Thursday, 12 August 2010

Fun little game: match colours!

We have lots of gem dice in a little basket since DH used to play RPGs. Emily thinks they are simply some nice things to pick up and put in a box or bowl and sometimes she calls them with their colour names too. Anyway, a bit of matching fun to have here: I cut out circles of coloured card (I used her breakfast bowl as stencil) and one of white paper, so she could match all the dice with the right circles. Not hours of fun, but she did it several times and was very proud to have put them all in correct places. :)

Clever Emily!

I did it! I did it! (she really sais that :)

I'm sure it'll work with other little colourful things, like blocks or buttons etc.


In our house, we eat Dalek dip!

I can't believe it's actually been that long since I last posted here!

We've had quite nice summer, went to DHs paren't caravan near Bridport and had a lovely time. Also, went to Abbotsbury swannery, and now Emily calls all the lakes around here "swannewy". :)
Some pics:

Went to see the donkeys and fed them some carrots. Of course, Emily had to have one herself!

The caravan park is a bunny paradise! There's loads of them around any time of day.

After an especially tiring day...

Abbotsbury swannery. It was absolutely massive place. (Then again, why did I think it wouldn't be?) Also featuring Chesil Beach on the backround.

A cheeky blackbird in the swannery cafe.

And - guess where - in Weymouth.

Seagull posing in hope of getting some crisps from the people next to us.

Emily and Gran having some ice cream.

Oh, and Dalek dip? I made battered cauliflower few days ago (just with batter mix from shop) and since cauliflower doesn't taste of much, I also made a dip with soured cream, mayonnaise, some herbs and garlic (dalek :D). Emily loves garlic dip. She always eats loads whenever there is some. :)


Monday, 19 April 2010

And today´s the day when teddy bears have their picnic! :)

Well, it was a few days ago actually. I got some silicone muffin moulds - I've been wanting some for ages now, a muffin tin really, but when I saw these, it was even better - and made some simple muffins with this recipe. I did replace on cup of flour with porridge oats. :)

And then we went into the garden to have a little picnic with Teddy.

Emily, cup-a-teas (as she calls them), muffins and squash. :)

Hooray! The muffin moulds have different colours! :)


Friday, 2 April 2010

Tutorial: Have butterflies flying on your ceiling!

It's nearly Easter, a holiday that is connected to the spring. And spring to me means butterflies. Now, I know butterflies aren't strictly Easter decorations, but I like them and I thought it would make a nice change from the snowflakes. :P

I believe it would be great make for kids about 4 years onwards (Yes, even teenagers. It amazed me - I was a teacher for a year - how they, despite trying to act and look like adults, enjoyed simple makes.)

So, to make some butterflies you will need:
*Printer (well, in the end you can draw your own, or even copy them from the computer screen :P
*Some printer paper or thin card, either coloured or white
*Some coloured paper (especially if your printer paper is white)
*Pencils, crayons or felt-tip pens
*Hole punch
*A tub, like Vanish one or the ones they sell nuts in, or a bowl
*Glue stick
*Some sticky tape and masking tape
*This template: (Click on it, let it load to its full size, then Right click -> Save Image As)

I printed the butterflies out to every coloured card we had here, so I had 10 sheets! :O

Colour some in and cut them all out.

Keep the left-over paper. It will be used very soon. Now you need your hole punch and your bowl. Take some bigger bits of the paper, fold them two or three times and punch holes into them. Put the little circles in your tub and keep them.

Use the little circles and other bits of left-over paper to decorate your other butterflies. It would be a good idea to turn some of them round, so the side you decorate will be clear.

Fold your butterflies gently in half, decorated side out, so that they look a bit V-shaped. Cut bits of thread, about 30 cm (12 in) or more long and tape one to each top wing of your butterflies. That makes them hang nicely so that all the decorating can be seen. I tried it with one piece of thread in the middle, but the butterflies didn't stand "up" properly. Even with two threads it's less fiddly. :)

Now use the masking tape to stick them onto your ceiling.

Happy Spring!


P.S. My litte girl here forces us to lie down on the floor and blow on the "byes" (or "futterbyes") several times a day! ;)

P.P.S. I didn't design the butterflies, I just found them though Google and put them together.
Thanks goes to:
Sorry, but I can't find the page for the last one any more!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Tutorial: How to make play rice

I happened to read someone's blog a few days ago, I got there through Totally Tutorials, and this lady had made little felt fish to "catch" for her 2 & 1/2 year old son. They were really cute. I read a few more of her posts and I found out that she was using Montessori method (I think she was also training to become a Montessori teacher) for all kinds of activities. It struck me how interesting and nice it was - even for myself, especially all the sensory games, so I will find out more about it and try it out.

I have started with something already, something I thought would be simple, yet interesting to my little daughter: play rice.

You will need:
* Some rice. I had open pack with about 150g of rice in it, which is absolutely enough to make a complete mess of the floor, if you let them! :D
* 4 cups (I used little glasses, but if your child is old enough, he or she might want to help with the mixing)
* Food colouring (Mine came from Tesco, as usual, cost about 80p a bottle, and it does last quite a long time. And you only need three colours: red, yellow and blue.)

* Some containers to play with - like plastic bowls, ice cream boxes, a funnel, a little beaker, empty yoghurt pots (in West Country we have Yeo Valley Organic yoghurt, which has cardboard sleeve around transparent plastic pot, you can take the sleeve off easily and have a see-through pot to play with)
* A wooden spoon (And a metal or plastic one for yourself to pick everything up :)

* Playmat or blanket (optional, but I found it easier to slide the spoon around the mat, collecting all the dropped pieces of rice)

How to:
* Divide your rice into 4 roughtly the same sized amounts into the cups
* Add a drop or two from each bottle to the first three cups - yellow, red and blue. Mix. Add a drop of yellow and tiny drop of blue into the fourth. Mix. Now you have all 4 primary colours. Alternatively, you could make 2 more colours, 6 altogether, if you wish, to maybe teach your kids how complementary colours can be made - orange from yellow and red and purple from red and blue.
* Let the rice dry for about 10-15 minutes, then stir with your finger to see whether it has dried completely.
* Pour the different colours into different plastic pots (mixing them up is added fun!), add 1-2 empty bowls and a wooden spoon.
* Give to your child and enjoy!

Emily was occupied for ages. 40 minutes from when I checked the time, and I am pretty sure we had been playing for at least 15 minutes already. She was pouring the rice from one youghurt pot to the other and to the bowl and spooning it into different pots. And she kept saying "mix mix!", laughing and stirring it in the red bowl. She was so busy that I couldn't even put her tights on and fasten her dungarees properly after changing the nappy! My job, of course, was to "drive" the spoon around the mat and collect all the pieces that had fallen out, and there were LOADS of them. It was kind of fun, but my lazy innter voice kept moaning "Why oh why oh why couldn't you be a bit more careful?!" She did say "Oh dear" in her little voice every time she dropped some, though. :O She should enjoy being messy! :D

We have played with it several times now and she is still really interested. I think she has started being deliberately messy and pouring the rice on the floor now. :P

Other ideas for the same type of play:
*Pasta shapes (they dye quite well, too, only it makes a bit fiddlier mixing)

Have fun!


Monday, 1 March 2010

Cut the debt!

I've been listening to the news about government cutting the spending on public services. Surely, the biggest public service is the government itself? When are we going to hear about discussions to reduce their own salaries and fat bonuses? They have f-d up massively, so why are we paying for them?

Everyone, vote for little parties and for none of the biggest ones.

Government should be like jury duty - random selection out of all citizens and NEVER EVER for the people who want to rule.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Kissell! Tutorial: How to make compote

I love compote (kissell in estonian), it's quite a common dessert back there. Trouble is, it costs an arm and a leg to buy some here, so I make my own. It's not very hard anyway. (By the way, the word compote is a bit confusing to me, since "kompott" means kind of preservative, whole berries or fruit or slices of fruit preserved in their own juice/syrup, as opposed to jam, where all is mushed up.)

But back to our task: how to make some.

What you will need:
* A medium-sized saucepan or pot (Mine holds about 2+ litres)
* 2 glasses (about 500ml) of transparent not very overpowering juice, like apple or cranberry as opposed to for example orange
* Fresh fruit and/or berries and/or
* Dried fruit and/or berries and/or
* Tinned fruit and/or berries
* Some water
* Some sugar, app 2 tbsp (one tablespoon - tbsp = app 3 teaspoons -tsp)
* Spices, if you wish: 2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of ground cloves
* 2-3 tbsp of thickening agent, like cornflour, starch or ground arrowroot
* Some milk, whipped cream, toast, biscuits or creamy roly-poly for serving

How to make it:
* Add your juice to the pan

* Add chopped up fresh fruit (cut apples or pears in quarters, remove core, don't bother with the peeling, then cut in quarters again - to get about bite size pieces), berries, washed dried fruit/berries - about half a handful each. No need to soak. Don't forget raisins or sultanas, they're essential! :) I also love tinned plums in my compote, but I couldn't find any this week. In one sentence, add whatever you like and whatever you have. :) I had apples, dried apricots and prunes and some raisins. So, in they all went.

*Also, add your spices and sugar. Top up with water until it's 3-5 cm from the edge.

* Bring to boil (on the scale of 6 points like my hob has, I use 4) then simmer gently (on 1,5-2) under the lid until all the ingredients are soft and plump. That should take about an hour.
* Put 2-3 tbsp of corn flour/starch/ground arrowroot into a cup, add a bit cold water and mix until everything is dissolved, keep adding water until your mix looks like milk.

* Pour your mix into the pot while stirring, so that it blends well, then keep stirring slowly until you notice your compote thickening. It doesn't take long, just a few minutes.

* Take your pan off the hotplate, stir some more and let it cool down.
* Serve cold with milk, whipped cream, pieces of toast, plain soft vanilla biscuits or creamy roly-poly. Whatever you fancy, really!

Serves about 4

When I think about variations, I guess more spices would be nice around Christmas. Orange zest maybe? And eat it with gingerbread? I've never made compote with orange juice, but maybe it will be allright. Any brave experimenters? :)


I have things.

Why is it that during the day you get great thoughts and ideas to write about in your blog, and then, in the evening when your baby goes to sleep you are too tired to remember or even turn the computer on? :)

I made 2 pairs of earrings recently, kind of new wave in my creations. They are with paper beads and feature some extra twirls. Base shapes were made with peg board, I bought it long time ago, but only got round to using it now.

Haven't made up my mind about the names yet.


Oh, I also bought a tripod finally. You can look forward to decent non-blurry photos in the future. Hopefully I will feel more motivated to manage my shop as well. Maybe not though. I am waiting for the spring and summer to go out to the garden and to the park with Emily. Happy times ahead! *touches wood not to jinx it*


Friday, 15 January 2010

Tutorial: Make an upcycled memory game

Have you ever thought what to do woth used wrapping paper? I feel terribly guilty when I throw them away, especially when some of them have great pictures on and sometimes the paper is thick and of good quality. Now I have found one use for them: Make a memory game for your kids. If they are babies, then this is a great way of teaching them some words, and they can help, if they are old enough (at least 4, I would think), and get more fun out of it! :)

You will need:
*Used piece of wrapping paper that has pattern with little recurring motives on it. It can be christmas one, or birthday one. You can even use several different ones to get more pairs. Try to choose bits that doesn't have many creases on them, but I don't think most kids care. (If you are planning covering the back as well, get another - different - wrapping paper)
*Some glue, PVA is the best, but some glue sticks work quite well too.
* Bits of light cardboard. I usually keep some empty cereal boxes etc in my kitchen in case I need some.

Let's make it!
*Cut out your motives. You can make as many pairs as you like (or as you can). I made 8 pairs - 16 pieces.

*Take your cardboard and put one of your motives on it, if the motives are of different sizes, then the biggest one. Draw a square round it, cut it out and use it as a template for other ones. My squares came from lasagne pasta and fish cake box.

* Glue your motives on your squares and let them dry. If you want to cover the backs to make a "proper" memory game, then this is the time to do it. Glue your squares loosely on a bit thicker wrapping paper, let it dry and then cut them out. Since my little girl is 20 months old, I didn't bother yet. It is a challenge enough for her to match all the pictures when they are the picture side up.

Your memory game is now ready. Happy playing! :)


Friday, 8 January 2010

Happy... the thing. Why I haven't blogged more recently.

Actually, I don't have a clue.

I have done a bit of handicrafting, but Christmas was a busy time and as I have explained before, I have a busy time being a mum. Emily has learnt quite a few words now, and is enjoying interacting with us. Also, after the recent holidays she asks tens of times during the day: "Whe's daddy done(gone)?"

To be honest, I don't have an awful lot of interest of having an internet shop at the moment, I would like to do something easy, like designing and printing. I have been known to design some games (or at least redesign) for people's birthdays, and they have loved them. And I would like to continue with jewellery and recycled things. But I also like to knit.... Noooooo! :D

But at the moment I just came here to kill some time until music downloads to my mp3 player. I have wanted to listen to ELP version of Jerusalem for the whole day and I discovered that my cd/mp3 player is dead. Noooooooo! :D Why does it have to be so hard to get to my favourite music? I remember in Uni I had a year after borrowing some cassettes of ELP - and I did discover it then - and giving them back when I couldn't get it anywhere, and buying the stuff wasn't really an option. No credit card, you see. The I found a person with some cds and it was almost orgastic pleasure to listen to it again. It was great, like falling in love. Yes, I do like cd/mp3 players, they are much easier and faster to use than little plugin mp3 players.

And I would like to finish on another note: after watching the news and some other programmes on telly, I think that religion, as in believing in gods in any form should end. I have one argument: wars. All the wars in the world at the moment started because of religions and people disagreeing with others'. And think of all the wars and nastiness people did to each other because of it in the past. Why couldn't we just be humanist and nice to each other? Who is a better person: me, because I am nice to people because I want to or someone who believes it's the rule of some sky fairy and if they don't obey, they'll get punished? I guess may have "religious" beliefs of some kind which I don't think I do, but I won't go blowing someone up if they disagree with me. And to finish, I'd like to quote something I once saw on TV, in "Picket Fences": "Religion is like farts. Your own is all right, but everyone else's stinks."

Oh, I can go off and see whether music is on my player properly now. "And did those feet in ancient time, Walk upon England's mountains green..."

Take care and
"Make love, not war"