Monday, October 15, 2012

Kids Party Ideas

Need Birthday Party Ideas? We've had some fun parties lately and I thought I would share a few photos! Maybe they will give you some ideas for any parties that you have coming up.

A few colourful hats purchased from the $2 shop, to add some sparkle to our Mad Hatter's Tea Party!

And a Merry Unbirthday to Alice. Her dress and adorable white apron was made by Threading My Way. See the tutorial to make your own dress and apron here.

Don't be late and please stay, Alice has the table decorated under a gazebo of paper lanterns from eBay! A mix match of children's chairs make it a colourful arrangement. Two white wire candle holders with some feathers stuck into foam balls from the craft shop, create unique centre pieces and are fun for kids to make.

Pastol rainbow vintage straws from eBay added a touch of fun to the personalised Drink Me water bottles we revamped from the supermarket.

We've done robot drink bottles before, for a 1st Birthday robot party and labelled the bottles of coke as Robot Oil, so that all the little robots in attendance could refuel themselves.

Game time! Alice and her friends searched the garden for the Queen's deck of cards. Stuck underneath each jumbo sized card was a chocolate treat. The cards were also used in the doorway for decoration.

Party bags made from paper or sewed from fabric are better than plastic I say! The robot party bags have 'Thank You' tags attached to them with a mini wooden peg. The multi spotted fabric bags and the dinosaur bags, were made easily using two rectangular pieces sewn at three edges and the tops were cut off with pinking shears so they didn't fray. Each bag was tied with a ribbon.

Or you could use an egg carton as a favour package and fill each of the six spaces with a special treat! Thank you for coming to our Tea Party!

Have you had a party lately? Got any fun ideas to share? Please leave me a comment, I would love to hear from you!

Little Ladybird

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Monday, October 01, 2012

Photography Tips - Convey Meaning

A picture tells a thousand words.

This blog post from build a little biz on Visual Marketing tells how many people prefer visual images to text when conveying or receiving information. An image is a powerful way to evoke emotions instantly in the viewer. A body of text cannot do this.

There are so many options available to people now when they are taking their photos. The number of programs and applications available that assist you in taking some awesome shots, seem endless. However, when taking a photo there is something that is important. And that is, what emotion or effect is it that you are trying to capture? What message will stand out and transcend in the years to come when the memory of taking this photo has long gone?

All of the photos below have something in common. None of them have the subject matter facing the camera, and in many of them you cannot see any part of the face of the people that are in them. Without someone's eyes or a facial expression to take information from, the subject matter can still convey purpose, intent and feeling. The viewer makes up their own mind as to what the person is feeling or thinking. More of the focus is on what they are doing and on the background. These two things become the tools for conveying meaning. Gaining information from little details becomes important and so does colour.

So start stalking! Get behind your subjects! And shoot, shoot, shoot away! I would love to hear your feedback and comments!

Little Ladybird

Monday, July 30, 2012

Koala Lou - Scavenger Hunt for Kids

'Koala Lou' is a lovely story, by Australian author Mem Fox. The main character of the book, Koala Lou, decides to compete in the Bush Olympics, in an attempt to gain the attention of her busy mother. A background summary of how Mem Fox came to write this story can be read on her website

My daughter loves this book, and it has been read numerous times to her over the last three years since her grandparents gave it to her as a gift. 

Here's a Koala Lou Scavenger Hunt to do with your kids. 

Below are the verses and clues to write onto cards to use along with the book. The aim at the end will be to find and collect all of the supplies hidden, and for my daughter to decorate her own hat to wear to the Bush Olympics, just like the book characters in the below illustration by Pamela Lofts.

Clue 1 
This Bush Olympics Scavenger Hunt 
is for a 'baby koala so soft and round'.
Underneath the cushion in the playroom on the ground,
some fabric treasures can be found.

Clue 2 
'Koala Lou, I do love you',
Now look near the bookshelf
for some brightly coloured pieces of ribbon,
maybe one, maybe two

Clue 3
One night you had a 'splendid idea'.
You would enter the Bush Olympics and have no fear.
Hop on over to your cubby for a wonderful surprise,
One of your toys is inside, wearing a wonderful disguise

Clue 4 
'The spectators roared, clapped and stamped their feet'
Search near the lounge for feathers you will meet!

Clue 4 
You 'cried' your 'heart out' when you did not win
Your 'mother had flung her arms around your neck'
and she 'hugged' you 'for a very long time'.
Go to the Lego box to find lots of buttons,
all different shapes and colours, but every one divine.

To finish the activity .....
'Koala Lou, I do love you,
I always have and I always will'
Now together, let's make an exciting hat,
a decorated hat, for your head to fill!

Little Ladybird

Monday, July 16, 2012

Ikea Hack - Bookshelf Turned Dollhouse

Inspired by the picture on the far left, my daughter and I decided to make our own dollhouse. We went to Ikea and purchased one of those bookshelves divided into four sections. We were going to make a sloping rooftop out of stickers, as was done in the original picture, but it didn't fit on the wall properly. We had no space on either side of the bookshelf, so we created a 'Mary Poppins Umbrella Rooftop' instead.

We had an old piece of thin board from the back of an old bookshelf, so we cut it to the height of the new bookshelf. It then slipped down in between the shelf and the wall for the purpose of creating the back walls of the house as this shelf from Ikea has no back on it. We then picked out four different shades of patterned paper to place on the back board. Aqua for the bathroom, pink for the kitchen (only in a dollhouse), lavender for the bedroom and yellow for the lounge room.

Next step was to find furniture. We looked online and in the local toy stores, but everything seemed so expensive and it was all mostly pink. We stumbled across some cut-out furniture by mistake when I was looking for something else in the Reject Shop. We bought three packages (bathroom, bedroom and lounge room) for $2 each! For a total of $6 the beginnings of the furniture was purchased!

This turned out to be a great choice, as we built the furniture together and my daughter got to choose what colour each piece was going to be spray painted.

Now the furniture was in, but the house was looking a bit bare. Time to find some furnishings, do some sewing and decorate!

We printed some of out own photographs and designs and framed them with a few frames from Lincraft, picked up a mini tea-set at the markets and sewed a lounge room rug from bits of materials and rickrack along the edges to finish it off.

Finishing touches were made by making some curtains for the kitchen window, some matching towels, bath mat and washers for the bathroom. The towel rail was made from two old wooden buttons and a paddle pop stick.

Then it was time for a family of kangaroos to move in to their new home and the imaginative play started to happen!

The rooms are complete, the dollhouse is finished. Time to sit by the fire and enjoy a cup of tea. The side table was made from an old plastic panadol lid turned upside down with a hole in the top to poke a bunch of material flowers from Lincraft through and then covered with a small piece of fabric for the table cloth. The fireplace was found on ebay and I then painted it in white and glued a printed fire image behind it. The plate from the tea-set, was hung up in the bathroom as a mirror with some aluminium foil for some shimmer.

The best part about this dollhouse is, that my daughter and I were able to gradually build it together. We got to cut out and glue together and talk about how we would make the different items in the four rooms. And even better, I think will be that when she and her brother out grow playing with it, I won't have a big dollhouse to dispose of. It will simply be cleared and used as a bookshelf (as we never grow out of those).

Little Ladybird

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Monday, July 02, 2012

Photography Tips - Camera Angle / Cropping

I enjoy every opportunity I get to use my camera and I like to experiment with different techniques. I watched my 3 year old daughter taking photos at the museum recently. I have never shown her how to use a camera, so I was interested to see her take a shot of some crystal rocks, view it, and then rotate it to change the angle of the camera to, I'm guessing, 'get a better shot'.  And that is where it all starts. I didn't ask her what she was doing cause I knew that she was simply doing what the best photographers do .... just taking her time to enjoy and play.  Here are some examples of how you can create interest in your photos by using a few simple points.  

Tilt the camera sideways. The photo on the right is less flat and shows more of the sky, but still allows all three layers (hedge, trees, sky) to be seen. Also, try photographing side on from an angle, instead of front on, to create depth in your photos.

Move the camera around to best capture the subject and get more background in so it looks as though the background extends further than what it does. Left photo - get down low to create height. Middle photo - take from up high to show different angles. Right photo - 'off set' the subject to create interest, don't always place it in the middle. Off setting can actually make the subject stand out more than if it were in the middle, if it is done right. 

Crop with the intention to change the mood or to convey a message. In this instance, the photo on the left gives the sense of long rolls of fabric and shows more of the continued pattern, hence giving more detailed information about the product type. However, the photo on the right gives a sense of having a tall, thick, abundant stash of fabric. This is a fairly simple example, but it can be used more effectively in different situations.

Crop to draw attention to certain parts of the photo. In the photo on the left, your eyes are drawn more to what the girl may be looking towards, whilst in the photo on the right, your eyes are drawn more towards the placement of her hands and what is in her lap.

Crop out some of the subject and place it so that it is not centred. Often your eyes find it easier to look at something off to the side rather than something in the middle. With the photo on the left, you look at the subject then scan the background. This is the last thing that your eye sees and seeing as there is a fair bit of background to look at, this is the last impression you take away from this photo. In the photo on the right, you see the background and subject at the same time, as their ratio is more balanced. You don''t need to scan the background.

I hope that you can use some of these tips and keep on playing and experimenting with your photo taking!

Little Ladybird

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Possum Magic Lunch for Kids

Did you know that the author Mem Fox wrote the first draft of 'Possum Magic' titled 'Hush the Invisible Mouse' in 1978 and had it rejected by nine publishers over a five year period before it was accepted by Omnibus Books in Adelaide. Interesting huh! 

But not to my 3 year old who just wants me to read her the story. She loves the storyline about the two possum's journey around Australia eating as they go in search of what will make Hush seen again. There are many questions for me to answer when we read it, such as "what does invisible mean?" and 'what is pavlova?" and "do we have glitter and stars in the cupboard like Grandma Poss?". But when I told my daughter that we were going to make human food and have a party for Hush, there were no questions, her eyes just grew large and she exclaimed "Maybe we can make lamingtons!". 

It's amazing how the suggestion of a little bit of fun can make a child's imagination go into fast forward. Suddenly the beautiful gum tree outside my daughter's bedroom was occupied by Hush. But we couldn't see her, as she was invisible of course (which made playing along so much easier!). There were kisses, high fives and waves being sent from the window to that gum tree each night before bed for the next week.

I created an invitation and then my daughter placed it in an envelope, decorated it and put it in the gum tree for Hush to find and read. I took it down that night, took out the invitation and made the back of the envelope look like it had been nibbled by a possum. Believable right?.... well to a 3 year old .... um ...... just! She has been conditioned into believing in Santa and the Easter Bunny no worries, but an invisible possum .... not so much. I got given a sideways glance when I told her the nibble was from Hush. But she didn't say anything and smiled, cause I think that she knew that if she questioned, I might tell her it wasn't really true and she has always been a child who wants to dream big and have fun

For the party we had Anzac biscuits from Adelaide, minties from Melbourne, salad from Sydney, pumpkin scones from Brisbane, vegemite sandwiches from Darwin, mini fruit pavlovas from Perth and lamingtons from Tasmania.

The day we held the bush party in honour of little Hush it was very rainy, so it was perfect for staying inside and digging in

Happy reading and cooking with your little ones!!

Little Ladybird