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: Greetings! 

I love receiving cards, don’t you? But even more than receiving, I love MAKING cards! Here’s some of my recent makes. 

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. 

Make it Monday: silk weaving in Laos


Facebook is telling me it’s nine years (NINE YEARS! Honestly, where does time go?) since I did my silk weaving class at Ock Pop Tok in Laung Prabang, on the Mekong River in Laos.

Ock Pop Tok (East meets West) is a social enterprise where local women are employed to teach traditional textile crafts. It was still in its infancy when we were there so I’m really pleased to see from their website that they’re continuing to do well as I have such fond memories of my day there and the amazing staff who taught me with such humour and patience. 
I remember there’s a stunning garden where my guide taught me about traditional silk dying, and the plants used. We collected different plants and I dyed skeins (does silk come in skeins like wool? Let me know below) of silk which I’ve still got on display.


Then it was on to the silk weaving. I’m not going to pretend I understand the machine – it was a large contraption with more threads going everywhere than Shelob’s lair! I remember it being a little tricky feet, as I needed to press each paddle (again, sorry to any weavers if I’m using the wrong terminology) to move the threads and create the pattern. Once in the ‘swing’ it was surprisingly quick to create my piece. 

I chose a ‘naga’ pattern, a traditional Buddhist symbol which I was told was a protective, wise deity. 

And here’s my finished piece! Happy to say it’s still pride of place, currently in our bedroom. So many happy memories. 


Have you visited Ock Pop Tok? What did you make? Have you tried any local crafts on your travels? Let me know in the comments below. 

Happy Easter!

Do you have an Easter egg hunt planned with your little ones? I’m certain that cheeky bunny will be dropping off some eggs (and pup friendly treats!) to our girls so I thought I should make some bags for the toddler and her friends.

Luckily the very clever Caroline of ‘SewCanShe‘ had created these beautiful & simple egg collecting bags.  I’d made a slightly larger bag using this pattern (and super easy boxed corners) last year as a house-warming gift for a friend so decided to make a smaller one for the toddler. 

Following the pattern was super easy, even though it was my first real attempt at appliqué. As promised in her blog, the bags sewed up quickly and I was really pleased with the results. I thought the toddler might be a little too focussed on picking up eggs so I added a shoulder strap which worked well. What do you think? I love the bright colours and as you can see, it packs a LOT of treats! It’s also currently one of my daughters favourite bags, hence the creases!

I also wanted to make some treat bags for her friends so used this pattern, again from SewCanShe. I love the bunny fabric and again the pattern was super easy, although I always have a few issues doing buttonholes (I think I need more practice. I measure, and place, double check and they still end up slightly in the wrong place!). Anyway, they came out pretty well, although I decided to use fleece for my bunny ears to add some texture to the bags. They looked cute, but we’re a little too heavy and kept pulling the rest of the bag in odd directions. If I make these bags again, I’ll use a much lighter fabric as suggested in the instructions. We filled the bags with treats and I can say they were a hit with the toddlers friends! 


What do you think? Will you try the sewing patterns? Send me a picture in the comments below of your creations!

Wishing you all a peaceful and chocolate-filled Easter! 

Meet the Maker: Goals

So today we’re looking at goals. This is a slightly challenging topic to discuss, especially when your creative endeavours are so varied, and ever changing. When I bought my sewing machine, my aim was to make unique items for my daughter and I to wear. I’ve reached this goal (and ensured a steep learning curve!) but now I’d like to slowly start sharing what I make and hopefully start building clients and business.

For ease, I think I’ll divide it into writing goals and crafting goals.

Writing goals:

  • Keep writing! I’ve been pretty slack since I had my daughter so need to get back to writing regularly
  • Finish editing ‘Elesphere’ my young adult fantasy novel. I was pretty much finished but it needs a lot more work.
  • Ongoing work on my ‘Vampire’s Bodyguard’ series. More details on this to come!
  • Look into self publishing Elesphere and The Vampire’s Bodyguard next year. I’ve also got an idea to expand a short story but I’m keeping that a secret for now.
  • Obviously I’d love best-seller status but frankly, having people out there, reading my work is still surreal so I’ll just take a couple more happy readers. For now.

Crafting goals:

  • Ongoing skill development.
  • Improving my felting and learn to make fairies and characters.
  • Design and make a range of greetings cards to sell.