Chinese New Year crafts

Chinese New Year is celebrated on January 31st and 2014 is the Chinese New Year of the Horse.

It’s a great time to be crafty as the red traditionally associated with Chinese New Year is really vibrant and much needed at the time of year. Red is a lucky colour in Chinese culture and on Chinese New Year money is traditionally given to family, friends and employees in a red envelope.

I thought I had a Chinese New Year Pinterest board but I don’t (yet!) which is strange as my timeline has been inspiring us to craft at home for weeks. Here are a few we’ve come up with so far:

Chinese New Year tea light holders


Finger print Chinese lanterns


5 minute fortune cookie


What have you all been making? Feel free to comment and I’ll come and visit!


100 Happy Days

I don’t know if any of you have seen this doing the rounds on Facebook?


The premise is simple, to post a picture on social media, using the hashtag #100happydays, once  a day for 100 days, of something that makes you happy.
And in the spirit of the New Year, and the compulsion we all seem to feel to strive for a shiny New Me, I thought that this sounded like a pretty fine challenge!

And you would think it would be easy, right?

Apparently not.
On the site they give the stat, that 71 % of the people who previously attempted this challenge failed.
Well, that is like a red rag to a bull for me! Surely I am not one of those 71%?!
I love a challenge, and if 71% of people fail, then that seems a pretty good challenge to me!

And for all those of you wondering why on earth anyone would want to do this…
It’s all about Mindfulness.
Mindfulness seems to be the buzz word of 2014 so far, and as well as a challenge, I love a bandwagon, so I’m jumping on.
Seriously though, being more mindful of what makes us happy, taking the time to register and acknowledge, and be grateful for, all the little things that happen every day that make us smile, is proven to make us happier. And who doesn’t want to be happier?
At times, I think we are all guilty of focussing on what we don’t have, rather than what we have.
Part of My Make Do and Mend Year, has been about realising that actually, I, we, have enough. We have enough (more than enough) material things. We don’t need any more.
And sometimes we (I) just need reminding to be grateful for what we have. For enough. To stop chasing after what we could have, and focus on what we have.
So that’s why I’m doing it.
Anyone else in?!

PS. I am already two weeks in, you can see my weeks 1 and 2 round ups here and here.

5 Fab Tips on Working from Home

5fabtipsonworkingfrom home


Yip, it’s that time again… the time of year we sit up and take stock of ourselves, our lives, our wants and our dreams.  For many of us, those dreams include taking the plunge and stepping into the unknown world of ‘Self-Employment’

I have been self-employed for most of my working life and although it is a constant ‘kick yourself up the backside and plod on’ kinda venture, it is also HUGELY rewarding.  Selling something you have created or seeing the results of your work makes your heart burst with pride and gushiness. Yes, 10 Noddy badges per triumph over here! Being able to fit things in around school plays, sports days, anniversaries & birthdays is a huge bonus too and well worth the work done in the wee small hours of the morning to catchup!

So, I did a little research and have come up with these top 5 tips for those of you who may be considering the road to self-employment, be it an Etsy, Folksy, eBay store or even becoming a professional blogger. (Dream job alert!)

 1. Pricing

Don’t be afraid to charge what the value of your product or service is worth! So often I see entrepreneurs undercharging for beautiful items or services (particularly social media related!)  which I know have probably taken them the best part of a week to complete!


All credit to Tolmema for this handy formula!

Bailey sums up this (sometimes tricky) issue for crafters in particular here in her article by saying:

“If you want to actually profit from your crafting, you HAVE to charge what your product is worth. It’s going to be higher than Walmart pricing, and that’s okay, because your items are made by hand and that takes time, effort, materials, and more. If the consumer truly appreciates the products that you are selling, they will buy it, regardless of the price. The biggest factor is demonstrating the value to your customers. Once you do that, people will realize that your products are worth their cost, and you will see more sales!

2. Find a Space

Designate a little corner in your home that is Just Yours. It could be a spare cupboard, a chest of drawers or even a movable caddy like this:


{Source Unknown}

Whatever it is, assign yourself a little space to get creative and help keep yourself organised! If you really want to have a mooch around a heavenly craft space, check out Jaime’s room over at Raising Up Rubies. *Drool warning!* Pure.Happiness.

3. Have a system & a schedule

Organisation in your ‘workplace’ is key here…. you will be the Director, HR Manager, Secretary, Marketing Guru & Creative Genius all wrapped up into one! Implement a system for keeping all of those bits of paper organised, orders in check & dates diarised and you will sleep waaaaayy easier.

I find it all too easy to just pop the laundry on, or stop what I’m working on to vacuum the house because it’s bugging me….

Have.A.Schedule. And stick to it! I found a great article on How to Create a Cleaning schedule that really works over on Organise My House – check it out Here! 


How to organise your time when working from home by Christina’s Adventures

4. Surround yourself with things that inspire and motivate you!



Staying motivated is KEY to being successful by working at home. It’s all to easy to sit at your computer / craft table for 6 hours straight without taking a breather.  I often get ‘writers block’ and the best way to unleash the words is to go and sit in a coffee shop with a notebook & pen. People-watching creates great stories! So does coffee. Oh coffee how I love thee.

Give yourself a break to go and do something you really enjoy… even if it’s just a brisk walk around the block or a quick swim before you pick up the kids – the perks of working from home is that you are able to schedule time to do these kinda things!

Make it pretty! I have a stationery PROBLEM. I heart pretty stationery… pens, post-its, sticky tape, paper – you name it, I LOVE it! I have loads of the stuff and use it daily – I’m convinced it helps me be more productive. Convinced. 🙂

5. Be Easy on Yourself

Working from home isn’t always plain-sailing, BUT it’s hugely rewarding.  Don’t beat yourself up if you didn’t get all 52 things on your To-Do List done today. Becca at My Crazy Good Life has some great advice here…

“Your to-do list will never be done.

Every night, circle the three most important things on your to-do list for the next day.

Get them done.

If you have time, do more. And at the end of your day, turn your computer all the way off and close the door to your office.

There’s always tomorrow.”

Keeping home and work seperate is always going to be the most challenging, and you won’t always get that balance right – don’t beat yourself up & most importantly have fun, network lots, read lots & enjoy every second of being your own Boss!


Toilet roll stars

How are you all getting on with your plans for Christmas? I’m pleased to say I’m pretty much done which is the way I like it. I spend all November shopping and planning so I can really enjoy December and all the fun festivities. My son has fully embraced the festive season (he’s only 3) and we’ve been enjoying crafting together.

We’ve made hand print angel toppers for his Christmas tree, tried our hand at handmade stamps and wrapping paper, a craft stick Christmas tree and made some sweet smelling dried orange slices for our tree. I’ve also tried some more grown up decorations, such as a tree from vintage rulers, clothes peg snowflake and even hand stencilled some gifts.

Our latest offering is toilet roll stars. It amazes me how many things you can do with toilet roll tubes but this is one of my favourites, inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. I cut a tube into thin slices and made a hole through the centre of each slice with a bradawl, fixing the three layers together with a split pin. Then my son got busy with the paint and stickers. We spray painted some gold, I wrapped one with red wool and he decorated the rest in his own way.

toilet roll stars

You can easily hang them on a tree by adding a little loop through one of the slices.

toilet roll decoration


Christmas tree garland

It’s not an understatement to say our entire household is sick right now. We’ve been coughing and sneezing for the past week and not really feeling very festive at all. However my son has his first Christmas play at school this afternoon and fingers crossed that will make us all feel a bit more Christmassy.

Luckily we started our Christmas crafting a while ago so we have lots of half-finished projects that need a tweak. This morning I finished off a Christmas tree garland made from paper plates. My son had fun seeing the project come together.

First of all he painted 4 paper plates with green paint. After they had dried I cut them into four and he decorated each one with a selection of festive stickers.

christmas tree garland

Then I hung them on a piece of ribbon with small clips. They’re currently in his bedroom where he’s been hanging all the decorations he’s made.

christmas tree garland (1)

It’s a sweet little garland which he’s pretty proud of. What have you all been making?


(Nearly) No Sew Nativity Costume

Hello again Pinaddicts!
Apologies for the radio silence and the distinct lack of posting-things have been a bit tough in the Make Do and Mend household for a bit, but I am back on it now 🙂

In case you hadn’t noticed, it is that time of year-Christmas.
And the need for Nativity Costumes to be merrily whipped up at the drop of a hat.
Being a devout Make Do and Mender, when BigSmall was appointed the role of The InnKeeper in last year’s Pre-School Nativity, I managed to whip up this costume,


at no cost and with very little effort, and in case you need to do the same, here’s how:

  • Take an old sheet, and fold it in half. Cut it to a reasonable size/length for your Small person, and then cut a semicircle in the middle of the folded edge to make a head hole. You can then try it on and adjust the length if necessary (obviously you can’t make it longer if it’s too short, so err on the side of caution when first cutting it..). Use a bit of string/cord to make a belt around the middle, et voila!
  • The cape/cloak is from an old curtain out of my fabric stash. Again, I cut a rectangle, and then folded over about 2-3cm along the top edge, and stitched this down to make a casing for some ribbon. If you don’t have a sewing machine, you could easily do this by hand, or I guess you could also use iron on hemming tape, just as long as you can leave a channel for the ribbon to go. Then put a safety pin into one end of a length of ribbon, and gently feed this through the channel that you have made. Ta da! A cloak!
  • The beard was made from some fluffy material we got from the Scrapstore, held on by a piece of elastic, but good old cotton wool would also have sufficed, if you had glued it to a card backing
  • And then, all topped off with the obligatory tea towel headdress!

Easy peasy! It took less than half an hour. And it was free. Yay!

This year, in his first year at Big School, he is……..
A Bluebird!????!!!
Let’s see how we get on with that one-will keep you posted 🙂


Finger print snowmen

Over the weekend I was searching Pinterest for some Christmas crafting ideas. My 3 year old is really keen to make decorations so I was trying to find something suitable. He loves getting his hands messy with paint so I thought finger print snowmen would be fun.

He covered one hand with silver paint and placed it on a sheet of back paper.


He managed to do this twice before his excitement got the better of him and he went crazy with the paint. Yep, there was paint everywhere! I put our sheets of paper to one side to dry and let him carry on….

finger painting

When our hand print was dry we chose some things from our craft drawer to decorate them – googly eyes, wool for scarves and craft foam for carrot noses.

Then my son went to work decorating his snowmen. We had a chat about snowmen as he doesn’t really remember snow or snowmen but he did a great job. What do you think? I think some hats would definitely finish them off – and stop them looking a bit like penguins!

finger print snowmen

I have pinned some similar crafts to my hand and feet Pinterest board but I’m always on the look out for more ideas. If you think of any then please let me know.


Pre-school snowflakes

My son is really enjoying our Christmas preparations. His nursery is doing a little show and he is excitedly singing carols around the house. One night over the weekend he slept really badly and was up early so I thought some painting would cheer him up.

I looked through my Christmas craft Pinterest boards and found a really simple snowflake decoration which looked fun. I found a cheap canvas board I had previously bought in Tiger, my favourite shop for affordable craft supplies. I made a snowflake shape with washi tape then let my toddler loose with a pot of gold coloured paint.

Pre-school snowflakes

He really enjoyed covering the canvas in paint and as it was so big I didn’t need to worry about him getting paint anywhere. We left the canvas to dry overnight and the next day carefully peeled the washi tape off. We were left with a sweet piece of pre-school art which my little boy is really proud of.


He’s constantly asking to make more Christmas decorations so I’d better get back to Pinterest for some more ideas!