Transform Old Blinds With Art

Have you ever wished you could transform old blinds at little cost?
When I moved into my home the previous owner had very kindly left her old blinds. These were a Godsend at first, enabling us to have privacy and in tTransform your blinds with arthe coming months warmth due to their thickness.
The colour and design of the fabric was not however one I would ever have chosen. It was dark and heavy.
In a conservatory your blinds are your wallpaper, and this wallpaper was one which I would love to change.

My solution was to order a roll of light cream fabric, a pale background for the art I wanted to add. Inspired by some amazing watercolour artists
I decided to have a go myself.

Cutting the fabric to the size of one blind, I used my granddaughters watercolour paints and began. The watercolour effect was soft but for some of the areas, I was looking for a bolder mark; for this I added acrylic paints. The fabric reacted to the paints well and adding washes in small sections blended the colours effectively.

Once the paint was dry I pinned the fabric to the existing blind. Using this as the lining would maintaTransform your blind stage 2in the warmth in the colder months.

The fabric needed sewing to the existing blind around the edges and also along the fold lines. Once this was done the existing string mechanisms pulled both the old and new fabric up and  down.

The final touch to the painting was the addition of silver leaf, applied with pva glue. This gave the painting additional interest and in lamp light glistened.

The statement was bold and due to this I didn’t choose to have every blind as art. For some I used the light fabric with an overlay of lace that I purchased online. Vintage fabric could add a bold statement, but  I selected a soft new Chinese lace pattern  By working my way around the room in this way I can spend when I have the money and slowly transform the appearance of the room. Using different fabrics such as silk would be an interesting addition.

For now this is phase one of transform old blinds…why not have a go yourself?

Transform your own binds

 

Creating a Children’s Vegetable Plot

If you are considering creating a children’s vegetable plot this post is for you…
The transformation had begun with the creation of a raised table – somewhere the slugs might not find too easy to reach and somewhere a small vegetable patch could be created quickly and easily.

The raised table was to become a children’s vegetable plot created from two piles of bricks and an two old kitchen cabinet doors. The bricks were piled to form two pillars raising the top from the ground. The first door was then placed across these to form the table top. The second door was used as decoration at the front. My granddaughter selected collage as her method of personalisation, Decorating the door with a wide variety of shells that she had lovingly collected on pervious beach combing days. PVA glue was used in great abundance and the pattern was entirely her own. Her aim was to create a space that everyone would know was her garden.

Once the raised area was complete a trip to the garden centre took place to buy two large bags of compost and a variety of seed packets.
Once back at home the two bags of compost were placed side by side on the table top and little fingers, sprinkled, covered and watered the seeds.

When my granddaughter returned this weekend and the first thing she did was to visit ‘her garden’. To squeals of delight she rushed back in to tell us that it was growing!
Her pride and satisfaction at watching these first seedlings shoot was fantastic to see and we are hopeful for a bumper crop!

So creating a children’s vegetable plot with your grandchild really is something I would recommend for all those with big imaginations and little green fingers.

Storytelling weekend for Grandparents

For those who enjoy escaping into a good book, you can enjoy a great story at anytime with your Grandchildren, and pass on your passion for the written word.

If you enjoy the pleasure of reading to your children or grandchildren then  weeks like National Storytelling week or National Book week (which will be celebrating 100 years on 7th March 2019) give opportunities to think about some of the authors and illustrators too.  But they only take place once a year so why not create your own book weekend to celebrate the stories you love; it would be a good excuse to add in another story related event to your usual weekend routine.

Here are some ideas we are going to try:

  • For this weekend we have agreed to add an extra story to the number of books we share at bedtime. Normally we read three books of my granddaughters choice. She loves to pick not only the books but the order they are read in. She chooses the first one for the illustrations, the second one is always one she loves to read with me (this part is the bit I love the most) and she reads in different voices parts of the story she has learnt from memory. The final book she chooses a sound book where she interacts pressing different sounds when an image appears in the text. This routine has become established and I think we both enjoy it as much as each other! This weekend, as it is a special storytelling weekend, we are adding a fourth book to our bedtime story routine. This will be a popular addition as it will mean staying up a little later – but its not a school night!
  • We are also going to take a trip to my local library where my granddaughter is getting her very own library card. This is something that she is really looking forward to; she has already chosen her preferred library a card with a squirrel illustration. The extra fourth book for bedtime this weekend will be one of her library choices. We will read this with some other favourites

As my granddaughter is just five years old, she is really looking forward to this. She has chosen the little handbag where she is going to keep her card and is feeling very grown up indeed.

Why Dont You Just Ask Google

Sometimes small moments capture a child’s perception of the adult world that surrounds them. This weekend I was lucky enough to overhear a conversation my son was having with his very young daughter:

My son was patiently talking to his daughter about the next days activities, when she suddenly interjected with:

Daddy can I ask Google something on your phone?

Just ask googleThe availability of expert advice had been shared with her the previous week and she was  keen to use it whenever a suitable question occurred. As she had been far too busy so far that day at the park followed by cutting, sticking and painting, this was perhaps her first potential moment.

Without prompting she sat quietly for a second and then lean’t forward and said:

Google what’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?

Google promptly answered her question with:

The weather in … is going to be 18° with showers

She thought for a split second and then said:

Actually Google Id like sunshine.

She then sat back, smiled and said to her Dad:

There I’ve sorted it, its going to be sunny now!

My son and I looked at each other and both realised that to our lovely three year old little girl, Google had taken on the role of God.

So Google, you have a lot to live up to!

Save the day for Grandparent’s Day

For those of you like me who have reached the stage where you are Grandparents – you will know that it crept up on you and that you feel absolutely no different age wise as a grandparent than you did before.

What you do feel in my case is incredibly lucky. I have so much fun being a Grandma! Weekends are full of crazy golf, beach walks and frog hunts. Glue, paints and shells are regular activities, and time flies.

Being a grandparent for me, means so much fun! Letting the parents have time to just be themselves is important. Time to breathe in busy weeks of work and parenting; so going to grandma’s holiday house by the sea is for my Granddaughter regular a weekend event.

parenting concept

I have just discovered that there is a special day for Grandparents, in the UK it falls on 2nd October 2016: Grandparents Day. This is something this year I’ve decided to celebrate! So on 2nd October,which is a Sunday, I am going to arrange a family get together.

Gathering the generations, because for us we aren’t the only grandparents – there are great grandparents too (we are the mere youngsters!)

Grandparents Day will give us a great excuse to gather, talk, laugh and eat!! I think I will gather gifts for all grandparents and my granddaughter is going to help me choose them.

I have decided to take advantage of the sales going on and gather a few sneaky surprises over the coming weeks

If you feel like doing the same take a look at Chums menswear for Grandads’ – great savings

For ladies you might want to explore the Marks and Spencer sale or Chums again- I found these two presents that won’t break the bank and will definitely bring a smile (I saved them to Pinterest as I gathered my list!)

If you are celebrating Grandparents day – I hope your preparations are underway, whether its a hug and a kiss and a home made card,  a present or flowers – this is another day that you can choose if you wish to celebrate your family.

For this occasion I am not going vintage, but it might be fun next time to consider vintage gifts or even vintage clothes as gifts, as I have mentioned before vintage fabric always starts discussion as associated memories flow!

Science can be fun for kids

Keeping the little ones busy and entertained can be a challenge with the changeable UK weather. So I was delighted to discover a whole world of fun at the bottom of our garden this year. The small pond had been blessed with a family of frogs and was filling up fast with frogspawn.

Well aware that this was not something to be moved from its natural habitat, we introduced the granddaughter to garden safaris, obviously wearing the obligatory wellington boots and goggles!

It is great to see the world afresh through their goggle enhanced eyes! Her enthusiasm and instant love of the tiny jelly like creatures has not diminished over recent weeks as they have grown and emerged from their frogspawn state into tiny and very active tadpoles. The proud parents look on silently from the rocks at the edge of the pond, as the little tadpoles pop up for air, and then shelter under the floating pond iris plant.

frog and frogspawn

As the tadpoles continue to grow, my three year old granddaughter has surprised me in her scientific assessments of what is happening and her patience in the transformation of the tadpoles into frogs. As she noticed the first tiny legs appearing, she was instantly maternal and impressed. She then told me that it would take weeks and weeks for the legs to grow, even though they were so tiny, as she had been growing hers for years!

Another conversation was also quite revealing; she explained to me that the tadpoles couldn’t live in the sea as they would get lost and frightened by the big waves – it was too big, and that is why the mummy frog chose our pond and not the nearby ocean.

tadpoles

So there is no rush, but endless opportunities of accompanied exploration and observation. As they grow I will keep you updated.

 

Who says science isn’t fun for kids!

science fun for kids

Check out our other seaside children’s adventures and activities here

 

Kitchens are creative playgrounds

There are lots of amazing sites that I love to follow online for cooking inspiration such as sophiesscran.com

I read how the experts do it and am always inspired to have a go. I ams not sure if this is because I love cooking or eating – maybe a bit of both! Continue reading Kitchens are creative playgrounds

Grandmas bedroom retreat

Vintage and modern interior style

I took a look in Dunelm this weekend and as I walked in I was confronted by a really lovely display.

The colour and style of this range is a gentle duck egg blue scattered with blossom and birds. Continue reading Grandmas bedroom retreat

Start the weeked with a tea party

At 7am Saturday morning what could be more fun than a tea party!!

One of the advantages of being a grandma is that you have done this before and you can be prepared.

childrens tea party pots

So the night before setting out a play changing mat (giving the waterproof protection that I thought might be needed)  I arranged a group of teddies and other soft toy favourites to sit in an arc. Toy cups and pouring things were placed at the ready, with a pan on the floor.

Arriving downstairs bright and early she was over the moon. Water play straight after breakfast. Sitting her favourite toy to join the others she chatted away to the toys asking them if they wanted some of her cereal.

One tip for anyone having a tea party is to have a towel and pan nearby. The pan is where you or the little one can tip the water as the toys “drink”. This prevents the cups from over flowing and gives your child the chance to keep needing to fill the now empty jug from the tap. This is a major part of the fun.

The language about full / empty and less /more are good development opportunities.

 

The magical bit was when she went to get more water from the tap, I had emptied the water from the cups into the pan. When she returned her excitement over her teddies and toys having drunk their water was lovely to see. Her imaginativeplay is always strong and she becomes absorbed in her play, keen to draw you into the scenario. After reading lots over the years about the benefits of imaginative play in young children this is always something I am keen to encourage.

The opportunity to wear her lovely new trilby flower hat was too good to resist. She had chosen this the day before from Asdaalong with her new cat pyjamas. She looked great and I realised when listening to her talk and play – putting her hat on transformed the tea party into a picnic.

Amazing what some water, a hat and imagination can do.

 

 

Easter Craft Preparations Begin

Easter Sunday this year is on 27th March, so it is approaching at speed. If you are like me, Easter is a family occasion. An opportunity to gather everyone round for celebrations, fun feasting and chatting.

Everyone usually gathers at mine, and this give some a great opportunity to plan themed food and crafts that my granddaughter and I can plan and create for everyone else to share. So this is where our planning starts…

Today I called into Hobby Craft and I was astounded at the choice of Easter creative opportunities that were available.

If you want to take a look at the range I saw in store, you can peep online at  http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/easter

After walking up and down different materials I decided upon a polystyrene bunny rabbit, some plastic eyes and a huge bag of coloured pom poms. The plan is to mix some acrylic paint with glue. my granddaughter will paint the ears and head in a colour of her choice. The rabbit was a wonderful bargain – reduced to £1 !

She loves using the hair dryer at the moment, so that will be a great opportunity to chat and dry the paint. Then she will stick on the eyes. We are going to look at photos of different rabbits to help her to know where the eyes actually might be placed.

Then more fun and more glue. We will definitely be getting messy! Coloured pom poms will be stuck all over the body.

Grandma top tip – cover bowls or containers you are going to use for glue or paint with cling film or tin foil before starting. This will take a few moments and saving you lots of time at the end of the craft session cleaning. When you have finished you simply curl up the tin foil and cling film and throw it away.

 

Painting the rabbit was good fun. We used acrylic paint mixed with some glue.

Different shades of green and yellow paint were painted onto the polystyrene. Extra glue was put on to stick the plastic eyes on. These were then left overnight to dry

When the paint is dry then its time for more gluing fun. This is a great opportunity to teach bigger and smaller words. Separate the bigger pom poms and the smaller pom poms into two piles. Stick the smaller pom poms onto the head and ears and the bigger pom poms onto the body. We did this by picking each pom pom up and putting it into the glue bowl then placing it onto the rabbit.

rabbits pom pom

We left the rabbits to dry after one side of each was covered. When these are dry we will turn over and repeat this again until the whole rabbit is fluffy and colourful.

Great Easter preparation fun!