Month: July 2014

Beach Pebble Game

We were lucky that our week visiting the grandparents at the seaside coincided with an unbroken run of hot sunny weather. Where we weren’t so lucky, however, was that it also coincided with Bird Girl having her arm in plaster, after having taken her epithet perhaps a little too seriously, and fallen from the climbing frame two weeks beforehand. Under strict instructions from the hospital not to let the cast get wet, and suspecting that sand in a plaster cast would not make for a happy two-year-old, we were struggling to find a way for her to enjoy the beach, but did not want her (or Chief Stick Collector) to miss out completely. And then we hit on Pebble Lookalikes. A game that all members of the family can play, and that doesn’t involve getting wet or sandy.  All you need is a bucket, a keen eye and a lively imagination. The rules? Simple – find as many pebbles as you can that resemble something else. Like spotting shapes in the clouds, but with pebbles. Prizes for …

TV Bench Revamp

After my minor success with the playroom furniture, I decided to embark on a slightly more substantial project – re-vamping an old TV stand into a bedside table for the Chief Stick Collector’s room. We have recently replaced our too-small and not particularly lovely TV stand with a fabulous painted cabinet (a successful eBay bargain!). So the old TV stand joined my list of spare bits of furniture waiting to be re-decorated and re-purposed. This is what it looked like. Nothing special and just a bit dull. But I had big plans for it. This is the Chief Stick Collector’s HQ. He is a big fan of all things vehicle-related. The chest of drawers next to his bed is an old one that I had as a child. It has been through several paint-jobs and numerous sets of handles over the years, and I have plans for its next incarnation. It will stay in Chief Stick Collector’s room, just not next to his bed. He finds it a bit too high, and he struggles to …

Breathing new life into Lätt

Like many people with preschool-aged children, we are the proud owners of a very useful table and chairs for little people – the ubiquitous Lätt, from everyone’s favourite Swedish flat-packed furniture emporium.  After nearly three years of (ab)use from Chief Stick Collector and, latterly, Bird Girl, the lovely Lätt has started to look a little tired and unhappy. What it needed was an injection of joy, a splash of colour. Step forward my favourite new toy – Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan! Perfect for the slap-dash and the impatient amongst us – those who, when they decide they want to change something, want to do it NOW, and hang the preparation, priming and planning.  This paint was made for people like me, who just want to slap it on and get on with it.  For this little project I chose two colours ‘Provence’ – a bright turquoise – for the chairs; and ‘Duck Egg’ – a more muted blue-green – for the table. In truth, the choice of colours was an uncharacteristic act of preparation for a larger project on my wish-list of decorating tasks – painting the playroom mantelpiece …

Making a bird mobile

Today my daughter and I had some time on our hands while Mr LetsTryThisAtHome took our son swimming.  It was time to put my money where my mouth is, and make a start on my new vow to introduce the children to crafting activities.  But where to start? It needed to be something I could do with ‘assistance’ from a two year-old, whose initial enthusiasm to help was unlikely to be equalled by her attention span or fine motor skills. In our front garden (and, to be honest, all over our back terrace too) are piles of sticks that my son insists on collecting whenever we go for walks in the woods by our house.  They have been waiting patiently to be incorporated into a mini project. So the idea for the bird mobile was born.  It would use some simple skills that a toddler could help with, would not be too time-consuming, and – most importantly – would use up some of those sticks. We started off by selecting some sticks to use for the hangers, and some …