Wednesday, 31 October 2012

trick or treating... well treating

The kids are very excited about trick or treating this year, to them it's dressing up and eating lollies and that was about what it meant to me until I did a bit of reading on the web.. ha, web...

Anyway, I've contacted some mums that live walking distance from our house so we'll go and knock on their doors dressed up and say "trick or treat" but there will be no tricks. The whole thing is pretty bizzare and I've never really thought much of halloween. If it continues to be popular in this house in future I'll find some way of teaching them the history around it and the meaning behind its traditions.

All dressed up and waiting on the doorstep to go..

We made some extra 'ghost' treats too, just Chuppa Cups covered in white fabric, tied with ribbon and a face drawn on : ).

I love this pic of the kids dancing at their aunty and Uncle's halloween party.

Some super cute home made costumes I found online.

some others here:


Saturday, 27 October 2012

halloween favours

We're going trick or treating Wednesday night, the kids think halloween is about dressing up and visiting other people's houses to get lollies. I'll have to do some reseach about halloween, its history and traditions, just in case this fascination continues. I don't really love it- but they do.

I've contacted some mum and dad friends that live walking distance from our house and asked if we can call in. To thank the children we're going to visit, I thought we could make some spider favours. We used the pom pom making method from this post http://beckypiesky.blogspot.co.nz/2012/07/easy-peasy-pom-poms.html but used 4 pipe cleaners through the middle to make the legs- spooooky eh : )

Friday, 26 October 2012

spooky scene using felt scraps

M and T have an interest in halloween this year. They've asked to go trick or treating because on a miserable day a few weeks ago they watched this movie:

and saw dogs dressed up for trick or treating lol

We've got a felt board that they both like playing with so I thought I'd make them up some 'spooky' halloween characters with some felt scraps I had. Some and glued ( like the eyes and mouths) and some aren't ( like the heads and legs) so that they're interchangeable.

T likes the "ghosters"

Thursday, 25 October 2012

mum parcels and chalk pastels

Every now and then my mum will send me a parcel of ' thinking of you'  things from Wellington. Inside are clothes, recipes, 'treats' for me like lipsticks, face masks, new tights for Winter etc and often there's something for the kids too.

The latest parcel was lovely as it had my nana's hand written childhood memories in it... I know- pretty special and for the kids, these gorgeous chalk pastels. Thanks mum/ nana : )

The pastels were a treat for me too really, she must know how much I love watching them draw.

faces looking out of windows
drawing tables and chairs for...
his picture of the cafe that fascinates him ( and me as a kid). It's shaped like a hamburger. 
It's here in Christchurch on Blenheim Road.

M's cafe with tables and chairs too and mum and dad sitting eating spaghetti : )

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

button bracelets

I came across this amazing blog http://pysselbolaget.se/en/ (trans: Craft Company). I think it's in Swedish ( correct me if I'm wrong) but you can translate it to American English on the page. I love these button bracelets, it's hosing down outside so decided to make some with our kids this afternoon. 

We're not short of buttons in this house, I have 2 tins. One was my nana's, I will never use any buttons from that tin as I'd like it kept how it was when I played with them as a child. I'd spend hours lining them up, grouping them in colours or just running them through my hands. Funny the things you remember. After she died, it was the tin of buttons that I asked if I could have to remember her by. That and an old covered in paint metal step stool that I think went to the tip as I was too late saying that I'd like it : (.

Anyway, I've always liked buttons and thought it would be a good way to use some of the nicer coloured ones.

using a peg at the end of the elastic
on elastic up through one button's holes down through the next ones.
M making her threaded through one of the button holes version. The peg didn't work so well for the embroidery cotton so I ended up tying the clasp at one end ( and a ring at the other).
I tried to steer her towards the smaller ones but it seems that wasn't the 'look' she was going for : )

Monday, 22 October 2012

chocolate cake in a cup

SO yum, recipe from here: http://nzfavouriterecipe.co.nz/recipes/desserts
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
  • A small splash of vanilla extract
  • 1 large coffee mug (Microwave Safe)
  1. Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
  2. Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..
  3. Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
  4. Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes.
  5. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
  6. Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.
  7. EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

Friday, 19 October 2012

operation christmas child

I recently discovered a creative mum's blog called http://lyallii.blogspot.co.nz. Her and her boy are taking part in Operation Christmas Child this October. I'd never heard of the charity before. Although I may not share the same Christian faith as the founders do I think their work is for a really good cause and wanted to get involved (and maybe even encourage others to). I also thought it would be a great way to introduce our kids to the concept of donating to charity, especially since it's to other children. We'll do it every year so I also hope that over time it will help them learn to appreciate their life and the things and people that they have in it- you can try can't you?

Basically you find a shoe box, cover the base and lid with paper, attach the downloadable label to state what age/ gender the gift is for and fill it with (new) gifts, removing the packaging as you go. There's a guide on the web site. Then you include your $9 donation ( to cover costs), take it to a local drop off point and imagine the wee person's happy face when they open it : ). Go on do it, but you've only got the rest of October to.

For more information including drop off points: http://operationchristmaschild.org.nz/  and their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/operationchristmaschild.anz
From the website:

Operation Christmas Child is a unique project of Samaritan’s Purse that brings joy and hope to children in desperate situations around the world through gift-filled shoe boxes, It provides an opportunity for people of all ages to be involved in a simple but hands-on project that has the power to transform children’s lives.

In 2011, our teams in Australia and New Zealand delivered 290,437 gift-filled shoe boxes to South East Asia and the South Pacific. This year the number of shoe boxes given by Australia and New Zealand will reach 3 million! Last year over 8 million children globally received shoe boxes and this season, the number of shoe boxes will reach 100 million given to children in 152 countries since 1993.

Globally, Samaritan’s Purse is working in over 100 counties. The focus of the Australian and New Zealand projects work is to work with partners in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. We have three main areas of focus:
  • Giving children, their families and communities a message of hope, love and joy during the Christmas season through Operation Christmas child.
  • Bringing disaster relief to victims of natural disaster, war, disease and famine. We offer food, water, medical assistance, hygiene items and temporary shelter to give people the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
  • Empowering communities through building school, providing wells, installing water filters, initiating programs that promote nutrition, health and education, improving sanitation to prevent disease and offering vocational training and income generating programs to help people break the cycle of poverty, giving them hope for a better tomorrow.
Filling the shoe boxes was a very interesting process. I talked to the children about kids in the world who don't have much and that what we send them may be all they receive at Christmas. M found it quite hard to put the tube of glitter in the parcel so we had talks around that " you know how much you love glitter?" .. " yeees", " well what if the little girl who gets this box has never seen glitter before, do you think she'll be happy when she finds it?"....pause.....some nodding. After a scout around the craft drawer and present cupboard and a trip to the shops for soap and some bits and bobs here's what we put together:

 boy aged 2-4 box

A cuddly teddy, toothbrush, soap, a box of Playskol Clippo, pencils, felts, a spinning top, car, a Thomas eraser, two wooden pirate figures, some notepads, sellotape, stickers, a mini story book, some glow in the dark dinosaurs, a bouncy ball, a magnifying glass, drinking straws and a wind up yellow chick.

girl aged 5-9

A fairy doll, pencils, coloured pencils and pencil sharpener, soap, a toothbrush, beads and string for jewellery making, sellotape, ribbons, hair ties, headband and clips, a heart peg, stickers, pink glitter, a doll's hairbrush, a book The Velveteen rabbit, a mini teddy, note pads, a fairy bookmark, fairy 'sprinkles', drinking straws and a purple alphabet stencil underneath.

 I love these pictures.

Thursday, 18 October 2012


I used this site as a guide, I liked their instructions so included those too http://childhood101.com/2010/09/kids-art-learning-to-use-watercolours/

"Teaching technique is about helping children control an art medium so they can get the most out of them, so that they get a good result and do not feel limited by their inability to manipulate it. For example, watercolours can easily become muddy if the brush is not washed in between colours and colours can become very pale and transparent if too much water is used, both of which can be demotivating for a young artist."

Our process for using water colours:
Gather your materials
  • Watercolour palette ( or in our case watercolour paints and a tray)
  • Paintbrush
  • Small container of water
  • Paper towel ( or in our case an old tea towel)
  • Paper to paint onto
Step 1: Wet (or rinse if you are between colours) your brush in the water.

Step 2: Lightly dab your brush on the paper towel to remove excess water (this helps provide the child with a richer colour to paint with).

Step 3: Dip your paintbrush in the colour you wish to use to collect the paint onto the brush. Generally, the more water on your brush, the more translucent your paint will appear on the paper.

Step 4: Paint away.
Repeat this process each time you want to change colours to avoid a dirty brown mixed up mess!

yummy mini savoury muffins

Every parent likes a yummy recipe that's done in 20 minutes- start to finish.


2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of milk
1 cup grated cheese
pinch of salt
1/2 cup bacon bits ( or cut up ham, pineapple, salami, onion.. whatever)

Spoon into mini muffin tins, I use 2 teaspoons for this part.

Bake at 180C for 10- 15 minutes depending on your oven- I just apply the 'they're brown and spring back when touched' rule.

These are great for playdates or parties as they're not too big for little hands and tummies.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

milk bottle bird homes

I found this is the lastest Resene Habitat magazine. I'm quite partial to the odd paint test pot so knew we'd be able to rustle two of these up for our birdie friends ( especially with 35% off test pots until the end of October). Here's the link to full instructions resene one for the birds. We adapted ours a bit.

We went to Resene and I let the kid's choose a colour they liked. M chose a lovely dark pink called sensual red and T chose, no surprises here, a yellow called gorse. 

I used an icecream container for M's roof as I burnt myself with the glue gun putting T's little roof tiles on and wasn't doing another one that way- ow! 

I wonder if any birds will venture in?