Easter fun crafting session at West Kirby Library

As part of the Festival of Firsts the Hours of Fun workshop headed down to West Kirby Library to run an Easter hat making make and take stall.

The hats were made from paper plates and bowls, with recycled cardboard pieces available to use to add to the design and create masterpieces!

The children got busy making the hats, coming up with lots of different designs and decorating them in a variety of ways.  They used shredded tissue paper to create birds nests which they then stuck little fluffy chickens in.  They used tissue paper to cover the plates and bowls creating bright and colourful hats.  They used beads, feathers and gems to add bling, more colour and style, finishing them off with a piece of ribbon they could tie under the chin to keep the hats on their heads.

It was a fantastic venue for the craft session and I really enjoyed being in the library.  The staff were very friendly and even brought me cups of tea which was very much appreciated.  I was lucky to have two volunteers work with me for some of the session too.  Adam and Wayne are both completing their Duke of Edinburg Award and have been spending some time at the library helping out.  They were both fantastic, assisting children with their hats, making sure the table was kept stocked with supplies and chatting with the parents too.

I had a lovely day and look forward to future opportunities to craft there.

 

Easter egg fun making egg characters

Hours of Fun headed down to the Wirral Arts Centre in West Kirby last weekend to do an Easter craft workshop as part of their fantastic Easter egg hunt day.  Their theme was Easter and Alice in Wonderland.

The day started out with an Easter egg hunt which was enthusiastically embraced even through the rain.  The hunt finished up at the Arts Centre where there was face painting, food, tea and coffee, some fantastic stalls and the Hours of Fun craft table.

Alongside all of this was a performance of Alice in Wonderland’s Mad Hatter’s Tea Party which was brilliant, with lots of thought to the props and script and the costumes were perfect.

The craft table was busy throughout the afternoon making Easter egg characters.  The children painted their polystyrene eggs then decorated them with pipe cleaners, feathers, pom poms, googly eyes and foam shapes to create fabulous characters they could then take home with them.

We had so much fun and everyone loved the eggs they made.  It was the first time Hours of Fun had run a drop in workshop using paint – this could have got very messy!  The mess was kept under control though, lots of wet wipes were used and everyone popped on an apron and rolled up their sleeves before they got crafting.

Thanks to everyone who came to the workshop and a big thank you to the Wirral Arts Centre for inviting me along.  The venue is beautiful and quirky and they run all sorts of events there.  Check out their website for more information.

 

Easter weekend fun with crafts and baking

This Easter weekend I made time to try my hand at a couple of new crafts – lampshade making and soap making, I also headed into the kitchen for some Easter baking for our family meal on Easter Sunday.

 

Lampshade making

I have been wanting to make a lampshade for a while now and my Niece’s birthday was the perfect opportunity as I knew she needed a new bedside lamp.  I ordered a kit from Amazon where they have plenty of choice of kits in different sizes.  I choose a 30cm kit however when it arrived it was rather large for the lamp I was using, I therefore had to improvise – challenging myself straight away!

I had purchased a lamp with a plain shade so I carefully un-peeled the shade from the wire frame and removed the purple covering.  This was now my frame and template to be covered.

I followed the instructions provided in the Amazon kit using my own frame, material, adhesive spray and double-sided tape.  I had a lot of fun making the lampshade however I can share no more until I have given my niece her present!

Hannahs lamp April 2014 (5) Hannahs lamp april 2014 finished

Soap Making

I was given a soap making kit from my friends for my birthday and was keen to give it a try.  I set up my working area in the kitchen next to the stove, as instructed in the guidance notes provided.  I made three soaps using the moulds provided and tried something different with all of them.

It was very easy to follow, although my technique needs some practice and some further trial and error is required to understand what can be added to decorate and fragrance the soaps.

Hours of fun soap making first attempt (1) Hours of fun soap making first attempt (2) Hours of fun soap making first attempt (3) Hours of fun soap making first attempt (4)

The rectangle one with soap on the top was made with the strawberry fragrance provided and done in two layers – the top layer had marigold petals in and the bottom layer has lemon grass in.

The pink square one was made with a drop of pink food colouring and shredded coconut in.

The green one sadly had to be thrown away as I accidentely mixed water in with the soap whilst it was melting.  This had a drop of peppermint flavouring in, with some edible green sprinkles (which dissolved and turned the soap radioactive green!) along with some purple edible glitter.

Easter fun in the kitchen

We were heading over to my brother-in-laws on Easter Sunday for a roast dinner with the family and I was in the mood to do some baking to take with us as desert.  I wanted to do chocolate cake and also try something new so I choose Simnel cake.  I had never tried Simnel cake before however as it was simply fruit cake with extra marzipan in so I knew we would love it!

I followed a recipe I found on BBC – click here to visit the site and made marzipan for the first time which was delicious.  I didn’t have any almond flavouring in so I added a tiny little bit of toffee flavouring instead which worked well.

I also made apricot jam from a can of tinned apricot halves in sugar syrup – I added a little extra sugar and boiled it on the hob for about 30 minutes until the liquid reduced – it was a little sweet – perhaps I didn’t need to add any sugar – however perfect for coating the top of the Simnel cake before laying the marzipan on top.

Chocolate cake Easter 2014 Simnel cake 2014 (3) Simnel cake 2014 (2)

Easter craft ideas

With the kids off school for two weeks it can be challenging keeping them entertained every day.  The Easter weekend can be fantastic inspiration for getting crafty, playing games and baking in the kitchen.

 

Click here to visit the Hours of Fun Pinterest board full of craft ideas.

Why not have a search yourself on Pinterest to get some ideas for your weekend ahead.  Visit some of the websites below that are full to burst with fantastic ideas.

Spoonful

Martha Stewart

Activity Village

Netmums

Fun Free Easter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easter fun – decorating eggs with things found around the house

We visited our friend Chris at the weekend and got talking about Easter fun and crafting and he suggested we boil some eggs and decorate them to get us in the Easter crafting mood.

We boiled 4 eggs fresh from his chicken coop and Chris went off upstairs to his craft drawer to see what he could find to decorate the eggs with.  He soon returned with card, tissue paper, glue, glitter, paint, pastels and some small glass jars for us to place the eggs in.  He then headed out to his car and came back with a tub of googly eyes which he had in his glove box – a normal place to keep your googly eyes I think you will agree!

We painted one egg using water colour paints.  Any paint will normally work on egg shells, just make sure you allow time for it to dry before handling it or using different colours next to each other.

Easter fun decorating eggs 

We used pastel chalks to make an egg head on one of the eggs  The fab thing about pastels is that you can wipe it clean using a damp cloth if you go wrong, the downside is the pattern is very easily removed so be careful when handling it.  We then used tissue paper as hair and stuck googly eyes on the egg.

Easter fun decorating eggs

We made one of them into a chicken using coloured card and PVA glue.  Most glue will work but again you do need to leave it to dry before handing the eggs.  Googly eyes were used and the egg was rolled in glue then glitter to give it a sparkling look and it is also a fab messy job if you like getting your hands dirty!

Easter fun decorating eggs

Finally we used a pen and drew a pig on the egg and stuck googly eyes on it.

Easter fun decorating eggs

 

Easter fun decorating eggs

We had a couple of hours of fun using things around the house and 4 eggs – brilliant!  The eggs were then placed in the glass jars or you can use egg cups, and displayed on the mantelpiece above the fire.  Super cheap and simple Easter fun to get you in the Easter crafting mood.

Have a look round your house for crafting supplies.  Some ideas of things to use to decorate your hard boiled eggs –  glue, pens, felt tips, paints, paper, feathers, googly eyes, stickers, glitter, card, foil and crayons.

 

 

Hot cross buns – it’s a little past Easter but any day is good for hot cross buns!

The week before Easter I shopped for any ingredients I needed to make hot cross buns, I like to make seasonal treats!  However Easter passed and no hot cross buns were made, so yesterday I had a day about the house and made some.  It is quite a lengthy process as you need to leave them at various stages to rise, so perfect for a day at home.

I was keen to make sure I remembered to put the crosses on as I had made this mistake before, producing hot crossless buns!  I choose a recipe I had used for the first time last year which I felt needed some practice and they were fun to make and turned out pretty good.

They probably had a few minutes too long in the oven, which I have noted on the recipe.  They do lack some taste when tested, I think more sultanas and maybe more spices.  Still very edible but better toasted with butter.  This is the same outcome as last year; preferring them toasted with butter.  I need to master the perfect hot cross bun that is delicious to eat on its own, as it comes.

I had bought strong bread flour as the original recipe uses this, but the one I choose used plain flour so I see this as a sign to make the original recipe sometime this week and we can compare results.  The original recipe has more sultanas and has currants in.  It also has some lemon and orange rind which may be the perfect answer to a more tasty hot cross bun.  I can’t recall what we thought of the hot cross buns made with the original recipe as the crossless batch stole the show!

My mission now is to make a few batches whilst I have everything in required and see how we can improve on them.  I love hot cross buns and I would love to be able to make the perfect batch.

Easter is coming – time for Easter chicks, bunnies and hot cross buns woohoo!

With Easter weekend not far away now its time to start making Easter treats yeay!  I love dates in the diary that come around once a year with a list of seasonal treats to go with the occasion. 

Easter in the kitchen to me means chocolate chicks and bunnies, sugar paste chicks and bunnies with chocolate eggs and hot cross buns – or hot crossless buns if you forget the crosses!!

Here are some pictures from last year, I am hoping this year I get to make all of these and more.  I am not sure if there will be any time left for easter crafts as well, however I am going to jot down any ideas in advance of next year as if all goes to plan my shop will be in full swing and I will be able to engulf myself in the world of Easter crafts as well as Easter baking – double the fun!

Hot Cross Buns and I remembered the crosses this time yeay!

Two years ago I made Hot Cross buns for the first time using a recipe my friend Jo found in a magazine.  The first batch came out ok, the second batch tasted good but I forgot to put the crosses on the top so they soon became known as Hot Crossless Buns!

I thought it was time to try again.  The first batch I made I used a new recipe and they looked the part (they had crosses on!)  but didn’t seem quite cooked in the middle and the centre was a bit heavy.  They were yummy toasted but not really for eating as they come and didn’t have enough dried fruit in.

The second batch again looked the part, were ok eaten as they come and again yummy when toasted.  I think one more attempt is needed to master the kneading, shaping into buns and cooking time.  If all goes well I need to make notes next to the recipe to refer to next time I make them.

Easter chocolates and cupcakes

I didn’t have any cake orders due over the Easter weekend which meant I had the time to do some things for Easter, just for fun.

My friend bought me an amazing mould for Easter a year or two ago which I havent really used.  Lou Lou was round and spotted a baking tray easter mould which we got from Tescos and that got us in the Easter mood.  We melted chocolate and filled the Easter mould and the baking tray.  unfortunately we couldn’t get the chocolate out of the baking tray moulds at all and they had to be written off as a failure!  More practice is needed here!   However the Easter mould is amazing and created cute little bunnies, ducks and Easter eggs in solid chocolate – yum!

I also made some cupcakes for Kev to take in to work and originally I was planning on putting the chocolate Easter figures on top, however it didnt look right.  So I decorated them with yellow flowers and a butterfly which I made using a new fantastic cutter         Lou Lou bought me, thanks lots Lou Lou!