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. 

A Foxy Birthday

 

Wow! It’s been FIVE years since the ‘Fearless Genre Warriors’ of Fox Spirit Books flooffed their foxy tails and launched with ‘Tales of the Nun and Dragon’. They’ve been kind enough to accept a number of both my novels and short stories. If you like my work, here’s a list of what’s available through Fox Spirit Books (also, go check out their other authors, they truly do produce some of the most interesting, genre busting and clever work).

Tales of the Nun and Dragon collected by Adele Wearing featuring my short ‘Into the Woods’. This was my first publication and I was soooooo excited! (still am!)Nun and Dragon.jpg

Weird Wild by G Clark Hellery (cover by @redfacedmonkey)

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Akane: The Last of the Orions by G Clark Hellery (possibly my favourite cover by @redfacedmonkey)

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Ghoulsome Graveyard by G Clark Hellery (cover by @redfacedmonkey)

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Tales of the Fox and the Fae collected by Adele Wearing featuring my short story ‘The Fox and the Fae’

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Girl at the End of the World featuring my short story ‘Somebody to Play With’ ( I love this wrap cover)

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Fox Pockets: Missing Monarchs featuring my short story ‘The Blooding’

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Fox Pockets: Guardians featuring my short story ‘The Guardian’

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Fox Pockets: Under the Waves featuring my short story ‘The Blue Planet’

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Fox Pockets: Reflections featuring my short story ‘All the Fun Of the Fayre’

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Eve of War featuring my short story ‘Born’ (side note: this was the first piece of writing I did since having my daughter and I think the hormones came out in the writing).

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Let’s get Real!


I never thought I’d share a photo of my daughters pants, but here you go!

It’s Real Nappy Week where parents up and down the land celebrate all things that go over and under. Of course I’m talking about those cute little tushes, which often produce some very uncute giant smells!

We tried to keep our  about the sort of parents we wanted to be before the Lamb was born but one thing we were adamant about was that we wanted to use reusable nappies. We’d done a lot of reading about nappies and had some friends who’d used reusable nappies with their children. The assorted articles we read suggested that reusables were making a firm come-back so we’re really surprised when we were the only couple planned to sue them when we did the ‘nappy class’ during our antenatal classes (we had a very large group of of at least 15 parents-to-be).

So I thought I’d look at reasons why people are still not keen on resuables, some of the myths and reasons why we love ’em.

It seems that there’s two  major turn offs for real nappies: price and smell. I’ll start with price.

Ok, there’s no getting around it. Buying reusable nappies can be pricey. There are assorted makes out there but as we use Bambino Mio, they’ll be the ones I’ll use as a comparison. They have two different versions: the two piece and the all-in-one.  The two piece is similar to what was used in the past with a waterproof outer and a cotton pad liner which you cover with a flushable sheet. The all-in-one has a hidden absorbent core and looks like a disposable nappy. To buy the birth to potty kits costs between £150-200 and includes all you need from birth, to, well potty training. There’s also a nappy bucket to pop used nappies in. So yes, it’s a big initial outlay, especially when you’re being given lists of everything you ‘must have’ for your baby. However, when you consider the average baby used TWO THOUSAND nappies per year until potty trained (source: goreal) and that even if you buy cheap disposables costing anywhere between 10-30pence per nappy (average annual costs £400) that’s quite a lot of money to be throwing away. It’s hypothesised that parents save from £100-1000 PER YEAR using disposables. Plus, there’s the added benefit of being able to reuse them if you have additional children or selling them on.

So let’s talk smell. There’s no getting around it, babies poop. A LOT. Oh, dear gods the poop. However, as strange as it may sound, your nose switches off during changes and given the nappy buckets, as soon as the lids closed you don’t smell anything. Depending on how many you use, you’re likely to be doing a load of nappies every other day (although I remember doing a load a day when the Lamb first came home). I can honestly say that while there’s a bit of a smell while you’re putting them in the washing machine, the buckets contain all odours until then. Don’t fancy washing them yourself? Many councils now offer a laundering service.

Now, when you consider that most areas only collect rubbish every two weeks, that’s a lot of poop and used nappies sat around till collection day (my friends on average put out one bin bag of used nappies MINIMUM per fortnight) and especially in the summer, that was a lot of stink!

And I’ll just say one final thing about chemicals. If you’ve read my post about my Earth Day Pledges, you’ll know my concern for our waterways and my switch to ecoleaf washing powder as well as monitoring what chemicals we put on our skin (see my assorted homemade smellies!). Washing my daughters nappies, I know exactly what chemicals (or in our case, the lack of chemicals) are against her skin. I have one friend who’s baby reactive to every nappy she wore, from the cheap Aldi brand, to the costly Pampers. Turns out that her little one was allergic to aloe, something that is put in most nappies. A switch to reusable nappies and no more painful rashes!

Don’t believe me? I asked Louise from LittleHeartsBigLove about her experience of real nappies. Louise used them from birth to potty with both her daughters, CHD baby Jessica and her little sister Sophie. Louise said: ‘We don’t use them now but I used them with both the girls and found them very easy to use. Long-term they were so much cheaper than disposables and for me the biggest thing was knowing that I wasn’t contributing anywhere near as much waste to landfill as a result. They’re just as easy to put on and take off as a disposable and the liners we used were flushable so poo just went down the loo anyway. We had a wet bag for putting nappies in when out and about and a bucket at home. I just lifted the mesh bag out of the bucket and did a nappy wash every other day or so. Yes it was a little extra washing but once it was part of my everyday routine I can’t say I particularly noticed the extra work. I’ve still got the ones we’ve had ever since my eldest was a baby (holding on to them until we’re sure that our baby producing days are over!)

So go on, get real!