Chinese New Year Resources From Mrs Mactivity

Looking for fun Chinese New Year Resources to keep the kids busy? We love finding sites for new resources to us at home, especially during half term to stop the boredom.

Mrs Mactivity

Mrs Mactivity is a freshly launched resource site for parents and teachers in its early stages. Having left teaching due to the high workload and stresses and strains Mrs Mactivity decided to devote her time and energy helping teachers who are in the same position she was as a teacher. Knowing parents can find it difficult to know how to help their children at home too Mrs Mactivity was created. Free membership is available with limited access to resources, as you can see below there is also a Trial package or a 12-month package. At just £9.97 for a full year of access, this is an affordable site for resources to use.

Mrs Mactivity Pricing

Chinese New Year Resources

With the Chinese New Year approaching I looked through the categories to see what was currently available on Mrs Mactivity’s site for something to do. This Chinese New Year is the Year of the Dog. Each year it changes, I was born in the year of the horse! 

 

Mindfulness Colouring

We came across these fantastic Year of the Dog Mindfulness colouring pages which both girls wanted to colour first. Children love colouring in and it is such a calming activity to do. We quickly got a few sheets printed off to colour in.

Chinese New Year Colouring & Word Trace

Next, we printed out Chinese New Year animals with traceable names finished with Happy New Year in Chinese. Izzy loved these as we have been practising writing for a while now, she can do most of the alphabet with a little reminder and these sheets are fab. She kept quiet colouring and writing for almost an hour!

Chinese New Year Resources From Mrs Mactivity

 

 

Dot to Dot Activities

Eva loves dot to dot activities so we ask Mrs Mactivity if she could create some for the Chinese New Year. As you can see these turned out great and kept Eva happily busy this morning. Being KS2 Eva found the sheets Izzy loved a little too ‘babyish’ but these dot to dot activities were right up her street. She was over the moon her suggestion had been taken on board and a brand new Chinese New Year resource was created.

STEM Activities

There’s a fab page full of STEM Chinese New Year Resources which the girls loved! All the activities are simple to make without instructions. Most involve Lego which the girls really enjoy including the Great Wall of China & Pagodas. We love the idea of the egg box Chinese dragon, we will be giving that a go over the weekend when we finish out Mount Merapi make!

Do you love these Chinese New Year Resources as much as we do? Make sure to check out Mrs Mactivity as it grows to find new and fun resources for children.

DIY Daddy

Rustic By Marney – How creativity helps me manage my anxiety and depression

Rustic By Marney was set up by Melissa Marney who crafts the most beautiful pens! Like many of us Melissa suffers anxiety and depression but found crafting and letting her creativity flow very therapeutic. I’ll be sharing my thoughts and images of a gorgeous purple flower pen she made for me, on the blog tomorrow! Keep an eye out! Until then here is Melissa’s story in her own words.

Rustic By Marney – How creativity helps me manage my anxiety and depression

Looking back on my childhood I now realise that I’ve always suffered with anxiety and depression. At the time I didn’t know anything about mental health issues, and I just thought it was normal behaviour and everyone felt the same way, but I just struggled more with my emotions. I covered my emotions and symptoms well, and looking back had a number of coping strategies, which I wasn’t aware were helping me, to cope at the time.

Hobbies

My favourite hobby when I was younger was ballet. I used to attend two classes a week and looking back now it was a way to shut my mind off, detach myself from uncomfortable feelings and emotions and silence those scary, intrusive thoughts.

As the years went on and I grew older I stopped dancing and didn’t replace this with another hobby. Having nothing to focus my energy on, my negative thoughts became louder and more uncomfortable and my symptoms worsened. Dealing with day to day life – working, paying the bills, maintaining relationships etc. It all became so consuming, and I knew something wasn’t right at the time but tried my best to conceal it (and I did a fantastic job at it!). I didn’t want anyone to know how I was truly feeling or that I was struggling to cope. There were times where I just wanted to scream out for help, but always remained silent and carried on with life.

Shutting Down

It wasn’t until a year ago, Steve and I got married in Cyprus, (which was the best day of our lives, very cliché, I know!) things changed. I pretty much arranged the whole wedding myself and in the lead up to it was unaware of how much stress I was putting myself under. Having perfectionist tendencies I wanted everything to go well, and was deeply involved with the all or nothing thinking. I also wanted to ensure everyone was happy and was having a good time.

While I was busy thinking about everyone else and my ‘perfect’ day I neglected my own needs my health was suffering as a consequence. When Steve and I returned from our wedding I didn’t feel myself at all. I put it all down to the ‘come down’ from the high I had been on the past few weeks. Nevertheless, I powered on and tried to get back into the real world. Unfortunately my mind and body had other plans. Two weeks later I had a breakdown, I completely shut down physically and mentally, I became an empty shell, I was just existing and not living. I knew things weren’t right and something had to change.

Recovery

It took me a while to accept what was happening. It took approximately six months to dig myself out of that ‘hole’ and get myself back on the right track. I’m still in recovery now, but having the right support, and a change in my thinking and attitude has helped me to accept it’s now just a part of me, and adjust to living with anxiety and depression.

During my recovery I found a new love in crafting. Throughout the years I’ve always told myself I’m rubbish at arts and crafts, I can’t do it and I believed it! It wasn’t until I started crafting my own place cards, guest book pens and jars for my own wedding where I realised this was all total rubbish! Silencing that negative voice in my head was a great victory.

Crafting To Cope

I’ve always been ambitious and dreamt of owning my own little business, and finding a purpose in life. During my breakdown Steve had mentioned to me about crafting again, however at the time I didn’t have the energy. As I slowly started getting better I took his advice and I started making my flower pens again. Slowly in time my passion and creativity started coming back, I was starting to feel my bubbly, confident self again. Crafting has been my biggest inspiration and I truly believe it has helped me cope over the past few months. Crafting has refocused my attention and reignited my passion.

Now whenever I feel anxious or have a bad day, however hard it is I grab all my crafting gear, sit down and get stuck in. I’ve found crafting extremely therapeutic and a way to ‘shut off’ from the stressors in the world. Turning my hobby into a business has given me great comfort as I now believe in myself. Having a passion in crafting and weddings, and combining the two is the perfect combination and therapy for me! There’s also that extra bonus of helping other brides have the best day of their lives. When they do then my mission is accomplished!

I recently saw the quote below which sums up my whole experience and filled me with comfort:

 Rustic By Marney - How Creativity Helps Me Manage Anxiety & Depression

Rustic by Marney can be found over on Facebook & Twitter. Whilst she does focus on weddings her gorgeous pens will brighten up any desk. You can find out more about Rustic by Marney and see the gorgeous pen she sent me too!

Do you find crafting therapeutic too?

Burnished Chaos

New Crochet Bag & My Current WIP

I’m showing off my new crochet bag from Bonfire Cherry and my current WIP since it has been a little while. I started on a rather large granny square blanket in sparkly purple, blue and silver. The blanket will end up big enough to cover our super king size bed which will also cover all of our corner sofa for film days too!

Purple Granny Square Blanket

My Current WIP

I’ve only managed to squeeze in a row here and there over the last few months alongside a small toy hammock. (I need to make another 3 of those too!) I am pleased with my slow progress and love how warm it is whilst I work on it.

As always I have had a few incidents where the girls knock my WIP all over the floor which annoys me greatly! I finally decided it had been far too long since I spotted the Wool print bags from Bonfire Cherry and asked him about them. Unfortunately he stopped selling these but luckily for me he had one spare so I finally got my hands on a new crochet bag!

New Crochet Bag

New Crochet Bag – Wool Print Design

My new crochet bag arrived beautifully wrapped and fits my current WIP with plenty of growing room. Keeping my WIP & hook together in one place at all times is so much easier. I am relieved and in love with the gorgeous Wool Print design from Bonfire Cherry.

I have been joining in with the #HGDCMakersMoment the last 2 weeks, reminding me how much I enjoy crochet. Connecting with other crocheters and crafters is always so inspiring. Of course last week I joined in showing off my gorgeous new crochet bag which everyone loved. It made me smile even if I was dealing with a projectile vomiter repeatedly appearing in the hallway. I managed to join in the conversation a little at least.

After I finish my blanket and 3 more toy hammocks, I am determined to make myself a cardigan! Heather who runs #HGDCMakersMoment found me some gorgeous designs so I just need to find the perfect wool. My crochet confidence has definitely gone up over the last year. Now I can’t wait to learn more tips and tricks. I would love to make us all cosy socks and jumpers for cold winters!

What’s on your hook at the moment?

Upcycling Projects – Zacsmart Honey Pine Collection

I have 2 upcycling projects from Zacsmart that I am absolutely in love with! Their Honey Pine finished products are designed so they can be left as they are or upcycled. These make perfect gifts for crafters or perfect for crafters wanting to upcycle and personalise their gifts.

upcycling projects

Honey Pine Gifts

I received a fantastic Honey Pine Wooden Cantilever Sewing Box/Storage Box and a small Trinket Box which are gorgeous. The Cantilever sewing/storage box (£24.75) is ideal for storing bits and pieces like needles, thimbles & threads.

It is portable with a nice chunky carrying handle and 5 storage compartments. The sliding lids have been designed to act as a handy shelf to put things on too.

The Cantilever sewing box is great with all its compartments. I quite like how the Honey Pine Cantilever sewing box looks already so I think I will leave it as it is until I can think of a better plan!

 

Upcycling Projects

The small trinket box is £6.30 and the size is (approx.): 5.5cmH x 13cmD x 18cmW. This little trinket box is perfect for storing all sorts of little bits and pieces. Receiving it reminded me the girls have an overflow of jewellery at the moment. This instantly gave me an idea to make the small trinket box one of my first upcycling projects.
Small Trinket Box in Honey Pine Finish

First I decided to paint the trinket box using a pink satin finish spray paint we had previously bought to match the pink in the girls bedroom. The paint dried really well and looked lovely with a satin finish. The Mr had helped me tape off the catch and hinges to minimise clean up at the end.

Upcycling Projects

Using pink and purple fuzzy letters I added ‘Princess’ to the top along with a crown, key and some jewels. I think it turned out quite nice and will look lovely in the girls bedroom.

Do you love upcycling projects? Can you think of someone who you could upcycle one of these products for as a gift?

 

Printable Activities – Fun For Kids

Printable activities are great fun for kids, we’ve been printing lots for the girls since our new printer arrived this week. It can be a struggle to keep kids busy indoors without screens as the weather turns miserable. I’ve been looking at printable activities we can do to keep them amused. There is so many printable activities out there for children of all ages.

Printable Activities – Masks

Our favourite finds this week are Izzy’s Skye (Paw Patrol) Mask we printed out. We found this fantastic Skye mask on the Nickelodeon site. We printed the mask & stuck it on card before we cut it out, stuck the pieces together and added string. It literally took 5 minutes so it was lovely and quick to make and Izzy was over the moon!

Nickelodeon Skye Mask - Paw Patrol

Izzy couldn’t wait to wear her mask and wondered around the flat wearing it for the rest of the day. She was excited to show Eva our make when she came home from school too!

Printable activities for kids - Sky Mask

 

We also came across lots of fantastic free printable activities from the ichild site. They have a fantastic Holly Mask Izzy has been colouring, we still need to cut it out but Izzy refused to cut it until she was completely finished.

Holly Mask - iChild printables

Handwriting Sheets

We’ve used the ichild site quite a few times this week looking for different printable activities. Handwriting sheets are another activity we have been printing. Izzy has been practising letters at home for the last few months and she loves a handwriting sheet so she can show off her pencil control. We love the pirate one’s!

ichild Pirate handwriting sheets

Colouring Sheets

ichild also has some fantastic colouring sheets. Keeping with our pirate theme this week we found this fantastic Skull Flag to printout & colour.

ichild skull pirate flag printout

Printable activities have kept the girls busy this week, especially Izzy and we’ve had lots of fun. We love these great printouts and will be hunting for more!

What site do you use for printable activities?

My Ever-growing Yarn Wish List

I have an ever-growing Yarn wish list right now. Whilst I do have 2 projects on the go right now, a granny square blanket for myself and one for my brothers cat Mia. I’m still using up all my sparkly yarn but I’ve been eyeing up some lovely new colours and brands I’ve discovered.

I still consider myself a newbie when it comes to crochet and I openly admit to being clueless when it comes to different yarns but some are just sooo lovely! I love self patterning yarns, anything purple, grey or super soft. The girls regularly point out yarns they like and want used on a project too but this list is just for me.

My Yarn Wish list

 

Caron Cakes

Anyone who loves to crochet or knit has no doubt heard of Caron cakes, self-patterning yarns that come in a glorious array of colours. These are fantastic for a range of projects and look especially lovely when used for shawls. Here are my favourite 4 Caron Cakes.

Yarn wish list- Bumbleberry caron cake

Bumbleberry

I love the gorgeous combination of purples in this Bumbleberry Self Striping Aran Yarn. I could use this on so many projects for myself!

lilac frosting caron cake

Lilac Frosting

The Lilac frosting would make a lovely scarf for winter with just a hint of lilac throughout. I usually avoid lighter colours but I do love the way this Caron cake turns out.

 

Mixed Berry Caron Cake

Mixed Berry

I’ve had my eye on this gorgeous Mixed Berry Caron cake since I first discovered them. I think this would be perfect for a project for Eva. Maybe a nice cardigan if I can work out how to crochet one!

Faerie cake caron cake

Faerie Cake

The last yarn on my Caron cake wishlist is this gorgeous Faerie Cake. I just love the colours in this, I’ve no idea what I would use it for but I definitely need it in my yarn stash asap.

 

purple fizz

Purple Fizz

Stylecraft Wondersoft DK Merry-go-Round in Purple Fizz is another self-patterning wool which I would love to make some cushions out of. I want to funk up my sofa soon and have a few different cushion cover ideas.

candy

Candy

King Cole Flash DK Knitting yarn in Candy is gorgeous. I would love to make some cushions for the girls room. Ok I know I said this list is for me but I couldn’t help but slip one in for the girls too!

What’s on your Yarn wish list right now? Which of the above yarns is your favourite?

Woodland Garland – Crafty Creatives Subscription Box

I’ve been making a woodland garland after receiving the Crafty Creatives Subscription box to review. A fun crafty box with creatives in mind. Crafty Creative boxes are £15 plus p&p (£2.95) each month. My box contained everything needed to make a woodland garland, felt, threads, eyes, stuffing and templates.

Crafty Creatives Subscription Box

Crafty Creatives

The woodland garland looks so cute and I knew it would be something that would no doubt end up in the girls room. I decided to start when the girls were in bed so I definitely wouldn’t get disturbed as I’m not great at sewing. I love to craft and crochet is usually my go to but I couldn’t wait to see how I got on with the crafty creatives box.

My Woodland Garland

I started with the Squirrel, cutting out the templates first then finding the correct felt. With so many shades of brown I was a little confused to be honest. I think a colour chart would have been quite helpful. Once I had got over my colour confusion I got to work pinning the templates to the felt. I then cut out each piece & stitched the details on. Finally I stitched the back & front together adding stuffing as I went.

Squirrel

The instructions are easy to understand and in no time I had made my first stuffed animal for this fantastic woodland garland. I was quite proud of myself as sewing isn’t my strong point yet following the simple instructions I managed to make something that actually does resemble a Squirrel.. yay me!

Stuffed Squirrel - Crafty Creatives subscription box

Seriously, how cute is that Squirrel!?

I made each one in order so I didn’t get too confused or mix anything up. It was lovely to see each one coming together piece by piece and really enjoyed making them. I usually find sewing stressful but everything is so small and cute I found it quite relaxing!

Woodland Garland - Mushroom

I loved that I only needed scissors and pins to complete this project. Unfortunately I ended up having to use a little of my own black and white thread. That is highly likely to be down to my poor sewing skills in all fairness. I tend to find the back of my work looks an absolute mess when I sew. Making the woodland garland has made me consider sewing a little bit more as I really did enjoy making each one.

 

Woodland Garland

Crafty Creatives work to put together a new box each month and collaborate with small businesses to do so. I think this is a fantastic idea and I would love to see what they come up with next!

What do you think? Does the Crafty Creatives Subscription Box sound like something you would enjoy too?

 

Lace Shell Edged Shawl Crochet Project – Complete

I’ve been working on a Lace Shell Edged Shawl since my birthday after some good friends spoilt me with crochet supplies! I received a handy box full of purple sparkly wool, hooks, a magazine & beginners crochet guide. I was over the moon and still am!

A box of treats!

Crochet goodies

 

Anyone that knows me will know I absolutely love crochet! I taught myself slowly over the last few year after finding knitting difficult with 2 children running around. Crochet is much easier to pick up & put down when I have spare time. My confidence has grown loads and I’ve made some lovely items that I’m quite proud of. I’ve crocheted several items now including bags, a flower heart wreath, dolls clothes, blankets for Eva and Izzy, scarves and more! I really enjoy crochet, it helps with my anxiety & depression too so this was the perfect birthday present!

I love seeing the girls with their blankets I made for them 😍

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Lace Shell Edged Shawl

With plenty of purple wool, I sat and looked through the magazines to find myself a nice project. I found a pattern for a gorgeous lace edged shawl so I instantly got to work on a purple one for myself! The crochet beginners guide has a lovely pattern which I decided to adapt slightly using a different sized hook. I won’t deny I only changed the pattern so I could use my lovely new 3mm purple hook instead of a 5mm one!

Lace shell edged Shawl

Using the Crochet Beginners guide I finally got the hang of a magic ring which will be useful in so many projects. I’ve also recently taught myself how to do a standing crochet stitch, great for hiding any mistakes haha!

My lace shell edged shawl grew quite quickly considering the hook size difference. The shawl took longer than planned but I’m still pleased I managed it in a month! We’ve had a busy few weeks, a surprise trip to Southend pier, Izzy being poorly and Eva going back to school . Somehow I have still managed to sneak in a few rows here and there.

Finally finished!

The design itself is quite simple but it has a lace shell edging which is nice and a little different to the shell edging on Izzy’s crochet blanket I recently made her. I madea few mistakes so had to frog several rows throughout but I eventually got there!

My shawl is finally finished! Still need to wash and block it but YAY!

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One of the magazines came with a shawl pin to use too. Now I’ve learnt more stitches and tricks my ‘to make’ list is growing quickly! With 5 more balls of purple to use I’m on the hunt for another little project haha!

What do you think of the shawl? What would you make if you had plenty of wool to use?

 

Weekend Box – Snazaroo Face Paints

Weekend Box have teamed up with Snazaroo and created a fantastic face paints box. Eva loves Weekend Boxes, you may remember she reviewed some boxes last year and had her photo featured on Facebook too! We love subscription boxes that keep us entertained over the weekend. Weekend Boxes are suitable for 4-9 years. This fabulous mini box is just £2.99!

Weekend Snazaroo Box

Of course Eva was extremely excited to discover a Weekend Box addressed to her this week and couldn’t wait to see what was inside and start having some creative fun!

Inside The Weekend Box

Weekend Box

Eva still loves the characters on the box and how it is packaged, she loves that she can open the box and read about the animals before finally discovering what’s actually inside the box. She remember the cute woodland characters from last year and loves Hattie the Hedgehog.

Weekend Box Snazaroo

Snazaroo Face Paints!

As you can see Eva was really excited to discover her Weekend Box had Snazaroo face paints inside! Snazaroo face paints are suitable from 3 years. They are so easy to use, just add water, even Izzy joined in and had a go. Snazaroo face paints are made in the UK, they are skin friendly, fragrance and paraben free and are formulated from premium cosmetic ingredients to be gentle on skin. We all have sensitive skin, cheap face paints causes rashes but we have no problems at all with Snazaroo face paints.

With 2 fun Snazaroo face painting kits to use Eva couldn’t wait to start using them. Eva loved the Birthday party face paint stamp kit. She especially loved the cupcake and face stamps so we started with those.

Cupcake Face Paint

We tried out the mini face paint kit next and decided to follow the directions on the box to see if it was as simple as it looks. We need a little more practice but Eva loved the end result! The 3 step guide was so easy to follow and Snazaroo have more guides online.


The Snazaroo Weekend Box is so much fun and something we can use again. You can invite some friends round & paint all their faces as there is plenty of paint in those kits! This is definitely something we would recommend as it kept us busy for quite some time. Of course we then had 2 clowns running around causing havoc in the flat haha!

Because Snazaroo face paints are water based they are so easy to clean off. Using wet wipes we had clean faces again in minutes! We love the mini kit so much! There are five vibrant themes available – Summer, Carnival, Halloween, Christmas and Easter. The colourful summer packs include a fun Festive Mask (made up of bright pink, white and royal blue) and a Jester (featuring grass green, white and purple).

Snazaroo paint a smile

Do you love the look of the Snazaroo Weekend Box too?

*I received this product in exchange for an honest review.

 

First Granny Square Blanket Finished!

It’s true! My first granny square blanket is finished at last! Just over 2 months ago I shared the start of my first  granny square project . Since then it’s been growing at a fair pace considering all the interruptions I’ve had. When I ran out of wool I shared a quick update on how it was turning out and asked for suggestions for a border.

My First Granny Square blanket is finished

As suggested I went for a shell border & Izzy chose a gorgeous Robin Paintbox wool in Rumba for it. I like it but think perhaps a slightly bigger shell would have looked a little better. Izzy of course disagrees & I wasn’t allowed to change it! In all fairness I’m not good at deciding these things haha.

Shell border

144 squares hasn’t taken anywhere near as long as I expected. Whilst I had hoped to finish my first granny square blanket at least a week ago I am surprised how quickly it grew. I ran out of the blue and purple wool half way through. This meant I was stuck for a week or so. As soon as I picked up more I got back on it and somehow managed to work pretty fast though. Considering we’ve had a busy few weeks I am surprised!

My First Granny Square Blanket Is Finished!!

My first granny square blanket is finished

Whilst I can see where I need to make changes for future blankets I am quite pleased with my first attempt. I can see this being the first of many granny square blankets as I’ve really enjoyed working on this. It hasn’t taken as long as expected and Izzy loves how it’s turned out too. She’s spent the entire day snuggled up with her new blanket which is lovely to see!

I am definitely becoming more confident now and mistakes don’t stress me out as much as I know easy fixes now. Crochet has really helped me deal with pain and stress a lot better too. Having something to focus on is really calming and the finished product always gives me a sense of achievement. The only problem is..

Now I’m on the hunt for my next project.. any suggestions? 😂