Thanks for visting Simply The Nest. I'm an English girl married to an Portuguese boy, and when I'm not working or taking care of our three adorable daughters, I blog about our house renovation, DIY projects, and family life in a Victorian Manchester nest.

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Entries in Craft (10)


Our Family's Winter Themed Activities

As I imagine any parent who has coped with having two children under two will agree, it can be easy to slip into the habit of just getting through the days. Working through the list of our Advent activities in December really helped to counteract this - we all enjoyed having a specific task to give each day a focus. In fact, it was so much fun that I've decided to extend the activities to include a general Winter theme. Here's what's on the list so far:

Read my favourite old-school winter story - The Winter Bear.

In best Winter Bear manner, scavenge and arrange a Winter bouquet.

Go sledging! It's going to snow in Manchester, right? Right.

Along the same lines, make snow angels. Eva has been practicing her technique on the carpet.

Take the dogs to Tatton Park for a walk.

Make snowflake cookies.

Look for early flowering daffodils.

Make Toad In The Hole (not sure why I associate this particular meal with Winter, but there you go).

Paint a toddler Winter mural.

Go to the beach - I went to university in Newcastle, so naturally associate English beaches with perishing cold!

Make sticky toffee pudding.

Make snow play dough.

Have a Winter braai (Andre will happily braai in all weathers).

Make an ice bowl.

Make jam roly poly with custard.

Make apple crumble with custard.

Cook Portuguese chicken soup (made with Andre's secret recipe).

Have dinner in front of a roaring log fire.

Take a walk round the neighbourhood (at toddler pace) and look for Winter berries.

Cook a Jamie Oliver stew.

Make a miniature Winter garden.

Make rice pudding - done! It was vanilla-y and stodgy and delectable. And I ate most of it myself because Eva's reaction was "No my like it" - what a terrible shame :-)

I think that should see us through January and February, don't you? And of course in-between toddler activities I'll be making time on weekends to get on with some furniture restoration projects (chest of drawers, arm chair and wardrobe) and sewing (cushions, bean bags and curtains) for Natalia's room. In fact I got started by spending all day on Sunday sporting my new ear defenders, dust mask and goggles - how glamorous - in order to sand down and re-oil the chair frame. It was horribly dusty and I loved every minute of the experience. Pictures coming up soon!


Creating Art With Toddlers

Eva really loves craft activities. Give the girl a bowl of glue and a handful of sequins and she'll happily occupy herself for whole minutes at a time - most likely gluing them to both herself and the sofa, but hey, I'll take what I can get. Usually I give her the materials and free reign to make whatever she feels like - but sometimes I like her to create things for a particular purpose - in this case, Christmas cards.

Here's a simple technique for making toddler art that's both fun for the child involved and looks *almost* pinnable :-)

You'll need a few sheets of peelable/removeable stickers - I bought a bunch of A4 sized ones by Avery. I cut out several dozen Christmas tree shapes - you could do this by printing multiple shapes onto the sticker paper and then cutting each individually; I chose to layer up four sheets and cut through them at the same time.

Press the stickers firmly onto a sheet of thin card and let your kid go to town with a load of paint (you may have to deploy a certain amount of parental control with regard to keeping one brush per colour to avoid ending up with a delightful sludgy brown mess).

When the paint has dried, carefully peel the stickers away to reveal the white shapes beneath.

Ta da!

Accessorize with sequins as required.

Eva was fascinated to see the Christmas tree shapes revealed within her masterpieces - "MY MADE IT MY MADE IT!", she shrieked excitedly. Good job, baby girl. You can go and get started painting the walls of your sister's bedroom now, OK?


How To Make A Teeny Tiny Photo Album

This diddly little photo album makes a great present - I made one for Andre for our first wedding anniversary (paper). It's about the size of a credit card so it's easy to carry around in your pocket.

The first thing you need to do is decide how big you want the album to be, and how many pages you want to have. You'll then need to get busy in Photoshop and re-size however many pictures would be required to fit your chosen number of pages. I re-sized a bunch of photos to 5cm x 8cm, put them all on one image in a grid, had the image printed off from the local printer at 12" x 8" and then cut the pictures into individual images.

Next up, you'll need a few rectangles of art paper (hand-torn to size looks great) which have been folded down the middle to create pages that are the right size to hold your photos with a small border. You'll also need something to act as the cover for the album. I used stiff woven paper from Paperchase, but you could also use leather, or cardboard, or fabric - whatever you feel like. Finally, you'll need some glue, plus a needle and thread.

Sew your pages together (not the cover at this stage) using a simple running stitch to create a little book. I would suggest leaving a long piece of thread at the end for attaching the pages to the cover.

Carefully sew through from the pages to the cover, pulling tightly. Finish off with a knot, and then run the thread through to the middle of the book to disguise the end.

Stick in your photos:

And tie the album together with a piece of ribbon or twine.

Cute, eh?

Have you done anything creative with your photos recently? Do tell :-)