Easy Crafts With Children: A Room Of One’s Own.

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I’m just about to start what feels like the epic task of redecorating our bedroom and living room but, as a sort of warm-up, Freya and I decided to make her “big dolls” a place to call their own first.

Thanks to various charity shop visits she seems to have amassed a little collection of Barbie-sized dolls but her wooden house is too small for them to fit into so, inspired by the Small Stories Exhibition, currently on at Norwich Castle, we found a cardboard box (not as easy as you might think these days) and got our craft on.

Our living room is painted all one colour at the moment and I really fancied having a feature wall this time so I collected a few samples of wallpaper, which have been stuck up in various places while I tried them out.

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Not wanting to waste the ones that clearly were not going to work, we reused one for the carpet and one for the feature wall in the dolls’ room and Freya painted the other walls (and herself).

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While that was all drying we started on the furniture. Freya’s feet have grown yet again and she recently got a new pair of school shoes and some trainers so we used the boxes to make a bed (Freya felt it was a too hard for them to lay on so we padded it and the headboard with cottonwool before covering it) and a wardrobe plus a toilet roll and empty ribbon reel for a bedside table.

Add in some decoration in the form of stick on butterflies, hearts, ribbon and curtains and there you have it – a room I would be quite happy to sleep in (were I a bit smaller).

Sometimes we make things that Freya only plays with a few times but this box had been a hit – she even tries to get in it herself. I’m tempted to try and make a little box kitchen or living room to sit next door.

Before that though I need to make a start on our actual rooms. I have a feeling decorating full size rooms is not going to be as much fun.

Any tips for hanging wallpaper greatly appreciated. 

 

 

 

Easy Crafts For Children – Making A Jam Jar Vase.

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As it’s just me and you here I’m going to make a small confession.

I have a bit of a thing…

For jam jars.

There I’ve said it. Once again I thank goodness we live in a flat because I think it’s an obsession that could quite easily get out of hand if we had more space – and, as it is, I probably have more than I would ever need. They seem so…useful. I find it nearly impossible to recycle them. Even though I’ve never made jam or pickled anything, and have no plans to do so, glass jam jars seem like a good thing to have to hand (just in case).

I use them to keep shells in, mainly (oh yeah, that’s another of my “things”), and to wash Freya’s paint brushes out. In fact, that’s what got me started on our latest “craft” activity.

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We collected some stones from the beach last year and decided to paint them. I imagined beautiful seascapes but expected more like colourful rainbows. What actually happened was that Freya mixed all the acrylic paint together and they came out sort of…brown. That’s ok. She had fun, that’s the main thing, and we can paint over them again.

While I turned my back to get a cloth to mop up a little spillage, she decided to paint the jam jar we were using to wash out the brushes. I didn’t think much of it at first but as I cleaned up, and saw my growing collection of jars lined up on the window sill, an idea came to mind.

Vases. Painted vases. Let’s call them “rustic”.

Using some more acrylic paint I got Freya to paint two of the jars green (we did this on the living room floor, on an old cardboard box, so she couldn’t accidentally drop them and hurt herself if they broke). I got some more colours out and just let her go crazy on the third one (which turned out, you’ve guessed it, brown). I then added some finishing touches (albeit with my rather limited skills, not to mention limited paint, as we’d run out of white) and I quite like how they have turned out, even if I do say so myself.

I modelled the decoration on (a much simplified version of) painted narrow boats, which we looked up and learned about on the iPad.

Originally I thought they might make a nice handmade Mother’s Day gift but I’m not sure they are quite good enough for that (and I think the paint might wash/chip off after a while) so I’m keeping them all for myself! They make a rather happy addition to the window sill (and they are a great excuse to buy flowers).

Do you have a use for jam jars that doesn’t include jam?

 

Easy Crafts For Children: Toilet Roll Bracelets.

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In all my years of parenting (yes, all three and a half) I have never come across anything as versatile as the cardboard thingie from the middle of the toilet roll (do they have a name? Innard? Tube? Core? You know what I mean) when it comes to crafts.

We have made binoculars, aliens, planes and used them as painting tools…

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…and now, in celebration of Norwich Fashion Week, dazzling bracelets.

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Freya is very much into anything pink, glittery or bejewelled (as well as mud, mess and the black felt-tip pen, just to balance things out) and already dictates what she will and won’t wear (trousers are out of favour at the moment).

If that carries on I can see her being interested in fashion and, even though I am not, I would happily take her to one of the fashion shows when she’s older, if she wanted to go. I was lucky enough to attend one of the events in previous years, as part of my job, and I loved the buzz just as much as seeing the clothes.

Anyway, as we had some toilet rolls in the recycling I thought we’d have a go at making some bracelets (which, like everything else, I first saw on Pinterest). They are the perfect fit for tiny wrists (and not so tiny ones if you cut a slit in them).

Another great thing about them is, once she’s finished playing with them, the “jewels” peel off to be reused again and the tubes can be recycled.

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What’s the best thing you have you made from the cardboard thingies? We are always on the look out for new things to try.