Christmas Gift Guide Part 2: Something a bit eco-fabulous

When I put out a request for people to spam me with Christmas gift ideas for eco-friendly folk Thrashion Recycled Skateboard Jewellery came forward and knocked my socks off with not just a cool product but a great project link too. The guys at Thrashion Ltd produce jewellery and gifts from broken and recycled skateboards; and they have come up with another amazing and original idea for a new recycled skateboard product in time for Christmas, with a charitable aspect too!

Thrashion Recycled Skateboard Jewellery got together with illustrator Jon Horner to produce the first ever skate ‘SNAP’ game. The 52 full colour 350gsm silk laminated cards feature 13 different designs all illustrated by Jon Horner, and are reverse printed with another of Jon’s custom designs based on traditional playing cards imagery.

The cards are packaged in beautiful hand crafted games compendium style boxes which have been produced by Driftwood Surfboards and Thrashion Ltd from recycled skateboards and sustainable wood sources.

This new and completely original product will be launched in December 2013 but are available to pre-order through the Thrashion website now! These are a limited edition item and only 10 have been made. All profits made will be donated to Skateistan. Skateistan use skateboarding as a tool for youth empowerment in Afghanistan and Cambodia, supporting community engagement, education and empowerment.

Thrashion vs Jon Horner SNAP all designs

Disclaimer: This is a project I wanted to support, I received no reimbursement, payment, product or otherwise for this post.

Christmas Crafting Part 4 – making special cards for grandparents

I love to make Christmas cards to give from recycled bits and bobs, but have very little time to make a stack of 30 this year, we decided to give cards to very close family and friends this year, and do an e-card for others who would appreciate it.

This is Joss’ offering for her Daddy grandparents, and we’ve been making more this week, six in total with some decorated inside too!


I was so impressed with Joss’ concentration, she sat for about 20 minutes with dabber paint pens, stickers and cotton wool and tin foil, did a bit of gluing as you can see from the sticky patches, and she scrunched up the tinfoil herself. The little penguins were peeled off and re-positioned umpteen times too!

That’s me for today, I’m working four days this week so posts are a little shorter and am dashing out the door now, but I do have an exciting post planned for next week, and of course keep entering my Organic Babies competition folks!

Toddler play, simple fun on a rainy day

When Joss napped this morning I got my stash of washi tape out (I love this stuff!) and used it to decorate some different lengths of tube cut from toilet roll inners. I bought a huge bag of 250 straws and popped her down on this rainy afternoon with the colander, 10 colourful straws and the tubes. First we talked about the colours of the straws, then she tried brushing them through her hair, and blowing through them, an hour later she was still playing, wearing the tubes as bangles and putting the straws through the colander tubes, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Pinterest is an amazing source of play ideas, at 11am I wasn’t sure how we’d entertain each other for the day, but at very little cost we enjoyed a really fun afternoon indoors!


The fun continued whilst I cracked on with a spot of washing up too!


Christmas crafting part 3 – refreshing an old toy

I spotted this little pull along toy on a Market stall for £2, a sweet little mouse playing a xylophone, in need of a new ribbon and a touch of paint. At first I was just going to freshen up his nose, but I’m working on repainting a toy kitchen for Joss so thought I’d try my hand at a smaller project first. I think it looks sweet, but I need to work on my brush skills!

Here’s a before and after shot, I just need a nice shiny red ribbon now!


Christmas crafts part 2 – fabric gift bags


I have a few gifts I’ve made and some I’m planning that needed a little work on their presentation, like the Christmas fudge I will be doing mid December.  Rather than buy posh cello I’m using plain, and I decided to spend an evening getting to know my new sewing machine and making some gift bags from fabric scraps, some ribbon and I’ll make a nice tag for each one, ten minutes of cutting and pressing and ten minutes of sewing and I’ve made six for less than £1!

Christmas crafting part 1

This is my first Christmas craft post in what I hope will be a series. A friend sent me a pin on Pinterest with oodles of stocking bunting and a crochet blog link from this lovely blog and I decided to have a go myself, just the one for now mind, not sure I have the time to achieve a string of bunting with the time I have between studying at the mo as I’m transcribing interview data on a nightly basis!


Addition of a pompom was my idea, who doesn’t love pompoms at Christmas?!

Studying three years on

I was sorting through some uni paperwork when I came across my OU application and realised I’ve been studying part time for three years now. In a sense it’s gone over in a flash, but in that time I got engaged, married, became pregnant and now have an 18 month old. It’s very different studying and living the life of a ‘grown up’. In the Library this week I overheard chatter from two students, they were committing to going back home to have a nap before a big night out, and I was planning dinner, an activity for Joss before bed, what I needed to buy for next days dinner, whether I needed to get a nappy wash on…

I remembered my uni days, I took my studies very seriously. maybe even more than I do now, and back then I was grateful the library was open 24/7, if anything my approach is more relaxed this time around, and yet I have less time but am more productive – an effect of motherhood, or just less time to procrastinate?!


I’m in the last four months of my course now, and starting to think about two things, 1) what I’ll do with my free time when no longer studying, and 2) what I’ll spend my money on without £150 in course fees going out each month! My work life is entering into a new and exciting period, I have been accepted on a placement learning the craft of research and campaigning, my dream job and I cannot believe my luck, nine months to continue learning, so I suppose I won’t have to face leaving a structured learning environment for a while yet! I’m not sure that I’m ready to leave academic pursuits behind, but I am certainly ready to pick up some lighter reading, and have a shorter to-do list for a while!

First Words Taxedo / Tagxedo Tutorial

I had some positive comments on my post about Joss’ first words and some readers were interested in how I created this little picture showing her new words. I used a website called Taxedo / Tagxedo and thought I’d do a little tutorial so that you can do the same! It’s at


You can either point Tagxedo to a website, your blog perhaps, and have a tag cloud created out of common words on the site, or write a string of words as I did.

You may need to install Tagxedo first:

1 First Words Taxedo Tutorial

Click on Load on the left and type your text in the box:

2 3

Click save and share to save your design and upload to your blog as you would any photograph, and remember that you cannot use Tagxedo for commercial purposes! Oh and it’s quite addictive!

Toddler Play Monday and Autumn Fun

For this week’s Toddler Play Monday another blogger, the lovely Anna from In The Playroom, is picking up the Meme mantle with a great idea for cooking with kids, but I do have a quick idea to share. We saw lots of ideas on pinterest and I liked the idea of a threading project for Joss. This was a very quick activity which we tried one work morning when I was getting my hair dried! We got a piece of ribbon, and cut two large toilet roll inners up into inch thick pieces, Joss enjoyed threading them onto the ribbon and I think next time we’ll decorate them with some washi tape to make it more eye catching!


I couldn’t resist sharing this photo from this weekend, I find this time of year tough for the weather and dark days but there’s something really fun about wrapping up warm and heading to the coast for a blustery icecream!


Arts and Crafts at The Laing Art Gallery

A short photo post today as I’ve been at work and am feeling a bit tired! This week Joss and I had a lovely afternoon out at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle, and looking back at my photos got me thinking that we don’t do enough art at home, mainly because we haven’t really got any materials since her last round of crayon eating, when she was probably that bit too young. She really enjoyed the light boxes, and the pots and pots of pencils, crayons and pens, lots to explore and lots of colours.
The Quentin Blake pictures on the walls were also a big hit, this little one looks like our Tobydog! I adore Quentin Blake’s illustrations so it was a treat for me too!
I have tasked myself with buying a few supplies this weekend, some pencils and pens and a piece of plastic sheeting, to compliment the paints and bits and bobs we do have at home, something to do on a rainy day, I think I’ll get some catalogues and photos too, so that we can have some themed sessions, as she loved the dogs at the Laing I think we’ll start with a ‘puppies’ theme! Photos from our sessions to follow over the coming weeks!