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Friday, 29 June 2012

Friday thoughts - See you!

I am looking forward to a week of relaxation and crafting. Most of all I am looking forward to spending time with family.

I won't be able to add to this blog for a week.

I hope to show you some photos of my time away and my crafting results.

See you soon!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Sailing inspiration

I am looking forward to an upcoming break. My upcoming holiday has inspired me...

Quirky Boat by 'Quirky Kids'

Isn't this boat gorgeous (not to mention the gorgeous photograph of it). This little decoration would add charm to a boat or beach inspired room. I like the mix of media - fabric, wood and string. Very nautical! Quirky Kids has more gorgeous boat designs in their Madeit store.

Name badges by 'Badge Bliss'

This would make a great party favour for a little boy's party. The bright colours are perfect for children. Badge Bliss offers three different size options.

Boat picture by 'Big Ted Little Ted'

What a clever picture! It uses pieces of fabric, pieced together to make this picture. Very intricate work. It would provide colour in a boy's room or nursery.

I hope that these items have inspired you also!

Monday, 25 June 2012

Monday in the making

As mentioned in the previous post, I visited the local craft shop and bought quite a few metres of soft tulle - the tulle used in dancewear or for bridal veils, not the rough netting type.

Then I spent a bit of time, carefully rolling it up, rather than folding. That was the tricky part...however it has been worth it as I have been working on another project which is quickly taking shape.

I am making ballerina skirts that fit girls. I am about to embark on making more of my ballerina dolls and I thought that I could make larger versions for little girl ballerinas. I have chosen pink for the trial and I am just about finished it. I will show you photos of the finished product soon...

As also mentioned, I am busily making up another doll set which is quickly coming to life. I am about to go on a short break and I am gathering together a few projects that I can take with me that don't require a sewing machine - unfortunately, my newest doll set falls into that category, so that will be a project while I am at home. However, I will be bringing lots of tulle with me and hopefully ballerina dolls and little girl tutus will be the result.

P.S - I apologise for the photo size. My computer is not letting me open my usual photo program and I have resized these photos in a different program. Hopefully the problem will be fixed soon!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Weekend Wonders - In preparation #2

Another weekend has flown by...

It was wonderful to attend the first birthday party of a special little girl. Her mum was extremely organised and creative! She had colour coordinated everything beautifully - decorations, glasses, plates - with pink and white. She made gorgeous pink and white tissue paper pom poms to decorate the party room. The party food was an array of home made cakes, sweets and savouries, complete with an exquisite cake. Craftiness at its best!

I, too, have been busy baking for an upcoming holiday. I tried combining 'goodies' and 'decadence' with some form of healthiness. Therefore I made some chocolate cupcakes that used ground nuts as the 'flour' and honey as the sweetener. Mr T and I tried some last night and were not very taken with them. Not to be beaten, today I made some chocolate brownies that had ground nuts as the 'flour', real dark chocolate and rapadura to add sweetness. Mr T and I had some after lunch and were a hit! Hence, I made another batch. I have a big container full to put in the freezer in readiness. If you are interested in the recipe, click here. I follow 'Quirky Cooking's' blog as her recipes are healthy (and I also have a Thermomix). Her recipes are also delicious!

I did do some craft. On Friday night, I managed to sew all the limbs onto my newest set of dolls and I have started to stitch around the girl. Getting closer to stuffing! I also visited my local craft store and bought quite a bit of tulle fabric. I spent a little time rolling it up in readiness for my newest project. I hope to do more tonight after I have finished some prep work for work tomorrow.

I hope that you had a lovely weekend!

Friday, 22 June 2012

Friday thoughts - It's raining, it's pouring

There is no doubt that we are in the midst of Winter...

 Over the past week we have experienced some particularly chilly weather. The maximum temperature that we have had is 12C and the temperature gauge has hovered around this mark. We have had quite heavy showers of rain, creating glorious puddles, that seem irresistible for children. I was reading the weather summary for the day and some areas north of where we live even experienced snow in the morning (in our part of Australia, we don't usually receive snow).

The children that I teach have been learning about weather. We have discovered that weather is changeable (it doesn't stay the same) and we have looked at some of the components that make up weather (sky, clouds, sun, rain, wind, air, temperature). Here are some ideas that you can do with your child to help learn about weather:

  • Find sources that tell us about what the weather is going to be (newspapers, Internet, news reports, radio). What do they have in common? What do the pictures mean? Compare weather symbols.
  • Make up a chart to record the weather. Talk about the days of the week and the dates to place on the chart. Think about when to record the weather - maybe record the weather in the morning and in the afternoon. Does the weather change? 
  • Graph what the weather was like during the week or month. What weather did you experience the most/least?
  • Read factual books/view factual videos that explain about concepts of weather (eg. the water cycle).
  • Sing songs/rhymes that deal with weather.
  • Make a kite to fly on a windy day.
  • Make up a simple rain gauge to record daily amounts of rain. Add it to a calendar or weather chart. How much rain did you receive in a week, month, year?
  • Make up art pieces that deal with weather.
  • Paint a sunny/rainy day.
  •  Make a picture which involves watery paint (edicol dye/vegetable dye mixed with water)     spooned onto paper and blow it around the page with a straw.
  • Draw/paint a picture and glue cotton wool in the 'sky' as clouds.
I hope that you enjoy the weather that you are blessed with today!

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Party Picks

This weekend, a special little friend of mine will celebrate her first birthday. I can't believe that it is almost a year since she was born, but she has grown up into a gorgeous, little girl. Hence my inspiration for this week...

Flag cupcake toppers by 'Red Elephant Creative'

What a super idea to jazz up humble cupcakes for a celebratory event. I like the boldness of the red and white flags. Check out 'Red Elephant Creative's beautiful notelets as well.

 Sweet mini cupcakes by 'PhoebeEloise'

Who doesn't like cake at a birthday party? The good news about these cakes is that they don't contain any calories. I like the way that they have colourful 'sprinkles' on top. Adorable!

                                                                Sweet owl Happy Birthday banner by 'Ben and Jess'

If you are thinking about birthdays and parties, you can't go past the goodies at 'Ben and Jess'. Above is one of the beautiful banners that Tracey makes. I particularly like the cute owl design and each letter of 'Happy Birthday' on a flag. Tracey also makes beautiful party favour bags to compliment the theme of the party.

I hope they provide some inspiration for you and if you are celebrating a birthday this week, I wish you a blessed and happy birthday!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Monday in the making

I have a few markets coming up in the next few months, therefore I am busy stitching away.

This is the beginning of my next doll set. As mentioned in previous blogposts, I am now releasing new dolls as 'sets', generally a male and female version of an idea. They don't necessarily need to be purchased together, but I think it may provide a bit more option. I am also making my newest set together, rather than making up one whole doll and then making up another. I think that this may save time, rather than putting away materials and bringing them out again to cut out another doll.

You can't see in this photo, but my 'girl' (the left one) has a pony tail at the back. I have a style picked out and names already! As you can tell, I am very excited. It won't take me long to stitch up their limbs, then I can start on their clothes.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Weekend Wonders - In preparation

Ahh...it's the busy end of the term. As an educator, the last half of the term equates to assessment and reporting. Combine that with general weariness from a busy term's worth of work, and it becomes a busy and tiring period of time.

I am very happy to say, that over the weekend I completed my required assessment and reporting. However, the busyness doesn't stop there. Mr T and I are going on a 'camping' holiday. This means working out what to take and packing so that nothing gets left behind. It also means getting the 'little jobs' completed before we go, things like, getting a haircut, organising a haircut for the dog, mowing the lawn, etc. Therefore, this weekend was the first in an attempt to tick some of these jobs off of the list.

Unlike report writing, these jobs build an aspect of anticipation, knowing the fantastic reward at the end. Busy times now, means more relaxation and 'peace of mind' in the end. I will keep working on these 'little jobs'...

Despite the busyness of preparation, I managed to sit down and do some stitching. I have now finished cutting out felt for my two newest dolls, stitched on their facial features and hair and will now begin sewing their limbs. It won't be long and I will be designing and making up clothes for them. I already have a theme and names in mind! I also have been thinking about making up some special skirts which can be used for imaginative play, special occasions and/or photo props. Still an idea at the moment - still nutting out sizing and will need to make a trial run. I will let you know the result.

Have a lovely week!

Friday, 15 June 2012

Friday Thoughts - Time flies!

We are in the sixth month ~ half way through a year! It feels like yesterday that we celebrated Easter, let alone Christmas. I have a friend whose child is about to celebrate her first birthday. It feels like it wasn't so long ago that I got to cuddle a tiny, little, newborn baby girl in my arms. The time seems to tick past, quite quickly, it seems.

At work, the children and myself have been looking at the days of the week. We have been focusing on the names of the days and putting them in order. We have also been using the terminology of 'day' and 'week', with the understanding that seven days make up one week. We have also been looking at 'Weather' and next week we are going to combine both in order to make a chart to record the weather each day.

Some other ideas focusing on days of the week that you could do with your child:
  • Make up cards that have the days of the week on them - one day per card, and encourage your child to put them in order. If needed, use a calendar to help.
  • Make up a chart to record the weather for a week. Encourage your child to write the days of the week at the top of each column, or cut out the names of the days of the week from an old calendar or from a computer generated copy. Make up a symbol for the weather on each day and draw it on the chart.
  • Make up a 'Today is...', 'Yesterday was...', 'Tomorrow will be' chart and add the name of the day that matches every day, to help your child understand the concept of today, yesterday and tomorrow.
  • Make up your own calendar with your child. You could add family photos to decorate each month. Write in numbers for the dates, names of the days and the names of the months. Add in birthdates of family and friends. When you are making your calendar talk about what 'date' and 'month' means.
  • Make up a 'Today I will...' chart. Make up some pictures that represent activities that could be stuck on on certain days (velcro dots make this chart and the pictures reuseable). For example, a picture of a class to represent a school day, a football if your child has football practice/game on a certain day, a ballet shoe if your child has a dance lesson on a certain day.
I hope that you have a lovely time over the weekend!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Thursday Catch Up - Blue Inspirations

Sorry that I didn't post my 'Wonderful Wednesday' yesterday. I simply ran out of time to blog. However, I am catching up today...

One of my favourite colours is blue. It doesn't matter what shade of blue, I love it. I must say, I do have a special hankering for a royal blue and azure as it reminds me of the sky on a bright, clear, sunny day in Australia. I also love aqua or teal as it reminds me of crystal clear water, like in the pictures of beaches in the tropics. For my wedding, I chose a royal blue for the bridesmaids dresses and teamed it up with a bright yellow and gold for decorations and flowers. Lovely 'blue' memories.

I happily scoured the lovely creations in 'Madeit' and found these inspirational blue creations...

Crochet Bag by 'Lollipops and Love'

Isn't this the sweetest little girl's accessory. I love crocheted and knitted creations! The stitches look so neat and I love the powdery blue colour of the yarn, teamed with the pink and white flower.

Dog Collars by 'The Crafty Possum'

I know that there are other colours here, but there is a blue collar in the picture. I love 'The Crafty Possum's dog collars. I bought one for my little dog. Not only do they look great, but they are well made and very sturdy. I particularly like the clip that makes it easy to take the collar on and off when you want to give pooch a bath. 'The Crafty Possum' makes a range of stylish collars.

Button Brooch by 'Monkey and Bee'

Some fabrics have the most beautiful patterns! I love the aqua blue flowers on this fabric, teamed with green and orange - super contrasting colours. 'Monkey and Bee' have used this fabric to make a button brooch, to wear this gorgeous design all the time.

I hope that these items have also inspired you!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Monday in the making

Sorry that this posting is rather late, but I was determined to finish off...

As I had a bit of extra time today (as it was a holiday), I thought I would treat myself to some crafting time in the afternoon and evening. I could see 'Delta' taking shape and becoming so close to being finished that I couldn't stop. That is the exciting thing about making dolls - you see their little personality and body taking shape, and for me, that's the drive to complete the doll.

Therefore, here is my 'Superhero duo': 'Dean' and 'Delta'...

I love their little matching outfits. I wanted a 'Super symbol' but did not want to take the 'S' as it is Superman's, so I opted for a very powerful triangle. It looks kind of heroic...

I had to giggle a little at Dean's shorts as they look like work shorts. I suppose, saving the world is an occupation...

I wanted Delta to have a frilly skirt as part of her outfit and I am very pleased how it turned out. I really like the bright green band on the bottom of it.

I can't wait to get into some more doll creations!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Weekend Wonders - A little of this and that

It is another long weekend in my little part of the world and I am relishing the extra time. I have spent some time this weekend working on my dolls and headbands and I hope to have a photo of a finished product soon.

Mr T is also away for the weekend, which means that I spent a little time this weekend wandering through some shops that aren't particularly his favourite (and yes...I did buy a little more fabric).

I also hope to spend a little time with my brother, who is briefly visiting over the weekend. It is not often that I catch up with him, so I relish any time with him.

It is also report writing time, so amidst all the fun of having extra time for craft, I am also making the most of some extra time to sit down, assess and report. Hence, I haven't completed as many projects as I normally would. However, I hope to complete the reports soon so I can get back into more craft work.

I hope that you had an enjoyable weekend!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Friday Thoughts - Music, music, music

I love music...

I love singing and dancing to my favourite songs (mind you, I dance at home, not in public). I do enjoy playing musical instruments. I used to play a range of instruments, but in truth I can only play two instruments in a way that resemble music - the piano and flute. I don't have a lot of time to practice and refine these two instruments, however, I do have moments where I sit down and play for half an hour or so.

I do feel a little pressure at the moment as I need to fill in for the pianist in my church band this Sunday. All week I have been practicing the songs and I am pleased to say that they are slowly improving. It is times like these that force me to sit down and practice. Although I am quite nervous, I have loved the opportunity and time to sit at my piano.

Music is a great learning tool for children. Children love singing and dancing to groovy beats and dancing helps with fitness, coordination and gross motor skills. Children can learn concepts through song. I remember learning the name of Jesus' 12 disciples through a song, but there are a lot of songs that teach multiplication, letter sounds, body parts, animals...the list goes on, through songs and chants. Rhyme can be taught with songs, as it is a component of most lyrics of songs. Song also helps vocabulary, speech and memory. Patterns are woven through music, be it rhythmic patterns or repetition of lyrics.

Crank up the stereo and dance around to your favourite songs or find some simple songs that your child can learn...and have fun!

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Wonderful Wednesday - Royal Inspiration

It has been an exciting week for followers and fans of the English monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, at the anniversary of her coronation. It has provided inspiration for this week's 'Wonderful Wednesday'...

Princess Crown & Heart banner by 'Ben and Jess'

'Ben and Jess' are one of my favourite party suppliers. I love the detail and care that they put into their goods. I particularly like the doily effect, adding some lacy detail. This birthday banner would be perfect at a little princess' party.

Brooch by 'Two Cheeky Monkeys'

I think that is brooch echoes 'style'. I like the touch of royalty with the crown on the top and the 'vintage' feel that it has. The turquoise bead adds a splash of colour. What a lovely gift for a mother or grandmother!

Princess Hair Ties by 'Little Peanut'

Every princess needs to style her hair and why not with these cute little hair ties. I love the cute, girlie princess images.

I couldn't resist...I added my 'princess' to the page today. 'Grace' wears a satin pink gown and jewellery. She has a soft tulle petticoat underneath. Totally hand stitched! A doll that would make a perfect companion for a princess over the age of three.

Have fun browsing!

Monday, 4 June 2012

Monday in the making

A variety of crafts have been undertaken in the Tupsy Turvy workshop...

Firstly, the heroic partner of 'Dean' is progressing. She has limbs and ponytails. The next step is to make her bodice and then I can sew the limbs to her and fill her with polyfil. I can't wait to see her 'come to life'.

Mr T and I have had to do some travelling over the last couple of days and when I travel, I get busy knitting.
I have a scarf that is progressing nicely. As you can see, it is knitted in one of my favourite colour combinations - 'watermelon' colours - pink and sage green. I have a design twist in my mind. The scarf needs to be a little longer and then I will try it out. Hopefully it will work out.

I also packed my headband making items. I had visions of making most of my newest selection whilst away. Well...time got the better of us and I ended up making...one! Anyway, my selection is underway. I hope to get a few more headbands made so that my selection may be 'released'.

I hope to get more craft completed this week!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Weekend Wonders - Knitting away

It has been a rather cold and wet weekend. I have embraced the pockets of sunshine that have occurred. The part that I have most enjoyed this weekend has been the chance to get into some knitting. Mr T and I have had some travelling time over the weekend and this means knitting! I like a 'portable' craft in the car, so knitting it is.

I have been working on a pink and sage green scarf. I am about a third of the way through. With the amount of time spent in the car, I managed to do a sizable amount, which has pleased me. While I was knitting I was listening to the football. It was getting rather exciting in the end and I managed to knit a row instead of purl it. I did manage to 'unknit' it and resume. I also had a great design idea to enhance the scarf, so I can't wait to finish the knitting and get to work on it. I hope to complete the scarf soon so I can post up some pictures. I also want to complete a couple of scarves, as I have a couple of markets coming up in July. That means plenty of knitting. Bliss!

I hope that you had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Friday thoughts - Reading and Writing

I love teaching little ones. Not only are they eager to learn and you can sing fun songs, make crafty items and read picture books, but you see so much growth, educationally, in such a short space of time.

People who deal with older children often say to me "I wouldn't know where to start teaching young children to read and write". Well...(as the 'Sound of Music' song says) start at the very beginning, it's a very good place to start.

Words, sentences, texts are all made up of building blocks - sounds/letters. Once you know these building blocks, it is easier then to decode words/texts or create your own. However, focus not only on  the 'name' the letter makes (eg. 'a' as in apricot), but also the sound the letter makes (eg. 'a' as in apple). Special emphasis should be placed on the 'sounds' as that is what we use to 'sound out'/decode or write out unfamiliar words. Think about what you do if you need to write down a word that you find difficult to spell.

Expose children to the different ways the same sound makes. For example, 'a' (as in apricot) can also be written down as 'ai', 'ay' or 'a-e' (as in 'made'). This provides the children with more reading cues when they are beginning to read. I have all of these sounds on 'flashcards' and everyday I get the children to say the sounds back to me when I hold up the cards. They are at the stage that they immediately know what sound/letter combinations make and are now applying that knowledge to their own reading.

Providing fun activities to do with the sounds also helps them to learn the sounds (eg. making 'c' cupcakes with currants on top). Spot a focus sound in books or newspapers (eg. cut out all the words with 'ee' and 'ea' in them. Have a number of words that have a common sound and sort them into groups (or 'post' them into boxes/containers), for example: bee, meat, deal, feed and sort them into 'ee' groups and 'ea' groups. Practice and repetition help children to remember the sounds.

I hope that you find some quiet time to sit down and read for a little bit over this weekend!