Frozen-themed play dough [Sensory play]

Elsa and ElsaLike every other Mama, Elsa and Anna are honorary members of my brood. It’s tailed off a bit in recent weeks. I believe I’ve actually gone a whole 7 days straight without watching the movie or listening to the sound track. But the power of the icy pair remains strong. MoonMunkie loves it all and totally wants to be Elsa. She sings the songs and dances beautifully, dramatically throwing an imaginary crown at the appropriate point in the song.  MamaMunkie and MisterMunkie both prefer Anna – she more sensible, girl-next-door and much less neurotic-snow-strumpet than Elsa.

MiniMunkie wants to be MoonMunkie. That’s it. She just wants to be her big sister. She trails around after her, wearing a tiny blue costume and singing “…’et it gooooooo…” It’s so adorable I could eat her with a spoon. She thinks the movie is called ” ‘nowman” and that Elsa is called Anna. We don’t correct her. She’s so happy with it all and it’s of no real consequence. Watching her twirl and sing is one of the pleasures of my life.

Of course, this fandom spills over into our other activities and this week we wanted to make play dough. So Frozen play dough was the order of the day. I took our basic play dough recipe and added silver glitter, blue and green food colouring to get that perfect “Frozen blue” and a dose of American peppermint flavouring to give it a scented element too. It looked and smelled heavenly and my Munkies played with it for about 3 hours. Next door’s little Munkie also popped in to play and was so overjoyed with it that we just had to give her some to take home.

There are a bazillion-trillion recipes out there for play dough. Cook, don’t cook, edible, scented, you name it, there’s a recipe. And this is ours. The basic dough is based on a 500g bag of flour and makes enough for 4 children to have a great big lump each. This recipe doubles and triples very easily. I don’t have  bowl big enough to test beyond that!

Ingredients for basic play dough

500g plain flour

1 tbs cream of tartar

1 tbs of oil

4 drops of glycerine

200g salt

hot water to bind.

Method

  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl.
  2. If you have dry additions to add, this is the place to do it. We’ve tried all sorts of things in the past: tiny silver stars, sequins, glitter, seeds, dried lavender and sand all give different textures and characteristics.
  3. Add the oil, glycerine and a little hot water,  and mix.
  4. If you want to add colours or flavours now is the time. We’ve used natural oils like peppermint and lavender; food flavourings such as lemon, American peppermint, liquorice; and we’ve also added cocoa and coffee to the hot water in order to flavour the dough
  5. Continue to add hot water until the dough comes together.
  6. Knead on a floured counter top for 10 minutes until the dough comes together and is elastic and shiny.

20150926_110146240_iOSThe dough keeps in the fridge for a long time. It’s not edible, but a taste will not do anyone any harm. Leaving it out in the sun will dry it out – it becomes hard like
salt-dough if you leave it to dry for long enough.

MoonMunkie made herself a shrew. She’s been very interested in shrews since we found a dead one on our patio. MiniMunkie’s cat brought it to us as a gift, we think. The cat isn’t really MiniMunkie’s. But she desperately wants a cat and then big big tortoiseshell started to visit and it was as if her wish had been  granted. Ours too – a cat that visits daily, but we don’t have to feed it, clean up after it or worry about it when we’re not here. Perfect cat!

Strumpet Barbie

A friend bought Moon Munkie a Barbie-esque dolly back from her holidays. I feel ambiguous about these toys. On the one hand pretty dollies are a mainstay of childhood. They encourage imaginative play; life skills like hair brushing, face washing and getting dressed; they assist with development of fine motor skills as tiny fingers learn to dress and undress, do up and undo; and generally they make little ones happy. One the other hand, they seem to promote a type of beauty that is unachievable for most women; reinforce an unhealthy focus on appearance, hair, clothes and weight; and I feel that they encourage a materialistic and consumer-orientated approach to life too.

So here’s my dilemma. As a kid I wanted a Sindy so badly. I asked for one for months. My Mum eventually capitulated. I was so excited as I opened my Christmas present, knowing there would be a dolly in it for me.
And there was. A freckled Sindy with long chestnut hair. And a trench coat… A long, toad-green, trench coat.

Here’s a cracking photo of me, having just opened it, before I got my “polite face” on, holding the dolly with an expression that clearly says, “What the Dickens is that? ” Of course, in my 4 year old naivety, I hadn’t specified that I wanted a dolly with a pretty dress, it just seemed obvious.

[Edit: Having re read this, I’m concerned that I sound like I’m whingeing. Really, I’m not. With hindsight my Mum probably had similar ambivalence towards the pointy-plastic-breasted ones as I have now. My life was not ruined. I am not emotionally scarred! I learned to sew in order to make new clothes for her. It’s just a funny story.]


That’s part one of the dilemma. I wanted one, so badly that I don’t want to say no out of hand. Part two is that Moon Munkie fell instantly in love with what I’ve come to call Strumpet Barbie. Of course she did. She’s a dolly with blonde hair to her knees and a “pretty” [read: slutty] gold and red dress. With gold metallic decoration. What’s not to love when you’re 2 and a half?
Anyway, I’ve decided not to make too much of a fuss for now.  Trollop Barbie can stay, although I’ve made her a new princess dress which is altogether more demure and  pleasing. I got a lovely and very easy tutorial from Miss B Couture. Given that I think she’s writing in her second language, this tutorial was easy to follow and easy to adjust to a slightly different doll. Also, I wanted it to be a long dress right to the floor.

It was a quick make, just a couple of hours. The top fabric was sheer and hard to work with. I was toying with making Moon Munkie the same costume. But I don’t  know if I physically could. I’m not good with slippy fabrics.

And that should be the end of the story. But after I’d taken the photos for this post, I presented Princess Barbie to Moon Munkie, full of motherly pride and creative joy at having made something so lovely for her. She gave me a look reminiscent of trench coats and said, “I want red one.”

*sigh*

Streetwalker Barbie is back.

Can’t stop thinking about pyjamas

Since the end of my self-imposed embargo of new projects during February, March has been a bit of a whirlwind. Ideas that were backing up for the whole of February have been fighting amongst themselves for my attention. I just can’t stop thinking about making a set of matching pyjama trousers for Moon Munkie and myself. I would make some for Mr Munkie too, but I don’t think he’d approve. Yellow and white stripes would be perfect. Ideally I’d like to make the out of upcycled sheets or a duvet cover. Having trawled every charity shop between here and the Arctic Circle, I’m coming up empty handed. So keep your eyes peeled for funky yellow and white striped fabric and let me know.

So far I’ve completed a pretty little dress for Moon Munkie and a dark green Melton wool poncho for myelf. There we are in the picture together trying to pretend it was warm. Ignore my hair, it’s the post-swimming look. The daffodils are just beginning to peep through, although given today’s temperature I think they’ll be regretting it! We found that little flower head on the floor and Moon Munkie crowed with joy because we’d had a long talk regarding Not Picking Flowers before we went. The dress was an impulse make last Tuesday. It’s made from quilting fabric I already had, using a free pattern by Made by Rae. I made it in the toddler size, but she also has the pattern for babies-  even for preemies. In fact, it’s called the Itty Bitty Baby Dress and she designed it because she wanted something to fit a newborn in a way that shop bought clothes never quite do. The dress took just 3 hours from cutting right through to hand stitching the lining. Perfect impulse make if you have a spare evening and some pretty fabric to hand.

Moon Munkie loves it because it’s got that princess-ballerina feel as you spin. “Dancing dress, dancing dress!” she sings happily to herself as she twirls.

          

I’ve also cut all the pieces to make 10 tiny mice and this evening I finally got brave enough to cut into my favourite jersey fabric in order to make a top for myself. I should perhaps note that until this month, March 2012, I have never sewn (sewed?) myself a single item of clothing. The thought terrifies me. But the poncho (photo right, don’t laugh at my weird fingers, I was nervous) was a success, if you don’t mind that I look like a Hobbit. It needs something to break up all of that green. I can’t decided between something elegant and grown up – a ruffle in the same moss green for example. Or something shabby chic – faux patches in a floral fabric and a blanket stitch edging maybe. Do let me know what you think in the comments. That collar needs interfacing too, as it has a life of its own at the moment.

Romantic Pinks and Blues

This wedding quilt was made for my good friends’ wedding in 2009. It’s a simple pattern of 4″ squares in 8 different Kidston-esque fabrics. For the centre piece I designed an applique to look like the Bride and Groom. She has a strapless white gown with a beaded bustle. Her hair is twisted ribbon with tiny faux seed pearls stitched into the nape.  He is wearing the navy blue of his USAF uniform. Around them the dual arches symbolise the church (they’re both Christians) and there is an arched window to the right. The hand quilting around the applique is scrolled hearts.

Snuggie Cloths

 

I found two gorgeously thick fairtrade cotton t-shirts in a charity shop last week for £1 each. They were so soft and lovely that I couldn’t bear to leave them there. So one pink and one turquoise t-shirt came home with me for this snuggie cloth project. I sewed 2 pieces of t-shirt material together so that pieces of ribbon and fabric are sandwiched in the seam. All the ribbons and fabrics are different colours and textures in order to excite little baby fingers (and tongues, if we’re being honest- so I double stitched everything. No choking hazards here!) I put a piece of soft fleece in the middle for added huggability. Once I’d finished the centres looked a bit empty. So I cut out man-in-the-moon and star shapes to brighten it up. And then I found some fuzzy-microfibre to give a little interest to the reverse side.