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:

 

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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!