Easter Bonnets

April 10, 2012

I know this post is a little late, but in my defense, we started these a week ago, and finished them at the weekend, but Alice only obliged to wear hers for a picture today after her nursery Easter Bonnet parade.

I found a pattern online for an old fashionedy bonnet and roughly copied it onto some newspaper a provisional fitting with this looked quite successful so I cut two out of packaging card, laying the patterns so the corrugations would allow the bend in the bonnet. I put the two small tabs in the pattern together to form the lampshade shape and stuck it with gummed paper tape (so it could be easily painted over). We tried them on again and although they were a bit wobbly on their heads they were a pretty good shape so the kids set about painting them – pink of course!

Once they were dry we added the lacy sections of paper doilies to the inside face edge of the bonnets and then we raided my ribbon and fake flower stash for decorations, I tied bows in the ribbons and stuck them on with hot melt glue, including the two thick long ribbons for tying under the chin.

I think they look super cute, however I realised then uploading these pictures that Alice’s face is always covered in food!

 

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Circus Party

January 9, 2012

Martha turned 5 inbetween christmas and new year, but we held her birthday party before christmas to maximise the chances of some of her friends being available to come to it. It was a circus theme and I organised all of it, and thoroughly enjoyed it, I think it was pretty sucessful, even though I did get a bit carried away with the theme.

I booked our local village hall and I made the invites above on photoshop with a little help with some lovely retro circus images from the graphics fairy and some free fonts from here; http://www.i-do-it-yourself.com/2009/01/fonts-circuscarnivalwild-west-type. I also attached a child’s ticket to each invite, as well as some info for parents.

I think all parties should be fancy dress, so asked my girls what they wanted to be for the circus party, Martha wanted to be a circus ballerina, and Alice decided she wanted to be a monkey – can’t argue with that. I made Martha’s costume with a leotard from ebay a tutu pattern from (my new favorite book) ‘Oliver + s – little things to sew’ by Liesl Gibson, and some sequin butterfly sew on embellishents (I picked these up in a recent trip to New York). Alice’s monkey costume I bought from ebay, it was alot cheaper than making one, and up until the last minute was doubtful she would actually wear it! I made myself a ringmaster’s tailcoat from a red velour blouse I found in the charity shop, cut the front short and added the off cut to the back for the tails and added covered shoulder pads as epaullettes with lots of fringing and the spare gold fabric I bought I covered the open front to make faux lapels. I was incredibly camp, just what you would expect at a kids circus! I did have a top hat too but mostly forgot to wear it!

The entertainments were circus sideshows, Hook a duck was assembled with some cheapo rubber ducks from ebay with modelling wire loops inserted in their heads and 3 bamboo sticks covered with red tape with cup hooks glued into one end. I marked a duck pond out onto the floor with coloured masking tape. Elephant Hoopla, was a large piece of cardboard with an elephant’s face painted on with a trunk made out of packaging tube, jointed at the end so there was a hook to it and hoops cut out of card too and painted. Coconut shy was 3 more cardboard packaing tubes painted with 3 coconuts balanced on the top (the easiest coconut shy in the world but at least the 4-5 year olds had a chance of winning), my mum and auntie manufactured some excellent stripey beanbags filled with dried pearl barley for the kids to knock the coconut off with. And pin the nose on the clown, another face painted onto cardboard with a few numbered red circles for noses with blutak on the back and my mum’s scarf as a blindfold. (On the day I had forgotten to pick up the handy sleep mask from the flight to NYC to use for this purpose!). My very talented middle sister provided face painting, and my little sister and her boyfriend were photographers. With a ‘pass the parcel’ game included in the fun and packets of haribo offered as prizes for the games we had enough to keep all 30 kids happy until the birthday tea.

We did hotdogs and popcorn and apple wedges (as a suggestion for toffee apples – without all the sugar), for the circus themed food, which went down really well with the kids. I pre-bagged the popcorn into individual bags before the party – also bought from ebay. These were in each table setting along with a drink and a helium balloon, I bought a kit with the gas tank and 50 balloons again from ebay, most of these sadly ended up in the rafters of the hall to high to retrieve!

The cake was a ‘big top’ made with 3 layers of cake mix cake 2 x chocolate and one vanilla made in a square tin, and stacked with chocolate buttercream in between each layer. I trimmed the sides of the squares to neaten up the shape and then used these offcuts to construct a pyramid shape for the top, sticking the bits together with buttercream and carving it to make the shape. I covered it in white fondant icing, there was two layers on the top to smooth out my slightly lumpy pyramid. I used coloured icing to make the stripes down the sides of the tent the bunting along the top edge and green for some grass at the bottom (to hide the messy bottom edge). I made some paper flags one with a happy birthday message written on it, by gluing triangle shapes to bamboo skewers, these went into each corner and the middle and provided stability for the cake too. I put a couple of circus animal toys through the dishwasher to sterilise them and when dry I dressed them up in icing circus outfits for the elephant got a fancy panel over its back and both him and the lion got party hats. I think these were the touch that made the cake look really circusy.

The children all went home with a party bag (a plain brown paper carrier bag with a name sticker made from an address label printed with the graphics from the invite), which included glow stick bracelets (poundland), a chinese purse for the girls (ebay) a couple of small circus animals (from a 2 collections of african animals from amazon), a small pot of candy floss (ebay) and of course a piece of cake.

It was loads of fun, lots of Martha’s friends came in excellent outfits too, special mention for the tattooed lady and strongman, the lovely trapeze  artist, some excellent and inventive clowns and all the princesses, batman, superman and mr bump!

 

I love making toys from stuff destined for the bin. We made this princess castle with bits and bobs of recycling last week, it made use of an old teabags box, a kitchen roll tube, a toilet roll tube, a tube from the inside of some wrapping paper (cut into 2) a pringles tube, a paper cup and the pointing bits from the inside of an egg box. Martha and I asssembled these pieces and cut some castle top shape strips out of an old cereal box to decorate the tops of a tower and the tea box. We glued these together and to help them stay together while the pva glue dried I used some masking tape. We painted the whole lot pink (of course!) and left it to dry.

The next day, I cut out some windows and arrow slits from black paper and Martha chose where to stick them on (the big window in the paper cup roof of the pringles box is the princess’s bedroom!). Then we used the frilly bit from the edge of a doily to decorate the egg box bit roofs. Martha drew some flowers and we stuck them on the sides of the towers and then decorated the whole lot with some sequins.

Martha also wanted to make a rainbow to go with her castle, so I cut a semi circle out of a bit of left over mount board, but any thick cardboard would work and made two supports for each side by cutting half a slit in the rainbow and half in the support and sliding them together. Martha drew a rainbow on the white side with crayons, and then we painted each coloured stripe with glue and covered it in different coloured glitter. To make the rainbow as sparkly as possible.

Once they were dry she has been playing with them ever since, using happyland figures. I think they look pretty good for rubbish.

Recycled Royal Wedding

April 18, 2011

Today we made Wills and Kate in preparation for the Royal Wedding. Martha is quite excited that a real girl is going to marry a prince and be a princess, so we decided to imortalise the happy couple in toilet roll tubes!

We prepared the toilet roll tubes at the weekend when we had the paints out, and painted the top third of each tube pink for their faces and the bottom two thirds white for the bride and blue for the groom. Then today we got out the old birthday cards, paper doilies and stickers to decorate them. I think I did a fine job with the biro capturing the likenesses, and we set about cutting crowns and jewels out of the birthday cards. We also made a king and queen to attend the wedding, but they are a bit more abstract.

If we get a chance we might do Westminster Abbey out of an old wine box, I’ll keep you posted!

Super-specs!

February 20, 2011

We recently updated the gels at work, I rescued this pink from the bin. As soon as Martha spotted it she put it over her eyes to look through it which gave me the idea to make it into glasses. I saved an empty cereal packet and used an existing pair of kids sunglasses to cut out a few basic shapes for the frames and arms. I cut two of each frame design. and cut some pieces of the gel to fit each of the designs.

Martha and I then glued the two sides of each frame together with the gel sandwiched in between, with PVA glue and let these dry, then we painted the frames and the arms of all 4 pairs of glasses. When these were dry we decorated them with big sequin shapes and glued on the arms.

Martha is particularly pleased with her princess glasses (the ones with a crown above the two lenses), and the ‘Elton John’ ones are pretty fab too! I don’t suppose they will hold up to excessive playing but were great fun to make.

Cardboard Box Car

June 23, 2010

At the beginning of last week the weather was pretty rubbish and we needed an entertainment for the one arm girl, fortunately her new car seat had arrived the previous week and the novelty of simply sitting in the box was starting to wear off. We decided to turn it into a car. The basic shape was achieved by using the front flap as the windscreen and cutting the side flaps at an angle to support the front piece, removing the rest of the side flaps from where it looked OK. Use a serrated bread knife to cut cardboard, sharp kitchen knives will be ruined and scissors are too tricky, just hack away with a bread knife making sure little ‘helpful’ fingers are well out of the way. We used masking tape to stick the windscreen flap and the side flaps together – we had a view to painting this car outside when the weather allowed but the car came to its natural demise long before the weather got better. The off cuts of the flaps we used to make the wheels and the steering wheel and column. I used a sideplate as a template. We cut a door, and a petrol filler cap. Then drew on it with marker pen until we planned to paint it. Later we used a kitchen roll tube as a petrol pump – between the sofa and the chair was the garage.

After a day or two the constant climbing in and out and dragging it over the floor the box and my tolerance of it taking up so much space was wearing thin, so it went to the recycle bin and never did get painted.