I’ve never been a huge fan of Halloween especially where little children are concerned. But with school age children there is no avoiding it! When it comes to Halloween at home, we embrace the fun dressing up and creative pumpkin carving but rather than all the sinister, gruesome spookiness, I try to focus on the magical, enchanting and fairytale! Last year we decided to make a Disney inspired ‘Tangled’ pumpkin after one of Littlelish’s favourite movies. She knew exactly the scene she wanted to recreate, the lantern scene, but could I manage to transfer it onto a pumpkin with a 5 year old little helper? Errrrrm….
I’m not the world’s best pumpkin carver but I can draw and paint pretty well so I decided that was probably the easiest route to go down! Taking the lead from images of the lantern scene I found on the web I sketched out the scene as best as I could leaving the detail pretty simplistic so it was easy for Littlelish to paint. At this point I also carved out simple rectangles where the light would shine through from the candle as the lanterns.
I mixed up the right colours using acrylic paint and my assistant got to work painting the main blocks of colour on her own, I thought it looked pretty good as an ombre style effect and this was easy for her to create. The paint dried very quickly on the skin of the pumpkin so there was no smudging. Mummy stepped in when it was time to add the detail to the castle and the boat and then our pumpkin was finished! Super simple but really effective!! Of course more so in the daytime and early evening before it gets really dark and you can only see the light from the rectangles! I’d love to see someone actually carve this scene into a pumpkin, that was a bit beyond my skill set!
I’m not sure what enchanted pumpkin we will be creating this year come Halloween time, I’ve found some cool inspiration for fairytale pumpkins – I love the cinderella carriage!
I know crochet has been a ‘thing’ for quite some years. While I love crafting and making many things, crochet has not really been something I’ve been inspired to take up…. until now. I’ve been introduced to the world of Edward’s Menagerie: Birds. The book released by Kerry Lord, founder of TOFT a British DIY knitwear and wool company, features 40 patterns for quite frankly the cutest collection of amigurumi (Japanese art of crocheting very cute stuffed animals) birds I’ve ever seen.
The patterns are split into sections for 1. beginners, 2. intermediate and 3.advanced, so even a novice crocheter like me can attempt to make one! What I love so much about these birds apart from their obvious adorable design, is the indiviudal personalities and identities each bird has. From Florian the Ostrich ‘who works in fashion’ to Tricia the Silkie Chicken ‘who is a middle-aged, self-employed aerobics instructor thrilled that so many women are still so bad at getting fit and staying thin’, each bird has its own kooky name and personal backstory written by Kerry. Once you’ve read about their likes, dislikes, daydreams and delusions, you can get a sense of their personalities; then you can crochet a bird for each of your family and friends. The birds can even be crocheted in four different sizes, making over 160 different pattern possibilities.
I cannot wait to make one for my girls! I’m already planning which amigurumi bird I want to make for Littlelish and Tinylish and while I’m at it my nieces and nephews AND the rest of my family and friends. I’m thinking they will make the perfect maternity leave project and I have a feeling if I get hooked, everyone will be getting one for Christmas!!
To celebrate the book release, Friday the 28th of August will be a family- friendly celebration at the Toft Alpaca Shop in Warwickshire http://www.thetoftalpacashop.co.uk. From 11am-3pm you can visit for FREE farm tours, drop-in workshops, and a 2pm short talk about the process of designing the book. RSVP is essential though so please email firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of people attending!
It is officially Spring, my very favourite time of year. Hibernation is over and we remember what it is like to feel sun on our skin and not to have to wrap up in 5 layers! One of my favourite things about spring is flowers, I genuinely feel joy at seeing blossom on the trees for the first time. So when I was contacted by Country Baskets, asking if I would like to take part in their Easter Wreath challenge I said yes, please! Stocking craft flowers, ribbons, craft accessories, Country Baskets is the perfect destination for all floristry craft items and I loved perusing the site to see what I could find for my Spring Challenge!
I settled on some beautiful Lilac, blossom, daffodils (of course!) and a beautiful wreath wrapped in Jute to go with some peonies, foliage and berries that I already had in my craft goodies.
Here is my guide to creating a beautiful Easter Wreath to enjoy year after year!
You will need: A wreath, Some ribbon, Spring flowers (I chose Lilac, blossom, daffodils, peonies and some berries and foliage), scissors and a hot glue gun.
1. Take the wreath from country baskets and attach a loop of ribbon to the back with a hot glue gun. This can be as long or short as you like, about 5 inches long worked for me. Tie the ribbon colour in with the flowers, I opted for a soft green shade (also by Country Baskets)
2. Select which colour palette you would like for your wreath. I loved the purple lilac and decided to team it with a soft peach, white and a kind of eggy yellow colour which I thought looked lovely and springlike and contrasted well. But of course that is the beauty of making your own wreath, you get to choose!
3. Decide on your starting point. I wanted the lilac to be mine, as it was the largest of the flowers.
4. Cut the flowers to size (ie cut off the stems where you need to) and attach them with the hot glue gun. I had to attach in a few places to make some of the flowers follow the curve of the wreath.
5. Build up the wreath with flowers, working your way round from the lilac, adding the main larger focal points first and filling in with smaller groups of blossom and the berries.
6. Add some foliage before adding some of the flowers to make the wreath look fuller. This is especially the case under the peony heads.
7. Try to balance the colours out so the overall look of the design flows well. Don’t be afraid to take the decision to stop. I didn’t want my wreath to look too overdone and I liked being able to see half of the wreath.And there you have your very own Easter Wreath!