Sunday, March 20, 2016

DIY Jewellery Craft Class

After seeing these cute tube bracelets on Pinterest I thought it would be fun to do a DIY Jewellery craft class with my group of crafty kids.  I have a group of around 16 kids from ages 6-12  that come to my craft classes- I just do them every few months when I think of a fun theme and have the time/energy to do one!

Here are some pics from yesterdays class

First up we made these personalised charm necklaces using my new favourite craft product, Fimo. 
I bought this pack from Warehouse Stationery and it was just enough for all 16 girls to make a necklace charm and a brooch.

I bought the little fondant alphabet letters to stamp their names from Trademe.
I baked them for 25 minutes at 125 degrees fanbake.

Then we made the brooches - I bought the brooch backers from a fantastic bead shop here in Tauranga Uncle Black Beetles Bead Shop - we used a hot glue gun to attach them to the back of the brooches.

Next up we made these easy bead bracelets using beads and clear elastic I bought from the Bead Shop.
And the girls loved making these plastic tube bracelets- I bought 4 metres of plastic tubing from Mitre Ten Mega (it's about $1 a metre) and then a metre of a smaller tubing to fit inside the ends of the larger tubing. We used hama beads (also called fuse/perler/heat beads) to fill the tube bracelets.
Lastly they made these cute little matchbox drawers to keep their jewellery or other treasures in. They made their drawers using 3 matchboxes, lots of washi tape, and some little pearl buttons stickers.  The girls loved their little drawers. 

I hope this gives you some fun, easy craft ideas - any of these activities would be great for a kids party,  some crafting at home, or a crafty classroom activity.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Family Photo Wall DIY

If there is one thing I would love to be more organised with since having kids it's all the photo's I take. And from talking with friends it seems like it's something we all want to get on top of, but one of the hardest things to actually do!  I did a massive cull of my digital photo's in my iPhoto recently - but still have a crazy amount in my iPhoto library.  And that's only from the last 5 or so years, I haven't got digital copies of photos from further back than that.  I used to print photo's out and put them into albums, but since Jack was about one I haven't done any photo albums (he's four and a half now!) So I have a big project ahead of me (as I'm sure many of you do too) and I decided to break it down into what I really want to do with all these photo's. 

1. Make a family photo wall
2. Print and frame photo's of friends and friends weddings to have around our home
3. Print photo's for the kids to have in their bedrooms 
3. Make a photo book for each year starting back with 2012. I have gone off printing photo's and putting them into albums as some of the ones I did when Amelie was born are already showing signs of wearing out, and I still have heaps of albums with the photo's all thrown in and no captions or anything describing the when/where etc of some of the photo's.  A friend of mine has started doing yearly phonebooks for her kids and they look amazing, plus it makes you far more selective with what photo's to put in! I think I have a whole album of the first 4 months of Amelie's life compared with 1 album so far for Jack...
4. Have an efficient system for saving and backing up photo's in case of broken or stolen lap top and/or phone, or a fire. 

So when I was asked to review the new Brother MFCJ4620DW printer I thought it would be a great chance to tick the first thing off my list- making a family photo wall. This printer is awesome- it prints wirelessly which is so handy, has a paper tray inside the printer (my old printer had a paper tray that stuck out of the printer so the kids were constantly taking the paper out of it!), prints really quickly, can print A3 size documents, prints great quality photo's, and can also scan and copy.   I use a home printer all the time for teaching stuff, my craft classes, printing out colouring sheets for the kids, and just general house admin stuff so I am loving my new printer :) 

So here are my tips and hints for making your own family photo wall at home. When I was on Pinterest last year for home ideas I saw lots of pics of 'staircase galleries' which seems to be a bit of a traditional thing,  plus it is a great use of a plain wall. But any blank big wall will do! 

Also I have pinned lots of pics of 'staircase galleries' on my Pinterest page for inspiration

Family Photo Wall Tips and Hints
Choosing photo's to frame

I went through all the piles of photo's I had already printed that I just had in boxes waiting for me to do something with and chose ones I'd like to frame for the photo wall. I wanted wedding photo's (not just ours but our siblings as well), photo's of the grandparents and great grandparents, photos of us before we had kids, photo's of special holidays, school photo's plus lots of my favourite photo's of the kids.  I also went through my iPhoto library and made an album of photo's I wanted to print using my Brother printer. You can buy A4 size and 6 x 4 size Brother photo paper for your Brother printer so for the 5 x7 and 6 x8 size photos I wanted to print I just printed onto the A4 sheets and cut them to size.

I had heaps of white frames already from other art works and displays from our old house (like this one I made using greeting cards  so I just re-used the frames I wanted to change.  I also bought more frames from Warehouse Stationery and Farmers when they both had 50% off their frames. The other stores I would look for budget friendly frames are The Warehouse and Briscoes.

I have a mix of frames for this project so I can add to it over time- one day the wall will be covered in frames! If you stick to one type of frame it will be a lot harder to add to your gallery over time unless you go mad and buy a massive stash of them! I actually like the mix of frame styles as it adds a bit of interest on the wall too. My advice would be to keep an eye out for sales at any of these stores, and stock up on a few when you can. 

Lots of people change their photo's to black and white for this type of display which does look very stylish. I chose to keep the photo's colour but you choose whatever suits your style and your home.

You could always mix it up with a few frames of different shapes e.g.: a few oval ones can add interest. You could also add art works into your gallery, quotes, block letters or decals. I added two art works into my gallery- this family themed print I bought from Cheryl Rawlings
and I had a brainwave to google 'family quotes' so I typed one up using Pages on my mac laptop, and printed it out on my new Brother printer- love it!
Another idea is to buy the multi style frames where you can put a few photo's on the one frame- I have two on my wall.  Probably works out cheaper to buy these compared to buying single frames  and would make for less holes in the wall too. 

Try to mix up the sizes of your frames- if you use too many small frames your wall might look a bit 'bitty'- I used quite a few small frames as I was using a lot of what I already had (plus they are way cheaper to buy ) but just make sure you put a few larger ones in there too for balance.

There are lots of ways to get started on planning your gallery wall such as mapping out all your photos using brown paper templates of your photos, or measuring to get even heights, but for our wall we didn't that- we just stuck the first photo up by the light at the bottom of the stairs, and just worked our way up from there. So it was all done by eye, meaning it's not perfectly aligned but if we did that first it would be months before we managed to get them all up on the wall! There are lots of ideas for arranging your wall on Pinterest if you do like yours to be more exact with the layout! (search "staircase gallery' on Pinterest)

Buy a small level like this one in this pic below to line up your frames- they often come with a pack of picture frame hooks from dollar value type stores or hardware stores. Use a tiny bit of blutak if need be to keep them straight, as long as it won't rip your paint off when you remove it!
So there you go, lots of ideas for creating your own family photo wall- I love ours and am really pleased with how it turned out. Lots of room for more photo's to come too :)

And stay tuned for a special giveaway coming up on my Facebook page- thanks to Brother NZ I am giving away one Brother MFCJ4620DW home printer worth $249.95 to one lucky mousehouse reader!


Thanks for reading, 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A French Themed Birthday Party

The good thing about going through all my photos finally is that I find all these photos for blog posts I have meaning to write for a good while now! So I thought I would share these photos of the french themed birthday party I did for Amelie back in April. I wanted to keep her party small this year as I had just had Jack's first birthday party- well he turned 4 but it was his first actual party and is 3 days before Amelie's.  So it was just three friends plus her sister Stella and a friend of Stella's. So here are the details and a few ideas if you have a little francophile in your house!

I made these boarding pass invitations on my mac computer using the 'Pages' programme. I love these as I think they actually look pretty close to real ones but in a fun way with the Eiffel Tower on them :) 


I made some red, white and blue bunting by cutting out rectangles and stitching them onto some white binding.
I bought the antique looking zinc bucket and filled it with flowers from our local florist to make it look like a french florist.
The Eiffel tower decal was only $10 from Trademe and is now in Amelie's bedroom. The 'Avignon' wooden crate was from a kitchen store here in Tauranga 'Gourmet Trader'.
The Eiffel towers we already had (the pen was a cute one from Typo). I bought the little Eiffel tower place card holders from Trademe.
We played some french accordion music using Spotify.

As seen below...
'Croque monsieur'- ham and cheese toasties
Chocolate eiffel tower cupcakes- I found a mold for these and just poured in melted choclate to make the Eiffel Towers.

We were going to do croissants and pain au chocolat's too but it was Anzac Day so the supermarkets were shut for the morning!

I bought this cake from New World and just added the jaffa's and the mini bunting I made using straws and wash tape. The sparkly '8' decoration was from Gourmet Trader.
I had a few colouring sheets for the girls to do when they arrived
Seeing as french women love perfume the girls made our own using water and essential oils.

And they made a little posy of flowers each as well just like a french florist. I bought a piece of oasis for $5 which was enough for all of them to have a piece to stick their flowers into and then we wrapped them in brown paper.

We played the chocolate game seeing as the french love their chocolate. This was heaps of fun, love this classic party game! For the dress ups we used a beret, scarf and gloves.
We even had french plaits at the party!

So there you go- a few ideas for you- it was a nice easy and fun party for my lovely french loving 8 year old :)

Thanks for reading, 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Easy Kids Party Ideas

I always like thinking of ideas for kids parties, things that are quick and easy to prepare, which will keep everyone entertained.  'Pass-the-parcel' can take a while to wrap up, and a DIY piƱata can take a lot of effort too! Then some new Allen’s lollies arrived at my door just at the right time (the kids are really loving me having a blog at the moment).  In my bumper pack I received the new Allen's Tangy Tots and Jelly Tots, and the popular Snakes Alive - how much do kids love jelly snakes? Here’s a few of my activity ideas that I’d love to share with you...

1. Lolly Bracelets 

This idea is my favourite as it's so easy and kids love making them- it makes for a nice quiet party activity, or something to make before the party as a treat for all the party goers. All you need is some thin elastic, a tapestry needle (these have a big eye to threaad the elastic and are much blunter than normal needles for little hands), and the Jelly Tots. Thread the elastic, tie a knot in one end and thread on the lollies. I used 12-14 for these bracelets which is about a serving size (again this is a good way to control portions!). Tie a knot when you've threaded all of the lollies and cut off excess elastic.

2. Lolly Kebabs 

Whenever we got to Taupo we love going to the awesome Cafe L'Arte in Acacia Bay- they have lolly sticks there which is the kids big treat. So that gave me the idea to make some using the Allen's lollies- they are so easy to make and for some reason kids love things on sticks! And it's better than a bowl of lollies on the table too as you can control the portions of lollies for each guest. These would make a fun 'take home' treat too. Just get a wooden skewer, the lollies and some washi tape, thread them on and tape a bit of washi tape to the top of the stick- easy! 

3. Don't Eat Pete! 
I came across this party game idea when I was getting ideas for Stella's lego party- basically you put a lolly on each monster (search 'lego don't eat pete' for a lego man version), then one child leaves the room, the rest of the kids decide who is going to be Pete, then the child comes back in and gets to pick one lolly at a time to eat from each monster…but if they land on Pete they have to stop and it's a new child's turn. It's sort of similar to another party favourite 'The Chocolate Game'- my favourite when I was a kid!  Here is the blog I got the free template from for the game... 
So there you go, three easy ideas for your next kids birthday party. Let me know what you think of them! 

Thanks for reading, 

Related Posts with Thumbnails