Pretty stamps from PSikhouvanjou

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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!

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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

Draw a map of your city

Quin drawing map of London
Quin drawing
map of london
In the days leading up to Christmas when the kids were home from school and looking for activities to keep them entertained, I suggested they draw a map of London with all their favourite things to do and see in their city. We had an extra piece of poster paper lying around and I suggested they draw the map and paint the details. I gave them some rough guidance about the layout of London and where some of the important monuments are, but for the most part, they really took the lead to draw their city all on their own. They looked at some maps of London and some guide books, but again they did most of it all on their own and a lot of it from memory. I was so impressed with their drawings of the buildings and love the way their map of London turned out. I also loved seeing what they included on their map — Big Ben and the London Eye, of course, but they also included Ruby Violet ice cream parlour, Thanh Binh (our favourite Vietnamese restaurant), Hampstead Heath, their dad’s office, Maltby Street Market, our favourite pizza restaurant, and of course Emirates Stadium, home of their favourite football team.

Easton drawing map of London

It took the kids a good couple hours to finish their map and they stayed really engaged with this activity throughout the whole process. They also learned a bit about their city — we talked about distance and direction and the layout of London, and they now have a better idea of where everything is in relation to our house.

Plus, I love their map so much I’m planning on getting it framed to hang in our entrance way. Such a sweet visual representation of the way they view London.

Courtney x

 

Last-Minute Christmas DIY: Hand Print Santa Ornaments

Santa Ornametns

A couple of years ago my sister-in-law and I decided to start a tradition of no gift buying for us adults for Christmas. Or at least no big ones. It can be something tiny like our favorite chocolate or tea or something of that sort or we can make them ourselves. So this year I decided to do just that. I made these cute Santa Ornaments from salt-dough hand prints of my kids for the whole family. They didn’t cost much (nothing even since I had everything at home already) but they are worth more than money could ever buy. It won’t really be a surprise for them since they will probably see them here already but I know they will be super happy to get them.

I love this craft for several reasons: it’s super fun to make, kids are involved, they make a perfect keepsake for the family, they look absolutely cute and as I said – the things you need to make them don’t cost much. Unfortunately this time I can’t say it’s a super quick diy but it’s the perfect holiday craft and fun for the whole family. I think I’ll make them every year just to track the growth of my two Santas! 😉

So, to make these Santa hand-print Ornaments you need:

Santa Ornaments

Santa OrnamentsFor the dough (to make the prints) for about 3 kid-size prints

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup water

1. Preheat the oven to 120 °C and line baking tray with baking paper
2. Mix flour and salt in the bowl then gradually add water, stirring until combined
3. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface, roll out until about 7mm thick and transfer to baking tray
4. Press your kiddo’s hands onto the dough and cut them out leaving about 2mm edge. You can make ornaments with the left-over dough, just use some nice cookie cutters
5. Use a knitting needle or a chop stick to make a hole at the top of the palm, about 1 cm from the top edge. This will be used to string the twine through
6. Bake for at least 3 hours, turning them once after 2 hours. You can easily leave them in longer or even over night!

Santa OrnamentsNow, for the fun part you need:

White, Red, Black and Skin Tone Acrylic Paint
Acrylic Gloss Varnish (optional)
Twine

Santa Ornaments
Santa Ornametns

Santa Ornaments First paint the entire print white twice, waiting about an hour between coats
2. After the second one dries completely sketch the outline of the hat, the pom-pom and the face with a pencil
3. Draw a face (without the eyes, nose and mustache) and a hat (without the dots) using two coats again. But always remember to wait for about an hour in between! You probably have some red paint left so use that for the nose.
4. Now draw the fur on Santa’s hat and lastly the rest of the face (eyes and mustache) and the tiny dots on the hat. Leave to dry.
5. You can stop here and string the twine through the hole or you can seal the ornaments with two or more coats of Gloss Varnish, which will make the ornaments last for ages! Plus they look so much nicer with some extra gloss on them 😉

-Polona

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

Simple leaf print-splash art

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Did you ever splash drops of ink on paper using a toothbrush? My mum taught me this technique when I was a child and suddenly, when Ava and I were picking up pretty leaves the other day, I remembered how fun it was. All you need is an old toothbrush and some coloured ink. Dip the toothbrush in the ink lightly and use your thumb to spray little drops of ink on the paper. Don’t move the leaves when you’re doing it!

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When you’re done, carefully remove the leaves from the paper. Voila! So pretty!

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Your thumb will we coloured for the next few days. I think my mum used liquid water colour, ‘ecoline’ for this, which is probably a better idea if you have it handy. If not, a coloured thumb is actually pretty cool we thought : ).

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Pim and Ava made a few very pretty leaf print-splash paintings (or whatever you would call them), and they look really cool on the wall of my office. Simple is best, isn’t it?

xxx Esther

 

Sticker crafting with Pipsticks

sticker crafts with Pipsticks
craft supplies and pipsticks stickers
marlow crafting with stickers from Pipsticks
Pipsticks stickers

My friend, Maureen, invited us over to her house last week for a sticker craft playdate for the little ones (and homemade soup for the mums! Yummm).  It was such a fun and inspiring morning in her gorgeous home, and Marlow loved making (and wearing) her sticker crown. What a sweet activity.

Maureen is the founder of Pipsticks, a sticker subscription service for kids (and sticker-loving grown-ups) that delivers a curated pack of stickers to your mailbox every month. Each month Maureen puts together an awesome, seasonal pack of stickers from global suppliers, choosing the most unique and useful stickers kids are sure to love. In addition to stickers, each pack includes a blank postcard and a few sheets of colourful paper to use for craft projects and general ‘stickering’.

I think what I love most about Maureen, in addition to her sticker expertise and, of course, her homemade soup (!), is that she comes up with the cutest ways to use the stickers and offers all sorts of sticker craft ideas on her site. From sticker crowns to pretty pencils to sticker mandalas… most projects are easy enough for kids to do on their own, and make it that much more exciting to receive a sticker pack in the post each month.

Marlow and Ike
Ike sticker crafting
Marlow and Ike were so cute making their crowns together, and as you can see Marlow got creative and decided to sticker her outfit too. : ) You can see the full sticker crown tutorial over on the Pipsticks website where you can sign up for your own sticker subscription as well. (Enter code BABY11 at check-out to receive one month free off any 6 or 12 month subscription!)

Courtney x

p.s. Pipsticks will have a booth at this year’s ShopUp event selling sticker gift boxes and other fun sticker packs — they’ll also have a little craft station for kids as well, so be sure to check them out there! Just TWO MORE WEEKS!!

Super cool art therapy colouring book


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I recently picked up this really cool colouring book, ‘The Art Therapy Colouring Book‘ for my kids and it’s been a huge hit. It mostly consists of very intricate colouring sheets full of cool mandelas and geometrical designs, which give the most awesome results — even if you don’t stay within the lines : ). Adults too will love the therapeutic exercise of patiently colouring in the patterns in this book and creating something beautiful along the way. I think this book will make a lovely (holiday) present — for bigger and smaller kids!

Available from Amazon (US or UK ).

xxx Esther

DIY: London Bus Piggy Bank

Cardboard Piggy Bank London Bus1

Hi there, remember me? The SHOPUP is coming up soon (are you coming?) and I thought I’d help out these three super busy bees a little bit by contributing a few posts. Hope you don’t mind.

I got an inspiration for this one last summer in Slovenia in a cute toy shop Vanila Park. The owner has this cardboard London Bus that she made together with her daughter on display and I immediately thought about doing a piggy bank similar to it. I love how it turned out and I thought you might like it too.

Like all my crafts it’s super easy and done in under an hour – Tila can’t stay still for longer.

Cardboard Piggy Bank London Bus2

The things you’ll need are:

Cardboard box (mine was size 17,5 cm x 12 cm)
Some extra cardboard
Glue
Scissors
Craft knife (optional)
Ruler
Red, black, white and yellow acrylic paint

Cardboard Piggy Bank London Bus3

First measure and cut a piece of cardboard to fit inside the bottom of the box to make it more sturdy (those coins can get really heavy).

Cardboard Piggy Bank London Bus4

Cut an opening in the top of the box big enough to fit the widest coin (for 2 Euros a 2,5 cm x 0,5 cm opening should do) and paint the whole box bright red.

Now cut out four circles about 5 cm in diameter for the wheels (black), two with 2 cm in diameter for the lights (yellow), two 4-centimetre squares and one 9cm x 4 cm rectangle for the windows and paint the pieces (white).

Cardboard Piggy Bank London Bus5

Glue them on like in the photo above and start saving.  ; )

-Polona

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

A fun way to use all those conkers your kids have collected

conkers
conkers and tights
filling tights

My friend, AC, is one of those wild outdoorsy types (in the coolest of ways, of course) who embraces the outdoors, no matter the weather, and comes up with the most creative and fun ways to entertain her kids. She’s such a fun mama, and I’m really hoping she’ll rub off on me a bit in the coming colder months when we all start to get a bit stir crazy sitting indoors!

Anyway, I’m loving her recent idea for what to do with all those conkers the kids have collected. Fill up a pair of tights and create your own ‘massage octopus’ as she calls it. How fun is that? You can read her blog post here and find lots of other inspiration and activities on her blog here.

x Courtney

Pillow stamping at the Snor Festival & Yvestown Fair this weekend!

pillow2I’ve known the fabulous Yvonne from Yvestown for a few years now and I just love everything she does. Her wonderful blog, her beautiful book, and her inspiring Yvestown Fair. Together with the wonderful girls from Snor Publishers (remember these cool activity books I blogged about), they’re organising a fun event this Sunday, and when they invited Babyccino Kids to join, of course we said yes!

pillow3 pillow4 Processed with VSCOcam with p5 presetI will be there, offering the opportunity to stamp pillow cases like these ones I made with my kids. Such a fun activity (and I love the results!!).

Snor_festivalI really hope to see you there if you have the opportunity to come? I have a limited amount of pillowcases with me, so if you want me to reserve a pillow-stamping-placement for you, just send me an email and I will save you one!

xxx Esther

 

The Sticker Club

sticker_clubSara and Pim are really into ‘clubs’ recently. They have a Club with their neighbour friends, in which (according to the minutes of their last meeting) they set out to ‘make loom bands’, ‘find insects’, ‘write letters’ and ‘build huts’. They also have clubs with their class mates, varying from the ‘Lunchtime Break Football Club’ to the ‘We Love Nature Club’. So cute!

I guess all kids love clubs. There’s something so magically exciting about it! I remember that as a child, I was a member of all sorts of clubs — some of them were so secret I hid the club paperwork underneath the carpet in my room!

Sticker_club2

Tapping into the Kids love Clubs idea, The Sticker Club is a new business idea launched by two creative dads who share 5 kids between them. The concept is simple — upon joining The Sticker Club, your child will receive a really cool looking parcel, addressed to them personally, on the doorstop each week, retaining 9 different sticker sheets designed by different up-and-coming, hip designers. Pim has been a member for a few weeks now, and he LOVES receiving his stickers every week!

The sheets are made from high-quality paper with non-toxic inks and non-marking glue, and are really happy and fun. You can subscribe to the club here — there are also some gift options available which is a super good idea!

xxx Esther

 

PS The secret ‘White Lion Club‘ for Pim’s 7th birthday party, and a chain letter Sticker Club.

Painting sand dollars

watercolour paints on sand dollars

We’ve been spending our final days of summer holiday at our little beach house on Bainbridge Island. The weather has cooled down in the past week and the days have become noticeably shorter.  Autumn is definitely in the air!

A couple days ago when the weather was cloudy and the kids were feeling a bit stir crazy, we decided to sit down for a little paint session. We’ve already painted rocks, so this time we decided to paint our collection of sand dollars. It was such a fun activity!

painting sand dollars
painted sand dollar

painted sand dollars

It was fun to see the different variations of painting techniques. Some of us chose to paint the star, while others decided the sand dollars should look like tie-dye! : ) In any case, it was a fun way to spend a cloudy afternoon.

x Courtney

Doodle books from Start Creative

Start Creative doodle books
We have one more week of summer holidays before heading back to London and diving straight into school and a busy Autumn schedule. I’m starting to psyche myself up for the routine that is coming… but first, I have a 9-hour flight with four kids to survive. I’ve been trying to convince one of my siblings to fly back with me to help with all the schlepping of children and luggage, but haven’t had any takers… so it looks like I will fly solo, just the kids and me. Eeeek!

Thankfully, a set of doodle books from Start Creative arrived this week for us to check out. The timing couldn’t be better.

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Each little doodle book provides the start of a doodle on each page — a simple line, swirl or scribble, which the kids can use as the starting point for their drawing. All your kids will need is a pencil and a bit of imagination!

I also love that the books are perfectly sized for travel, small enough to fit into any carry-on tote or child’s backpack (I’ve already stashed some in our travel bag, ready for our flight!).

x Courtney

p.s. Last year, after surviving the long flight back to London with all the kids, I jotted down some simple tips for flying with kids. I’ll be studying these tips to prepare myself for next week’s flight, and if you have any other tips to share, please do!

Learning to weave on a peg loom

ivy weaving

weaving loom

My sister just gave Ivy a Peg Loom weaving kit and it’s been really sweet watching Ivy learn to weave this summer. She’s intent on making herself a little handbag, which is one of the projects recommended in the loom kit. I’m kind of hoping we can buy some pretty yarns and make some weaved wall hangings, perhaps with some driftwood found on the beach (I was feeling inspired yesterday when I saw this photo on Instagram). In either case, it’s a great summertime project (for both of us).  The PegLoom kit comes with everything you need to get started, including yarn and a weaving needle.

x Courtney

MAPS Activity Book

MAPS activity book
colouring MAPS activity book
Remember the MAPS book we all love so much? Well, they’ve just come out with an activity book version which my kids are loving nearly as much as the book!! (Easton did make sure to tell me that he still loves the book more!)

colouring american states

The MAPS activity book is filled with loads of great activities, all based on encouraging children to learn and discover the different countries, continents and cultures around the world. There’s a page, for example, that encourages children to colour the 50 different states of America, using only four colours, and without letting any of the colours touch — a fun, yet challenging activity that my 9-year-old really enjoyed.

colour your own flag

Another page asks you to colour the different flags from countries around the world and then asks you to design and colour your own flag. Another fun activity! The book is available from Amazon (US and UK).

x Courtney

Painting rocks!

ivy painting rocks
We’ve been staying at my family’s beach house on Bainbridge Island this week, where the water is cold and the beaches are rocky. The kids are in heaven! We have all spent the past few days collecting rocks on our beach walks, and today, while Marlow napped, we sat down in the shade to paint them. It was a fun afternoon activity and one that we all enjoyed.

The results from our rock-painting session were not overly impressive, so I thought it might be better to share some more inspiring images of other painted rocks, in case you are hoping for some inspiration beyond the typical painted ladybird! All images found on Pinterest:

painted rocks1
I love all the different faces in this image. (My boys were especially into painting faces – they wanted to make ‘pet rocks’.)

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Love the bright colours and patterns here. (Image found here.)

abc painted rocks

Paint the alphabet! Fun and educational. (Image from here.)

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Thought these were cute!

painted owls

Love these painted owls!

We used acrylic paints, and mixed our paints inside sea shells since we didn’t have paint palettes. It worked perfectly! Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

x Courtney

Loom bands

loom_bandsI’ve heard that loom bands have been around for a while already in other parts of the world, but here in the Netherlands they’ve suddenly made their appearance in the last few months. And now, they are everywhere.

If you’ve missed the fuss — loom bands basically are little elastic bands in a rainbow of colours, that are weaved together to form anything from simple bracelets to complex three dimensional creations. My children mostly use their fingers and different weaving techniques to make their bracelets, but there are crochet hooks and loom kits available as well. Little S or C shaped plastic clips keep the finished artwork together.

Both Sara as Pim are completely obsessed, and so are all of their friends. Pim has his entire arm covered in the plastic bracelets and is still collecting more! I do make him take them off in bed — I must admit that all of that plastic does gross me out a little. But then again, it keeps them entertained for hours, it’s creative, social, and fun. Plus, they can even be stylish — yesterday one of my cool friends was sporting a black loom band with neon details that she made herself, which made me want to get into my children’s loom band stock immediately and start weaving.

So, are your kids (or you!) on the loom band wagon yet?

xxx Esther

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter! We hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend!!

xxx Courtney, Emilie and Esther

PS Ava is wearing the cute bunny ears from last week’s The Little Things download.

The Little Things… Playing the Easter bunny!

Easter is one of my favourite holidays. The celebration of spring, the prelude to summer… And, I happen to love eggs! For this week’s post in The Little Things series, Ava and her friend Juul (Maud Fontein‘s cute daughter!) dressed up as the sweetest little Easter bunnies. Aren’t they so cute?

BC_download_bunny_ears-1You can make similar bunny ears by printing the above PDF — didn’t Sara Musch again do a great job? I love this week’s download! Just cut out the ears and fold and glue them around a simple headband. Easy!

And… most little children just love face paint. Mine do! But I’ve never been very keen to have them play around with it. Shop-bought, artificial face paint can have high levels of toxic nickel and chrome. So nasty! A much better alternative is to make your own face paint — it’s really simple, and so easy! And it is super safe — without any of the harmful chemicals.

Homemade face paint:

3 teaspoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon flour
2 teaspoons baby body lotion (or honey if you want it to be edible!)
1 teaspoon water
Activated charcoal (for black), and natural food colouring

The tulips in front of the Rijksmuseum here in Amsterdam are in full bloom. A perfect spot to hide some eggs!! :)

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 cool download. The girls’ jumpers are from Macarons!

Mix & match sketchbook by DEUZ

My kids (and I!) have had the best of fun this last week with the clever mix & match sketchbook by DEUZ. Basically this is an ordinary blank sketchbook, but the centre of the page is perforated so you can easily ‘cut’ your drawing in half, and thus create your own crazy animal combinations. What a great idea!

There are two varieties to choose from: ‘Wolf‘, or ‘Characters‘. We’ve been drawing up horse-fish, pig-birds, dino-ants, and more fantastic animals in the ‘Wolf’ sketchbook. So cool! I’m definitely going to order more for gifts.
(A little tip: it helps to indicate the ‘thickness’ of the animal beforehand, so your doodles line up once separated.)

xxx Esther

Stitch ‘n kids: felt hand puppets

A few weeks ago I made these owl hand puppets with my kids, which was such a fun project that I thought I should share.

First, we designed the owl on paper. Then, we cut out the different shapes of felt, first the shape of the body (twice), then the details like the eyes, the ears and the wings. With blankets stitch and straight stitch we sewed the different details on to the body, and then we used the sewing machine to sew the two sides of the body together (leaving the bottom open as to create a hand puppet).

Pim, who is nearly seven years old, designed his own owl and cut out all of the different pieces of felt. He needed a bit of help with the hand stitching, although it was a good exercise and he was definitely getting the hang of it. I did the machine sewing part for him, but I would like to sit down with him soon and introduce him to machine sewing.

Sara, who is eight years old, is now skilled enough with needlework and the technicalities of her sewing machine, that except from making sure the ends of the thread were properly secured with the hand-stitching part, she could work completely independently. I loved how she discovered she could used the decorative stitch on her sewing machine to make feather details!

Ava, who is only three, chose her colours felt, and which buttons she should use for the eyes. And even though I pretty much did the rest for her, she still felt as if she had made her own owl.

It was such a fun and easy project for different ages!

xxx Esther

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