Category Archives: Crafts

Win an Instant Flower Press from Interplay

Earlier this week I got my own Instant Flower Press from Interplay. The flower press is really easy to use and great for crafting whatever age you are (suitable for ages 8+). It takes less than a minute to press a flower using this kit and we had a lot of fun gathering the flowers, pressing them and then crafting with them.

Instant Flower Press from Interplay

You can read more of our thoughts about the Instant Flower Press from Interplay and get some ideas for easy dried flower crafts here.

The Instant Flower Press from Interplay costs £9.99 and is incredibly easy to set up and use, it comes with a detailed instruction booklet and everything you need to get flower pressing. It’s great for learning more about nature as well as being a pretty essential addition to my craft cupboard. 

For more information about the Instant Flower Press from Interplay, visit their website.

WIN an Instant Flower Press from Interplay

To be in with a chance to win an Instant Flower Press from Interplay worth £9.99, simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5.The winner will receive an Instant Flower Press from Interplay RR£9.99.
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 19th June 2016.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winner’s name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winners, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Crafts: Dried Flower Craft Ideas

This week I became the proud and excited owner of an Instant Flower Press from Interplay. Admittedly it’s designed for children, but both my son and I had great fun with it and we’ve created some pretty little dried flower craft items yesterday afternoon with some flowers we picked on the way home from school.

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

The Instant Flower Press is really simple to use and comes with an instruction booklet. You open up the press, put a layer of the felt pads and the pieces of cotton material in the plastic press, place your flowers inside. Put another layer of cotton and more felt pads (all supplied) and close the press. Pop it in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and you’ve got dried pressed flowers. Slightly more moist flowers may take a little longer in the microwave, but once you start pressing your flowers you’ll quickly be able to judge what will take an extra ten seconds and what will dry more quickly.

As a child my Grandma had a flower press and I loved using it with her, carefully picking pansies from her garden and pressing them between thick parchment and screwing the press shut, then leaving it for months before seeing the fruits of our labour.

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

With the microwave flower press the whole process is done and dusted in minutes and perfect if you need some pressed flowers for some quick dried flower craft.

Quick and easy Dried flower craft ideas

Pretty Jam Jar Candle Holders

You will need:
A clean jam jar
A selection of dried flowers and leaves
PVA glue
A paint brush

These are so simple. Take a clean jam jar and some PVA glue and a paint brush, brush the glue onto the jar where you want to stick your dried flowers. Carefully press the flower onto the glued area to stick it on, then gently cover the flower with PVA glue to seal it in place. Leave to dry.

You can be as creative as you want with this, I’ve left mine quite simple, but I love the delicate little blue flowers and the daisies. It took hardly any time at all to glue on, but maybe an hour to dry properly. They look so pretty and I can see me using this idea on so many things around the house.

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

Pebble Paperweight 

You will need:
A clean stone
A selection of dried flowers and leaves
PVA glue
A paint brush

Again, this is very simple. We have a pile of lovely smooth pebbles in the garden, so I picked one the right size and gave it a good scrub and left it to dry. Then I selected a suitable leaf which I’d dried in the flower press and brushed PVA glue onto the pebble and pressed the dry leaf into place. I left it for a few minutes to stick, then I painted PVA over the leaf to seal it in place and then I left it to dry properly for a few hours.

I’ve now got a lovely paperweight, or a pebble to stop my napkins flying off the table when we eat in the garden. 

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

Dried Flower Sun Catchers 

You will need:
A laminator and pouches or some sticky backed plastic
A selection of dried flowers and leaves

Borrowing a laminator I arranged some dried flowers in an artistic way in the laminator pouch, I then put it through the laminator a few times until I was happy. I then cut my A4 sheet down into a circle and using a clear sticky dot stuck it to the window.

It’s really quite pretty and I’ve got a nasty window in the downstairs loo which needs replacing, which I’m now going to cover in these lovely dried flowers to pretty the place up a bit!

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

These are just three very quick ideas I had for dried flower crafts that afternoon. I’ve got a few more ideas up my sleeve including some nice thank you cards and other papercrafts.

The Instant Flower Press from Interplay is a cracking piece of kit and if you enjoy crafting and have kids that enjoy crafting, then I can’t recommend it enough. The small boy went to school today with a bag full of dried flower pictures for show and tell and he’s loving showing off his dried flower craft to anyone who will listen. It’s nice to do something a bit different with him and importantly he’s really enjoyed it and got something out of it too!

Dried Flower Craft Ideas

The Instant Flower Press from Interplay costs £9.99, is suitable for ages 8+ (though my 5 year old used it happily with supervision) and is available from a wide range of retailers.

Note: We were sent the Instant Flower Press from Interplay for review purposes. All images an opinions are our own.

Easy Father’s Day Crafts

The small boy is at that lovely stage in life where he’s always making us little cards and writing us little notes for no other reason than he loves us. Which is nice. With Father’s Day on the horizon the boy was keen to get crafting for his daddy. So when our Baker Ross box arrived, we delved deep and found some really lovely, simple Father’s Day Crafts to do together.

The first thing we tackled was the very easy Father’s Day Tie Bookmarks. These are made from soft foam and are cut out ready for use. I did the tricky bit, which was threading the ribbon through the tiny hole and he did the rest. 

Father's Day Crafts

The pack comes with a selection of stickers. His chosen one contained the letters which spelt “Top Dad”. I told him what the words were and he picked the right letters and stuck them on himself. He then had some design decisions to make, namely where to stick his selection of stickers. He was really pleased with his design and chose to “wear” the tie around the house himself for a while. We’ve now tucked his little gift away for Father’s Day.

The second of our Father’s Day Crafts were these lovely Father’s Day Wooden Keyrings. The pack comes with four different designs to choose from. Ben chose to make the trophy and I went for the guitar. The pack contains everything you’ll need for your keyrings.

Father's Day Crafts

This was actually quite a tricky little craft activity, threading the beads onto the cord made us both concentrate hard. I had to do the fiddly tying of the cord, but it was a real workout for his hand/eye co-ordination and his fine motor skills. 

Making Father’s Day Crafts to give as little gifts is a lovely gesture and we enjoyed making these really simple and easy crafts. I’m sure daddy will like receiving them too!

Father's Day Crafts

Father’s Day is on 19th June 2016.

How to Scrapbook – Project Craft at Paperchase

Paperchase (purveyors of beautiful stationery and arts and crafts materials) have recently launched “Project Craft”, a series of special crafting workshops for adults and children. The Project Craft sessions are currently only available in three flagship stores – Manchester, Glasgow and London, but they should be rolled out to a high street near you soon (check the website for details).

Being an occasionally crafty type, I was invited along to their Manchester store for an evening of crafting and cupcakes. The Project Craft workshops cost from £10 and include all the craft materials you will need for the session. Current Project Craft workshops include –

  • How to scrapbook
  • How to make a tissue paper pom pom
  • Card making with dye-cutting, lino print or foil
  • How to make kids crafts
  • How to make paper flowers
  • DIY stationery

A small group of happy crafters sat in a quiet corner of the store, next to the little cafe upstairs in an area set aside for Project Craft. We were there for the “How to Scrapbook” workshop, which costs £20 and includes a scrapbook and some materials. You are also advised to take along some photographs, old tickets, paper keepsakes and souvenirs that you might want to incorporate into your scrapbook.

project craft

If you’re a bit of a hoarder of tickets and little bits of paper, a scrapbook can be a lovely way to keep it all together and make something of your memories. At the workshop you create at least one double page layout and learn lots of useful tips including how to arrange your photos, layer pages and embellish your scrapbook with different products.

Sadly I’d forgotten to bring some things to scrapbook, but undeterred I rifled through some magazines and had a good rummage through the papers and embellishments they had. Thankfully I managed to forage enough nice things to make a few pages for my scrapbook.

project craft

There was expert tutelage from the Project Craft team at Paperchase. They gave an overview of the scrapbooking process, showed us some examples and sample templates and set us to work creating our masterpieces. There was always someone on hand to give advice and encouragement when required. I was the only scrapbooking virgin in the room, but I didn’t feel too far behind the others and whilst what I created was probably a bit basic, I was happy with the results. 

project craft

Whilst my crafting heart probably doesn’t lie in scrapbooking, I did enjoy the process and I think this would be a nice thing to do with my son. Something we can use to document our days out together and something we can use to look back on in later life. I really like the idea of scrapbooking holidays and visits to museums and such like with him. 

My scrapbooking might not be perfect, but it was very enjoyable and I learned a few things that I will take forward with me. I enjoyed my little taster of Project Craft at Paperchase and I will be booking in to try the lino print craft workshop soon.

Project Craft Workshops are available at Paperchase in Manchester, Glasgow and London, with more stores to follow soon. For more information visit the Paperchase website.

Note: I was an invited guest of Paperchase and I was not asked to pay for my workshop place or materials. All images and opinions are my own.

Creative Kids – Trying Out The BIC Drawy Book

I like to think of us as a family in touch with our creative side. We often spend an afternoon painting, drawing or crafting together and I’ve always encouraged a love of creative pursuits in the small boy. We were sent the new BIC Drawy Book to test out and it unleashed a new and exciting creative adventure for the boy and me.

All three of us had spent the week snuffling, wheezing and coughing, the small boy getting the worst of it with yet another ear infection. Friday was an inset day so I decided we needed a day of rest and some gentle crafting, so out came our new bag of BIC Drawy goodies and we set to work.

BIC Drawy

We were sent a BIC Drawy Book pack to play with, it contained a special colouring in book and a set of felt tips. The book is linked to the app, so you scan in the page to unlock a virtual experience. It is priced at £9.99 and you get the drawing and activity book , a packet of good quality BIC felt tips and access to the App. We didn’t get as far as trying that out, but what we did do left the small boy in wide-eyed awe.

First off, I should have read the instructions before we unpacked everything. I needed to download a free app (available from the Apple Store and Google Play) which did take a few minutes. Once the app was downloaded we opened it and followed the easy instructions.

BIC Drawy

We created a profile for the small boy and turned the volume up. There is only one story available at the moment, ‘Marty and the Alien’ which is suitable for ages 5+ and suited us down to the ground. There were three difficulty settings, but we chose the easy option to begin with.

The story opens with the engaging tale of Marty, a boy who wants to go into space, an alien lands in his garden and before you know it he’s in a rocket and zooming off to Planet X. Along the way the app has various activities which you need to complete, they’re all explained and my 5 year old soon got the idea and wanted to do them without my help. 

Throughout the story the app pauses and asks you to draw certain objects, photograph them with your tablet or phone and then it uses the images you’ve drawn in an animation. You can add stickers and embellishments to your drawings too.

BIC Drawy

They suggest that you draw the outline of your picture in black felt tip on white paper and then colour it in as you wish. The small boy could hardly contain himself as he saw the rocket he’d just drawn fly through space dodging asteroids and space debris, and he virtually rolled around laughing when the alien ate the cheese he’d drawn and did a cheeky burp afterwards. He was genuinely upset when we’d finished the story and we had to do it all over again from the start.

Despite being skeptical at first – I had to draw the first drawing for him and show him how it worked – he loved this BIC Drawy Book set. I loved it too, it was very well thought out, the story was engaging and it’s a great way to encourage creativity in kids. It can often be a little bit more difficult to encourage boys in particular to pick up a pen and get creative, but once he understood how it worked there was no stopping him.

I feel like we’ve only touched the surface of BIC Drawy and the app, there are several more levels of Marty and the Alien to explore, and we’ve not even really looked at the accompanying book yet. There’s a good deal of learning to be had from this too, for those interested in space there’s a part of the app where you can find out more about the planets in our solar system and there’s a quiz to test your space knowledge. On top of that it also develops their fine motor skills, concentration and creativity.

We were very impressed with BIC Drawy, we think it’s got so much potential. The boy is very happy with the existing story, but if they could develop a range of these then he’d be very happy indeed. I can’t wait for him to go to bed so I can have a go by myself – always the hallmark of a great product!

BIC Drawy

You can find out more about BIC Drawy by visiting their website.

Note: We were sent the BIC Drawy Book for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

To craft, or not to craft – Celebrating Shakespeare 400

This year sees the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare. To celebrate his life and work, stationers Viking sent me some crafting goodies and asked me to create a craft project featuring one of Shakespeare’s quotes. So I invited my craftiest friend Sarah around for an evening of crafting, chat and at least one bottle of chablis.

Sarah is an accomplished paper cutter and makes the most beautiful paper crafts, so she brought her paper cutting kit and I got my craft box out. To our existing stock we added the crafting goodies Viking had sent for our evening and we mulled over the brief whilst searching for Shakespeare quotes online. Independently we both came up with a similar idea.

Shakespeare

Our craft goodies from Viking

I had some watercolour paints and a couple of spare canvases, we both decided to paint a background on the canvas and then add our Shakespeare quotes. Sarah loves stars and the night sky, so she chose to paint a dusky sky and use a quote about stars. I love the colour teal, so wanted a  teal-ish canvas with a “go get ’em” semi motivational quote for my office.

Sarah began by painting her sky and then left her canvas to dry whilst she cut out some stars.

Shakespeare

Once her canvas was dry she used a silver metallic paint pen to write her quote and then she carefully glued her paper stars and some sequins in a shooting star formation on the canvas, I thought it looked really beautiful.

“It is not in the stars to hold our destiny, but in ourselves”

Shakespeare

I chose the famous quote from Hamlet “To thine own self be true” and I selected a much smaller canvas with an easel.  After painting the canvas with a few different shades of teal and blue (the photo doesn’t show the colours as well as it should) I left it to dry before using a paint brush and some burnt sienna watercolour paint to write my quote on the canvas.

Shakespeare

It didn’t take very long to do and I’m not 100% happy with it, but I like it well enough for it to take up residence in my office.

Having finished my intended project a little too quickly, I decided to have a play with my new golden feathered calligraphy quill and the little pot of ink. I can’t do calligraphy but I thought I’d have a play anyway.

Shakespeare

It was rather good fun and something I would try and use in future craft projects. There’s a bit of a knack to using a quill and a pot of ink, so it took me a few blobby goes before I got something I quite liked, and I quite liked this.

Shakespeare

And using the metallic gold paint pen I wrote this, a line from Sonnet 116 which I’ve been completely in love with for years.

Sarah and I go to a monthly craft club and we enjoy getting stuck in and having a go, often with mixed results, but it’s all good fun and makes for an interesting evening. This was our first craft evening together where we’ve not been supervised by experts, and I think Sarah in particular has produced something especially lovely. 

We’ve decided to have a few more craft evenings together, mainly because you don’t get wine at craft club I think, but also because it was interesting and fun. 

Note: We were sent products free of charge from Viking to use to create our Shakespearean masterpieces, and also in return for this blog post.

Easter Crafts for Kids (and grown-ups too!)

Easter has “crafts” written all over it. There are so many Easter crafts to make, from Easter cards to Easter bonnets and beyond. Easter has the benefit of having a long Bank Holiday weekend as well as a couple of weeks off school for the holidays. That means there are an awful lot of hours to keep the kids occupied, crafting is a great way to fill an hour or two, especially if they just need a bit of quiet time, concentrating on a task and creating something lovely.

We got cracking with some Easter Crafts over the weekend. We all sat down and decorated these Egg Mosaic Baubles from Baker Ross. The pack contains everything you need to decorate four of the polystyrene eggs, including the eggs, a selection of sticky squares, ribbon and plastic pins. 

Easter crafts

It’s quite fiddly to peel the backing off each individual square, so I peeled them off in rows or blocks, stuck them on the back of my hand and peeled them off as I needed them. The small boy didn’t like the idea of doing neat rows, so he stuck his on randomly, which I really like, and for some reason it made me think of Tetris the computer game.

Once the eggs were covered in the mosaic stickers I pinned the ribbons in place and hung them on a plant. I think they’re quite lovely and the certainly brighten the place up. The small boy is always so proud of his crafts and can’t wait to show them off to anyone who will look.

Later that day I was flicking through a craft magazine when I saw something I recognised. The Spring Blossom Tree kit from Baker Ross. Inspired, I got the kit out of our crafts box and made my first (and rather lovely) blossom tree.

easter crafts

The instructions are really clear and easy to understand. The tree, blossom and stand are all made from foam pieces, you stick the glittery blossom onto the plain coloured blossom and stick that onto the tree, and the stand just slots together. It’s very simple and very effective. I’m a sucker of cherry blossom, whether it’s made of foam or not.

We’ve got lots more Easter crafts and things to do over the next few weeks, so do keep an eye on our Instagram feed for new ideas and inspiration!

Easy Mother’s Day Crafts

I’ll hold my hands up, when I originally planned this blog post it was all about doing Mother’s Day crafts with my five year old son. We enjoy crafting together, making things that are beautifully wonky and imperfect, but I very rarely spend any time by myself doing some crafting, partly because of lack of time I guess. This month I looked at our box of seasonal goodies from Baker Ross and decided it was time to do some crafting by myself, and the results were very pleasing, at least I think so.

Mother's Day crafts

We were sent a box of ceramic bird flowerpots to paint, these were pretty adorable and we set about painting them in our own style. He wanted to paint his black, but thankfully I was able to steer him towards some brighter colours. I just did whatever I fancied and I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. I’m no artist but they were really lovely to do, especially together. I have bought some tiny crocus bulbs which I’ll plant in them nearer to Mother’s Day.

Mother's Day crafts

The next thing I tackled were these lovely tissue paper flowers. I sat down for a quiet half hour and made myself these lovely blooms. They were incredibly easy to do, everything you needed was in the pack. I just wrapped a pipe-cleaner around the middle of the tissue paper and then slowly and gently teased the paper out to form the flower. 

They were so simple to do and really relaxing, I was a bit sad when I’d made them all and the pack was empty. I put them all in a vase which now sits on my office desk, brightening the place up, they never need watering and they’ll never die. I really love them!

Mother's Day crafts

As you can see from our Mother’s Day crafts, there are lots of really cheery, colourful crafts you can do to usher spring into your home. The flowers would make a lovely gift for mum, but if you really love her you’ll make her a cup of tea and let her get on with making them herself!

Valentine’s Day Crafts & Activity Sheets

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, the small boy and I sat down for an afternoon of Valentine’s Day crafts and activity sheets to get us into the spirit of things. Generally Hubs and I don’t much go in for too many hearts and flowers, we’ve been together since 1995 so we’ve seen more Valentine’s Days together than most, but a heartfelt card and a small token gift is always the order of the day. 

We’d already started to make some cute heart shaped decorations using a heart decoration bead kit from Baker Ross. The kits include some nice long pipe-cleaners and lots of colourful beads. You thread the beads onto the pipe-cleaners and then bend into a heart shape. The kit comes with a little bell you can attach to the heart and some ribbon so you can hang it up. It was a lovely, fun activity which we did together. It was also great for helping to develop his fine motor skills which are essential with helping him to learn to write.

Valentine's Day Crafts

A reasonably quick but fun craft we did was to make these heart pets photo frame fridge magnets. Again these are from Baker Ross and they’re really easy to put together. The foam pieces and googly eyes all have peel off backs, so you just peel everything off and stick it together. The small boy enjoyed putting the frame together and making his doggy. He said he’s going to give his frame to Grandad on Valentine’s Day, because he loves him *heart melts*.

Valentine's Day Crafts

Again, the peeling and sticking actions are all great for those fine motor skills, and for exercising his pincer grip, we can’t get enough of that kind of thing at the moment.

Once we’d put our craft box away, we decided to have a go at some of the Valentine’s Day activity sheets we’d printed off from Twinkl, including the Valentine’s Day worksheet and the Valentine’s Day word and picture matching worksheets. These went down very well with the boy, we started with the word and picture matching, he spelt out every word and we looked at the pictures to see which we thought might match the word, he loves this kind of activity at the moment so I was glad we had a couple of sheets of these to do.

Valentine's Day Crafts

The worksheet was a little more challenging for him, he’s not a confident writer, so together we thought about some of the questions and how we might answer them. He verbally listed everyone he loved (dogs first, naturally) and then said his best friend was Daddy. He was getting tired by now, so we called it a day. I didn’t want to push things as that can be counterproductive. It was time for a cuddle and a walk in the park!

Valentine's Day Crafts

We both love our craft afternoons together. It’s lovely to see him focus on a task and enjoy sitting with me. These quiet moments with him are probably the highlight of my week. I think I know who my Valentine is this (and every) year.

Christmas Crafts: Make Your Own Reindeer Crown

Now the weather has taken a decidedly wintery turn I’m starting to get into the Christmas spirit. This weekend was an especially cold one, the small boy had a nasty cold and we decided to stay in, cosy in front of the fire and have a lazy weekend. Keen to get cracking with some Christmas crafts we busied ourselves by making a reindeer crown using hand prints and we were pleased with the results.

reindeer crown

The reindeer crown kits are available from Baker Ross and come in packs of 4 or 16. The packs contain everything you need to make the crown, except for glue, though we used double sided sticky tape because it’s quicker and there’s less mess than with glue.

The instructions are really easy to follow. Draw around your hands and cut out your hand print shape – I did the cutting because the small boy is terrifying with scissors or anything with a blade. The instructions suggest you use glue to stick the cut our hand shapes onto the headband, but I used double sided sticky tape for this. The other pieces, the ears, the reindeer hair and the holly and berries are self-adhesive, so the small boy peeled the backing paper off these and stuck them onto the headband.

Once he had finished he very proudly wore it around the house for a few hours, I think these make a nice alternative to the paper cracker crowns we are forced to wear for Christmas dinner, so I might make myself one to wear on Christmas Day.

reindeer crown

There was some parental supervision required with the cutting out of the hand shapes, but other than that he did the rest himself. It was something he enjoyed doing, he likes peeling and sticking things. It was pretty simple, but it kept him interested and entertained for a while. Another good and fun Christmas activity from Baker Ross!