Monday, 5 August 2013

Teacher Gifts

As we approach the end of Henry's 3 years at Kindergarten, we've been busy thinking up something to give his wonderful teachers to say thank you for everything they've done.

We've made cards (nothing too original, but I think they look cute), and the gifts are going to be a plant (probably lavender or a herb), in mosaic decorated terracota pots. We've also made painted stone ladybirds, felt flowers, salt dough bees and paper butterflies to stick into the plants.

So far, this is how things look:

The cards:
simple A4 folded coloured card, a white lined index card with "Danke" in the middle, framed by coloured paper clips and ribbon around the edges. For extra decoration we've stuck on a little wooden owl and flower, plus a small colouring pencil.
The terracota pots, done with a very simple sugar paper mosaic pattern, in dark pink, blue, light pink and green.

The plants will be bought just before we give them, but these are the decorative sticks that will be in them:
 Felt flowers on pencils. I used precut felt flowers in different sizes that I'd bought ages and ages ago, then just cut an orange felt centre for the front.

 A thick felt circle on the back for stabilising, which I poked 2 holes through for the gardening wire, to attach them to the pencils
The bees are made of salt dough dyed with food colouring. They were baked in a low oven for hours and hours and hours, and left in the sun for hours and hours and hours....I'm still not convinced they are completely dry inside.
The wings were left white and glued on later. 

The bees have a hole underneath, as they were going to be pencil tops, but it turned out the hole was too small, so I've used wooden chopsticks instead (if I'd had them, thin bamboo canes would also
have looked good):

And finally, we painted small pebbles from the garden to look like ladybirds. I glazed them with some matt spray varnish so the paint doesn't wash off. They have been stuck to those kebab sticks with the flat ends :D  
I'll put photos up once we've assembled everything with the plants, but so far I'm quite pleased with it all: it was fairly easy to do (Henry did most of it himself), looks quite fun and I think (hope!) the teachers will like it too! 





Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Paper Christmas Wreath

These paper baubles are everywhere at the moment (nobody said you were going to get original on this blog!). They are very easy to make, take only minutes and don't need any special materials. What's not to like? I made the ones above to string up along the wall in the hall.

And then I thought I'd use them for making a wreath for the door, because it's got to be easier than binding together pine cones and baubles etc, right?
Right! 20 minutes later I was finished and this was hanging on the door.

You'll need:
  • coloured or patterned paper or thin card
  • scissors or craft knife
  • ruler & pencil
  • stapler (a small one is best)
  • hole puncher and string

Cut the paper into strips of equal widths (mine were 2cm wide). You'll need 2 different lengths: one shorter strip for the inside and two longer strips for the outside. How much you vary the lengths is up to you, I think mine were 12cm longer strips and about 8cm shorter strips (for the outside ring).

Hold the strips together at one end and staple them. Then hold them together at the bottom (the longer outside strips will bend at this point) and staple again. That's one paper bauble finished.
I made 12 large green ones for the wreath, and then 12 smaller ones with red for the inside. You could carry on making ever smaller ones to fill the whole thing in if you so wish. To put the whole thing together, staple the larger ones together at the sides (where they curve) with the top of a smaller one in between. This is where it is handy to have a small stapler. Go all the way round doing this, then, to make it more stable, staple the sides of the smaller ones together too

You can then punch a hole in the top of one of the baubles and thread a piece of string through it.

And then it's ready to hang!

See? Told you it was easy :)

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Those glass magnets that are EVERYWHERE, made a bit easier!

You've seen them all over the internet (here and here for example), I'm sure, those beautiful glass magnets that are fun to do and make great presents.

We've made some for Henry to give his teacher for Christmas.

Well, I thought I'd give them a go, but (being me) I could see how I might simplify the process and make it a bit less fiddly.

What you need:

> glass nuggets (I used 3cm size) or glass mosaic tiles
> circular magnets
> scissors (regular and nail scissors - really!)
> pictures that you want to use, either printed out or from magazines etc
> a good strong craft glue (I used an UHU glue pen)

First, stick the glass nuggets onto the pictures, like this. You do not need to trace around the glass and cut them out or anything like that. Just stick them down onto the bit of the picture you want. As you can see, I printed out little 3x3cm patterns to use. I also (for Henry's teacher) got Henry to draw pictures which I then scanned in, resized and printed out.
Press down well to get out any air bubbles.

Note about the glue: do a small test just smearing some glue on a picture first, esp. if you've printed them yourself, as some glues sort of dissolve the printer ink and make it all smeary. If this happens, you need to find another glue.

Next, let them dry really well (pref. overnight). The next day, cut roughly around each of the nuggets. You can use the regular scissors for this. Then trim round neatly and leaving as little overlap as possible, using the (curved and therefore perfect for the task) nail scissors. You do not need a super-sharp craft knife and a steady hand for this (as in the usual instructions). This is the easy way!
Then, put a thin layer of glue over the back of the magnet AND over the edges of the paper. This will seal it and stop it from peeling off easily. Then stick the magent into the middle and again let dry really well.

And there you have it: finished magnets!

For packaging, I did as many of the other instructions suggest: stuck small metal washers onto card, then put the magents on them, labelled them and popped them into a small, clear pastic gift bag, stapled along the top.

  Next up I'm going to do some square ones with the mosaic tiles I've ordered. Will post them up here as soon as they're done!