Creativity 521 #59 - A gift for my little one {DIY Frozen jewellery}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 21.12.14
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So, I had been thinking hard about what to get for Ariel for her 2nd birthday. Since her party was going to be a sponsored one, that meant that for the first time, I did not need to rack my brains on the games and decoration but instead, was given the chance to make a really nice DIY gift for my precious.

Given that the party is going to be a Frozen themed celebration, that she has been absolutely obsessed with Queen Elsa recently and that she is starting to love wearing girly accessories when we go out, it was pretty easy to think of what to make for my girl - DIY Frozen necklace and bracelet!

What we used:

1) Beads in turquoise, pearl, white and silver colours
2) Jump rings
3) Clasps and loops
4) Extender chains
5) Fishing line
6) Single hole punch
7) Scissors
8) Craft knife
9) Printable shrinky dink plastic sheet
10) Colour printer
11) Toaster oven
12) Flat-nose pliers

Firstly, I designed some charms on Photoshop using Frozen and snowflake graphics. Then I printed these onto the shrinky dink plastic using an inkjet printer. To cut out these charms neatly, you will to use a small, sharp scissors or a craft knife for the tricky edges so as not to tear the plastic.

Make sure you remember to punch a hole in your charm before putting it into the oven or you will not be able to attach it to your necklace or bracelet later on. As mentioned in my first shrinky dink tutorial, place the charms on baking paper and once they start to curl up in the oven and then flatten out, remove them within 5-8 seconds. You can press on them lightly to ensure that they stay flat before cooling.

Ta-dah! Our charms are all done! Which is your favourite?

To attach the charms, you will need to use jump rings and if you have one at home, a flat nose pliers will also come in handy. You know, after so long, I'm glad I finally took out my jewellery making craft supplies again and have the chance to put them to good use!

Next comes the fun part - it's time to string the beads using the fishing line! Don't these beads look so pretty together and match the Frozen theme perfectly? Well, I thought so and was glad that I managed to combine my own bead supplies from Sweden with some that I bought here from Spotlight.


After that, I got the girls to help me with the stringing! Of course, Ariel didn't really have the patience to complete one whole string of beads on her own but Angel, she really concentrated hard and even thought about her own design when she was choosing the beads. I had to stop myself from giving her any unsolicited opinions but instead give her the freedom to create and the respect she deserved.


After a couple of hours of hard work, we were nearly there! To finish off the necklaces and bracelets, I tied the ends of the fishing line securely onto the clasps, hooks and extender chains and hid the loose ends inside the beads. Finally, attach the charms in the desired places and we were all done! Woohoo!

So, this was the set of matching necklace and bracelet that I specially made for dearest Ariel. I chose a picture of Elsa and Anna for her not just because they looked cute, but also because I wanted them to be a reminder to her on how blessed she is to have a sister who loves and cares for her this much.

Since I had more than enough charms and necklaces to spare, we did a few more of these pretty necklaces and bracelets so that the big sister wouldn't feel left out too. She personally loved the silvery snowflake necklace which was my favourite of the bunch too. Now, don't you think these DIY jewellery can be great party favours too?

There, meet Queen Ariel-Elsa in her Snow Queen get-up complete with tiara, wand, dress, hair and now, jewellery too!I think she is going to look fabulous on her birthday, do you think so?



Dear Ariel, this might be a very simple gift from Mummy to you, but I hope you know how much love goes in there and how beautiful you will always be in my eyes. Stay my happy and lovely baby always! Happy turning 2!

Till more updates on her Frozen birthday party!

For more craft ideas and DIY tutorials, visit my gallery here.

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To fellow bloggers who have a fun craft session, DIY tip or creative idea to share, come join in the party! Highlight and press Ctrl + C to copy my button above, include it in your post/sidebar and add your link below. I will be hosting Creativity 521 on the 5th and 21st of every month, do hop over for more inspiration. Remember: The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity!

For the baby you love {Review and Giveaway of Tollyjoy}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 18.12.14
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Like most of you, I don't just own one single brand of baby care products. In fact, I like to try out various brands of products and then stick to what works best in that range to meet the needs of my family. So if you were to visit my house, you would realise that we actually have different brands of baby products that we really like and support. However, there are names that are bigger than the rest in my household and one of them is Tollyjoy.

Started in 1971, Tollyjoy has become one of the most prominent baby care brands in Singapore and I'm sure many of us have come across their products in one way or another. Today, I'm sharing with you about some of the Tollyjoy products we have been using recently, plus to celebrate the season of giving, I am also giving away hampers at the end of the post.

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Look at how happy the toddler was to receive a Tollyjoy hamper that was as big as her! That really made our day and I don't know about you, but there's an indescribable sense of fun and joy for us in opening up a hamper and discovering the hidden surprises.


BABY GROOM and BABY PLAY

-> Toiletries Travel Pack and 250ml Baby Lotion

After staying in Sweden, I developed a habit of applying baby lotion on the kids to prevent dryness of the skin. Nowadays, the kids make it their own habit and I can see that they like to use this baby lotion which helps to retain moisture and feels light and non-sticky on the skin.

I'm the kind of mum who makes sure I bring my own toiletries (for the kids, not for myself) when we go on holidays or even when we visit the beach or swimming pool. You just can't be certain if the hotels or public toilets provide any shampoo or soap, and even if they do, they might not be suitable for the sensitive skin of children. So, I really do love the toiletries travel pack which is easy to carry and comes with everything you need - baby bath, hair and body wash, lotion and powder.



-> Squeeze Toys

Although we stay in a cosy HDB flat in Singapore, from the start, we decided that we would like a bathtub considering how Angel loved to play in it when we were in Sweden. And when you have a tub, you would need toys that are safe for the kids to play, including biting and chewing. I love the cute designs of these squeeze toys that come with a squeaking sound but one thing I wish was that they could squirt more water too!




BABY HYGIENE and BABY FEED

-> Baby Accessories & Vegetable Liquid Cleanser (900ml)

This liquid cleanser is one of those indispensable things in my house since I became a mum. I don't understand how the husband can wash milk bottles without using this but for me, I make sure I clean the bottles and give them a good scrub daily with the cleanser so as not to leave behind any milk residue. It also comes in handy when washing utensils and can even clean vegetables to ensure healthy eating. 
 


-> Training Cup with Straw

This is suitable for babies who are learning to use a cup and for Ariel who somehow spills water whenever she drinks from a real cup, this is quite useful for the time being. It also functions as a water bottler when we go out and the only thing is that she requires my help every time to open the lid when she needs a sip.

-> Heat Sensitive Spoons

To help gauge if the food is too hot, the pink coloured portion of the spoon fades if the food temperature is above 37°C. Interesting, right? This is the first time we are using such spoons and though Ariel has started feeding herself, I have taught her to check the colour and determine whether she needs to 'blow' more onto her food before eating. See, even the big sister thought that was pretty cool and fun too!

BABY BEDTIME

-> Baby Indent Pillow and Bolster

This pillow has a hollow shape to prevent the "flat-head syndrome" and microfiber material to keep baby comfortable. The bolster acts as a support and companion for the baby too. I have to say that Ariel is the type who likes lying on the pillow and hugging the bolster for just a split second before she finds another comfortable position, usually on or beside me. Still, a nice and comfy looking bed can't do without a good pillow and bolster, right?




-> Baby Face Towel and Bath Towel

My kids take a bedtime bath everyday and the two things I look for in face and bath towels are that they must be 1) Gentle on skin and 2) Absorbent. So, I was glad to see that Tollyjoy understands these needs and helps to keep our babies clean, dry and comfortable.

-> Unscented Baby Wet Wipes 70s

Well, this should be in the Hygiene section but you know, I used baby wipes so often - during meal times, diaper change, at the playground and sometimes even in the house - that I am thinking seriously thinking that whether I have become too dependent on it. Anyway, we prefer to use wipes that do not come with any fragrance and these unscented baby wet wipes which are delicate on skin suit our needs.




MOM'S NEEDS

-> Nursery Bag 

Although you can find this bag under the Mom's Needs category on Tollyjoy, the moment my kids saw it, I knew that it was more to meet their needs than mine. This nursery bag comes in many adorable animal designs (the animals even have three-dimensional heads!) and although the pockets are quite simple, the bag will come in useful when you go on a family outing or quick getaway.



Doesn't it look good on the five-year-old? She was totally in love with the bag when she saw it and if your child likes to sling it on the shoulder instead of carrying it, you might wanna get a strap padding just to make it more comfortable.

Now, I think there is a reason why Tollyjoy remains as one of the big names in our house. And hopefully it will continue to be too!

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If you are a fan of Tollyjoy, here is a giveaway to celebrate the season of giving!

A Happy Mum is now giving away TWO Tollyjoy hampers (each worth S$100) with the following items:

1) Unscented Baby Wet Wipes 70s
2) Antibacterial Baby Accessories & Vegetable Liquid Cleanser (900 ml)
3) 2 in 1 Hair and Body Wash (750ml)
4) Baby Lotion (250 ml)
5) Baby Hooded Towel
6) Baby Face Towels (2pcs)
7) 5 Pcs Feeding Set
8) Nursery Bag

*Note: Items are subject to availability and may not be the same model/design as illustrated.

This giveaway is open to all readers residing in Singapore only. To participate, leave a blog comment with your name and email address. Remember to indicate in the Rafflecopter widget that you have done so and to increase your chances of winning, you may follow the rest of the options. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Disclosure: We received a hamper of goodies from Tollyjoy in writing this review. All opinions are our own.

Still my baby

Posted by ~Summer~ on 15.12.14
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So the little one is just one week short of turning two years old. Yet, it still feels like yesterday when she just arrived in the world and I was admiring her chubby face, double eyelids and heart-melting smile. It was the day I felt the amazing wonders and joy of motherhood all over again, and I was deeply thankful to have been blessed with a second beautiful baby in my life.

While my first breastfeeding journey was a 16-month long learning process filled with mostly joy (and a little pain), I knew that to me, it was one of the most rewarding and miraculous parts about being a mum. So, my initial plan was to make my second breastfeeding journey at least an 18-month long one.

That said, perhaps it comes with experience and luck, this second journey has been a very smooth one since the beginning. Yes, even though this baby might have woken up eight times on some nights to demand for her milk and her first reaction whenever she gets into a car is to ask for the boobs, at least I have not encountered any infection, bad swelling or terrible pain.

Thus, I have been loving every moment and every time that I am able to experience this wonderful feeling of her latching on while feeling snug in my chest.

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I started introducing formula to Ariel when she was around 13 months old. I wanted to take things slow and easy this time because I remembered how it was a struggle back then trying to get Angel to drink formula and it went on for a few months. For some reason at that time, I felt desperate, frustrated and upset when she wouldn't take the milk no matter how much I tried, or forced. There were even nights when both of us ended up in tears. Then, one day when we were on holiday, she just suddenly took to the bottle and gulped down a whole bottle of milk in one go. From that moment on, she started to love formula and slowly, the boobs got cast aside.

Bearing that in mind, I keep telling myself not to pressurize Ariel or coerce her into switching from breast milk to formula if she did not show any sign of readiness. Instead of me trying to compel against her will, I wanted to take the cue from her and let her decide when to move on. So, time and again, she would reject the bottle and I would tell myself "Never mind, let's try again tomorrow".

10 months later, we are still in the trying process.

Has she made any improvement in drinking formula? Yes, but just a little. Is she still waking up in the middle of the night? Yes, but just once or twice. Maybe she just wants another brand of formula? I have tried almost all, including fresh milk. Does she still prefer the boobs? Yes, every single time. Can she survive a day without the breasts? Let's just say she probably can't even last half a day.

Yup, she is still very much addicted and needs her daily dose of human milk, though I highly suspect if there is any left and that all she wants is mummy's comfort. There were many days when I did try to cut down the number of feedings and would give her excuses like "Mummy pain pain", but you should really see how she would break down and cry like the end of the world while screaming "I want neh neh" over and over again. That is enough to break anyone's heart and sadly, I can't just pretend that I can ignore those pitiful pleas.

Someone told me to rub some wasabi or chilli on the nipples which might have the effect of making her hate my boobs forever. I considered that for a split second before I decided it seems a little too cruel on a toddler. I'm not sure if that was a convenient excuse or if it was me who was the one reluctant to put an end to our journey. All I do know is that I do treasure this bond and I will deeply miss these days when they are finally over.

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Well, that means we are coming to six months delayed from the initial plan but when it comes to breastfeeding, I don't think there should be any plan in the first place. The longer the better, right? It's one of the perks of being a stay-at-home mum who can let her child latch on at any time of the day, so I think I am going to do my best to hang in there a little longer before trying to wean her completely. Moreover, breastfeeding still remains as the most effective way to calm her and the quickest way to make her fall asleep.

While it might be exhausting and taxing to hear her pleas for "Neh neh" eight times or more a day, at the same time, it feels so extremely endearing and sweet too. You know what I mean? That's probably something that only mums will understand.

Two years might have passed but for now, she still feels very much like my baby. And I can't tell you just how much I am cherishing this feeling.

How was your breastfeeding journey like? Do you have any tips on how to wean a child who is very much dependent on mummy's boobs for comfort?

Ring Tailed Lemur {Review of heART Studio Little Picasso class}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 10.12.14
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So, after Angel did her first painting of the poisonous dart frogs, she was ready to move on to her second project in the Little Picasso class at heART Studio. I have to say it never fails to amaze me how quickly time flies. There are many ways which I get reminded of this fact and one of which is the increasing number of art pieces my girl has churned out in her learning journey - each of which takes weeks of hard work, time and effort to complete.

This time round, she was going to work on an animal which I found to be pretty fascinating. I'll give you some clues - it looks cuddly, has a black and white tail, and can only be found in Madagascar.

Yes, it is none other than the cute-looking Ring Tailed Lemur. Wait, just because I said that it is cute doesn't mean you can go near one when you see it.

 Did you know?
- Ring tailed lemurs are found only in the southern part of Madagascar.
- They eat primarily fruits, leaves, flowers, herbs, bark, and sap. Occasionally, they will dine on insects.
- Ring tailed lemurs are the most terrestrial of all lemurs, spending a great deal of time on the ground instead of the trees.
- Sunbathing is a common activity, and these lemurs sit upright facing their underside, with the thinner white fur towards the sun.
- Males often have "stink fights" in which they wave their tails, which have been rubbed on the strong-smelling wrist glands, at one another.
- They are highly social and live in groups which typically number between 15 and 20 individuals.
- Females are the dominant sex and earn the best sleeping and feeding spots. If a squabble breaks out between a male and a female, the female lemur always wins the argument.

As part of the usual introduction to the new theme, the students were taught about the basic characteristics and the habitat of the animal. Photographs and videos were also shown to them for a better illustration and understanding. The first task they had to perform was to spell the name of the animal and subsequently, do an observation drawing of the face of the lemur based on looking at the photograph.


Through this exercise, Teacher Elma was able to understand their different perceptions of the ring tailed lemur and guide accordingly. For instance, Angel drew it to resemble a cat with pointed ears and after she was finished, Teacher Elma would let her know that the lemur's ears are rounded instead of sharp.
 
After drawing the facial features based on a step-by-step guide from Teacher Elma, the students were asked to draw the entire animal on a second piece of paper. Although this might be the first time some of them heard of the ring tailed lemur, all of them were able to draw it due to the precise and patient guidance of Teacher Elma.

I have said this umpteen times but I do like the fact that the children are given much freedom to execute their drawings and as much as possible, the teachers at heART Studio refrain from holding their hands to guide them. To perfect a skill, the best way is to practise and experience it for yourself, don't you agree?

There! This was Angel's drawing of the ring tailed lemur at the end of the first lesson. Yes, in just one lesson which lasted 1 hour and 15 minutes. From a cat to a lemur, I was really impressed and glad that she could pull it off.


In the second lesson, they could start to PAINT! If you do let your child experiment with acrylic paint, do remember to wear an unwanted shirt because I realised it can get really hard, or quite impossible, to completely remove the stains. This time, each student got to choose the pose that he/she wanted the lemur to be in and after drawing it, they had to paint it using short strokes. The fact that Teacher Elma requested them to use different shades of the same colour made a whole world of difference in creating textures and making the lemur look more realistic. For instance, even the white portion was a combination of white and cream colour and the kids had to dip their paint brush to alternate the colours.



In the third lesson, the students began on their final artwork and it wasn't hard to see the look of joy on my girl. Her happiness, passion and enjoyment are the key factors that determine which enrichment classes she goes to and I'm just glad that she has found something she truly looks forward to every week. In fact, there has never been a word of complaint or any sign of reluctance to attend every of her art classes in our nearly 2-year journey at heART Studio.



After deciding and sketching the position, pose and background of the lemur, it was time to add some colour!





It might look easy and straightforward from the pictures, but you have to know that it took a total of three weeks before we got to the final product. Why? Because every dip, every stroke and every blending of colours was carried out by the child. Now, considering how she had to keep changing colours for the lemur, it was an achievement that she made it to the finishing line and didn't give up halfway.


I like seeing the works of other students pasted on the walls because not only do they motivate my girl to keep going, they also remind me of just how much potential lies in every child and how children can often accomplish more than what we imagine.

For a change, Angel surprised us by not choosing a sunset background but instead, she wanted the paint a beautiful blue sky for the lemur.


The last step was to add in the details - including shadows, highlights and the use of oil pastels to draw short lines for the fur. Angel also added in a pink little tongue which made her ring tailed lemur look even more cheeky but endearing.

Just before the class ended, she even took the initiative to add on the sun and clouds, and Teacher Elma was more than happy to let her creativity flow.

Ta-dah! Presenting Angel's final artwork of her ring tailed lemur! Do you like it too? You know, I initially questioned why is that other kids could draw two, or even three, lemurs in one drawing and she only did one. However, it finally dawned on me when I saw her painting. She's the kind of person who is extremely meticulous in her work, and while she might be slower at times, she is very focused in what she has chosen to draw. Therefore, her one and only lemur was the one that stood out from all the rest and I couldn't have been happier to see what she accomplished. Instead of wanting her to be like other kids, as a mum, I'm learning to accept her for who she is.




This will definitely be one of our favourites in Angel's art collection and we are looking forward to more fun learning lessons at heART Studio!

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heART Studio believes in providing quality Arts education for all their students to gain mastery in making art, to nurture their creative potential and to cultivate a community of artists and art lovers of all ages. Its class programmes include age appropriate activities uniquely designed to engage and inspire young artists, aged 3-12, to cultivate their creativity and learn technical art skills. For more information, visit www.heartstudiosg.com.

Disclosure: This is part of a series of reviews between heART Studio and A Happy Mum. Angel attended a term of sponsored art lessons in Little Picasso for the purpose of writing this review. All opinions are our own.

Creativity 521 #58 - Do you wanna build a snowman? {DIY Frozen birthday invitation}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 5.12.14
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So, as you know, Ariel's 2nd birthday party is happening in two weeks' time and it will be a fully sponsored celebration, thanks to KidzFiesta. That also means that for the first time ever, I get to sit back, relax and have a cup of tea while others are doing the decorations, games and party favours.

I have to admit that it feels kind of awesome yet a little weird. Yes, you know me. I just don't like to idle around and it makes me feel guilty if I am not doing anything for my own kid on her special day.

So, in a bid to make myself feel more involved, I requested to KidzFiesta to let me take over the job of designing, creating and sending out the birthday invites to the guests. Yippee! So, in today's Creativity 521, I'm sharing with you our DIY Frozen Birthday Invites!

What we used:

1) Thick blue paper
2) Photo paper
3) Glitter foam
4) Decoration felt
5) Snowflake paper punch
6) Scissors and patterned scissors
7) White paint marker
8) Craft knife and board
9) Long ruler
10) Pencil
11) Double sided tape and sponge double-sided tape
12) Brad pins
13) Blu-Tack
14) Colour printer

Firstly, I designed the body of the invite using Photoshop, including important information like date, time, address and contact number. Once I was satisfied with the final look, I printed out copies along with pictures of the birthday girl and cut them out neatly.

Next, I cut out a piece of blue paper to a desired size, used it as template for the rest and then trimmed the vertical sides with a patterned scissors to jazz things up.

Then comes the most time-consuming but fun part of it all - building a snowman! Yes, I literally did, albeit just a paper one. Using this template, I printed out Olaf and resized him so he could fit nicely in the card. Following that, with my handy craft knife, I cut out the different parts of his body one by one. The "hair" can be quite tricky so be careful with that. Also, as his arms were quite skinny, after some trial and error, I found it better to leave a little white space at the ends so that they became easier to attach to the body.

Time to build! Using the brads pins (I used really tiny ones so that they are not so obvious), assemble Olaf until he becomes a whole. You can use a craft knife to make a small hole or tiny slit so that it is easier to insert the brads.

Split the ends of the pins to hold them in place and make sure they cannot be seen from the front, even when you move the parts. For the arms, I folded one end of the pins inwards to conceal them behind the body.

Using a white paint marker, I coloured the tip of the brad pins white so that they blend in with the snowman.

Make sure the brad pins are secure but not overly tight so that Olaf can move around! See, he can come up with many poses and is as cute as the one in the movie! I put in extra time and effort to make these as I wanted them to be a memento for the guests even when the party is over.

Now, it's time to add the snow! I knew I had this craft punch somewhere lying around and it made making the snowflakes so much easier. Can't imagine having to cut out all these with a craft knife! Anyway, I used the leftover photo paper from printing the invites for this as they are thicker and more sturdy than normal copy paper.

The last part was to put everything together! Just because I felt that we needed to add some glam that comes with the Snow Queen, we stuck strips of glitter foam paper at the top and bottom of the card and added in a deco felt resembling a crown. To make the text and picture have a slight 3-dimensional effect, we used the sponge double-sided paper to put them in place. Finally, we added in the snowflakes and Olaf using Blu-Tack.

We also personalised the invites with the names of the kids and left a message beside Olaf to let them know that he can move and request for them to keep him. I sure hope they do!

Ta-dah! So here are our final Frozen birthday invites! It was really straightforward but fun to make these, how do you think they look?


So, somebody is turning TWO very soon! We are surely looking forward to her big day and can't wait to share more about the party with you!

For more craft ideas and DIY tutorials, visit my gallery here.

If you would like to win a birthday party (worth over S$1,500) hosted by KidzFiesta for your child in 2015, here's how you can take part. Contest ends 20 Dec, so hurry!
 
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To fellow bloggers who have a fun craft session, DIY tip or creative idea to share, come join in the party! Highlight and press Ctrl + C to copy my button above, include it in your post/sidebar and add your link below. I will be hosting Creativity 521 on the 5th and 21st of every month, do hop over for more inspiration. Remember: The sky's the limit when it comes to creativity!

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