Monday, May 30, 2011

Prince of children's tales

I've been meaning to share one of my favourite children's authors- British author Michael Morpurgo- for a while now. I discovered his wonderful books when I was teaching in the UK- I was really surprised to learn how many books he had written and that, as an avid reader growing up, I had never came across any of his books before. When I came back from the UK to NZ I read about seven of his books to one of my classes (aged 8 and 9) and they absolutely loved them. One of the best things about his books is that the stories really appeal to boys as well as girls so they are great books to switch boys onto a love of reading.  I remember they used to beg me to read more when I had finished a chapter or two which was really neat. "Kensuke's Kingdom" was the first book of his I read and it is still my favourite-I even got my hubby to read it as it is a really great story. So if your child is just getting into reading 'chapter books' then try searching out a few Michael Morpurgo books-he's written over a hundred books so there's plenty to choose from! (Can you tell I'm a big fan!)
And you can click here to listen to Kim Hill's interview with Michael Morpurgo last weekend on RadioNZ National 
And just had to share this sunset pic I took yesterday evening at a local park - Amelie loves to talk about the children on the other side of the world waking up as our sun goes down :)
Would love to hear of any of your favourite Michael Morpurgo books or any other favourite children's novels/authors...
Megan x

Thursday, May 19, 2011

my creative space: a baby blanket/playmat

I made my first little baby blanket/playmat this week for Jack- he needed one as we only had one blanket that wasn't pink! I've been wanting to make a little quilt for ages after seeing this gorgeous one made by Joanna at Little Minx from this great tutorial from Cat Taylor.  I made my blanket smaller though so I could use it in the capsule or buggy or as a little playmat.
For the patchwork top I used some Michael Miller zoology fabric that I bought from Bernina before Jack was born and I got the other two fabrics and the printed flannel for the back of the blanket from the new Spotlight store that's opened here in Tauranga....definitely my new favourite store...I may have actually taken Jack there 4 times in the last week - he is getting well known as the baby with all the hair! 
For the blanket inner I used some 'needled cotton' (I'd never heard of that before but a lady at Spotlight recommended it and it's lovely and warm without being bulky which is good for taking out and about).
The best thing about this blanket is that it was surprisingly quick to make (seriously!!)  Cutting out the squares didn't take long at all (there's only 16 squares on my blanket) so I did that one evening once Jack was in bed, and then sewing the patchwork top and then the layers together only took about an hour all up. It was great using my walking foot too as it made it really easy to keep the layers together.
You know what it's like when you make something new and you just want to make heaps more! The girls want one each now too so I thought I'd make them little lap quilts a bit bigger than Jack's.

And check out these pants that my friend Rosie made for Jack in the same animal fabric- aren't they cute! She used a pattern from Anna Marie Horners "Handmade beginnings' book and lined them with flannel so they are super soft and snuggly. Thanks again Rosie :)
For more creative spaces check out the new Our Creative Spaces page that Kirsty from Kootoyoo has put together here.
Megan x

Sunday, May 15, 2011

sensory play dough recipe

I decided to have a go at making some play dough after using some Cream of Tartar to make Wendyl Nissen's peppermint paste the other week (the recipe is on the Cream of Tartar container). I haven't made playdough before as whenever I've used homemade playdough it seems really dry and crumbly and doesn't seem to last long. This recipe has me converted though- the playdough is so soft and it has lasted ages in an ice cream container...and it smells so good! This was a fun activity to do with my 4 year old as she got to learn about colour mixing to make different colours, and she really enjoyed choosing the essential oils for each colour (ok I may have influenced her choices just a bit!) 

Sensory Play dough recipe
For the playdough you will need...
1 and a half cups of salt
3 cups flour
6 tbsp Cream of Tartar
3 cups boiling water
3 tbsp oil
Mix all ingredients together...
...then divide equally into smaller bowls and add a couple of drops of different food colouring to each bowl to make the colours you want (red/blue=purple, red/yellow=orange, blue/yellow=green)
Then add about 5/10 drops of each of your chosen essential oils to each bowl.  I used lavender, lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus and sweet orange.
Yay for two busy children, well for a little while anyway!
Have a great week,
Megan x
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