Fairy Tale crafts – taking inspiration from Snow White and the Seven Dwarves we decided to upcycle a charity shop mirror and create the famous Mirror Mirror on the Wall….
This was a fabulous team effort, and my son now proudly has this Fairy Tale Craft beauty hanging on the wall in his bedroom.
You will need:
Old sheets of newspaper
Stronger glue, (I recommend a glue gun!)
1) Roll the newspaper sheet diagonally from the corner, using the cocktail stick to get you started, so that the roll is nice and tight. When the cocktail stick starts to disappear inside the paper, gently pull it out, and continue to tightly roll the newspaper to create a long ‘stick’ – the first of MANY!
2) Flatten the ‘stick’ using a hard surface.
3) Taking your cocktail stick, start to roll the flattened ‘stick’ into a tight spiral, securing it with glue as you get to the end of the spiral.
4) When you have enough of these spirals, you can start to build up the pattern around the mirror – we found that the glue gun was the best tool for this!
You could also spray paint the spirals, however we like the newspaper spirals in their natural form!
Ali also blogs over on incredibusy.com and is a new lover of Instagram too… pop over and say hello! And I’ll be adding this to Lizzie’s#MagpieMonday as I love to salvage, upcycle and re-use stuff!
Family time together just so special as our boys get older – they are more independent and dare I say a little ‘feral’ this year? We’ve had the best of times and made new friends, made memories, and given us something to look forward to next summer too – why? what? how? you ask? Well, a week at Fforest gather, that’s what!
Over to Spike age 15:
If you’ve not heard about Fforest gather – you’re clearly not following @incredibusy on the instagram – or @coldatnight, which you should remedy forthwith – follow us here and here… It’s through instagram that Mum, and it transpires on chatting to fellow campers at Fforest gather, many others, have ‘met’ Sian and fallen in love with what she and husband James have been doing in Cardigan, Wales for the last couple of years…
A small intimate ‘festival’, not really a festival, but that explains the basis of the event – week long holiday with accommodation (optional, you can also bring your own tent/camper van) and daily workshops you won’t want to miss… a new kind of holiday in fact! Two family friendly weeks of adventures in nature, music, culture, creativity and simple pleasures.
We stayed in one of the ‘group tents‘ – our family in one end, in two bedrooms, and our friends and their three small children in the facing ‘tent’. We brought our own sleeping bags and pillows, and the shared bathrooms a short walk away were positive luxury compared to some campsites we’ve stayed in! The group tents have a communal cooking, and eating area in the centre – and an amazing view across the fields. However, after trying the first catered meal in the canteen, we decided that we’d ditch the camp cooking, and eat with the majority of the other campers – the breakfast and evening meals were just amazing – and the dining area was super conducive to socialising too.
The beauty of the Fforest gather is that the workshops, talks, walks, performances and activities are all included in the ticket price. Two sessions a day, one at a very civilised 10am, and the afternoon sessions start at 2pm – Between our two families, we tried Screenprinting, Nature illustration; natural dyeing, canoeing, Tamsin with her pencil and puppet making, Bees make honey with the honey farm, making bacon, smoking fish, making cheese, cooking with fire; axe & knife craft; yoga and wellness; drumming; beer cocktail classes; bird illustrations, silver ring making; forest school sessions; den building; tree climbing; wild swimming and learnt about foraging with Jade and coppicing with Bruce – woah, all in one week?!
The evenings were equally entertaining, with, Music from Eyre Llew, and DJs and chatting, and Fforest Island discs, and beer drinking at the adorable little ‘Bwthyn pub‘. Candle lit, and roaring fire – this little pub is located at the heart of the Fforest camp.
A brief selection of our favourite workshops: Natural dyeing with Hazel Stark – Indigo Shibori (a Japanese pattern technique) – we were so blessed with the weather, so a day spent outside in the Fforest vegetable gardens, patiently folding, pegging and dipping our canvas tote bags was well spent.
Bird drawing with Matt Sewell, such a delight; as was the glasses onto inanimate objects with Finn Thomson making faces and giving objects sight – such a fun workshop! Seeing objects – using wire, paper, glue, and a LOT of imagination, in the project barn.
Seriously, this is an event/holiday/week long party I would recommend – such a lovely way to spend time with your family.
We went with good friends, and came away with even more…
Time to plan for 2018… 23 JULY – 5 AUGUST 2018 www.fforestgather.co.uk
A new kind of holiday.
Two family friendly weeks of adventures in nature, music, culture, creativity, making, growing & simple pleasures.
500 acres of bliss. Only 300 tickets available each week.
Week 1 – Monday 23rd – Sunday 29th of july
Week 2 – Monday 30th july – Sunday 5th of august
We have a few rainbow crafts on the blog that we can call upon, however, having teenagers and pre-teens in the house, it’s good to push and encourage their creativity, as they have become more and more drawn to staring at their screens and not wanting to be quite as creative as they used to be…
So we have FOUND A WAY and that is stop motion animation – so – check this out, we set up a tripod, take a series of photos, and make an animation! What fun…
For this particular craft, we took a square canvas* and some old crayons, and got busy, you can watch the stop motion in the youtube link below….
You will need:
Glue Gun (or tape, glue gun is quick and easy though!)
Watch the video here for instructions, basically, glue the crayons to the top half of the canvas.
Prop the canvas at an angle and start warming the crayons with the hair dryer.
Move the hair dryer to the top of the crayons, and start heating from the top so that they melt DOWN… note, the red didn’t melt as fast as the other colours, yet it still looks OK in the final result.
Lower the canvas to a smaller angle so that the crayons don’t drip off the end of the canvas, have fun, and don’t worry if the crayons ‘splatter’ that’s all part of the fun and creativity!
Community gardener and founder of yourspace.sutton Kevin Plicio runs local community garden nursery Seears Park Nursery in Sutton. This nursery runs on pure volunteer manpower and community spirit, running training courses and therapeutic activities in a calming and peaceful environment. He has been running the beautiful non-profit nursery for almost six years, transforming it from a run-down nursery to a social and stunning community hub which has just recently been opened to the public.
As his daughter, Hannah, I’ve grown up around the transformation of the park, seeing it go from overgrown and slightly wild, to open space and inviting. Perfect for family days out and picnics, the nursery offers scenic and photogenic open areas, free for the public to utilise.
Q- So, tell us about what made you want to run a community project? Well, the idea originally stemmed from me working at other projects, but these projects were all tailored to one specific group of people, or had one specific service, and I wanted to do something more socially integrating and open to all users, regardless of their background, age, or ability.
Q- What is there to see? Honestly, there’s so much! We have this really great pond that’s just teeming with life, frogs, fish, newts, and even in the evening we get the occasional duck family coming to stay – it’s such a sight! We also have vegetable patches, some art display inside the main classroom from a local artist Santiago Plicio, the polytunnels have a great plant selection, including a great cactus area. We’re also in the process of making smaller gardens as part of the garden nursery, where 6 out of the 16 planned are complete. We also have this really stunning willow circle, which is just beautiful.
Q- Tell us about your volunteers, and who helps run the nursery. We have quite a large group of volunteers here at the nursery, and without them, there would be no way that the place could be running. Some people volunteer for a month, and some have been volunteering for years, and we appreciate every bit of help we get. Their generosity and time is something I’m always going to be so grateful for.
Q- You’ve just opened to the public for the first time in almost six years, how does that feel? It feels amazing, we’ve been getting this place ready for the public for so long and now it feels as if our work is finally paid off, and we can do what we’ve always set out to do, create a community project that everyone can benefit for. We’ve been running training courses and school placements for years which is so amazing, but now we can finally make it open to everyone, which was always the plan. We now run a plant sale every Saturday from 10:00am until 4:00pm, and the nursery is otherwise open Monday-Thursday from 9:30 until 5:30.
Q- Got any last words or comments that you want everyone to know? I’d just love to see you there! Bring your friends, family, dogs, come and experience and enjoy the nursery, see what’s here, and if you want to contribute in any way then we’d love to hear from you too!
Seears Park Nursery is open to the public from 9:30am-5:30pm Monday to Thursday, and 10:am-4:00pm on a Saturday for the plant sale and general public use. Follow them on Facebook for events and updates here
Note from Ali – Thank you so much, Hannah, for introducing me to your dad’s amazing community project. Here’s a picture of a pond that my 13-year-old son made, with the addition of the Junctus that he bought from the Nursery!
September means birthday cakes in our house, and every year the boys put in their requests for party fun and cake style and flavour… from a Star Wars themed Yoda, to a Dragon (same food colouring, so that was OK!) through to your standard Lemon Drizzle Cake… This year however, the party request was for trampolining, ‘free jumping’ and his OWN chocolate cake recipe! So 10yo-soon-to-be-11yo spent the evening before his birthday MAKING and BAKING his own cake, and a quick dash for some Maltesers in the morning, decorated it himself before we bundled five of his friends off to Acton for some bouncing action over at Oxygen FreeJumping. Well, we couldn’t be more impressed – all of us (five boys, and two mums) LOVED it – we started off with a game of dodge-ball – this was a great introduction, as we weren’t quite sure where to try first – the Oxygen FreeJumping staff were lovely and organised a game, explaining the rules, so we got stuck straight in! And guess what? I won!The design of the venue is stunning, the bold bright blues and yellows are really striking – loved the strong graphics – this place really IS jumping.
The boys’ absolute favourite activity was the Gladiator style jousting area over a large pool of blue foam… they spent AGES battling and giggling, and tumbling into a pit of spongy foam blocks.
I personally loved bouncing on the trampolines around the basketball hoops, probably because a simple bounce helped you score with EVERY throw!
Every participant wears a pair of ‘jumping socks’ which caused some amusement, and then delight that they got to keep them – and it was great to see the kids having such a brilliant time on the expanse of trampolines – we so want to go again!
A big thank you to the team at Oxygen FreeJumping, for their fabulous facilities, great family fun, and to the cafe staff who also made us so welcome with great coffee too.
With two boys, who seem to be growing bigger every week, we are doing that thing of contemplating extending the back of the house. When they were small, pre-school, it didn’t seem so crucial to have separate living and playing areas – Although, as they got to school age, establishing the sitting room as the ‘grown-up room’ gave back some tranquility and escape from the lego.
And now they are nearly as tall as me, we’ve had to buy bigger beds, with built in desk and wardrobe space, and had to rethink the downstairs living area…
As you know, we love ‘family cooking time’ where we bake and cook together as a family, yet these boys take up a LOT of room in our galley kitchen these days.
The kitchen is one area that we have not changed since moving in, and I LOVE our old Edwardian kitchen floor though, ridiculous as that sounds, these tiles make is so hard! It’s something I have been struggling to come to terms with inevitably having to say goodbye to these beautiful old tiles – unless we can find a way to incorporate them into a new layout!
So we’ve been looking at LOADS of different kitchen layout designs, to find a way to do this, perhaps with a glass box extension, to let in more light, without taking too much of our small mid terrace garden?
Or shall I just bite the bullet and go for something completely different and accept that change is as good as a rest as they say? There’s always the option of finding some new rather lovely tiles to play with! – watch this space!
Piper – a Minecraft toolbox for anyone to create and invent with technology. Build electronics. Invent power-ups. Create the future.
So – the kids were pretty excited last week to hear from Mark at Piper all about their fabulous new toolbox for budding engineers who happen to like Minecraft!
As a family we tend to use ‘screentime’ as a reward at the end of the week, for best behaviour, and finishing homework without it being an excruciating teeth-pulling exercise. Minecraft is their favourite ‘go to’ game, and without further ado, read what our 10yo thought of Piper, and then watch the video!
In short, my son, 10yo RB says this:
“Minecraft toolbox – Build electronics with Piper. Piper is brilliant for seven and ups. I think it is really awesome because the instructions are in the game so it would make children and adults interested in making things outside of the game. Minecraft is a good way to get people that like Minecraft to play it. It will make a brilliant Christmas or birthday gift. It will entice people to play because it is easy to build so you can get started really quickly. Raspberry Pi is what all of the software runs on. Raspberry pie is a mini computer if you’ve got all the right equipment and gadgets luckily all of that comes in a really well made wooden box. The screen comes readymade and all fits in.
There are ten action-packed levels to complete in the game. You have to make your own buttons and fit the wires in the right places. The mouse comes with the box so you can look around.
There are lots more interesting exciting things about the game but they are for you to find out.”
RB Age 10 says – “NOW watch this video!”
How it works:
– First you assemble the wooden toolbox and connect it with the Raspberry Pi 2, a 7 inch LCD display, a power bank, and an assortment of electronics.
– Once assembled, you enter a Minecraft adventure map viewable on the LCD screen.
– Your Mission: guide a robot to rescue astronauts on a foreign planet. The robot’s hardware is damaged on the way over, and you have to build it in real-life to control the robot in the game to save the day!
How this educates kids:
– Each gadget you build gives you a special power-up and progresses you through the game
– First build the controller to navigate your robot. Add switches to activate hidden bridges and doors. A row of lights to serve as a proximity sensor and more.
My little blonde boys are both incredibly fascinated by the Orient, and at the beginning of every year are keen to go to Chinatown to celebrate Chinese New Year. We are lucky enough to be close to London’s Chinatown and a couple of years ago they bought some rather lovely window clings, graphic and colourful, but really too big for their bedroom windows in our Edwardian house.
So this year, we came up with a fun way of making their own, from a template I created here (and if you click here and here you can download and print these Chinese New Year printables yourself too).
You will need:
1) Print off the Chinese New Year printables template here and here
2) Packet of Sharpie Pens (*which you can get here in the UK and here in the US)
3) Pack of Clear CD wallets or any plastic stationery sleeves
4) Blu tack
1) once you’ve printed off the Chinese New Year printables template, blu tack the clear plastic cd wallet into position over the graphic and start tracing around the illustration with a black sharpie pen.
2) Then simply colour in with a selection of reds, yellow, oranges. Or if you fancy a change, try a range of greens and blues – that looks great too!
3) When you’ve finished, take the CD wallet and blu tack it to the window! voila!
To watch a video of how we did these Chinese New Year printables, pop over to Red Ted Art’s YouTube channel here where we have made a guest appearance (again!) showing you how to do this, you’ll notice that I got bored with the colouring in bit, and Maggy had to take over… as a Chinese inspired art project however, both of my boys LOVED doing these, and it kept them busy and quiet for AGES!
10 yo specifically asked for a sheep… as it IS year of the sheep!