This summer has been an absolute belter. We have loved having some actual summer for a change, but it hasn’t been that great for the garden. My lawn is brown and my plants are looking a bit sorry for themselves. We’ve been trying to keep them watered as well as we can using waste water from the bath and shower, but they could do with a really good drink. We’ve been doing a few garden crafts, such as these pretty cupcake case flowers and we’ve been painting some pots for inside the house, like this Ladybird Flower Pot.
The ladybird flower pot does take a couple of craft sessions to do, mainly so paint can dry properly in between coats, but it’s worth it, it’s a very pretty pot and would make a nice gift with a little plant in it.
How to make a Ladybird Flower Pot
You will need –
A small terracotta pot
A pencil with a rubber on the top
Bostik White Glu
Bostik Glu Dots
A black foam circle
A black pipecleaner
How to make your ladybird flower pot:
Firstly, paint the outside of your plant pot all over with red paint, leave it to dry. It might need a few coats of red paint, so make sure you leave time for the coats to dry.
Once the red paint is dry, take a fine paintbrush and paint a black line from the top to the bottom as neat as you can. Taking the pencil with the rubber top, dip the rubber into the black paint and carefully dab spots around the pot. Do as many or as few as you want. Leave the pot to dry, the black spots may take a little while to dry off.
Once all the paint is dry, paint the whole pot with PVA glue, this will stop the paint from running off if the pot gets wet. It won’t make it 100% waterproof, but it will be splash-proof at least.
Once the glue has dried, make a pair of ladybird antennae out of your pipecleaner. Fix your googly eyes onto the circle of black foam with a glu dot, this will be your ladybird’s face. Stick the antennae to the back of the foam face with sticky tape and then stick the face onto the plant pot with some of the white glu. Leave it to dry.
Once it’s all dry you can put a little plant in your pot. What a lovely, cheery little gift to give someone, or to keep for yourself.
This month we’ve been busy getting ready for Didsbury in Bloom. We’ve been sprucing up our front garden and helping to build a bug hotel on our road. This year Didsbury in Bloom celebrates our connection to the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) which was founded in the village and we’ve been learning about how we can help encourage birds and bugs into our gardens.
We have plans to build our own bug hotel and we are collecting the materials we will need to put it together. We’ve also been searching in our garden to see what bugs we could find, with all the rain lately we’ve seen a lot of slugs and snails!
Rather fittingly, this month Craft Merrily have challenged the Bostik Bloggers to create a creepy crawlies craft. I wanted to do something simple, and knowing I had some kids to entertain on a play date, I sketched up these templates, one of a Manchester Bee and the other, a butterfly. I then printed them out and set the boys to work.
To make and decorate your butterfly and Manchester Bee you will need –
Templates printed out – they’re sturdier if printed on card
Glitter or other embellishments
Bostik fine & wide glu pen
String or ribbon
A hole punch
This is a ridiculously easy craft. Just set the kids to work decorating the butterflies and bees however they like given the colouring in materials you have, then get the kids to embellish them however they like.
I encouraged the boys to colour them in first, then to scatter glitter and stick on the paper flowers however they liked best. They came up with some lovely creative ideas, but my favourite was the yellow and black Manchester Bee.
Once they’re decorated how you want them to be, I’d leave them to dry for a few hours before cutting them out, or getting a grown up to cut them out for you.
To turn them into tree decorations; using the hole punch, make a hole in one of the wings and thread through some string, tying a knot in the string to form a loop. I think these would make really great bunting too, just punch two holes in and thread the string though each hole to hang it on the bunting.
As you can see, they look really effective and several of the neighbours have commented how lovely they are. They’re not rain-proof, but they are quite fun to hang out on sunny days, especially when the Didsbury in Bloom judges are walking past.
What other crafts can you think of to make with these Manchester Bee and butterfly templates?
Note: I am a Bostik craft blogger and I was sent the materials to create this craft from Craft Merrily.
Mancunians are a pretty special kind of people. I know I’m biased because I am one, but its clear from talking to incomers to the area just how much this fine city gets under your skin. Manchester is a beautiful city, inside and out. Its people have more heart that they know what to do with and I’m blessed to have been born and bred here, and I’ve always felt that way.
Mancunians are a breed apart, different in outlook and temperament to their cousins in Liverpool and across the Pennines into Yorkshire. The rivalry may be fierce, but it is for the most part good humoured and affectionate.
Manchester is an industrial city. It blossomed, bloomed and boomed during the industrial revolution and was known as Cottonopolis. From Manchester came the first passenger railway, the first computer and the invention of graphene. It was the birthplace of the Pankhurst’s and Karl Marx lived here for a time. We created a whole genre of music, and we’ve got famous actors, poets, writers and artists coming out of our ears. But what makes Mancunians special (apart from absolutely everything)?
We bloody love Manchester. We really bloody love Manchester. We’re incredibly proud of where we’ve come from and what a glorious, inclusive, cosmopolitan, historic, forward-thinking city it is. We love that we’re good at music, sports, science and the arts. We love our industrial heritage and our industrious nature. Manchester is awash with entrepreneurial spirit, we are grafters, thinkers and doers. We are rich in social history and compassion.
Manchester is a city filled with many different kinds of people. City fans, United fans, indie kids, goths, we have a beautiful LGBT community who bring more to Manchester than I think even they realise. We have people from all over the world coming to live and work here. We have several huge universities and it seems that most people who come to Manchester to study never really go home again afterwards.
Mancunians are not generally intrusive people, but if someone is looking lost, upset or in trouble, we will step in and offer to help if we can. We are an incredibly kind people, sharing what we have with those we meet with no expectation of a reward beyond thanks.
We make eye contact on public transport, we talk to our neighbours and our neighbour’s neighbours. We’ll nod hello to strangers on the street. We rally round when people need us, we join together to show the world our collective strength. We are Manchester.
Mancunian women have a reputation for being strong, some people call us battleaxes. Well, we are strong, we can be fierce, but we’d do owt for anyone and woe betide anyone who looked at our kids the wrong way.
Manchester is a diverse and wonderful city. Its people are full of good humour, with notable funny Mancunians including Les Dawson, Steve Coogan, Victoria Wood and Caroline Aherne, to name just a small handful.
Music has always been important to us, but we’re not *just* all about Oasis and The Stone Roses. The Halle Orchestra are resident here, and we have the world famous Chetham’s School of Music in the city. But yes, you’re right, we do love a bit of indie around here – Joy Division, New Order, The Smiths, Happy Mondays.
Tony Wilson is often quoted as saying “But this is Manchester, we do things differently here.” And we do.
We have beautiful green spaces, great parks, botanical gardens, wonderful architecture. We are a city and a people looking forward to the future, whilst embracing and taking pride in our industrial past.
Pride is important to us. We are Proud Mancs. We’ve always been Proud Mancs. We are proud of our roots, our achievements, our attitude and our compassion. We are proud to be from this amazing city. This gorgeous, gleaming metropolis we call Cottonopolis. Its streets packed with history and hidden gems, its eye always on the future.
I asked my friend Bob about what he thought made Mancunians special. He gave this lovely answer…
“Going to Love Train at the Ritz. Rubbing shoulders with goths and beardy old leather-clad rockers in Jilly’s back in the day. We’re such a strong community, even the venues have their own personalities. They come and go, Jilly’s and Hacienda have gone, but still loved and never forgotten. The city itself is our extended family. The City of Manchester stadium as the train pulls into Piccadilly. Beetham Tower on the horizon as the bus approaches Salford. It’s iconic from every angle and every time you pass a ‘Welcome to Manchester’ sign it’s a homecoming, whether you were born there or are adopted by the city, its people and its heart.”
Mancunians. We’re brave, bold, funny, kind, loving, we have heart and soul in spades. Int that right r kid?
The simple pleasures in life are often underrated. Thick vellum paper and the flourish of a fountain pen, birdsong in the garden early in the morning, drinking good coffee out of a perfectly proportioned and well loved mug.
As long as I can remember I’ve had a special mug, handmade and hand painted, it’s been the only mug I’ll happily drink coffee out of at home. There’s something special about drinking out of a hand thrown pottery mug. It’s hard to describe but it definitely falls into the simple pleasures category.
As a born and bred Mancunian, I’ve been a supporter of the Manchester Bee Company since they sold their first mugs three years ago. I think I was one of the first people in Manchester to have a brew in a worker bee mug. Whenever visitors come for a brew they get it in that mug, it’s an ideal opportunity for me to deliver my now famous lecture on the origins of the Manchester Bee.
The “Busy Bee” mug from The Manchester Bee Company (ManBeeCo) is handmade in Scotland by Tea With Jud. It is a natural glazed mug with a hand painted bee on one side. Each mug is individually hand crafted, so each one is slightly different and totally unique.
The Busy Bee Mug is both microwave and dishwasher safe, and holds 350mls of a proper brew.
This is my new favourite mug and I use it every day. It’s beautiful. It looks small but it’s like the tardis of mugs and it really is a simple pleasure to use it every morning. It’s been in my service now for a few weeks, been in and out of the dishwasher daily and it’s as good as new.
I’ve coveted this mug for ages so I’m delighted it’s now in my cupboard next to it’s original worker bee cousin. For any Mancunian or bee lover, the Busy Bee Mug is the perfect gift. I know it’s just a mug, but like a fountain pen on vellum paper it’s a simple pleasure which makes life just a little bit lovelier.
You can find the lovely ManBeeCo products in the Royal Exchange craft shop, the People’s History Museum shop, the Manchester Museum shop, Visit MCR and the Tourist Information Centre in Piccadilly Gardens. The People’s History Museum have a limited stock of the hand made mugs, but they can be ordered online here.
This week I had a bit of time to play with my camera. A couple of years ago I inexplicably bought myself a “Photo Studio Kit” for £25. The studio is a box made of white material and has a couple of lights and a little tripod to put your camera on if you want.
I’ve no real idea why I bought it when I did but I’m glad I did. I’ve been practicing some of the things I learned on my photography course last month and I’m pretty pleased with some of my snaps. I know I’ll look back in a year and see that they’re actually rubbish, but I wasn’t in auto and that’s a great big start for me.