Thursday, February 28, 2013

'My creative space' Busy Book Pages (+ a tutorial)

Well it's been about a year since I last made some busy book pages so I've enjoyed making a few new ones this week to try and take my mind off the whole house selling process. Doing a bit of sewing for me is a bit like having a glass of wine- it does chill me out a bit! So here are my latest pages...

Marble Run
I saw this idea on pinterest a while ago-I  loved the idea of moving the marble between the layers of fabric to get to the end of the maze. Great for fine motor skills perhaps as well. My 3 year old especially loves this one. It was pretty easy to make too! Here's a quick tutorial...
You'll need 
* some fabric and/or felt
* a trick marker pen (also called an air dry pen as the ink eventually fades)- I got mine from Bernina
* scrap pieces of felt for the red and blue arrows
* a marble
Cut out 2 squares of fabric (mine are about 25 cm each). I used felt for one piece so it wasn't too floppy, and a piece of this cool marbles fabric from Flowerpress Design.
Put wrong sides together and sew around, leaving a gap on one side to turn right sides out. Clip the corners without cutting the stitching!
Turn right sides out, poke out the corners with a chopstick and iron (don't iron on the felt side if using felt!)
Using your trick marker draw on the maze pattern, then sew over all the lines. Stitch a small arrow triangle at each end of the maze. Pop your marble into the gap where you turned the maze right sides out, then top stitch all the way around the maze to close the gap. 

And here are the other pages I made..
Linky chain
Another cool idea I saw on pinterest- strips of felt with velcro at both ends that you make a chain with. The red and grey strips are sewn onto the page and then you link up with the other strips. 

And every good busy book needs a fishing's my version...
Under the Sea
The sea creatures are made out of felt with a paper clip between the layers of felt. The fishing rod is made with a piece of dowel and an eyelet screw at the top. I tied and glued on some embroidery thread at the top with a magnet at the other end and covered the magnet with a worm cut out of felt.
The fish bowl page to put the sea creatures into when you catch them (and a pocket for the fishing rod). So far these are the favourite pages from the ones I've made- kids sure do love a pretend fishing rod and magnet fish don't they, it feels like very other week Stella is bringing one home from her daycare!

And because the marble maze was fun to make and I had just enough marble fabric left I made another one to giveaway so leave a comment and I'll put you in the draw! 
Win Me!

 Megan x

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Picture Book Apps for kids

Funnily enough, my most popular blog post after my Dollshouse reno is my blog post I wrote quickly one day with links to picture books on youtube. So here is another list for you I've enjoyed making up- apps based on classic picture books.  I've found some of my favourite children's picture books and then found the matching app to go with the book. I haven't tried all of them yet so I'm looking forward to testing them out with the kiddos. Nothing can replace a child sitting down with a picture book or reading one together but these apps I hope will enhance the reading experience rather than replacing it!!

Busytown by Richard Scarry
iPad Screenshot 1
Richard Scarry's Busytown app by Night & Day Studios Inc
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

iPhone Screenshot 1
Counting With The Very Hungry Caterpillar app by Night & Day Studios
My Very First Book of Colors
My Very First Book of Colours by Eric Carle (there are more in this series-animal homes, numbers, animal sounds, shapes and food)
iPad Screenshot 1
Eric Carle's My Very First App by Night & Day Studios.
'Colours' and 'Animal Homes' are free and you can pay for Numbers, Shapes, Animal Sounds and Food. I have had a few issues with these though, sometime they work and sometimes they don't so I think there are a few 'bugs' they need to fix- it is a really neat app for little ones though when it's all working!
Hairy Maclary From Donaldson's Dairy
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy By Lynley Dodd
iPad Screenshot 1
Hairy Maclary app by Kiwa Media
Miffy at School
Miffy at School by Dick Bruna
iPad Screenshot 1
Miffy at School app by Sanoma Media

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! By Mo Willems
The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Suess
iPhone Screenshot 1
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Suess app by Oceanhouse Media

Go Away, Big Green Monster!
Go Away Big Green Monster! By Ed Emberley
iPad Screenshot 1
Go Away Big Green Monster! App for iPad by Night & Day Studios
Boats Board Book
Boats by Byron Barton Picture book- there are a lot more books in this series as well such as planes, trains, trucks, machines, dinosaurs and more
iPhone Screenshot 1
Boats by Byron Barton app by Oceanhouse Media- lots more apps to match his other books as well

All by Myself
Little Critter 'All by Myself' by Mercer Mayer
iPhone Screenshot 1
All by Myself Little Critter App by Oceanhouse Media- there are more apps for the Little Critter series of books too- check them out here

Harold and the Purple Crayon
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Harold and the Purple Crayon app by Trilogy Studios- this is only available in the US itunes store at the moment though not the NZ store unfortunately!
The Monster at the End of This Book: Sesame Street: Starring Lovable, Furry Old Grover
The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone.  I think I must have had this when I was little as I can remember loving it as Grover tried to stop the reader from getting to the end of the book!
iPhone Screenshot 1
The Monster at the End of this Book app by Sesame St
Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Pigs Golden Book
iPhone Screenshot 1

The Three Little Pigs app by Nosy Crow- this app has won heaps of awards- Nosy Crow has lots of fairy tale apps and other story apps too
Animalia by Graeme Base
iPad Screenshot 1
Animalia app by AppBooks (The Waterhole is also available)

Well, hope you enjoy my list (it was fun finding all the books and apps (especially as an iPad newbie- I am learning lots at the moment!)- if you have any other apps you recommend I'd love to hear of them!
Megan x
PS: Here's my pin for this post if you want to repin it to one of your pinboards :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

A love themed lunchbox (+ dinner & desert)

If you read my Facebook page you'll have seen my love themed lunchbox I made my 5 year old for Valentines Day last week (thanks again for all the comments and likes). It was a lot of fun to make- I actually like making these type of lunch boxes every now and then (like twice a year!) as they at least relieve the monotony of making the same old lunchbox everyday like I normally do! And the look on Amelie's face when she saw the lunchbox and her excitement at taking it to school was a great feeling :)
So here are the details of what I put in it...
* pretzels 
* grapes (actually wanted to use strawberries but couldn't find any)
* hershey's kisses
* a heart shaped ham sandwich with small cut out heart on the top layer of bread ( jam would be good too)
* heart shaped watermelon pieces- these are my new favourite thing to cut into shapes- so easy!
*a love cupcake- I made vanilla cupcakes with vanilla butter icing which I coloured light pink, then added some sprinkles and a heart decoration from this packet of decorations from the supermarket (Queen Icing Figurines Little Princess). A friend told me a while ago about these great disposable piping bags and nozzles also from the supermarket so my icing looks a lot fancier than it used to (and it's so much quicker to ice a batch of cupcakes!
I also added a yoghurt and a special treat of of a calci-yum strawberry milk pop top (Amelie has never had a treat drink for school before so she was excited about this the most I think!) I had to put them in a separate lunch box with a cooler lid (along with the cupcake which didn't actually fit in the other lunchbox when you shut the lid but looks good for the photo!). The lunchbox I used for the love treats is actually an organising container from Storage Box (they're also called bait boxes and you can get them from Hammer Hardware thanks Jenni for the tip!). I use these containers all the time for snacks after seeing a friend use them- such a good idea for putting lots of little things in, and they are nice and narrow - not bulky like normal lunch boxes.
For dinner we made homemade heart pizza's which I also did last year. For the kids I bought pita breads and cut them into heart shapes (tip: I used scissors which made it a lot easier!) then they chose their toppings (from my awesome new/old tupperware server I bought off Trademe - here's the same one for sale on trade me) and then made their own pizza's which they loved doing. One day we may even make the pizza dough first -I have a great recipe from a friend who might let me share it :)
For desert I'm no culinary queen but the kids loved this idea I had- I rolled up balls of ice-cream and then rolled them in sprinkles and then put them back in the freezer until we needed them. Then I cut pineapple slices and used a big heart shaped cutter to cut out the pineapples hearts....nice and easy and very popular! The obsessive in me is sort of wishing I'd done big watermelon hearts with ice cream rolled in heart sprinkles as that would look much more Valentines Day-ish colour wise but I had to work with what I had so maybe next year!
So there you have it, some ideas for a love themed lunch and dinner- doesn't have to be Valentines Day to do it, just any day you want to celebrate a bit of love in your home!
Megan x

Monday, February 4, 2013

A gift for a teacher

About two years ago I came across this cute gift idea for teachers and filed it away as a cool idea to remember (this was pre pinterest so I must have bookmarked it!). I have a bit of a thing for those plastic compartment organisers (sad but true) and I love stationery and I do so love putting little items into those little compartments so this gift was a lot of fun to make ;) There are a lot of ideas on pinterest now for 'teacher appreciation' gifts and with my 5 year old starting her second year of school today I thought I'd make a little kit up for her new teacher. Now I was in two minds about sharing this on my blog as I really don't want mums to feel that they should be giving a gift to the teacher on the first day but it's a bit different for me as I was a full time teacher before having children (now I do relieving which is great) so I remember how full on that first day of term is, meeting up to 30 new people as well as most of their parents so I thought a little 'emergency kit' would be a fun little thing to give (and putting the kit together was a lot of fun!) This would also make a neat gift for someone training to be a teacher and off on their first teaching placement, or a gift for a friend who is a teacher too.

Here's what I put in the kit...
-tic tacs
-hand sanitiser
-lip balm
-staple gun staples and bull dog clips
-mini Whittakers hokey pokey chocolate bars (these are soooo delicious!)
-barley sugars for energy
-mini post its and paper clips
-lemon and ginger tea bags for a sort throat after a day's teaching
I also thought I'd share this idea as it could be used for so many other themed gift ideas -these are a few I've thought of or come across....
-fill one with hair accessories and other girly things- girls love having containers to put all of their little treasures in!
-give on as a kids craft kit- I made this one up to keep our collage things in
-fill one with lego pieces or little cars for a fun travel gift
-make up a crafty kit for a friend- fill with buttons, ribbon, threads, needles and other handy notions
And here are a few teacher quotes I found via pinterest too...all the teachers I know are amazingly passionate, hard working and dedicated people so I wish them (and the lucky children in their classes) a great first day today :)
Teacher Appreciation Quote to Print and Frame {Free Printable}
Teacher Quote
inspiring quotes for teachers
Teacher quote that says it all

Megan x
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