Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Toddler Group Tuesday - Chinese New Year

In honour of Chinese New Year we have made Chinese Dragon Masks.

You will need:
- a copy of the pdf printed onto card (or paper then glued to card)
- scissors
- a tongue depresser/lollipop stick
- black, white, red and gold collage bits
- glue
- glitter
- yarn or ribbon

Chinese Dragon Mask - colour in

(sorry this is upside down - pdfs on my blog are new to me. If anyone has any advice on how to include pdfs or another file format that would be suitable for images like this, sewing patterns and writing, please let me know!)
Cut out your mask shape and the eye holes.

Use your collage pieces to to decorate all over (the black for the eyes).

Make patterns with your glue and sprinkle with glitter.

Attach yarn or ribbon as 'whiskers' (that's probaly not the correct term, but it's the best one I've got!).

An optional item is adding 'horns' made from your collage pieces.

Finally stick your tongue depresser/lollipop stick to the back of the lower jaw on the mask so as it can be held. (you could also attach elastic or ribbon, but I'm not sure how much this would alter the shape of the mask on the face).

All done!

The pdf image has a fair bit of detail in and could just be coloured or painted, but you could cut the seperate features out in different coloured paper to stick on a base, or you could trace just the essential lines (outline, eyes, mouth) and fill your own details in.
You don't have to stick to the colours I have suggested, why not look for some images on the internet for inspiration on how to decorate yours? You could add all sorts of extras. You could add extra thick black lashes made from paper, and a long forked pink tongue also made from paper. If you don't feel like making a mask, why not use the pdf as the head of a larger dragon? Just use fabric/paper plates/tissue paper as the long body and decorate as you wish.

Please feel free to use the pdf at home, in the classroom, at nursery or wherever else you think it may be useful, but please don't repost without permission. It's my very own little picture :)

Monday, 23 January 2012

A Rag Rug Beginning

This is addictive.

I finally managed to get started on my rag rug. I've been very patient all week. Now I've started, I don't want to stop! I keep saying to myself (in my head of course - wouldn't want anybody to think I was crazy now would I?), 'just finish one more set of strips, just to see how they turn out', that's followed by: 'actually, it would be quite nice to see how this bit works out...'

In the end Mr Bogert had to make lunch. And Dinner. Isn't he lovely?

I'm going down the same route as Jodie, 'cos I'm a big fat copycat dontcha know? Jodie describes the process far better than me, so pop on over to Ric Rac for instructions. I'm really liking this weaving in as I plait. I would like it more if we had more then one safety pin in the house (the whole house? Really?). I'm getting quite good a speedily swapping my one and only, precious safety pin to the correct strand to thread through.

I've been having a problem with getting the tightness of the plaiting right, which seems to be an issue for a few of us joining in. I just keep doing it too tight, and have to remind myself (talking to myself again!) to loosen it up a bit. The parts where I have done it too tight, keep wanting to curl up. (I'm thinking two cute Small People bums will hold it down fine :D)

I could have been clever and decided to undo the part that was too tight before I carried on, but I was caught up in the process and the idea of unravelling wasn't quite as fun as seeing the rug grow. So I didn't. I don't just want to see results, I want to see them now!

So, apart from a possible looming addiction, a few kinks from tight plaiting and a definite increase in talking to myself, it's going well, and I'm quite pleased with my rug so far. It's actually less than a rug, more of a place mat at the moment, but at least I've passed the coaster stage :)

Check out these other blogs for more on the rag rug-along:

Matching Pegs
I Purr Fur to Craft
The Craft Bot
Bec I Am

There are plenty of other blogs taking part to be found on Jodie's list. These are just a few I've caught up on their rag rug progress :)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Kittyeden Give Away!

I just have time to pop on here and share a fab give away over on 'All About the World of Kittyeden'.

The winner gets a lovely new design 'Yummy Chocolate Egg' hanger, so pop on over and check it out here.

Good luck!

(Back tomorrow with my Rag Rug progress).

A Mini 'Rag' Rug

True, it is not really a rag rug, but it has been made with that in mind. Alexandra made a teeny tiny rug using some of my yarn stash, just for her Sylvanian family.

Now when I say Alexandra made it, what I mean is Alexandra started it with great enthusiasm and big plans, quickly lost interest and insisted Daddy finish it for her. So Mr BOgert dutifully sat there weaving away with his little plastic bodkin, whilst the Small Person sat next to him engrossed in her Moshi Monsters DS game.

The things we do for our small people (with short attention spans).

We used a foam disposable plate and cut notches all around the outside edge. We wrapped yarn across the plate from notch to opposite notch creating a sort of star. We used a bodkin threaded with our choice of yarn to do simply over and under weaving staring at the centre and spiralling out. Each colour change we just knotted the new yarn to the end of the old one and carried on.

The Small Person took to it quite well.

Although we did have a few blips.

Once the colours are all woven, you tie the last yarn off. Snipping your base yarns loose at the edge of the plate, you knot them to the neighbouring one all the way around until they are all tied of and secure. Now trim your tails shorter (for a fringe) or weave the ends in (for a flat edge). Once pressed your all done.

This is our finished (combined effort) but it still needs pressing (which is why it has an interesting bump!).

I also have some fabric ready to start the actual rag rug for Jodie's Rag Rug-along, so hopefully next post will show some progress on the real thing! :)

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Fingerpaint Fun

Yesterdays messy monster craft evolved into half an hour of fingerpainting. Even the Smaller Person wanted to join in and he's not really very crafty or artistic (at the moment - don't worry we'll work on it!)

Don't freak out - it's non-toxic!

"Zacky, where's your nose?" - I'm such a cruel mother ;D

Zachary's masterpiece.

One of many pictures signed by the artist.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Toddler Group Tuesday (a day late!) and an Explanation

Yes, I know, it's not Tuesday anymore. I'm a teeny bit late posting this, but better late than never ok?

We've had one of 'those' weeks where many things need dealing with, and many things went wrong. I was doing so well aswell, I was on a roll!

It started last week with Mr Bogert heading off on a work trip. He left Thursday, the same day my 'Peter Pan and the Portrayal of Motherhood' essay had to be submitted. He being the man of the driving licence and car, left us essentially stranded in our village, which is ofcourse why we needed to be in so many places on different days - that's the way it works dontcha know. Uncle Anthony to the rescue. He played chauffeur for the entire absence of Bogert. He joked with neighbours he had just come to borrow Rob's car, wife and kids :)

Friday the Small person started a new club after school.She now goes to Apple Club run by Playbox Theatre. It is an acting club for younger children where they do things like role play, mime and confidence building. Having introduced herself immediately to another girl waiting to go in (just because they had the same coat on) she struck up a (mostly one-sided) conversation, that prompted the other girls Dad to lean over to me and say "She's not really shy, is she?" She had so much fun at the session. She truly loved it, which I'm glad about. She seriously did not stop talking for hours after we left!

Saturday was her regular dance classes: Freestyle and Musical Theatre with The Whiteman Dance Academy. Incidentally, if you're looking for a freestyle or musical theatre class for under 5's in our area (Warwickshire), they have spaces and have been brilliant for Alexandra. She loves it, but will be moving up to the older class after half term.

Sunday she was invited to a 6th birthday disco by one of her school friends. Even the Smaller Person got chance to run around and have a little boogie, and the birthday girl's mum (who is from Thailand) made some really yummy Thai food for the grown ups. Last time I had thai food, I wasn't overly keen, so I just put a little of everything on my plate to try. I wish I had filled my plate in the first place, it was delicious! I could hardly go back for seconds with everyone watching :(

And fnally Mr Bogert came home on Monday just in time to take mamdam to her ballet and tap classes. Now, in addition to the full calendar of my 6 year old social butterfly, there were other things going on. First of all, I do not envy single parents. It's hard work, and I only have to play single parent for short periods of time; I know there is an end in sight where I get to equally share out the chores and responsibilites. It really wears you out.

The biggest issue of the last week was that on Friday when the Small Person came home on the school bus, there was an incident that resulted in her being hit across the face by an older boy from her school. She was trying to help a friend get something back that the boy had taken. He said that she bit him. Now I would be the first to hand out suitable punishment and make it very clear that violence of any kind is simply not acceptable, but she was adamant she hadn't bitten him. I have to admit, it's completely not in her character. She's not violent, and I think that if she ever did lash out, her first reaction would be to use her hands, not her teeth. Another thing is, she's not a very good liar (don't get me wrong, she doesn't lie often) when she's lying it's really very obvious. After calming her down and getting her side of the story, I believe her.

Thankfully this is the point where apple club came in and took her mind off it (even though she had a red handprint on her face). Over the weekend, I contacted a couple of parents of other children on the bus to see what their children saw. In the end, madam didn't go to school on Monday because she was scared to go on the bus until it was sorted out. I had to phone the school and explain why she wasn't in, which means they are now looking into the matter also. Mr Bogert went and spoke to the mother on Monday night, and she was very understanding of our point of view and hopefully now the situation is resolved. The boy admitted Alexandra's version of events was true and he also appologised to her. He is currently being made to sit at the front of the bus. The school is still looking into it, and is awaiting a report from the coach company and bus minder.

She went back to school yesterday, only to wake up this morning feeling ill! So she's off again. Another phonecall to the school. She'll be off tomorrow too because they have to stay away 48 hours even if they are better. And wouldn't you know it, Mr Bogert's off on a work trip tomorrow! I thought January was the uneventful lull in the year.

The plus side of this is, now she's feeling better, she can be my glamorous assistant to demonstrate what I should really be telling you about: Toddler Group Tuesday!

This week we made Merry Mess Monsters

(This was my example to put on the wall at Toddler Group).
You will need:
- some paper or card
- some scrunched up newspaper
- paint
- some glue
- various foam shapes
- a few pipe cleaners
- some dot stickers

First of all take your scrunched up newspaper and dip it into the paint. Stamp this on your paper/card until you have the shape of monster you want.

We're using a scrunched up carrier bag here because we didn't have any newspaper.

Glue foam shapes for features and decoration.

Glue pipe cleaners for legs and arms.

Stick the dot stickers in the centre of some foam shapes for the pupils of the eyes.

All done!

Now don't forget, this is a mess monster. He (or she) can have as many arms, legs, eyes, noses, mouths etc as you choose. You could make a multicoloured monster by dipping your newspaper in a few different colour paints. A bath scrunchie will work just as well as a scrunched up newspaper and you could add yarn for hair or fur, or print bubble wrap onto the paint boddy to create a spotty mess monster. Google eyes are another option to the dot stickers. If you have more time, a 3D version is possible by scrunching up your newspaper and covering with a paint and glue mixture then allowing to dry. Once dry, this becomes your mess monster's body and you can carry on adding the other bits with glue or tape, just the same as on the 2D version.

Happy crafting!