I’m really enjoying learning to crochet. For some reason my brain didn’t ‘get it’ for ages, despite being shown by friends and associates, all I could make was uneven triangles.
I recently spent some time learning (thanks to a charity shop crochet kit and YouTube!) and have been experimenting a lot, writing my own patterns and learning to make appliqué as well as amigurami characters. I’ll be showcasing my makes here and welcome commissions. This little shark was made for my husband, a huge shark enthusiast. What do you think?
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One of my favourite things to do on a lazy day with the Lamb is to look briefly at my ‘Toddler Craft’ board on Pintrest & see what project she chooses.
Last week she was really taken with this photo of ‘tissue box monsters’ (apologies, I’ve looked to see if there’s a link to a website but can’t see one).
It was super simple and it was lovely to see the Lamb’s imagination run wild. Firstly we gathered our materials, and we were very lucky that it was the day before the recycling was collected so we had plenty of egg boxes and tissue boxes to use, plus some pipe cleaners, felt balls, paint, paper and glue.
The Lamb kept referring back to the original photo but her imagination really ran wild as she painted the mouth black, added fuzzy balls inside, wanted yellow horn and chose bobbly eyes for him. It was really fun, messy and creative. I was surprised at how long it took as the Lamb took a lot of care painting and considering what to add next.
And now her monster is pride of place on the mantelpiece.
Have you made a tissue box monster? What decorations are you making for Halloween?
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!
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….
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.
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’.
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.
I created a page for each of the main characters: Witch, Cat, Dog, Bird, Frog, Dragon plus all of them on the broom.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
It’s a bath explosion! I’m going to a friends wedding soon and it’s my first night away from the toddler EVER so I’m feeling a bit unsettled (she’ll be fine with daddy and the pup, but I’ll definitely miss bedtime snuggles!). However, every cloud has a silver lining and as I’m staying in a hotel, I thought I’d make myself some bath bombs to enjoy while I have a (hopefully) uninterrupted bath.
I’ve been making my own bath bombs with the toddler for a while. She loves measuring out the ingredients, selecting the essential oils and then mixing the assorted ingredients. It’s a fun, not-too-messy activity which teaches her about measuring, different ingredients and scents and also the pleasure of using what we’ve made come bath time.
As these were going to be a little treat for me, I decided to use some Himalayan Pink Salt, which is supposed to be a good detox tool. The mix of sweet orange and clove is delicious, and definitely one of my favourites, although it’s a tough choice between that and jasmine.
There’s a lot of recipes out there (and I’ve tried a number, including one which used coconut oil which left my skin soft but the bath a mess!) but this is the one that’s been working for me.
one cup of bicarbonate of soda
half cup of citric acid
quarter cup of Himalayan Pink Salt (or Epsom Salts)
Witch hazel in a spray bottle
Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix well, making sure there’s no clumps. Add your essential oils, approximately 15 drops, but I added 15 of both the orange and clove. Mix well to ensure they’re evenly distributed. Keep mixing and spray witch hazel over your ingredients. I generally do a couple of sprays, mix and see if they’re clumping together, if not I’ll do a few more sprays, then see again if it’s going to bind together. One thing I’ve found is using the salts, I need more witch hazel to get the ingredients to bind that I do when I just use the bicarbonate of soda and citric acid. Once it starts to clump in your hand, start pressing it into moulds. I’ve found cookie cutters to be best as they hold their shape while I firmly press the ingredients into it. Silicone moulds tend to bulge and the bath bombs then crumbled when I pressed them out. Gently press the bath bombs onto a rack to dry overnight.
I really love the flecks of pink from the Himalayan Pink Salt. Don’t they look pretty?
I store my bath bombs in a pot in the bathroom. They’re so much more cost effective than those bought in stores, plus the toddler and I love experimenting with colours and scents – we even added a cup of ‘Lustre’ from Lush to create beautiful golden swirls in the water.
Have you made your own bath bombs? What’s your recipe? Let me know in the comments below!
We all love our pets don’t we? Whether they’ve got four legs, two legs or new legs they all bring something special into our lives and we wouldn’t be without then. The toddlers currebt favourite film is ‘Pets’ (have you seen it? What did you think? I’ve been securely enjoying it too) and I have to say, there’s an annoying bit of dust that always gets in my eye during the end scene when all the humans return home & both they & their pets are so excited to see each other.
The pup had a sleep over with her bestie as we were visiting family & she doesn’t like the long drive. It’s always horrible leaving her but seeing how miserable she gets in the car, we know it’s better here where she can cause chaos. However, she does get spoiled when we get back (well every day if I’m honest!).
I’ve been working on a new recipe and wanted to try carrot biscuits. They turned out pretty well and I had a very severe taste-tester monitoring my every move!
A really simple recipe, it didn’t take too long to whip up a batch of these mouth-watering treats. I even added a surprise with a little piece of meat in the middle as a bonus for the pup!
1 cup of oats, blitzed
2 carrots, grated or blitzed
1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted
1/4 cup of cheese, grated or blitzed
I like to keep my baking simple and quick, which these certainly were. I blitzed the oats while melting the coconut oil, then while I mixed the oats and oil together in a bowl, I blitzed the carrots. All the ingredients were put into the food processor for a quick whip round until they were all nicely mixed together. I have to say, the mixture smelled so yummy, I was tempted to lick the spoon!
I put a small amount of the mixture into my silicone cupcake tray, then added a slice of liver treat before covering it all up with more of the biscuit mixture. They were then put in the oven at 180 degrees C/ gas mark 4/350degrees F for approximately 20minutes. They were still fairly soft when they came out of the oven, but hardened up as they cooled.
And there you have it! Super simple and, I’m guessing from the excitement of the pup, super tasty too! Hope your four-legged friend enjoys them!
How are you celebrating National Pet Day? Let me know in the comments below ❤🐶🐰🐱🦆