Monday, 30 November 2009

Art Project - Miscellaneous Monday, FIMO jewellery

Last week I was in Hobbycraft nosing through the free leaflets on things you can make and came across one on making your own beaded jewellery using modelling clay, in the case of Hobbycraft, FIMO. Looks simple enough to do and what with Christmas round the corner I thought it would make a fun project for Callum and I to do and combine it with presents for people. I'm sure if you want you could use your own home-made clay but if you are short of time, don't want to or would like a colour that is hard to come by in food dye you can use what I have and what was recommended in the in the Hobbycraft leaflet, FIMO.

I opted for two types of projects today. One was to make a ring and the other to make some pendants. The packs I had bought had various colours of blue and yellow in with green and red and lilac too.

Flat Ring

You could do this in either just one colour or make a marbled effect with more than one colour. I opted for a marble effect using a kind of royal blue piece of FIMO and an orangey/yellow piece. I broke off a tiny amount from each and moulded them together roughly to get a marbled effect. Next I rolled the marbled coloured FIMO into a ball and then from there made it into a drum shape (as below).

Once I had achieved this I used the end of a small paintbrush and pierced the drum shaped FIMO in the middle and then rolled it on it side until I had a ring shape. Once you have achieved your desired look and size you can place on some baking paper on a tray and cook in the oven on Gas Mark 2 for 30 minutes.


I made two of these, one was two colours of blue and the other red and yellow. As above mix the colours together to make a marbled effect. Once you have achieved your desired effect roll the FIMO into a round ball (or in my case I opted for and oval egg shape), then place on a piece of baking paper and gently press down with your finger to flatten to the ball shape. You can go as thin or as thick as you like. Once finished grab the end of a small paintbrush and near the top of the pendant make a small hole that is big enough to put some for of chain, string etc through (put don't put it through yet). Once done then cook in the oven for 30 minutes on Gas Mark 2. Leave to cool and once cool use your "chain" through the hole and make your necklace with a pendant.

There are plenty of other pieces of jewellery you can make and I will do a post on those another day. Also FIMO doesn't have to be used just for making jewellery there are a whole bunch of other things you can make, it's just like modelling clay.

Have fun!!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Life through a lens - Surprise Sunday

Maybe I should rename today's Silly Sunday.

I love my son, even though he drives me totally insane at times, is more emotional than a teenage girl with PMT and is as stubborn as a mule. When he isn't doing these things he is just the best. He constantly keeps us entertained with his actions or his words. One thing about Callum is that he loves Rock music. Eye of the Tiger is his favourite song, he got told off at school for singing Kings of Leon, Sex on Fire (and then arguing with his best friend over how to spell SEX... in front of his teacher), he writes a poem and then sings it in traditional rock mode. By the way did I tell you he's only six years old? If he was older he'd be one of the rock legends where you hear about the wild parties and TVs being thrown across the room. Oh and the girls seem to love him, although his heart belongs to our 14 year old teenage neighbour.

The other month at school they had poetry week. Callum loved this and did so well that he got awarded a WOW certificate, that's a Worker Of the Week. It was awarded for writing good poetry. Above is one that he wrote just quickly off the cuff, that poor little worm, I wonder why he was so sad and mad. However I wonder how that little worm would have felt having that poem sung ala Eye of the Tiger?

To see the full set of videos from above have a little peek here at my flickr Crazy Callum Rock set.

And yes you did read the time right, it was 10.15am on a Sunday morning, Callum wakes up like and has that energy all day long. It's exhausting enough to watch let alone to live with at times. lol.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Life through a lens - Showcase Saturday, Childhood

This is a photo of my son Callum and his cousins Eloise and Alex. The three of them have been brought up very close and apart from being family are the best of friends. This was just a by chance shot that I took and then did some selective colouring on and some other editing. It's one of my favourite photos of the three of them and to me speaks volumes about their love for each other and their childhood.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Life through a lens + Art Project - Foody Friday, Raspberry Dream

Raspberry Dream


  • 3 plain digestive biscuits
  • 1 punnet of raspberries (or other berry fruit instead if you want)
  • 1 sachet of sugar free raspberry jelly crystals
  • 511g/1lb 2oz very low fat natural cottage cheese

1. Crumble the biscuits and press down in a serving dish (I used two heart shaped ramekins). Chop half of the fruit and layer on top of the crumb base.

2. Dissolve the jelly in 142ml/quarter pint of boiling water. Make up to 284ml/ half pint with cold water. Allow to cool. Put the cottage cheese and jelly into a liquidiser/blender etc and blend for 1 minute on fast speed (or until mixture is smooth). Pour over the fruit and refrigerate for 2 hours or until set.

3. When the dessert is set, decorate with the remaining fruit and if you want to can sprinkle some crumbled chocolate over the top. I used a square of white and milk chocolate and very thinly sliced it and sprinkled it over.

NOTE: If you wish with the bread crumbs you can melt some butter in a saucepan and then mix in the crumbled bread crumbs, then press down into your serving dish and leave in the fridge until it has cooled down and set. Once cool and set, chop the fruit and layer on the biscuit crumb base and continue from step 2.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Art Project - Thumbprints Thursday, Butterflies

If you like getting messy with your hands this is the art project for you.
What you'll need:

  • Paper or card in any colour you want
  • Paint in any colour you wish
  • Pens

I chose to do mine on some red card and use a silver blue coloured matt emulsion paint (it was the first paint I foundat home). Using just my thumb I carefully dipped my thumb into the paint. Please see below for step by step instructions by images:

Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Monday through to Sunday.

I've decided that I need some structure to the blog which will hopefully get me more organised with my posts and give a little more variety to the blog at the same time. At the moment I've planned this for the rest of 2009 and will wait and see what 2010 holds. So....

Mondays will now be Miscellaneous Monday where I will do posts on either Life Through a Lens or an Art Project.

will be Tribute Tuesday which is a Life Through a Lens post paying tribute to a family member or a friend.

Wednesdays will be Winter Wonderland Wednesday which will focus on Art Projects to do with Christmas. In the new year I will obviously change the focus of the Art Project.

will be Thumbprints Thursday an Art Project showing different pictures that can be made using paint and your thumb.

Fridays will be Foody Friday which will be Life Through a Lens and an Art Project (in the form of cooking) together.

Saturdays will be Showcase Saturday a Life Through a Lens post where I will post some of my favourite photos.

Sundays will be Suprise Sunday which will either be Life Through a Lens or an Art Project on... well you'll have to wait and see... and so will I.

Right Lets get this ball rolling!

Art Project - Winter Wonderland Wednesday

I have fond memories as a child of making Christmas decorations and the pride I felt when each year (well if they survived) those decorations being put on the Christmas tree. I even remember when I moved into my first owned place my Mum handing me over some of those precious things that I'd made those many moons ago. With just over four weeks to go until Christmas I thought I'd make Wednesday's posts about Christmas decorations that are easy and fun to make. Wednesdays will now be called Winter Wonderland Wednesday.

This week I thought we could do Paper Chains.

Paper Link Chains

You will need:

  • Various colours and textures of paper cut into strips, about 1 inch by 6 inches is a good size
  • Glue
  • Glitter, decorative pieces
If you are using glitter or decorative pieces it is best to glue these onto the strips of paper before you comence making the hoops/links. Also This works better if you have a variety of colour and texture of paper. Choose one strip and glue one end of it, loop the piece to make a ring. Next grab another different colour or textured strip of paper. Insert this through the first hoop you have made, glue one end and make that into a hoop to make a second link (just like you did in the first hoop). Continue doing this until you have a link chain of your desired length. When dried out the chain can either be drapped around your christmas tree or hung from walls and doors.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Life through a lens - Tribute Tuesday, my Mum

Over on 365 Days of Matt I suddenly got a brainwave... OK Matt gave me the idea.... I love how reading Matt's blog I've gotten to hear so many wonderful stories about his family but also it's been lovely to hear someone talk about their family in such a loving, kind, funny way and I love how Matt appreciates his family so much. Sometimes I feel even though we do love our families and appreciate them we forget to show this. So from now on Tuesday is going to be Tribute Tuesday. To start with I'll pay tribute to a family member but I'm sure that I'll then follow on to friends.

So to start today's Life Through a Lens - Tribute Tuesday I'm going to honour my Mum.

Don't be fooled that isn't just orange juice... there's champagne in there too.

My Mum has always been a huge inspiration to me. She is this amazing woman who has done a fantastic job bringing up seven kids... and a husband. When you need a shoulder to cry on she is there. When you need a wedding dress made she is there (she even takes it on holiday with her to continue making it). When you need someone to share a bottle of white wine with (especially if it's Hock) she is there. When you need someone to watch over you all night because you are scared Freddie Kruger will get you she is there to do so. When you turn your hands orange from making your own chemistry experiments because you find the ones in the book boring she is there. When you come home aged about 14 years old drunk to nearly unconsciousness from a party she is there to stay up all night to make sure you don't choke on your own vomit. Whenever you need anything she is there and not just if you are her daughter but anyone she knows. She is the life and soul at a party and she is as beautiful today as she was when she first met my Dad. She can turn her hand to anything from, as mentioned before, making you your wedding dress, to perming your hair, to helping you with your GCSE art project when you want to go to your tennis lesson. If I make it to being just 1% of the Mother that she is I know I'll be happy. I probably don't say this often enough but thank you Mum for being the awesomeness that is you. I love you.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Art Project - Christmas Lego

Gone skiing

Lego, you've got to love it! Having a kid gives you the excuse to have plenty of Lego and to have time to sit and build with it. So therapeutic but also a good chance to use your imagination.

Yesterday when hubby's parents came to visit they bought with them Lego goodness, Christmas Lego goodness. OK I know we're still in November but hey if you'd seen them you wouldn't have been able to resist building them then and there.

These little tree baubles were so cute and easy and fun to make and will look lovely on our tree once we get it and put it up. It is just a shame they don't have any more characters to build, a Rudolph would have been cute.

Ho Ho Ho

I come bearing gifts

Next we built these 1. 2. 3. tree ornaments although I think they would be just as nice on our mantelpiece.

O Christmas Tree

Lego the Snowman

And when 1st December hits? Well we've got this! Now that looks fun!

There are also more Christmas Lego items you can get, soooo tempting...

Father Christmas doing his best John Travolta moves.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Life through a lens - Family

Sometimes a totally awful photo can sum up so much. This was taken yesterday. Callum wanted one of the scalectrix tracks out and it seemed unfair to keep the dog cooped up in the kitchen while we all had fun. This is what Dash made of Scalectrix. lol.

Today we had my in laws pay us a visit. I'm one of the lucky ones that has fantastic in laws, I love them like my own parents. Again the scalectrix came out but this time no dog, we set up a much bigger track and it would have been just too much chaos.

Callum however managed to find a novel way to play:

And yesterday marked 25 weeks pregnant. As you can tell Bumpy is getting bigger and with that the kicks stronger, it's been nice to occasionally share those kicks with Daz and Callum although Bumpy is a bit stubborn and only seems to like to kick for me. This photo was taken today by hubby, he hates using a camera and especially my Canon DSLR so not too bad a photo I think especially as it was the first (and only) one he took.

So even though not technically correct and perfect photos to me they are perfect. They sum up family life in the White House and how important family ... and fun are.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Life through a lens - Nature

Tree over at Bedfords Park, Essex, England

I love the beauty of nature but I also love the obscurity, weirdness, spookiness that humanity adds to it.

A small wood in the surround area near Bluebell Railway, Kent, England.

This area is reputed to be the inspiration for Winnie the Pooh's Hundred Acre Wood, near the car park was this tiny wood where all the trees were in neat lines like this. Had a very surreal spooky feel to it but was so tiny.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Art Projects - A mixed bag of funness

Some of the art projects I've blogged about are easy ones that I've just done at home without having to do any Internet research on and others I've blogged about I've Internet searched on for full recipes, ideas etc.

Bear in mind when I do do a search the criteria I put in is art projects, home, kids so sometimes I'm amazed at the craziness of some of the art projects I've come across. Here are links to some of them.

Watch out!!! Flying Eggs! Science Kids at home has lots of fun experiments you can do at home, some easy and safe others a bit more crazy but they all have an educational aspect to them. The flying eggs experiment IMO falls into "So many things could go wrong" group but I so want to try it out. Chemistry has many wonderful and interesting experiments but the one that grabs my attention most for craziness is the Burning Money Magic Trick bear in mind with this link I found it while searching for art projects to do at home with a kid. Fire and Kids? Hmmm... Hubby told me to make sure I never ever ever ever let Callum see that video clip.

While this one sounds cool I can envision if Callum and I do it many things going wrong. Still it's tempting to try out. Also have a look around the site in the link there are some cool fun experiments. Homemade Clouds in a Bottle.

So what crazy fun home activities to do with kids have you come across. I would love to hear.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Life through a lens - GIMP and textures

OK OK I know I said I'd get back to art projects but ... well I'm just enjoying posting some of my photos but also these last two days I've been playing about with some old photos using GIMP. I wanted to experiment with textures. Luckily there are many kind and generous people around and I found one such on flickr who if you don't use it for commercial purposes and credit back to them the use of their texture/s is happy for you to use them. Please check out their photostream ground*floor

The photo I used is one I took in February 2009, here is it in its original form:

The I used picnik to change the colour tone to add a cross processing feel to it, boy I love that effect.

And today I edited the original and added the borrowed texture from ground*floor, then I headed over to picnik to add a bit more to the shot and came up with this.

I wanted to have a bit of a timeless ghost feel to it, not sure if I succeeded but I think I kind of like it.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Life through a lens AND Art Project - Fun With Photos

Most of my photos I host at flickr, such a wonderful site. Through this you can find links to other photo editing sites like Picnik or the other one I like which is Big Huge Labs to name a few. You can have lots of fun there. Here's some that I have had.

There are lots more you can do but these are some of my favourites.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Art Project - Crystals

One year for Christmas my parents bought me a chemistry set. Oh how I remember that chemistry set so dearly and all the experiments I carried out. I can remember one where we made our own crystals and thought this could be a fun experiment to try out with Callum.

Sugar Crystals


400ml water
200 ml Sugar
Container that can hold boiling water safely

  • Boil 400ml of water.
  • Add 200ml of sugar to the water and stir well.
  • Pour the solution into your container, making sure that your container can withstand the temperature of the boiled water, a glass jar would be prefable so you can then see through the container
  • Tie one end of the string to the middle of the pencil and suspend the string over the container with the liquid in
  • Submerge the string into the solution.
  • Wait and watch.
  • The sugar crystals will slowly grow on the string over a period of several days.
  • If you wish you can tie a weight onto the other end of the string and that should keep the string hanging straight.

Hopefully photos will follow later.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Life through a lens - Mummy and Son Time

I haven't abandoned the Art Projects, just the last few days have been hectic, I will return to them this week.

Earlier this year Daz (that's hubby) asked if I could get some more recent photos of Callum and I together for him as he wanted one on the desktop of his computer at work. You'd think this would be a simple task wouldn't you? Well It's November now and while we've had two attempts at this and had fun doing so I think we're still looking for the perfect Mummy and Son photo. The problems encountered were that I couldn't find the remote control for my camera and the timer just wasn't long enough to get into position. Then you have Callum. When you hand hold the camera he can see his reflection in the lens so keeps changing position to get more of himself in the shot. Now don't get me wrong we have got one or two decent shots but erm.. yeah I don't think they were quite what Daz was asking for. To see the whole set just clickety click.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Life through a lens - Cars

As mentioned before my son Callum loves cars. Now most little boys (and girls because hey they can love cars too) have a box with cars in but I think I'm yet to meet one who maybe has as many as Callum, I know that all the kids that have been round and played at ours are amazed at how many he has. We've never counted every single one but over the summer Callum and I sorted through one (yes he has multiple buckets, boxes, baskets etc of cars). How many do you think was in just that one bucket? Just one single bucket of toy cars? 326!!! Yes you read that right. lol. Want to see what 326 cars laid out looks like?

326 cars

I did once get asked by Callum if I could do a photo project where I took a photo of each car for him and then print them up into an album. Hmmm, maybe that could be my Project 365 for next year.

Bat mobile

It isn't just little dinky toy cars, it's cars of all sizes and types. Last Christmas Callum asked for a Scalectrix set and with that request was rewarded by a huge set from his grandparents, a smaller one from his Uncle Keith and Auntie Jo and of course plenty of cars. We've had plenty of fun with those!


Then there are video games! Callum loves nothing more than to put on one (mostly it's Burnout Paradise), sing along to the music playing (such an awesome game that you can make up your own play lists... Callum's has Eye of the Tiger, Sex on Fire and Final Countdown to name a few songs on) and drive. He's actually pretty good at the games too.

Wheel Spin

I could go on and on and post more, I could even get a photo of all the DVD's we have that are car related (mostly Top Gear!) but I won't bore you any more. Needless to say that aged six years old my son is already and addict to something, but hey I can think of worse things to be addicted to.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Life through a lens - Changing Times

How times change. What were the messages you remember from Love Hearts when you were a youngster?

Friday, 13 November 2009

Life through a lens - Love

What would the world be like without love. I am very lucky in that I have a wonderful man in my life that I love to bits. Daz and I started dating in 1995, got engaged in 1997 and got married in 1999. There is not enough paper, internet space, words available to say all the reasons I love him but I do.

Without him my life wouldn't be complete.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Life through a lens - Save the Panda

We're in a recession, Christmas is coming and endangered animals need help. So what do we get? TV adverts for WWF asking for help, which is nothing wrong in itself. Where the problem comes is when your six year old son sees said adverts. The first time it was the Panda's.

Callum: "Mummy! Mummy! We have to save them!"

Me: "Save who?"

Callum: "The pandas! They are all dying, they are endangered. I need your money, quickly and you have to phone this number... now!"

He then recites the telephone number... correctly.

Next it is the tigers and then it is the polar bears. Oh and then you have the TV adverts about the dog that needs a new home.

Callum: "Can we put Dash up for sale on eBay?"

Me: "Why?"

Callum: "So we can get some money to give that dog on the TV a new home."

Me: "Erm..."

Hubby: "You'd be lucky to get £1 for the dog."

I was told last week by Callum that all he wanted for Christmas now was money. Why? Well then he could help save all the animals that are endangered... and give that dog a new home. It does make me proud that he has this huge heart. I even asked him wouldn't he be upset if all he got was money to donate for Christmas and he replied by telling me that of course he wouldn't as helping others is more important and anyway if you pay WWF money you get a cuddly toy of an endangered animal.

Which brings me on to today's photos. The other while hubby and I were having a tidy up I spotted something in one of our plants. Can you see it? Yep a panda. One of Callums toy pandas. He'd been building it a Lego house a few days before and left it on the floor. Suddenly Dash was in the room and about to make extinct another animal. Luckily we saved it! We then told Callum to put the panda somewhere safe. This was obviously the safest place he could find. Hubby and I haven't told him that we've seen it, we're waiting to see how long Callum leaves it there. Adds a whole new meaning to "Save the Panda". lol.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Art Project - Plasticine

This post has been inspired by James May (you are probably asking either who is James May or what is it with my family and our love of Top Gear and their presenters.) who currently has a tv show called James May's Toy Stories (here is a youtube link about it). Basically James is on a mission to celebrate Britain’s best loved toys, and celebrate them on a massive scale plus show kids that not all is video games. Last week on the show it was all about plasticine. How can you not love that stuff and after having watched the show we were all inspired to get some and build things! And that's what all three of us did last night (Daz, Callum and I), we all sat round the dining table and made things and chatted and had a really good time. And that makes me think that maybe James May's idea and hope is working.

Here's what we created.

Callum's Creations

My Creations

Daz' Creations