Tuesday, 24 December 2013

'kaetoo' Canvas Photo Boards - 2013

On my last Blog post for 2013, I'm wrapping up all that's happened to 'kaetoo' Canvas Photo Boards this year and let you know what's going to be happening in 2014.

2013 has been a lovely year for 'kaetoo'. Both the Madeit and Etsy stores turned two this year and happily continued selling notice boards, display boards and wall art all around Australia, but also to the United States and Scotland.

I expanded the range this year, to include more wedding and adult canvases, as well as some nerdy science notice boards on top of the children's range. There were quite a few beautiful custom orders in the mix with the ready-made notice boards and I loved making each and every one of them. The best bit? Receiving some photos of canvases-in-action from happy customers!

 2013 was a big year for 'kaetoo' getting active on social media and the online handmade community. 'kaetoo' Canvas Photo Boards now Blogs, Facebooks and Pins (if you're not already following me on these forums, come on over and follow along). If you're already a fan of my Facebook page, you would have seen that 'kaetoo' canvases were featured in numerous Etsy treasuries and Madeit picks, and on the Madeit Facebook, and appeared no less than three times on the front page of Madeit. 'kaetoo' notice boards also popped up on several shopping guides, including EtsyKids, Handmade Cooperative and Mozzie & Mac. I was a Pick Editor and even did some interviews over at Cassie Jene and Creative Wishes and a guest post at EtsyKids. Socialising is fun.

So, what next? Well, to start off the New Year, I'm taking maternity leave. This will be the last Blog post until February 2014 and I will be fairly quiet on Facebook and Pinterst as well. The 'kaetoo' Canvas Photo Boards Madeit and Etsy stores will remain open throughout January (Boxing Day Sale?), but are no longer accepting custom orders and there may be some delays in shipping.

Then the plan is that in February 'kaetoo' will be back with a new range of notice boards, display boards, wall art and pegs, and maybe even a collaboration... Talk to you then!

Best wishes for a beautiful New Year.
- Kate

Monday, 23 December 2013

Toddlers and Preschoolers - 2013

The 'kaetoo' Canvas Photo Boards Blog has a collection of posts about my creations for my Madeit and Etsy craft stores and about goings on in the online handmade community. But the majority of this Blog talks about my inspirations and activities, including the renovations to our home, recipes and the activities that I get up to with two little girls, who are currently three years old and two-and-a-half years old.

Here are the 'kaetoo' top 10 most popular toddler and preschooler Blog posts for 2013. Read through the activities that you missed and refresh your mind on what we got up to this year.

1 - Teaching kids to deal with missing their family and explaining absence
2 - Taking over the living room and making a cubby house
3 - Practising colours and matching with a colour sort mail box
4 - Distracting children when combating fears with food
5 - Getting crafty making playdough monsters
6 - Spending time with each other doing fun activities, including painting together
7 - Feeding the local wildlife by making bird feeders
8 - Finding things to do with 102 cookie cutters
9 - Rescuing escaped pets in the neighbourhood, including a rabbit
10 - Getting ready for the Christmas season with Operation Christmas Child

Read all of the toddler art, cooking and play and the preschooler art, cooking and play activities.

Friday, 20 December 2013

Materials and Techniques - 2013

Since August this year, I have run a fortnightly interview with another crafter in the Madeit/Etsy community. These interviews have focussed on the different materials and techniques that each artist uses, as well as the troubles that they can run into in their craft.

Below are the top 10 most popular materials and techniques Blog interviews for 2013. Refresh your mind about the different skills, visit the online stores, and catch up on an interview that you missed.

1 - Upcycled jewellery at Flights of Fancy
2 - Digital art at Dee Dub Designs
3 - Knitting and sewing at Merrilyn Anne Knits and Gifts
4 - Textile art at Bekahdu Handmade
5 - Painting of porcelain and bone china at The China Hutch
6 - Handstamped card making at Jessidee86 Handmade Cards
7 - Metal work jewellery at Little Waves 
8 - Wood cutting at Quirky Designs for Kids
9 - Sewing and millinery at All That Jazz
10 - Laser cut wood at Imogen's Angels

All images from the talented artists listed above.

Catch up on the whole materials and techniques series. If you would like to get involved and share your skill set in 2014, please let me know.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Toddler Play - At The Park

As much as I love arts and crafts, getting outside with children is a fantastic way to burn up their energy and get some fresh air and sunlight. These days, we have a sandpit and trampoline for home-based outside play, but we still go to the park every day (weather permitting) to have a run around. Last year, I shared with you a selection of our park trips for 2012. Here are some of our 2013 visits.

12 months of parks in Melbourne...

January - Fulton Reserve

February - Orchard Grove Reserve

March - Blackburn Lake

April - Branksome Grove

May - Beckett Park

June - Wattle Park

July - Furness Park

August - Aranga Rserve

September - Queens Park

October - Marie Wallace Park

November - Holland Road

December - Orchard Grove Reserve

Fun things to do with little children? Read the previous toddler art, cooking and play and preschooler art, cooking and play posts.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Canvas In Action

I love it when customers share with me their canvases in use. Last week I received an email from a customer who in July purchased a seating plan display board for her beach themed wedding. She had attached photos of her canvas in action.

Here is how the canvas looked the last time I saw it:

And how it looked as a gorgeous seating plan on the big day:

And now how it looks in their home displaying photos now:

Awh! I'm glad that it's brought them joy.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Toddler Play - Card Games

Darren loves board and card games and I think that one of the best things about having children for him is the increased pool of people to play with. Unfortunately, small children do not make the best partners for most of these kinds of games, but there are some simple games that a child approaching three years old can grasp.

In our house, we play a lot of Snap. We have a couple of children's card decks with big, bright pictures (one is aliens and one is colours) and Misses 2.5 and 3 adore playing. It's a good way for them to learn to match pairs, to name colours (depending on the deck) and some healthy competition. Snap is very simple and you can modify the rules to make it even easier for small children.

Simple Snap Rules For Little Kids

Deal the cards as evenly as possible to all of the players - it's fine for some players to have one card more than other players. Each player places their cards face-down. On your turn, turn over the top card and put it in the middle of the table, face-up. The next person puts a face-up card on yours and so on around the table. When someone turns over a card with the same pictures as the top card in the centre of the table, the players race to be the first to call "Snap!". For little ones, the player who put down the "snap" card wins the pile and adds it to the bottom of their face down pile. Play continues until one player has all of the cards - this player wins the game.

We have also started playing Dominoes, again with brightly coloured pictures. Dominoes is another great matching game, which can also incorporate counting depending on your tiles. Dominoes is a little harder than Snap and requires a little help for small children.

Simple Dominoes Rules For Little Kids

Shuffle the tiles face-down and each player then draws five tiles that are placed face-up on the table for little ones. The remainder are face-down in a pool. On your turn, lay down a tile onto one open end of the Domino layout with the same picture adjacent to the same picture. If you have a double, it is placed inline to the end. If you cannot play a Domino, you must draw tiles from the pool until you are able to play (or the pool is empty). The winner is the first to have no tiles left, or who has the least number of tiles if no one can place a tile.

What other games do you play with small children? I'm thinking of starting the girls on Memory next...

Lots of other fun things to do with small children, including toddler art, cooking and play and preschooler art, cooking and play.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Materials and Techniques - 'Imogen's Angels'

The exiting thing about the handmade craft world is that there are so many different artists creating so many different pieces using so many different skills. Every fortnight I chat to a different creator about the materials and techniques that they use in their work. Today I am talking to Fiona from Imogen's Angels. Fiona is based in Perth, Western Australia and is a fellow member of the Handmade Cooperative.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Fiona and I create over at Imogen’s Angels. Imogen’s Angels began in 2011, with our handmade personalised Christmas ornaments. It has since grown into a labour of creative love in memory of my daughter Imogen. On the Imogen’s Angels blog, I share kid’s craft activities and tutorials. This year Imogen’s Angels expanded with the introduction of a laser cutter machine, which allows to me to cut or engrave a wide variety of mediums including wood, acrylic and metals. I not only use the laser cutter to reproduce my ideas, but provide the option of custom work for other handmaidens and corporate businesses. My goal for Imogen’s Angels is to provide a creative online location to celebrate creative craft and to be able to use my laser cutter to enable myself and other businesses a venue to bring their ideas to reality.

What materials and techniques do you like to use?

Over the years I have worked with a multiple range of mediums, though I’ll never forget the excitement I had when I first went along to the demo of what a laser cutter could produce. I love that you can digitally draw your own designs and then produce an actual tangible item to share. My favourite material to process through the laser cutter is a bamboo veneered plywood as I simply love the different natural markings in the veneer that show through.

What challenges have you faced in the creative process?

I think the biggest problem has been trying to find my own niche. I believe it’s important to set your business up to be a business with a difference. A difference that the local and wider community need and are interested in. It is also important to remember that a small business never stops growing and changing, I go to bed every night with a million new ideas and awake with a million more, it’s all about filtering those ideas into something that will make your business stand out amongst the others.

What drives you to create? 

My creating began purely from a place of grief; I needed something to help fill the huge void after the loss of my daughter. My Imogen loved to be creative and now I create to stay connected to her.

What is coming up next?

We are once again producing a new style personalised Christmas ornament, working on shop stock and custom orders and looking to begin creative art classes for kids and adults in Perth in early 2014.

All images have been provided by Fiona of Imogen's Angels.

Catch up on the whole materials and techniques series, or leave me a message if you would like to let us know about the skills that you use to make your creations.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Preschooler Art - Reindeer Christmas Cards

I saw Meredith of Dee Dub Designs blogging over at bespoke about the reindeer Christmas cards that she made with her baby and though that they would be fun, if not messy, to adapt to preschoolers. So one day we spread newspaper on the kitchen floor and put some brown paint on a ice cream container lid and the girls make some footprints on pieces of coloured paper.

Apparently there is little that is more fun than being allowed to stand in paint and then walk it around the house. Have a little water in the bathtub ready for washing feet.

After the prints had dried, we cut them out of the paper.

Next we set up on the table with googly eyes, pompoms, pipe cleaners, glue and tape. The girls stuck eyes and noses onto the footprints with the glue.

Then Misses 2.5 and 3 taped the pipecleaners onto card and glued on the footprints.

The result? Some very cute, DIY reindeer Christmas cards!

Have a look over the 'kaetoo' Blog for more activities for kids, including toddler art, cooking and play and preschooler art, cooking and play.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013