Crafty Ideas Inspiration

Five for a Tuesday




I’ve never been into football in my life and the closest thing I’ve owned to a football strip is a Celtic shirt that H got for me many moons ago by collecting the ring pulls from coke cans. But he has fond memories of dressing up in football kit to support his teams and his stories must have sparked something in my girls because they both have suddenly got very interested in the England team, and Elma in particular has become obsessed with the idea of having a strip.

Genuine England strip for three small but rapidly growing children is way way way out of our budget, but by pottering around the supermarket looking for school socks I discovered that Sainsburys has stepped into the breach.


The far left shirt is Elma’s, as part of a shirt and shorts set for £11 (the shorts are navy blue with a little England shield on the bottom left leg), the middle is Kitty’s (aged 9!) which doesn’t come as a set but matches some comfy red shorts similar to Elma’s but with white stripes down the side, and Pip’s is the little one, which comes in all sizes up to adult.

Elma’s face when she saw hers was pure open mouthed glee – I don’t think she stopped hopping around the lounge for a full half hour. Alas I was not there to witness the expression of their Scottish grandfather when they all turned up to visit him in England tshirts, but I’m reliably informed that he rapidly asked whether Sainsburys sell Scotland shirts, to which H’s response was “do Scotland still even have a team?”



A little while ago we were sent a review copy of Ocean Tales, by Stuart Lightman. It’s a published on demand little pocket sized story book and in the world where we seem to be being told every other week that real books are struggling (despite my ever groaning bookcases that would argue to the contrary) I love that modern technology is opening up proper hold it in your hand publishing. I’ve got books on my Kindle app and they’re great for always having something to read on the commute, but I could never do away with the pleasure of sitting down with a nice solid paperback; an app can never quite recreate that new book smell.


And speaking of stories – I discovered Sparkle Stories when casting about the Internet for audiobooks for the children. They are American so some of the pronunciation is obviously different but they are lovely gentle stories, especially the bedtime stories which have proved perfect for the times when light evenings make it hard for little eyes to get to sleep. We’ve got a subscription but they recently released a series of podcasts which are equally lovely and a great introduction to their repertoire.


I am trying really really hard not to join in with the Modern Quilters Ireland Rainbow Rose Quilt Along. Really hard. It’s a beautiful pattern and I’ve always wanted to make a single block quilt, and I keep telling myself that I’m already doing the Sugarblock Club, and I haven’t finished the Fishing Net quilt yet (I am quilting it in the evenings at the moment so there is some progress), and I’ve got the bits and bobs I need for the next quilt I’m planning and …..

I should just go and start pulling a fabric selection now shouldn’t I. Anyone want to join me?


This article from the Artful Parent on the perils of colouring books really got me thinking. I can see where it’s coming from; if you are always just colouring in you’re never drawing, you’re never being fully creative, and I would hate it if either of my girls stopped drawing and only did colouring. I can see how a culture of perfectionism could creep in and the concerns that come with it.

But I also know that firstly, colouring doesn’t entirely lack creativity – you still have to decide which colour to use and how to match and blend them – and secondly, it isn’t always a bad thing to let your brain have a little rest.

Kitty does most of her colouring when she gets home from school; it lets her focus on using her hands, on the pretty colours in her crayon box, and on the swirls and loops of the picture in front of her (she’s currently working her way through Lost Ocean), and it calms her and settles her. That she is so tired at the end of a school day that she needs this is perhaps a topic for a different blog post.

I think that there is a place for colouring books, as much as for drawing and painting and sticky glitter and everything else crafty, as long as we know what we’re expecting from them. Colouring in time is not when my children most stretch their creative muscles, it’s a soothing down time to play with pretty colours while someone else has done half the work for you. What do you think?

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  • Doris 07/06/2016 at 12:11 pm

    I think that what you say about colouring books is very valid. From my teenage years to now at 42, I grab something to colour when I’m too tired to have had too much input to be able to make the shape and form as well as the colour. And colouring books provide me with the chance to work with colours without having to shape anything. Pure bliss.

    And I’m glad that there are so many options these days: twenty five years ago I had to prowl the bakers and other shops for the colouring sheets that they would give out around easter and Christmas. And there is a limit to the amount of easter bunnies that I’m prepared to colour in my lifetime …

    • Carie 07/06/2016 at 9:35 pm

      It is lovely to see so many option isn’t it – we buy ‘adult’ colouring books for the children because the pictures are so much nicer and much less branded too!

  • Louise | Squished Blueberries 07/06/2016 at 8:17 pm

    Sparkle stories sounds great, I’m just downloading the first podcast. I always used to have a story tape on to listen to while I was falling asleep when I was little and I’m hoping that my girls will like to do the same (and maybe one day let me leave the room before they are asleep).

    • Carie 07/06/2016 at 9:32 pm

      they might be a good fit – as I said, they’re nice and soothing readers!

  • Anna 07/06/2016 at 10:57 pm

    I agree about colouring books to wind down with. My girls colour in their “adult” colouring in books when they wake up, so they come into the day slowly and also when I read the bedtime story before going to sleep. It really relaxes them and I think it’s creative too, choosing what colour for what effect. They still draw loads, so I don’t think it puts them off. We tried to listen to Sparkle stories once as I heard what lovely stories they were, but my girls found the accent too strong somehow, even though many of the films we have are American! Enjoy.

    • Carie 08/06/2016 at 11:27 pm

      It is quite a strong accent, we found it took a little getting used to but the stories won out for my girls!!

  • Mandycharlie 08/06/2016 at 6:32 am

    Love the quilt, I just don’t have that many rainbow colours, but I think you probably have.

    • Carie 08/06/2016 at 11:28 pm

      It’s just possible – I need to have a little stash dive!

  • claire 08/06/2016 at 7:44 am

    I agree on the colouring books. I use colouring books with my daughter as well as giving her plain paper. I think there is a place for both. I love children’s books. I could never stop buying physical books for children. This one sounds lovely.

    • Carie 08/06/2016 at 11:28 pm

      Oh me neither – particularly children’s books, they really need to be in the flesh for the full effect!

  • Alina 08/06/2016 at 2:04 pm

    Oh, coloring books were my favorite thing in the world as a child… So many memories…

    • Carie 08/06/2016 at 11:29 pm

      I remember having one of Turkish Mandalas that I absolutely loved – so much fun!

  • Lee Cockrum 10/06/2016 at 9:20 pm

    Until I read the article that you linked to, and the comments on it, I never knew coloring books was such a hot button subject!! I think they are totally fine as one option among many. I enjoy them now, and enjoyed as a child, and it didn’t stunt my creativity!!

  • Zena 11/06/2016 at 9:11 am

    Before kids over a decade a go, hubby and I traveled to England from Australia. We went to see Southhampton play at St Mary’s Stadium and stayed with friends near White Parish. Our friends sent us the teams top and shorts when we had our first. Hubby was pleased. I read that post at Artful parenting and I agree with her but only for toddlers. It’s best not to teach toddlers to colour in the lines and just enjoy their creations on white blank paper. From 5 up I think good colouring books are fantastic for kids any time of the day especially as an alternative to watching tv or playing games. I don’t think colouring books stop children from developing their drawing skills; it’s just another creative outlet. Colouring in helps develop colour skills.

  • Claire @ Clarina's Contemplations 13/06/2016 at 11:38 pm

    Fascinated by the colouring debate… I hadn’t realised people were anti!! My girls LOVE colouring in! They do a fair bit of drawing too though, and I think as long as both skills are being used, we shouldn’t worry too much! Love the football kits… Our kids would love them too!

  • sally 05/07/2016 at 11:21 am

    That rainbow quilt along is definitely beautiful, and I too have a weakness for single block quilts, but ha, I’m already feeling like I need about 10 more hours in every day! My girls do enjoy colouring books too, and I do agree there’s a place for them, I think it’s good if they don’t replace other crafts/creativity, and also I think maybe it’s good if they’re not introduced to children at a really early age.