Making our own Christmas Crackers

Tip Junkie – Tip Me TuesdayIt’s less than a month until Christmas and the countdown is on!! Have you discovered Xmasclock yet? How cool is that – we’ve been watching it for the past couple of years ūüôā

Today we started making our own Christmas Crackers. I wanted them to tie in nicely with our Christmas theme colour of yellow with a touch of red. (My young son chose the yellow as it is his favourite colour…something to do with it being the colour of Pikachu!)

We saved up empty toilet paper rolls, and had some yellow and red crepe paper left over from his birthday party earlier this year. I had some party poppers left over to go in the crackers, and a few Christmas stickers for decoration.

I bought packs of Bon Bon snaps from Spotlight, $1.99 for a pack of 10. Several rolls of ribbon from a discount shop, and we decided that little bottles of bubbles would go nicely inside, they came from a discount shop too.

I did an internet search for printable Christmas jokes, which I printed up to add to the crackers. You can find some links on my Pinterest board  http://www.pinterest.com/fifi234/christmas-2014/

I started by cutting the yellow crepe paper long enough to go round the toilet paper rolls twice, and wide enough to look generous.

The rolls were filled with a Christmas joke, a party popper, small bottle of bubbles, and a bon bon snap. We put a thin line of glue along the length of the TP roll to hold the crepe paper tight as we rolled it around, then put a couple of little dots at the end to hold it closed.

DIY Christmas Crackers

I found it easiest to then tie the ends next, because if your goodies fall out it is a bit tricky getting them back in when wrapped in crepe paper. I used 40cm of ribbon at each end to give a generous looking bow. If you use a different sized ribbon (mine is 15mm wide), then you would need to work out what length looks good for you.

I then cut a narrow strip of red crepe paper to fit around the middle. A couple of dots of glue fixes it in place at the back. On the front we added a cute Christmas sticker.

Don’t forget the very important step of testing the noise-makers. Yep, both the Bon Bon snaps and the party poppers work!

And here they are!

DIY Christmas Crackers - sawitdidit.wordpress

I think they will look great on our Christmas table ūüôā

Have you got any really funny Christmas jokes? We still have more crackers to make, so would like to find some more good ones!

And please share what you¬†like in your Christmas crackers. We decided no-one likes the silly paper¬†hats and plastic crap that you usually get in them. I think the best bit of a cracker is the corny joke ūüėČ

How is your Christmas preparation coming along?

Linking up with:

21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Table and Hearth – Think and Make Thursdays, To Simply Inspire – The Mommy Club, Too Much Time on my Hands – The Handmade Hangout,¬†Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olsen – Share Your Cup,¬†Crafty Wife – Wednesday Roundup,¬†Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesdays,¬†Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays, Wondermom Wannabe – This is How we Roll, The Pin Junkie, Love Bakes Good Cakes – Freedom Friday, A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters,¬†Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, Domestic Superhero – Pinworthy Projects,¬†The Interior Frugalista – DIY Sunday Showcase, The Pinterested Parent – Sunday’s Best,¬†Nifty Thrifty Things, Claire Justine – Creative Mondays,¬†Create With Joy – Inspire me Monday, I Should be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, Thoughts From Alice – Sundays at Home, Pastels and Macarons – The Creative Corner, Julie’s Lifestyle – Cooking and Crafting With J&J, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday, Coombe Mill – Trash 2 Treasure,¬†Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired, Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party,¬†Merry About Town – Monday Funday, Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love it,¬†Our Home Away From Home – Tuesdays at our Home,¬†Cozy Little House – Tweak it Tuesday, Tip Junkie – Tip Me Tuesday, Pastels and Macarons – Turn it up Tuesdays,

Halloween in Sydney, Australia

Halloween. Love it or hate it, it appears it is here to stay. I have a foot in both the loving and the hating camps to be honest. When I was young no-one trick or treated. It was generally viewed as a ridiculous American tradition that had no place here. Of course, with the invention of the internet, it is quite easy to do your research and find that it is not originally an American tradition, but generally reported to have Celtic roots. Interestingly, I read that there are some who believe it is more closely linked to a Catholic ceremony observed on the eve of All Saints’ Day, November 1. I can’t comment on the authenticity of this site, but you can read about that here.

And to put out another thought, there are plenty of people who join in the festivities of St Patrick’s Day, Bastille Day, Chinese New Year (just to name a few) when they are not of those cultures. I accept some of you will think these are completely different types of celebrations, and that is ok too.

I was quite unprepared and taken aback when I first moved to this house to have trick or treaters knock at my door. I was annoyed that I wasn’t really given the choice to participate. Thankfully, some community-minded local resident came up with the¬†idea to deliver leaflets explaining that Halloween was coming up, and if you were happy to be part of it you attached the leaflet to you letterbox. This let the children know that it was ok to knock at your door. What a great idea!

Fast forward a few years, and I have a child of my own. He was absolutely intrigued with the groups of children wandering around all dressed up in a variety of colourful outfits. So we decided to participate and he enjoyed holding out a bowl of treats to the visitors.

And it has to be said that all of these groups of children have parents supervising them, and they (for the most part) have lovely manners.

He started school 3 years ago, so there was the first opportunity to go trick or treating with his group of friends. There were as many adults as children in our group. One mum has an older child as well so knew a few more families in the area. We only visited houses of people who were known to the group, and had decorations up. There are some who say why would you send your child to a stranger’s door¬†begging for lollies on one night of the year, when the rest of the time you would tell them to stay away from strangers. But really, that’s not¬†what is¬†happening here.

So over the last 3 years we have done a little decorating. Each year there is something extra. Certainly not to the extent of some homes, but enough to know that it is Halloween.

Kids are going to be out and about whether you agree with it or not. Putting in a little bit of effort is going to make them happy.

And where do you go for decorating ideas? Surely I don’t need to answer that! Here is my Halloween Pinterest board

I printed out a few signs last year, and this year I decided to have them laminated so they last. You can tell which ones I made up myself ūüėČ

Halloween signs

Last year I loved the idea of a colony of bats which I saw at http://www.countryliving.com/crafts/projects/31-days-of-halloween-bat-filled-front-door.

I printed up a few pages of bats which I found at http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/kidscraftsactivitiesblog/2011/10/how-to-make-a-bats-mobile-for-halloween/.

I decided to laminate these too, and I also printed up some more.

Halloween bats

We have a newly prepared garden bed which is mostly still empty. Yesterday morning as I was putting up some other decorations I thought the bare earth needed something. So I very quickly made up some tombstones. If I had thought about it earlier, they could have been made with much sturdier materials, so I wasn’t quite sure how I could get the thin cardboard to stand up. Especially considering the wind that started up late afternoon! Thankfully the man of the house came up with a solution, and it was finished just in time for the trick or treaters to arrive. Even though they are very amateur-ish, they still attracted a lot of comments, and were even photographed by some visitors!

Halloween graveyard

And just for fun, here are some more of our decorations:

Halloween broomsticks Ding, dong, the witch is dead!Halloween bats 2Those black streamers are made from a couple of large black garbage bags.

As for the costume, well you can read about it here.

Eli Shane costume 2

So around here¬†there really is a great feeling of community spirit, and isn’t that a good thing to teach your children?

If nobody came to my door trick or treating then I would be perfectly happy. But since they do, I don’t mind joining in.¬†If you choose not to join in, then that’s perfectly¬†acceptable too.

To finish, I’ll leave you with¬†a couple of¬†cartoons from the world’s greatest shark cartoonist – although I may be the slightest bit biased since he is my brother! – Shaaark!

halloween shaaark 1 halloween shaaark 2

Linking up with:

Table and Hearth – Think and Make Thursday, To Simply Inspire – The Mommy Linkup, Too Much Time on my Hands – The Handmade Hangout,¬†21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, A Daily Cup of Mrs Olsen – Share Your Cup Thursday, The Princess and Her Cowboys – Wednesday Roundup, Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesday,¬†A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, Love Bakes Good Cakes – Freedom Fridays, The Pin Junkie, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters, Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays,¬†Domestic Superhero – Pinworthy Projects, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, The Pinterested Parent – Sunday’s Best, Natasha in Oz – Sundays Down Under,¬†The Interior Frugalista – DIY Sunday Showcase, Julie’s Lifestyle – Cooking and Crafting with J & J, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday,¬†Claire Justine – Creative Mondays,¬†Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday, I Should be Mopping The Floor – Inspiration Monday,¬†Thoughts From Alice – Sundays at Home, The Foley Fam – Sunday Funday, Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired, Lou Lou Girls Fabulous Party, Merry About Town – Monday Funday,¬†Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love it Tuesday, Our Home Away From Home – Tuesdays at Our Home,¬†Cozy Little House – Tweak it Tuesday

Eli Shane (Slugterra) costume for Halloween

Even though we had decided some weeks ago to be Eli Shane for Halloween, and I had dutifully scoured Pinterest for inspiration, I only started the costume the day before. I was a bit nervous! And perhaps rightly so, since¬†creating the t-shirt¬†took me several hours and a couple of re-dos. But my very happy young son was so impressed when he saw it, and hasn’t taken it off since! You can find my Halloween Pinterest board here. Earlier this year the boys discovered a computer game during free¬†time at school –¬†Slug it Out, based on Slugterra. Shortly after, the show appeared on television. Don’t ask me what time or what station…! Anyway, suffice to say that Eli Shane is the current ‘hero’ of choice. Here he is: Disney-XD-Slugterra To make the t-shirt, I started with the idea from http://toneeprojects.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/eli-shanes-shirt.html. However I didn’t cut up the original black shirt, I just attached appropriate bits of white and orange. I found a couple of old shirts that were due to be used for rags. The black t-shirt I bought specially for this project. It came from KMart and cost $3.

   Eli Shane costume 3

My first thought was to just cut the armpit bit out of the white shirt and sew it onto the matching spot¬†on the black shirt, along with bits of orange. But the angle of the sleeves was completely different¬†and it wouldn’t have been a smooth join. I am no sewing expert, so if there is a simple way to do this I wouldn’t know!

Eli Shane costume 4

This was nearly the time I gave up, but I thought and thought how a basic sewer like myself could come up with a solution. Which I did. I ended up cutting 2 separate pieces of white, one bit for under the arm, the other for down the side.

Eli Shane costume 5

Eli Shane costume 6

I tried using the sewing machine, but it was too fiddly doing the sleeves, so I ended up doing it all by hand. I just tacked it all on, so it is certainly no professional job! As long as it stays together long enough to wear for Book Week next year I’ll be happy. But since it has been worn pretty much non-stop since Thursday night when I finished it I’m not sure about that…

Next up was the slug holders. I found a pack of toothpick containers at the cheap shop for about $3 which did the job nicely. Following the idea from http://lifesprinkledwithglitter.blogspot.com.au/2014/08/diy-slugterra-costume.html I mixed some blue paint with glue and painted the containers. The painter was a little heavy-handed with the paint so they dried with some big drips, but that is ok.

Eli Shane costume 7

He has a large collection of slug drawings, some of which he did himself, some he downloaded (just Google Slugterra colouring pages) and coloured in. You can see the 3 he chose in the top right of the photo above.

I cut a piece of heavy black fabric and the containers were attached with some heavy duty adhesive. I didn’t bother hemming, and it is held together with a safety pin.

For the photo he used an old water pistol, but it wasn’t authentic enough and he couldn’t be convinced to take¬†it with him.

Eli Shane costume 1

What he was convinced of was the need for a slug to be sitting on his shoulder. So he went and got another picture and sticky-taped it on! Also note the slicked back fringe ūüôā

Eli Shane costume 2

You can see he’s a little happier in the second photo without the water pistol and with the extra slug!

Yesterday was very hot, so there was no way he was going to wear long pants and boots. Definitely shorts weather!

Are you a fan of Slugterra?

*UPDATE 29 August 2015*

Today was the Book Week Parade, and so this costume came out again. It had lasted fairly well, it has even been washed!

Since it is Winter here now, the top was teamed with black jeans. Today was thankfully a beautifully sunny day and not too cold, but there are still a couple of layers under the black top. We didn’t bother with long black boots. Or slicking back the fringe.

The only other update to the costume was that we now have a set of slug characters¬†which I bought on eBay at the beginning of the year.¬†So the paper cut outs in the slug holders were replaced with these characters. And of course, Burpy had to be sitting on the shoulder. I left that one up to the wearer to work out, and he was very happy to attach him with a roll of masking tape. You can see the tape quite easily, but he wasn’t worried about that. And if it didn’t bother him, it definitely wasn’t going to bother me!

Eli Shane costume sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Eli Shane costume . sawitdidit.wordpress.com

I wonder what the next costume we’ll have to create will be?

Linking up with:

Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays, A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, The Pin Junkie, Love Bakes Good Cakes – Freedom Fridays,¬†Table and Hearth – Think and Make Thursday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesday,¬†Katherine’s Corner – Thursday Favourite Things, Shoestring Elegance – What to do Weekends, Organised 31 – This is How I Roll, 21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Sincerely Paula, Chic on a Shoestring – Flaunt it Friday, Too Much Time on my Hands – Homemade Hangouts,¬†The Life of Jennifer Dawn – A Little Bird Told Me,¬†The Girl Creative, Life With Lorelei,¬†Natasha in Oz – Sundays Down Under, It’s Overflowing – Share Your Creativity, The Interior Frugalista – DIY Sunday Showcase, Mother 2 Mother, Thoughts From Alice – Sundays at Home, The Foley Fam – Sunday Funday, Julie’s Lifestyle – Cooking and Crafting with J and J