Ideas and inspiration for young crafters!

Category Archives: Outdoor Games

Well! That was a rather unexpected hiatus. First of all we were without internet for nearly two months, then snow arrived and all indoor activities were suspended until the snow had gone 😀

So, meanwhile, Max and Ruby both had birthdays, there was of course Christmas, our new dog sitting arrangements, guitar lessons and snow days. Ruby has been learning guitar at school and is in to her second term now. Here’s a little clip of her playing the Wallace and Gromit theme in her first term:

Our cat, George, sadly passed away last year and has since caused much debate in our household over whether we were ready for another cat. Then, by chance, we started dog sitting and have been totally converted! Having a dog is a HUGE responsibility, so we think we’ve got the best of both worlds being dog sitters. We take them for walks and get to play whenever we like, we have sleepovers when their owners are away, it’s great fun.

The dogs we look after are both cocker spaniels.


Callie is a working cocker spaniel. She is a little slimmer and taller than a normal cocker and has more energy than you would believe!! She is very loving and wants to go on walks all day long. Callie loves exploring in hedgerows and splashing about in any water she can find.


Paddy is a cocker spaniel. He is much more relaxed and sensible than Callie, although he loves to go on walks with her (and roll his eyes at her antics from a distance!) Paddy loves being made a fuss of, his comfy basket and treats.

The first day the snow fell, none of the teachers at Ruby’s school could drive through the narrow country lanes to get to work, so it was declared a snow day. We all dressed up warm and hiked to the sledging hills. There were sledgers, snowboarders – some people even went down the hill in a canoe!

snow day

Afterwards we went home for hot chocolate and marshmallows, which has got to be one of the best things about snowy weather 😀

Did you guys all have a good Christmas? Normal service will resume later in the week with our first make of 2013. Happy New Year everyone!


Where we live, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by lakes and beautiful countryside. There are many local events residents look forward to, the weekend long May Celebrations, The Steam Fair, The Old George Music Festival. We particularly love the  Willow Lantern Pageant where local youth groups, schools, home educators and families form a procession around the lakes with the lanterns they have made, usually to the accompaniment of  live music.  (You can read an article and see photographs of this year’s pageant here.)

Making willow lanterns is a great craft, once you’ve mastered the basics you can create all sorts of designs. Willow is so sturdy that even scale is not a problem, for the first pageant we helped to create a life sized woolly mammoth! Perhaps you could hold your own procession, or even use your lanterns to decorate your garden or light a den you’ve built indoors!

Willow Lanterns

You will need:

Dried willow (which you can buy, or you could simply gather fallen willow branches from trees, picking the sturdier looking stems and stripping them of any leaves)

Secateurs or wire cutters for trimming the willow

Masking Tape

Tissue Paper (any colours you like)

PVA Glue

A Glow Stick

String or twine

  • To make a simple cylindrical lantern, make two circles from your willow, gently bending the rods and taping in place with masking tape.

  • Next trim 6 to 8 willow rods to about the same height (our lanterns are around 6 inches). Then start to join these, again with masking tape, to the circles to form a cylinder shape.

  • Then add some diagonal struts all the way around. When you have done this, also stick one rod across the top of one of your end circles, this will be to hang your glow stick from and attach handles.

  • Now you’re ready to start papering the lantern. Mix your PVA glue with some water, you want it fairly runny. Tear or cut your tissue paper into long strips. Brush glue all over the strips, as you use them, and start to glue in place all over your willow structure so the sides are completely covered. Then leave to dry overnight.

  • The next day, when your lantern is dry, you can tie your glow stick so that it dangles down inside the lantern and add some string to either end of the willow rod so that you can carry it or hang it up. Or, if you wanted, you could glue on shapes and patterns in other colours of tissue paper.

If you can’t get hold of willow at all, here is another fantastic lantern idea you could try that uses tin cans and tealights, from the lovely Skip To My Lou blog.

How did your lantern turn out?