Tuesday, December 2, 2014

This year's Christmas effort

Nothing like killing three (3!) birds with one stone - Christmas tree, advent calendar and a lesson in Roman numerals:

The "advent bags" are paper bags purchased from a craft store. I printed labels with Roman numerals using my printer and big maths brain. The ribbons tying the bags on had been sewn on the tree last year. Astute readers will notice there are not the traditional 24 advent bags. This is because the craft store ran out of bags, and craft stores in Perth, Western Australia, are few and far between. Thanks to the mining boom, I can buy a diamond ring at the end of my street but not craft supplies! I'll put some bags to double use by putting a number on the back and turning it over after re-filling it.

How did I ensure the number was centred on my cut-out? Easy - use a template you can see through (a glass):

First, check the cut out will fit on what you are gluing it to.

Next, ensure you place the glass evenly over the printed part of the page.

How did it go down?

Friday, June 20, 2014

I made an award winning house!

Previous posts have referred briefly to our house renovation, which as anyone who does one knows is time consuming, leaving little time for blogging. Just as time consuming is the builder entering your home in an award programme. There's the cleaning the house for photography, cleaning the house for the journalist writing up your entry,
then cleaning your home for the judging.  But it was all worth it in the end:
And this is what professional photography buys you:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Do you know Tagxedo?

Tagxedo allows you to form pictures with words. The website has a lot of basic shapes, but it is easy to create new shapes by finding a silhouette image on the web, saving the image and then uploading it to the site. I found a teacup and teapot image for this poster:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Even IKEA's Christmas trees are flat pack!

I bought this fabric a year ago at IKEA as I couldn't resist the idea of a flat, easy to store, easy to put away Christmas Tree!  All I had to do (which took a year, although was only completed in the last days) was sew a casing for a rod at the top, and sew on ribbons to attach ornaments.

Now that the hard work has been done, I'll drag it out earlier next year and use it as an advent calendar.

Other examples of things people have done with the Christmas tree fabric are here.

Christmas Cards for the architect and builder

As readers may know, our house renovation was finished this year and we moved in. We love our new home, and I thought I would let the builder and architect know, in a Christmas card:

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Is it that time again already?

A few months ago I went to the warehouse sale of a paper merchant in Perth, Western Australia, and, thinking ahead, bought a pack of 100 of these: (die cut Christmas Tree cards)

I probably wont use all 100 of them, so I decided to share my bounty via eBay. And next week the school is having a Christmas Market, and I thought I could sell some more, but maybe I should make up a few as examples of what you can do with them - hence:

 I also have lots of marbled paper left over from exercises such as this, which I (or you!) could use.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A really nice carrot cake

I've made this recipe twice in the last two weeks. It's very easy and tastes delicious.

I can't vouch for the icing recipe as I had leftover buttercream each time and used that instead.

For ease of reference, here it is:

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon (I used mixed spice as I was out of cinnamon)
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
5 tbsp oil (eg canola)

2 smallish carrots, peeled and grated (to make one cup)
One 400gm can crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Combine the dry ingredients with the eggs and oil, and mix until combined. Mix in pineapple, carrot and walnuts.

Pour into baking tin (I used a ring tin) and bake at 180 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Remove from tin once out of the oven and ice when cool.

Friday, October 11, 2013

A Lego Party


1. Pin the head on the Lego man
2. Pick up Lego blocks using only a straw and deposit block in cup
3. Lego toss
4. Two teams compete to build a tower in 5 minutes.

 The cakes

The lolly bags

Inside the lolly bags

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to make art with children when they aren't in the room!

Often when trying to get volunteers to help with art projects with children you get the excuse "but I'm not arty". Well, my excuse trumps that - "I'm not good with children." But here's a collaborative project you can do with children - but without them in the room!

Taking inspiration from "The Sugar Series" by Emily Blincoe, children brought in small toys in a selected colour. These were arranged on a similarly coloured background and photographed. The photograph was printed in large format (50cm x 70cm) and framed:

Not so mini mini-figure!

This is what I started a little while ago....

I took some coloured cardboard...

And some leftover packaging boxes, and made a not-so-mini-minifigure. Not sure what his role at Austin's Lego Party will be exactly...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I made Lego Gummy Bears

I can't even remember what I was looking for on the internet when I stumbled across someone's home-made gummy bear recipe (one quarter of an ounce of gelatine boiled for 10 minutes with half a cup of fruit juice [I used apple juice] - I also added food colouring too and some recipes call for the addition of sugar).

Just remember to oil the mold:

And they come in yellow too!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Back to the Lego Party

Turns out July wasn't too soon to start the party - I should have started A LOT earlier! Thanks to the school's Art Exhibition and Auction, things got set back a little. But we are back on track - with the invitations going out.

Thanks to All for the Memories for their great Lego invitation template. I downloaded it and adapted it - and here it is:

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Don't panic Pirate Party food

It's 8:30pm on a Monday night, the children have just fallen asleep, and you realise that your son is supposed to take "pirate" themed food to school the next day. What to do? It only I'd thought to buy a watermelon:

Nothing else on the internet jumped out at me quite like that - I needed something that was portable, didn't need reheating or chilling, and wasn't too sugary.

This is what I did instead - taking a leaf out of IKEA's book (were the Swedish ever pirates?) and combining it with my favourite cheese biscuit recipe passed off as "hard tack" (I made half the recipe - it makes A LOT of cheese biscuits):
About to go into the oven
Out of the oven

And the great thing about the letters "A", "H", "O" and "Y" is that they read the same backwards and forwards (Take that, IKEA!).

the skulls looked alright going into the oven
but no so great once cooked. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Collaborative art project for older primary children

The great thing about children is that they by and large get more dextrous the older they get. So when you get a class full of 11 and 12 year olds (and mostly boys as their female classmates are all off at a choir performance) and you need to give them something to do that will keep their hands and minds occupied origami comes to mind. And given that the school's "language other than English" is Japanese, everyone was happy to go along for the ride.

And then someone showed me the work of Will and Caro:

and I knew what to do with all the butterflies we made:
I used these instructions: