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  • Pink and purple painted Easter Egg with Paint Sticks

    Easter Egg Painting with Little Brian Paint Sticks

    This post contains items that have been sent for review.

    When I was pregnant, I had all these visions of being a really crafty, always-baking, house proud mother. I’d spend our Sunday mornings whipping up a batch of brownies with Pickle, skipping out to feed the ducks, and then coming home to the smell of roast beef before bath, book and bed. The truth is… I do sometimes do these things, but it takes me about a fortnight to properly clean up the aftermath. Fun things with toddlers are MESSY- because for it to be fun, you’ve got to let go a little bit… you need to embrace the mess and let it happen. But I’ve learned this week, that there are ways to do memorable, fun crafts without destroying the house. Interested? Read on. read more

    Parenting, Reviews
    / April 15, 2019
  • Paper Ink Academy papercuts at the Worcestershire Etsy Market

    Meet Your Local Worcestershire Etsy Sellers

    This is a collaborative post with the Worcestershire Etsy team.

    If you scroll all the way back through my blog posts, you may be surprised to learn that this was my very first post: LPM Made This: Envelope Back Cushion Cover. Every now and then, this blog of mine gets a little bit of crafting fun sprinkled over it – in fact, there used to be a whole crafts section until I made the sad realisation that I didn’t have the time for crafts like I used to. My love for all things homemade hasn’t diminished though, and so when I received the most wonderful parcel a few weeks a go from the Worcestershire Etsy Team, I was beside myself with excitement.

    You see, I love browsing through Etsy, and the huge wealth of talent and creativity on there, the convenience of shopping online and then the excitement of happy post… but I also like supporting my local community. Last weekend, the Worcestershire Etsy team put on an incredible Designer Maker Market in Worcester at the Royal Porcelain Works, complete with a Rock Choir, offering the chance to combine all the things I like best in one room.

    It also served the purpose of ticking a few presents off my Christmas shopping list (which I’ve been neglecting for too long), and I may have gotten a little too excited that so many of the stalls accepted card payments that I came home with a lot more than I anticipated.

    The gorgeous cards on the left were made by @gallerykonstartem and the mouse ceramic work is by @_claire_paveley_.

    If like me, you love all things handmade and appreciate the talent, skill and time that goes into these creations, let me introduce you to some of the wonderful businesses I encountered last weekend.

    Eliston Button

    The whole reason I was even at the market to begin with is thanks to this lovely lady: Rachel from Eliston Button. We got chatting a while ago now after finding each other on Instagram originally (I think…) as we both live in the same town. I’ve long been admiring her handiwork, especially these gorgeous mixed media pieces and it was such a treat to finally meet in person – ironically, in Worcester, despite the fact I could walk to her house if I wanted to!

    I’ve planted the seed that I think she should do a fabric collage of Arrow Valley Lake as I’d definitely buy it! Whilst at the market, I also bought one of her gorgeous prints as the sentiment was absolutely perfect for my best friend’s birthday later this month and I couldn’t resist buying LPD, Pickle and myself all matching Sprout badges.

    How darn cute are these little guys?! I just absolutely love them. Never have pom poms had so much character. If you’d like to see more of Rachel’s work, she has a fantastic blog over at Eliston Button, her own Etsy shop and a cracking Instagram account (@elistonbutton).

    Natty Designs

    I wish Smell-o-vision was a thing (anyone else remember the Children in Need 1995 Smell-O-Vision book?) as this candle is unlike anything I’ve ever smelled before. As soon as I sniffed it, I knew it needed to be bought for Little Pickle’s Dad. It smells like hearty old countryside pubs with log burning fires and wooden paneling. It’s so comforting and masculine and earthy – I absolutely love it, and I know LPD will too. I’d have never really thought about buying him a candle before, and it’s the last thing he’d expect I think, but I know he’s going to love it.

    I also bought a set of Lemongrass and Ginger tealights which I still haven’t decided whether to keep for myself, or to gift yet. I love them. And I’m not quite sure I can bear to part with them. We’ll see…! Nat from Natty Designs also makes these gorgeous origami box lids for her tealight sets (you can just about see them in the above photo, apologies for it being wildly out of focus!) which reminded me so much of when my brother and I were younger and how we used to make and decorate little paper boxes so we could make ourselves homemade McDonalds.

    You can find out more about Natty Designs on their website or visit the Natty Designs Etsy shop.

    Munchkin Madness Makes

    I absolutely fell in love with these wonderful hair accessories. As well as super cute and quirky options, there were also some wonderfully festive ones and I hear the unicorn sets were particularly popular! Most of the hair sets offered two hair ties, two hair clips and some even had an additional bow too. Whether you’re five years old or fifty-five, I think these are brilliant!

    I bought myself this dinosaur set as I thought that would make me such a cool Mom! Imagine my delight when I came home to learn that LPD and Pickle had spent the afternoon watching The Land Before Time together. Amazing. If ever I’ve come across a stall that instantly put a smile on my face – Munchkin Madness Makes wins that prize hands down.

    If your style is a little less quirky, then these cute pins are a really fun way to inject a little bit of colour and vibrancy to your outfit. I picked up two sets – one for me, and one for my sister-in-law who I think will really like them. Fingers crossed…

    Paper Ink Alchemy

    I like to think if I ever were to ever open a craft business, it would be like Paper Ink Alchemy. I absolutely fell in love with her papercuts – especially her work that features whales (it’s pretty much top of my bucket list to see whales in the wild). Lottie, the creative genius behind Paper Ink Alchemy, is also the Worcestershire Etsy Team Leader, so the whole market was largely thanks to her efforts. To pull off something so wonderful and successful on a first attempt is pretty special, I think, and I really hope the team do events like this at least twice a year.

    From lovely papercut baubles, to necklaces and framed art, this lovely shop has something to suit every price point. And I really look forward to keeping up to date with Lottie’s latest work over on Instagram (@paperinkalchemy) to see what other beautiful work she creates in the months ahead.

    By Charlotte

    If there’s one regret I have from the market, it’s that I didn’t buy one of By Charlotte’s absolutely adorable crocheted animals. Not only were the colours absolutely gorgeous, but I don’t think you could stop yourself from being charmed by these little critters. I know exactly where I’ll be heading next time I have a new baby’s arrival to celebrate.

    I did buy a lovely hand lettering print from Charlotte though – again, another gift for a friend, where the sentiment just seemed to hit the nail on the head. I’m really loving including hand designed prints for decor at the moment – I think it adds such a lovely touch to a room, and make such thoughtful gifts.

    My other favourites

    I could end up typing pages and pages going into the detail of all the fascinating stallholders I spoke to, but I’d be here forever. I’d much rather show more of the photos I took and point you in the direction of the other Etsy holders, their Instagram pages and the ways in which you can continue drooling over their creativity.

    Justine Morris Designs

    I kept quite a wide aperature on these photos so you can’t see all the detail on each piece, but these gorgeous stud earring sets by Justine Morris Designs were right up my street. I particularly like the little solid triangle studs that look like little shards. I love the apparent simplicity of the designs, even though Justine said sometimes the simplest looking ones are the hardest to make.


    The colours in OvariJewels pieces were really striking – I loved the calm, serene vibes that some of the pieces gave off, in contrast with some of the more energising ones. These little bracelets would make a lovely Christmas gift, whilst the necklaces are real showstoppers. I loved chatting to Mhari, and I’ll be wearing my own bracelet with a lot of pride.

    Starr Fused Glass

    Talking of Pride, these rainbow pieces from Starr Fused Glass really caught my eye. To celebrate Pride, Bryony made these wonderful hanging decorations, with 10% of every sale going to Mermaids UK charity. They’ve been really popular and I’m not surprised. I think they’re amazing.

    Keep it Local

    This is just a small selection of the wonderful local artists we have to be proud of in Worcestershire. I strongly encourage you to follow the Worcestershire Etsy team on Instagram (@worcestershireetsy) and remember that buying online doesn’t mean you can’t also buy local. I’m hoping I can meet up with Rachel and @mypotasaurus for a tea and crafting date soon as what a treat that would be – although, I hope they don’t laugh at my amateur crafting (lack of) skill.

    I couldn’t resist buying two of these little keychains from @dippydaisydesigns – she even makes a keychain that you can keep your lipbalm in. How cute is that?

    I had so much fun at this Designer Maker Market, and it was the perfect way to kick off my Christmas shopping this year, as well as get some ideas for things I’d like to add to my wishlist should Little Pickle’s Dad need some gift inspiration. I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about these wonderful artists as much as I have.

    Disclaimer: I was invited to the Worcestershire Etsy Designer Maker Market and offered a small fee for writing about it in addition to receiving a goody bag before the event. However, all items I bought were out of my own pocket and genuinely because I loved them. I was under no obligation to do so. 

    Crafts, Lifestyle
    / December 10, 2018
  • Getting a little bit messy with DoddleArt box supplies from Doddlebags

    Painting with the DoddleArt Box

    Initially, I was nervous about sending Pickle to Nursery. I was worried he’d be confused by it all. I was worried they wouldn’t care for him in the same way I would. And I was worried it wouldn’t be worth the money. But I needn’t have worried – Pickle absolutely loves it there. In fact, most nights he doesn’t want to come home. He gets to play all day long with his friends, he loves eating with them all at the little table and they spend lots of time outside – which is always his favourite way to spend time. And they also do lots of crafts.

    Crafting with Toddlers

    Pickle loves it: he paints, he glues, he sticks, he draws, he bakes, he decorates… they make super cute cards that have handprints or footprints on and it means I have those lovely little toes imprinted forever without having to contend with the mess myself. I know these are the things I should be doing more with him. But we all know what it’s like, don’t we? The thought of the post-activity clean up operation is enough to make you think twice! The risk of adding further to the stains on the carpet is too high. What I initially think is going to be a lovely, cute little bonding activity just turns out to be a right stress fest.

    It all means that when I was contacted by Doddlebags to try out their products, I jumped at the chance. They make reusable pouches that can be used for a variety of things from weaning purees to yoghurt (like above), from washing up liquid for your camping trip to salad dressing for your lunch at work. Me? I wanted to use them for painting, and so received a DoddleArt box which gave us all the supplies we needed to have many fun filled afternoons of creative fun.

    The DoddleArt box from DoddleBags

    The DoddleArt box contains:

    • 1 x reusable cardboard satchel
    • 1 x DoddleBrush pack (4 x 100 ml DoddleBags, 4 anti-choke caps, 4 colourful stickers and 4 screw-on brushes)
    • 4 x colour powder paints (white, yellow, red, blue)
    • 1 x DoddleSticker pack (10 DoddleStickers)
    • 1 x kid’s apron
    • 1 x white canvas

    Getting Started

    I popped down our Messy Me mat (which I’m still absolutely loving, by the way), and set about trying to mix up the paint. I found it quite difficult to know how much paint powder and water to mix together – there was a lot of trial and error going on, particularly as I kept making the paint far too runny. Which probably says more about my instincts to use things sparingly to make them last longer… but in hindsight, I’d recommend using the powder liberally.

    The DoddleArt box comes with four paint colours (red, blue, yellow and white), but obviously you can mix these up to make pretty much any colour you like! I went for a yellow, red, orange and purple.

    How do they work?

    The bags work by having a sealable zip at the top (so you can open the full pouch for easy pouring or spooning in), and a spout on the side. For food substances, there’s a spoon attachment you can screw on to the spout, but for painting? You can use the brush attachment.

    Pickle didn’t waste any time getting stuck in – he knew what to do and immediately starting painting. In the first instance, I definitely made the paint too runny, and as I’d placed his paper on a slanting surface, the very liquidy paint just ran down the page and made a little puddle on our Messy Me mat – thank goodness we’ve got it! What’s good about the pouches is that once I knew the paint needed to be thicker, it was really easy to open up the seal and tip some more paint powder in. Just remember to unscrew the brush first and replace with the normal cap otherwise you could end up with paint everywhere!

    Once I’d let him test all the colours out, I let him go to town on the canvas. I love the idea of letting your children paint on canvas – the sheets of paper just end up going scrappy and horrible in the end, don’t they? But a canvas is a great way to keep their artwork pristine and beautiful.

    As you can see here, by the end, I actually just unscrewed the brushes and let him use those. They were already really saturated with paint, so he didn’t need anymore and it meant my runnier paint didn’t end up getting sploshed everywhere.

    Was it really mess free?

    In all honesty, it wasn’t as mess free as I had envisioned – but it was definitely easier than having pots of water and paint lying around ready for spillages and knocks. And Pickle had a whale of a time. I’ve popped his little canvas on our mantel piece in the lounge, and I’m so proud of his little creation.

    If you’re interesting in knowing more about Doddlebags, and their DoddleArt box in particular, you can find more about them at the Doddlebags website. The DoddleArt box costs £29.99, with all the pouches and brushes being reusable. I’ve also just spotted there’s a new product available: a DoddleNozzle set for baking! SUCH a good idea.

    Disclaimer: we were sent the DoddleArt box from DoddleBags in order to do this review. We weren’t paid for our time, and all opinions, views and content ideas remain my own. 

    18-24 Months, Crafts, Parenting, Reviews
    / July 1, 2018
  • Cute but Scary Bat

    5 Places for Halloween Inspiration

    When I was younger, Halloween wasn’t really a ‘thing’ in our home. I grew up in a fairly religious household so rather than celebrate Halloween, I used to go to these ‘Light and Laughter’ parties held at the church which always felt a little bit like a poor man’s substitute. When I was old enough to do my own thing, it never really held much appeal to me – seemed like a lot of hassle… but now I’m a parent? I’m ALL OVER HALLOWEEN. The chance to dress my child up in novelty items and work on a themed party? Yes, please. The problem is, I obviously don’t have that much past experience to draw on, so I’ve needed to hunt out some ideas and here’s where I’ve discovered are the best places to hit for Halloween inspiration.

    Cute but Scary Bat

    Crafts, Parenting
    / October 21, 2017