Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Review and giveaway: Creativity on the go - Pirates book published by Carlton Books

 This terms topic on the curriculum is 'pirates' for my son.  We have borrowed just about every pirate book known to mankind from the library (our favourite was Treasure Island) but if you think any of these wonderful stories helped the drudge of getting my son to enjoy his homework then you can think again.  This was where this wonderful book came in to play...

If I asked my son to write me a story on pirates I would be met with cries of "but that's boring" or the like.  Suddenly this situation was spun on its head when my son was asking me whether he could write a story or draw a pirate picture.  The whole way this book is devised is cleverly enticing from the word go.  Every page is unique and has something to constantly keep the old brain cogs ticking.

If I could show you every page I would because every page offers something truly inspiring.  I will give you a sneak peak to show the pages we have particularly enjoyed completing.  This book has now become part of our bedtime routine and we complete a few pages every night.  My son has been poorly with a chest infection for the last few weeks and so has had to have some time off school but this book was perfect for keeping him in the learning frame of mind.

Imagine you're a pirate

One of the first pages within the book allows children to delve in to what they imagine they would be like if they became a pirate.  This involved drawing a picture, choosing their boat, picking the perfect parrot pet and giving themselves a name.

 Learn to draw
Step-by step pictures helps children to learn ways to achieve an accurate drawing.
 A bit of collage
I have to say this was one of my favourite parts of the book.  There is a whole page of clothes and accessories to cut out and stick on the various pirates.  This took me right back to my childhood.  It also helped my son with his scissor skills and the accuracy which he could cut improved as we went along.  Look how stylish the pirate below is!

 Crafty materials
There are quite a few pages of pirate themed papers within the book which are perfect for creating whatever pirate craft projects you would like.  Bunting, cards, flags etc...  There are lots of ideas for using the papers contained within the book.
 Learn map skills
Just like Long John Silver was excellent at reading maps, children can learn some basic map skills by learning how to understand how grids are plotted (with an added bonus of finding treasure at the end).
 Stickers galore
Who doesn't love stickers??  Lots of gloriously colourful stickers for use in your own projects or to be used within the pages of the book.

 Craft projects 

There are lots of fantastic craft projects within the book.  Door hangers, pirate cookies and make your own pirate hat and sword to name but a few....

 Educational content
Not only does the book contain all that I have mentioned above, but there are some great pages which help children to learn about the world of pirates.
Overall, this is a book that provides constant inspiration and gets children to unleash their imaginations...

Will definitely be purchasing more from the series!

For more info please visit http://www.carltonbooks.co.uk/books

Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy but all thoughts are my own.

But wait, there's more!  I have a copy to give away to my readers, so to enter please follow the rafflecopter steps below.  Thanks.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Review: Chloe Tells you How.... To Sew by Chloe Owens

I am so excited to bring you this review.  I only received this book this morning and I am now brimming with inspiration.  Not only is the book jam-packed with awesome projects but I absolutely love the style of the whole book which is based on a 1960's girls annual theme.  You pick up the book and it instantly lets you revert to the warmth and nostalgia of childhood.  

I'm a child of the 1980's but this book reminded me so much of the glorious days of childhood when I could happily spend an afternoon reading my Bunty comics.  There was nothing I liked better than picking up old annuals at the jumble sales as well. My favourite part was the page where you could cut out the paper dolls and dress them with the paper clothes.

If you think of the current popularity of adult colouring books, you go some way in realising how much nostalgic pastimes relax us... Therefore this book with its eclectic blend of projects, comic strips, puzzles and comic characters is a trip right down memory lane and releases lots of happy endorphins.
I'm having a hard time deciding which pages I particularly want to show you, so there are rather a lot of photos in this post for you to appreciate just how wonderful the book is.  

Every single page of the book has been well thought out and from the very first page we are treated to wonderful illustrations. 

The author of the book sounds an amazing person and I would love to chat with her as this book is absolutely brimming with her enthusiasm for crafts.  I immediately was drawn to these bears, so please keep an eye on my blog as once I have gathered the materials I will definitely be making one.

Sometimes craft books can be off-putting with their overuse of technical terms.  It has a very daunting effect; unlike this book where we are treated to instructions in the form of a very cute story; complete with adorable illustrations!

The variation of craft projects in this book means that every reader will find a project to suit them; from an upcycled chair, patchwork quilts, pinafore dresses, felt biscuits, felt ball garlands, cupboard curtains and stuffed toys there is something for everyone.  I would make all 30 of the projects in this book; I love them!

The stories will enchant adults and children alike.
Here's a round-up of my favourite projects:
Jammie Dodger Biscuits
Harvey the Rabbit
Foxy Lady
Patchwork quilt

Fred Bear

The puzzles, games and stories combine to enhance an already fabulous book to a 10/10 rating!

A handy list of stockists are supplied for all the craft products.

Templates are printed full size and can either be traced or scanned.

 All that's left for me to say is that I hope you enjoyed my review, and I know you will find this book as enchanting as I did!

For more info on the book please visit http://www.rylandpeters.com/chloe-tells-you-how-to-sew
Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy but all thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Review and Giveaway: Bingosaurus by Carlton Books

This is a game perfect for the whole family.  Particularly so if you have fans of the Prehistoric era in the household.  The whole concept of playing bingo is such a simple premise, so no time is wasted on explaining long and unfathomable rules. You can jump straight in to game-play and everyone is happy.

There are two ways of playing this game.  The first is just like the normal bingo game, you have a caller who pulls out a dinosaur card, the players check to see if they have the matching dinosaur on their board; if they do, they  can cover it with a circle.  The first one to cover all the dinosaurs on their board must shout "Bingosaurus!"

The second more difficult way of playing this game is you have to guess from the clue given whether you have that particular dinosaur on your board.  This is where the information booklet comes in handy.  Players can have a read of the booklet beforehand and not only does it contain lots of interesting information but also contains the correct pronunciations of the dinosaur names.

The illustrations of the dinosaurs are adorable and this would definitely be the type of gift I would be looking for when shopping in a museum shop for example.  I was particularly pleased that up to 8 players can play this game.

The information booklet
Clues help players decide whether they own that particular dinosaur
Boards are in alphabetical order so it makes play easier.
The caller must place the card they have pulled out on their own master board.
We love this game so much, we want you to be able to play this wonderful game too.  So we are giving away one copy of the game Bingosaurus.  To enter please go through the Rafflecopter steps.  Good luck!
Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy but all thoughts are my own.

For more info on the game please visit http://www.carltonbooks.co.uk/imprints/carltonkids

Thursday, 12 May 2016

Project: Felt Flower wreath project from 'Mollie Makes' magazine

This week I am continuing my goal of making each front cover project from Mollie Makes magazine.  Last month I made the deer embroidery picture which I loved, I found it so therapeutic as it felt like drawing with thread.  It also gave me enough confidence to be able to design my own embroidery pictures.  That's what I love about trying out new crafts, the opportunity to expand my repertoire of craft abilities.  

This month's project on Mollie Makes magazine was a floral wreath made out of felt.  I love flowers and this seemed a perfect way to bring some colour in to the house (without the pollen).  So off I set about purchasing the craft items needed to make the project.  I worried quite a lot about whether I had the right colours for the leaves, but as it turned out I just used two basic green colours from a multi-pack of felt and they worked just fine.  I love the natural effect using two colours created.

Now I will be painstakingly honest, unlike most crafting I didn't find this project relaxing.  After drawing round a template hundreds of times and then cutting out hundreds of leaves, one of my fingers actually became numb from what must be a repetitive strain injury.  All these leaves then needed to be glued on floral wire with a hot glue gun, which also resulted in a few burns (partly because I am clumsy and partly because pinching the leaves to look natural made the glue spurt everywhere).
The best part of the project was when I started making the flowers, as by this point I could see my work coming together and knew I was actually doing quite a good job.

The wreath base was formed by wire bent in to a circle shape and then covered with floral tape.  I opted to make all my flowers in orangey tones to match my room decor.

Overall, I didn't enjoy making the wreath but I do think the finished result is beautiful.  It's also nice to know that should I ever need to make flowers to brighten a room I will now have the ability to do so.  But for now, this won't be a project I will be repeating in the near future.

Monday, 2 May 2016

Review: Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor

From the minute I laid my hands on this book, it was like holding something magical.  As soon as I saw the front characters I wanted to create them, and when I opened the book and discovered how simplistic Salley had made the crafting