Category Archives: craft

STEM Box review and giveaway

It has been a while since we last reviewed a Weekend Box. The boys have had great fun doing the activities from these in the past, but they have now got a bit old for them. However I recently found out that Weekend Box have extended their range to include a STEM box for older children. For those of you don’t know what STEM stands for, it is science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The STEM box sounded right up my boys’ street, as son1 already participates in the YES programme via school. All these acronyms – YES stands for Young Engineers and Scientists. So we were delighted to receive a free STEM Box to review.

STEM box

Son2 was the lucky one who got to put this box to the test.

STEM box

So the first part of the fun is opening the box to find out what exciting activities lie within.

STEM box

Son2 was quick to check out the booklet. He immediately decided that of the three main activities, he wanted to start by making a rocket. Most of the necessary equipment was included in the STEM box, but we would have to provide a plastic bottle. Oh no, there’s a word we didn’t wish to see – plastic! It was son2 who got us started on our journey towards a plastic free future in the first place. I haven’t bought any drinks in plastic bottles at all this year. However I had a rummage in the kitchen cupboard and found a suitable apple drink hiding at the back.

STEM box

So son2 did all the crafting to make his rocket indoors before we headed out into the garden for the scientific action. Add warm water and the effervescent tablets, pop the lid on, give the bottle a shake and put upside down in a mug. Then wait for the rocket to launch.

STEM box

We didn’t manage to capture a photo of the rocket launching.

The other two main activities in our STEM box are making a kite and pinwheels, as this box is on the topic of things that fly. Son2 plans to do those next weekend. Plus the booklet is also packed with plenty of bonus activities on the same theme. There are facts, jokes, puzzles and instructions for making two types of paper planes along with an experiment evaluation table and a “touch down” certificate. And there is even a door hanger to colour on the inside of the box. So lots more fun to be had.

When I had a browse round the Weekend Box website, I was pleased to see that everything contained in a box is either reusable or recyclable and that 95% of each box contents comes from recycled material. So if they are so committed to the environment and sustainability, why ask us to provide a single-use plastic bottle? Could something else have been used to make the rocket instead perhaps?

The STEM Box is a new addition to the Weekend Box range, targeted at older children from age 7-12. It currently retails at £8.95 including free delivery, the same price as a Weekend Box. It is sent out monthly and the one difference is that there are 3 activities, rather than 4. Well worth the price in my opinion for all the educational fun.

We have reviewed the Kids Weekend Activity Box a few times previously. You can see the fun we had before, on the following posts, along with an introduction to the principles of Weekend Box.
A mask and a rainforest
Chinese New Year activities
Cooking Potato Boats and making 3D glasses.
Sand Art and making a bird feeder.

If readers of my blog would like to try out any type of Weekend Box, I have an ongoing unique promo code for you to get your first box for free (including free delivery).

The unique promo code is CLAIRE43 and can be redeemed at www.weekendboxclub.com. If you have any difficulties with the code, try signing up with this direct link www.weekendboxclub.com/main/signup?promocode=CLAIRE43

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a 6 month subscription of STEM Box to one lucky winner. What a fun prize.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what STEM or crafting activities you enjoy.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Handmade doll and book giveaway

I do enjoy dabbling in crafts from time to time and last week I made a decoupage Mother’s Day card for my mum. I sometimes dream about the possibility of setting up my own crafting business, but that is all it is, just wishful thinking. However today I would like to introduce you to a talented lady who does have her own crafting business.

Sue Kim makes gorgeous ragdolls and she has now written her first children’s book “Grandma’s Special Birthday Party” featuring her dolls. Along with her daughter Veronica , Sue made all of the dolls, clothes, and even some of the furniture used in the book.

Grandmas special birthday party by Sue Kim

The story is about two twins Abby and Ally, their lovely dogs, and their family. In this story Abby and Ally prepare a special birthday party for their Grandmother! And it celebrates international day and teaches children about many cultures and traditions around the world!

And the dolls aren’t Sue’s first foray into crafting. She is already an established author with 5 sewing / quilting books on Amazon to her name.

You may find out more about Sue on her website Second Avenue. You will also be able to see plenty of her beautiful dolls either there, or on Etsy or Instagram.

Or if sewing is your thing, then there are plenty of downloadable patterns to browse on Sue’s other website ithinksew.

Handmade ragdoll and book giveaway

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway one of Sue’s beautiful handmade dolls (value £87), along with a copy of her children’s book and 6 postcards to one lucky winner. What a lovely prize from Sue.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear what crafts you enjoy?

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Disclosure.  Although I am hosting this giveaway, I have not received any products.  All opinions are my own.

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Guest post: How to prevent a mess when crafting with kids

Allowing your kids to do craft work is rewarding in many ways. It keeps them entertained for a long time, it gives them the freedom to express themselves and you get to see how their faces light up and how big their smiles are when they do something interesting.

crafting

That being said, we cannot leave out the other important aspect of kids’ crafting – the mess. Crafting is all fun and games until it comes time to clean the aftermath of it. Sure some kids know to be very careful and not make a mess but then crafting loses half of its fun and appeal.

Instead of forbidding your kids to use some crafting supplies because they leave a mess or if you teach them to be super careful when they create their masterpieces what you can do is just prepare for the mess. It’s as simple as that.

crafting

If your kids really love crafting there is a number of things that you can do to prepare the space which they will use in a way that it will be easier to clean up. And also, to make sure they use art and craft supplies that can be cleaned – such as paints and markers that are washable.

Here are some ideas about how to prepare the crafting area for a lot of use and for easier cleaning.

1. Set limits and boundaries – limit the craft area to only one room or even better outdoors. If you have an outdoor space – yard, garden, lawn, patio, etc. If it is a good and sunny day set their crafting zone somewhere outside to prevent the mess inside of your home. Just the coffee table, their room or any other room is fine. Limit the mess in as small place as possible for a quick cleaning.

2. Use cling wrap to prevent stains and splashes of paint and markers on your furniture. Put the wrap on the table and whatever mess your kids make will be easier to clean and you will have protected your table. When the craft time is over simply remove the wrap and have your table untouched.

3. Lint roller – this is a great tool to use if your kids love using a lot of glitter, which we all know ends up all over the house. When your kids are done crafting before letting them run around the house use a ling roller to remove all glitter from their clothes or hands and then from the area they have been working at.

4. Old clothes – as we know kids tend to get themselves dirty paint, glue and all other messes can then be found on their clothes. That is why you should find some old shirts and pants and call them their ‘creative costumes’ and only allow them to do crafts when in them so you will not have to worry about not being able to get the watercolour stains off their new clothes.

5. Limit the supplies – give them one or two sets of markers, crayons, pencils and paint. Give them one or two types at a time, or when their paint is finished give them more. This way they will have fewer things around them to make a mess with.

crafting

But as a whole, try to not take it too strongly and think only about the mess and the cleaning. Worrying about this will only take the fun out of crafting and enjoying your kids’ crafts.

Crafting is the best way of letting your kids’ minds work creatively and express themselves. It is also very therapeutic and is a great way to keep them entertained for a long time. Just make sure you prepare the crafting area well.

crafting

Guest post by Demi Giles

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Painting with PlayColor

Bigjigs introduced Playcolor products to their range back in March of this year. It is the no mess
painting alternative and they sent me a free sample in red and gold for the boys to try out.

Play Colour

It has taken us a while to get round to trying it out, but last weekend son2 put Playcolor to the test.

Playcolor Metallic Solid Poster Paint

Son2 tested them out on his bear picture and we were both very impressed. It was easy for him to hold and use. It functions like a glue stick with a rotating mechanism and has a lid to replace after use. It dries very quickly on the paper and washes off his hands easily.

Playcolor Metallic Solid Poster Paint

So Playcolor has all of the benefits of poster paint but without any of the mess! No need for water or paintbrushes and doesn’t wrinkle the paper either. Quick drying and solvent free. The range includes paints for use on paper, cardboard, textiles, and even face paints.

A pack of 6 assorted 10g colours currently retails for £5.99. Good value in my opinion and ideal for school or home use. Suitable for age 3+.

And I have an offer to pass on to my readers – 10% off your next purchase of Playcolor at Bigjigs with discount code: “GBPC10PC”. This offer can also be redeemed on Amazon, so long as you select Bigjigs Toys as the seller.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Mini Weekend Box review and free offer

Whilst it has been windy and cold outside, the boys have had some indoor activity fun today, courtesy of a free mini Weekend Box. This contained two activities, so son1 chose to make the parrot mask whilst son2 planted a rainforest.

Mini Weekend Box

Parrot Mask

Son1 did almost all of his activity alone, just asking for some help at the end to make holes in the mask for the elastic.

making a parrot mask

I wasn’t quite prepared for son2’s activity as it also required an empty plastic bottle with lid, but luckily we had some small bottles of lemonade in the cupboard, so he drank one first which I then quickly washed. I had to help out more with this activity, both for cutting the bottle in half and making a hole in the lid. But son2 did the important parts of activating the soil, threading the string and planting the seeds. And now he is waiting for his rainforest to grow.

planting a rainforest

The mini Weekend Box is a new addition to the Weekend Box range, aimed at those who don’t have time to carry out the full four activities. It retails at £4.95 compared to £7.50 for the Bumper Weekend Box, but still good value in my opinion.

Part of the magic is opening the box to find out what goodies hide within.

Opening the Mini Weekend Box

Opening the Mini Weekend Box

We have reviewed the Kids Weekend Activity Box a couple of times previously. You can see the fun we had before, on the following 3 posts.
Chinese New Year activities
Cooking Potato Boats and making 3D glasses.
Sand Art and making a bird feeder.

For those of you who haven’t come across it before, I’ll introduce you to Weekend Box which is a box containing Healthy, Green and Creative themed activities for your children delivered through your letterbox every fortnight.

Each bumper box contains 4 colour-coded activities, whilst the mini box has just 2 of these activities:
Something to COOK (a healthy recipe with accompanying secret ingredient)
Something to MAKE (a craft kit with all the materials required)
Something GREEN (some seasonal seeds to plant or something to make with recycling/rubbish material)
Something to EXPLORE (sensory exploration games, for example)

Each activity is designed to build sensory exploration skills with little ones aged 3-6 as well as help teach them about different life skills in a fun and engaging way. And the colour coding makes it easy for the children to match the packets to the instruction sheets. You also get stickers for completing the activities. And the inside of the box turns into a certificate which can be coloured in.

The boxes are sent out (with free delivery) in time for the weekend every fortnight and since everything’s included in the box, you can focus on spending time having fun with your little ones.

If readers of my blog would like to try out the Weekend Box, I have been given a unique promo code for you to get your first box for free (including free delivery).

The unique promo code is CLAIRE43 and can be redeemed at www.weekendboxclub.com. If you have any difficulties with the code, try signing up with this direct link www.weekendboxclub.com/main/signup?promocode=CLAIRE43

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

3d Decoupage Advent project plus crafting giveaway

Counting down the days until December, it is time for my latest craft project – a 3d decoupage advent calendar card kit which I received free to review from docrafts. I was very pleased to receive this as making 3d decoupage pictures and cards used to be one of my favourite hobbies before the boys were born. I still have a drawer full of prints waiting for me to find time to do more crafting.

docrafts advent calendar card

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

This kit contained an A5 size preprinted card, 3 die-cut sheets, a preprinted paper, 2 card extensions and an expandable envelope. There were some very small font instructions on the reverse of the pack, too small for me to read easily, but it seemed fairly obvious what I needed to do.

I pressed out the numbers and images to go behind the windows, plus an embellishment for the front. Mostly very easy to press out but there were a couple that I had to tidy the edge slightly with scissors. Then I used double sticky pads that I already had in my crafting stash to build up the layers, although I would have expected the kit to have contained these. There were additional smaller numberless baubles but I chose not to use these. I also didn’t use the preprinted paper, but this could have gone inside the card as an insert for you to personalise with a greeting message.

docrafts advent calendar card

I then folded the card extensions and glued them on to the card. And finally glued the front onto the card extensions. I’m not convinced I did this stage correctly as although my finished advent calendar looked fabulous, it was far too thick to possibly even fit into an extending envelope.

Afterwards I used a magnifying glass to study the instructions, but they were fairly minimal and didn’t give a detailed explanation of how to fold and stick the card extensions.

docrafts decoupage advent card

In summary, a lovely craft kit, but more detailed larger instructions would be helpful. It didn’t take very long to make. The kit also suggested that you could personalise it with your own photographs. A nice touch but it would take some effort printing them to such a small size to fit the windows.

This kit is available to purchase from docrafts for £3. An excellent price for a nice little craft project.

docrafts boy's activity pack

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a crafting activity goody bag courtesy of docrafts to one lucky winner. I’ve been sent one as a thank you gift and can assure you that it will be a lovely prize. Contents are worth over £18 but this retails at just £9.95 currently.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

I’d love to hear about your craft projects.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Cardmaking including a giveaway

Emma at docrafts has sent me a bundle of crafting goodies from the new Nature’s Gallery range free to review.

Docrafts Nature's Gallery crafting bundle

Regular readers of my blog may remember my earlier reviews of docrafts kits. I’ve had fun making Christmas decorations, a Roald Dahl decoupage card and gift labels previously, so I was really looking forward to trying these ones out.

Nature’s Gallery by Papermania is a new range for docrafts. It depicts a beautiful mix of botanical art illustrations and bird imagery, featuring herbal plants, ferns, specimen butterflies and insects. An ideal vintage collection for gardeners and bird lovers alike.

The items I received are:-
A4 Decoupage Pack – RRP £3.50
Six 3D Bird Stickers – RRP £2.50
A5 Paper Pack (32 sheets) – RRP £4
Mini Alphabet Stickers (306 pieces) – RRP £2.50
20 Ribbon Bows – RRP £2.50
3 cards and envelopes

I decided to make some cards. For my first card, I chose to use images entirely from the decoupage pack. No cutting was required as they just pressed out. I then built these up into a three dimensional picture using double sided sticky pads (not included). And I cut out a quarter from one of the A4 sheets to use as my background. I glued this onto a blank card and then glued my 3D picture onto that, along with a Happy Birthday banner, also pressed out from the pack.

I believe I said something similar before when making the Roald Dahl card, but I do think it would be helpful to include some sticky pads in the A4 Decoupage Pack.

natures valley decoupage

For my second card, I started by cutting a sheet from the A5 paper pack in half. I glued this onto one of the blank cards as my background. I then used letters from the pack of Mini Alphabet Stickers pack to write the words “Happy Birthday”. I added one of the 3D Bird Stickers which was ready prepared to stick straight on. Finally I attached one of the Ribbon Bows, again using a double sided sticky pad (not included).

natures valley decoupage

So a couple of very easy to make cards. But they could be used for more ambitious projects. I’d love to hear what you would do with them?

These products are part of a brand new range and are now available from docrafts stockists.

These are all great crafting supplies. I was very impressed with the quality and I consider them all to be very good value. You certainly get plenty for your money.

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

And I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a Nature’s Gallery crafting bundle courtesy of docrafts to one lucky winner.  A great prize.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of products I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Kids Weekend Box review and free offer

A year ago, we reviewed our first Kids Weekend Activity Box, fairly soon after their product launch. You can see the fun we had last time, on the following 2 posts.
Cooking Potato Boats and making 3D glasses.
Sand Art and making a bird feeder.
The boys had a great time doing these activities, so they were delighted to hear that we had been invited to review another box.

weekend box

I captured son2 opening the box on video.

weekend box

For those of you who haven’t come across it before, I’ll introduce you to Weekend Box which is a box containing Healthy, Green and Creative themed activities for your children delivered through your letterbox every fortnight. It is similar to a Graze healthy snacks box but with children’s activities in.

Each box contains 4 colour-coded activities:
Something to COOK (a healthy recipe with accompanying secret ingredient)
Something to MAKE (a craft kit with all the materials required)
Something GREEN (some seasonal seeds to plant or something to make with recycling/rubbish material)
Something to EXPLORE (sensory exploration games, for example)

Each activity is designed to build sensory exploration skills with little ones aged 3-6 as well as help teach them about different life skills in a fun and engaging way. And the colour coding makes it easy for the children to match the packets to the instruction sheets. You also get stickers for completing the activities. And the inside of the box turns into a certificate which can be coloured in.

The boxes are sent out (with free delivery) in time for the weekend every fortnight and since everything’s included in the box, you can focus on spending time having fun with your little ones.

Our box theme was Chinese New Year and a new feature included in the box is a card of Talking Points. The boys were really interested in all the information. They are already very knowledgable on the Chinese years and quickly told me that this year will be the year of the sheep and which years they are born in. All this has been learnt from a calendar that we were given at a Chinese restaurant which is on son2’s bedroom wall.

The four activities in our box were as follows:-
Red Activity with Wooster the Rabbit – Fortune Cookies.
Blue Activity with Sammy the Squirrel – Paper Plate Drum.
Green Activity with Hattie the Hedgehog – Chinese Lanterns.
Yellow Activity with Oswald the Owl – Chinese Dragon.

The boys were keen to start with the cooking. They wrote their fortunes and here I would suggest that I should have pre-cut the paper into strips for them in advance, as they boys wrote them very large when left to do this part by themselves. So we had to a lot of folding to get them small enough to fit inside.  And we had to do a bit more improvisation as I don’t possess a large enough cookie cutter. I do  want some larger ones. In fact, I’ve had 11cm and 13cm ones on my wishlist for several years but can’t find them anywhere. So if anyone knows where I can get some, please let me know. Instead we used a knife to cut round a tupperware lid as our template. Son1 was fine with that but son2 needed a bit of help. They both progressed well after that, with just a little bit of help on sealing the cookies shut, as they seemed determined to pop open.

I had already spotted that there was an error in the recipe versus the ingredients list. No mention of what to do with the 2 spoons of honey or syrup. I decided that we would use honey instead of oil to brush half the cookies. And feedback from the boys. The toppers didn’t live up to their expectation from the photo which looks like lots of small pieces of raspberry. Instead we had just 9 larger pieces of strawberry. Little and lots would have been more fun for sprinkling. However one thing there were no issues with was how yummy they tasted. We will certainly make these again.

fortune cookies

Secondly the boys made the paper plate drums. I provided additional plates etc, so that they could make one each. They were fine with this activity, but we didn’t find blu tack was that great at sticking the lolly sticks together. Very wobbly drum handles, so son1 requested sellotape instead.

chinese drums

Then we saved the other two activities for the following weekend. This time we started by making Chinese Dragons. I didn’t have a similar piece of yellow card for them both to participate, so I improvised by folding an A4 sheet of yellow paper in half and glueing an old Xmas card inside to stiffen it. I was very impressed with the glue dots that were included in this activity, worked better than the blu tack last weekend. The boys decided they wanted to draw the scales onto their dragons with felt-tip pens rather than using the paint. And then they had great fun pretending to be dragons, the exploratory part of the activity. I didn’t even need to prompt, they just started instinctively whilst posing for photos with their completed dragons.

Chinese dragons

And finally I had been saving the tubes from the loo rolls this week, ready for their Chinese Lanterns. This time we did use the paint, but I may have mixed it too stiff, as it wasn’t quite enough for 2 tubes. And we did have one objection from the boys. They didn’t like the colour pink for the handles, they said they should be red too, so you’ll see they are actually holding the lanterns by the base rather than the handle. I’m not sure how we could have incorporated putting LED tealights inside, as per an additional suggestion on the sheet, since they had no bases.

Chinese lanterns

The boxes retail at £7.50 including delivery which is great value for money in my opinion, less than £2 per activity. Last year I discussed what families of more than one child should do, and I’m pleased to see that you can now include siblings at £4 each. And you may choose to have your boxes fortnightly or monthly.

I think it is so exciting for a child to get their own box through the post. And son1 is several years above the target age of 3-6, but still really enjoyed it.

If readers of my blog would like to try out the Weekend Box, I have been given a unique promo code for you to get your first box for free (including free delivery).

The unique promo code is CLAIRE43 and can be redeemed at www.weekendboxclub.com. If you have any difficulties with the code, try signing up with this direct link www.weekendboxclub.com/main/signup?promocode=CLAIRE43

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Disclosure.  This post is a review of a product I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

A new lease of life for calendars

I’m a firm believer in upcycling, reusing and recycling where possible, so when my mum said she had bought a packet of 2015 calendar tabs and did I want some, of course I said yes please. Just what I needed to give a new lease of life to some of the lovely calendars that the boys have made.

upcycled calendar

originally made for 2012 by son1

upcycled calendar

originally made for 2013 by son1

upcycled calendar

originally made for 2014 by son2

These calendar tabs are available in packs of 10 for just £1 from docrafts, a company that I have reviewed products from on several occasions.

calendar tab

Regular readers of my blog may remember my earlier reviews of docrafts products. I’ve had fun making Christmas decorations, a Roald Dahl decoupage card and gift labels previously.

The docrafts website has loads of creative inspiration for crafting projects, plus a wide range of products for sale. It also has a busy crafting forum. Do take a look.

Disclosure. This is NOT a sponsored post. My mum purchased this product. All opinions are my own.

Homemade Christmas Decorations

Christmas decorations

I love it at this time of year when I fetch the boxes down to decorate our home for Christmas. So many of the items are homemade by the boys and I have a little nostalgia trip as I remember whether it was something we made together or something they proudly brought home from school. I particularly love seeing son2’s beaming smile on this little tree decoration that he made a few years ago at nursery.

Christmas decoration

Son1’s term hasn’t finished yet, but son2 has brought home a Santa hat and a beautiful reindeer picture that he made at school. Of course, son1 immediately wanted to wear his Santa hat which he made 2 years ago.

santa hat

Son2 made a santa hat

Rudolph reindeer picture

Son2’s picture of Rudolph

santa hat

Son1’s santa hat

I always make my own tags for the Christmas presents but I’ve recently started making some decorations too. Something I probably hadn’t done since I was a similar age to the boys. So last Christmas I blogged about the table decoration that I made. And this autumn I put my sewing skills to the test to make some tree decorations from a docrafts kit. I’m planning to also make a baubles table decoration.

Christmas table decoration

My Christmas table decoration

And here are a couple of lovely decorations that my mum has made for us. Craft is one of her favourite hobbies.

Christmas decoration Christmas decoration

Disclosure. I am entering this post into a competition run by Victoria of Victoria’s Vintage in association with Able Skills.