Cheetahs In My Shoes

living with the imaginary menagerie and all that it entails


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See It, Snap It, Love It – Messy

You may have gathered by now that I ‘do’ messy.   Some may say that I do messy rather too well and some look at me in a complete haze of bewilderment as I put together trays of cornflour, water and food colouring, get all the sprinkles out for a spot of cake or biscuit decorating or happily let the children make mud bombs in the garden.

I am thrilled that my children enjoy getting their hands (and feet, and to be fair, the rest of them) messy – they relish sticking their hands in stuff to see how it feels and what they can do with it.  We have been known to start outside with a roll of lining paper and some paint (in a bid to perhaps do some handprints) and finish with me hosing them off and then popping them straight into the shower after a few handprints turned into naked paint surfing down the garden.

Obviously I’m not going to post pictures of that – and as much as I’d love to post a mud fuelled gunk festival the children were much keener on staying inside (in the dry) this week.  So here’s a picture of our dining table –

We have on the go, pastels (dust everywhere), glitter pens, papercraft, different types of glue, ribbon, buttons, sequins, pens, the Brownie badge book, some fabric paints and goodness knows what else.  I will concede that there is a packet of wipes in the picture, but they are a permanent feature on the table – they get glue off the tablecloth ever so well!

 


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The Gallery – Easter

This week’s theme on The Gallery is Easter.   We’ve had a pretty low-key Easter this year – the Cheetah Keeper’s father did a brilliant egg hunt, my sister cooked the most awesome lunch (which considering I hadn’t been able to eat for a week with this ***** throat infection was even more awesome) and well, we kind of chilled.  As much as you can chill with 2 children.  Here’s our Gallery for Easter 2012

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Easter Baskets and Decorated Eggs

There’s another craft challenge on the Tesco Magazine website.  We’ve given it a whirl of our own free will and added our own twists – so if you want something easy to do over the next couple of days here’s our take on Easter Baskets and Decorated Eggs.

The baskets are really really simple.  You need a flower template – I printed this one off and then used it to draw round onto card before cutting it out. You also need some cupcake cases to make the centre.  Oddly enough I have a few of these in stock(!) so we used some of my more robust cases.  If you’re using other paper cake cases (that don’t cost the earth!) you probably need to use 3 inside each other.

The Cheetah Keeper’s sister chose to cut her flower out of Easter paper and then made a stem and leaves out of green card.  She used pink floral cake cases (these are cupcake/muffin size ones) and then added lots of other Easter cutouts and a handle.  She was a bit suspicious of this activity (thinking it would be a bit easy for a very nearly 7 year old) but she had a lovely time doing it and was completely engrossed in getting it just ‘perfect’.  She found that PVA glue worked better for gluing bits on but a glue stick was best for sticking the case to the flower.

Not to be outdone, I obviously had to have a go!  I used lots of torn up mulberry and craft paper to cover my flower – using a mixture of PVA and water to cover bother sides and keep the edges blending into each other.  With the added water in the mix, this obviously took a bit longer to dry and I’d recommend using thick card as the base so it doesn’t get too bendy.  The glue mix was more than adequate to stick the muffin case on – I used a plain pink robust one – so only needed a single one.  It was rather therapeutic sticking all the bits on and once finished the effects of the paper looked brilliant (if I do say so myself).

The Cheetah Keeper was, to be honest, more keen on the mini-eggs but humoured us in doing a ‘boy’ one. He was very keen on making sure that his green textured paper fitted onto the petals and chose a silver cake case – all independent choices.

Here they are, very proud of the finished baskets and patiently waiting to be allowed to eat the mini-eggs!

If you want to watch the Tesco video, click here.  They’re also showing you how to decorate chocolate eggs with edible decorations and present them ready for Easter.  In that our chocolate mountain is already beginning to form and we have plenty of eggs we had a go at decorating some hard boiled eggs – using the same principles as the video but using craft embellishments and pens instead of sprinkles and icing!

The Cheetah Keeper made a Cheetah one (can’t you tell?)

His sister made a pair of friends

And I got all arty with some ribbon, beads, sequins and buttons and also with some pretty tissue paper papier mache.  The admittedly sticking them on was a bit of a challenge (!) but it was really nice doing it and it looks very pretty!

Happy Easter Crafting!


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The Rice Crispie Cake Easter Bonnet

If you haven’t grasped it by now, I’m a bit mad (go read some more of the blog if you haven’t).   I live with 200(ish) imaginary Cheetahs, some banana people, 48 Dinos, 48 Dino Brothers (all called ‘Strike’) and a whole load of medical needs.  I’m also fond of making a cake (or 100), having a go at a bit of crafty stuff and whole-heartedly approve of kids getting stuck in and making a mess.

So when asked whether we could make an Easter Bonnet for the competition at school out of cake, the logical answer would have been….

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO (darling)

The actual answer was – “well yes, ok then”.  Then I realised (duh…) that two would be required (one for each child) and that I had to significantly up my game.  The next line was the cruncher – bear in mind I have already said ‘yes’ – “and we can wear them to school…?  OK, time to make a plan… and after a quick trip to Sainsburys here’s how we made an Easter Bonnet Cake…(and you could too)

I glued a plastic serving bowl on an aluminium platter

you need to use ‘extra tacky’ glue and leave it to set for a bit.  Patience is required – this is the frame that you’re going to build the cake on.

Turn the 'hat' onto it's crown and use something sharp to make a hole to fit your scissors into

Using decent scissors (I used florist’s scissors that can be used to cut wire) work outwards from the hole so that it looks like this

into 8 triangles

Stop cutting when the tips of the scissors touch the edge of the bowl.  I tried gluing the triangles into the bowl (to form the actual hat bit) but that so did not work.  So with a bit, ok, a lot, of electrical tape I taped it all into place and made sure there were no sharp edges.

It's not going to show!

Check the fit!

She does have quite a large head – it fits her brother better but it will have to do.

Make sure the glue is really dry.

Ready for action!

Then get yourself a helper as you’ll need to make a shed load of rice crispie cake.

We used (for 2 hats – just) 250g butter, 10 tablespoons (ish) of golden syrup and about 500g of rice crispie (we used the basics range).

Melt the butter and golden syrup together in the microwave (do it in bursts and stir in-between) and then stir in the rice crispies until you get a thick, sticky mix.  Then smother the frame in it (seriously sticky work) and leave it to set.  Make sure you’re working on a tray or something else that will catch the bits!

and leave to set

We left it to set for 24 hours and then set about decorating it.

With icing, icing pens, sprinkles, cutters, writing icing, and anything else that I use to decorate my more sensible cakes

Leaving us with these

this is the Cheetah Keeper’s creation.  All his own work!

and this is what his sister will be wearing on Friday.  Hopefully it won’t rain, or be too hot and there won’t be any wasps about!  Yes, the chick is wearing glasses – just like she does now.

Fun – yes.  Messy – oh good grief, yes.  Quality family time – yes.  Unique – yes.