Category Archives: Projects

Not Just Your Ordinary Trip to the Park…..

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A little while ago I wrote about one of the ways I try to ‘mix up’ our trips to the park.  You can read that post here.

Today I thought I would write about another way I keep my 4 year-old entertained, engaged and learning, while having fun at the park – photo taking.

I often have my camera on hand when we head to the park.  Instead of having an album of pictures, taken from my perspective of the kids, it is nice to give my 4-year-old a ‘photography project’.

Children's Photography Project

Not only does my son have heaps of fun snapping pictures, the whole thing can be a learning opportunity if I choose the right photography project.  Some projects he has photographed include….

  • living things
  • non-living things
  • items of a particular colour/size/ shape
  • items with a particular purpose (transport/entertainment)

The other day at the park we decide to go into neighbouring bushland for a walk. I asked my 4-year-old to photograph things that he had never seen before. Here is some of what he found….

Children's Photography Project

Children's Photography Project

Children's Photography Project

Children's Photography Project

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Surprisingly, he is quite a good photographer.  There is only the odd one that turns out like this – when he is a little excited.

Children's Photography Project

So, what do I do with these pictures you may ask? Well, I will pick out a few of the better ones to make a layout for my Project Life album.  I also plan to create a collage of all the pictures on A4 paper.  I want these to accompany the story of the bush walk which I will type while Master O dictates. Master O is quite keen to tell his Kindergarten teacher about his adventure, so this illustrated story will be perfect for Show and Tell.

I highly recommend letting your young ones get creative with the camera. If you don’t want to risk damaging your camera or camera phone, consider buying the old school disposable cameras.  Happy snapping !

 

A Weekend in the Garden

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The other day I posted an update on the creation of our woodfired pizza oven and hanging herb garden.  You can read that article here.

Woodfired Pizza Oven

Hanging Herb Garden

Last weekend we also completed a few other biggish jobs about the garden which I thought I would share with you.

With the arrival of a puppy to the household (and to help with his toilet training) we thought it best to forgo the ‘no mow’ stretch we had at the back of the house for some lawn. It once looked like this.

Gardening

Now it looks like this.

Gardening

 

gardening

It was a huge task.  Firstly the rhoeo border had to go as Murphy, the dog, loved pulling them out. Sections that survived his culling were flattened as he loved to run through it.  Next we had to move cubic metre after metre of stones and replace it with soil.  Once the whole thing was leveled, then we could lay the turf.  Hopefully the dog appreciates the time and effort everyone put in for him!

Instead of wasting the stones  and the pavers from this section of the yard, we decided to use them to top up the stones down one side of the house and put in a path.  Here is a picture of our finished job, still drying from the wash down.

Paving

pavers

Again this was a big and annoying job.  As the side of our house is angled every which way and there were obstacles to avoid, it was difficult to work out the line of best fit for the pavers.  We had string lines set up all over the place.

Some smaller jobs also got completed around the yard including a touch up coat of paint on the pizza oven.  I repotted and replaced a few of my herbs, including my parsley, which was gobbled up by the resident possum.  Hubby also hung a heater in the patio area so that we can sit out and enjoy the pizza oven and not freeze in the cooler weather.

It was nice to spend the weekend outdoors, even if it was dirty and back breaking work at times.  With these tasks completed, hopefully the whole family – but especially the dog – can enjoy the garden even more.

 

Project Life Nook

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A little while back I wrote about starting up a Project Life album.  You can read that post here.  I was hesitant as to how committed I would be to the whole process, but I have found it so much fun and an easy creative outlet for time-poor me.

Once I realised just how much I liked it, I had to ‘organise’ myself and the project.  I set out to create a little Project Life  work station for myself.

In my study makeover, I had created more than enough bench space to dedicate to my Project Life materials. You can read about the study/craft room makeover here.

Study / Craft Room

On a shopping trip to Kmart I came across their new range of office supplies, that just happened to be in red polka dots, like my Project Life album.

Project Life

I picked up a set of tabbed folders that are perfect to hold layout ideas, kids’ art work, brochures and other nick nacks that I want to include in my album. I had a vertical file going unused, perfect for storing the folders in an easy-to-see manner.

Project Life Organisation

Project Life Organisation

I also scored a binder of cute sticky notes in various sizes.  I use these to make a note of dates, journal ideas or lists of photos to be inserted when I am yet to complete my layout.

Project Life Organisation

Finally, I grabbed a set of two boxes.  The smaller one fits my journaling cards, the larger one holds my favourite journaling pens, stamps and processed photos.

Project Life Organisation

Project Life Organisation

So here it is, all stowed on my craft bench….

Project Life Organisation

If I couldn’t make all my Project Life ‘stuff’  look neat, pretty and coordinated there is no way I would allow it to remain ‘on show’.  Keeping it visible is important to me, it reminds me of my goal to keep a better record of our lives and makes it easier to do so.

The big bonus to organising myself and making it look pretty is that it only cost me $8. Cha Ching!

 

 

Activity Packs – Keeping the Kids Busy and Learning at the Same Time.

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My 4-year-old is a very busy boy. He likes to be on the go all the time.  To avoid him getting into mischief if boredom hits, I have always carried a variety of activities and toys with us.

As school is fast approaching for him, I thought it would be good to create a few educational activity packs to play with.  I got the inspiration for the content from a visit to his new school.  So many great activities were going on in the prep classes.

Here is what I have created:

Sight Words

This activity helps children not only recognise letters but become familiar with sight words.

You can find printable lists and flash cards with sight words all over the net.  I used these ones from our state government website as they are written in the cursive font taught in Queensland schools. I printed each sight word onto coloured A5 paper and laminated them to create flash cards.  As there are 100 sight words, I have started with only printing 20.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

I then purchased a heap of cheap wooden pegs and using a marker, printed the letters from each sight word onto the pegs.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

I broke these 2o sight words up into 4 activities and placed them into large ziplock bags.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

To play, Master O must peg the correct letter to each sight word flash card until he has created each word. The action of pegging the letter to the flash card helps develop his fine motor skills.

Activity Packs - Sight Words

Activity Packs - Sight Words

Colour Matching and Fine Motor Training

This activity helps children learn colours, their spelling, as well as develop their fine motor skills.

I cut out various coloured card and laminated them to create flash cards.  I printed each colour’s name on the card in permanent pen.

Activity Packs - Colours & Fine Motor Skills

I picked up a bag of coloured match sticks, a container to hold them in and a pair of small  tongs from a variety store.

To play, Master O must pick up the matchsticks from the container and place them on the correct coloured flash card.  If I want to make things more difficult for him, I set up a stopwatch so he has to race the clock.  If he is feeling nimble, Master O can also use the tongs to place the matchsticks in patterns.

Activity Packs - Fine Motor Skills

Activity Packs - Fine Motor Skills

Master O thinks these activities are lots of fun and I love that they keep both his mind and body active. I have put together a few other activity packs, including some for my 18 month old that I will share with you soon.

Have a great day.

Starting Project Life

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A few years back I tried, desperately, to scrapbook.  I love taking photos, I love making things look pretty but I just couldn’t find the time or patience to really get into it.  I then stumbled across Project Life – an easy but still creative way to memory keep.   I ummed and ahhed at committing and decided to first see if I could just keep a hard copy album with just a few favourite photos from each week of 2012.  Unfortunately, I sailed through to mid February and then the rest of the year’s photos are sitting in a folder on a printing website.  

It was a persuasive friend, who had just stumbled on Project Life last week that convinced me to commit and really give it a go.  She too was worried about whether the enthusiasm would last but together we have vowed to keep each other on track.  

So I have jumped in headfirst.  I have bought an album, some page protectors and a Project Life Cherry Core Kit.  I promptly uploaded my chosen photos from this year to a printing website and I am waiting for them to be delivered.  I downloaded Adobe Photoshop Elements and taught myself, painfully, how to do a few simple edits of my photos. And today I am starting my journaling.

Project Life

I have out my pretty pens, my planner, family calendar and phone calendar, ready to piece together the year thus far.  I worry that it will be a big job, but I hope the enthusiasm I have now will motivate me to get up to date.  Then the hope is that with just a little time each week or so, I will be able to see the year out with a complete Project Life album.  The ultimate dream is to be so motivated as to go back and complete a Project Life album for last year.  We will see.

If you scrapbook or use Project Life and write about it, I would love to read your blog.  Leave me a link to your blog in the comments.

Have a great day.

 

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

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Yesterday I told you about the ‘Under the Sea’ theme I began with my kids and our great seaside dessert.  Today we had a bit of wet and messy fun investigating our sensory tub.

Children learn best when they engage their whole body and this tactile activity is especially stimulating.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

I filled a tub with water, some water beads and a variety of plastic sea animals, shells and pebbles.  The boys put on waterproof smocks and I let them go for it.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

This was a great activity for both my 1-year-old and 4-year-old.  Master O helped his little brother by naming the different animals as he played with them.  As they explored, we talked about  what we knew about the animals and identified a few things we wanted to learn about their habits.

Under the Sea Sensory Tub

This was our first proper sensory tub and I think the kids and I are hooked.   They got a little wet, despite the smocks, but I guess that is part of the fun.  It is certainly cheap fun.  It didn’t cost anything as I just gathered items we had sitting around the house.

 

 

Valentine’s Day Art Gift

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Our part of the world here in Brisbane, Australia has been hit in the last few days by the wildest weather.  Luckily we escaped any major issues.  For some they have lost everything with the resulting floods, and my heart goes out to them.

Thankfully the weather fell over a long weekend to celebrate Australia Day.  It meant people could cancel non-urgent travel and spend it out of the path of the cyclonic weather.  We stayed indoors, watched movies  and thankfully completed some long-standing projects.

I was able to get very organised and complete my Valentine’s Day present for the hubby.  Today, I thought I would share it with you as it such a simple and effective Valentine’s Day project, that you too might want to make one for your other half for V-Day.

So firstly, I thought I would show you the inspiration for my artwork:

Nine Heart Vintage Map by Not on the High Street

I fell in love with this bespoke artwork by Not on the High Street.  It so beautifully records those places of significance in your relationship.  I really wanted one but because the concept was so simple, I thought I would save myself the $400 price tag and make my own.

I already had a great large square frame and hanging spot that was yet to fulfill its true destiny.  I had bought the frame from Ikea to help lighten our entrance (you can read about that post here), but I hadn’t found the right artwork to frame inside it.  Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

Really, could this project have got any easier to start?!

After some googling and some cropping, I printed 9 maps on photo paper.  Some of the places I chose for my artwork included: where we met, got married, honeymooned, traveled, bought our first home and where our children were born.

I cut these out using a heart template I printed off the net.

Valentine's Day Art

I stuck the hearts using double-sided tape to a piece of blue scrapbooking paper.  I chose this colour as it ties in nicely with the colour of the feature wall in our hallway.

Valentine's Day Art

I mounted this in the frame and voila it was ready to hang.

Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

Valentine's Day Art

It looks great and I really don’t want to take it down until Valentine’s Day.  I think it might just have to be an early present.

 

Linking up with some of these fun parties
Monday: Singing Three Little Birdies, I should be Mopping the Floor, Polly Want a Crafter?, Cherished Bliss, The Gunny Sack, Skip to my Lou, Craftomaniac, It’s so Very Cheri, Keeping it Simple, Creating Really Awesome Free Things, Alderberry Hill, Its A Blog Party, A Pinch of Joy, Making the World Cuter, Mad in CraftsSew Can Do, Sugar Bee Crafts, Tip Junkie, New Nostalgia, Ladybug Blessings,  How to Nest for Less, Watch Out Martha, Clairjustinexoxo,

Tuesday: Coastal Charm, Today’s Creative Blog, Not Just a Housewife, A Bowl Full of Lemons , DIY by Design, Funky Polkadot Giraffe, Home Stories A to Z, Hope Studios, My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia, Organising HomelifeCarolyn’s Homework, The Blackberry Vine, The Kurtz Corner,  A Little Tipsy, Gingersnap crafts, Time Warp Wife, These Creative Juices, The Thrifty Home, Its a Very Cherry World,  Cornerstone Confessions,   Rae Gun Ramblings, Northern Cottage, Clean and Scentsible, Creatively Living , Kathe with an E, Ivy and Elephants, Romance on a Dime,   The Real Housewives of Riverton, DIY DreamerPrimp, JAQS Studio

Wednesday: Oopsey Daisy, My Girlish Whims, Uncommonly Yours, Creations by Kara, Raising Homemakers, The Thrifty Home, Twin Dragonfly Designs, A Creative Princess, Sugar and Dots, Seven Thirty Three, Fabric Bows and More, Someday Crafts, Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Trendy Treehouse, Women Living Well, We are that Family, The Mommy Club , Raising Homemakers, Sew Much Ado,t SimpleFireflies and Jellybeans, Beyond the Picket Fence, Free Pretty Things for You, DIY by Design, Bloom Designs, Mom on Timeout, We Like to learn as we GoFamily Home and Life, Savvy Southern Style, Fine Craft Guild, Embracing Change, HandyMan, Crafty Woman, Polkadots on Parade, No Minimalist Here

Thursday: House of Hepworths Delightful Order, Its a KeeperThe Frugal Girls, The 36th AvenueThrifty 101, A Glimpse Inside, Brambleberry Cottage, Bear Rabbit Bear, Michelle’s Tasty Creations and Crafty Ideas, Shabby Creek Cottage, Goings on in Texas, Happy Go LuckyRaising OrangesThe Answer is Chocolate, The Taylor House, Crafty Scrappy Happy, Imparting Grace, Made in a Day, 52 Mantels, Loving This Crazy Life, Days of Chalk and Chocolate, Confessions of an ADD Housewife

Friday: The Shabby Nest, Chic on a Shoestring Decorating, At the Picket Fence, Whipperberry, French Country Cottage, Thirty Handmade Days, Creation Corner, Finding Fabulous, Stuff and Nonsense, Fingerprints on the Fridge Naptime Crafters, While He Was Napping, My Romantic Home, Bacon Time With the Hungry, Hungry Hippo, Kitchen Fun With My Three Sons, Remodelaholic, Happy Hour Projects, Simply Designing, Simply Sweet Home, Tidy MomYoung and Crafty, Serenity Now , Life as Mom, At the Picket Fence, Tatertots and Jello, Craft Junkie Too, A Little Knick Knack, Blissful and Domestic, Maiden D’Shade, Petites Passions, Bubbly Nature Creations, Here Comes the Sun, Liz Marie Blog, THe Grant Life, Craftionary, Redoux Interior, Common Ground, Just Us Four, Delicate Construction, AKA Designs, Family Ever After,

Saturday:  Be Different Act Normal, The Girl Creative , Funky Junk Interiors , A Vision to Remember, Positively Splendid , Its Overflowing, Natasha in Oz, Shaken Together, Homemaker in Heels, Addicted to Decorating

Sunday: A Rosie Sweet Home, I Heart Naptime, Under the Table Dreaming, DIY Showoff, Nifty Thrift Things, Sumo’s Sweet Stuff, Homemaker on a Dime, DIY Home Sweet HomeCherished Treasures, My 1929 Charmer