Blog Round-up: Easy Easter Crafts for kids from teeny to tweeny

The Easter holidays are in full swing and the Easter weekend is fast approaching. Although the weather outside is surprisingly nice for a school holiday its always good to have activities ready to entertain the kids when boredom creeps in. I came across a photo recently of the Easter bonnets we decorated when the kids were at nursery (it’s the photo at the top of this post) and that got me thinking about Easter crafts again.

As a dedicated Pinterest addict I constantly find and pin great craft ideas so I thought I should share some of my findings with a round-up of a few blog posts I’ve come across for kids of all ages.

For little ones…

These two ideas from How Wee Learn and Becky from Crafting Chicks (on the fun365 website) are similar in approach – both need some contact paper (also known as sticky back plastic where I come from!) and some tissue paper. In one of these variations you stick the tissue paper onto the adhesive paper, add the other layer on top to make a sandwich, then cut it out in the shape of an egg. In the other you use one layer of the adhesive contact paper and let the kids layer up tissue paper to make a textured egg. Either would be a great mess-free craft for little hands without too much expense and the finished products will brighten up a sunny window.

For keeping them occupied…

These easy cardboard lacing Easter bunnies are a great idea – use up cardboard and bits of wool, string or thread you have lying around and you can keep small hands and minds occupied, building dexterity and giving you a few minutes to catch up on life! The reason I like these is that kids can make them as neat or as messy, as simple or as complicated as they want and you can undo and re-use them – they would be great when you are stuck in traffic on an Easter getaway. Once you have completed them they will easily hang around the house for Easter.

Cardboard lacing cottontails from Our Kid Things

https://ourkidthings.com/cardboard-lacing-cotton-tails/

For Easter Fun…

These super cute and funny bunny nose masks from Kids Craft Room (originally from funforlittleones.com) would be fun to make and great if you are having family and lots of kids over for Easter. You can make this activity a bit longer (and messier) by painting the sticks or just use coloured craft sticks for a super fast bunny nose. Now all you need is a list of high energy bunny activities for the kids to burn off their chocolate eggs hopping around the garden!

For bigger fingers

Im not sure how much help little ones would need to make these sweet Easter chicks (perhaps that depends on how much of a perfectionist the parent is) but for slightly older children making these circles and folding them neatly would be a good skill to practice and give them a quiet time activity. All that is needed are matching circles of paper or card, folded and glued to form the body. Add beaks and tails and draw on the eyes and you have some simple but really effective Easter decorations.

Chick Easter Decoration from Red Ted Art https://www.redtedart.com/easy-paper-chick-craft/

For tweens and teens…

There are lots of simple craft ideas for little kids but as my daughter is getting bigger (she is now in double digits) I know those don’t inspire her any more, so im starting to look out for ideas that will keep her crafting into her teenage years. This blog round-up post
20+ Cool Easter Crafts for Tweens to Make by Kitchen Counter Chronicles has lots of ideas, two of my favourites are the Easter bunny pom poms from Ikat Bag and the Easter bunny T-shirt from Cutesy Crafts but go and check out the post to see lots more ideas and to get the links to the original tutorials.

That’s all for now but you can check out all the kids craft blogs in find on my Pinterest board I add to it all the time so if you are on Pinterest follow my board to stay up to date with my finds.

Happy Easter everyone!

Rock and Sew

One of the prompts from the #Marchmeetthemaker Instagram challenge I’m taking part in was your favourite make.

I used a photo from my most recent custom order – a tiny 10cm high Paul Stanley doll who had gone to join his equally tiny Jon Bon Jovi friend.

Sometimes people ask me to make variations of my existing makes – a different colour hair, adding a name to the front of a doll’s outfit and I really enjoy being able to give people the opportunity to have things just the way they want them – how good would it be if high street shops could change the colour of that otherwise perfect outfit.

However what I really love is when someone gets in touch and asks me to make something completely new. When I first get an enquiry I find myself immediately coming up with ideas, then I have to try and get them down on paper. Sometimes just drawing out the concept can help me see how it would work (or not) in reality.

sketches

From the sketches I can narrow down what I’m going to do and develop paper patterns for the doll. Then its time to get sewing! There are times that my plans don’t quite work out, these dolls are much smaller than my usual makes so working with the denim and leather I used for their clothes became a lot harder than it would in a larger size, but that’s all part of the challenge.

Once they are made then its time to show the pictures to the customer, and that’s when my nerves kick in. My dolls are not exact images of a person or character – after all I’m creating a felt doll not a photograph – so they are my interpretation. When I come to send off the photos I always worry that the customer might have a different interpretation. Its always good to hear that they are pleased with what I have done.

Ive made so many custom orders in the past and haven’t taken any decent photographs before I post them off so I always make sure they have their photo shoot before they are packaged up.

So what would you ask for if you were ordering a custom doll of your own?

Lavender love in a half-empty nest

Its been a big week in our house, in fact the build-up to this week rivalled the pre-Christmas anticipation. My increasingly not-so-little girl has grown into a getting-bigger-by-the-day 10 year old, and this week she has gone away. All week. Without us.

She has gone with her classmates for a week long residential at an outdoor activity centre for 5 whole days of outdoor adventures and challenges, all taking place it turns out in pretty much sub-zero temperatures.

She was utterly excited to be going and couldn’t wait to go kayaking, rock climbing, caving and all the rest of it. We have had daily updates from the teacher with loads of pictures and it seems they are all having an amazing time. However I couldn’t help wondering if, as she got into bed on that first night away, she might miss home at least a little bit.

So before she went I made her a little gift and I managed to sneak it into her suitcase as she was leaving, along with a card from us and a handmade card from her little brother.

Sometimes she finds it hard to get to sleep and I worried that lying in a strange bed surrounded by giggly friends that might be even more difficult so in the rare moments she wasn’t looking I made her a quick lavender heart pillow to keep in her bed. It was really quick and easy to make and you can rustle one up yourself if you have a few simple items.

I started by making my own paper patterns. I wanted it to be heart-shaped so I folded paper in half and drew one side of a heart then cut it out so it would be symmetrical. I also drew and cut out a simple ‘L’ to add her initial to the front of the heart.

pattern pieces

I used felt to make the pillow – two pieces of red felt for the heart itself and a small piece of purple (her favourite colour) for the letter. Make sure the pieces for the heart are larger than the pattern piece – approximately 1 inch bigger all the way round than the pattern itself. I started by cutting the letter shape out of the felt and then stitched it with a simple running stitch onto the middle of one of the pieces of red felt. I used my sewing machine but it could be done just as easily by hand.

Once the letter was attached I pinned the heart pattern to the top piece of red felt (making sure the letter would sit in the correct place on the heart when finished) and then pinned the two felt pieces together. Again I used my sewing machine to stitch the two pieces together, using the pattern piece as a guide for my sewing.

Once I had sewn almost the whole heart together I stopped and filled the middle of the heart with a mixture of toy stuffing and lavender, stuffing it through the un-sewn gap until it was full enough. Once I had enough filling in I continued sewing until the gap was closed.

unfinished heart

I then trimmed all the way around the heart, leaving a border of around 1cm of felt as evenly as possible. Then I worked all the way around the edge cutting into the felt with small embroidery scissors to make a fringed effect around the edge.

And that was it – a little handmade piece of home to help her get some well-earned sleep each night.

Crafty Kids and April Showers – fun Easter crafts

Easter is fast approaching, and so are the holidays. I’m looking forward to some time off and hopefully some beautiful spring weather but most holidays come with some rainy days and my kids love getting creative, so here are some ideas for some crafty Easter fun…

I looked back at my old blog and found a post about the Easter bonnets we made when they were really little. Lots of craft shops sell plain bonnets and decorating them can be fun (as can wearing them round the supermarket).

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We’ve been trying out some more crafts lately that are perfect for Easter. Pom Pom animals are great – you can buy Pom Pom makers in various sizes or make your own out of cardboard. Add on a face and some feet, put two together to make a head and body, put lots together and make a caterpillar – it depends how adventurous you are! You can make eyes, mouths, ears, feet – whatever your creature needs – and glue them on. Use buttons, beads, or cut shapes from felt or even paper – here are some we made earlier….


Pom poms are simple to make but they can take a lot of time, and kids don’t always have the will to finish them, so for a really quick option wind wool around your fingers instead – tie in the middle and cut the ends to make simple Pom poms – this little guy took us a few minutes to make.  532A35D6-2325-4B69-9E00-B70A9A3A54C2
You can’t mention Easter without chocolate, so why not make some chocolate treat bags – cut felt shapes and sew, or even glue together and add the eggs. You could do egg shaped bags, or bags with bunny ears. These carrot treat bags with a little felt bunny are in my Etsy store right now


Easter is all about spring too, so there are lots of fun flower crafts you can do together. My daughter comes up with the most amazing craft ideas by herself – she used some jumbo pipe cleaners and tissue paper to make me some flowers on Valentine’s Day, and recently drew some flowers, cut them out and stuck them to twine to make a flower headband.


If you want to make flowers then try cutting simple shapes from felt, add some beads or buttons and stitch on some embellishments. Use strong glue to attach them to florists wire, or even paper straws and put them in a vase, or add a brooch back for a pretty flower pin for your coat or bag.  These are some I made…


If you want to make ones like these you can buy a craft kit in my Etsy store.

Happy Easter crafting!

Brighten your day – a wet felting tutorial 

It’s a cold grey February day so I’ve been trying to brighten things up making felted wool balls.


There are loads of tutorials around for making wet felted balls, you can make them in the washing machine, or even shake wool around in a pot, but this is how I like to make them.

All you need is some wool roving, hot and cold water and washing up liquid.
Take a small section of wool roving – it needs to be quite loose with soft edges. Obviously it depends on the size you want the final item to be but a piece about as large as my hand was enough to make the balls that were approx. 1cm in diameter. If you want them to be larger it is often better to make a smaller ball then add more layers – otherwise the centre may not be firm enough.


Start with 2 bowls – one with hot water (as hot as possible for your hands to go in) and the other as cold as possible. Put some soap on your hands and very gently roll the roving, keeping your hands a little apart, until it begins to form a loose ball shape. I once read a tutorial that said to imagine you are rolling a baby chick in your hands – I remember that comment each time I do this…

From there it is about dipping it in the hot and cold water bowls alternately, rolling the ball round in the palms of your hand in between – the longer you roll the firmer the ball gets and the harder you can begin to apply pressure to it. At first it will be very squishy and hard to keep in a ball shape, be patient it will suddenly begin to firm up.

Dipping it in the different temperature waters it will help the felting process, it will also help to get rid of the soap as you progress.Keep rolling until the ball feels really firm. You will need to leave it for several hours to fully dry out.


My daughter loved joining in on this activity too – a great idea for a rainy day craft. I was very impressed with her finished leaf and flower!

There are loads of things you can do with your finished balls – create bouquets of flowers, garlands or even rugs. I use lots of colours, gradually layered together to make the balls and flowers in my Etsy shop:

 

Handmade Felt BallsHandmade Felt Ball Flowers

Squirrel coats and bunny trousers – getting crafty with Sylvanian Families

Christmas may be over but it’s still cold outside, so today we made sure that some of our Sylvanian Family friends got some nice warm clothes.

There are some amazingly talented makers who knit, crochet and sew beautiful, detailed clothes for these tiny creatures but I know from past experience that these can be tricky things to make.

I love working with felt. It has a lovely feel, doesn’t fray and and is easy to use – perfect for today’s task. I wanted simple, easy to make clothes so these are perfect for beginners, the jacket doesn’t even need any sewing at all.

First, some trousers. Cut a rectangle of felt long enough to go around the doll and wide enough to go from feet to waist.

Sew the two short ends together to make a tube, but only about 1/3 of the way – leave the rest open to go around the tail.

Sew the join to the other side of the tube with a few stitches to create two leg holes – don’t forget these little guys can have quite big feet so keep the holes as big as possible.

There are various ways to fasten the trousers at the top of the unstitched section – what you do might depend on how big a tail your critter has. You could add a small press stud, some Velcro or elastic. I usually use Velcro, but today I tried sewing a loop of thin elastic and sewing that to the inside at the waist, the tail fits into the unsewn section and the elastic loops over the top of the tail.

And that was the trousers – finished!

Next we made some dungarees for another rabbit friend. I cut a piece of felt in a T-shape – Sylvanian Families come in different sizes and tails make a difference so giving exact measurements is tricky – felt is easy to bend round and cut to size.


Fold the two long ends into the middle and stitch them to the other side at the bottom with a few stitches in order to create the leg holes.

Use thin elastic to make straps, sewing from one (unstitched) corner of the back to the opposite shoulder strap, then repeat for the other side. Then the dungarees are all done.

Finally I made a no-sew jacket. These are quick and easy to do, although you can add buttons, pockets and fastenings if you want to make it more complicated. For a simple jacket, cut a rectangle big enough to go round the doll, snip two small arm holes and add a slit or gap big enough to go round the tail – and that’s it!


Once they were all dressed and ready we decided to make a teepee tent for them to play in. Again I went for a simple, easy to make tent – all I used was a sheet of felt and some drinking straws. First build the straws into a frame – there are different ways of making teepees – i used 5 straws for mine. First I tied them together, then to make it more secure I sewed through the straws to keep them in place.

There are lots of templates and patterns online for making teepees – it basically involves a semi-circle, I used a little trial and error, pinning the basic felt shape onto the frame and trimming from there. Then I sewed the felt and straw together at the top and bottom of each straw. At the entrance I folded the edges back and sewed them open for easy access.


And now they are off to play with their tent in their new clothes, and I’m off for a cup of tea!