Legoland

May 15, 2012

Its been a bit shameful that my kids first trip to Legoland Windsor (Resort as it is now)  was last weekend, considering I live 10 mins away and I used to make the models there. This was my first time back in 10 years! and we all had a wonderful time. Sunday was one of our 1st sunny days for months. so we took the opportunity to get out in the sunshine and visit the Park, we made a packed lunch, the girls raided their piggy banks for pocket money and got there early for the 10am opening. Alice is still under 3 so she went for free, Martha has a season ticket (upgraded from her last visit with her Granny and Papa) and Mr Peacock and I shared a 2 for 1 coupon, so effectively we paid for 1 adult ticket which cost £43!! Not bad for a family of 4 but a shocking amount without the vouchers/deals. However with so many vouchers and deals out there at the moment (check out Tesco clubcard points deals and pick up the 2 for 1s on Tesco food packaging), I think paying full price at the gate for a whole family would be a bit like paying full price for a sofa at DFS.

We got on the Hill Train and started at the bottom of the Park at the Dragon coaster, this is exactly the same as I remember it but he magic of seeing it all through the eyes of a 5 year old made it much better. I took Alice onto the smaller ‘Dragon’s Apprentice’ which was the most queuing I did all day, as its only a small coaster with one car it takes an age to wait your turn, but she enjoyed it very much. Then Martha wanted to see Miniland (“the houses you made mummy”) although in honesty I didn’t really work on any newbuild in Miniland while I was here I remember making a few replacement cars and people and small scenes and cleaning it all during the closed season, but that doesn’t sound as good. Then we went into Duploland and had a go on the ‘Chopper Squadron’ it was called whirly birds when I was last here, and ‘Fairy Tale Brook’, ate lunch by the little playground and watched the puppet show. Martha did her driving test at ‘L-Drivers’ in ‘Traffic’ as for the bigger traffic school kids need to be 6 (although the little school was a bit easy for her), and then we went on the ‘Atlantis Submarine Voyage’, which was amazing. The kids loved the sharks and Rays in the tank with lots of Nemo (clown) fish. So much that Alice spent her pocket money on a cuddly fish with ‘sleepy eyes’ at the exit shop. We wandered through Lego City and went on the Orient Expedition train ride, had ice-creams by the lighthouse, did the few fairground rides, now themed ‘Kingdom of the Pharoh’s’ and headed back the The Beginning to see the new Star Wars Miniland exhibit, which was pretty amazing by modelmaking standards, all in miniland scale, a treat for all the nerdy parents but a bit dark and noisy for Alice. Martha took forever in the Big shop looking for something to spend her money on, but we eventually got out and they fell asleep on the way home.

The Park looks fabulous at this time of year, possibly because all the models I made have been removed or are not used anymore, but I know how much work goes into building, repairing, maintaining and cleaning all those Lego models so well done to all my ex-Lego-colleages – good work! The kids both keep asking when we can go back, but I like to keep big days out as one off treats, but I’ll try not to leave it another 10 years!

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!

 

Christmas Cards

December 5, 2011

I know I am spoiling the surprise for anyone on our christmas card list this year, but I think we did a really good job of these. The girls found some new glitter in their advent calender yesterday morning. Hobby Craft has come to Staines so I picked up a bottle of ‘confetti’ glitter glue, with iridescent glitter and tiny stars in it, and the Christmas fairy popped it into Sunday’s drawer in our wooden advent calender. To be honest I didn’t really have a plan for this years christmas cards until the last minute but I had bought some gold doilies in Saisbury’s during the last big shop, with an idea to use them somehow, and picked up the glitter and the blank cards (with envelopes) in Hobby Craft earlier in the week. Then on an quick inspiration hunt on the internet I spotted this gorgeous vintage angel posted on one of my favorite craft resource blogs ‘graphics fairy’, (http://graphicsfairy.blogspot.com). I love the graphics fairy, her blog is jam packed with lovely vintage images, and this pretty little cherub, was just asking to be printed, cut and pasted onto our christmas cards with a gold doily ‘frame’ and the new glitter glue, adding sparkle to her stary sky. (The stars in the new glitter even matched the tiny stars in the picture.)

I promptly downloaded the picture took it into photoshop, resized it and made an A4 page with 8 angels on it, and printed 5 of these onto some gloss photo paper I had knocking about. I sat and cut out all the angels and cut the frilly bits off the edges of the doilies and then cut into triangles. Then I filled a beaker with PVA glue and got the kids. I painted a rough star shape onto the card with glue and the kids stuck the triangles onto it to make star shape and then stuck the angel picture into the middle. Then we painted the glitter onto the angel picture, which was certainly the girls’ favorite bit. Some are of course better than others, but I quite like that they are all a bit different. They certainly look homemade which is the whole point. We only have one that opens backwards this year!

Ribbon Alice Bands

September 26, 2011

Martha loves an ‘alice band’, and we seemed to miss all the blue school ones in the ‘back to school’ season in the shops, so I thought I would have a go at making some. We made these in her new school colours but could easily repeat this to make matching Alice Bands to go with her favorite outfits too!

I got 5 plastic alice bands for £1 in Poundland, they had a kind of holographic design on them – lovely, but importantly didn’t have the row of little spikes around the inside, I don’t think you could ‘wrap’ those ones as easily and Martha refuses to wear them as she says the spikes hurt. I used PVA Glue, (huge fan of PVA glue and one day plan to publish a ‘1001 things to do with PVA’!) painted small sections of the alice band securing the end with a clothes peg and wrapped the alice band in ribbon. I bought a few different ribbons from my local haberdashery a gingham one, a grossgrain (most expensive) and a couple of double faced satins, and used about a metre of each for each alice band, including the little bow. Continuing to paint small sections, about an inch at a time (as this avoids all the ribbon getting sticky and fiddly), and wrapping making sure that the edges matched up or overlapped a little, until I reached the other end. Then trimmed off any excess ribbon and held it with another peg and left it overnight to dry. I used plastic clothes pegs as in my mind they are less likely to stick to the gluey ribbon than wooden ones would, they came off quite easily anyway.

I ‘finished’ them by tying a small bow in any left over ribbon (there wasn’t any excess grossgrain I used the whole metre for the wrapping I guess because it was slightly narrower than the other ribbons) and sewed it onto the alice band, trying to catch some of the glued on ribbon with the stitches to secure it, but essentially just taking a stitch into the back of the bow through the knot then back through and around the alice band. Then I wrapped the ends with a bit more cotton thread to bind the ends of the ribbon to the alice band and put another blob of PVA over the thread behind the bow and over the two bound ends.

Martha has been wearing them to school and so far they seem to have stood up to it unlike her new shoes that came back on the first day more scuff than leather! (Although one has disappeared completely at school already – alice band not shoe!)

Raspberry Jam

September 22, 2011

Granny and Papa Peacock are on holiday so we went to Papa’s allotment at the weekend to do some scrumping. The prize of the visit was 1.2kg of a mixture of raspberries and loganberries, which I turned into a delicious jam.

I am guessing that the mixture was about half and half, and it was a little over 1.2kg so I used 1kg of sugar and one sachet of pectin powder for the jam. Smushing the fruit with a potato masher in the pan first then adding the sugar and pectin and bringing up to a rolling boil and boiling for 5 mins. Then I put half straight into sterilised jars and pushed the 2nd half through a sieve to remove most of the pips (my fussy kids!) before getting it into the jars.

I am guessing that the delay in potting up, has probably lessened the cupboard time of the pip free jars, but I don’t think that will  be a problem, I keep opened jars of homemade jam in the fridge anyways and I really don’t think this one is going to last very long – it is delicious! It tastes amazing, reminds me of jam from my childhood, and would make an excellent Victoria Sponge Filling, if I get round to that before it all gets scoffed. Just look at how happy Alice is with her Raspberry jam on toast!

School Bag

September 5, 2011

Even though its my big girl that starts school next week, I made this one for the littlest Peacock this week. I bought this set of vintage alphabet flashcards recently just because I couldn’t resist ‘A is for apple that Alice is eating’ – I am such a sucker! And as Alice has been using a freebie sports bag for nursery for sometime, I thought I would use it to make her something more suitable.

I used a small girls backpack from Primark that had a hideous cutesy poodle on it (to be fair, I have seen worse) and thought I would copy the flashcard (but photographing it -although I do have a scanner somewhere!) and editing it in photoshop to clean it up a bit. Then printed it onto the t-shirt transfer paper I used for ‘shopping bags’. ( ) I couldn’t iron it straight onto the poodle bag as I presumed it would melt. So I ironed it onto some lime green cotton fabric I had knocking about. I ironed the edges over and then sewed the patch onto the front of the bag.

I think it looks pretty cool and is much less shameful to hang on her peg at nursery anyways.

Peppa Pig Cake

August 31, 2011

This was the cake I made for Alice’s birthday (almost a month ago!), I wasn’t sure it was a particularly interesting post, but as I have posted about all the other birthday cakes I have made I thought I would write it up in the spirit of consistency.

The cake itself was  a double ‘Betty Croker devils food cake’ mix, one mix for the top layer and one for the bottom with pink buttercream in between. I made the Peppa figure out of coloured packet fondant icing the big pack of the dr oetker stuff. I coloured all the required colours first, pink for her head, arms and legs, red for her dress/body and black for her shoes. The large blob of dark pink I coloured up for the number 2 for the cake at the same time and used it for the detail on her face, her smile and her cheeks. I actually covered the top bit of an icecream cone for her body as this icing is not ideal for modeling it is a bit soft until you pop it in the fridge it has a tendency to slump a bit. Basically I made all the pieces got them nice and cold then assembled them. I coloured some more icing blue and green and covered the cake in the blue (the blue ribbon round the edge hides the pigs ear – see what i did there! – I made of the sides of the cake). I cut a wobbly shape out of the green (in the style of peppa’s logo) then popped her on top, with a few bought icing flowers (sainsbury’s own – in the cake stuff isle) that Martha helped me to stick on with leftover buttercream.

I think it came out ok, if my cake covering had been better it would have almost looked bakery made. Anyway it tasted good and got eaten up by her friends and family at her party with leftovers going to her nursery.