Make It Monday: Birthday Shenanigans Part 2 ‘Sarah & Duck’

I crocheted the Lamb a ‘Sarah’ doll and Sarah’s favourite animal, a sea cow.

We recently celebrated the Lamb’s third (THIRD!!) birthday. She’s heavily into dinosaurs at the moment so I had planned a dinosaur theme for her birthday. However, as always, the best laid plans for scuppered when two weeks before her birthday, she announced she wanted a ‘Sarah and Duck’ theme. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Sarah and Duck is a charming and quirky cartoon featuring a young girl ‘Sarah’, her friend ‘Duck’ who lives with her and a plethora (I really don’t use the word ‘plethora’ enough. Plethora. Love it) of interesting characters, from ‘Scarf Lady’ who is perpetually knitting and her grumpy knitting bag, Umbrella who doesn’t like the rain, Bug who collects buttons, Plate Girl, Ribbon Sisters, the list goes on.


Which luckily means there are a huge number of characters to draw inspiration from. As we do every birthday, we decorated our fireplace.


With help from the Lamb, we made pom-poms. Pom-poms are a craft I’d been looking forward to doing with the Lamb for a while. It’s very simple and mess-free, plus we loved throwing our pom-poms in the air. Their ‘bed’ was actually a cleaned out croissant tray and we shredded some brown packing paper to make soil. We stuck some eyes on the pom-poms, then it was a case of ‘Hello!’, ‘Hello!’, ‘Hello!’, ‘Ahoy!’


Duck was another toddler-friendly craft with lots of tissue paper stuck onto a cardboard duck. Sometimes the simple crafts are the most fun and effective.


Next up was the paper chains, because it’s not a birthday without paper chains. I found an umbrella shaped hole punch in Tiger (I’ve seen them in multiple stores) and set to work. ‘Umbrella’ in Sarah and Duck is red so I tried different methods of creating a red umbrella. Finally I opted to punch strips of yellow paper, then highlight the holes with red paper, which I think created a lovely effect. It was time consuming but looked pretty good, although I cut the red backing paper a little too narrow so from the back it looked a little messy. The Lamb didn’t mind though.


Another view of the paper chains and the paint blown ‘Moon’ to created a few weeks ago.


In one episode Sarah’s plant isn’t too well. It turns out that ‘Bug’ has been storing buttons in the flower pot. Sarah makes Bug a ‘Button’ bank so I filled a jar with my most colourful buttons and added a label. I think Bug would really like this little Bank, don’t you?


Some paper lanterns became ‘Moon’ and ‘Venus’ and more tissue paper helped create ‘Flamingo’ .


And of course, what would a birthday be without ‘Cake’. Fans of the show will know the talkative cake was make for Duck but ended up helping ‘Bread Man’ in his shop. And what flavour was the cake? Lemon drizzle of course!

Does your little one like Sarah and Duck? Have you thrown a Sarah and Duck themed party? Let me know!

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Make It Monday: Moth Repellant Pendants

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We seem to be in the midst of the most quiet invasion ever at the moment, namely moths! They appear randomly all over the place and I’m determined they don’t eat any of our woollens so am fighting back!

Normally I buy the chemical ‘patches’ or insecticide soaked paper, but I can be very forgetful at removing them once they are no longer active and am more than a little paranoid that the Lamb or Pup will find them and decide they’re the latest chew-toy so, inspired by this post from Garden Therapy I decided to make some ceramic ‘pendants’ for our wardrobes which I soaked in cedar oil (I made these one weekend when I had a horrendous cold so kept adding more and more oil until hubby intervened as apparently the house stunk).

Cedarwood oil is derived from the cedar tree and can be bought in blocks, oil or resin. It is a natural moth repellent, with the added bonus that it’s non-toxic to dogs (obviously check with your vets if you have any doubts. There’s a plethora of products with cedar oil in aimed at removing fleas and ticks from dogs, with the added benefit that your furry best friend smells a little fresher too!), a major concern here at Beagle HQ.

The pendents were super simple to make and I think look adorable. I bought some air-drying clay which I rolled out, then using assorted cookie and play-doh cutters, I cut different shapes, using a straw to punch a hole for the string and of course I had to add a little dog paw for decoration. I left them to dry overnight, then started adding the oil, allowing it to sink in fully before adding more. As I said, I may have used a *little* too much. Once they were fully dried I tight some string around them, and then popped them between clothes, in cupboards and generally around the house. We’re now moth-free AND the house smells fantastic!

IMG_0613.JPGHave you made any natural moth repellents? What did you use? Let me know in the comments below.

Make it Monday: Birthday Shenanigans ‘Lord of the Rings’

I remember birthdays as a child, mostly the cake (the infamous ‘Rabbit Castle’ will go down in family history but that’s a story for another day) but parties and fun. Since having the Lamb we’ve tried to put extra special effort into celebrating birthdays, decorating the house and of course, baking a special cake. This year hubby celebrated a special birthday so the Lamb and I made and decorated the house, as well as baking an extra-special birthday. Can you guess the theme? IMG_2844.JPG

The assorted books by JRR Tolkien have long been hubby’s favourite so we created Middle Earth here in Devon!

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Our porch door became a Hobbit hole
It was a lot of fun creating the decorations and we used different craft skills.

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Shelob was a black pom pom.
It took quite a while to do all the lettering but luckily I found some sites on Pinterest to help. Of course, we needed a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner.

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And I also made a number of small banners, based on the different characters……

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Eeeeep! The white hand of the Urak Hai!

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My House of Rohan design. Getting the right shape of the horses head was a bit tricky but I’m happy with the result

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Gandalf’s symbol
Of course, we needed Sauron’s Eye to watch our celebrations….

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And I tested hubby on his Elvish…..

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Can you guess what this says? Not a traditional Elvish quote from the books, but thought it apt for hubby
Our hallway. Down the banister I knitted brown ‘branches’ with the leaves of Lothlorian while there were streamers and balloons from the ceiling as more branches and leaves.

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I needle-felted Gandalf (if you’d like one made to order, comment below or email bluebeaglebaby(at)gmail.com) which was fun and I look forward to making more. Perhaps I’ll eventually felt the other characters.

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And created these luggage/gift tags

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And finally the cake. And in-keeping with the books, we celebrated in Hobbiton!

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A very happy birthday to hubby!

What did you think of our Middle Earth birthday? Have you had a themed party? Let me know in the comments below!

Make It Monday: String Letters

As Summer in the UK, you can never tell what the weather will do. One particularly dull day, I was trying to think what to do with the assorted ends of my knitting. As part of my ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ pledge for Earth Day, I normally add them to the ‘rag bag’ which I donate to the local charity shop, but suddenly inspiration struck, the Lamb and I would turn it into art!

This was possibly one of the easiest, although muckiest, projects we’ve undertaken and the results were as fun as the making!

We started off by drawing an outline of our chosen design on greaseproof paper, an ‘E’ for the Lamb and I thought I’d get a head start on some of our Halloween decorations so I wrote ‘Boo’.

Then came the fun part! We soaked the assorted wool remnants in the glue water, then draping it around the paper. I wrung the wool a little, while the Lamb popped it on still dripping. Aside from excess liquid, neither method affected the final result. Longer pieces were used to create an outline while the others were layered inside. We both really liked the blends of colours.

And here’s the final result! Super spooky!

 

Make it: Be blown away with paint!

The school holidays seem to be particularly dreary this year. The toddler seems to have fallen slightly out of love with painting so I decided to come up with a new method to renew her passion. 


This was a super-simple, fun and VERY messy project and one we both enjoyed. Seriously though, if you decide to try it, paint goes EVERYWHERE so make sure you put lots of paper down.


Those who know me, know I’m terrible at drawing (I once drew a stick an with three knees….) but luckily ‘Moon’ from the toddlers new favourite show (Sarah & Duck) is easy enough for even my cack-handedness to draw. I also did a few other simple outlines, including a tree, Spidergirl and a hedgehog.


Next, it was time to pour the paint. I bit of trial and error taught us that small drops, fairly close together worked better.


Then it was time to blow!


It was fun trying different lengths of straw and different ‘blowing’ techniques from short, sharp puffs, to longer blows while moving the straw around. They created surprisingly different results.


The tree is a little abstract.


Spider girl turned into a Deadpool/Venom hybrid. We used slightly too much paint on this one….


And here’s Moon, waving on his way to work.

Have you tried blow-painting? How did you get on? Let me know in the comments below! 

Make it Monday: Shark Week


We live every week like it’s Shark Week here at Beagle HQ but having a dedicated week is always fun to try some new crafts.

Seeing the Lamb playing with a toilet roll inspired the ‘shark fin cuff’. It was incredibly simple but turned out better than we expected and the toddler loves ‘swimming’ around the house with her cuff. We cut a fin shape, painted it grey, while the toilet roll was painted blue. Then it was a simple case of gluing the fin to the toilet roll and cutting an opening! I added some tissue paper to cover the flaps at the base of the fin and the cuff was ready!


Just in case the Lamb didn’t want to wear a cuff, we also made this fun hat/hairband. Another simple construction, with a band of paper to fit the Lamb’s head, and an extra one to go over the top. The Lamb painted both and again I added some tissue paper to hide the join, and to add a bit of texture. If I’m honest, I think hubby and I are a little jealous we don’t have a fun hat like this. Perhaps next week….

How are you celebrating Shark Week?

Make it Monday: Room On The Broom inspired Quiet Book


We’re HUGE fans of Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler’s books here at Beagle HQ. So much so that the toddler’s last birthday was themed around some of their more famous books, but that’s a post for another day.

A zipper for a mouth
What’s inside? Some other characters!

I wanted to make the toddler something a bit different, so I combined some of her favourite characters with different openers and fasteners to help her improve her dexterity and coordination. The product was ‘Evie’s Quiet Book’.

Bird’s wing has a magnetic which helps it move. There’s also plenty of ribbon to practice tying bows

Quiet books seem to be hugely popular and it’s easy to see why: soft to touch for little hands, they are only limited by your imagination and can keep little people occupied for ages. 

Help Dog count bones

I created a page for each of the main characters: Witch, Cat, Dog, Bird, Frog, Dragon plus all of them on the broom.

What’s in Cat’s cauldron?
All the ingredients fro a witches brew! Each item is sewn onto a popper so can be removed for an endless mix of spells

I tried to use a mix of fabrics and materials to make it interesting to touch as well as various colours. Some worked better than others, with some of the coarser fabric fraying, however I think this adds to the characters. 

The Dragon isn’t too gruff here – he has a squeaker for a voice

There are also different fasteners including zips, poppers, buttons and clips, all of which encourage to toddler to explore and learn how to use them. They’ve helped her improve her manual dexterity while also teaching her some key skills for getting dressed. 

Help the Witch button her cardigan and plait her hair, but be careful not to lose her ribbon!

I think the Witch is my favourite page. Her long ginger hair is a mix of different wools, from very soft, to slightly more coarse and even a few strands from my rag doll I had as a baby! Perfect for learning how to plait, and to tie a ribbon! Her cardigan also needs buttoning. This was the only page where I used my sewing machine (for the cardigan), all the rest was sewn by hand.

And out flew, a magnificent broom!

The last page is the broom with all the characters sat safely in their seats. I made the finger puppets as a fun accompaniment when reading the book, but they can be used for reenactment while out and about, or for creating new adventures!

Endless fun with the finger puppets

Have you made a quiet book? Do you like the characters from the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom? Let me know in the comments below. 

Smelling good! My soaps from @SoapDaze


Remember a few weeks ago I shared details of my soap making workshop with @SoapDaze, well today I collected my soaps! I love the colours made by the bladderwrack and clay and the blend of sandlewood with mandarin is delicious. I also think the pup approves as she gave them a good sniff as I was trying to get some pictures! 

Make it Monday: Gone fishing!

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Over Christmas I bought the toddler some candy canes which we put in a cup and ‘fished’ for using a keyring hoop on some string. They were cheap canes and really not tasty (even the pup refused to munch them!) which is one of the reasons they have lasted so long but they finally all broke.

The toddler was rather disappointed as she loved her ‘fishing’ game so I was really thankful to find this tutorial from Handmade Gifts Made Easy! It’s a fairly simple pattern and I decided to reuse the fabric from one of my first ever sewing projects (a simple A-line dress I sewed for the toddler to wear to swim classes. Looking back, there’s wonky lines, unpressed and incorrectly sewn seams BUT she loved it and seemed happy I was going to use some of her favourite fabric). Given it’s covered in some of her favourite ocean life, it seemed fitting for a fishing game.

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One of the first items I ever sewed! Sadly the toddler has outgrown it so I’m reusing the fabric

The tutorial comes with a pattern for the fish but due to some printer issues, I decided to make my own. As you can see, it was very high-tech and properly measured.

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I used a coaster to create my fish

The toddler was already excited when I started cutting the fish out and was determined to help me sew them together. For this reason I didn’t pin them as they do in the tutorial. (Before anyone comments, when the toddler ‘helps’ me sew, she sits under the table and works the foot paddle with me, however, I don’t like to use pins if I know little fingers are around!). I also didn’t want to create a ‘worm’ on the hook because my magnet was very small and I was worried it might not have the strength to pick up the fish so used some of the fabric offcuts.

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With my helper at the paddle, the fish were quickly sewn and before I had a chance to stuff and close them the toddler had ‘caught’ a few and was off! She had a fun half an hour or so until bed time, catching them, showing us what fish she’d caught.

Once little fingers were safely in bed I got my sewing needles out and finished off the fish, putting a little stuffing in each before I sewed them up. My sewing is in no way as neat as the ‘Gifts Made Easy’ team but they do provide a helpful video if you want to do a neater job than I did.

The next morning the toddler headed straight for her fishing kit and all through breakfast kept ‘fishing’. It’s proven to be one of her favourite toys (as her homemade gifts often are) and as it’s so neat and small, it’s one I can pop in my bag to keep her entertained while we’re out and about. Hopefully it last longer than the candy canes!

Have you made any games for your youngsters? Feel free to share photos or links in the comments.