Friday, 27 September 2013

Handmade Toys and Other Essentials for Babies, Kids (and their parents!) available in South London here...

Everyone I speak to is in agreement - this year is flying by. And that means that the dreaded/exciting 'C' word is approaching fast too - eek!
I hope to be at a few Christmas markets this year but before I announce all of those (and because it is still only September) I will tell you about this one first:

I am really excited to be part of the wondeful Wonderhill Market this weekend. They have a fantastic line-up of stalls from local designers (including South London Prints, Made by Mrs M, and Ray Stanbrook to name a few). I'll be there on Sunday but the market runs across the weekend so please pop along if you can. I think it's going to be a cracking event!


Thursday, 19 September 2013

Minion Craft - Despicable Me Fun

Recently Wiss has started watching a few films, and he had his first visit to a cinema to watch Despicable Me 2 a couple of months ago. He loved it, obviously! The whole experience was pretty awesome for him (especially the popcorn!) but he particularly loved the Minions. I mean, who doesn't?

But rather than just watch the film over and over I thought it would be fun to make some Minions of our own to go in our Dining Room Art Gallery (although Wiss would probably disagree with this!)

The thing about the Minions is that there are a lot of them. And I have to admit that I thought that they would look pretty cool en mass on our wall. However...I have since learned that although small children like repetition of many things, making the same thing over and over doesn't seem to be that appealing. Making these Minions did turn out to be a bit of a chore for Wiss (sorry darling!) so we made them over the space of a week. I actually think now that this craft would work much better with a group of children: each child could make their own or you could try to get a production-line going with one child doing one part.

Anyway, we finished our Minions this morning and I have to say, we all love them and they do look pretty cool!

If you'd like to have a go at making your own army of Minions this is how we did it...

I cut out lots of body shapes from yellow card, blue dungaree shapes from blue card, and gloves and shoes from black. Admission: I used a laser-cutter to cut out my shapes because I'm lazy and I have the use of one. But you could easily cut a few at a time by hand with scissors.

Armed with a Pritt-Stick Wiss assembled the bodies and their clothes. We used a potato cut in half to print the eyes on with white paint (some Minions have 2 eyes, others have only 1.)

Once these were dry we used an old jam-jar and an ink stamp to create the rim of the goggles. Wiss came up with the idea of using his fingerprint to make the eyes - and he had great fun getting them to look in different directions or look cross-eyed!

For speed and ease we used blue electrical tape for the straps of the dungarees - I cut strips and Wiss stuck them on. And the finishing touch was wool hair sellotaped to the back of each Minion.

And there you have your very own Minion Army!

I really like the way they all look the same but when you look closely they are actually very different. We have been having lots of conversations about 'similar', 'identical' and 'unique' which is a great result I hadn't expected (and makes me feel better about forcing encouraging Wiss to make these!)

If you've been crafting with your little ones recently then I'd love to know what you did (and how it went!) Please don't let me be the only Craft-Dictator Mama out there...


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Wiss likes to ride his bicycle, he likes to ride his bike!

One of the things I find most fascinating about being a parent is discovering what your child's personality is like. There is the age-old debate about Nature Vs Nurture, and although of course, the way you bring your child up does have a huge bearing on shaping them (for better or worse) but each child does have their own traits within them from birth.

Wiss has always been a cautious boy. He prefers to have a hand to hold when he climbs or jumps for instance, and he will look for approval that something is safe before he does it. That's all ok, that's just who he is right now but I am keen to build his confidence as much as I can.

Enter the Balance Bike! Admittedly, it took a while for Wiss to get the hang of the balance bike, and we traded in the heavy wooden one for a light Micro version*, but once he had it there's been no stopping him. He loves his bike and will ride it at every opportunity - which has it's benefits for me too as we can get from A-B so much quicker now, but it's more than just that.

It is so wonderful to see him empowered by his own body and the pure joy he gets from moving at speed. I am filled with pride when I see him free-wheeling with his feet tucked up; it is wonderful to see my child doing something completely independently. Of course, he's had the occasional tumble (and maybe the concrete skate park wasn't such a good idea, Mama) but to see Wiss pick himself up and get back on the bike, after a cuddle of course, was also a great achievement.

I know there will be many more accomplishments and triumphs as Wiss grows up and I am looking forward to seeing them. For now, it is enough for me to simply recognise and record this moment - and include these fab videos. (I'm ashamed to admit mine is the slightly panicked voice at the end!)

*Bought from eBay for only £40 so it's worth looking around for bargains.