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Cards for Kids

cardsBeen searching high and low for these images and have found them at last tucked right at the bottom of my hard disk!

They normally surface once a year for the kids to colour in and make cards or just for the fun of scribbling. Useful for Mums too if they need a quiet moment to get on with their own cards or other seasonal activities. Anyway, you can pick them up here now as a downloadable zip file.

You can see just a few samples of the cards in the gallery below. When you print them out on an A4 sheet, some of the images are already prepared to be folded into a card, whilst others are just large images for colouring.
List of cards contained in zip file in both large and small format:
1. angel
2. candle
3. Christmas wreath
4. Santa
5. snowman
6. tree
7. comet

Bunny project number 2

Here is another idea for all those Spring & Easter elements in the download file. How about an Easter basket or wreath?
So instead of just sticking the various elements — the bunny, the flowers and the eggs — onto a piece of paper, you prepare a circle, similar to the one in my image, and add them there so the ‘basket’ can be hung on the door, or wherever else you think might be suitable.
Just download the pdf and print it off to find all the templates necessary to complete this project. The second download below includes all Bunny elements plus additional instructions for the Easter basket project as shown in the image.


Paper & clips necklace

Hardly rocket science, but quite a fun and simple upcycle/recycle project for schools — granmas with the little ones etc. A little project for #isolationartschool too.

Take a pile of paper clips and clip them together to form a long ‘chain’ necklace — you can do multi-strands if you have enough clips. Then take an old magazine or some other sort of paper (old gift wrap for instance) and cut into strips. With white glue, wrap around each paper clip to cover the open ends and block them together. When it’s all dry you can give a coat of varnish to the paper wraps if you like. Obviously if you used plain paper, the kids can do some drawing on each ‘bead’ before the final seal. A bit sticky and messy, but fun. Here I am in the process of doing a multi-strand with some turquoise coloured wrapping paper I had salvaged.

The paper strips needn’t be any longer than about an inch — depends on the size of the clips of course, but make the strips just long enough to overlap around the ‘height’ of the clips. The width will obviously be determined by the actual length of your clips leaving just enough room for the rounded extremity to be free.

Download the project details here.

Easter bunny project


Just in time, here is a sweet project for the children to do — possibly with a little help — a Spring or Easter project with eggs and bunnies and flowers. A bit of colouring, a bit of tracing, a bit of glueing to make the project just messy enough to keep everyone happy.

My own image here is just an example of the kind of effect you can get by applying the various elements. As you can probably see, i haven’t stuck the grass down completely, but just along the bottom edge so that some of the shapes can be partly hidden behind the grass tops. I believe that you will find most of what you need around the home — colours such as crayons, felt tips or pastels are all fine — and you can use food cartons for the shapes, or recycled wrapping paper if you are looking for something with a pattern for the eggs for instance.

Anyway — your imagination is the only limit, so have fun!

#isolationartschool — good news


Isolation continues to keep us all indoors, and that of course includes children who are home from school since all the schools (in Italy anyway) have been closed until further notice. Many teachers have organised themselves — and their students — to continue on a home learning basis in the hope that the kids will not lose out too much on this year’s curriculum. But then there are numerous children who are relying on their family to ‘entertain’ them, or assist them with school work.

One of the lovely initiatives which has evolved as a result of this crisis, is the spontaneous gathering of artists, teachers and crafts people on the social media, all of whom are offering lessons, tutorials, drawings and more for adults and children alike.

But there has also been the negative side to all this activity, and it seems even that has now — at least in part — been resolved. So where’s the problem? The lack of materials needed to participate in these activities. Many artists and makers have gone out of their way to limit the projects offered, as far as possible, to this and that which can easily be found in most homes, either through recycling or delving into the bottom of a desk somewhere. But stationery has been a problem. Some well meaning suppliers have come forward and offered ‘art packs’ to kids in some areas, but for the rest of us, they would have been almost impossible to find. The reason for this is that with the lockdown, all non-essential shops were closed, and even supermarkets selling stationery, had to make if off-bounds to customers.

So today’s good news — in Italy at least — is that supermarkets can now sell stationery and basic art supplies so that those with the wherewithall can purchase these items and get on with some of the wonderful activities being offered online!

Keep your eyes open on Instagram for the hash tag #isolationartschool and their amazing selection of offerings to keep you and your kids busy and creative during lockdown. There are others on social media, but the one I have mentioned seems to be offering the broadest collection of freebies. Check it out.

Isolation ideas

Just to put this post into context, we are in the middle of a pandemic, caused by the coronavirus, or more officially, COVID19. Without going into all the details of ‘how come’ — you will find plenty of that sort of information here, there and everywhere — I just want to say a few words about what the restrictions are doing to us socially.

First and foremost, one at a time, countries around the world are locking down with severe regulations about the movement of their population — and with the almost total block of air traffic in and out of the country. The situation at the present time is absolutely horrendous — yet again you’ll find details elsewhere covering this point — but what essentially it means for just regular folks, is that we are obliged to stay indoors at all times apart from essential outings to buy food or medicines.

This situation has inevitably had a global effect on people’s habits. With few exceptions, people are unable to work and are confined to their homes in search of something to fill their time usefully and/or creatively. There has been a surge of generosity on the part of many creatives/teachers and the like, who are offering free courses in all manner of creative activities both for kids and adults.

Geisha bookmark


But it must not be forgotten that many of these creatives are suddenly without paid work, and so a balance has to be found. For my part, I have included a number of freebies and tutorials here at Boho Shack, but have also opened up a page for inexpensive cross-stitch patterns and charts for immediate purchase and download. I will be adding more to both sections in the near future for those who might be interested.

My thoughts are with all those who find themselves stopped in the tracks of life, having to deal with something that very few of us, even in our wildest dreams (or nightmares in this case) could have imagined happening in our life time. Here in Venice the sun is shining which makes it even harder to stay indoors — but it must be done and we will do it.
As they say here ‘Andrà tutto bene’, which basically means, ‘Everything will be alright’…

Inexpensive storage

Recycled textile industry tubes for improvised storage


For those of you who, like me, are often in a tizwoz about how and where to store all your crafting stuff, how about this storage idea for your knitting needles or paint brushes – or even rulers.

Purchase one of these rigid plastic (or carton) tubes – they are usually sold for storing and/or mailing documents and drawings. In my experience they are cheaper than many of the dedicated items sold for storing needles, and what’s more, they are long enough to store even the longest knitting needles.

Recycled textile industry tubes for improvised storage

If you are really into being eco-friendly, you will seek out discarded textile industry tubes for the same purpose. I have one about 130 cms long which I will be cutting into 2 or 3 sections to hold my long rulers. It has a wider diameter than the plastic tubes I mentioned previously – about 8 cms across. You don’t need to, but can of course decorate these tubes if you like.

Fast & Furious cake

This is one of my ‘go-to’ recipes if I’m looking to cook up a quick breakfast or dessert. What makes this truly, ‘fast & furious’ is that — using a silicone cake form I can put this in my microwave oven at approx.750°C and within 7 to 8 minutes, have a good looking cake to serve up! But I must also add that the microwave version will dry out very quickly, and so it’s best with the addition of some jam in the middle, or even with a scoop of ice-cream or a drizzle of cream, custard or sweet sauce if you are serving it as a dessert.

Yield: About 12 slices

Simple, fast & furious cake

Simple, fast & furious cake

Simple cake recipe to whizz up all in one go in your kitchen robot

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 200g Flour (can be self-raising, plain or wholemeal)
  • 200g butter or margarine
  • 200g sugar (demerara is ok too)
  • 1 x 16g packet of raising agent
  • 4 medium eggs
  • Optionals:
  • Flavouring if desired
  • Chocolate chips or chopped nuts
  • Icing sugar to dust top of finished cake
  • Fruit jam of choice to spread in the middle of the cake

Instructions

  1. Turn on your oven to 160°C
  2. Prepare the baking tin (27cm diam.) by rubbing all over with small knob of butter and then dusting lightly with flour.
  3. Prepare the robot with a non-cutting blade
  4. Sift together flour & baking agent -- if using wholemeal flour, first sift & then add the chaff which remains behind in the sieve.
  5. Spoon into your robot along with any flavouring eg. cinnamon, vanilla etc.
  6. Add the sugar
  7. Cut the butter into small pieces, then add to robot.
  8. Turn the robot on at half-speed until the butter is mixed with the flour, then increase the speed for about 30 seconds.
  9. Break the eggs, one by one, into a cup so that you can check for pieces of shell, before adding each into the flour mixture
  10. Turn on the robot full speed until the mixture becomes smooth & slightly shiny. That should take a couple of minutes.
  11. At this stage, if you want to add some chocolate chips, throw them into the mixture & turn on the robot for just a few seconds so they mix in evenly.
  12. Carefully transfer the mixture to the cake tin, & if the oven has reached temperature, slide on to the top shelf.
  13. Cook for about 35 minutes, checking a few minutes before the end of cooking time with a wooden skewer in the cake to see if it comes out dry or moist. If too moist, you may have to extend cooking time a few extra minutes.
  14. When cooking time is up, take the cake from the oven and leave it to stand for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cake rack to cool
  15. When the cake is cool you can add a little extra interest by slicing it in half horizontally & adding a jam spread in the middle -- or more simply, by just adding a dusting of icing sugar on the top

Notes

Cooking utensils:

  • Round cake tin 27cm diameter
  • Kitchen robot
  • Kitchen scales or measuring jug
  • Sieve (for flour)
  • Spatula
  • Spoon
  • Knife

Satin cord bound eggs

bound-eggs003

Bound eggs [Tutorial]

These pretty bound eggs don’t have to come out just at Easter, and of course, they don’t have to be bound in satin cord. Why not go for the rustic country look with jute string? Another interesting version could be with long skinny strips or recycled fabric — your imagination is your only limit. The tutorial suggests a polystyrene egg, but that can be substituted with tightly wrapped and shaped newspaper, for instance to remain with the recycling theme.
Click on the download button below for instructions.

Recycled music

riciclare-001

Every now and again I make an assault on my collection of books in an effort to organize them a bit better. Don’t usually have much success as books are one of my great weaknesses and Amazon frequently drops a few more onto the doormat – vicious circle really.

But this one caught my attention and I thought I would bring it in here. It has been used quite a few times surprisingly enough in spite of its ‘unusual’ content.

I belong to a non-profit association, and have done for some 20 years now. As inspiration strikes, each of us over the years has suggested various activities which we prepare for the ‘locals’ of all ages. Maybe it’s down to my cultural background and traditions that my events are often considered ‘strange’ but are usually embraced with bemused enthusiasm by the rest of the team.

And this is where this book comes into the story, because one year I convinced everyone to collect ‘rubbish’ for a couple of months – clean rubbish of course – from the kitchen roll carton tube (no loo roll tubes thank you), to the empty coke cans, to the corona bottle caps, to the old inner tubes, saucepan lids, shells etc.etc. We had mountains of the stuff – and we made a sample series of musical instruments using what we had found with the addition of some dry lentils, beans and so on. Then at Carnival time, we set up a local hall with tables all around the hall with mounds of the ‘rubbish’ and all the tools necessary to create and decorate the ‘instruments’ – and then waited for the onslaught of kids and adults which followed. Where there is free food and drinks and a party, very few people hold back!

It was fascinating to watch (and help) as the parents, with a little assistance from ourselves, helped their kids make all sorts of instruments over the next couple of hours, and then join in as our guest percussion band taught the kids to ‘play’ the instruments.

Great day – and my suggestion is, if you have anything to do with children as teachers – or just as parents, this is a great party piece and I’m pretty sure that you can find a similar book in English. If you want any specific ideas about the instruments, just give a shout. Some of them are pretty obvious, like hammering saucepan lids with wooden spoons, but there are others which are a bit more complex …

NB. Not much of the material is suitable for very small children as a lot of recycled bits have sharpish or jagged edges – just think of drink cans or bottle tops for instance. Adult assistance is essential for this activity.

Made by Hand

When you buy something from an artist, you are buying more than an object. You are buying hundreds of hours of failures and experiments. You are buying days, weeks and months of frustration and moments of pure joy. You are not only buying a thing, but a piece of heart, a part of the soul, a moment in the life of someone.

by Giacomo Cinque
'La Sartoria Antica'
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