Block Printed Wrapping Paper

Last year we enjoyed printing Christmas & thank you cards with my eldest daughter’s designs, so this year we had a go at printing wrapping paper. This was a great project that we could all get involved with. My four year old did the design this time; a sweet reindeer drawing that made a great print.

 
Materials

1 roll of Plain wrapping paper

Block printing ink

Ink tray

Lino cutter

Ink roller /brayer 

Lino sheet

Paper

Pencil

Marker pen

Wooden block (cut to size of design)

Strong craft glue

1. Draw out a design. Using a thick marker pen on the lino.

2. Cut out the areas around the marked section. Trimming off excess lino. Glue to wooden block.

3. Roll out some ink and apply a very thin layer to the lino. 

4. Do some test prints for positioning and ink density.


5. Apply a very thin layer of ink after each print for an even finish.

6. Print the red noses. We used a flat crayon dipped lightly in ink but fingertip will do too.

7. Leave to dry.

8. Ready to wrap gifts!

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Reading the Bible

Two months ago I finished reading the bible, it took 26 months. I’m not a big reader, I absolutely hate reading, the first thing I do with a book is flick through to find pictures. Years ago I tried to read the bible because I was intrigued, I started at the beginning but didn’t even make it past Genesis 1. It was big, old and boring. Some snippets I randomly read were lovely, some frightening and I couldn’t make any sense of it. But then I met Jesus and my heart was changed. This time I read with such excitement, starting at Matthew through to Acts then Revelation and then the letters. Finishing the New Testament I began the Old Testament at Genesis through to Deuteronomy continuing with intervals of the later OT books, then finishing with Psalms.

This incredible book is no ordinary book. Some say it holds secret codes. Others say it’s just a load of fairytales. Truth is you can be the greatest bible scholar, the most respected theologian, attend church religiously but still not grasp it’s meaning. It’s possible to know the bible inside out, read it daily but be as the Jewish leaders that Jesus told “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” John 5:39-40

But it was never intended for human wisdom. “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” 1 Corinthians 1:21. In our spiritual blindness and deafness, to which we are all born, it makes no sense to us. But God who loves you, who can not stop lavishing you with the best gifts freely gives you the eyes to see and the ears to hear. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” James 1:5

The whole book is centred on the greatest gift you will ever receive. It shows us the love of a Father who never gives up on us when we rebel, run, fail and fall time and time again. Who cannot stop giving us incredible gifts, who is righteous and just. We see a Father who is faithful in his promises, displaying his incredible love for all at the cross.

In poetry or songwriting, readers can come to many different conclusions about the meaning of a poem or song. But the only person who can ever give you the truth about it is the author. We know that “All Scripture is God-breathed” 2 Timothy 3:16. The big question is are you willing to go to the author to receive life?

I now call the bible the greatest love letter. Somebody asked me what I’d do when I finished reading it, my reply “read it again and again and again of course!” Same as a love letter!!

As I came towards finishing reading the bible, I began to wonder what the last verse I would read would be and it couldn’t have been more perfect; I was overjoyed when I read Psalm 150! What joy there is in his presence that our hearts overflow with praise now and for all eternity!

Homemade Sparkly Scented Play Dough

We get through so much play dough that I thought I’d be worth having a go making it ourselves. I’ve tried a couple of times before but always ended up with that stodgy floury nursery school smelling stuff. This time I experiented with some different ingredients and invested in some good essential oils. The children enjoyed having different fragrances to sniff, they love smelling the tester perfumes in shops so it was great to have an activity like this at home. 

To make four colours –

You will need 

2 cups plain flour

2 tablespoons grapeseed oil

1/2 cup salt

2 tablespoons cream of tartar

1 – 1.5 cups of warm previously boiled water

Food colouring 

3-4 drops of glycerine

Essential oils

Vanilla essence

Bowls

Wooden spoons

Plastic containers to store play dough 

Glitter


I used cinnamon leaf, pine needle and mandarin essential oils and vanilla essence. Make sure to research the oils which are safe for you and children, also in pregnancy and breastfeeding. Always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil such as grapeseed oil.

I have used grapeseed oil with all my children in baby massage so I knew their skin wouldn’t react to it. A good tip my baby massage instructor showed me, if using for the first time, is to dab a little on the wrist and wait ten minutes to see if there is a reaction or not.

I divided the ingredients into four so the children could make a tub with a different colour and scent each. But you can always make one batch and then divide the dough to  colour and fragrance.

1. Into four bowls add flour, salt and cream of tartar. 


2. In a separate jug add 2-3 drops of essential oil (or 1tsp vanilla essence) to a teaspoon of grape seed oil and glycerine.

3. Add a 1/4 cup of warm water to the mixture and add the food colouring. 

4. Take one of the bowls of the flour mixture and slowly combine the wet mixture with the dry, adding more plain water if needed, until you get a bread dough like consistency that can be kneaded.

5. Adding different colours and scents repeat stages 2,3,4 for the remaining three bowls of flour mix  

I used yellow with vanilla, green with pine needle, orange with mandarin and red with cinnamon.



6. Place the dough on a smooth surface and add a sprinkle of glitter (too much will cause the dough to crack). 

7. Knead the dough well and it’s ready for play. 


8. Work into a soft ball and store in airtight containers when finished with


If you feel the dough needs refreshing at any point rub a few drops of grapeseed oil into hands and work though the dough, it moistens the dough and your hands!

Make a Children’s Apron 

Materials

Oil cloth 

Invisible thread 

Apron tape 150cm

Cotton thread to match rear side of oil cloth

Cotton thread to match apron tape

Paper Scissors 

Fabric scissors 

90/14 machine needle

Teflon machine foot

Pattern paper

Pencil 

Set square 

Sew on Velcro (2cm wide and 7cm length)


1. Draw pattern using set square for straight edges and making the arm curves not to severe otherwise it won’t hem well.

2. When happy with pattern, cut the oilcloth 

3. Cut x3 50cm of apron tape

4. Double fold the end of two of the strips of apron tape and stitch with coordinating cotton

5. Hem the arm curves with a single fold (approx 0.8cm) and stitch in place, using invisible thread in the spool and cotton thread that matches the backside of the oil cloth in the bobbin.

6. Stitch the two unhemmed tapes in position as shown above

7. Stitch the remaining tape to the two points shown above.

8. Hem the remaining edges

9. Change the bobbin thread to the colour that matches the tape. Fold back and stitch all four points where tape is attached 


To make the neck strap adjustable… 

10. Cut the neck strap 11cm up on the right and hem both ends.

 

11. Sew 5cm of the hook side of Velcro to the short part of the strap and sew 7cm of the loop side to the long part making sure they fasten as pictured below.

Wooden peg dolls

What is it about pound shops? I go in for kitchen roll and come out with a basket full of all sorts. I picked up some wooden pegs on my last visit, I wasn’t sure what we were going to do with them. Today it started chucking it down outside so out came the craft boxes. 

To make the dolls you will need:

pva glue
glue brush
twine
wooden pegs
felt (various colours)
black pen
embroidery thread
sewing needle
paper
ruler
pencil
scissors
  

1. Take a square piece of paper and draw dress pattern (as above)

2. Using dress template to cut felt

  
3. Cut twine (x12 of 10cm lengths)

4. Glue twine strands to top of peg. Leave to dry and cut if needs to be neatened.

*a hand embroidery design on felt can be completed whilst glue dries

   

5. Glue dress in place – apply glue just to top as shown above. Then down a strip to secure the edges of felt

 

6. Draw face

  
7. Handsew a running stitch along hem and tie some thread across the waist.

  
  
The children have played with them for most of the day. 

  
They also enjoyed making some; drawing faces and choosing dress and hair colour.