Book recommendations

First up is The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown.I LOVED the covers of these two books, I think they are simply gorgeous. The books are about a robot who gets shipwrecked on an island and has to navigate the terrain, adapt to her circumstances and find a way to communicate with the island’s inhabitants.Both my son and I thoroughly enjoyed these books and were rooting for the Robot for both books.

For younger readers is the picture book Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by David Roberts.Most of us have read The Gruffalo which is brilliant but out of all the books we have read of hers I might just prefer this one! It is about a baby dinosaur who, by accident, gets put with the wrong family. I loved that I could do two very different voices for both families which made reading it far more fun.

He is so cute!!!!

Bird Spotting

Have you noticed more birds recently in your garden or on your walks? I have named our resident Robin ‘Hubert’ and have been buying him treats .I have to admit my knowledge of birds is pretty rubbish so getting to know our birds is a great thing to do. So why not make a book , journal or print out some sheets from lots of websites offering birds and mini beast sheets to go outside and get better knowledge of our garden friends.

I made this bird guide for hobby craft last year ,if you wanted to do something similar go to hobby craft.co.uk then ‘ideas’ then search ‘how to make a bird spotting book’.If you do want to make one the only thing I would change is the pouch on the inside to make concertina sides allowing more room. A clipboard with drawings or printed out birds would be the same idea. These are my drawings but I always prefer children’s drawings so if your child fancies drawing the birds even better.

You could do a tick box system if you spot a bird like this or you could put how many times, time of day information etc.Obviously no younger bird spotter would be seen without their trusty binoculars!

I have cut a kitchen roll tube in two, made two holes and put some wool to attach them together.

Now is the fun part …..the decorating. I am afraid I am trying to do home school at home which is not easy so I have gone for a quick and easy option of washi tape to give them a little feature. I then put some washi tape on a bit of card and cut a shape out. I glued the tubes together, then glued the added piece to give a little more structure.

Now your intrepid explorers are ready to go out on an adventure!!

If you are stuck indoors and no birds around you could do an imaginary bird spotting book. What kind of amazing birds would you like to see? If your child really enjoys researching the birds you could always look up amazing stories about friendships between birds and humans.

Pizza base prints

Most children like things that have a pretty quick outcome so these are perfect for that.

You will need some ink blocks, a pencil and a pizza base or take away container. Recently our pizzas have come on cardboard so thankfully I had been stockpiling these!!!

Blot the ink on to your image, making sure you have a good coverage.

Obviously your print is going to be a mirror image so think about that when you are drawing your lines.

I think small pieces work really well.

If you haven’t got any ink pads you can use paints and a cleaning sponge to put the paint on.

The paint and the ink both work they just have a different feel to them.

As soon as my son saw what I was doing he also wanted to have a go. When you have finished you can add pencil etc like I have to his cats. You can spend 5 mins on this or hours building a picture with stamps and then adding to it with other mediums etc.

An easy puppet fish

Welcome to ‘Maureen’ she is a fabulous fish with a great taste in handbags and hats!!!I made her after watching ‘This is not my hat’ and ‘I want my hat back’ both by Jon Klasssen by The Little Angel Theatre .They have made the shows whilst in lockdown and they are absolutely wonderful. You will find them on their You tube channel, they may be on for a limited time so watch asap as they really are wonderful http://www.youtube.com/thelittleatheatre. My favourite book when I was little was ‘Where the wild things’ are by Maurice Sendak but my favourite book from my son’s picture books is I want my hat back. The illustrations are gorgeous and the story is funny and dark.

After watching the shows I found another video by their designer Sam Wilde on how to make the fish from the show.You will need card (cereal cardboard ), 2 barbecue sticks which you can leave as they are or paint them black and I used pencils to colour in my fish. The eyes ,fin, handbag all extra pieces cut from the cereal packet.

I secured the sticks with hot glue and wash tape. You will need a strong glue as you are going to be moving the back tail to make the fish look like it is moving. I found that having the fish’s tail in my left hand was easier. So if the tail is being moved by your left hand you are holding the stick and rolling the stick with your thumb.Obviously same if in right hand.

I have been so inspired by The Little Angel Theatre’s cardboard shows that I am going to have a go at making my own cardboard theatre. I am sure they have inspired families everywhere to do the same.

Cloud Spotting

I love cloud spotting . Grab a blanket and sit outside, or look out of your window and see what you can see in the cloud shapes.

What can you see? I just took these two photos a minute ago.

I can see a cat on a moped!

What can you see in this one ?

I can see a crocodile with a dog jumping over it and a small dog jumping above him!!!

It is the perfect time of the day at the moment so go and have a look what you can spot.

Book recommendations for this week.

I think my cat thinks this is her blog!!!! First book today is a picture book Mr Pusskins by Sam Lloyd. Here is my cat doing a very good impression of Mr Pusskins! We really liked the illustrations by Sam Lloyd with big bright colours. This book is about finding love, he doesn’t realise he had everything until it’s gone. We bought another book in the series after this one about Mr Pusskins being entered into a pet show.

So both books by Louis Sacher.I read Holes as an adult ( yes it is a children’s book ) and I loved it and couldn’t wait to read it to my son.It has a story within a story which all makes sense in the end. The story is about Stanley who gets sent to a juvenile detention centre because of his families bad luck and has to dig holes. Full of great characters, fantastic storytelling.

I really dislike the cover and the title for ‘There’s a boy in the girls’ bathroom’.I think it is very misleading in what the content is about. This is one of my favourite books we have read so far. We really went on a rollercoaster ride of emotions with it.It is about a boy called Bradley that nobody in his class likes. Then a new boy arrives and a school counsellor .The Guardian wrote ‘ One of the best and toughest books in recent years’.

An art game

This is a very simple premise, you have to draw lots of circles and come up with as many ideas of what those circles can be.It is very good for thinking outside the box. You could make it a competition of who can come up with the most ideas. Maybe a prize for the most inventive.

These ones are quite big cut out ones.

These ones are much smaller drawn on to the paper,I used the circle inside my cello tape.

These are the first four ideas that popped into my head. Just in case no one can work out what the grey one is …….it’s the moon!!For me the one that I like the most is the plate . After you do circles you can do squares and or triangles. I would love to hear in the comments what was the most inventive idea that you drew. Have a lovely day.

Let’s make jewellery

Paper Beads are so easy to do all you have to decide is how many strings of them to make, different sizes and what you might add. I think I got inspired by the necklaces Prue Leith wears on GBBO!!!!!! Big , bold and colourful.

Ok so let’s get started. You will need pages from magazines, scissors, string and glue. Also a pencil to make your beads on. You could use anything for this as long as you can thread the beads.

The sheets you choose will determine the colour of your beads.

I chose a sheet and on the back of it marked 2 cms along the top and on the bottom 1cm and then 2 cms along. So the point of your triangle is half way.So whatever size you choose the opposite end needs to be halfway. Try experimenting with different sizes wider, shorter ,longer etc.

So now you have lots of very long triangles ready to be made into beads.

Ok so now you are going to wrap the triangle around the pencil. Put some glue on the start and then start wrapping around.If you wrap too tight you might find it difficult to remove from pencil and if you are too loose they won’t hold their shape very well. As you wrap add a little glue here and there to keep it in place.

You are now at the end so glue last bit down. Gently remove from pencil.

So you now have your first bead!!!! yay!!! So now just repeat. Don’t forget when you are wrapping try to keep the bit you are wrapping central as much as possible.

So you have made lots of beads. Thread with string, thread, yarn etc. DON’T forget to tie the necklace or the beads will fall off. I have made this mistake before.You could make different lengths, make lots of them to make more volume. You can now add, if you want to, extra bits. I wanted to make a big statement so I needed a bit of cardboard ( pizza base) and some acrylic paint.

So I just splurged some paint down as I like abstract paintings.

I cut a shape out but felt still too big so I cut it down again.

I felt it needed something else so I scrunched up some Easter egg foil.

Thought about adding some bits of the magazine.

She is at it again!!!!!! ” Mine all mine” !!!!!

In the end I used the piece I had cut off as I liked the shape it made and glued it on top. So have fun making yours and even if you don’t want a necklace a grown up, a neighbour etc might love to get one as a gift. I would love to see your work. I am on Instagram readysteady_glue ( there is just 2 photos on there! ) so if you know how to put your images on that please do as I would love to see your work.

A dream Catcher

Last day of the week and the sun has come out for us. This is a paper plate dream catcher. There are hundreds of ‘How To’ but this is the one I did for a birthday a few years ago. Most of the mums ended up doing them with instructions of colour choices etc of the children!!

You will need a paper plate and a hole puncher. Cut out the circle that is already there for you on a paper plate.Make as many hole punches as you like . I have done 6.
You will need some thread or wool. Beads if you have for later.
If you are painting your plate I would do this next and let it dry. If you are going to use soft pastels I would leave till the end so you don’t get covered in them. So next you need to thread through the top of your plate and then you are going to loop through each hole.
Unfortunately thread and cats equal slight disaster!!!!
So once all the way round instead of through the holes you want to loop the thread at the bottom of each triangle and you keep doing that till the end.
Due to cat I accidentally missed out a triangle so it ended up like this. I like mistakes so put the thread through the hole nearest and now just need to add any finishing touches.

So here is one I made at a birthday with more time and no cat !!! So you can see how intricate it can be . I have added some stickers, beads and some paper shapes ( from the left over piece of the paper plate). You can embellish with paper feathers, pom moms, beads etc etc. Have fun and have a lovely weekend, hopefully crafting!!

Books to read

In general I do choose books by their covers. When my son was small there was a great book scheme in Wales and every child was given a book at a certain age which was fantastic. We got ‘You Choose’ by Pippa Goodhart,I would never have chosen this book but my son loved it and would spend ages choosing his favourite picture in each section and wanting to talk about that choice etc. I would highly recommend this book for little ones.

This next book I did choose for the cover!!!! Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans. We read this when it came out in PB last year. I found this book hilarious, totally original and has a good moral. The main character Fidge , who is not likeable and her equally unlikeable cousin are propelled into a crazy world . I don’t want to give anything away but if you have watched The Princess Bride, like the priest in that , there is a character who can’t pronounce the letter ‘r ‘. Plus there is rhyming going on!! We absolutely loved this book.

If you do buy books please support your local independent book store.My local bookstore is Griffin Books in Penarth and if you are local they are delivering free within Penarth ( £3 p+p beyond).If you do read ,or have read either books please let other people know what you think of them in the comments box.