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Halloween Decor

Halloween Decor

Sometimes when you have young children it can be hard to find Halloween decor that’s not too gory or scary. So I’ve done the hard work for you and picked out the best costume ideas, props, decorations and activities suitable for all ages. You’ll find lots this Halloween on Etsy, and quite a few treats for yourself too. They have their own suggestions on their Halloween page but here are my favourites.

Monsters for your Mantlepiece

Halloween mantle decorWhen it comes to Halloween decor you can go cute or gory. Maybe it’s because we have small people in our house that I like Halloween to be fun and decorations to be tasteful but not too ghoulish. These mantlepiece decorations are so simply spooky but stylish too.

If you want to have a go at making your own, or need to choose your colours to fit with your theme then these craft shapes would be a good place to start.

 

Spider Tattoos

Spider TattooHow can you resist a trail of spiders scuttling up your arm?! Freak all your friends out when you show them your new creepy crawlies.

If spiders aren’t your thing then there are ghosts, witches and more too.

These children’s tattoos are great for younger monsters and for party bags or treat bags.

Photo Booth Props

There are three really great things about photo booths. First they don’t cost much to do. Second they can be enjoyed by all ages and lastly they mean lots of photos and fun memories of your party or get together.

These props will provide plenty of opportunity to be creative with your snaps. And if someone comes to your party and has ‘forgotten’ to dress up (you know there’s always someone) then you can oblige. After all we wouldn’t want them to feel left out would we?!

You can buy the props or you can print them yourself.

Photo booth propsphoto booth props instant digital download

 

 

 

 

 

Small and Simple

Sometimes the simplest decorations are tHalloween pompom decorationshe best and these pompoms were too cute to ignore as well as being very reasonably priced.

If you’re more of a fabric person than a yarn lover then you will love this Halloween banner.

I hope you’ve found this useful in your Halloween preparations. Please let me know in the comments if you did and if you see something on Etsy that you think I should include here please let me know in the comments.

Happy Halloween Decor-ating!

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Nativity Crafts

I am always being asked for Nativity crafts for Sunday Schools, preschools and in the home so I’ve put together a list of some ideas.

Nativity Crafts for all ages

1 Make your own Nativity Scene

Younger children can have fun cutting out and colouring in their own Nativity Scene.

Or why not draw some Nativity characters together, cut out and stick some lollipop sticks to make some puppets. This lollipop craft slolly stick craft kitet has lots of other ideas too. Then you can act out and talk about the Nativity story.

Alternatively use oven drying clay to make a lasting Nativity set. I found a great clip on Youtube to give you a start.

2 Jigsaw

Do a Nativity related jigsaw. This one is good value with 4 x 500 jigsaws in it. Four jigsaws titled, Window Shopping, Letter to Santa, The Nativity Play and The Queen’s Speech provide an opportunity to talk about lots of aspects of Christmas. Jigsaws are great for developing little minds and doing them together is a great social opportunity too. Plus it will give you some downtime in the run up to Christmas.

3 Nativity picture

Nativity crafts picture Phoenix TradingMake your own framed nativity scene. Cut out old Christmas cards, or draw your own background and characters and turn it in to a framed Nativity scene. Use a deep box frame to build a 3d picture of the Christmas story and then give as a gift.

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How to fix Jigsaw Puzzles

Pirate Jigsaw puzzles



I have grown up doing jigsaw puzzles, my family love them and every now and then along comes one that is just too good to break up!

Fixing your jigsaw puzzles so you can hang them on the wall is really quite simple.

jigsaw puzzlesYou will need:

  1. Fixative/Glue
  2. Old Newspaper (optional)
  3. Wall hangings

 

You don’t have to use newspaper but it can make jigsaw puzzles a bit more stable if you build it on a good hard flat surface. Once you’ve built your jigsaw slide it on to some old newspaper.

Then depending on what fixative you use you either simply spray the jigsaw fixative on the front of your jigsaw, following the directions on the can, or apply glue as per the directions. Leave to harden and there you have it. Yep it’s as simple as that.

From personal experience the fixative lasts for years. So even if you don’t hang the puzzle immediately you can store it by laying it flat until later. Under a bed is an ideal location!

You’ll need to choose how to hang your jigsaw. You could either glue some strapping to the back then attach some string or hooks, or slide poster holders along the top (and bottom to add weight) and thread string through these. Or frame your jigsaw.

Happy Puzzling!

Some of the most eye catching jigsaw puzzles I’ve seen are children’s ones that were originally posters. Like the one shown above, an illustration by Amanda Loverseed. Now as a jigsaw you can have the pleasure of the puzzle and the satisfaction of displaying your finished handiwork.

My favourite jigsaw puzzles have to be wooden ones. I remember getting them as a child, they seemd to be more common then, and more recently from Wentworth with their famous whimsies. If you like these too then you can get 10% off your first order with Wentworth wooden Puzzles.



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Merry Christmas Bunting Elf on the Shelf Antics

Merry Christmas Bunting Phoenix Trading cards Elf on the Shelf

My Elf on the shelf has been busy.

“Merry Christmas bunting” from Phoenix Trading.

Merry Christmas bunting decoration Phoenix Trading cards

This Christmas bunting makes an impressive addition to your Christmas decorations. With 20 pieces and 4 m ribbon you can decide where to put the stockings, Santa and snowman. You can choose whether to hang in a single line, or split as shown above.

Elf on the shelf has been making up some new arrangements

If you’re stuck for Elf on the Shelf ideas than you these anagrams will help you to fill a few days of mischief. You can find many more anagrams of Merry Christmas online, a simple search will bring up a range of pages with ideas. These were my elf on the shelf’s favourite ones.Merry Christmas bunting decoration Phoenix Trading cards

And if you like my elf you can find more like him at Daisyfelts. I think he’s rather cheeky but friendly looking.

Can you think of any more?

10 Ideas for a Christmas Eve Box

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5 Steps to Perfect Gift Wrapping

Phoenix Trading gift wrapping Flamingo Paperie

Here are a few simple steps to make sure your gift wrapping looks good and doesn’t take hours to do.

1 Buy Quality Gift Wrapping Papergift wrapping service

If you want your gift to look neat then you need wrapping paper that won’t crumple or rip when you start to cut it or fold it. A decent grade of paper (100gsm or more) will make your job easier and make the end result look better.

2 Use Matching or Complimenting Tag

I have 4 children so I’ve been to a few children’s parties and how often have I seen presents with no tag and no card attached. There probably was a card when it was handed over but in the excitement it’s all been put to one side and the card and gift have become separated. It’s really nice to say thank you afterwards but if you don’t know who the present is from then you can’t. A good idea is to stock up on plain tags that will go with anything, like manilla ones, or a multi pack.

3 Use Ribbon

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to add ribbon to a present. The most elaborate is probably organza ribbon but for a special occasion it really does the business. However baker’s twine is a really good buy and has lots of other uses too, or raffia is very cheap and a multi-coloured one looks fab.

If using organza, try adding an extra complimentary colour to the bow.

4 Cut straight lines

This is very hard to do with poor grade wrapping paper (see point 1) as most likely the paper will rip as you cut. Especially that foil stuff that looked so good on the roll and seemed really good value but when you open it you realise why it was so cheap as it falls apart in your hands.

Buy wrapping paper that has gridlines on the back, it makes your job easier and we’re all for that.

5 Keep it Simple

Don’t try and overcomplicate things. Sure you can find some great ideas for Japanese wrapping with fancy folds and origami on Pinterest and maybe for the odd occasion it’s great to give that a go. But when it comes to children’s parties, or Christmas where there’s a lot to do, keep it simple and make your life easier.

You can find lots of other great ideas and inspiration on Youtube.

If you found this useful and want another simple wrapping idea try The Gift Bag

 

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Things to put in a Christmas Eve Box

Christmas Eve Box

Ideas for a Christmas Eve Box

Thought I would ask my three older children (10, 7 and 5) what goodies they would like in a Christmas Eve Box and here’s what they suggested.

First find a box, add a few sweets and maybe some hot chocolate and you will keep the whole family entertained. Start the Christmas festivities off the night before. This one is ideal and not too pricey either.

1 Refill pack

Save yourself time and get the Christmas Eve Box Refill containing craft, colouring, decorations and games. Just add your own sweets and hot chocolate.

2 Snow

Even if it’s a beautiful sunny day outside, you can still have snow inside with this safe, non toxic instant snow – just add water. For a couple of quid you can’t go wrong with this in a Christmas Eve box.

3 Doodling

With 6 sheets in this Christmas Holiday Fun pack there are oodles of doodles to keep the whole family scribbling if necessary.

4 Colour in Ideas

Colour In Christmas TableclothThis huge paper tablecloth will keep everyone busy at Christmas. Either use it just as something to do or for maximum value put it on the table for Christmas dinner with a few pens, crayons or coloured pencils and watch all ages get stuck in. Also makes a great poster.

Alternatively try the colour in Christmas Tree from Flamingo Paperie, or their colour in nativity bunting.

5 Christmas Cracker

Christmas cracker cadbury chocolateIt’s Christmas after all, there probably need to be some sweets and what better way to add to a Christmas Eve box than in a cracker. Cadbury have lots of Christmas confectionary ideas as you would imagine but this one is a great box or stocking filler. If you don’t do chocolate, e.g. if you’re dairy free then Hampergifts have some fabulous retro sweet hampers and packs.

6 Craft Box



If your children love craft activities then why not get them a subscription to the Mister Maker Club? They send you a craft box every month or 2 weeks (you choose, there are 12 boxes in total so you won’t be subscribing for years and years, another bonus in my opinion!). Order your subscription in time for the first box to be part of your Christmas Eve activities.

7 Books

If you need some ideas of books for Christmas Eve then we traditionally read Twas the Night Before Christmas before they go to bed on Christmas Eve but they also love Illustrated Stories for Christmas. A Christmas Carol is also a great read for older children. Christmas Day will be so busy that bedtime stories probably won’t happen. I believe no Christmas Eve Box is complete without a story. Settle them down for bed and take the chance to stop for a minute and remember what Christmas is all about amidst the preparations. If you are true bookworms then plan ahead with some Christmas advent books.

8 Jigsaws

All my family, from ages 1 to 80+ love jigsaws. So I always get a couple of Christmas jigsaws in for the holiday. It’s just perfect for those ‘I’m bored’ moments when the weather is too bad to send them outside. When I get a chance to sit down for 5 minutes it’s great relaxation for me too.

9 DVD

It's a wonderful life dvdOf course there is always the option of a DVD. Why not schedule in an hour or two to put your feet up, get out the popcorn and watch a DVD together. Our Christmas favourites are Muppet Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street and Elf. What’s your favourite? Share with us in the comments below, it might give someone else who’s stuck an idea for their Christmas Eve box.

10 Chatterboxes

chatterboxes fortune tellersRemember these? We called them fortune tellers I think. This pack from Flamingo Paperie has 6 sheets, with jokes, forfeits, fortunes and more. Great fun for Christmas Eve and could be used for Christmas Dinner entertainments too. For just a couple of quid it provides lasting fun for all.

I haven’t tried myself but I did think if you are making your own Christmas crackers that you could include one of these in each cracker if you do some of the initial folding.

You can see a video I did of a Christmas Eve Box full of activities  here.

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Traditional Advent Calendars

traditional advent calendars

You know Christmas isn’t far away when it’s time to start opening your advent calendar. I remember every advent calendar I had when I was little. They were all traditional advent calendars with 24 little doors to open. Even if I got a new one the next year I would still reuse the old one pushing the doors shut as tightly as I could so I could reopen them again. My children love chocolate but when it comes to advent calendars the delight and wonder of the traditional advent calendar is what they ask for.

Phoenix Trading snowy village advent calendarIf you’re looking for something more traditional this Christmas season then here are some of the best traditional advent calendars you will find. Flamingo Paperie (from the people who brought you Phoenix Trading) have been producing well-known, beautifully illustrated, traditional advent calendars for over 20 years now. With either 24 doors to open or 24 pieces to press out and slot in or stand up, these calendars will stay in the memories for years to come. All printed in the UK and beautifully illustrated.

Whether you love Nativity themed, Santa or just Christmassy there are traditional advent calendars for everyone.
Flamingo Paperie Christmas cards Nativity stable advent calendar XADV01
Nativity Stable

The Nativity Stable, with both slot in and stand up pieces, illustrated by Kate Garrett is our current bestseller. This is a perfect advent for classrooms, Sunday School or at home.

Ski Resort Advent Calendar Flamingo paperie XADV05
Ski Resort
Christmas Ark
Christmas Ark
Tower of London advent calendar 3D with doors and windows to open every day. Code ADV37 traditional advent calendar xadv04 flamingo paperie
Tower of London
advent calendar winter village
Winter Village

 

 

 

 

Ski Resort, with slot in pieces and illustrated by Julia Rigby.
Christmas Ark, with 24 slot in pieces, illustrated by Julia Rigby.
Tower of London, with a mixture of slot in pieces and doors to open, illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.
Winter Village, with 24 slot in pieces, illustrated by Sue James.

Reindeer Stables Advent Calendar xadv03
Reindeer Stables

The Reindeer Stables, with 24 slot in pieces and illustrated by Amanda Loverseed is our second bestselling advent calendar. Of course you’ll know all the reindeer names but in case you forget one, they’re on each of the stable doors!

If you’d like to see the Winter Village unfold day by day then take a look at my video of the advent calendar being built.

The latest designs are available online in my Flamingo Shop now. Click here or click on an image to go straight to that calendar. Alternatively keep reading to see some well loved old favourites, available while stocks last here, at Cards and Gift Wrap.
snowy village advent calendar phoenix trading
Snowy Village
'Traditional Christmas Tree advent calendar with pop out pieces to insert each day. Code ADV33 traditional advent calendar
Christmas Tree

Snowy Village, 24 houses to build and place round the village. Elegantly illustrated by Sally Swannell.
Christmas Tree, 24 slot in decorations, Illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

 

 

Bethlehem advent calendar traditional German style advent calendar Phoenix Trading cards traditional advent calendar
Bethlehem
Nativity advent calendar fold out calendar with 24 doors. Code ADV26 traditional advent calendar
Nativity

Bethlehem, with 24 slot in pieces and illustrated by Sarah Summers and Nativity with 24 doors to open in a 3D display, illustrated by Anna Cattermole are both exquisitely illustrated advent calendars depicting the story of Jesus’ birth.

 

 

Santas House advent calendar with pop out pieces to insert each day. Code ADV34traditional advent calendar
Santa’s House
If you want something with a Santa theme then the following advent calendars all have some aspect of Santa’s part in the big day.
santas room advent calendar
Santas Room
Santas workshop advent calendar
Santa’s Workshop
Map of the North Lands advent calendar with pop out pieces to insert each day. Code ADV35traditional advent calendar
Map of the North Lands
It's Christmas advent calendar
It’s Christmas

Santa’s House, 24 pieces to slot in, illustrated by Karen Tye Bentley.
It’s Christmas, with 24 slot in pieces and illustrated by Karen Tye Bentley.
Santa’s Workshop, 24 slot in pieces and illustrated by Laura Stone.
Map of the North Lands, 24 slot in pieces, and illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.
Santa’s Room, 24 pieces to slot in, illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

No Christmas would be complete without a Gingerbread House or a Pantomime (Oh no it wouldn’t!).

 

Christmas Pantomime advent calendar with stand up pieces and a door to open every day. Code ADV36 traditional advent calendar
Christmas Pantomime
Gingerbread House advent calendar with stand up pieces and a door to open every day. Code ADV30 traditional advent calendar
Gingerbread House

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gingerbread House, 24 doors to open in a 3D scene, illustrated by Louise Angelicas.
Christmas Pantomime, 24 doors to open in a 3D scene, illustrated by Kate Gunn.

If you love the vintage Christmas look then the 3D advent calendars with 24 windows to open each day will give an almost Victorian style to your decor.
'Department Store advent calendar' 3D advent calendar with doors and windows to open every day. Code ADV27 traditional advent calendar
Department Store
Christmas Bakery and Tea shop advent calendar
Christmas Bakery

 

Department Store and Christmas Bakery both illustrated by Amanda Loverseed.

If you like these then you’ll also love the traditional advent calendar cards. Perfect for popping in the post and like all our Christmas cards they are charity cards too.

Join my customer club to keep up to date with new releases and special offers.

 

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7 Activities to keep Children Entertained at your Wedding.

Happy Families

Yes, you know the panic – little Johnny is coming and he’ll never sit still for 5 seconds, nevermind the speeches! Well don’t worry here are some great ideas to keep children entertained and happy and their parents over the moon that you’ve taken time to think of them.

It doesn’t matter what the parents might bring to keep their own children occupied, kids will always be more interested in something ‘new’.

1 Colour in Tablecloth

Colour in tableclothYou can’t go wrong with a colour-in tablecloth. Even better if the children are sitting amongst all the adults, this will keep all ages entertained with the adults having a great excuse to doodle, colour and create.

2 Paper dolls

Remember these? Paper dollsThese paper dolls are great fun.

3 Games to keep children entertained

Happy Families

For smaller children how about some happy families (the ultimate wedding game surely?!).

4  Colour in finger puppets.

Have some fun both colouring and creating your very own puppet show with these simple farmyard finger puppets.Colour in finger puppets

5  Sticker Sets

Repealable sticker sets are great too, with either a Fashion Boutique or Funny Faces option.

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6 Colouring

colour in party tablecloth

Other colour in activities include the colour in party poster. Perfect for older children. Or the colour in around town.

Finally – No. 7 – an Activity Bag to keep children entertained all day

why not combine some of the above in an activity bag for each child. Maybe, finger puppets, and Happy Families for the younger child and party poster, and Happy Families for the older child.

Having children at your wedding need not be a headache. With these ideas they will remember the occasion for years to come, enjoy every minute without disrupting the event and happy children means happy parents and happy guests…plus, trust me, the adults will love colouring in too!!!

Other things you might like:
Spy party ideas games and food
Wedding superstitions

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Learning to weave?

woven twine gift wrappin

OK, so this is a long way from what I hope to be doing when our Hattersley Loom is up and running (and I’ve worked out what to do with it…don’t hold your breath here!)…but I do think this would look really effective on top of plain kraft wrapping paper. I think I’d try it with our gold sparkle twine mixed with the red/white. Or maybe the blue and gold metallic?

Which colours do you think would work best?

If you like this – you might like Paper Chain Hearts