Present and Party Life Hacks and Moneysaving Tips

I’ve been invited by Voucher Codes to take part in their Life Hacks challenge and I’m really excited to share my tips with you!

Why present and party life hacks?

I decided that I’d theme my ideas around presents and parties because I think birthdays are such a special occasion that it’s important we treat our loved ones to the personal touch; it’s one area where we save whilst having fun crafting too.

1) Handmade cards and gifts demonstrate that we want to put the time and energy into showing that we care, and these small touches can often mean more to their recipients than big flouncy gestures!  This is where life hacks and budget busting tips really come into their own as they’re the gifts that keep on giving, both to the person receiving them and also to your purse!

present and party life hacks

2) This past year all of the gifts I’ve given have been prettily wrapped on a budget. I buy huge, huge rolls of brown paper from our post office for £1.20 for a whopping 30 metres and either cut off sheets which I get Joss to decorate or I use my stamp sets to decorate them myself. A favourite life hack is to get a pencil that comes with an eraser on the end and dip the eraser in paint to stamp cute polka dot paper! This means we can tailor the decoration to each person and don’t have loads of rolls of half used paper around the house.

Present and Party Life Hacks

3) This brings me to my next hack, recycling wrapping paper. I’ve blogged about this before but my favourite tip is to use wrapping paper to make pretty envelopes. Look for a simple template online, print and hey presto, you’ve a sweet little envelope to pop that giftcard into, or to house a homemade greetings card!

Present and Party Life Hacks

4) One of my favourite home organising tips is to keep a wipe clean board in the kitchen to jot down bits and bobs you need from the shops as you finish them, this one was just a quid but it’s so handy. Try to get everyone into the habit of writing on there when they notice the washing up liquid is running out or they’ve just used the last scourer and as you’re washing up or cooking you also have a space to make a note of any random ideas that pop into your head, I often jot down ideas for birthday gifts for people whose celebrations are coming up!

Present and Party Life Hacks

5) When I made these recycled milk bottle elephants it struck me that this could make a great kids party theme; you could have enough bottles washed and pre-cut for little ones to decorate, just pop some glue and crafty bits and bobs out for them, and everyone gets their own recycled Nelly to take home!

Present and Party Life Hacks

6) Keeping on the party theme I settled on a winner when I started making our own birthday cakes, my top tip for tasty bakes is to use value jams and preserves for fillings, this gorgeous lemon curd cake was made with a 59p jar of lemon curd and it was so zingy that I’d definitely use a budget buy again!

7)I also made the little flower decorations with bits and bobs from my cardmaking set, decorated with buttons and stuck onto skewers, this was one seriously thrifty cake!

Present and Party Life Hacks

8) Two more tips from the recycling box, this time using old jars, I like to make party lanterns with mine, simply wash them out and decorate with washi tape, then pop a tea light in and enjoy the glow.

9) Or make party sweetie jars by gluing a small plastic character or animal to the lid and spraypaint, filled with sweeties these would make lovely take home gifts!

Present and Party Life Hacks

Present and Party Life Hacks

10) And finally, one of my favourite hacks uses printable transfer paper, this stuff is great and can be picked up for a couple of quid for two sheets.  I used my transfer paper to make affordable personalised gifts like these drawstring toy bags, sometimes I’ll print the recipients name out and iron on the fabric, most recently (pic 5 below) I used a seashell motif with some jazzy striped fabric for a summer seaside feel!

Present and Party Life Hacks

Happy Partying Folks!

Disclaimer: In association with Voucher Codes

Toddler Printable Library in a Box!

If like me you have a child that absolutely adores libraries, stickers, stamps and books then I have the perfect Toddler Printable Library in a box for you!

Joss loves our local library and asks to help stamp the books when we pop in on a Saturday, I wanted to recreate this as a play activity we could do during her quiet time at home.  She’s really into role play so this will make a nice change from playing  ‘shops’ for a while!

I made Joss a little Library Box with bookplates, a date stamp, library cards and stickers and other stamps so that she can play ‘librarian’ at home, and now you can too!

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These Toddler Printable Library cards and labels are free for you to download and print as many times as you like!  Just paste the label onto a shoebox, cut out the cards and bookplates and fill your box with stamps, ink, pens, stickers and hey presto, your little one is a Librarian!

Library label

library cards Printable cards

I’d love to see what you add to your own library boxes, if you print them pop back and let me know how your library play goes!

 

Fabric transfer paper gift ideas

These 5 fabric transfer paper gift ideas were inspired by some great tutorials over at Wolves in London, Sabrina’s blog is a great resource and so I have to start this post by thanking her for introducing me to a great new craft addition! If you’re of the crafty ilk I urge you to check out her tutorials

I have been beavering away with making gifts for a while now, part of my moneysaving plan for birthdays and ahead of this Christmas I have been trying to make as many cards, gifts and wrapping as possible. I sort of hit on a slow period this Summer and decided to look around.  When I saw Sabrina’s lovely fabric transfer projects I had to have a go and made a list of fabric transfer paper gift ideas.  As I was going for a low cost base I picked up transfer paper in Poundland.  Two sheets for a quid made all of these projects plus I have made a further ten tags, five mini cards and countless fabric drawstring bags! Essentially I pasted all the images I wanted to print into a Word document and adjusted the sizes til they fitted on two pages, then I printed them and cut out the images ironing them onto my projects as and when needed.

I sourced my images from a range of places, including by searching for ‘free vintage printables’ on Pinterest.

Here’s my rundown of 5 fabric transfer paper gift ideas

Five fabric transfer paper gift ideas

1 – Vintage sweetheart print gift tag with lace and pearl embellishment

Ironed onto some plain calico and then cut out and layered onto fabric this sweet tag was then embellished with a piece of lace from my stash and some pearl braid which I use for so many projects but picked up from my local fabric store for a bargain 5p a metre in their fantastic sale.  I have since made oodles of these little tags, they make simple presents look really special!

2 – Children’s party favours or travel storage bags

I made this little calico bag in about ten minutes to store Joss’ farm puzzle pieces which kept getting lost.  She loves this simple pig print and I think it would look great on a tea towel too!  These would make cute party bags filled with sweeties or a little colouring book and crayons

3 – Fabric cards

This does what it says on the tin, I have loads of fabric samples and often stitch them freehand onto card but don’t always have complementary Happy Birthday stickers, instead I typed and printed up some Happy Birthday motifs to add to my cards!

4 - An Axolotl’y Fabulous  Tee

Joss’ favourite word is axolotl, for those not in the know an axolotl is a ‘walking fish’ and there is one at our local museum.  Joss loves them, she also loves printed tees but the chances of me ever finding an axolotl tee were pretty slim, now she has one!  I know this won’t be for everyone but it’s made a Mama and her Girl very happy!

5 – Fabric drawstring storage bags for shoes, undies, you name it!

These become an altogether nicer gift for the addition of a little ironed on motif, this beachcomber print is perfect for my seaside loving girl and stores her precious cuddly toys, I made myself one with a print of a pair of special shoes and another to give as a gift with the recipient’s name printed on.

I hope you like these fabric transfer paper gift ideas, if you have a go yourself do let me know what you make!

Toddler pinwheels for picky eaters

Real Life

I’ve been re-blogging this post about how to handle not being able to breastfeed for World Breastfeeding Week 2014 which comes to an end this weekend.

Joss has been a bit off colour lately and consequently has eaten very little. My toddler pinwheels for picky eaters are great for lunches and Joss usually plays with them, then eats a bit. If she is involved in making them and sprinkling the cheese then even better, she’ll be more interested in eating them as she had a hand in making them!

toddler pinwheel fussy eaters

Ingredients

Sheet puff pastry
Grated cheddar
Ham
Tomato puree or two tablespoons of passatta

I cut my puff pastry sheet in two and freeze half, the other half makes eight pinwheels. Unroll the pastry and spread the tomato onto the base, then top with slices of ham and then with grated cheese, my trusty cheese sprinkler Joss likes this bit!

Don’t overfill as the next stage is to roooool the sheet of pastry like a swiss roll, then slice into eight chunks, lay each out on a greaseproof papered baking sheet.

Bake at 180 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes then cool and serve, or store for the next day or two for packed lunches.

Blog life

I had tea with Beth from Betty and the Bumps and Hannah from Mums Days yesterday and they got me thinking about where my blog is going.  I have a new list of questions and some things I am working on, like my blog traffic.  In the short term I have posts coming up on  handling toddler fears and a competition coming up too.

Inspiration

I have been reading some inspiring ideas on writing as posted by Beautiful Misbehaviour and giving some thought to a challenging post I’d like to draft

Mums' Days

– See more at: http://mumsdays.com/#sthash.KOYZpbwP.dpuf

Kiddycharts Blog

My salt scrub recipe for smooth pins!

Hello sunshine, time to get my skin tip top with my salt scrub recipe!

lavender rosemary scrub

Measure out your wet and dry ingredients depending on the size of your storage pot which should have a nice well fitting lid, I use an empty Lush pot but a clean jam jar would do.  To measure pour your salt into the pot you’ll be storing in and leave a centimetre gap at the top for your oils, use roughly five tablespoons of olive or almond oil for every half cup of salt.  To prepare the fresh rosemary and lavender I simply snip the dried flowers and fresh stems with scissors, I used five drops of lavender oil for a 50ml pot.

Mix everything together well and pop into your pot, and away to the shower you go!

lavender rosemary scrub in pot

I make a similar scrub in a gorgeous pink here

scrub

The Fastest Ever Leftover Potato Pancakes

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Ingredients

4 medium sized left over (cooked) potatoes roughly mashed

A splash of milk

1 large egg

5 heaped tablespoons flour

Oil to grease pan

These were a thrown together last week hence the hazy instructions but I’ve made them since and they’re fool proof!

I usually cook extra spuds to make potato salad or top up my work lunches as I am trying to cut down on bread.

I mixed the mashed potato with a beaten egg and added the flour mixing until it looked fairly smooth.  I added milk until the mixture became loose, you want it to be the thickness and consistency of american pancake batter.

I greased the frying pan with a little oil and on a low heat poured all of the mixture out flattening with the back of a spoon until a cm in thickness.  After four minutes it was ready to be flipped over, and another four minutes later I turned it out and let it cool for 30 seconds and cut into wedges to serve with mayo.

A fast and tasty lunch!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com