Video Advent Day 8!

Another day passes, how is that possible?!  In today’s video I’m making some super simple paper chains, there is a new jumper and lots of hellos. I’ve also had pictures of Christmas trees, a lovely drawing and even a video! So huge thank yous, I’m really enjoying these and knowing your children are too  means the world, especially when I’m frantically colouring at 8pm! 😀

As always. get in touch for any hellos, send me pictures, anything you, (or they!), like.

Facebook or Twitter if you want to direct message me or you can comment below or under the video. 😀 Hope to hear from you soon.

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Did you see me?!

I was so excited when I spotted a plea for guest posts from the lovely Annie over at Mrs Crafty B. It meant an opportunity to get my Christmas craft on early & totally legitimately!!

I originally had the idea for a 5 crafts for 5 minutes sort of thing. It worked out slightly differently though! We completed 4 over a few days and abandoned 1 completely, not the project’s fault but more not having the right materials, and being abroad so not having the language skills to get exactly what I needed, we were so busy that we took the opportunity of a  half term trip to visit my parents in Italy to get lots of things done and the craft for this post was top of the list.

I was looking for inexpensive ideas for cards to give out to teachers & school friends, (now there are about a billion of them!!), & little homemade gifts she could give to friends………………….

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You can read on here and see how you too can make the sparkly, Christmas wonders you see below!! Come and say hi on Twitter (@pinkpearbear #CraftyChristmas) and Facebook too, plus you can find lots of my photos, (LOTS!), on Instagram my new favourite place! 😀

 

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Pretty pleased with my sparkly improvised snowflakes, can’t beat a bit of sparkle at Christmas!!
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Our Rudolfs. Would definitely look better with paint noses, we used coloured pencils.
I love the snowmen, as you may be able to guess, I added the embellishments to them!
I love the snowmen, as you may be able to guess, I added the embellishments to them!
More improvisation!  My finger print fairy lights!
More improvisation! My finger print fairy lights!

 

The amazing crochet diet!

Sounds totally mental but bear with me, no eating of wool necessary!

I’ve always loved food way too much, the naughtier the better, if it is cream, butter, sugar or chocolate based, I want it. I eat to celebrate, a birthday; ooh cake! If I have had a rubbish day; to cheer me up, cake! If I’m tired; ok, you get the picture!

I was doing pretty well with exercise, I started running in January last year and managed to finish a half marathon in September, I’m not going to lie, I cried, then my legs gave way totally but it has now been a year ago but I’m still dining out on that victory far too often.

I have slightly lost my running mojo recently though, and am feeling pretty unhealthy, my main issue is snacking. I find myself constantly looking in the fridge and picking at bits all day. I have also started finishing my kid’s leftovers which I never used to do. Luckily they are not vegetarian so it’s only the odd veggie meal they have that I can polish off!

Also, my hubby has just taken a photo of me that is that photo, the one that makes you confront all the wobbly bits that you have been trying to block out, that makes you think, aha, that is the photo to go on the cupboard to make me think twice about raiding the biscuit tin. Or maybe in it, so no-one else sees it!!

I now need to loose some weight so that I can enjoy Christmas properly……by eating obviously!

So, something really has to change, and as it is rubbish weather, extra running is looking, if not impossible, a little unlikely, and a diet is no use because the minute I even type the word I want to eat everything in sight! *eats a biscuit*

I now have a whole new idea. Several years ago, I used knitting to give up smoking. The theory was that if I kept my hands busy and my mind occupied, I would be able to resist temptation, I also wouldn’t want my knitting smelling of smoke. Do you know what, it worked a treat, (a non sugary one obviously!). I got more addicted to completing another row, I stopped smoking, and I had a 10 foot long doctor who scarf to keep me warm….perfect for when I started again! (I know, not fail safe obviously, it would take me a few more attempts to give up for good, but it did last a good few months.)

I am now going to apply my theory to food. Evenings are my danger zone, the obligatory 9pm cuppa has been joined by ‘something sweet’, which varies from cake, chocolate or biscuits, depending on how long ago we’ve been to the supermarket. Having a shop two minutes walk which is open until 11pm has not helped either.

So I’m turning to crochet! It looks slightly quicker, (easier!!), and therefore more satisfying , then knitting. It should keep my mind busy and I will get to create some lovely things.

It really seems to be working so far. I’ve made some fabulous, (albeit a bit misshapen!) ,bits already and my snacking is down quite a bit.

My daughter has put in a request for a head to toe outfit for her doll so I do have a lot to keep me going and I have some luscious new wools that have been make being drool more than chocolate fudge cake!

I will keep you updated with how it is going and do please tell me your crafting stories, have you used a hobby to change something in your life? Did it work?

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My very first make. An incredibly dodgy pair of culotte 'leggings' for Mary, big girl's doll!!
My very first make. An incredibly dodgy pair of culotte ‘leggings’ for Mary, big girl’s doll!!
Next day's effort!
Next day’s effort!
My parents found me some gorgeous turmeric dyed natural wool on the market.
My parents found me some gorgeous turmeric dyed natural wool on the market.
My first attempt at a star didn't fare too well, looks like a monster with horns!!
My first attempt at a star didn’t fare too well, looks like a monster with horns!!
It’s official, I am in the grip of crochet fever, we went shopping today and this is the only thing I bought for myself!! Sooooo beautiful, can’t wait to start making bizarre misshapen items to delight my friends and family……!!

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How to throw a Superhero party. With only mild panic!

I have been sorely neglecting my blog for a very good reason, small boy turned 3! I just can’t believe our baby is growing up so fast!! He is superhero mad. Not sure how he got into it but I love it, being a bit of a superhero geek myself! (It drives me mad when small boy goes up and asks Mr PB the names of new heroes he discovers as he has never been into them and pretends he is, so small boy thinks he is cool. Pah! 😀 )

So a party theme seemed pretty straightfoward, I got myself onto Pinterest and had a lot of fun pinning things and deluding myself that I would actually have time to create all these amazing things!! What I did want to do was make something for the kids that they could decorate and take home, so I ordered a large amount of material and found an absolutely brilliant cape pattern, which you can find yourself here.

This is the pattern I used, so easy to print out too.
This is the pattern I used, so easy to print out too.

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It’s been a long while since I got a chance to do anything crafty and I had an epic fail the first pattern I tried to cut, what an idiot, I obviously missed the instruction, (and the clues on the pattern!!), and cut half a cape. Doh!

My first attempt. I did laugh at myself!
My first attempt. I did laugh at myself!

That was stupid but I soon realised my mistake and tried again. I think I was probably really tired that day because this happened…..

Seriously?! The instructions are so clear too, and even written on the pattern! I laughed a little more desperately at this one, then almost cried when I realised my idiocy has left me short on material!
Seriously?! The instructions are so clear too, and even written on the pattern! I laughed a little more desperately at this one, then almost cried when I realised my idiocy has left me short on material!

So I needed 11 capes and after my fails, I was short. Luckily I’d bought some extra material to do Frozen capes for big girl’s next party, (I know, I know, but when you have a good idea!!), and some bright pink to make her a Aurora cape for her birthday, (it’s a REALLY good pattern!!), so I made Small boy a special turquoise one with red lining and my super crafty friend took it away to make it ten times more amazing for his birthday pressie.

The special blue and read one for small boy, before it got some serious bling added to it, think sparkly red stars and lightning strikes!
The special blue and red one for small boy, before it got some serious bling added to it, think sparkly red stars and lightning strikes!

I made big girl a special, ‘it’s not actually my birthday but I am special too’ pink cape. I had initially been going to get the children to glue bits to them but when I started to think about it, I wanted them to have something that lasted a bit longer. (Don’t you just hate it when your ideas grow out of control!!) So I hemmed them all on my sewing machine, after a very unsuccessful, (and sticky!), try at hemming one with tape.

This pretty much sums up how I felt trying that one!

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I then bought a few metres of an amazing product called ‘Bondaweb’ from the haberdashery and ironed it onto felt squares. The backing paper is perfect for the children to draw their shapes onto before cutting out. I also bought some stick on velcro and once the children had made up their designs, we ironed them on and attached the velcro for the fastening.

Nb: I just stuck the velcro pieces on but this wouldn’t be any good long term as they were already coming off during the energetic play during the party. A couple of stitches are all that’s needed but I just couldn’t face it!! 😀

I also had a pack of foam sheets and decided to make masks, I found a mask template, (again through Pinterest), and used it to cut out lots of of masks from the foam, I then hole punched the edges for the elastic. Which I forgot to buy. Resulting in the dads improvising with masking tape! Another fail!! The cutting, glueing and sticking bit went down very well though!

Lots of late night scissoring! Looks like we're planning some serious burgling!! :D
Lots of late night scissoring! Looks like we’re planning some serious burgling!! 😀

So finally, and probably most importantly, food! I’d seen some babybel superheroes, (the little round cheeses in the wax wrappers), and thought they looked fun. My first attempt was, well, tell me if you can spot where I went wrong…

Oops!!
Oops!!

My other attempts fared a little better but honestly, they were so fiddly that I didn’t actually get a chance to make them for the party, I think I will just keep them for special lunches when there are only a few children!

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I also found the idea for a Captain America fruit/marshmallow shield and used strawberries, marshmallows and blueberries to recreate it.

This was actually pretty simple to do, and not as time consuming as you would think.
This was actually pretty simple to do, and not as time consuming as you would think.

We also made cheese and pineapple on sticks, (Thor’s hammers!), and had hot dogs as this is an easy party favourite. Every year we seem to go crazy with the food, spend a fortune and end up with a silly amount of waste, so this year I wanted to streamline it all a bit!

To tie in with the theme, I’d seen an amazing backdrop idea with a black skyscraper ‘skyline’ with lit up windows. I recreated it by cutting a piece of A1 black card, using a book to get the different size building effect, and sticking small cut out rectangles from yellow felt for the windows. This was really last minute and done very quickly but I was so pleased with how it turned out.

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Finally, the most important bit of all, the cake!! This was a bit of a rush job and probably the most stressful part involving a last minute dash to two different supermarkets to try and find the right sprinkles as I actually made it the morning of the party! Good job the kids get up so early really!

I made two square sponges and sandwiched them together with raspberry jam and bright blue buttercream icing, (I used the gel colours that I had left over from last year’s rainbow cake, they are the only way to get such bright colours in my experience), then I iced over the whole thing with a bright yellow buttercream.

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My lovely friend had made a ‘Pow!’ stencil for me from a cereal box, and I used it to ‘write’ on the cake with bright neon sugar. I then used the edge of the stencil to freehand a zigzag line around the words to give it more impact. Considering it was finished about half an hour before the party started, I was really happy with how it turned out, as you can see from my face below I think!!

Checking the ‘bounce back’ of the sponge. Oh and totally showing off my batman themed nails!!!
It really did taste good too, bit too good, everyone left with a lot extra as it really isn’t a good idea to have all that cake in the house when you have ‘cake resistance’ as low as mine!!
Can you spot him? The ever present labrador lurking in the hope of a fallen crumb!!
Getting artsy for my instagram! I’m pinkpearbear if you fancy seeing more piccies.
You will NEVER guess what we got him! 😉

It was an absolutely brilliant day. We had a bouncy castle and between that, the various crafts and the eating, the whole thing went very quickly and smoothly. I really did enjoy it and found it far less stressful then previous years, even if I was swearing just a tiny bit at the capes!! 😉 If you’re on Pinterest, do check out my boards, I’m a bit of a pinning addict and love looking at other people’s too. It really is heaven for me, although a big part of me wishes I was less of a diy mum and more of a buy it one! I just can’t resist, I love crafty stuff and see all these beautiful things that I want to make too, and then kick myself when it’s midnight and I’m sobbing into my pva glue! 😀

I’d love to hear about party themes and ideas you’ve had, what worked and what didn’t, some funny fails would make me feel so much better about my first two cape attempts too!!

The next party I’ve got coming up is a princess themed one, look out for my unrealistic and over enthusiastic princess party pinning that will soon be commencing……..!!

Keep scrolling down for a few larger pictures from the post, for some reason they post much bigger from my phone but I can’t work out how to do that from the laptop.


I knew I couldn’t let the backdrop go to waste, so I had a little fun with a Gotham City window display! We started these last Christmas and got such a good response from passers by on the school run that we’ve kept it up. Every few months we change it but I think this one might have to be my ultimate favourite!

 I also had a little fun trying to add the Batman symbol to my nails. My first attempt at nail art and I think I need some practice!! 😀

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