Frugal Dish Mat

I saw my first dish mat on Jimmie’s Collage last year and filed away the idea …

When my bath towels became so worn that I had to replace them, I thought of frugal ways to re-use them.

I remembered Jimmie’s dish mats and thought that this would be an easy-sewing project for my children.

Pop over here for the tutorial or to my Projects page for other sewing, crafts, and creative projects.


Celebrate Bunting

My youngest daughter celebrated her 10th birthday recently.

I created some bunting for her party.

These simple triangle flags gave a festive air as well as these lettered

Celebrate Bunting Flags

Pop over to my Projects page for my simple tutorials!


Toy Car Travel Mat

Here is my latest homemade gift for 2 little boys ~

A Toy Car Travel Mat!

This great car mat has pockets for the little cars and folds and rolls to neatly store and carry.

You can see the tutorial at my Making Gifts page.

I found other wonderful ideas here: has an excellent cozy-car-caddy-tutorial with numbered pockets and templates has a lovely mini-travel-car-mat in a little draw-string bag shares a toy-car-travel-mat has a step-by-step car-cozie-tutorial shares an amazing little-crafty-make-playmat with zipper pocket and it folds up in a tote bag.


Gifts ~ Pretty Beaded Candle Jars

Here’s a peek

at our latest gifts

the girls have made …

Pop over to my Making Gifts page for some more inspiration!


Felt Food ~ Fun Project for Kids

We joined the felt food frenzy!

The kids and I made this “breakfast ” as a gift for a little pre-school  cousin~

We all cut out and sewed the food.  The girls used basic blanket stitch to close the edges and stem stitch for the embellishments.

Felt is a fantastic sewing medium!

    • Young beginners can quickly sew pieces together.
    • It stays in place and doesn’t shift when sewing.
    • It is forgiving – mistakes are often ‘hidden’ or undone without giving any evidence.
    • Colours are bright and clear.
    • It is really cheap.
    • A little goes a long way!
    • Little scraps can be used for many things.
    • It endures despite quite frequent playing.

There are some excellent websites for is more ideas, patterns and inspiration:

We’re off to make some more gifts!


Ribbon Notice Board

A “new” notice board

Recently I ‘upgraded’ my old notice board.

I needed a place to insert little cards and notes … perhaps a pin-board section … and somewhere to hang my reading glasses.

Pop over to my Practical Gifts To Make page for the tutorial!

Hope this inspires you to make something similar as a gift.



Pretty Apron Gift

This feastive season I hope to make many of our Christmas gifts.

I started with this simple apron ~

A really plain apron

It was store bought and fairly cheap,  much cheaper than buying the material and clasp at the fabric store, but the fabric and sewing was very strong, neat and durable.

With some scraps of co-ordinating fabric, some re-cycled lace and a piece of ribbon,  I added the decorative patchwork over the exsisting apron pocket and bib.

And this is the finished apron!

Viola!  A pretty, original apron for a sweet friend who spends most her life in her kitchen cooking, baking and preserving for her large family.

Pop over to my Project Pages and read the full tutorial and see the photos there.

I’m off to whip up some more bags, aprons, felt toys and home preserves and natural bath products for gifts!


Make a Bag for Nature Study

Just recently, I bought the girls some new quality paintbrushes and blank notebooks for nature journalling.

I only bought some new B and 2 B pencils, and 3 different quality paintbrushes each ~ a medium pointed brush no.7, a thinner no.3 and a fine pointed brush no.0.  The spiral notebook is new too, but the rest of these art supplies are our existing stock.

If you need to know what to buy for your children’s art supplies, check out Barb’s excellent Art Supplies for kids Squidoo lens.

I always recommend moms to buy a few quality things now and then.  Before long, your art supplies will be quite established and it should not cost too much.

What do we  take on our nature journal outings?

    • B or 2 B pencil and soft, good eraser
    • Notebook or journal or a clipboard with blank paper
    • A black fineliner pen
    • Watercolours, brushes and bottle of water
    • OR water-colour pencils
    • Some toilet paper to dab messes or clean brushes
    • Sun hat, sunscreen and smiles!
    • Mom sneaks in some small reference books – a bird book, flower or veld grass, insect reference books

As we carry our art stuff around the garden and farm, we needed dedicated bags for our outdoor studies.

I was inspired by  Suzanne of Just Another Hang Up‘s beautiful lined  Lil’ Girl Springtime Tote and the zipper pouch from Stephanie at The Crimson Owl and I adapted their tutorials to make each of us a nature study bag.

I lined each bag and made several customized pockets to hold water bottles, paint boxes and our nature journals.

I decided to add a fold-over-top so that we can store extra things we find on our nature study.

I even experimented and made pocket dividers, elasticized water bottle pockets.

For a pretty finishing touch I created several gorgeous fabric flowers to decorate the bags..

Click to my project pages or click here for the step-by-step tutorial.


This post is part of the upcoming South African Carnival of Homeschooling.

Recycled Toys and Ideas for A Polka Dot Party!

My 11-year-old came up with this theme for her party ~

A Polka Dot Party!

Ginger Mango cupcakes with Polka Dots with blu...

Image via Wikipedia

With dots in mind we decided to play with ideas of all things…


and colourful …

even for food

and decor

and activities.

We took our fun party and joined another large homeschooling family for the fun-filled Polka Dot Party!


Polka Dot Cooties

The girls created several cooties with polka dots on the top.They moved around the group taking turns to play.

Inside were simple fun choices with even more funny activities or actions for the last choice.

Scavenger Hunt

I created a coloured dot scavenger hunt list and wrote 8 things the children could find outside on the farm.

Each child had a small bag (to hold the items they collected).

Each child had 8 dot stickers to stick over the dot when they found the item.

This was a fun activity that got everyone running around and exploring!

Dotty Refreshments

Fruit Juice

Decorate each glass with a circle slice of fruit.

Place round ice-cubes made with fruit juice in different colours in each glass.

Or put  round melon balls in the fruit juice.

Ice cream cones

Instead of a birthday cake we gave everyone 2 scoops of ice-cream in a wafer cone.

Everyone decorated their ice cream with Smarties, Jelly Tots or Astros.

Fun ball games with some recycled 2l milk bottles, newspaper and scrap wool.

We cut the bottles to create a “racket” and a “bucket”.

We made the balls with a sheet of newspaper crumpled tightly in a ball and tied around with some yarn and knotted to end.

Colour or number the buckets.

Games with “rackets” and balls –

Each child had a ball attached to the handle of the milk bottle. They practiced tossing the ball up and catching the ball as it fell back down.

Next we pulled the ball off the string attached to the handle and each child chose a partner.  They tossed and caught the ball.

Once they mastered throwing and catching 1 ball between the partners, everyone took a ball and both partners tossed and caught each other’s balls at the count of 3!  FUN!

(The balls are quite soft and you don’t need too much space to play this.  We played on a small patch of lawn outside.)

Tossing balls in the “buckets” –

Arrange the buckets in 2 or 3 rows.  Let all the children toss their balls and score if the ball goes in.

Number the buckets and arrange them in 3’s with highest number in back rows to score.

Place the buckets on a table and let the children toss the balls to knock them off the table!

Paint a different colour on each bucket.  Call out a colour and see who can toss their ball into the correct bucket.

Other Ball, Dot and Circle Games:

Knock the Scarecrow’s Hat

Tie a broom to the back of a chair.

Place a hat over the top of the broom handle

Children toss their balls to knock the hat off the “scarecrow”!


Make 10 skittles with recycled plastic bottle filled with sand.  (Paint them different colours.)

Arrange the bottles in a triangle.  Place a skipping rope/ hula hoop for the children’s mark and let them toss a large newspaper ball at the skittles.

Hula Hoop circle

All the children join hands and stand in a circle.

Mom opens the circle to place a hula hoop over the 1 child’s arm and then closes the circle again.

Now the children must move the hula hoop around the circle of children, over each child alternating over the head and under the feet without breaking the circle!

Ring Games

Ring – a Rosie (traditional game)

Murderer and Detective

Everyone sits with their eyes closed.  One child walks around the circle.  Everyone sings, “One tap detective, Two taps murderer.” The child walking around taps 1 child once and another child 2x on their head.  The detective (the child who tapped 1x) now sits in the middle of the circle.  He/she watches to see who the murderer is.

The murderer is the one who was tapped 2x.  He/ she WINKS secretly at anyone in the circle who looks at him/her.  The person who sees the wink rolls back groaning – killed!  They remain lying down.  The murderer continues to wink at anyone until he/she has killed the group and “wins” or until the detective sees or guesses who the murderer is.  The murderer now walks around the circle and game begins again.  If the detective cannot find the murderer, they are ‘out’ and cannot sit in the circle. (We let the child continue for fun.)

Click here for the party plan: Party Plan Polka Dot Party

Included in this download is the menu and food ideas, cootie details and other ideas.

I included the lyrics to the song “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”.  Children could sing this while playing musical dress up/ while playing pool games …  so many more ideas …

Hope there is something fun here that you can use! 🙂

Dress Up ~ How to make a “boned” girl’s corset

We all know how young girls love to dress up!

For many years my girls have dressed up for “Olden Days” games with long skirts, calico pinafores and bonnets.

This year I made them some “boned” corsets to wear over their blouses or dresses.

To read the sewing tutorial click pop over to my Projectspage~ Boned” Girl Corset

Blessings, Nadene