Create a ‘busy box’

What’s a busy box?  It’s a box (any box will do!) where you can keep small toys and games ready to pack in a bag and take out and about.

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Keeping a selection of toys in a box all together makes it  easy to find something small enough to go in a handbag or for your child to carry when you go out.  Handy for car journeys (just take the whole box and place on the back seat), restaurants,  church or anywhere else where you want to make sure the children have something to keep them busy.

Here’s some tried and tested (by a 6 and 9 year old) ideas.  You’ll know what your children are into and can tailor the box contents accordingly.  Continue reading

Sienna’s outfits…

I’ve been busy making 18″ doll clothes for my daughter’s American Girl doll (Grace) which she’ll be getting for Christmas.  However, now she has bought Sienna (an Our Generation doll) I couldn’t resist giving her some outfits early.  So here is what I’ve made so far…

Simplicity pattern 1515 has become my favourite ‘go to’ pattern for leggings, tops and skirts. You can but it on-line in the UK at Jaycotts.   It’s a good basic and simple pattern that you can adapt easily.

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Simplicity pattern 1515

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Our Generation Doll

We have a new arrival in the house; her name is Sienna.  My daughter didn’t want to wait for her Christmas present (Grace – American Girl doll) so she decided to take matters into her own hands and spend her savings on an Our Generation doll.  They have recently started stocking them in our local toy shop (Kids Stuff Toys, Chichester) and she has had her eye on ‘Sienna’ since she first appeared on the shelves.

I would like to be able to compare her to the American Girl dolls, but that will have to wait until after Christmas.   My daughter is very happy with her!  She comes with a pink corduroy skirt, faux fur gilet, stripy long-sleeved top, pink tights and white shoes.  She’s similar in size to the American Girl dolls but cheaper at around £30.

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Sienna in her box

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Vintage Tea Party

I reached another milestone birthday earlier this month and decided that after planning lots of children’s parties, I deserved a tea party!  My teapot wanted an outing from the cupboard and so I decided to have ‘afternoon tea’.  I also love the look and taste of cupcakes!

It’s an easy theme to do – here are some ideas from my party:

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Thanks to my Mum for the amazing cake!

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Busy sewing…

I’ve been very busy sewing for a new arrival…expected on 25 December…my daughter’s first American Girl doll.  I’d never heard of them until a friend recommended them – it was when McKenna was the Girl of the Year (my daughter is a gymnast!).  Being a big fan of Pinterest I kept seeing pictures of 18″ dolls clothes and then measuring various dolls we already had.  But none of them measured up!  My daughter has wanted a soft bodied doll with long hair for ages and when I showed her the American Girl dolls she fell in love with the Girl of the Year 2015, Grace.

So I did some research and found a UK stockist online (My Doll Boutique) and ordered Grace very early just in case they ran out before Christmas.   I love making doll clothes as they are so quick to make and so cute.  I can’t share my creations yet as I have to wait for Christmas before I have Grace to model them…

Watch this space in the New Year when I’ll share what I’ve made and how!

Pirate Tic Tac Toe

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Despite being busy with a few other things at the moment, I’ve managed to put together the first in what may or may not become a series (!) of Quick Makes – Pirate Tic Tac Toe or Noughts and Crosses.  I made this for a ‘Quiet Book’ but you could easily make a bigger pouch and fold the board up as well; great for taking in the car or to restaurants and keeping kids/ grown-ups entertained.  Happy making!

Quick Makes-Pirate Tic Tac Toe

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Pirate party ideas

I enjoy planning and putting on parties for my children and searching for ideas.  Pirate themed parties are always a winner and even the grown-ups can grab an eye patch and enter into the party spirit! Here’s some of the things I did for my son’s pirate party and a free treasure hunt printable to help keep the young swashbucklers from looting the kitchen!


I always plan a craft activity for parties.  For a pirate theme buy plain wooden treasure chests, provide pirate stickers, pens and stick on gems, make it nice and easy for little fingers.  In the UK you can buy the chests and stick on gems from Crafty Crocodiles.  They also do pirate themed party bag goodies.

We then did a treasure hunt.  Print the Instructions for treasure hunt and then the Pirate treasure hunt pictures.   If you need to make a treasure chest there’s a printable here by Missie Krissie.

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You can’t beat Jake and the Neverland Pirates album for some good pirate tunes, at least the lyrics are appropriate!


I made Fimo pirates and added some Playmobil accessories to the birthday cake.  Gingerbread pirates were nice and easy to decorate and there are plenty of pirate cake toppers available on-line, such as these ones here.

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Party bags

I decided it would be nice to make little bags for marbles as party favours.  I found some pirate fabric and got sewing.  They are easy to make and you can find some instructions on the lovely Kittie Baby Love blog here.

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Enjoy planning your pirate party – make the most of parties while they still want them!