Bringing Autumn into the home

Autumn in ScotlandHaving lived overseas in places where the sun shines warmly every day (sigh) and there are only two seasons to live in, there were times when I really missed seeing the four seasons. Here in Scotland the seasonal changes seem so beautifully apparent. Perhaps it’s because the countryside is so breathtakingly stunning here or maybe it’s because we’re living closer to nature. We certainly enjoy the slower pace of life where we can watch the leaves change colour, where the light is golden and the air is crisp.

We’re loving autumn and I’ve noticed that the girls have really embraced the season here so I wanted to share with you some of the ways we’ve brought autumn into our home through the books we read, the food we bake and the crafts we’ve made from some of our forest foraging collections.

Nature's DayI discovered the book Nature’s Day at The ShopUp last year and was thrilled to see a book which captures the magic of the seasons so well. The intricate bright sketchings by Danielle Kroll and the gentle writing by Kay Maguire encourages children of all ages to enjoy nature everywhere. We’ve been enjoying cosy days reading this book together pointing to the mushrooms in the book which we spotted on our walks.

Nature's Day falling leaves

One Sunday we made a special cake and chose autumn fruits and edible flowers to decorate it. The smell of pumkpin, cinnamon and cloves drifted through the house and it was super delicious. The recipe was adapted from Amy-Beth Ellice’s spiced pumpkin bundt cake found here.

Autumn prettiness 1I love foraging with the girls and although it’s on a very simple level we manage to gather some pretty collections. One of my favourite books is The Wreath Recipe and it was there I found the inspiration to make a sweet woodland garland with the girls. It was so super simple to make; just with a needle and some thin twine we threaded through leaves, mushrooms and moss and hung it in our living room using washi tape. It was so effective and has lasted a while. With the rest of our findings I made a small bouqet for the fireplace.

Autumn in my flour potWith these small and quick crafts we brought autumn into our home and continue to enjoy those cosy slower days.

Vanessa xx

The Little Things: Making Fall Leaf Lanterns

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanternsIt’s autumn and the streets are lined with the most beautiful leaves. They’re just too pretty not to be picked up! So for this The Little Things post, we decided to make use of what is so readily available in nature: we’re making beautiful leaf lanterns with Casper and his friend Mees.

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanternsLook how excited those cute three-year-old buddies are to get started!

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanternsFor this project, we need semi-dry leaves (just put leaves in a heavy book and leave for a few days to keep them from curling — it’s best to use paper kitchen towel sheets if you want to avoid stains on the pages of the book). It’s fun to use leaves in different shapes, colours and sizes (don’t forget to collect some tiny ones too). You also need a few clean glass jars, and decoupage glue like Décopatch or Mod Podge.

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanternsFirst step is to paint a layer of glue on the jars. Then, paint the leaves, stick on the jar, and paint over again.

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanternsIt is ok if the leaves overlap, but you can also choose to use them more individually.

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanternsSome leaves can be a bit stiff — cutting the petiole of the leaf can help. Also, once the glue is bit drier, you can push stubborn leaves down quite easily.

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanternsDone! Now we just have to wait a few hours for the paint to dry, and to get completely translucent.

<a href=""> <a href=""> The Little Things by Babyccino Kids -- fall leaf lanterns DIYIn the meantime, we took the boys out to the park for a run and to look for more leaves!

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids -- fall leaf lanterns DIY The Little Things by Babyccino Kids -- fall leaf lanterns DIY The Little Things by Babyccino Kids -- fall leaf lanterns DIYAutumn is such a pretty season. And we have been so lucky with the weather so far here in Amsterdam!

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids, making fall lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids, making fall lanterns The Little Things by Babyccino Kids, making fall lanterns
TLT_34Do you remember one of our first The Little Things shoots, where we were wrapping and unwrapping presents with Casper and Mees? They’ve grown so much! (But are still sooo little.)

The Little Things by Babyccino Kids: DIY Leaf lanternsWhat a fun little project — so easy with such pretty results. Now that the evenings are getting darker and colder, we love lighting candles in our homes to bring in warmth… And our little boys are super proud to see their creations on the table of course!

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 for letting us use your beautiful new house! Casper’s reversible vest is from Nieva, his pants are from Macarons and the shirt is from Mabo Kids.

An ‘Invitation to Play’

Natalie, the wonderfully creative founder of Starting With Art, has come up with all sorts of fun ways to keep your little ones busy during our London ShopUp this December! Trained both as an artist and educator, Natalie is uniquely qualified to nurture your budding artists. We can’t wait to for you to see what she has planned!

In order to whet your appetite before December, we asked Natalie to share some ideas with you about how to encourage your children to explore their creative sides through art. We absolutely love the ideas she has come up with; we can’t wait to try them ourselves!


I’m sure we all have memories of finding something buried in our mothers dresser and spending hours creating magical worlds with the found objects. These objects were never anything particularly special but always evoked a sense of curiosity. My magical moment was the day I discovered my mother’s button collection buried in one of her drawers; the pure joy I experienced as I opened a box revealing circular morsels of delight was profound. It was certainly my invitation to play, albeit a sneaky little one!

As winter draws in and we find ourselves spending more time inside, rather than those sneaky finds, we can create ‘Invitations to Play’ for our children using everyday things you might already have somewhere buried in one of those drawers yourself…


What is an Invitation to Play?

To put it simply, an invitation to play it is a set of arranged materials that captures your children’s curiosity, challenges and tempts them to examine, make and play. The way you select what you arrange will be based on your child’s age and what they are interested in.

I have added a few set-up suggestions with an art making focus; these are the starting point and as exciting as this is, we can never predict the endpoint; that is one of the beauties of children’s art making and play. There might not even be an endpoint, but rather a process of questioning and exploration; this is good too. If you want to explore the Invitations to Play you set up, then sure enough your children will dive in and absorb themselves for hours, perfect for a wintery afternoon of making.

Remember this isn’t a step-by-step guide; it is more of a suggestion of how to allow your children to explore their creative urges. Feel free to use any materials that you feel might pique your children’s interest.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Bubble wrap and paint – children love popping the bubble wrap with paint on and best of all it can be folded, paint squished and colours merged.

1. Bubblewrap, paint

Cardboard, pens, stickers and tape encourage sculpture making with endless open-ended possibilities.

2. Cardboard, tape, stickers, pens

Post-it-notes are an excellent open-ended resource, they can be written on, used to make shapes with and they stick anywhere.

3. Post-it-notes, pens, masking tape

Cotton buds are excellent for developing fine motor skills and creating spots. Painting on tin foil enables a different sensory experience with fun effects. The best thing is that it also covers the table and can be lifted off with no paint residue.

4. Tinfoil, cotton buds, paint

5. Cork boards can be found in discount stores, watch your children create wonderful patterns with coloured pins. Again this is a brilliant way to develop those fine motor skills (just check your child is aware of safety when using these).

5. Cork boards, pins

Threading buttons has to be a favourite. If you incorporate wire and plasticine, mini models can be constructed as the plasticine secures wire to the table.

6. Wire, buttons, plasticine

Thanks so much, Natalie! We can’t wait to see you at The ShopUp next month! x

New video: How to make a superhero costume (a quick and easy DIY!)

superhero wristbands

Superhero costume DIY materials

Ivy flying

On our road trip up the coast of California last month, we stopped for a few days in sunny San Luis Obispo to visit my friend Mo from Pipsticks who recently moved from London with her husband and their four kids. It was so fun to get all our kids together and to explore this charming little California town. (They were lobbying hard to get us to move there after our trip is over, and it’s definitely tempting!)

During our stay, I caught Mo quickly making her son a superhero cape for his adventures in the back yard. She made it in a matter of minutes from an old t-shirt, and I thought it was so clever I asked her to show us how she did it. Soon, we had eight kids running around with colourful capes and masks, all having the best time together!

Later, we put together this little video tutorial for how to make the cape as well as cute superhero wristbands to complete the costume. It’s a fun and easy project, perfect for a last-minute Halloween costume or any time your kids need an outfit to match their superhero adventures.

You can watch the video here and you can find the full tutorial for the wristbands on the Pipsticks site here. Happy crafting!

Courtney x

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!

Multiplication flowers





While it has certainly not been as easy as we had imagined, we are gradually finding our way with homeschooling the kids. Every day the kids test our patience, get distracted and, in turn, can make a simple morning of learning be an extremely frustrating experience… but, there are both good days and bad days and the highs definitely outweigh the lows. It is incredibly rewarding to watch your children learn a concept you spent a morning trying to teach them, or to watch as one of your children suddenly grasps a concept they struggled with the day before.

At dinnertime every evening, we go around the table and ask the kids questions about the lessons we taught in the morning. Sometimes the kids need reminding, but sometimes they surprise you with their knowledge and understanding… and it is those moments where it all starts to feel worthwhile. To watch your children learn! It really is the most wonderful and inspiring thing.

While homeschooling comes with its challenges, one of the benefits is that we are able to work closely with each of our children by focusing on topics that really interest them. This way, they are engaged and excited by the topic and the learning comes more easily. For example, I know that Quin (aged 8) is visual learner. He loves drawing and learns well whenever there is something visual in front of him. While working with Quin and Ivy on their multiplication tables last week, I noticed that Quin started to lose steam. He normally excels in math, but he was getting bored of the basic memorisation. So when I saw this post on Kirsten Rickert‘s homeschool feed, @mayaclimbstrees, for these multiplication flowers, I knew it would be a wonderful way to help him learn his multiplication.

Both Quin and Ivy have really loved this little project. We’ve worked on a new number each day, and the results are wonderful both for the understanding of the concepts and the pretty artwork to show for it. I thought I would share with you all, because it’s a simple and fun project whether you’re homeschooling or not.

Courtney x

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!

Counting and adding Sticks, Montessori Style

Counting Sticks

Tila just loves to count and learn new numbers and since she’s not the sit-and-learn type of kid I decided to try something that would help her learn simple math like adding through a play.

So I made this simple counting/adding tool and I was so amazed at how quickly she learned to add numbers to 10 with them. In just under half an hour she could add numbers and then she could actually add most of them even without the sticks! So I decided it’s something I need to share with you.

Counting Sticks

There is nothing special about these sticks, they are simple Popsicle Craft Sticks and I painted 10 of them red and the other ten blue just because I thought it would be easier to count the first number of sticks in one color and add them in another plus in case she’d make a mistake at counting they wouldn’t mix. For instance: if I ask her how much is 5+4 and she takes 5 of the red ones and only 3 of the blue ones I can ask her if she’s sure she took the right amount of both and then she can correct herself by either counting both individually or even just by looking at them (she can immediately recognize there are only 3 blue sticks).

You can also write the numbers down, so she or he can see what the actual numbers look like in writing. Simply write the numbers 1 to 10 (or more if they know them) on little square papers two times (or more – you can also ask how much is 2+2+2+1 for instance and you’ll need three 2s for that) and put the correct numbers in front of them when asking. I wish I knew math can be fun when I was 6.

Isn’t it funny how the most amazing things in life are usually also the most simple ones?


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

Stick loom weaving

stick loom weaving
loom weaving close-up
quin stick weaving
Quin and Ivy weaving
Ivy weaving
finished stick looms
This has been a project I’ve been meaning to do for the past few summers on the beach, but have just never got around to doing. But then this year my year my friend, Kate, from Little Big House Tales made these with her kids (and put up a really great tutorial on her blog), and ever since we’ve been feeling extra excited about this project. All we needed was a grey day to curl up together and get out our basket of wool.

Last week we woke up to cloudy, misty weather and, knowing this was our day, I quickly fed the kids breakfast and then got out our collection of wishbone sticks we’ve collected on the beach over the past few weeks. We all spent the morning weaving together (all of us except Marlow), and it was really such a fun activity to do together.

The only tricky bit is preparing the loom and ensuring the string is woven tightly so it doesn’t move when you begin your weaving. I followed Kate’s instructions and sawed little etches into the sides of the sticks so the string would stay put. This was the time-consuming bit, but once this was done the kids were able to do the weaving on their own, only asking for the occasional help tying the yarn. It was such a fun (and addictive!) project. We’ve already started a new collection of wishbone sticks for our next cloudy day…

Courtney x

The Perfect Summer Craft: Paper Windmill!

Paper Windmill

Did you ever make paper windmills when you were a kid? We made them in kindergarten and it was one of my favorite crafts. I can still vividly remember how much fun I had running around with them and blowing at them later.
I passed a store that sells them the other day and instead of buying one I decided to make it (or a bunch of them) instead. With Tila. Isn’t it funny how the simplest crafts usually give the most joy to the little ones?
First I thought it might be ridiculous to share this DIY with you as anyone can do a paper windmill but when I actually tried to make one I realized I can’t! I remembered a few steps but the most crucial ones I forgot! I think there might be more mamas of my kind out there and this being such a perfect summer craft I decided I need to do it.

Paper Windmill

You need:
Thick Square Paper (double sided makes a better effect)
Push/Board Pins with long needles (at least 19 mm)
Wooden Skewers (30 cm long) or a thin dowelling
A Bead (optional)
Nose Pliers (or a hammer)

Paper Windmill

First make a hole through the skewer (about 2-3cm from the top) with a pin and use a hammer if you need to (also make sure to have something like a wooden block underneath to protect the surface from damaging when the needle goes through the other end) and take it out again.

Paper Windmill

Drew the diagonal lines or fold the paper in half diagonally, open out and repeat with the opposite diagonal.

Paper Windmill

Now cut from corners along diagonal lines stopping around 2 cm from the center.

Paper Windmill

Paper Windmill

Paper Windmill

Fold the four corners to the center of the paper, puncturing each with a pin (about 5mm from the edge) and then push the pin through the center, the bead and through the hole in the wooden skewer. You can skip the bead part but I find the windmill turns better with it.

Paper Windmill

Make sure to twist the end sticking out the back of the stick down and a little towards the stick.


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

DIY: Seashell Mobiles

shell mobiles DIY
shell mobiles
Ivy making shell mobile
Ivy making mobile
making shell mobiles
Ivy's shell mobile
Happy Monday everyone! We’re back to regular posting this week. Thank you for all your sweet comments last week and for bearing with us while we enjoyed a blogging break.

The kids and I spent the week (hardly getting out of pyjamas!) in our little beach house on Bainbridge Island. We went for long beach walks, carefully observing the sea and beach life all around us. We watched eagles swoop down to catch salmon right in front of us, we watched seals bob their heads in the sea, we chased sea otters off our raft, we caught crabs and fish, and we collected seashells and sand dollars and all sorts of beach treasures.  At one point I asked Easton where his shoes were and he told me they had been up in the car for the past four days! I suppose it’s a sign of a good holiday when your kids spend all day barefoot and in their pyjamas.

During the week, we spent lots of time in search of seashells with holes in them so we could make mobiles. We occasionally found the odd clam shell with a perfectly symmetrical hole in them — so perfect for our little project. (I have always wondered how this hole is created in the shells and then someone on Instagram told me why, and it’s fascinating!!!) After we collected a big enough collection of these perfect shells, we then sat down to create simple seashell mobiles using string and driftwood. Ivy created her mobile all by herself, simply by tying knots in the string and threading the string through the seashells.

She was so proud of the end result (and so was I!) that we hung it up on the wall behind our bed. Such perfect decoration for our beach house (along with the dreamcatchers we made a couple years ago!).

Courtney x

See you next week!

kids on bainbridge island

Emilie and vivi copy

Esther's house in France

We’ve decided to take a little blogging break this week to enjoy some time away from our computers. We are each in our favourite summer spots enjoying slow, lazy days with our families, and we hope you won’t mind if we push the pause button this week and resume as normal next week? In the meantime, here are some of our favourite blog posts from the past year in case you missed them:

See you next week!

Courtney, Esther and Emilie xx

P.S. Photos above are from our Instagram feeds (Courtney, Emilie & Esther) where you can follow along this week if you miss us. ; )

Pretty stamps from Felicette

Felicette stampsMy love for stamps has seriously rubbed off on my children. We have quite a collection of them and can’t stop discovering more desirable ones. (BTW, I have this same problem with pens — I never seem to have quite enough of them. It drives my husband crazy, but I’m hooked!)

Felicette stampsWe recently discovered the stamp collection by Felicette, and oh, they’re so pretty and cool! I love the one with the glasses pictured — they’re just so Sara. She’s been using them for everything lately.

Felicette3 Felicette stamps  library stamp ex libris
Felicette also offers custom name stamps, which are perfect for the children to personalise stationary, for instance. And I love the library stamps (I still have my own childhood books and many of them still have an ex libris with my name in my childish handwriting — I love this!).

xxx Esther

Needle (or dry) felting

needle felting

My kids (and I) have a new hobby: needle (dry) felting. We really love it! It’s incredibly easy to do, and so fun. Relaxing too — the rhythmic movement of poking the needle in the wool is actually really nice.



For needle felting you need just a few supplies: a sponge (a simple kitchen sponge works fine), some felting wool and some special, barbed felting needles. That’s all you need for making all sorts of shapes! An easy start, I thought, is to felt on top of wool felt sheets, and make pretty wool ‘paintings’ like this. Pim made a really sweet book marker as an end-of year gift for his teacher this way.

conscious craft needle felting
Or, you can use cookie cutters as a mould and create independent shapes. Ava and Sara made really sweet hairbands — first they made little felt blossoms and hearts, then they felted them to elastic hair bands (using a piece of wool felt to ‘glue’ the hair band to the shape). It entertained them for a an afternoon and their hair bands turned out really sweet!

Conscious Craft has a perfect selection of felting supplies, and you can also buy a blossom hair bands kit here. Fun!

xxx Esther

Design your own butterfly wings

Seedling butterfly wings
Ivy with butterfly wings
Ivy received this Design Your Own Butterfly Wings Kit for her birthday a couple months ago, and in my haste to tidy up after her party I stuck it in our craft cupboard, hidden away until we found it last week! She spent an afternoon carefully colouring and glittering her wings, and then spent the entire weekend fluttering around in them.

I swear I was stopped at least ten times this weekend (mainly by grandmothers looking to buy for their granddaughters!) asking where I found them. It really is the perfect gift — one that encourages creativity, imagination and then… butterfly role play! What better?!

The kit is made by Seedling and can be found in the UK at Conscious Craft.

Courtney x

Edible Gluten-Free Play Dough

Edible Play Dough dough

My 1.5-year-old absolutely adores playdough but he also loves to put it in his mouth so as I tried to find edible playdough I came across this recipe and it’s amazing. It’s not only edible but also gluten free! How great is that? The only thing about it is that it only keeps for about a week (refrigerated in a sealed container). But the fact that I don’t have to worry about our little one eating it is worth it. And also I used natural organic food coloring so the colors were not as pretty and as vibrant as I wanted, and I didn’t get as much variety as I wished for (the blue one turned its back on me and became greenish – how weird is that?) but the kids loved it anyway. It’s done super quick and if you have a toddler at home you almost surely have all the ingredients already in your kitchen. Let’s see:

Edible Play Dough Ingredients

You’ll need:

2 cups of Baby Rice Cereal
2 cups Corn Starch
1 cup unsweetened Apple Sauce
6 TBSP Vegetable Oil
Food Coloring

Edible Play Dough

All you need to do is throw these ingredients together, mix well and knead into a smooth, pliable dough. In case your dough is sticky gradually add more rice cereal and in the opposite case (if the dough is dry and cracking) just water your hands and knead on and if necessary repeat. Finally divide your dough into as many pieces as you wish and add food coloring to each one, knead.

Voila! That is 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!

Wee Gallery, 32 ways to dress a…

wee_gallery_2 wee_gallery_3 wee_gallery_4My children were each given a mini activity book from Wee Gallery recently and they’ve been a big success. With a very simple concept (dress the cat / bunny / fox etc), these sweet little books appeal to different ages, and make the cutest little presents.


I also think they are great for traveling, or to take to restaurants, for instance. Just pop a few in your handbag for instant entertainment!

xxx Esther

Woody knitting toy

woody sewing sheep Ivy with woody sheep
sewing woody sheep
wool and sheep
ivy sewing

This past Christmas I discovered the ethical French toy brand Les Jouets Libres when looking for gifts to give my nieces and nephews. They make the most beautiful, old-fashioned wooden toys, the kind of toys you keep forever. I ended up buying this pretty stacking toy for one and this colourful blocks set for another, both which were made from sustainable wood and eco-friendly dyes.

Les Jouets Libres has come out with a new toy, this lovely wooden knitting sheep, and I recently picked it up for Ivy who has lately been showing interest in sewing and weaving. The concept is really simple — it’s a wooden sheep with little holes, and kids can thread the wool in and out of the holes to cover the sheep in a woolly coat. It’s a great way to teach kids the basics of sewing, encouraging them to learn dexterity and patience. Ivy has now covered her sheep in wool twice, and it was impressive how much better she was the second time she did it.

“Woody” is available from the Les Jouets Libres site in France or from EeenyMeeny Kids here in the UK.

Courtney x

Stitch ‘n Kids: the braid star


I saw this braid star at my friend Elke’s house and went to buy one for my children as I’m always interested in these kind of simple crafting tools. And it has become an instant hit in our household! Simply a wooden disc with 8 slots, it’s the perfect entertainment for children aged 4 (depending on their motor skills) and up.

When we were visiting Courtney and co in London last April, I brought braiding stars for all of the kids. They all made each other friendship bracelets and it kept them busy and calm at the same time (exceptional!!).


With the summer holiday rapidly approaching, I thought it would be a good idea to mention the braid star as it is such a perfect item to bring along while traveling. Small enough to keep in your handbag, and it will keep children perfectly entertained on an airplane, in the back of a car, on a train, etc. Plus — they can make presents for all the little friends they meet on their travels!

I picked up our braid stars at De Zaailing in Amsterdam, but I found similar items on Etsy, and here, in case you’re interested.

xxx Esther

PS I really like the thought of asking my children to weave their own colourful shoe laces with the braid star!

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