Pinterest Challenge number 3!!



Yes I’m a geek….. this is number 3 for January, I’m not expecting every month to produce three items from Pinterest, but I’ve started with three fairly simple ones.  Anyway here’s the original pin….  and the original tutorial can be found here….


I made this for Daisy to help keep her occupied during Sam’s christening at the weekend.  It’s a colouring case made from scraps of material I already owned.  It did the job for about 10minutes till the packet of raisins took over!

Treasure Basket for Sam


As a childminder I am aware of the benefit of heuristic play and treasure baskets for babies and toddlers.  You can find more information here on them  The basic theory is that children and babies explore and develop pathways in their brain far better with natural, real objects than with plastic rubbish that is on offer in most toy shops. 

Anyway….. as I said you can read more about the theory at little acorns. 

It is my nephew’s christening on Sunday so we decided to make the start of a treasure basket for him.  He is nearly 9 months old now but has one or two development problems down to having seizures from a young age so I thought a sensory treasure basket would be perfect for him and it could grow with him.

In it we included:  metal spoons, piece of leather, ribbons, material, bracelets, brushes, wooden massagers, shiny objects, wooden rings, small tins, pine cones and wooden balls.  I also added a short introduction to treasure baskets and some examples of other things to add to it.  All contained in a lined small basket.  You can buy these from various places on the net for around £50!!  But this one is personal to Sam and I have to say even with the basket didn’t cost anywhere near that to make.

Here it is all wrapped up with a pretty ribbon.  Happy exploring Sam!

A treat for the birds



We are very lucky where our house is to be in a small village and surrounded by farmland at the back of the garden.  As a result we do get a lot of birds into our garden throughout the year.  As a family we are keen members of the RSPB too and are all interested in nature – a family of biologists!  Daisy is already showing a huge interest and loves spotting and naming all the different birds we see, she is a typical outdoor child – loves being covered in mud, and exploring outside. 

This time of year is particularly difficult for birds and with the RSPB  Big garden birdwatch approaching 28th January we thought it was an ideal time to make some bird cakes for the birdtable.  A fellow crafterooer has been making them this week too

They are dead simple to make…..

Mix in a bowl lard and bird seed, get the kids to squish it altogether and form little ball shapes in their hands, you can tie string in to hang them up or do as we did scatter them on the bird table.  They loved doing it and learned in the process about caring for the environment we live in, fine motor skills, language associated with describing textures and shapes.

Enjoy little birdies!!


Pinterest challenge number two….


My MIL has been hinting she would like some new oven gloves for a while now so I decided my second make for the crafteroo pinterest should be some oven gloves.  These are the original ones from the pin…  Now here is where I admit to cheating a bit….  I didn’t exactly follow the tutorial and I changed the design a bit as I wanted to use one piece of fabric instead of quilted squares.

This is how I made mine…..

I used my old (slightly skanky – sorry!) oven gloves as template and cut out two pieces of printed cotton and one piece of wadding, along with two identical mitts.


Once I had cut out all the pieces I machine sewed the two sections of mitt together and added blue bias binding to the straight edge of the mitt.  I really hate binding, I find the easiest way is to tak it by hand first and then machine sew, but if anyone has any tips they would be very well received!

I then tacked the mitts onto the longer pieces and sewed all three sections together as  close the edge as possible using the machine.  Finally added binding tape round the edge and as a loop. 

Here are the final gloves, I hope she likes them!

Daisy’s presents for Nanna and Grandpa


In yesterday’s post about christmas presents here I forgot the ones that Daisy made her Nanna and Grandpa.  They were from an idea my husband had seen for sale in a garden centre (the bags) and from one of my friends who made similar pots last year with her little girl. 

Here is Daisy hard at work

She used arylic paint to cover a terracotta plant pot, then a different colour to decorate with her hand prints.  I then painted the message on, again with acrylic paint.  Once the paint was dry we covered them with a few layers of outdoor mod podge.  Inside the pots we put some dwarf daffodil bulbs in a small netted drawstring bag (made from an old net curtain) and attached a label saying “little bag of sunshine”.


Here’s the finished product.




The Grandparents LOVED them!





One chicken four ways….


Money isn’t great here at the moment, in the past year I’ve given up a regular income to start up my own business childminding and a few months later my husband lost his job.  We get by but only due to very strict budgeting.  One huge expense at the moment is food, thinsg seem to rise in price everytime I visit the shop.  Anyway…. to make the most of a chicken here’s four meals we had from it (feeds 2 adults and 1 toddler).

Meal One – Roast chicken dinner, chicken fileld up with LOTS of veg – better for you anyway

Meal Two – chicken curry, I used some of the chicken meat and made a simple curry sauce from onion, curry powder, stock and yoghurt.

Meal Three – chicken rissoto, rissoto rice cooked in chicken stock and with some scrapings of meat

Meal Four – chicken carcass soup – again topped up with veg and potato.

Have you any ideas for budget meals?

(I really should have taken photos!)

Christmas presents


This year we made the decision to try and make as many Christmas presents as we could.  This was based on:

– I think homemade gifts show a lot more thought and are more personal

– I had more time this year having given up teaching

– We have no money!

So here are some of them…..

The Christmas Cake we decorated!  It’s a fruit cake we made – following good old Delia Smith’s recipe, covered in marzipan and icing and decorated with marzipan presents and a snowman Daisy made.

A patchwork knitting bag I made for my best friend, complete with comedy “family sweater” patterns.  To make the bag I followed the Cath Kidston pattern and used a selection of spotty fabrics.

The aprons I made for my childminding girls, made from plain cotton and decorated with initials and appliqued on using sewing machine.

The sensory playmat I made for my nephew.  This was a lot of fun to make, patchwork squares with different textures and crinkles.  Quilted and edged with sparkly bias binding.

Fish pie, proper comfort food


We have spent a lovely day in the garden, digging and general tidying up. Its been one of my favourite winter days, cold but sunny. As a warming treat I cooked us all fish pie, a favourite in this house…..



400g white fish

400g smoked fish

500mL milk


4 whole cloves

200g prawns

tbsp flour

50g butter

4 med potatoes


salt and pepper

tbsp fromage frais


Cook the fish in the milk along with the onion quartered and studded with cloves.  Simmer for 8minutes then strain milk (keep it) and flake fish into a bowl with prawns.  Make a white sauce using flour, butter and fish milk.  Add fromage frais and chives, salt and pepper to season, mix with flaked fish.  Place in oven proof dish and top with mashed potato.  Cook for 25min or so till golden and bubbly, yum yum yum!!!