April 23, 2014

Spring Window Stars

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsWe recently changed out our window stars with some more springy-looking ones. I wanted to try some new patterns, but was really frustrated that so many patterns require rectangle pieces of paper, given that kite paper comes in squares. I finally broke down and made one window star that called for rectangle pieces of paper, by cutting our large sheets of kite paper into rectangles. Overall, the best directions that I have found for makings window stars come from this site. It is in German, but you don’t need to be able to read the directions, as the pictorial instructions are so good.

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Then I decided to see what I could make by making random, symmetrical folds. I ended up with a "cross made out of arrows” looking window star that I thought looked pretty.Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I will try to give directions to make this window star, in case anyone wants to try making one. I don’t have as nice of visuals that the German site has though. 

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I started with a square piece of kite paper and folded it in half in each direction, thereby dividing it into fourths.

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I then brought each corner into the center point, formed by the two folds from the previous step.

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I folded each triangle back towards the outside, leaving about 1/4” of the previous fold intact. 

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

After doing this to all four sides, it should look like the photo above.

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsI then folded the triangles inwards again, leaving about 1/4” of the outward fold (so it has an accordion type fold at this point).

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I then turned the paper so that one corner was facing downwards, one was facing upwards, one was to the right, and one was to the left. I brought the left corner inwards towards the middle line/fold. Then I brought the right corner in also, so that a kite shape was formed.

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I then folded a bit of each side outwards. I repeated these steps four times with four pieces of kite paper. I had to tape the four pieces together, as there was no way to tuck them into each other. I think we may experiment more with making up our own designs, as it was lots of fun.

Window Stars from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Once again, here is a list of vendors, who sell kite paper.

For more window stars ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out my Pinterest board.

Maureen

 

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.


April 21, 2014

Fairy Garden 2014

Our Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

I’s that time again! Magic Onions is hosting their annual Fairy Garden Contest. Our garden is the same fairy garden that we had last year, but with some modifications.

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsOne major change that we made was the plants. Of the plants that we started with last year, only the thrift and the thyme made it through the year. We did add some bonsai moss that I had leftover from our terrarium, though I don’t know if it will survive the one month out of the year when we get tons of hot sunshine on our backyard. I thought I’d give it  a try though, as the Irish moss that I planted last year did really well. It did so well, in fact, that it started to take over the garden and I had to transplant it to our side yard. 

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

This year we have had lots of fun decorating our garden for each holiday with fairy garden decorations that we have purchased from The Little Hedgerow.

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

We added a clothesline with fairy skirts on it.

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

We also added a new table set, which we found at our local nursery.

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

The red bike was from last year, but the bike with mushrooms in the basket is a new addition.

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

The fairy house is from last year and held up very well. 

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

The brass garden tools and white picket fences also held up well.

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Finally, since last year, Sola used some blue gems to make a “river” and decorated the garden with lots of shells and gems.

Fairy Garden from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Disclosure: Some item links in this post are affiliate links. I will make a small amount of money if you click on them and make a purchase. All opinions expressed, however, are 100% my own.

Maureen

April 17, 2014

Making Hot Cross Buns

Making Hot Cross Buns from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsThis week, Sola and I have been singing Hot Cross Buns for her weekly song. She has been quite entranced with the song, so I thought we’d try to make some hot cross buns ourselves. With Good Friday being tomorrow, the timing couldn’t have been more perfect! I settled on using King Arthur’s Flour recipe for Easy Hot Cross Buns. I don’t believe that I have ever actually eaten hot cross buns before, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When I saw that the recipe called for raisins, I wasn’t sure if anyone, but me would eat them, as my family doesn’t usually like raisins in their food. We did not have any rum in the house and the closest thing that I could find in our liquor cabinet was chocolate brandy, so that is what I soaked the raisins in. 

Making the buns took several hours, due to rising times, but overall was very easy and Sola was really able to do many parts of the recipe herself.  In fact, I let her be in charge of the frosting after I showed her how to make one cross. So I our hot cross buns were more of "hot squiggle buns".

They were actually a big hit, despite the raisins, with most of the family feeling that they taste a lot like cinnamon rolls.

Maureen

April 14, 2014

How to Make a Flower Fairy

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

This week, Sola’s Girl Scout troop is having an Easter/Spring celebration and the troop leader asked us parents to try to come up with some crafts for the girls to do. The troop is an all-ages Girl Scout troop, which I really like, but it does make coming up with a craft that is appropriate and fun for all the girls to be a little more challenging. I decided last week that I would love to make flower fairies with the girls, but had to come up with a way that was portable and doable for the younger girls. So this weekend, Sola, Secunda, and I made some flower fairies and worked out some of the kinks in my plans. I thought I’d share the directions here as well, as these are so fun to make.

To make these fairies, you will need:

  • One 1” wooden bead with a hole on the top and bottom
  • One pipe cleaner
  • 3 strands of embroidery floss (one for the hair, one for a shirt, and one for leggings)
  • A variety of artificial flower petals
  • Colored pencils or paint pens
  • Glue

To get artificial flower petals, I bought artificial flowers from Michael’s that were on clearance. I seperated the flower from the stem with wire cutters.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

The flowers then came apart into several layers, except for a couple of flowers, which had the layers glued together. I discarded the plastic pieces, though those could be used to make hats or something.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Now take your pipe cleaner and fold it in half. Insert the folded half into your bead like this:

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Then take the embroidery floss that you want to use for hair and wrap it around your hand several times, as shown in the picture below. Remove the floss and cut one or both ends of the circle that was formed by your hand, depending on how long you want your fairy’s hair to be (it should be twice as long as you want the hair as each piece will cover both side of the head). You should be left with a bunch of strands of floss of the same length.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Thread the floss strands through the folded portion of your pipe cleaner that is sticking out of the top of the wooden bead, centering the strands so that the hair falls evenly on both sides of the pipe cleaner and bead. Now pull the pipe cleaner a bit such that it is fairly flush with the top of the bead.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Feel free to experiment with the length of the hair. Secunda opted to make shorter hair. If you make even shorter hair than this and pull the pipe cleaner part way into the head bead, it will stick up, making “boy fairy” hair.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsTwist the pipe cleaner a couple of times around the bottom of the bead for the neck. Bend each side of the pipe cleaner out and back in to make arms. Twist the pipe cleaner a couple of more times for the torso.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

At the bottom of the two sides of the pipe cleaner bend the ends backwards to make feet.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Put a dab of glue on one “hand” and stick an end of the floss that you are going to use for the shirt on to the glue. How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Begin wrapping the arm, starting at the hand, being sure to cover all the fluff. Finish wrapping the first arm, then wrap the torso. Finally, wrap the other arm. Glue the end of the floss down to the other hand.How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Cut a small slit into the center of the flower petals you want to use to make the fairy’s skirt. Just make the hole big enough that you can slide both fairy legs through the hole (it will stretch some, so it does not need to be very big.

Flower Fairy 10

Now slide the fairy’s legs through the flower petal. If you are going to use multiple flower petals, first slide the petal you want on top of the skirt.Flower Fairy 11

Once you have the skirt on, flip the petals up, out of the way of the legs. Now wrap the legs, just like you did with the arms, starting at one foot and gluing the end down. Work your way up one leg and then down the other, securing the second end of the floss on to the second foot with glue. The legs will not be visible much.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

Use pencils or paint pens to draw a face on your fairy.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

To cover the end of the pipe cleaner on the top of the head and to fill out the hair more, wrap floss around your hand again and make some more hair. Glue this to the center of the head.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

You can glue two individual flower petals, cut from a large flower, to make wings for your fairy. Glue them to the fairy’s back.

How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle Shells

You can also glue flowers to the fairy’s head for a hat.How to Make a Flower Fairy from Blue Bells and Cockle ShellsNow let your fairy dry for a bit, then go have some fun with it!

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Maureen