Make a Windmill

A few mornings ago my daughter came rushing upstairs with two icecream sticks and a piece of paper saying that she wanted to make a windmill. 

We sat together coming up with ideas and different designs and this is the result. Really simple and quick to make. It has now become the centre point to build further constructions around with building brick toys and has been named “The Windy Willow Windmill” 

You will need –

  • 1 small paper fastener (width – 2mm)
  • 100 craft lolly sticks (11cm x 1cm)
  • 2 icecream sticks (length – 9.5cm)
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Glue gun and glue sticks
  • Drill (with 3mm wood bit)


1. Start with 4 lolly sticks and build a square base using the glue gun to secure the corners



2. Build up to 11cm high, occasionally glueing a row upright instead of flat. Leave to set.


3. Take 10 lolly sticks and glue them side by side as shown above. Make 4 sets of these panels.

4. Once glue is set, take 2 panels and glue onto the tower to form two sides of the triangular roof. 


5. With the remaining two panels, use the glued roof sides as a guide and mark where to cut to make the panels for the front and back of the roof. 

6. Cut x2 triangles with scissors and glue one panel to the back side of the roof. 

7. Take the two icecream sticks and position them as windmill blades, mark the centre point and drill through. Glue together making sure to avoid the drilled hole.


8. Cut two 2cm pieces of lolly stick and take the remaining roof side and glue them in place; central and halfway down  (as shown above). 

9. Take the blades and attach between the 2cm pieces with the paper fastener leaving it loose enough to spin. Secure the fastener at the back with the glue gun.

10. Glue the front of the roof in place. 

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!

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!

Fabric Covered Notebook

Materials

Mount board 

Craft glue

Fabric

Coloured card

Note book

Craft knife

Metal ruler

Cutting board

Pencil 

   
I took some ordinary exercise books and cut and glued mount board to front and back (no need if you already have a hardback notebook)


    

Glue fabric to book and neatly fold and glue corners and inside edges

 Cut and glue card to inside front and back to hide rough edges

(If needed can use book binding tape to secure pages to inside spine of book)   
  

I have a three spare pieces of cotton fabric (below) to give away (offer ends July 2016) Please email me at thechrissiewhiteshop@hotmail.com the one you would like, inc. postal details and I’ll pop it in the post free of charge. 

Fabric size 28cm x 28cm 

  

 

Spaghetti & Meatballs

I’ve made this a couple of times recently and our 23 month old has loved it. It’s got grated carrots and courgettes in which is great for children, like our three year old, who don’t like eating big chunks of veg, or toddlers just getting used to a variety of textures.

I’ve used ready made meatballs but homemade ones can always be prepared beforehand (much better if trying to keep salt to a minimum for younger ones). 

serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

olive oil

1 medium onion (grated)

2 carrots (grated)

1 large courgette (grated)

1 garlic clove

Red wine (optional)

24 meatballs (4/5cm diameter)

x2 400g tin finely chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tbsp sugar

200ml vegetable stock (salt free if preferred)

1 tbsp fresh basil (chopped)

Parmesan (grated)

Spaghetti

Salt and pepper

METHOD

Heat 3tbsp oil in a large frying pan. 

With a low heat fry onions for 3 mins

Add carrots, cook for further 2 mins

Add courgettes and cook for 10 mins

Add tomato puree and garlic and cook for 5mins

Add a splash of wine (optional) turn up heat and reduce 

Then add the stock, chopped tomatoes and sugar. Bring to a simmer whilst browning meatballs in another pan.

Add the browned meatballs to sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer for 20-25 minutes. 

Cook spaghetti. 

Add basil to sauce and serve with Parmesan 

  

Happy Birthday Garland

  
Craft knife

Cutting mat

Metal ruler

Card (variety colours)

Tracing paper

String

Sticky pads 
  

Using the guidelines on cutting mat, draw the letters onto tracing paper. 

Use these templates to cut the letters out of card. 

   
    

Attach string to the reverse side with sticky pads, spacing the letters out evenly.

    

Simple and sweet garland for birthday celebrations 

 

Handmade Advent Calendar

The weeks leading up to Christmas seem to get faster and faster but this year instead of adding our usual advent calendars to the end of our online grocery shop, I wanted to make something a little more special for our daughters, something they could keep for years to come. 

  
Materials –

1/2 m hessian fabric

Scissors

Ruler

Pencil

Sewing machine

Pole (I used part of a clothes hanger)

Dressmaking pins

Pattern paper (I used baking paper) 

Ribbons

Felt fabric advent numbers

Felt fabric (christmas colours)

Ribbons

Bias binding (5m)

String

Fabric glue

  
I started off by doing a quick sketch of design I wanted 

  

Once happy with the design, I drew it out onto pattern paper (I used baking paper)

  

Cut out all the pieces – one large back piece and 6 strips for the pockets 

   

Sew bias binding on the two longest sides of the pocket strips

 

Add decorative ribbon to the top sides

  

It is possible to buy felt advent calendar numbers but I made my own, – Use a paper template and cut numbers out of white felt fabric

  

Glue down the numbers and once dry machine stitch. 

Make small marks for the vertical stitched lines that divide the pockets

  

Pin in place and stitch on the reverse along the bottom of the pocket pieces. 

Test that the pockets are the right way around before sewing.

  

It should look like this when finished and ready to turn up and reveal the numbers. Pin in place.

Pin and stitch binding around edge

  

Tie bows and stitch in place. Alternatively, festive felt shapes can be used.

Stitch vertical lines for the pocket dividers

  

Fold over and stitch top section leaving enough room for pole to be inserted. 

  

Tie string and advent calendar is ready to hang and fill with goodies 

 

  

Children’s Homemade Notecards


Materials

a4 Coloured card

a4 paper

Coloured felt

Scissors 

Pencil

Pipe cleaners

Pva glue + brush
  
Fold A4 paper in half and draw basic outline of chosen animals. 

Cut around the outline and place one layer to the side. 

With the remaining later cut out the features. 

Use templates to cut felt and coloured card. 

  

Hand over to children to stick all the pieces together. I did this with my four year old.   

    

 
They look great hanging up …

   

…and make excellent thank you cards.