Friday, 24 November 2017

Mermaid Ragdoll

Having finished the laborious task of making our Christmas cards this morning, I ventured into the unknown this afternoon and made my first ragdoll. The pattern came from my mother-in-law's copy of Jane Bull's Crafty Dolls. It was really straightforward to follow and was fabulously easy for a beginner like me. I sewed the tail and the doll by machine inside out and stuffed the two pieces separately before sewing them together and adding all the details by hand. I can't wait to give her to Jess in the morning and find out what she's going to be called!

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Baker Ross Stitching Decorations

A crafter's Christmas is a marathon not a sprint. We're trying to pace ourselves and mostly crack on with cards at the moment but there's always lots to do and I never manage to complete everything on my list. These are a prime example. I bought them last year but never actually got around to doing them so I have prioritised this year. It's a Baker Ross kit and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it, although I must be honest I'm not sure that they are worth their full price of £5 for the six.

We painted the wooden decorations with acrylics first (excuse Jessica's choice of lurid pink please!) and then tackled the cross-stitch with full skeins of embroidery thread. They look lovely and are something a bit different for the tree this year.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Robin and Baubles - more Christmas drawings

Another two gorgeous Christmas drawings created by Jessica for our Christmas cards this year. She did ask me to draw the outer shape for the robin but she has done absolutely everything else herself. I think they're pretty awesome.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

An Afternoon with my Glue Gun

I wiled away Jessica's nursery hours today with a glue gun in my hand preparing some very simple drawings for the little ones at Toddler Group to colour with chalks next week. It was less fun than it looks but Jeremy Vine and Steve Wright kept me company and I'm sure the children will love using the chalks on Monday ;)

Monday, 13 November 2017

Cards from Drawings

Jessica drew (lady) Rudolph and a Christmas Tree for me so that we could make them into Christmas cards. I scanned and reduced the images then printed them out multiple times. We mounted the images on red paper and stuck them on our card blanks. I love these so much that I'm not sure we'll be doing anything else this year now. Aren't they beautiful?!

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Snowmen Cards

Next up are Jessica's snowladies (they have eyelashes). I love that she had to give them each a kiss on their cheeks!

Friday, 10 November 2017

Christmas Cards Started

The Christmas card production has begun this week in the Bradnum household. It's a long and slow process but we have started! First up this year we made craft tape Christmas Trees...

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


Halloween is surely the best day of the year to try making some magical potions. We used food colouring (some of which went out of date over a decade ago - oops!), glitter, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to create some fabulously fizzy magic.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Mosaic Decoration

The clocks are about to change and it's nearly November so it must be time to start making Christmas decorations, right?! Our first one to share this year is a hanging mosaic ceramic heart tile. 

We cover the ceramic tile in double-sided sticky tape then attach the mosaic pieces before applying grout over the top. We got all the materials for this little project from Hobbycraft

Friday, 27 October 2017

Black Kite Creations

I have just launched my new Facebook page Black Kite Creations. I will be turning children's drawings into simple, beautiful decorations for Christmas. I love creating keepsakes from children's drawings. I can shrink or enlarge images to fit the desired decoration so you don't even need to get your child to do a drawing for the purpose. If you have a doodle that you've kept but don't know what to do with it this could be your solution. Grandparents would also adore these personalised gifts this Christmas and you'll love rediscovering the little treasure with your decorations year after year. Go on, visit my page and have a look...

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Diwali Lantern

I am told that they were making rangoli from coloured rice at nursery this afternoon, which sounds like a brilliant activity. This inspired our own afternoon activity, which was to make a Diwali lantern. We decorated some tracing paper with crayons and wrapped it around a lid before inserting an LED nightlight (or two) into the lantern. Happy Diwali to all those celebrating today...

Hot Glue and Pastels

My glue gun gets used for all sorts and certainly not always for glue. I particularly liked this idea though. We've tried using PVA glue to resist paint before but it takes great patience waiting for the PVA to dry. Hot glue, on the other hand, dries really quickly and leaves a solid border to be filled in. Jessica used chalk pastels to fill in the design on this occasion. She scribbled in the gaps and then used her fingertip to spread the colour and fill in the gaps.

She coloured the leaves green first and then decided they should be brown as it was autumn! She also added a sun and some lovely fluffy white clouds. Here's her final piece hanging in the conservatory.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Fingerprint Tree

This was our last week at Toddler Group under the leadership of Aimee and Kay. They've done a tremendous job for the past year and a bit so we wanted to send them off with a keepsake from the group. They turned out pretty well, don't you think?!

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Drawings to Decorations

When I was in Wales in September I asked Kat to do some little sketches for me so that I could make some sample Christmas gifts as I am hoping to offer these personalised decorations for sale this year. After going straight to YouTube to get some inspiration she provided me with this little Santa Claus drawing which I have made into a decoration for her Mum's tree this year. I'm really pleased with it but I particularly love turning young childrens' drawings into keepsakes, which is what I'm hoping to focus on doing this Christmas. Once I've got my samples and wooden blanks ready to go I plan to set up a facebook page and will post details on here. Keep your eyes peeled!

Monday, 16 October 2017

Blue Tit Cake (design inspired by Magpie)

I love Magpie, who produce beautiful homeware and gifts. Their "Birdy" range is probably my favourite and it is this range that inspired my decoration of my husband's birthday cake this year. I have to admit that it was a bit of a rushed job and I should have used templates rather than cutting freehand and hoping it fitted together but you can at least tell what it's supposed to be!

Jessica and I used edible ink pens to do the writing, which was nowhere near as easy to use as I had hoped because the icing was fairly soft so the nibs sank in if you weren't really light-handed. Jess loved the cake and couldn't wait to tell Daddy all about it. So much for surprises hey! Happy birthday, David!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Woodland Friends Garland

I've been busy stitching this week in a desperate attempt to get this woodland garland finished before my friend, Laura, has her baby! When her maternity leave started I thought it was probably time to pull my finger out and get it done! She and her husband have a woodland theme running through the nursery and asked if I'd like to make them something like this for the baby. I jumped at the opportunity and was pleased to be able to make use of a book I bought back in May. Mollie Makes Woodland Friends is a lovely book with some fabulous, simple projects in it. I used the ideas and templates as inspiration for my own make here.

I have used felt from Hobbycraft, a single strand of embroidery silk for stitching and bondaweb to adhere the details to faces etc. The animals and toadstools are lightly stuffed and the pieces are all threaded onto a length of narrow green ribbon. Here's a closer look at some of the individual creations...

Finally, here's the finished garland hanging in my craft room, waiting to be delivered to it's new home next week...

Friday, 6 October 2017

Granny Square Poncho

Jessica constantly wants to wrap a blanket around her shoulders so I thought I'd make her a crocheted poncho. That way she can at least keep her arms free. I've essentially made a granny square blanket with the middle missing and a tassel attached...

I began by making a chain long enough to easily fit over Jessica's head and slip stitched it back together to form a loop. I then stitched the sixth round of a standard granny square (6 lots of 3tr 1ch on each side followed by 2ch for each corner) and continued to the twentieth round before completing with a double V edging. Once I'd sewn the ends in I threaded a piece of wool through the neckline (so that the poncho can be tightened once on) and attached a tassel to finish it off.  

Here's my little model showing it off...

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Driftwood Wands

My lovely nephew, Archie, is currently Harry Potter obsessed so Jessica and I gathered up a few driftwood sticks on our holidays in Northumberland with the intention of turning them into wands for his birthday next weekend. I have burned various designs on them and created a little display box for him. Fingers crossed that he'll like them!

Monday, 25 September 2017

Vegetable Printing

We were exploring harvest at Toddler group this morning. Alonside a myriad of other fabulous activities the children got to do some good, old fashioned vegetable printing. We used bunches of celery tied together to make flower-like prints. I used cookie cutters to make potato stampers and we cut apples two different ways to see different prints. Best of all though, we used corn-on-the-cob rollers. I cannot tell you how happy I was when the cobettes were exactly the right size for my rollers!

The finished art work doesn't much reflect how they made them but the little ones seemed to have a lot of fun!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Salt Dough Mice

Salt dough bodies, acorn cup ears and plaited wool tails, these were bound to be a winner!

Jessica made the salt dough and formed the mouse bodies before nursery yesterday. We then painted the bodies and inside of the ears together in the evening before I took over with the fiddly and hot bits - the ears and tails were attached using my hot glue gun. We love the finished family.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Autumn Hedgehogs

I spotted this autumnal craft on Easy Peasy and Fun a while ago and filed a screenshot of it on my phone to be attempted one day. I never really got into Pinterest, not sure why, but my screenshot folder is always bursting with images of the wonderful things that other people make. 

As it was a beautiful, warm September day today it seemed like a good day to find some crisp, dry leaves that would be perfect for this activity. As it turns out we managed to collect them all in the car park at nursery and I think the oak leaves work well. Andreja (author of Easy Peasy and Fun) makes her hedgehog from a paper plate but we just used some card and plenty of double-sided sticky tape. She is 3D and does stand up on her own. I made her base triangular so that her nose comes to a point. We think she's pretty cool!

She's even been off on her adventures in our garden. She seemed to particularly like my Livingstone Daisies!

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Portraits on Acetate

It's more than a decade since I regularly used acetates in my lessons yet I had a packet of them upstairs in my craft room completely covered in A-level Maths. I sat in front of the telly meticulously cleaning them last night before putting card frames around a few of them to use with Jessica. 

This afternoon we tried a couple of different ways to draw portraits on acetate. Firstly I held the acetate to my face and asked her to draw me. It isn't the first time we've done it but this time she neglected to give me a mouth and my nose is enormous! However, I'm particularly pleased with my eyelashes...

Next we placed a photograph under some acetate and drew over the top. This encouraged her to really look at the features and she drew hair around her face rather than sticking up out the top of her head for the first time. We taped the photo and acetate to the table and used Sharpies to draw on the acetate.

Here was my effort with the same photograph last night...

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