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Made our own snowglobes!

7 Dec

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This was fun… Some plastic toy figures, a clean jam jar, some glycerine (from the supermarket near all the food colouring), some glitter, tap water, superglue or sugru. We stuck the figures to the jar lid and let them set overnight… We used sugru but you could use superglue. Then put less than a teaspoon of glitter into the jar (the flaky large glitter works best and you can mix colours), add water, a dash of glycerin (it thickens the water and makes the glitter fall more slowly), seal the lid and shake. We topped the water right up to the top so there was next to no air in the jar when it was sealed. You could glue the lid on but we’re living dangerously!
Happy Christmas!

Run run as fast as you can

4 Oct

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And so begins an epic quest to perfect the gingerbread man. I am seeking high and low on the cook book shelves in the kitchen, scouring the foodiest food blogs, tracking down the ideal combination of ingredients to make manifest the gingerbread archetype. The platonic can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man must be super gingery, pliable, chewy, not too sweet and not too ascetically unsugary, dark and rich and melt in the mouth.
Alongside I need to nail the technique to render the gingerbread man’s face and buttons.

Experiment 1
Recipe: Hummingbird cookbook
Adjustments made to recipe: Reduced cooking time to 8-9mins with a fan oven and made the biscuits slightly thicker than recommended 4mm. Doubled the quantity of ginger.
Results: 3/10 appearance 6/10 texture 7/10 flavour
Comments: The icing recipe was way too stiff to create any features but was a great glue for smarties. The biccies resembled the much loved Ikea ginger thins with a continental dark sugar quite grown-up taste. Great with coffee. Kids hoovered them.

Aprons for small things

4 Sep

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Back to school tomorrow. Hasn’t it gone quick, haven’t they grown, etc…. These aprons are for some little classmates. A lovely idea for a birthday party… I believe they will all be making cakes. Today has mostly been about trying to tie shoelaces. Always assuming Number 2 sticks it out for a whole day, whole new worlds of opportunity suddenly open up. Life, I believe, goes in 7 year cycles. And so begins a new one.

Blackberry paper

29 Aug

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We picked a box of blackberries yesterday in the park. But we still have masses of jam from last year so I decided to try something new… fruit leather.
Basically you pulp the fruit and boil it, add a bit of honey to preserve it and simmer 5 mins and then pour it out on greaseproof paper on a baking sheet and leave in a low oven to dry out for about 6 hours.
The kids love those Yoyos of dried fruit rolled into pinwheels but they are really expensive. Unfortunately as with the vast majority of my homemade efforts they didn’t like the ‘blackberry paper’. They just wore those suspicious expressions and refused to even try it. Hmm. When does school start? For those with more adventurous tastes it is actually pretty good. Its chief virtue is also its greatest failing: the extremely intense hit of blackberryness. I will be adding it to my cereal.

Update: Number 1 has relented and deems the blackberry paper very good and quite suitable for her school snack box!!

My first running stitch…

6 Jul

To me this is up there with first steps… Number 1’s first attempts at sewing. Felt is easy, nice for kids to hold and keeps a bit stiff so you can focus on the needle. Maybe she won’t be as compulsive about it as Mummy but she did say “I’m going to be a sewer when I’m older”. Promised a felt teddy bear project as soon as she can stitch evenly in a straight line.

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Ladies and Gentlemen… the grand opening of our little doorway theatre

30 May

Doorway theatreFor the doorway between the kitchen and our orange playroom we now have a theatre. Made it the other day to surprise the kids (and Pink Mister) when they came back from a little friend’s party.
All the fixtures and fittings are fixed with velcro so the theatre can become a shop or cafe or… you get where this is going. These pieces velcro on and off: curtains, stage backdrop, pockets behind the stage for the performers to stash props (or for the shopkeeper to keep the money and paper bags), sign above the stage/shop.
All that remains to add is the sign above the window and perhaps a clear pocket below the stage for the kids to slide in ‘programmes’, ‘menus’, etc of their own devising.
I’m also working on curtains that can be raised by the ‘performers’ by pulling a ribbon backstage – thinking of a variation on swedish blinds mechanism – keep you posted.

Materials:
Thank you Mr Ikea for the fabric. I used just over 2m of Ikea fabric plus some fabric lying around for the red curtains and for the navy stage backdrop, 4 bamboo canes from the garden for the top edge, bottom edge and above and below the window to make the structure. I sewed strips of fabric across the back to make channels for the canes. I’m planning on buying some wooden dowels shortly to replace the bamboo. You also need 2 hooks to hang the theatre up. Lastly you need velcro strips.  I used the cut out rectangle where the stage window is to make the fabric ties which hold up the theatre. Another tip – if you’re having a stage backdrop then cut a piece of fabric much longer and wider than the stage then put a pleat in either side so that the fabric hangs over the performers without allowing a view through to the backstage area.

Measurements.
These are the measurements I used. Not sure how standard my doorways are. You’ll need to go slightly wider than your doorway so that no one can see backstage!
Height = 2m (plus allowances at top and bottom for a seam large enough to slide in a bamboo cane or wooden dowel
Width = 96cm (plus seam allowances)
Stage/window = 55cm wide x 74cm high (on our theatre the bottom edge of the stage is 74cm from the floor – just check it’s the right height for your tots)

Happy Birthday bag

30 May

Happy Birthday bagThe kids made this – after a fashion. They drew the letters and then caught on to what they call ‘outlining’ to make the letters more substantial. I then cut out the fabric and made up the bag. The kids wanted to do the ironing but that wasn’t a runner. Kids occupied, (birthday girl) friend happy. All good.
(For speed: line bags with an old pillowcase then you cut the outer fabric to the same size. Means you have good proportions and a bit less measuring and sewing to do. Zigzag stitch holds the bondaweb letters in place – didn’t have time today to do my preferred hand stitching around the edges.)

Snow is falling

14 Dec

So it’s still warm for December. I know this because I can peg out without my coat on. I’ll regret this when there’s an avalanche of the stuff come February but … I wish it would snow a bit. In the meantime, I’m making do with the WordPress snow on my website (thanks again WordPress) and the snowflakes on my windows. All the windows. The kids helped. It cost nothing. Went mad with the Spray Mount to this extent.

Light snowfall, Pink Sister style