the consistency of firm jelly, not quite as wobbly as jelly but they are not chalky like store-bought water colours can be, which is sort of what I was expecting. They also had a thick layer on top that had not set so I used some absorbent paper towel to soak this up. Then it was time to try them out. I also think they must expand a bit as they set because some of our colours had migrated to the cube next door.

You can see here the colour migration, but this was almost completely fixed when I blotted the top layer

You can see here the colour migration, but this was almost completely fixed when I blotted the top layer

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I must say I wasn’t really expecting much but I have to tell you my expectation were far exceeded!DSC_0719

These paints are wonderful! We just dipped our brushes in some water dabbed them on the paint and away we went creating fabulous stories! (that is how Rooster likes to paint, we I make a series of pictures that tell a story) Today he told a story about an alien that was walking past a tree, then he went to a party and danced and ate party food, then went to the playground with his new friends! DSC_0730

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Any way getting back to the paint, the colours were vibrant and they behaved exactly how water colours should. I love, love, love them and will never go back to store-bought paints again.

They were easy to make and Rooster had fun helping to make them, he especially like adding the vinegar to the baking soda. The paints themselves were easy to use and you can make your own custom colours and another big plus, you know exactly what has gone into them and can be assured that they are 100% non-toxic! so what are you waiting for go and make your own!

We Heart Dinosaurs!

15 May

Do you remember a few weeks ago we made Salt Dough Dinosaurs? Well, they have been sitting in a box waiting for me to go buy some paint to pretty them up since then. Finally I decided it was time to finish what we started and create the art work for The Minimen’s future bedroom, bought some paint and pulled out the dinosaurs.

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I sometimes have trouble letting go of my artistic vision when creating with The Minimen and allowing them to enjoy the experience and make something that pleases them, rather than what I think they should be making. This dinosaur artwork was no exception. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to look, that is each dinosaur a single colour, so when The Rooster started mixing colours and applying them liberally I had to take some deep breaths and just let go and enjoy his creativity.

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We had a great time doing this and the art work turned out just fine.

This is how we did it.

We chose some deliciously bright colours of acrylic paint.

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Using a variety of sponges and brushes we applied the paint to the dinosaurs and stars, then set them aside to dry.

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While they were drying I painted random and uneven chevrons in the same colours we used for the dinosaurs onto a canvas we had.

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We left our painting over night.

The next day we found that some of the dinosaurs had gone soft and the paint bubbly and cracked.

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I’m not sure why this happened, or why it only happened to some of the shapes, maybe the wetness of the paint got into the dough and effected it. So if you are doing this  putting some sort of sealant over the salt dough before painting might prevent this.

I gave all the shapes a coat of clear nail polish to protect the paint and give them a glazed look. You could use any sort of clear varnish/finishing product to do this, I just happened to have nail polish at hand so that is what I used.

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I used a hot glue gun to fix the shapes to the canvas. There was some conjecture on the placement of them. The rooster wanted a more camouflaged look with a dinosaur placed on a chevron of the same colour while I wanted them to stand out by placing them on a different colour. I won out since I was the one handling the glue gun.

Here is our finished piece.

DSC_0506I can’t wait to hang it on their wall, it is going to look fantastic and it will be even more special because we made it together!

Blast off to fun!

22 Apr

 

 

 

 Last week, with some inspiration from Roylco, The Minimen and I thought rockets would be a fun thing to make.

It was super easy and so much fun. Here is how we did it.

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We used toilet rolls, foil, coloured paper and sticky tape.

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We fit one toilet roll into the other to make a long rocket body.

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Covered them in foil.

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Cut a circle from paper, cut into the centre of it to fold it around into a cone shape.

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We cut some flames and other shapes for doors and windows and stuck them all on our rockets.

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Ta-Da….A rocket.

The Minimen ran around the house playing rockets for quite a while.
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I tried to get a photo of them playing but this blurry action shot was the best I could do.

This was a great project, and it ticked all the boxes for me on kids activities, cheap, quick, easy and engaging for multiple age groups, and it gave me a few peaceful moments to do a bit of crochet while they ran around with their rockets.

 

 

 

Cheesy Fish Crackers

18 Apr

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Yesterday, in between 5, yes 5, loads of laundry, and a trip to the dentist for a bit of root canal I found time to whip up these yummy cheese crackers for The Minimen’s afternoon snack.

I found the recipe here, it was an American recipe so I had to do a bit of translating

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The ingredients are

8oz vintage cheddar grated( I used almost all of a 250g block of cheese)

1/2 a stick of butter ( if Googles conversion is correct this is about 50g)

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup of plain flour

2 tbs chilled water

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First I put the cheese, butter and salt in a bowl, and mixed together till smooth. My poor old electric beaters did not like doing this very much, they made many noises of complaint, but eventually it all combined.

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This is what it looked like

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Then I mixed in the flour, the dough was quite crumbly as you can see above.

Then I added the water and mixed that in, but it left the dough very sticky, so I added flour and kneaded it until it came together in a gorgeous doughy ball of cheesy goodness.

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This is my dough….it needs to be refrigerated for at least an hour now.

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After taking it out of the fridge roll it very thinly on a lightly floured surface, you can cut it into squares or use a small cutter to make shapes, I chose some cute little fishies to try and entice The Minimen into eating them.

imageThey can then go on a baking tray to be cooked them at 180 degrees celsius (375F) for 15-20 minutes or until golden. Mine were cooked for around 15 minutes, if I make them again I would probably give them an extra couple of minutes as they don’t quite have the right amount of crunch.

Other than that I think they taste very similar to store bought cheese biscuits. The Rooster tried them and then turned his nose up, but I expected that. I got a better response from Duckman, who has eaten a bowl full of them.

Using the vintage cheddar gives them probably more of an adult flavour, a milder cheddar might be  a better option if faced with fussy eaters. Or you could keep the vintage and add some dried herbs to create a cracker that would be a perfect accompaniment to some wine and antipasto when you have a kid free moment.

The great paper caper

14 Apr

In the down time the other day while we were waiting for our salt dough dinosaurs to bake we whipped up a bit of lovely home made paper.
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I had been promising The Rooster for a week that we could make it, but I had been putting it off due to the less than perfect weather we have been having lately.  I have always found paper making to be more enjoyable when done outside in the sun, apart from soaking up a few rays, the paper dries much quicker and when you are outside on the grass there is no need to worry about the mess.

We had prepared our paper pulp the day before.

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To do this we tore newspaper and some other scrap paper into stamp sized pieces and soaked them in some water until they were soft

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paper, table, dough

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Then using the blender, we blended them with water to a smooth pulpy mix. I like to not blend the paper so much that you loose all of its previous form,  I think it is makes the paper even more charming when you are able to see  a snippet of it’s past lives.

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To make the paper you will need

A mold, we have a store bought one but there are plenty of instructions on how to make your own online.

A tub, this needs to be large enough to fit the mold into

Sponges

Somewhere to dry your paper, our commercially made kit comes with drying boards but I have seen people using fabrics such as felt

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Since it was raining and we were doing this on the deck I put down an old sheet, to protect from potential mess.

I added some water to the tub, the amount you add will determine the thickness of your paper, More water will give thinner paper and less water will give thicker paper.

Then I dumped in out pulp and watched it swirl around and make some lovely patterns.

I involved both The Minimen in this endeavor, for the sensory experiences, both of them delighted in the water play and feeling the sqelchy paper pulp floating through the water. The Rooster also received a lesson in recycling.

Making paper is a bit like panning for gold.

Slide the mold into the tub, vertically, sweeping it through to a horizontal position.

Lift the mold from the water giving it a gentle shake until the pulp has settled evenly.

Let the water drain from the paper.

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Turn the paper onto the drying boards.

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Before lifting the mold, sponge the excess water from it, this will allow the mold to come away from the paper with out any tears.

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Admire what you have just created.

Now repeat the process.

Once you have made the amount you desire let it dry, on a sunny day it will dry so quickly.

You can strain any remaining pulp and keep it in the fridge or freezer (freezer is better as it will go moldy) for next time.

Run all the equipment under clean water to remove pulp residue.

When the paper is dry you will be able to carefully peal it from the drying boards.

After this you can once again admire your handy work.

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The paper is now ready to use and enjoy.

We chose just to make simple paper this time, but you can add things to make your final product more interesting, such as perfumed oils, flowers or grass, fibres, seeds, glitter, confetti.

Look what I found!

7 Apr

Hello Lovelies,

I told you the other day I was taking a trip to my Mum’s house in search of lost treasure. Well I am back and brought home more than expected and I am overjoyed at the treasures I have brought home! (Mr Minx not so much, but he will come round)

This is what I found

1. Not one but 3 deckles for paper making (I didn’t even know I had the big one or the envelope one so that was a nice surprise)

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2. Silkscreen

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3. A small table. This table originally belonged to my mum, then me, my brother and now I plan on giving it new life in the Minimen’s playroom. It was made close to 50 years ago by either my Grandfather or his mother my Mum wasn’t sure and it is so sturdy, I love it.

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and 4. My Grandma’s lowboy. This I plan on re-purposing into a craft/sewing storage cupboard.

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I am so excited to get started on these projects, Mr 4 is super excited to make some paper with me and I can’t wait to share my finished products with all of you.

I got slimed

2 Apr

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I know this isn’t exactly a craft activity, but, with being a scientist in real life and the Minimen being boys through and through, some of our activities can sometimes have a slight lean towards science experiment.

I had promised Mr 4 that we could make “flubber” or slime, whatever you want to call it over the Easter long weekend, and in true Mr 4 fashion, I got the never ending  “Can we make slime now?” until I stopped eating Easter eggs and made it with them.

You can easily find a recipe for slime on the internet, the one we chose was from the frugalfunchallenge.blogspot.com.au

What you’ll need

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1. borax- I found mine at the hardware store.

2. PVA glue

3. food dye (optional)

4. warm water

5. Two plastic containers ( I used disposable take-away containers, so that I could just throw out the mess at the end)

Method

1. In one container we mixed 1 cup of glue with 3/4 cup of warm water and enough food dye to make our desired colour ( orange, as this is Mr 4’s favourite colour) and stirred until it was a uniform solution.

2. In another container we mixed 1 1/2 teaspoons of borax with 1/2 cup of warm water and stirred until dissolved

3. With a bit of excited trepidation I then poured the glue solution into the borax solution

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Observations

 Immediately the mixture started to coagulate.

After a few minutes there was some liquid left,  which I tipped off.

The slime was wet and, as you could imagine, slimey to touch but after squeezing and pulling it dried up and was just  lovely  cold slime.

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The interesting thing about slime is that it has two properties that are quite opposite, when handled gently it is pliable and gooey and when handled with more force it breaks. It was this second property the Minimen enjoyed exploring the most as they used it for both a substitute for a punching bag and a ball to kick around the house. And, true to form the slime exploded into smaller pieces of slime when hit with a large amount of force.

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I would like to address safety issues regarding borax and slime.

Although not acutely toxic, sufficient exposure to borax can cause respiratory and skin irritation, so it is best to wear gloves when doing the experiment and don’t allow the kids to touch the raw materials. I chose to follow a Marie Curie approach to science and work without safety equipment…my hands were a little red and stingy for the rest of the afternoon, but  it wasn’t  too bad, and improved after running them under cold water.

Here is the borax MSDS

Now for the slime itself, it is safe to touch and play with as the borate ions are trapped in a polymer with the poly vinyl alchohol (PVA) from the glue and, therefore, are unavailable to cause irritation. I wouldn’t suggest eating it and I did make the Minimen wash their hands after playing with it. Also don’t put the slime or the waste from it down your sink, it WILL clog it.

If you choose to do this fun experiment with your kids, I hope you enjoy it, we certainly did!

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