Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Getting crafty for Easter

Unbelievably the school holidays are rapidly approaching, despite it only being about three weeks since they were last off!  Thanks to Easter falling relatively early this year, the term between Christmas and spring break has been very short indeed (made all the shorter by an unexpected couple of days off due to snow and ice).

I'll be off with our two for the whole two weeks, so it falls to me and me alone to keep them entertained.  This is becoming increasingly difficult - for one, it's proving harder and harder to find activities that appeal to both an 11-year old tweenage girl and a 6-year old boy. Not impossible - swimming and the cinema (if the film is right) work well - but challenging. Play places no longer cut it for the Girl, certainly - she's too old now (and too darn tall) to be entertained by them (although I think she secretly still enjoys them once she's there…). Secondly, we don't have a huge amount of money to spend, so anything we choose to do needs to be cheap. Thirdly, history dictates that the weather during these holidays is likely to be inclement at best, so I really need to find some indoor activities if I can.

A bowl full of chocolate - my idea of heaven...!

Easter falls slap bang in the middle of our kid's two-week break, so I've been making a list of crafty, Easter-themed ideas and activities to keep us all amused.  And I thought it might be worth sharing them with you… Most of these are pretty good as gift ideas for loved ones, or you can just use them to pass the time on a rainy school holiday afternoon.  All of them can be just as effective without an Easter theme. And you don't need to have kids present to enjoy them - they're equally fun for kids (and big kids!) alike.

For a quick, colourful and cheap floral idea, save your old food tins (the ones with the pull-off lids, not the ones you need to use a tin opener on). Use some sand paper or wire wool to gently take off any slightly rough bits around the edges. Fill the tins with water and freeze.  Once frozen, use a hammer and nail to punch holes in the bottom of the tin, then allow to defrost and discard the water. Then, using acrylic or spray paints, or something like Posca pens, and varnish, or old scraps of paper or washi tape, decorate the tin.

I decided to decorate my tins with some paper I had left over from other craft projects

Go wild or go minimal - the choice is yours. Pop in a flowering bulb and you have a beautiful and unique floral display, great for gifts.

How Easter-y do these look? The Hyacinth plants were bought in a set
from the local supermarket and cost £2 for the lot. The yellow and
orange ribbons are small sections I've saved from the handles of gift
bags and from the hanging tags you get on jumpers and tops

I think these colours complement each other really well, and are perfect for Easter

In a similar fashion, you could customise tubs and pots of ready planted bulbs and spring flowers using anything you can find - buttons, painted pasta shapes, fabric scraps - let your imagination take over and go with the flow!

How about painting or decorating a rock or pebble?  We have an amazing initiative in a town close to us called Rammy Rocks (you can find more information on it here). The idea is that you decorate or paint pebbles and rocks with any designs you wish, varnish them and then hide them around your town for others to find.  Once they've been discovered they get re-hidden, either in the same place or in another spot.  The Rammy Rocks initiative now has something like 7,000 Facebook followers, and the pebbles have been hidden and found all over the world!  If you don't have a similar initiative near you, you can still get plenty of pleasure from painting your pebbles and displaying them in your home or garden.

These are pebbles and rocks we've picked up on beaches and in parks in the past

Don't worry about them looking professional - the fun is to be found in the creating, not in the end result! Acrylic paints and Posca pens work really well on pebbles too, but whatever you use, do make sure you use weather-friendly paint or pens and varnish.  I decided to decoupage one of mine with one of my favourite children's characters...

LOLA! I think she looks fantastic! If I varnish this it can go outside

Youngsters love a good treasure hunt and Easter is the perfect excuse. We have one every Easter Sunday in the house for the kids.

I drew the Treasure Hunt sign freehand and added some eggs
I bought at a local supermarket, £2 for 12 eggs in total

I make up the clues and hide them around the house.  I buy a couple of £1 bags of Easter chocolates and hide two treats with each clue, one for each of the kids. The clues eventually lead to their Easter egg. It takes no more than ten minutes for them to complete the hunt and I wonder each year if they'll want to do it, but they talk about it a lot and have asked again for it this year so I must be doing something right! If you have a garden (and good weather) you could extend the hunt outdoors.

Here's a great idea to encourage your kids' creativity - have you heard of window pens, or chalk pens?  They're fantastic - businesses use them to write on their windows and you can buy them in craft shops. They're easily removable, and my kids love drawing on their bedroom windows with them.

There is sooooo much fun to be had from these fantastic markers

Why not encourage them to create an Easter display on a window or mirror? If they're using a window, remember that whatever they create will be seen by the outside world, but reversed - and you have to be especially careful with words (LOVE, for example, seen from the outside, spells EVOL, which may not be in keeping with the loving message you're wishing to convey!).

The Boy has had great fun decorating our front window with an Easter egg design.
And once you've finished with it, it just wipes off.

How about getting your children to make some Easter bunting for their rooms or for a mantelpiece? All you need is some felt, fabric glue and ribbon.

I cut out some egg shapes out of scraps of felt

Find a template for an Easter egg outline (there's loads on the internet, and if you don't have a printer, just hold your paper to the screen and draw round it!). Decide on how long you'd like your bunting to be, and therefore how many eggs you need.  Also, decide how you'd like to decorate the eggs - how about spelling out your child's name? Or that of the recipient if it's to be a gift? Alternatively, you could use sequins, ribbon, fabric pens… Cut out as many eggs as you need, decorate them, and then stick them to your ribbon. I decided that simple was best and spelt out 'Easter' using a different letter on each egg...

I've hung my Easter bunting in my craft room

Finally, this idea for an Easter egg 'stained glass' window display is a lovely one. Take some card, A4 or larger ideally, and cut out two identical Easter egg shapes. Black card works really well here. Carefully cut out the centre of the eggs, leaving a border of approximately 2cm all the way around.

I drew an egg shape on two sheets of A4 black card...

... and then cut out the centre, leaving a 2cm border.
The centre can be discarded.

Put one of the eggs off to one side. Then get some different colours of tissue paper and rip them up into relatively small amounts. Starting from the edge of the egg, glue different bits of tissue paper to the edge, so that they start to look like a stained glass window.

This is great fun - but mind you don't get glue on your fingers!

Work your way into the centre of the egg, attaching the bits of tissue paper to each other as you go.  Be careful with the glue though - the tissue paper is fragile and has a tendency to rip, and it will also stick to the surface you're working on if you're not careful!

This is what it looks like once all the centre has been
tissue papered...

... and once you've covered the rough edge with the second
of the black outlines it gives it a much better finish
(and makes it stronger, too)

Once complete, glue the second egg to the top of the first, to make it stronger and to hide the rough edges of the tissue paper. Now hang it in your window and watch it shine!

The finished item! When the sun shines through it the
colours are wonderful. You could choose any shape, but an
Easter egg works especially well I think

For those of us a little more proficient in crochet, check out Cotton Pod and Attic 24 for some lovely Easter-inspired ideas. Sharon at Cotton Pod has a plethora of gorgeous patterns available either free of charge or for around a pound each, and Lucy at Attic 24 has some stunning, colourful crochet tutorials set out in the simplest of terms, from flowers to spring-inspired wreaths and blankets.

This is a bunny I made for the Boy a couple of years ago from a
cracking pattern I found at Cotton Pod. He is still very much loved,
and is currently sharing the Boy's bed each night

Hopefully there are enough ideas here to keep you busy, and your young charges out of mischief, for at least a little while!

Bye for now xx

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