Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas Craft - Finger Print Canvas'

Every year , these Mini Canvas' are one of the first crafts we do. Not only because they are an awesome keepsake ( and gift for Grandparents and family) but because they are so cute!
The kids now look forward to doing them , as each year they turn out a little different and then like to compare the finger and hand sizes as the years go on and they grow. I first saw this on Pinterest , then again shortly after on A Little Delightful blog, there are a few variations around and they all look super cute!

To make this craft much easier when dealing with little people and little messy fingers , gather all of your supplies before you begin. Finger painting and young kids can often be a bit stressful. 

You will need brown and white paint , a background colour for your snowman print, a few mini canvases ( ours are from Kmart for $2 and they come with the cute ease) , markers for the detail in the prints and I also use some Stickles  ( a scrapbooking puffy glitter and pearl paint)

They are pretty simple really. A brown finger print for each child to make the reindeers and a white finger print for each child to make a snowman. If you are doing a canvas per child, then obviously you would use all 4 of their fingers and multiple finger prints . 

I chose to paint the snowman canvas in advance, but this year have left the reindeer one raw. 

Snowmen - You just add orange noses on the snowmen and black details for the face and buttons. I then used the Stickles for the hats and bows /scarves.

Reindeer -  Add black antlers , a red nose (again I used Stickles), white eyes with a black dot. 
Stinking cute! 

And we made an extra to send to Grandma and Poppy! 

Here are a few from the years gone by, tiny little fingers. 

Do you make these canvas' too? I'd love to see your variations!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Homemade Faux Mantel

After seeing a mantel someone had made out of cardboard boxes on Pinterest (just like every other man and his dog) , I just knew I wanted to try it ! 
Its one of my biggest 'dream house' goals in life, to have our own fire place with white wooden mantel. Perfect for seasonal decorating and especially hanging your Christmas stockings off! I figure you have to have these dreams when you live in a dust bowl town, living in company paid rentals. 

Anyway, I finished this in late November, and really should have shared it early but its Christmas and busy and you get the drift. 
I am an extremely inpatient person. This had to be finished within a day or 2 of starting the project , even if it killed me. I didn't have any boxes that matched in sizes , so I just made them myself ( using cardboard boxes, I cut panels the same size and taped into a box shape.) 

I then wrapped them all in brown paper and taped together to form the mantle shape. 
If completing this project, I would definitely advise in covering the middle section so you can't see the wall through it. It makes it much more realistic looking. 

So this is what was left when it was all covered and assembled. Yes, that paper section on the left really does my head in , so I would have made that panel go right to the bottom so you couldn't see the join. 

I freehand drew some flames at the bottom of the back board then painted the rest black. 
I then made a brick template (seriously just a piece of cardboard in the shape I wanted) and traced a rough pattern onto the paper. 
And then you paint. And paint. And paint! Our brick colour is a mixture of brown and red and I left the 'grout' all bare for now. 

This is what it looked like before the grey grout was painted inbetween the bricks. 
I wouldn't be too fazed when painting the bricks because if they are a little rough around the edges, you cover those up with the grout paint anyway (unless you leave the grout bare and use the paper as the colour )

Then the flames had to be done. Now let me say , I am NO artist!! Those genes were seriously all given to my sister in abundance and nothing left for me! haha
HOWEVER, flames are random and rough and thats me to a tee!!

Red , orange and yellow paint was used and I am pretty happy with the result!

Once the bricks were semi dry (basically just after I had painted all the grout , a few episodes of Gossip Girl on the TV behind me helped to entertain while I painted!!), I used a sponge and tissue in some black paint and dabbed and wiped on the bricks to create a textured look. They look much more realistic after that! 
Then ........

Ta - da!!

And all dressed up!! 

And we just LOVE it!! Ideally it would be lovely next to the tree , but given our tree is MASSIVE and we don't have much room in our living area, this had to do. Its perfect though as people see it when they walk in the front door . 
I love the festive cheer it adds to our living room . I actually love it so much, I would consider leaving it there indefinitely!! 

Another Pinterest win! You've got to love Pinterest, clever people sharing their creations . 

Monday, December 14, 2015

Alfie is Back!

Our loveable yet mischievous elf Alfie, has returned for yet another year here in the Morrison household.  Alfie has been visiting our family for the festive season since 2012 and every year the kids look forward to his arrival and antics more and more! 
Its safe to say that the pressure is on to constantly come up with new ideas and situations for him (thank goodness for Pinterest!!) and as the kids get older, we have to be more sneaky about it all!

This year Alfie arrived by special mail from the North Pole (usually he comes through the Fairy door). He was packed in his own box, on a bed of snow and had written a letter to the kids ! 

We try and keep his return letter a bit about how the kids have gone throughout the year, always positive and always praising them for their efforts in school and their love for one another. We figure there is enough negativity in the world, without putting that on the kids too . But of course, each to their own, your elf , your adventures! 

I use the super easy and gorgeous template from a little delightful blog , and just use the online software Pic Monkey (as Bianca explains in her blog post) to add the text, then print in an A5 size. 
We've used this for the last few years now and definitely love the convenience and consistency. As the children get older (and much more suspicious and knowing) I really think that consistency is the key to keeping the dream and magic alive. 

The box was placed in front of the Christmas tree for the children to find on the morning on December 1st. I may have decorated early but this is one tradition I want to stick to!

Day 2 - Alfie decided on a rocketing adventure and got stuck in the Christmas tree!! 
Printable from HERE

Day 3- Alfie was bored and made himself a swing (using a tree ornament drop)

Day 4 - Alfie decided to decorate the Fairy door . 
The tree was mine from when I was a child (my sister and I used to have a small tree for our bedrooms) , and the fairy lights and letterbox were purchased from a market stall but the business has a Facebook page HERE

When the kids got home from school that day Alfie had moved! He had also bought the kids a decoration to put on the tree each! 

Day 5 - Alfie bought the kids some lovely elf size stationery to be able to write letters and pop into the new little letterbox! 
Printable found HERE

After school, the kids returned home to Alfie and a little note , it read;
You did such a wonderful job putting the new ornaments
 on the tree but I have hidden a special one each for you! 

And they all rushed to the tree and found ..... a chocolate tree ornament . It was so sweet to witness Stella helping her little brother reach his up a little too high! 

Day 6 -  Alfie was in sloth mode and needed a movie night, complete with junk food (rubbers from Kmart). He also bought a few new Christmas movies for the kids (yippee!)

Day 7 - Do you want to build a snowman? 
Perfect for Frozen fans and easy to complete for a busy afternoon/ night that we had! 
Printable found HERE

Day 8 - Worn out from his antics, Alfie needed a good nights sleep by the fire! 

Day 10 - Colouring in ! 
This cute printable found HERE, come with the kids sheets and small versions for Alfie and a little note. 

The elf sized pencils come in this CD case in the stationery section of Kmart for a couple of dollars. 

Day 11- There is no photographic evidence of this day as my husband completed the challenge (hehe)  and I went to bed with a bad headache after a market night. He painted the kids noses red and sat Alfie beside the paint container and paintbrush. Hmmm perhaps he wasn't the most careful of elf assistants as it went all over their bedding. Super funny though! 

Day 12- An elf game of poker (this was a last minute , forgotten before bedtime set up ) , I had the small card packs from a Christmas cracker last year and had put them in my scrap booking stash. 

Day 13- Alfie isn't used to the warm temperatures where we live and needed to freeze up a little so he made himself an igloo! Its just a few paper plates stapled together and cotton balls hot glued all over! So cute!! 

We seem to be onto the 'elf thing' this year, with less last minute "oh goodness , what should we do" moments. I really think its thanks to my calendar ( I printed a December calendar and have planned his adventure every night) and then pre printed all the things we have needed. I have also pre cut any that needed it and they all live in a folder up the top of my desk. This means that when we need to set him up at the end of a night, when the energy is lacking, everything is ready to go!!

It also means I have been able to donate all the items we have used to the teachers at school , as both the kids classes have resident elf and antics of their own!!

Its so much fun, are you having fun with your elf ? Or is Christmas busy enough without adding in this too? 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Christmas Craft - Potato Stamped Wreaths and Cards

This year, I am trying to throw in a few new Christmas Crafts swell as the old faithfuls. These Potato Stamped Wreaths were quick and easy and are the type of craft that anyone can do with materials that are usually on hand in your home all the time. 

Its as simple as carving a few different leaf designs out of halved potatoes, pouring a little paint and tracing a circle in pencil around a bowl or round object to your desired size. 

We used a large cereal type bowl from Kmart , purely because it was a good size to fit on normal A4 paper but you can adjust this depending on a want and need basis. 
We also used a few different colours of green for our leaves, just to add some interest to the wreaths, but again, this is also personal choice. 

With the circle already giving a template, this is a fairly independent type of craft to do. Once the kids were set up, I just let them go for it! 

If you find your child has trouble holding the potato (we didn't use the biggest of spuds!) then just stab a fork into the back and it acts as a handle! It also conveniently saves on a fair bit of mess all over the hands! 

After the foliage is done, then comes the red berries. We used a small sponge that we bought in a brush pack ( I think it was from Kmart some time ago) but again, you could carve something similar out of a potato or even cut a carrot and use that (its about the same shape and size).

When all the kids at finished their wreaths, we had some left over paint so we decided to make some Holly clusters. Please forgive me for the upside down picture, I can not for the life of me work out how to spin it (well I tried numerous times and it didn't work, I'm sure you get the gist !) 

I cut these to size and they have made gorgeous , personalised cards when glued to plain cards (purchased from Spotlight and Kmart).

Simple yet pretty effective! I think they are gorgeous!

The wreaths turned out amazing as well. I just trimmed the excess paper off the outside and now they are pinned to our Toy Room cupboards to add some festive spirit to the room.
You can also make smaller versions of the potato stamps to use on plain brown paper for gift wrapping or even stamp a wreath onto the outside of a paper plate and cut out the centre for a gorgeous door decoration.

The possibilities are endless , I hope you have fun exploring them!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Putting Up the Christmas Tree

Its something that most people do (those that celebrate Christmas that is..) and everyone has their own little traditions and takes on things. As previously mentioned, this year I have Christmas spirit in abundance. Tons and tons and too much of it apparently (is that even possible?!) So ... this can only mean one thing. 
 Our tree was up in November! Shock horror right?!
Why not I say?! Plus with my husband work roster , it just fit into our schedule better that way.

Ok, this 'Putting up the Tree' is serious business in our house! I don't go as far as dressing the kids all matching (or even changing their clothes for that matter) , they just wear whatever it was that they put on after school. But .... we do have Christmas carols playing while we put it up. Michael Buble' of course , and perhaps a few Mariah Carey Christmas songs thrown in there too.

I also spread all the branches out myself, because I like them done 'just so' and I wrap the lights and the bead strings but from there it is a bit of a free-for- all.
All our tree decorations and a few other small Christmas items are stored in the red boxes pictured above. They have divided sections and really make it easier to organise and protects our precious ornaments.

This year I had decided to go for an all white look on the tree. Then when the boxes were out and I was looking through all the special ornaments , I just couldn't follow through. We have collected our random assortment of tree ornaments from all around the world on our travels and have been gifted many by family from overseas too. Each year they bring back memories and the kids get so much joy out of putting up the decorations that they have each made over the years. 

So carols are on, kids are singing, and helping each other with placement and selection and I love every second of it!

When it comes to the star, each child has a turn to put it on and have a photograph taken. We are pretty fortunate that our tree is massive , yet so is our Daddy (6ft 9  to be exact!) so no step ladder is needed. Actually I don't even own a step ladder!
So every child has a turn then Daddy makes sure its secure at the end, aint no one want to get pinned by a rogue star falling from a tree!

Then a customary group shot 'must' be taken! Dog included!

And thats a wrap for the tree. Our lights are on pretty much all the time (we have a dark house so you can see them) and I just love the twinkly at night when all the kids are in bed and the house is quiet. 

It really is , the most wonderful time of the year! 

Tell me, do you have certain things that must happen when you put up your tree?

Our Family Christmas Traditions

Christmas is such an amazing time of the year, in my opinion anyway. Its when I come alive, get excited about my home and I am always more determined to spend more 'quality' time with our kids. 

Its also a time for family traditions.  I always like to hear how everyone puts their own spin on traditions. The things they have passed on to their children from their own childhoods and the new little traditions you make with your own families. I've decided to share a fair amount of our Festive season on the blog this year. More so to document this time for our children but also perhaps there are any readers out there who are like me and like to hear every ones traditions in case there is something you adapt for your home. 

This year, unfortunately my husband is working Christmas Day. It is the joy of shift work and I am sure there are many families out there in the same boat, and I feel for you all! Especially those with FIFO partners and those with family members who have passed away. It can be a really emotional time of the year, but it can also be pretty darn amazing! Oh to see Christmas in the eyes of a child!

Anyway, with my husband working on the main day ( he does a 12 hour shift so we are talking 5:30am - 6:30pm round trip, totally sucks!!) I have really tried to focus on the whole festive season , making every day special and memorable , rather than it just being about Christmas Day when I know the kids are going to struggle without their beloved Dad around.
We are also at home for Christmas this year, rather than heading away to see our family. This is a bittersweet issue for us. I would desperately love to be with my family (and not alone with the kids) but sometimes these things happen. It does however mean that we have more time at home . More time for me to organise crafts, advent activities and I seem to have Christmas spirit in abundance this year (whereas I struggled to feel it in 2014!) I know I will be sad on Christmas Day without my family around, I know I will shed a tear or 10 with my husband not around, but at the end of the day I will be strong for my kids and I am super lucky to be able to spend the day with them (unlike my amazing husband and all those who have to work) . These are the times when you wish you weren't such a bloody softy! haha

So over the next couple of weeks, I will be sharing our families Christmas traditions. Our advent activities, Kids crafts, baking, Teachers and class gifts, our Random Acts of Kindness gifts for 2015, whats on our Christmas lists or wrapped under the tree . All of the things!
Feel free to stop reading now if you are the Christmas Grinch!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas Craft- Bottle Snow Globes

One of my favourite parts of the festive season, is crafting with my kids. They love doing it all and I love spending the quality time with them. Everything else can wait if we have something to paint or make! 

This little project would have to have been one of the easiest and most effective Christmas Craft to date. The kids just love their Snow Globes and they have been used daily since completion!

You can make these as easy or as difficult as you like! You can use jars or plastic bottles (I've gone the child safe route and used plastic!) , you can add ornaments and glycerine or you can just leave them plain. Anyway you make them, they will be gorgeous and very loved!

A bottle/ Jar per person (Ours are plastic drink bottles from the Reject Shop , they come in a 6 pack)
Assorted fillers ( I used confetti snowflakes and beads, all purchased from discount stores)
Fine Glitter 
Super glue or hot glue gun (to seal the lid closed!!)

I also used a silver liquid pearl tube to write each childs initial on the lids but you can use a texta, sticker etc. 

Fill the container with chosen assorted goodies that will 'float' around.

Add some glitter. We had help from an adult for this job as I could predict what was going to happen if we didn't! Cleaning up glitter is no easy task!

Add water to the top and run a small amount of chosen glue ( I used a hot glue gun) around the inside of the lid and seal shut. Trust me , you will want to seal them shut properly. We did manage a small flood of glitter and sparkles before getting to seal all 4. argh!

Some people add Glycerine or baby oil to make the glitter float a little slower. I didn't have any, and didn't really see the need for it as the kids shake it constantly anyway. However, if you want to add some of these , just a tablespoon per bottle would be enough! I am thinking we will make some more in January with assorted fillings and will add Glycerine to those, but these are a seasonal craft and only need to last the month out!

There you have our pretty, sparkly Snow Globes/Bottles. These have been so well loved already and are perfect for the 'Silly Season' . I 'may' have sent a few of the kids to their rooms to lay down and play with their bottles , and to just chill! Its a crazy busy time of the year and sometimes kids just need a way to chill out . These are perfect for that!

Have a go at making them yourself! I would love to see your results!