The summer holidays are just around the corner and if you’ve got a child just bursting to be creative this August, then I can help with my Summer Craft Camp. There are so many summer holiday activities to choose from in Bournemouth and Dorset, however, this class is going to be just amazing!
What to expect at Summer Craft Camp
Your child will be learning to create pom poms, decorating 3D cardboard letters with colourful wool and embellishments. After that, we’ll be making the most adorable wooden mobiles. They’ll be in a creative bubble for an hour and a half and juice and biscuits will be on hand to keep their energy levels topped up.
There are 12 spaces on this wonderful one off class, so it’ll be lots of fun and personal. Last year classes were just 1 hour, this year I’m running the camp for an hour and a half.
Tickets are £17.50 for 1 child and £33 if you book 2 spaces. Juice, tea, coffee and biscuits are included for both parents and children. Book here to secure your tickets.
Why parents love my classes
Last year I ran summer holiday activities at Lollipops play Cafe. There was an ‘Under the Sea’ themed class, where we made beautiful dream catchers. In addition to a ‘Witch and Wizard’ class, where we created spell books and practiced writing in invisible ink. Both classes were enormous fun, however, don’t take my word for it!
“My children absolutely loved doing the summer craft class with Alexia. She was so patient and considerate with the children. My daughter who has ASD was very very comfortable with Alexia and loved the session producing her notebook. I loved watching my daughter engage so fully and produce a wonderful piece of craft at the end of the session!”
What should I put in my child’s craft box? Being the owner of Made By Me Craft Parties my children have access to a whole room full of craft supplies and as a result they’re eager recipients of my cast offs! But what do you do if you’re just starting out? What on earth do you buy to set up your children with art and craft supplies and start their first craft kit?
Here’s a list of things I think are perfect items for your kit;
Felt tips/coloured pencils Plain white card Coloured paper Stickers Glitter (if you can bare it!) Eco glitter is even better. Beads Pipe cleaners Sticky foam shapes and gems Washi tape (paper Sellotape) PVA glue Pritt Stick glue Scissors (age dependent) Lolly pop sticks Apron for younger kids Small pop up bin or similar Watercolour paints for older kids and paint brushes
Where to buy craft supplies?
It can be an expensive lark getting all these supplies together if you’re just starting out. So don’t rush off to the expensive craft stores, besides, with a little bit of time and thought you can put together a kit for very little cost.
Firstly, if you have a Scrapstore near you, this is an excellent place to start. You can buy a bag or box of scrap for a few pounds and fill it with ribbon, wool, paper, card, embellishments, boxes and random bits and bobs for modelling. Scrapstores often have a shelf of art supplies for sale, such as paints and glue that are good value.
Secondly, consider a trip to the likes of Poundland, Wilkinsons, The Range and even Lidl or Aldi. You won’t be able to get all the supplies in one place, but you can certainly pick up a few bargains on your travels to get you on your way. Just choose your materials a bit carefully if you’re buying for older children, it’s worth investing a bit more money into their paint brushes and paper.
Finally, you can find ready-made boxes of crafts in lots of the supermarkets and craft stores and these are well worth buying as a birthday present. Besides, you can then add to them as and when you see any bits you like.
Organising Craft Supplies
Once you’ve bought all your goodies, there are lots of ways to organise them. Keep an eye out for my next blog post giving you lots of ideas for craft storage and making crafting accessible for your children.
I hope you’re inspired on what to put in your child’s craft box, what else would you add? Have you found a hidden gem to purchase your craft supplies from? I’d love to know in the comments.
The Pinata craze looks here to stay and they’re a popular activity at so many parties. But what if you want to make your own? Well, party bag queen, turned small business champion Joanne Dewberry has created a rather useful DIY guide for lucky number 7. So here’s how you can save some pennies, do a spot of recycling and unleash your inner craft queen!
When organising a birthday party for your child the most useful thing you can do is have a theme. Having a theme helps collate all your ideas, colour schemes and activities. For Megan’s 7th birthday party she requested a “Woodland Themed”, so we held it at our local Country Park. Utilising the park and walking opportunities meant the children were entertained leaving us with less to organise. For me that was an epic win in party planning. We put up a gazebo, which we filled with activities whilst we waited for everyone to arrive including decorating wooden slice necklaces and a pinata, which was Megan’s idea before going on a scavenger hunt, ending the party with snack boxes and cake plus a play in the park.
Megan’s pinata suggestion was super last minute, like a couple of days beforehand! She’d suggested a pinata would be a great way to entertain her friends whilst we waited for everyone to arrive, she was of course right! After consulting my craft best friend “Pinterest” I realised there wasn’t anything suitable as I didn’t want to be covered in paper mache stressing out so late in the day. So quite simply I crossed my fingers and botched something together! Luckily we’d had a few deliveries and I knew the recycling bin was full of big boxes.
This is probably one of the easiest and most entertaining things I’ve ever made. I literally cut out a giant 7 which I used this as a template to create a second 7. Using bits of cardboard I built up sides around the first 7. You can see I have taped card in the inside to make sections. I did this for 2 reasons :
To add a bit of stability to the 7 and stop it being so flimsy.
To stop the sweets from sitting at the bottom of the 7 as they’d have all fallen out in the first smashing. This way the children had to break through 3 sections giving everyone a chance to hit the pinata and win a sweetie treat.
When I said I’d bodged it together I wasn’t lying! There is nothing level or neat about this number 7. I used duck tape on the corners alongside lots and lots of sellotape to connect the sections. Some of the cardboard wasn’t even the same size it was literally held together by tape, lots and lots of tape.
I filled the three sections with sweets and then sellotaped the second 7 on top, which wasn’t exactly pleasing to the eye. Lucky for us Daddy Moo is a day before Christmas Eve shopper and ends up buying all the naff Christmas paper rejected by us normal shoppers. I found some holly and berry wrapping paper in the stash which was perfect for the Woodland theme. Keeping with making this as simple as possible, I wrapped the cardboard number 7 like a present.
It looked amazing hanging up and the children had a blast knocking it down!
This post originally appeared on Charlie Moo’s. Joanne is a 30 something coffee lover living in rural Dorset with her long suffering partner and three children Charlie (2007), Megan (2008) and Olive (2011). Joanne owner and creator at Charlie Moo’s specialising in handmade fabric party bags.
Joanne also writes a small business blog www.JoanneDewberry.co.uk, and author of Crafting a Successful Small Business. In 2010 Joanne was named Dorset Business Mother of the Year and has numerous accolades and awards to her name. In her spare time she likes to eat and watch crime dramas sometimes at the same time!
You’ve spent hours planning the perfect party; booked the entertainment, sorted a cake, prepared the food and party bags … phew! Often children’s parties are so busy that it’s hard to preserve decent memories of the special day. I’ve invited local, leading baby and family photographer Samantha Prewett to share some tops tips that will help you take some lovely photos to remember your party forever.
‘I launched Samantha Prewett Photography just over 5 years ago, I offer beautiful, natural and newborn and family photography across Dorset. As a parent to two little ones aged 9 and 6, I know how important it is to capture all those first memories to treasure for a lifetime.’
1. Take some photos before the party guests arrive
The chances are you will be very busy during the party, so by planning a little time beforehand to take some photos of the birthday child, party set up and any important family members who can arrive early, you will be saving yourself some time and be calmer for the party.
2. Social media etiquette
If your children are inviting friends from nursery or school you probably won’t know all of them. It is always polite to ask their parents when they drop them off if they mind them being in photos, especially if you plan to post photos online. As a general rule, I won’t post any photos of children on my social media if I am not “Facebook friends” with with their parents. Also don’t forget to check your privacy setting regularly.
3. Set up a DIY photobooth
If your children are a little older, a great way to make sure lots of photos are taken during the party is to get them to take some themselves. All you need for this is a tablet with camera function, something to mount it into, and some props which you can either make or buy from fancy dress shops. There are lots of ideas online and you can even download a photo booth app!
4. Take lots of natural photos
During the party, take lots of photos of the children playing/crafting/what ever they are doing for their party, without getting them to “pose”. Natural, in the moment photos make the perfect keepsakes and are lovely to look back on.
5. Print your photos!
My best tip is to make sure you print off the photos you take. In this digital age we take so many photos, but how many of us still print them? There is nothing more satisfying than looking back through printed photo albums or scrapbooks, and your children will love doing this as they get older. Trust me, mine do. You can even let the party magic live on longer by getting your child to make a party scrapbook with you. They can stick in some of their cards or small decorations that you might want to keep too and put their own mark on it by writing or drawing in it to.
I hope you enjoyed my tips and will try some of these ideas at your child next birthday party. I would love to know how you get on, and don’t forget me when you need someone to capture those extra special parties and events, I do that as well as newborn and family photography sessions and I love the opportunity to do something a little different.
Over the summer break, I was lucky enough to be sent some lovely craft goodies to review by Printkick, who are a small family business established in 2001.
We were sent a lovely range of children’s arts and craft kits which I decided to take with us on a trip to Yorkshire to visit my family. Printkick are usually found producing and selling personalised printed mugs for small business in the UK, but the launch of their new website has brought a few surprises!
Izzy (8) and Austin (5) couldn’t wait to get their mitts on the box of delights, first out was the gorgeous colouring books. Izzy plumped for the grown up flowers and plants colouring, she loved that the coloured pencils came as part of the book which is perfect for crafting on the go (or in our case on holiday). Austin picked the hard back kids colouring book. We loved that the paper for both books was good quality and thick and the colouring was only on one side of the paper. Austin’s book also had plenty of pages at the back for his own doodles and pictures.
Beautiful colouring pencils and a hardback book for colouring on the go
Next up, we cracked open the fabulous wooden craft box. It has crayons, watercolours, rubber and pencil sharpener inside and the wooden box is very grown up and perfect fro travelling. As there was only one paintbrush, I brought along a couple of my own artists brushes. Izzy decided to use the colouring book to paint in, which worked brilliantly!
Beautiful grown up painting box
As soon as I saw the the artist box I knew what I wanted to do with it and when I arrived home I sprinkled a little Made By Me Craft Party magic! I used a little washi tape, some gems, paper flowers and a wooden flamingo to add a summer vibe to the box. I think the plain wooden box would make an excellent birthday party activity to decorate with paint, stickers and gems and then they could be used as a party favour.
Summer themed art box
We were also sent a cute pre printed little fabric bag and a backpack which both came with fabric pens. These bags would make a lovely activity for younger children if you’re doing a DIY craft party or they would make perfect party bags to fill with a few goodies and of course cake!
Unfortunately, the tote bag was a bit young for my children, so we didn’t try it out. If you’ve got a pre-schooler who’d like to try it out, pop a comment below and I’ll pick a name out of a hat at the end of September.
Colour your own backpack
Decorate your own mini tote bag
We had so much fun with all the arts and craft kits, the kids said they were ‘awesome’. I think they’re perfect to pack for travelling and as party favours – they’re useful, aesthetically pleasing and a good price too.
I also really like that Printkick have charitable and environmental commitments, they recently ran a campaign with the ADHD Foundation for Neurodiversity , the umbrella project was simply beautiful and inspiring. Printkick have also launched a new eco-friendly products range, which is an issue close to my heart (I did a geography degree back in the day!)
Thank you Printkick for the opportunity to play with your lovely products! We had a great time. I think we’ll be packing the colouring for our trip abroad later in the year.
Thanks for reading and don’t forget to comment below if you’d like the mini colour in tote bag!
I’m so excited to launch the Spa of Our Own craft party. This party option is available to all age groups and includes the following activities –
Bath Bomb making
Lip gloss making
Make-up bag decorating
Flip Flop decorating (older teens and adults only)
The child or teen party is an hour and a half and for the adult option, I allow 2 hours so you can spend a bit longer making and perfecting your creations.
You’ll make 2 bath bomb muffins, in your chosen colour and scent, adding some beautiful dried flowers on the top. You’ll also package them up beautifully and add a tag so you can gift them if you’d like to.
Next up, you’ll learn to make your own lip gloss in a colour of your choice and then put it into gemstone pots which you’ll decorate and embellish.
All materials are thoroughly tested for fun factor and quality by my team of keen crafters (ie my children and their friends).
We take party testing very seriously here at MBM HQ
Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what one of the mums said after her daughter’s Spa Craft Party
“Thank you so much, Lexy for a fabulous party! Hope and her friends had a great time and they all went home with beautiful flip-flops and lip gloss. Love how organised you are and all the tiny creative details. Looking forward to having one of your lovely parties again in the future.”
All set up for eager 8-year-olds to make lip gloss
Wow! Well, what month May is turning out to be, it’s full of surprises and excitement! I won the Creative Business Award for Made By Me Craft Parties at the Successful Women in Business Awards (SWIB) last week! As you can imagine I’m over the moon (and a little bit shocked!).
There were 33 nominees in the Creative Business category over three counties (Dorset, Devon and Somerset). The awards happened at Weymouth college where they served fancy tapas and delicious cocktails (rather good for settling the nerves). Of course I had the usual ‘what to wear fiasco’ as the dress code was ‘business formal and be as fabulous as you like’. A quick visit to my lovely neighbour Aimee sorted out the jacket issue and I rooted out some gold sparkly strappy shoes and a lacy dress, then I was award ready. Mr Made By Me (Martin) came with me for moral support and we had a lovely evening on our table of fellow creative business finalists and the award sponsors Hannah and Mike from HJ Accounts Management.
Lexy with her Creative Business Award
Made By Me Craft Parties is an award winning business!
It’s cliched, but I really didn’t expect to win. I was totally shocked and shaking at the result, then I had to tackle the tiny stairs up to the stage (you’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t fall over – phew). However, I didn’t have a speech prepared (big error – take note future award nominees!) so I’m hoping nobody remembers that bit!
I was nominated for the award by the lovely Joanne Dewberry and then I had to send the judges some information about my business, including how my creativity has contributed to the success of my business, what’s different about Made by Me Craft Parties and how it’s valued by others. So for those of you who don’t know me and my business, here’s an excerpt of what I said.
Made By Me Craft Parties offers fun, beautiful and personalised craft parties for children, teens and adults for any event or occasion. I run my business around my 2 young children, who are my chief party testers and inspire me daily with their creativity. The parties are unique and tailored to customers requirements, for instance, if a child wants a unicorn themed hot air balloon making party, then I make the magic happen!
I pride myself on attention to detail, excellent customer service and ensure I use the best possible quality products and materials. Offering new innovative and exciting parties is an important part of my business.
A recent customer who hired me for a wedding said ‘Lexy is fantastic to deal with and makes everything very simple. Her focus is on the guests experience and she’s a supplier that actually asks you what you want, rather than telling you what you’ll have. The children absolutely loved the crafts and to be honest I‘ve never seen a room full of kids being so quiet and focused, while having such fun. ‘
Bath Bomb making it great fun and smells gorgeous!
Keep little ones of all ages occupied with a craft party during the wedding drinks and photos
Hot Air Balloon party
Lexy offering advice on how to make pom poms and design tips
Made By Me Craft Parties came about through my own love of crafting. I started out teaching adults to make greetings cards and gift boxes using rubber stamping, my friends began asking me to run crafty birthday parties for their children and I soon realised that there was very little available locally to offer craft parties. Once my daughter started school, I needed a more flexible working environment. As I’d already started to build something that not only did I love but was proud of, turning Made by Me Craft Parties into a full time business was the obvious choice.
I’m absolutely thrilled to win the creative award, all the nominees, finalists and other winners are amazing businesses and business women and I’m honoured to have been in the same room as them at the awards ceremony. I couldn’t run my business without the support and help from my husband, family and friends, but also the networking groups I attend such as SWIB, Lemur Linkup and Dynamic Women In Business they’ve been a lifesaver, especially when you work for yourself.
Find out more about Made By Me Craft Parties and how I can help with your event or party over on the website or contact pages.
Winner of the Creative Business Award
Photo Credit for featured image (group) – Felix Cohen
The cake and party food are an important part of any celebration. These small businesses have caught my eye and I think they’ll inspire you to put some wow into your cake decorating and some oooooh onto your party table!
As beautiful as they are, you don’t need to spend a fortune on a hand sculpted cake by a professional. Little Bird Craft Party cake toppers do all the talking for you and all you need to do is make or buy your cake and pop the cake toppers in them. I particularly love using cupcakes to give to guests at the end of a party instead of a cut up piece of cake all stuck to a napkin. Susie has also designed some cake toppers perfect for Hen Parties and those who enjoy a spot of adult humour.
Unicorn Cake Toppers by Little Bird Craft Party
OMG, bespoke sprinkles through the post – who knew that was a thing? Well, it is and The Happy Mail can hook you up with some mighty fabulous sprinkles for your cake! Sprinkle them on your cupcakes or celebration cake or they’d be amazing as part of a dessert station too.
Cake Sprinkles by The Happy Mail
Say goodbye to boring white paper plates and say hello to disposable partyware you’ll want to display on the wall! The Jelly Rabbit offer so many beautiful paper plates and wooden cutlery to choose from, I’m not sure where I’d start.
Paper plates from The Jelly Rabbit
Cool wooden cutlery from The Jelly Rabbit
If you’re based in Dorset and you’re organising a wedding, hen party or birthday party you could consider hiring beautiful china from Granny’s China Cupboard. Not only will you have a gorgeous set of crockery to serve your food on, but you don’t need to wash up afterwards! This award-winning family company also caters for children’s parties and up to 300 people!
Beautiful china for hire from Granny’s China Cupboard
Hopefully that’s your party extras nailed, check out my blog on unique party favours to end your party on a high note!
I’d love to hear what tips and tricks that you recommend for making your party table special.
So, you’ve got a special party to plan. Perhaps a birthday, hen party or wedding? Wouldn’t it be nice to support small businesses and buy unique, beautiful or handmade party supplies?
I’ve scoured the internet to bring you five of my favourite party supply businesses suitable for adults and children alike, I hope you’re going to love them too!
First up … badges and hats …
If it’s a special birthday, Ellie’s Beautiful Mess hand makes fabric hats and number badges that will make you squeal! The sparkly, glittery, squishy numbers will have everyone singing “happy birthday to you” all day long!
Personalised Felt Party Hat By Ellie’s Beautiful Mess
Let’s talk about party decor
Hello Party sell the most fabulous balloon garlands kits that really stand out from the crowd (I really want to cover my whole house with these). I also think a tassel garland brings a bit of sparkle to any party, plus you can keep it up long after the party is over!
DIY Balloon Garland Kit by Hello Party
Tassel Garland by Hello Party
Balloons to Behold
Bubblegum Balloons make it easy to brighten anyone’s day, celebration or party with their inflated and personalised Bubble Balloons – arriving perfectly party ready by post. Whether you’re hosting a Mermaid themed soiree or a Superhero extravaganza, there’s something for everyone.
Tropical Bubble Balloon by Bubblegum Balloons
You’ve decorated your venue and you’ve nailed the badge or hat to wear. Surely every party needs a pinata? Kate from Pinyatay hand makes every pinata to order and they’re absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Possibly too lovely to smash up, so you could just use them as a centrepiece if you can’t bear to destroy them or you could purchase one of the pull string options.
If you’re organising a hen party you might just want to check out one of the listings at the bottom of the page (I won’t say anymore, chuckle, chuckle!)
Cloud Pinata by Pinyatay
DIY Photo Booth
Foil letter balloons are bang on trend at the moment and Best Day Ever supply some excellent choices which are perfect for photobooth backdrops. Add in some tissue paper pom poms or honeycomb balls and a tinsel curtain and you’re good to go!
Foil Letter Balloons by Best Day Ever
These lovely small businesses are my personal favourites, but I’d love to discover more. Who do you recommend? Which party suppliers, trends and brands are you coveting on Instagram?
Thanks for reading, my next blog is all about independent suppliers of sweet treat and party table accessories, so please get in touch if you can recommend someone who fits the bill.
My Son Austin isn’t a big fan of dressing up and it’s World Book Day on the 1st March (ahhhh). Luckily, I’ve managed to convince him to go as the blackboard from The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson. He’s quite happy to wear a fun t-shirt but full on costumes are too much for him.
This costume uses a few supplies that you can get hold of quite easily and the kids can get involved too. So there’s still time to put this together if you’re stuck for ideas!
Pom pom maker
Glue gun or strong glue
Brown pipe cleaner
Alternatively to make this a really easy costume, you could buy a small soft snail toy and sew or glue it to the t-shirt.
Make your small brown pom pom
Cut a small leaf shape out of some brown felt, then cut a small section of pipe cleaner (about 4 cms). Make 2 small holes in the felt and thread the small pipe cleaner piece through to make the antennae.
To create your shell, use the remaining bit of pipe cleaner and put one end into the centre of the pom pom to secure it and create a spiral, secure the other end of the pipe cleaner into the pom pom too. Then glue the pom pom to the body.
Now it’s time to write ‘Save the whale’ on your t-shirt. I used a fabric marker, but your could sew the word on in long stitches too.
Finally, glue, sew or velcro your snail onto the t-shirt. I’ve used some sticky velcro so that Austin can take the snail off if it gets annoying during the day.
I hope this tutorial inspires you! I’d love to know what your children are dressing up as in the comments.