Monday, 31 October 2011

Best gift ever?

I'm such a sucker for customisable products, especially anything related to special memories. That's why I'm considering this fantastic poster for my son. We already do the Shutterly books, but something like this, hanging in his bedroom, would be pretty cool.

Artist and designer, Chase Simmering, is selling these year-in-the-life posters at
It's an original way to document the many milestones and events - even the daily minutiae (that's my favourite actually) - of your child's life. Billed as an "annual report", it documents their first Halloween costume, how many blog posts were written about them, what set off their tears, and features their growth visually.

Finished size is 17 by 22 inches and they cost $150 each.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

a great grandparents' gift

Anyone else a sucker for photo collages? I'm not quite sure where you'd get podge in Doha (Jarir Bookstore possibly?), but if you manage to track it down, please let me know! This is a terrific craft that can either be for the kids, the grandparents, or even used to make up a collage of your travel pictures for your guestroom.

You need:
Your selection of photos, boards (this project used two 20x30 foamcore boards), foam brushes, double-sided tape, mod podge (try to find matte mod podge instead of the glossy kind, which will give off too much glare).

Here's an image to show how thick the boards are. Obviously the thicker the board, the more thought you'll have to give to how to secure the finished product to the wall.

1. Begin first by drawing up a plan, figuring out exactly what your layout is going to be. In this case, it was done simply in a notebook.

2. Be diligent about making sure everything will fit on the board by cutting paper into the same size as your pictures and laying them out on the board. You may have to cut your photos down further to ensure everything fits as it's supposed to.

3. Once this prep work is done, put the board on the floor and place your photos in the pattern and order of your design. Tape each photo down with double-sided tape.

4. Then unleash the mod podge all over it, which will dry clear. Allow to dry overnight and then hang up in your chosen spot.

weekend project

I love personalised T-shirts, and although Virgin Megastore at Villaggio now offers a fantastic personalising service, this is such an easy project to try out at home this weekend. Basically you can create a T-shirt with little more than sandpaper, crayons and an iron. Better yet, if your little one is a bit of an artist - or if you're looking for crafts for a birthday party - this would be a cool project for you to oversee.

You need:
Good quality crayons, a T-shirt, iron and fine sandpaper. The more coarse sandpaper will provide more texture, so you can it a bash anyway if it's all you have.

1. On the sandpaper, draw a fun design. This website went with a rainbow, though for my son, I'd likely do a surfboard. Once you're done, go back over the design, giving it a nice thick layer of bright crayon.

2. Position a piece of cardboard inside the T-shirt to keep the design from bleeding through to the back of the shirt.
3. Place the sandpaper, design-side down, on the T-shirt. Put a piece of paper towel on top of the sandpaper to protect your iron.
4. Put your iron on the cotton setting, and place the iron on the sandpaper for about 30 seconds. Gently lift one edge to make sure you have a good print before removing the sandpaper, If it hasn't transferred well, just iron a bit more.

5. To set the colour, place a few paper towels on top of the T-shirt's design and iron - this removes some of the excess wax. Toss the T-shirt in the dryer for abut 20 minutes to set it further. When you wash it for the first time, pop it in the machine on its own.
Images and project courtesy of

Sunday, 18 September 2011

halloween is coming!

I would have loved to celebrate Halloween, but it was a non-event in apartheid-era, isolated South Africa (where even pizza was only available from the 90s, for example). Luckily, my little boy will be able to enjoy the trick-or-treat holiday, and - until he's old enough to be embarrassed and refuse - be dressed up in whatever catches my eye. Last year he was a baseball player, and this year, I am loving the Yoda look. 
I found these fantastic munchkin costumes online, and although there are plenty of great ideas for older kids, these little fatties are just too cute not to post. Check out sites like for advice on how to make costumes at home, or try if you're less domestically inclined but in possession of a decent shopping habit.

An old-school day

I love this party idea, because this is exactly the kind of thing I used to do as a kid. A sidewalk chalk party would be a great summer kids' party theme - simply put out tubs of brightly coloured chalk, get creative with the little design extras such as the invitation, fire up the grill and make it one of those old-school neighbourhood bashes.

For when they'll actually listen

Yes, it's been a looong time since I posted anything, but I'm getting mojo back, so expect a raft of new ideas. My sprog is in Toddler Mode, and I can't lie, it's exhausting. On a whole new level. The tantrums. The sheer glee at being set free (out of my arms, out of the pram, into open space). While I can't imagine him actually listening to me and holding onto this anytime soon, I really like this idea for the child who is a little more obedient. It's a shopping bag with a cute little handle that your little one can hold onto so he or she won't get lost or go wandering down the toy aisle of the local supermarket. Find it at

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

all hail the quiet book!

This week, I have two kiddie-related obsessions. The first is the "table" tent I wrote about earlier in the week, exacerbated by reading that my toddler is reaching the stage where he would appreciate a private spot that he can retreat to and play in. I am hooked on the idea of getting someone with needle skills to make up a pirate's fort that will fit over our dining room table, be filled with cushions and be his own little zone.
The second obsession is something I had never heard of before, a quiet book. Apparently this is something mothers put together to keep their kids quiet and occupied at church, and is likely to be a lifesaver on our long flight back home.
You can take inspiration from the many quiet books online and build one that will help your child learn how to count, tie shoelaces, button up outfits, and, in the case of the Star Wars Quiet Book, rescue their friends from Darth Vader. The key to a great quiet book is make every page entertaining and educational.
To find out more, visit these sites with their fantastic examples and tips, and enjoy making a book that will likely be given by your children to your grandchildren one day.

And for the children of Gen Xers, a Star Wars version that you may struggle to keep away from Dad:

And here are some ideas from those sites to get you inspired:

The ark, complete with zippered pouch containing the animals... who also just happen to be finger puppets. Love!
Tic-Tac-Toe and learning to tell the time