Our Monthly Journal

April 2024

We're so excited to share another monthly journal written by the lovely Lola Jones, also known as @pocketfullofbuttercups on Instagram. Lola is a wonderful photographer and all round creator of beautiful content, raising her twin daughters Maya and Chloe & her youngest Thea from her house near the Peak District. Each month she will give us a small glimpse into her world, inspiring you with activity ideas, recipes and more.

I am writing from a cosy sofa today, warm cup of coffee nearby. I can hear my girls playing upstairs. Today we have nowhere to be and it is truly the nicest feeling. The past few weeks have been busy with various projects, parents meetings and other commitments and I am so glad we can finally slow down a little.

Despite the decent break from school, we aren’t going away anywhere and so I have planned some crafts and activities to keep my girls occupied at home.

I hope you find some inspiration in this month’s issue.

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CREATIVE WALL HANGING DIY

I love just how versatile this craft can be, there are endless themes that can be created and lots of different tools and materials used.

The basics are a quirky piece of wood (branch, twig or driftwood) and some wire. And you can build on from there. Creating a spring scene (bird on a twig, flowers, butterflies etc.) or a night scene (moon, clouds, stars) or whatever else comes to mind really. You may be able to find most of the materials at home without buying anything.

To make similar designs to mine you will need:

- Florist wire
- Scissors
- Fabric scraps or ribbon
- Small quirky twig or piece of driftwood
- Air drying clay
- Fine sandpaper
- Small cookie cutters
- Watercolour paints and brush
- Craft glue
- Glitter
- Hot glue and gun
- Inside tube from a toilet roll (for the bird)

Start by selecting the piece of driftwood or twig you are going to use. Next, measure out the wire to sit above it. The wire needs to be thin enough and flexible, but at the same time not too thin, so when hung, it holds its shape. For my creations, I measured the length of the wire I needed and then wrapped another piece of wire tightly around it. I feel that this helped to strengthen it and also create a nice base for the fabric (that I wrapped around it) to cling on to.

Wrap a ribbon or a long thin piece of fabric around your wire or leave it unadorned if you wish.

Depending on how thick your twig is, you can either wrap the wire around it or feed it through the wood. My pieces of driftwood were quite light and soft, so I used a thick needle to make two holes at either end of the wood and fed the wire through them. To secure them in place, make a small knot and if you want to secure it further, add a little hot glue.If your twig is quite slim, you can wrap your wire around both ends instead of feeding it through.

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The next part is the fun one. Think of the themes that can be created beforehand and look around for tools and materials you might have at home. It’ll help with ideas and colour schemes. You can use air drying clay, cardboard, paper, random buttons, yarn, wire, felt or any other fabric scraps and lots more.

One of my hangings features clay flowers that I painted with watercolour, clay leaves, a clay butterfly with wire antennas and a stem with a leaf, which I made using the same wire that I usedfor my half-moon shape sitting on top of the driftwood. I glued a small artificial flower to the wire stem. Clay here can easily be replaced with a card or fabric.

The second hanging that I created features a bird I made using the middle bit of a toilet roll (you can find a simple tutorial of how to make one online), a couple of artificial, shop-bought flowers and a larger flower I made using wire. To make the wire flower, I started by twisting the end of the wire into a small ball (centre of the flower) and then, without cutting the wire, I continued to make the petals going outwards from the centre and then coming back to it after making each of the petals, wrapping my wire around the centre each time to secure the petals in place.

My final version is a night-time scene with a clay cloud, as well as a clay moon and stars that I painted with glue and covered in glitter.

Keep an eye out for a reel of one of the hangings, where I show the process of making them.

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CUSTARD YOGURT TOAST

Have you tried this yet? I am always on the lookout for new and fun recipes and this was just the ticket. This recipe makes 2-3 toasts.

Ingredients:

- Brioche loaf
- 1 free-range egg
- 3 tbsp plain yoghurt
- 3tsp runny honey or maple syrup
- Berries of your choice

Method:

Heat the oven to 180C. Cut brioche into slices. Using the back of a spoon, flatten down the centre of each slice leaving a border around the edge.In a bowl, beat together the egg, yoghurt and 2 teaspoons of honey or maple syrup. Spoon the custard into the centre of each brioche slice and arrange the berries on top.Place the toast onto the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until the custard is set and the toast is looking nice and golden. Drizzle over the remaining honey or syrup and enjoy while still warm.

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3D SPRING PAPER CRAFT

This is another little project that is quick and easy to create with the supplies you are likely to have at home.

You will need:

- A piece of card or cardboard
- Old book pages (optional)
- Brown paper (packaging paper will do too)
- Acrylic paints
- Craft and/or hot glue
- PencilScissors

Start by tearing old book pages into strips (they do not have to be straight, roughly torn is acceptable). Cover the card or cardboard you are using as the base in glue and arrange the strips of book pages so that they cover the card completely. This step is not necessary, but I think that it brings a little something to the finished art and the writing makes the background more interesting. Once the glue is dry, paint the whole background with some acrylic paint.Next, tear strips of brown paper and twist them into flower stems, tear more strips, twist them just like you did with stems, but then twirl them into circles - they will be the flower heads. The thicker and longer the paper strips, the bigger your flower heads will be. Secure the flower heads with some hot glue and paint in the colours of your choice. Once the paint is dry, start assembling your art.

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