Tag Archives: Christmas

Fun with Snow Play Dough

17 Dec

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I saw this idea on the fantastic blog Imagination Tree.  I love this blog and get lots of inspiration from here. Do visit this link to get all the instructions on how to make this play dough. It is SO simple and it does behave just like snow! Not the freezing cold, icy snow but the lovely fresh soft stuff that is crunchy and clean.

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We had so much fun playing with this. We started off making a little snowman and some snowballs and then we got some animals out to play in it.

I used a piece of card to make a little igloo and Thomas loved burying the seal in it and making it snow on top of the igloo. We have had ours in a tupperware pot for over a week now and it is still as good as new. You could add little people or Lego to this for even more imaginative play.

Living in Plymouth we very rarely get snow. This may be our only opportunity to build a snowman this winter!

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Miniature Christmas Glitter Houses

14 Nov

Around Christmas time I spend ages wandering around the garden centres admiring the pretty little village scenes that they have. I especially love the little merry-go-rounds and the ones with the families skating around on the pond. Sadly, these collections are all pretty expensive so I decided to attempt to make my own little scene using just card.

If you google ‘glitter houses’ or ‘paper houses’ you will find lots of free templates and instructions for making these and there are loads of cool images on Pinterest. (Have you guessed that I am a Pinterest addict?) They were originally called Putz houses so another search under this will also pull up lots of links.

These little houses and church cost me around £2 to make. I just had to purchase some nice thick card, I already had the glitter here anyway. For the little houses I used the Harvest Houses template from Victoria Magazine and the church template came from Little Glitter Houses. There is a huge amount of information on this website and loads of good tips to get you started. I’m not going to include a full tutorial on here as Little Glitter Houses show this much better than I can.

Just a few tips to get you started though.

1.  A few sites suggest using chip board for this. That sounded like far too much work for me so I just used some nice thick card and it worked very well.

2.  I found good old Prit stick worked best for gluing the different parts of the house together. A glue gun was too messy and PVA didn’t seem to work as well.

3.  I used a clear glue stick to cover the completed houses with glue prior to pouring the glitter over them.  The children helped with this and in hind-sight I wish I had supervised this more to get a little more glitter on the houses and less on the carpet! I might go back and add a bit more glitter in a day or two.

4.  I used fine, white glitter as recommended on most sites.

5.  I used an old cake board for the base and covered it in a couple of layers of fake snow. I saw this in a shop really cheap, I think it was about 75 p for a bag. We will probably put the rest of it in a tub and add some Playmobil people for some snow fun!

6.  Today I picked up some battery-powered tealights which fit inside the houses perfectly! The houses are going to look so sweet on the mantlepiece all lit up. They were only £1.50 for 4.

7.  You might want to invest in a decent craft knife for cutting out the houses. I was using an ancient old scalpel and it wasn’t really up to the job.  I did the cutting over an old chopping board to avoid any damage to the table.

8.  I would like to add some bottle brush christmas trees, preferably pink! These seem to be a bit of a pain to get hold of though so might have to wait until next year. In the meantime I made a little Christmas tree out of two tree templates. I cut a slit in the bottom of one template and a slit in the top of the other one to join them together so that the tree stands up.

9.  8.  Finally, this site contains no less than 124 useful links for paper houses. I haven’t manged to visit them all but the ones that I have are well worth a visit. There are some amazing ideas on here.

Christmas Tree Elves – easy christmas craft idea

12 Nov

I spotted these gorgeous little fellas on Pinterest and tracked them back to this  website which sells loads and loads of felt creations. They are all so gorgeous! Unfortunately it’s not an english website – I think it’s German but if you are clever with translations you might be able to place an order for delivery to the UK!

I thought I would attempt to make this myself. It doesn’t look nearly as good as the original but hey, that is part of the charm of making your own Christmas ornaments isn’t it? When the children are older and it is falling to pieces, at least I will be able to say ‘Mummy made that!’

Tutorial

These are so easy to make. My sewing skills are very limited so if I can make them anyone can!

I printed off a free Christmas tree template which I used to get the shape of the trees. Cut out two per tree. Sew around the outside of each tree leaving the bottom edge open.

Stuff your trees with a little material to give them some shape.

Cut a small slit where you want the face to go and from the inside push through a small polystyrene ball.

Finish sewing up the bottom edge but leave just enough space to insert a lollipop stick (you will use this to secure your elf to the log)

Sew on beads to decorate the trees and draw a face onto the polystyrene ball.

Add some little felt legs, again these are just two pieces of felt sewn together.

When you have made all your Elves, insert a lollipop stick into each one.

After ensuring that your log is fully dried (I left mine near the fire for a few days). Cover it with fine, white glitter.

Secure your Elves to the log by applying glue to the lollipop stick and pressing it onto the log. I used a hot glue gun for this, I don’t think PVA would be strong enough.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy… as my 3 year old would say.

What have you been making for Christmas? Please feel free to add your links here.

Our Winter Wonderland holiday at Center Parcs

6 Feb

Happy Days at Longleat Center Parcs

This is a little belated, since it is now February but I just wanted to share  our Winter Wonderland experience at Center Parcs. This takes place from the end of November, up until Christmas.

Thanks to my lovely mum and stepdad we were treated to 4 nights here, including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We were amazingly lucky and are so grateful for such a treat. We all stayed together in one of their Executive Lodges which were spacious, clean and provided everything we needed for a home-from-home holiday.

Having never been to a Center Parcs before I didn’t really know what to expect but it far exceeded any expectations I might have had. The children LOVED every minute of it. We spent the days swimming in the amazing water complex or riding our bikes through the vast woodland and exploring all the playgrounds and walks. If you’re a family that loves the outdoors, wildlife and nature then this is definitely a holiday for you. The magnificent giant redwoods create a magical canopy above you and the woods are home to many rare species.  I know people have had deer coming up to their villa doors looking for food and company!

No Winter Wonderland is complete without singing reindeer!

I thought being away at Christmas would be strange and I did wonder if it would even feel like Christmas but it all felt very seasonal. We arrived to find a Christmas Wreath on our villa door and a real Christmas tree inside (you need to remember to take your own lights and decorations). There are gorgeous twinkly lights all around the park at night and Santa’s grotto is just brilliant! You can even see his real reindeer waiting outside for him to finish his visits. My children both had a wonderful visit with him. You really can’t compare this to the grottos that you get springing up in garden centres and shops at the end of October…. It was so lovely I actually had tears in my eyes when we came out (ok, it doesn’t take a lot to start me off!)  It costs £10 per child but both children received a really lovely toy which  will last forever, not just some cheap plastic thing that gets forgotten about after 5 minutes.  We were not rushed at all during our visit and we received a wonderful photograph of the whole family with Santa.

We went to see the park pantomine while we were there, this was great fun and such a lovely atmosphere too. The children were right down at the front of the stage on a blanket and there were free mince pies and drinks for everyone. It was great that the children had such a great view of the stage, could jump up and down and shout and scream at the bad witch and really get stuck in!

There are always lots of other activities available at Center Parcs, for both children and adults alike. These are always charged extra and are not cheap! This is my only negative comment about a holiday here.  Even a basic holiday here is pretty expensive, especially in the school holidays. It’s a real shame that they can’t just throw in a couple of activities for free and I imagine that’s the one thing that might put people off a Center Parcs holiday.

The highlight of the holiday was swimming in the outdoor pool under the stars on boxing day evening. We could have been anywhere in the world, the water was so warm and the whole family were happy and relaxed.  I can see why people keep going back to Center Parcs, I think I am addicted now….