We were back at The Little House in the Park on Friday, celebrating the summer solstice with some seriously sunny crafts.

First we used fabric paints and pens on yellow t-shirts to make summer tops. Sorry, you really can't see in this picture but think yellow/orange/red paints with printing blocks of suns etc and you get the idea. All the kids loved doing their t-shirts - so easy to do. Just a shame I let Matthew wear his later when he was eating spaghetti bolognese for tea... *sigh*

The collage on a stick is meant to be the sun (clearly). It would have worked better if I'd cut the gold card into more of a sun shape first but frankly I was just feeling too lazy.

To make the poppy, first we got a cotton wool ball and spiked it on top of a willow stick. Then we wrapped some black material over it with a rubber band, and tied some wispy bits of black wool around for the stamen. The petals are four pieces of red crepe paper, sort of stretched at the top and taped at the bottom. Then we got a long thin strip of green crepe paper and wound it round and round the stick to make the stalk. Looks pretty good, I think. 

But my favourite thing is the simplest - the oily sun that Matthew's holding up. We cut sun shapes out of orange sugar paper and then just painted oil onto them - not all over but in dabs. When you hold it up to the light it's so effective - you can just about see in this pic. Now I'm trying to think what else might work well using this oily technique. Hmm... Any ideas? 
 
 
Back at The Little House in the Park today for the first time in ages. We started off in the Holburne Museum to get inspiration from the Painted Pomp exhibition (early 1600s art and fashion), before heading back to the Little House to make some Elizabethan accessories - a fan and some shoe pom-poms. 

To make the fan we printed with gold paint onto pre-cut paper, and when it was dry we folded it, used decorative cutters round the edge, then glued sticks of gold card (with holes at one end) onto the back, using a paper fastener to hold it all together at the bottom. 

The pom-poms are made from lengths of netting folded in half, tied off with a rubber band, and poked through a hole in a small doily. We added silver decorations with paper fasteners, then tied netting under the doily for attaching to shoes. Oh man these pom-poms are cute - Matthew asked me to tie them to his slippers when we got home and he's been prancing about like a dandy ever since.
 
 
It's nearly Easter, so no big surprises here: it's all about the bunnies and eggs this week. 

The woolly egg is something we made at The Little House in the Park. You need a partially blown up balloon, lengths of wool in different colours, and some watery glue. Just dunk the wool in the glue and wrap it round the balloon in lots of layers. When it's all dry, pop the balloon, and voila! A woolly egg. I think we could have done with using a smaller balloon and more wool, but it's still pretty effective and I love this idea. Wonder if it would work with balloon animals...? 

For the card we used paint pens, which dry in really nice pastel shades. Matthew did loads of painting on different bits of paper and then I cut out some egg shapes from them which we stuck onto cream card.

The bunny ears are just cotton wool glued onto pink card cut and folded into ear shapes, then taped onto an alice band. I had to use quite a lot of tape to keep them upright - anyone have any tips about this? 

Anyway - Happy Easter. May your eggs be of the highest quality chocolate. 
 
 
This week's session at The Little House in the Park was all about Chinese New Year - tomorrow marks the start of the Year of the Snake. So we went snake crazy.

The one on the right is your classic paper plate snake - covered in tissue paper and cut in a spiral. This one has a separate head glued on and is tied to a stick for extra springy fun - Matthew held it on the way home and it twirled round and round in the wind in a very pleasing way. 

The one on the left is a felt bracelet snake, made by Matthew's grandma, who came with us this week (there is NO WAY I would have been able to make that one during the session... far too busy trying to prevent Claygate). I think it involved winding lots of bits of wool round and then glueing a felt face on top. Seemed to keep her happy anyway. 

The clay snake is all Matthew's own work and he's very proud of it. It's just a shame it keeps breaking into bits. His dad looked at all the pieces bemusedly and said "Oh. You made poo at The Little House today."

We made the two little pipe cleaner snakes when we got back home (obviously couldn't get enough of the whole snake thing). Just two pipe cleaners twisted together with - yes - googly eyes stuck on. 

Happy Chinese New Year! 
 
 
Things are getting seriously Christmassy at The Little House in the Park. 

Matthew was really taken by the willow Christmas trees so we made one of those first. Most of the hard work (cutting and bending into shape) had been done for us, so all we had to do was assemble all the bits, tape them together and then decorate with tinsel, bows, ribbon and various baubles and other dangly things. 

Next we made the gnome. Well - I made the gnome. Matthew mostly messed around with the jar of beads and kept trying to swipe the needles off me. It's just a piece of felt cut into shape, sewn up along the neck and hat, and stuffed with wool. 

You can't really see just how very funky the angel is in this pic. She has a blue face, green arms, a pink body, purple wings and red tinsel hair. All chosen by Matthew. The skirt is a doily (obviously). We're getting our tree today and she might just have to take pride of place.
 
 
Last week's session at The Little House in the Park was all about hibernation and hunkering down for the winter. 

The spider's web is made from wooden skewers stuck into a conker, then wound round with wool of different colours. It was very therapeutic to make (I was deliberately blocking out Matthew unravelling all the other balls of wool in my peripheral vision). The spider is just four short black pipe cleaners twisted round in the middle, with its legs pushed into the wool. 

The hedgehog is made out of clay, and his little den is a cardboard box painted with shiny autumn colours and then stuffed with kapok and straw. We finished it off by gluing leaves on top. Matthew always likes it when the clay makes an appearance - I think he'd be quite happy just spending the whole session making clay hair with the garlic crusher. 

I fancy hunkering down for the winter. Wonder if the boy would be OK if I just crawled under the duvet for a few months? 
 
 
Today's adventures at The Little House in the Park were of the spooky kind, in anticipation of Halloween next week. 

The spider is made from pipe cleaners and furry fabric. You twist four pipe cleaners in the middle, wrap a strip of fur around, then use a long piece of cotton to wind all round the body and in between the legs to keep everything in place. Then you use a darning needle to thread elastic through the top layer of fur, and finish off with googley eyes. 

The bat is cut out of black card, with some strips of netting stapled on top. Again we used a darning needle to thread the elastic through. You can't see in this picture, but the end of the elastic is tied to a stick so you can bounce and fly the bat around. Cool.

The pumpkin is just bits of torn up orange tissue paper glued onto gold card. We sprinkled some green glitter on top too so it catches the light. We were supposed to make it into a mask but didn't quite get round to that (someone lost interest and started running amok with all the stuffed toys. It wasn't me).  
 
 
Last week's theme at The Little House in the Park was apples (in celebration of National Apple Day on 21 October). Here are some of our appley things. 

The biggest one is a willow wreath wound round with wool. Matthew couldn't quite manage the winding but was very enthusiastic about choosing autumnal colours and finding the ends of balls of wool (which he is quite handy at). 

The top right apple is made from plaited ribbon glued onto card in a spiral, and the bottom right one is glitter and other shiny bits scattered onto that sticky foamy stuff (don't know what it's called). We glued a safety pin on the back of that one too, to make it into a badge. 

Can I take this opportunity to sincerely wish everyone a very Happy Apple Day.