DIY: Weaving Loom Made from a Shoe Box!

Cardboard Weaving Loom

I wanted to get Tila a weaving kit for a while now but anytime I asked her she never seemed too interested. And then a Sunday came when she wanted to do nothing else but weave! And this is how this idea to make a loom from a shoe box lighted up in my head! I love when that happens. Sometimes (many times) I wish I could have a few weeks just to myself so I could do nothing else but craft – I have so many projects written down in one of my notebooks already that could easily make a crafting book or two. The only problem is time – it’s simply not cooperating with me.

Anyhow, back to the weaving loom DIY. These are the things you need:

  • shoe box (I used a small one from some old (baby) Talan’s shoes)
  • a piece of strong cardboard to make a needle
  • scissors
  • crafting knife
  • thin twine
  • and some wool to weave

Cardboard Weaving Loom

First you need to decide how wide you wish your final product to be and then mark that width on both edges of the box. In between those spaces mark an even number of the lines for the notches about 1 cm apart (or even more for younger kids) and about 1 cm deep (down the box).

Cut on those marks with crafting knife and remember to stop at the 1cm mark!

Now take the twine, tie a knot and thread it in the first lower left notch and carry the thread up to the upper left notch and thread though. Bring the twine back down and thread it through the second left notch and Continue this all the way across the loom and finish with a knot.

Cardboard Weaving Loom

Done with the loom! Now for the needle I simply drew one on a small piece of cardboard (about 5 cm long), cut it out , reinforced with a washi tape at the top and made a little hole to thread the wool through. But you should do a much longer and wider needle for kids under 5 (I recommend about 10 cm long and 2 cm wide) or use a popsicle stick and make a hole through with a thin nail.

Cardboard Weaving Loom

Now the fun part: cut about 1.5 m long piece of wool (or less for smaller kids), thread it through the needle and go: under the first string, over the second, under the third and so on. And remember to leave a little tail at the beginning and the end!
Now take another piece of wool and repeat the previous steps. Don’t go all the way up, leave a few centimetres so you can tie the twig together later.

Cardboard Weaving Loom

Cardboard Weaving Loom

At the end I just tied the loose ends (tails) into knots (although I think the more “professional approach would be weaving them through the back of the weaving a few times and trim the excess) and you can see what kind of knot I made for the first and the last one.

Cardboard Weaving Loom

If you wish to embellish the weaving with a fringe cut pieces of wool as long as you wish and tie them around the bottom loops – see the photo above!

Cardboard Weaving Loom

Now cut the upper threads (leave the bottom ones!) and tie warp threads two by two together. Take the bottom ones out of the notches – don’t cut those!

We also attached the weaving to a twig (another nice way to finally use a few we have lying around the house). In order to do that you need to cut a piece of twine (about a 50 cm long) and string it through the needle. Starting on one end, loop the needle through the top of the weaving and around the twig, wrapping the twig all the way until the end. Tie knots on both ends and cut the tails.

Cardboard Weaving Loom

Finally to make a hanger for the twig, simply cut a piece of twine about 40 cm long (or as long as you wish), tie ends together and fold it over both sides of the twig.

Tip: to prevent the box from sliding around the table, tape a few pieces of double-sided tape on the bottom of the box and paste it in place!


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

DIY: Road Desk Decal

Road Desk Sticker DIY

I always thought that boys love cars because the society thinks that boys should play with cars and girls can play with dolls… and so the parents buy them cars and then they play with them (I’m simplifying but you understand what I’m trying to say here, right?). But I changed my opinion and here’a why: when Talan got big enough to play with toys he just used Tila’s old ones and then one day he noticed a tractor driving on the street right under our house and his reaction was over the top — he started to scream, point, jump and everything else you could imagine one does out of excitement. Even today tractors are his number one love (I think he might love them even more than me :) and he recognizes their sound even before anyone else can hear them (not exaggerating) but he likes other vehicles like cars (especially policemen), vans (ambulances make the best sound), trucks and of course diggers (those are his number 2. love!) too.

Road Desk Sticker DIY

Anyhow, I might have slipped off the main topic a tiny bit but now you know exactly how I got an idea to make him a road decal for his little desk. It was much easier to make than I thought so I think I might make one for the floor in kids room as well, but a bigger one.

Road Desk Sticker DIY

I used a Blackboard Wall Sticker from Casa Pura over Amazon (there are many less expensive ones too, but this one has great reviews) and I cut out a piece at the exact length and width of the desk surface.

Road Desk Sticker DIY

I turned it over and on the back side I drew an oval street that runs as close to the edges as possible. Then I also drew one right at the middle and made round curves.

First I cut out the oval shape and then in the middle of the part that I wanted to cut out I stabbed a hole with the tip of the scissors and cut along the line. Do that part really slowly so you don’t tear the sticker or even go over the lines.

Road Desk Sticker DIY

Now when you think you’re done with the trickiest part, you realize you have to paste the decal in place. I measured and marked the middle of the sticker and the desk first in order to line them together. That is the easiest way to make sure the sticker gets placed in the center.

Road Desk Sticker DIY

Road Desk Sticker DIY

Now peel back just a little bit of the backing paper and make sure those two middle lines you marked meet and press down at the edge to hold it in place. You don’t need to worry too much as this sticker can be easily reattached (I tried! A few times). Now peel the backing bit by bit and in order to avoid the air bubbles rub in place using something like a ruler or a credit card and a firm pressure and work your way along the sticker.

Road Desk Sticker DIY

Road Desk Sticker DIY

At the end I used a blackboard marker to draw the center lines but you can simply use chalk. Needless to say, Talan loves it! Bruuum!

To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

DIY: Printed Cardboard Box

Printed Cardboard Box DIY

I had a few items like socks, a hat, sunscreen, a lost toy, a diaper, probably also the pacifier etc. stacked in an ugly cardboard box in Talan’s part of the entrance way. I couldn’t look at it anymore but I also didn’t get a chance to find and buy a decent wooden box so I decided to make the best of it and painted and printed the existing one. I thought it couldn’t hurt and in the worst case I’d be finally pushed to buy one. But to my luck (and even more to my husband’s luck) it turned out kind of great. So naturally I thought I’d share this project with you 😉

Printed Cardboard Box DIY

If you haven’t guessed it already it’s super simple! You’ll only need:
-A cardboard box (the thicker the cardboard the better)
-Acrylic Paint (at least two colors)
-Sealant or Varnish
-A stamp or simple stickers (like triangles, dots or something these Tad Lapin Cats from Molly Meg)

Printed Cardboard Box DIY

First paint the inside of the box at least twice and wait between coats to dry completely. Then do the same with the outside of the box. I used two different colors – the grey one for the inside and the white one on the outside part of the box.

Printed Cardboard Box DIY

After the outside it completely dry (wait at least two hours) stamp the surface (I used a rubber stamp I did after this stamp DIY from Esther – Tila drew the image but you can also use potato or a pencil rubber or even stickers!). After you’re done with this step wait again for the prints to dry completely and apply two coats of sealant or varnish. I also used sealant on the inner side so the box will (hopefully) last longer.

So easy, isn’t it?


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

DIY: Hairclips


Esther and her lovely Hair Style posts inspired me for this craft. Apparently someone’s eating Tila’s hair clips at our home because a week doesn’t go by that we don’t lose at least (!) one. Usually even more. So instead of buying them again I decided to make a few instead. And they turned out great! Like always I tried to find the simplest way and these are literally done in minutes – the thing that takes the longest is actually the drying of the glue.


So, the things you need are:

Some fabric leftovers
Glitter and furry pom poms (optional)
Hair Clips (I got mine from Ebay)


Draw a shape (a star, a heart, a cloud etc.) on the back side of fabric and cut it out.


If you want to make it glittery, first cover the front side with glue and sprinkle generously. Let it dry for about an hour or so and shake off the excess. You’ll do yourself a big favor if you do this outside or you’ll have glitter everywhere like I do!


The bow is also really easy to do. First cut two strips about 6 and 4 centimetres long and one 1.5 cm wide and the other one half thinner. It’s even better if you have ribbons because they won’t fray on edges in time. Now glue both ends of the thicker strip together like on the second photo above. Fold in half and wrap the thinner strip around (begin and finish at the part where the thicker strip is glued together), glue in place and strip away the excess.




I also did one with pompoms where you only need to glue the three together but there are endless possibilities. Now all there’s left to do is glue the little embellishments on hair clips. So easy.


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

DIY: Dipped Wooden Spoons

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

I’ve been eyeing the dipped wooden spoons for a while now and the penny pincher in me decided to make something similar on her own instead of buying them. And they turned out great, plus the feeling of making something with my own two hands is priceless (when it succeeds anyway).

This project is also one of the easiest but it takes a little more drying time. You can use some old wooden spoons lying around the kitchen already or buy new (I got a bunch of them from IKEA).

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

The items you need are:

Wooden Spoons
Tape (I used Washi Tape)
Medium (optional)

I wanted the make the paint as durable as possible so I used both the medium and the sealer. The medium I used is for textile and it worked great!

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

1. Tape the line with a tape (I use washi tape because it’s the easiest to work with)

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY
2. Mix the paint with the medium (if you decided to use one) in 1:1 ratio and paint two coats (decide on weather you want to also paint the round end of the spoon) then wait for about 5 minutes and take the tape off before the second coat is completely dry – that prevents the paint to chip while taking off the tape!

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

You can use a low jar or a glass to dry them in but put the spoon face down!

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

3. Let them dry for a couple hours, put the tape on again and paint a coat or even two of sealer. And if you want the color to be really durable set the oven to about 150C and “bake” them for about 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and take them out only after the oven gets cold. Leave them rest over night before use.

Dipped Wooden Spoonds DIY

4. I decided to give the spoons a little facial as well and made them Beeswax Wood Polish after this recipe. That made all the difference! You simply rub on warm conditioner, let it sit for about an hour and wipe off the excess. You also don’t need to complicate as much as I tend to do and just buy one.

You can also do some stripes, dots, heart or other embellishments. I wanted to keep my first batch simple but will definitely play around more with the second one. Maybe a little bronze ends?


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Easter Craft: Hen Egg Cups

egg carton hen
Easter holidays are here and I’ve prepared a new Easter craft for you. This one I absolutely love because it’s so very simple that even very young children can make it, and it takes very little time to finish so it’s also perfect for those types of kids that can’t stay still for very long, like my Tila. She loved this craft and has even made one for her (boy)friend from school! (Also, it’s a great way to make use of all the left-over Easter eggs.)

Hen Egg Cups
Things you need are:
-Egg carton (you can only make 2 chicks from one carton)
-Orange and Red Crafting Paper
-Feathers (I used white and yellow)
-Wiggle Eyes (or black paint)
-Crafting Knife

Hen Egg Cups
1. Cut out the edge part of the egg carton like on the photo
2. Trim the excess around the upper edge
3. Take the red paper and cut a comb (or as we call it – the crown) and an orange beak (shape of rhombus, folded in half). Check the width of the top of your cardboard’s peak for the comb first and then about a centimeter below the top for the beak. And make both a few mm narrower to leave a little room for the edges. Cut notches the notches to fit the comb and the peak
4. Put a little glue at the bottom of both pieces
5. Insert them into slots and either glue on wiggle eyes or draw them on.
6. Put a generous amount of glue on the inner side of the back part (where the should be) and glue feather on.

Now wait for it to dry and insert an egg! Give it away or not 😉


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

The Little Things… making pompoms for a spring branches bouquet

The Little Things, making pompoms for a colourful spring branches bouquet
For this The Little Things post, we’ve been making pompoms for an Easter Tree-inspired, spring branches bouquet. The great thing about making pompoms, is that it appeals to different ages, and both boys and girls absolutely love making them.

The Little Things -- pompom spring branches The Little Things -- pompom spring branches
Isn’t there a magical attraction to wool? The moment I pull my suitcase with yarn leftovers out, my kids are in for a treat!

The Little Things, mocking pompoms for a spring branches bouquet The Little Things -- making pompoms for a spring tree The Little Things -- making popmpoms for spring easter branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things -- making popmpoms for spring easter branches
There are two easy ways to make pompoms. For bigger pompoms, we cut out two times two circles of thin cardboard. You can just use a cup and an egg cup for example, to determine the shape. Layer both cardboard circles, cut through them so they have an opening to the centre, and start winding the thread around. The talented Sara from SakaDesign made a super handy (and very cute!) tutorial for us, that you can easily print if you would like to:

pompom tutorial

The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things -- making pompoms for a spring tree
We gave Ava and Juul, both 4 years old, a thicker yarn so they saw quick results. Pim and Sara used a thinner thread, and they also liked to use different colours for their pompoms. (Just cut the first colour and start winding with the second one.)

The Little Things, making pompom spring branches Juul’s little brother Mees was too small to make pompoms, but he was super helpful on his messenger bike, delivering the yarn to whoever needed it!

The Little Things -- making pompom spring branches TLT10 TLT11 The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches

Once there’s a thick layer of yarn around the cardboard shapes, you can cut through the sides, in between the two layers of cardboard. I took care of this part of the process, as it’s really a bit tricky to do.  It’s a kind of scary at first, but once I discovered that the cardboard keeps the yarn in place it was pretty easy. Then, secure the pompom by knotting a string of yarn around the middle, in between the two cardboards. Get rid of the cardboard. You can leave the ends of the yarn you used to knot the pompom together quite long so you can hang the pompom from the branches later.

The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches

The second method we used, to make cute, tiny pompoms, is even easier. You just use a fork, wind some thread around, then secure it by knotting around the thread through the middle tines of the fork. Cut the edges, and done!

The Little Things, making pompom spring branches The Little Things, making pompom spring branches

You can make the pompoms more fluffy by holding them in the steam for a few seconds. (Be careful for the heat!)

The Little Things, making pompoms for a colourful spring branches bouquet The Little Things, making pompoms for a colourful spring branches bouquet The Little Things, making pompoms for a colourful spring branches bouquet

xxx Esther

PS – This is the newest post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking these beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the handy download. Postman Mees’ adorable outfit is from La Coqueta, Ava’s dress is from Kallio, and Sara’s dress from Mabo Kids.

DIY: Brown Paper Flower Pots

Paper Flower Pots
A couple of weeks ago I spotted these cute flower pots (that were really brown paper bags) neatly set down the stairs in front of some shop in Stuttgart and I loved it so much I went to buy craft paper bags and a few flower the same day!
This is such a simple and inexpensive DIY perfect for this time of the year.
I need to say am the worst when it comes to flowers, herbs or any kind of plants in general – my husband even calls me “the plant serial killer” and I’m afraid he’s not that far from the truth! How do you people do it? I always either water too much or I forget they exist for a few days too many. But I don’t and won’t give up – one day I’ll get it. Right? But until I do I’m buying the least expensive kinds, like the ones on the photo – don’t know their names, I just know they smell good. Or at least they did for two more days after entering my house. But the good news is they are still alive!

Anyhow, the steps for making these cute paper pots are super easy and you only need three items:
Brown Craft Paper Bags (mine are 12 cm wide)
Plants (mine are in 10 cm pots)
Pot Trays

Paper Flower Pots
First fold the top of the bag down a few times (put the pot beside the bag to see how far down).

Paper Flower Pots
Now fold the edges backwards along the fold lines and insert the tray first, then the flower.

That simple!


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Color-Learning Easter Egg Magnets, Montessori Style

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

I’m trying to teach my 14-month-old simple things like colors or at least color distinguishing so I wanted to make something that would help him with that and since Easter is approaching soon I wanted to do something in that spirit so this is what I came up with. Easter eggs magnets in 6 basic colours made of two pieces that can be mixed and one day hopefully matched correctly. But since I didn’t want Tila to feel left out I made some for her as well. Hers are also a little decorated and made of three pieces. She has so much fun creating all sorts of combinations.

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

They are really easy to make and there are various materials you can paint and decorate them with like acrylic paint, deco markers and even washi tape. You’ll also need a few other items like:

Hard cardboard
Sharp scissors (you can also use crafting knife but I prefer a sharp pair of scissors because I’m simply too clumsy for the knife)
A pencil
Egg Shaped Cookie Cutter
Self-Adhensive Magnetic Sheets (Ebay and Amazon are full of them)
Sealant or Varnish (optional)

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

I know I say that every time but this craft is as easy as they get.
First you need to make an outline of that egg cookie cutter on the cardboard with a pencil and cut it out (like I said, you can use crafting knife or scissors).

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

Then you paint the eggs. If you want to decorate and divide them into three parts you should first paint them and after the paint is dry, divide the eggs into three equal horizontal bands with a pencil. Then decorate each segment separately so try not going over the lines when drawing textures.  And you don’t need to erase the lines, you’ll cut along the lines later and they’ll be gone.

If you want the magnets to last a little longer than a few days, use a sealer (if you’re using water colors or regular markers you need to use spray sealer otherwise the paint will smudge; tried and tested!).

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

After everything is thoroughly dry, cut out a piece of magnetic sheet, stick it on the back of the egg and trim the excess.

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

Mix and Match Easter Eggs Magnets

If you’re doing the single-color eggs draw a horizontal guide line on the back, in the middle (you can use a piece of paper measuring equally in height and a little bit more in width as the magnet with a guide line in the middle to help determine the centre; see the photo above). Cut along the line and you’re done.
If you’re doing the other ones cut along the lines you drew previously on the front


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Valentine’s Craft: Animal Brooches and Magnets

Animal Magnets and Brooches

Valentines day is tomorrow already and a DIY is in order! Tila has a few very good friends in her kindergarten and I thought it would be nice if she gave them something tiny to let them know how special they are to her.

Animal Magnets and Brooches

So I bought a box of plastic animals (the whole box of about 15 animals cost around 5 euros) and decided to make them into magnets and pins. Tila also wanted me to paint them but you can easily just leave them as they are (especially if they are hand painted, like Schleich figurines) and only glue magnets and/or brooch pin-backs on one side.

Animal Magnets and Brooches

I painted them with Montana spray cans but you can easily go with acrylic paints (just don’t forget to use a primer first to prevent chipping). If you decide to spray paint, apply several thin layers and wait a few minutes between coats or until completely dry to the touch. (Don’t spray too close like I did or you’ll get one very thick layer of paint that will take ages to dry! Spray about 15-20 cm away.) After the final coat is done it’s best to wait overnight or at least a few hours before gluing the magnets and pins on. We also added tiny hearts on their behinds (except for the lion, because the boy it’s meant for hates hearts. But we still hid one on the back ; ) .)


PS The glue I’m always using and is also on this photo is UHU’s Bastelkleber and I absolutely love it! I used it on almost every surface already and I think it works even better than super glue plus it’s solvent free and transparent when dry.

To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Pretty stamps from PSikhouvanjou

PSikhouvanjou PSikhouvanjou_3
As a child I always loved stamps, but I remember them as something that belonged to teachers, not really to children. These days, I’m free to play around with stamps as much as I want to and I’m loving it. My inner child released!

PSikhouvanjou_2 PSikhouvanjou_)1

These pretty stamps are from PSikhouvanjou, and designed by talented designers Ingela P Arrhenius and Andrea Maasen. They’re darling to use to create gift wrap, cards, tags, or just about anything that requires a special detail.

xxx Esther

Wool and the Gang, cool knitting kits


I’ve been feeling so much like knitting lately, so the Wool and the Gang kit I ordered came right in time! I’m going to be knitting the Mini Tartan Hula Hoop for Sara, and if I hurry a little I might just be able to finish it before Christmas.


Do you know Wool and the Gang? It’s a super hip company, providing über cool knitting kits with everything one might need for one project — wool, needles, the pattern, and very easy-to-follow instructions. (If you love the Wool and the Gang designs but are not so into knitting, you can also purchase a ready-made piece, knit with love by one of the ‘Gangstas’, a global-wide team of knitters.)


I love their branding, the quality of their materials, and their belief in handmade and sustainable fashion. Knitting their projects is so fun!

In spring, I made the Sailor Jumper (modeled by Pim below, after a rough and dirty game of football!) and I love how easy it was to knit that jumper and how nice it turned out when it was finished.

pim_WATGThe Wool and the Gang knitting kits make really great presents too — everything comes wrapped in a cool paper bag, and anyone who has an interest in knitting (even if they’ve never knit before!) I’m sure would love to receive a kit like this.

xxx Esther

Super Simple Christmas Paper and Gift Tags DIY

Wrapping Paper and Gift Tags DIY

Hi there, it’s me again! Here we are one post later and we’re already in the middle of December rush. Is it just me or does time fly faster every year? It feels like just yesterday it was still summer, doesn’t it? But it truly is the most delicious time of the year for me. I love the cinnamon smell, the beautiful carols and songs, even all those cheesy Christmas movies and cartoons and the different anticipations this time of the year brings for Tila. Like tree decorating, Christmas crafts and of course presents that St. Nicholas and the big almighty Santa Claus bring.

Last year I decided to start making my own wrapping paper and gift tags for these two men simply because Tila is one very smart cookie and I’m worried she’d get suspicious if she noticed they use the same paper and tags as we do.
This year for St. Nicholas I used this super simple technique of pencil-eraser stamping that literally takes you a few minutes and I made gift tags that even people with no drawing talent can do. I posted a picture of both on my Instagram and many moms loved it so I thought you might too.

Wrapping Paper

For the paper you need:

-Wrapping Paper (I used the plain brown packing paper you get at the Post Office)
-Pencil With an Eraser on the end
-White Paint or even better (and much less messier) a White Inkpad

First measure and cut out the amount of wrapping paper you need for your gift.
Tape it to the table so it doesn’t roll down while stamping.
Now tap the eraser onto inkpad or paint and press firmly onto paper.
When you’re done you move the paper on the wall and leave there to dry completely.

What You Need for Tags

In the meanwhile the gift tags can be done and all you need for those is:

-Thick brown paper or Thin Cardboard
-Scissors or Craft Knife
-Black Drawing Pen
-Small Pom-Poms
-Red and White Twine
-Hole Paper Punch

Xmas Gift Tags Xmas Raindeer Gift Tag

Cut out rectangles (mine are the size 6 x 10 cm) and draw this simple raindeer you see on the photo above, glue a pompom where its nose should be, write a name of the recipient and punch a hole in the center about a centimeter from the top edge.

Now cut about 20 cm of twine and slip it through a hole.

Voilá! Simple as that.

Ps. Don’t forget to get rid of any evidence. If there are any failed tags, throw them away! Don’t leave any pompoms lying around! And wash the eraser! Kids are sometimes (many times) much smarter than us… 😉


To read more from Polona, go to her cute blog Baby Jungle!

Last minute advent activity calendar

adventTomorrow is the start of advent — only 25 days to go ’til Christmas! We do have an advent tradition in our family — my mum always had an advent wreath on the table with 4 candles in a circle, and one candle was lit on every Sunday in the weeks leading up to Christmas, and then a fifth candle in the centre was lit on Christmas day. But we’re not accustomed to the advent calendar, the countdown calendar with 24 pockets filled with little presents or candy, counting down to Christmas day. I think this might have to do with Sinterklaas, who’s in the country till the 5th, overlapping the first days of advent and overdoing, possibly, the idea of giving.

Where I love the idea of getting ready for Christmas, slowing down and focussing on togetherness and goodness, I don’t really want to overflow our children with goodies after the feasts of St. Maarten (candy) and St. Nicolas (candy and presents). But I want them to experience extra warmth, fun, and also to comprehend the fact that they have a lucky position in the world.


Yesterday I spent some time working on a super last-minute advent calendar without gifts, but with ideas for fun, sweet, and genuine activities to make the weeks before Christmas extra special. I printed everything on grey card stock paper, folded and closed them with round sticky dots on which I rubbed transfer numbers beforehand. It’s nothing super fancy or special at all, but the simplicity reflects what I would like our advent to be!


Maybe you would like to play along? I’ve made the file I used into an advent activity calendar PDF. There are 29 activities, so you can choose the ones you like best. Just download, print, cut and fold, put a number on them and hang on the wall.

Enjoy, and happy first day of advent for tomorrow!

xxx Esther


The Little Things… A Doll Hospital!

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids)

For this post in the The Little Things series, we made something I think every little boy or girl will love: a doll hospital!

TLT1 TLT5 The Little Things by Babyccino Kids A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids)

This is such a fun project to make, and it’s really quite simple. Also, most of the materials we’ve used are recycled!

A trip to the local greengrocer provided us with the (future) hospital beds. With simple white paint (I used primer which was left over from our house renovation) I painted the vegetable boxes, and with red acrylic paint from the children’s craft box, I made a red cross on each bed.

From old pillowcases I made white mattresses, sheets and pillows for the beds. And I couldn’t resist painting a red cross on the sheets with fabric paint.

Nurse-cap (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) Prescriptions for Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids)

And then — how ADORABLE are these free downloads for a DIY nurse cap and doctor’s prescriptions? Sara from SakaDesign made them for us again. She’s so talented!

A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) TLT7 A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids)

I painted a similar red cross on a simple white suitcase (which we bought), to create a doctor’s case. And, of course, every respectable doctor’s case needs some serious doctor’s necessities!

The pharmacy around the corner kindly gave us a syringe, some plastic containers, a measuring spoon and cup. The simple bandages and plasters came from our first aid kit. We glued a strip of paper in the lid of the doctor’s case to hold the prescriptions, and filled the plastic containers with colourful ‘pills’ (M&Ms!!). We also put a thermometer, a scissors and a stethoscope in the case.

TLT11 A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids)

And here are Doctor Ava and Doctor Juul, ready to heal some very sick baby dolls! As you can see, they take their task rather seriously. ; )

A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) TLT13 A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) TLT20

TLT21 TLT24 A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) A Doll Hospital (The Little Things by Babyccino Kids) TLT26

The girls played for hours with the doll hospital. It was such a huge succes! (And I’m thinking, wouldn’t it make a very sweet holiday gift as well?)


xxx Esther

PS –  This is the newest post in a series which is called ‘The Little Things’. Thank you Maud Fontein for taking these beautiful photos, and Sara Musch for the adorable download. The girls’ outfits are from Mabo Kids!


The Bee who Spoke

the bee who spoke
ivy reading a bee who spoke
Our friend, Al MacCuish (who we’ve mentioned before here and here), has recently released his second children’s book, and this past weekend we finally got the chance to read it.  The Bee Who Spoke  is a beautifully illustrated story of a girl named Belle and her adventures in the French countryside, where she meets a talking bee and is introduced to the wonders of nature. Not only is it a charming and engaging story, but one that is educational and inspiring too.

I sat down on the sofa to read the story to Ivy, but a few pages in, I was surrounded by all four kids who had nudged their way into our story-telling session. And not only that, but the boys were so inspired by the story, they set out to make drawings of flowers using their spirographs (see below).

stensil drawings
It’s a true sign of a great children’s book when it inspires a good drawing session after you read it. Don’t you think?

Courtney x

Little crochet money purses

crochet bag 3 crochet bag 4I always like to keep my hands busy during long car journeys, so I’ve started knitting and crocheting while my husband drives the way to our holiday destination. On the way to France last month, I started a (doll size) granny square blanket, which was really fun!

During our stay, there were a a few nights where we kept our children busy during dinners by asking them to make a collection of loom bands, and then selling them (by auction!) to friends and family. We had a good laugh and the kids earned a few cents, which made them proud and looking forward to the next ‘Vide Greniers’ (flee markets) we always like to visit during the weekends. To keep their earnings safe, I quickly crocheted a little purse for each of them, and they turned out really cute. Here’s how I made them (using cotton yarn with crochet needle 3,5):

crochet purse

First, chain 30.
Row 1: single crochet in all 30 chains. (30 sc)
Row 2: Change colour. Double crochet in first sc and in each sc across (30 dc)
Row 3: ch 1, turn. Double stitch in first dc and in each dc across (30 dc)
Row 4 & 5 and 6 & 7: repeat row 2 & 3

(For one colour: Row 2 – 7: chain 1, turn. Double stitch in first dc and in each dc across (30 dc) )

Begin flap:
Row 8 (same colour as row 7): Ch 1, turn. Double stitch in first dc and in the next 14 dc (15 dc)
Row 9: ch 1, turn. Double stitch in first dc and in each dc across (15 dc)
Row 10: change colour. Double stitch in first dc and in each dc across (15 dc)
Row 11: ch 1, turn. Double stitch in first dc and following 6 dc, skip one dc and ch 1 instead, dc in 8th dc and next 6 dc (15 dc)
Row 12: ch 1, turn. Single crochet in first dc and each dc (and ch) across (15 sc)

(For one colour: Row 8 – 11: chain one 1, turn. Double stitch in first dc and in the next 14 dc (15 dc). Row 12: sc like above. )

Fasten off and weave in ends.

Bag assembly: Fold purse, and starting at the lower left corner, slip stitch the sides together. Once you get to the top right corner, chain enough to form the strap, then attach to other side of bag and ‘faux’ slipstitch the other side as well. Fasten off and secure ends.

Finishing: Fold flap over front of bag to find placement of button. Sew on button and fasten through space formed between dc 6 and 8 in center of Row 11.

crochet bag 1 crochet bag 2Voila! I hope I explained everything correctly. They are really simple and quick to make!

xxx Esther

Knitting loom

Have you ever heard of a knitting loom? Well, I had not, at least until recently, when I had the chance to catch up with Erika from Miko Design. She told me how she discovered knitting again, thanks to these nifty little things.They are sold at HEMA over here in France and in the Netherlands. You can also get them off Amazon.
Since then we have been looming away at our house – it is seriously easy and strangely addictive. Both my girls now have a new pair of leg warmers and we are in the process of making a poncho. Hilariously, we have no idea what size it is going to be, so it might become a present for baby Marlow or fit Coco perfectly, who is now 8.

As you can tell, we are weaving loom novices, but YouTube is full of knitting loom tutorials, as, for example, this one or this one on how to knit a hat.


Have fun, it is a great way to get back into knitting or, in fact, learn how to knit!

– Emilie
P.S. The lovely jumpers the girls are wearing were not knitted on a knitting loom but are from Babaa Knitwear.

Spring is here! Say it with pillows.

Because yesterday was the (official) first day of spring, I finally finished a little project I have been working on… Pillows! I used mixed techniques to put words on them — embroidery, appliqué, and painting with textile paint. I especially enjoyed the embroidery work — it’s been a long time since I did embroidery, and I forgot how much fun it is!

Happy spring everyone!!

xxx Esther

Valentines craft — love birds

Happy Valentines Day! Our kids woke us up with the sweetest handmade Valentines cards this morning… But I had nothing prepared! So I quickly made these ‘lovebirds’, by folding a piece of paper in half and cutting it in a heart shape. A piece of masking tape keeps it closed and forms the beak. Inside I wrote little love message and poems. So when the kids come home from school they will have a little surprise waiting for them!

xxx Esther

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