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When I think of summer in Australia, I feel the searing heat of the sun on my skin. Salty lips. Beach hair. Lazy days. Backyard BBQs. Prawns.
Yes, prawns. Because I can’t think of a BBQ without hearing the phrase “throw another prawn on the barbie.”
And that, my friends, is how this summer craft came about.
Create some felt prawns, a BBQ out of reused cardboard, make use of some velcro and you’ve got yourself a backyard summer game.
What You Will Need:
For the BBQ
Cardboard (we reused a box)
Craft knife / sharp scissors
Bowl to trace around
Velcro (Hook tape fastener)
Grey / silver spray paint
For the prawns Free prawn printable
Felt in colours of your choice
Thread and needle
Fiberfill / stuffing
How To Make the BBQ:
Raid your crockery cupboard, find a big bowl and trace around it onto cardboard.
Add handles if you wish.
Cut your round BBQ shape out.
If using a craft knife, use a mat and be careful! (Yes, mum.)
Paint your BBQ black and set aside to dry.
My hook fastener came in a roll.
I ran strips from one end of a box to the other end and then spray painted the strips.
Ensure that you spray paint in a well-ventilated area.
Once the paint on the BBQ and the velcro strips has dried, peel the backing away from the velcro strips and stick onto the BBQ.
How To Make the Prawns:
Print and cut out the prawn template. (I used the larger size.)
Place your template on two pieces of felt and cut out your prawn.
I used a simple running stitch to sew the two pieces of felt together.
Before sewing up the whole prawn, be sure to add stuffing.
Look, we don’t judge around here.
If the thought of sewing gives you heebie-jeebies, then use a hot glue or fabric glue to seal the felt together.
Embellish your prawns as you please. I just glued on a googly eye.
I made antennae with pipe cleaners and then pushed the pipe cleaner between a gap in stitching.
Now the fun part. Determining the rules of the game.
Do different zones of the BBQ bring different points?
Do you earn extra points for “flamboyant” prawn-throwing?
Do you have to stand a certain distance from the BBQ?
So many possibilities.
We also made medals for the Grand Throwing-a-Prawn-on-the-Barbie Champion.
We traced around a lid to create the medal.
Using the smaller prawn on the template, we decorated them with paint sticks and collage materials.
Then we glued the prawn onto the BBQs, punched a hole and strung some yarn through.
Through blogging and Instagramming, I’ve been introduced to an amazing Virtual Sisterhood of Creative Ladies.
The Oh Creative Lady series is your chance to meet these incredible, kind-hearted, inspiring <insert ALL the happy, positive adjectives HERE> women.
It is such a pleasure to kick off the 2018 series of Oh Creative Lady with this gorgeous mamma, Karla from Blastastic Day. We met via the old Instagram (I feel like all my stories begin this way.) I was captured by the way this lady so obviously makes the time to creatively connect with her little one. No mean feat when she also works full-time and runs 2 Etsy stores. My love for Karla has been completely affirmed by her admission of loving carbs. I love the way she gently gives us an insight into her life here and shares the advice she gives herself. Introducing Karla from Blastastic Day!
I am… Karla, but you can call me Karlita. I’m a mama, a wife, a friend, an introvert, a twin, a carbohydrateholic, a cat lady, a daydreamer, a designer, a maker and a wannabe art teacher.
I’m lucky to share my life with my favorite people, my husband, best friend and boyfriend for 17 years, Angel, our 4-year-old son, Lennon, and our cats Rita and Maxwell. (We’re big Beatles fans in case you haven’t figured it out by the names of our son and cats!)
I was born in Mexico and moved to the US (against my will!) to attend college in El Paso, TX. I studied graphic design and in my last year at university I got an internship opportunity in Knoxville, TN with Scripps Networks, the parent company to a handful of cable TV channels like HGTV, Food Network & Travel Channel. That opportunity lead me to my current job with the company as a graphic designer… that was almost 10 years ago!
I spend a good part of my day in front of a computer pushing pixels left and right, that at the end of the day all I crave is to do things with my hands. I run two Etsy shops KAANG and KAALEN and this year I’m working on my Blastastic Day Etsy shop. @blastasticday is my Instagram account where I share creative projects I make with Lennon. I’ve always loved to make and create and to share this passion of mine with my son is everything to me. It is my favorite way to bond with him and to keep our creativity going. Starting my separate creative Instagram account has been one of the best things I did last year, it is something that I had been wanting to do for a couple of years and I have gained so much out of it. I have met so many incredibly kind and creative people (like you, Shannon!) through the Instagram community. It inspires me daily to check my feed and see what everyone shares.
I find inspiration… The internet is my main form of inspiration, it’s where my heroes “live.” I get so inspired by people who work hard to follow their dreams. I love reading inspirational books from my internet heroes, my current favorites are: Steal Like an Artist, by Austin Kleon, Things Are What You Make of Them, by Adam J Kurtz and The Crossroads of Should and Must, by Elle Luna.
I also get very inspired by picture books. I love them and can’t get enough of them! It’s hard not to be inspired by the genius books from Hervé Tullet, the beautiful illustrations of Christian Robinson or the brilliant work of Eric Carle.
I am excited about … Tomorrow, the future. There are so many things I want to do that it will take me another lifetime to do it all.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… like to go outside for a walk, nothing beats some fresh air to clear your head. If I’m in front of my computer I like to listen to music or podcasts like Out of Line, Creative Pep Talk and Design Matters. If I have the chance, a trip to Barnes and Noble or Target always help me get inspired. Browsing through books, enjoying beautiful designs and illustrations. The internet is great but being able to touch things and hold them totally beats any screen inspiration.
I’m really proud of… Working hard to overcome my shyness. I have always been a shy person but I had learned little by little to overcome it and it has not been easy. But it has been so fulfilling and it have opened many doors that before I would feel so intimidated to knock upon.
Someone once told me… It’s a quote that I love and I live by about gratitude…
“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Ward
My advice to you is … I don’t like giving advice. But I can share with you the advice I gave myself on my past birthday.
We are huge fans of the Little Mouse books by Riikka Jantti. In fact, just last week, Miss 4 insisted on taking all 3 of the series to preschool for News. The genius of these books lies in the way young readers empathise with Little Mouse discovering the world, whilst parents empathise with the ever-patient but slightly weary, Mummy Mouse. Little Mouse is exploring the boundaries of his world and asserting his independence whenever he can. I recognise so much of the curious and spirited Little Mouse in my own littles. The latest book, Little Mouse’s Christmas, is a delightful glimpse into a Scandinavian Christmas. My children strongly identify with Little Mouse’s impatient wait for Christmas and the temptation of all those Advent windows! It is such a treat to have Little Mouse author, Riikka Jantti, as an Oh Creative Lady.
I am… a 45 years old writer and illustrator. I live in Helsinki with my daughter and my father, so there are three generations in our household. This is very handy, we like the arrangement very much. My daughter goes to pre-school, she is six, and I make childrens’ books. My father mostly plays solitaire.
I find inspiration…
My greatest inspiration, when talking about ’Little Mouse’, is of course my daughter. She is funny, and she challenges me every day by being very strong and self-willed. Most of the stories tell quite accurately about our daily life. Our favourite moment is the reading session in the evening, when I read her the bed-time stories.
I am excited about …
I’m happy to have a job I love, and a few good friends. I like cooking, I often invite my friends to eat. I’m now working on Little Mouse -book number four. It tells about Mouse’s and his mother’s trip to their summer cottage.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… read comic books. Especially Asterix and Lucky Luke (classic comic books made by French and Belgian artists). Just reading the best comic books there are, often gives me the creative spark again. It’s like meeting old friends.
I’m really proud of…
I think my greatest achievement is that my books have been translated in other languages. That little kids around the world are reading them.
Someone once told me…
In high school I had a very good Finnish teacher. She encouraged me to write more, and gave very good feedback. I still hear her voice in my head when I write.
My advice to you is …the world is nicer when you are nice yourself. And us artists, we should make the world a little more beautiful, rather than ugly.
The awesome kids over at Scribble Kids have given me a copy that I’ll be giving away next week over on Instagram. Make sure you pop by to enter!
The images and titles of each book will take you to the Australian based online bookstore Booktopia. As a Booktopia Affiliate, purchases clicked through from my blog result in a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books! Commission is used to maintain Oh Creative Day. For more information, you can read my Disclosure Policy here.
Not Australian? The Amazon links will take you to Amazon. I am also an affiliate with Amazon and will receive a small commission. You do not pay any extra for your books. Thanks for your support. Happy reading!
It has taken me way longer than usual to organise this Oh Creative Lady post from Amanda of barley & birch. Mainly because throughout this interview, Amanda recommends so many interesting and ace things that I became very distracted (Google the Christmas cards of Hilma Berglund! Subscribe to the Making Oprah podcast! Check out Smudge!) Amanda’s suggestions, her words and her insights into her life all confirm something I’ve suspected for awhile now- Amanda is one insanely rad lady.
In the grand scheme of online FanGirl relationships, we haven’t been InstaBuds for that long. But y’know when you come across somebody online and you think “how has this person not been in my life for longer?!” Well, that.
(You may recall we recently celebrated 80s Week together.)
Enough with the gushing. Introducing the very fabulous Amanda.
I am… Amanda Eldridge, hi! I run barley & birch & put together small modern art collections by day, just started teaching creative workshops for kids & families by night, and quietly tinker with various side projects in the background.
Currently, I live in the Midwest with my very large, extremely huggable Golden Retriever, Thor. I love traveling and LOVE (in caps!) moving to new places, so also enjoy living fairly simply. When I picture my perfect life I have a 1988 Jeep Wagoneer, a rehabbed trailer, my dog, art supplies, and a camera – and we just motor from place to place around the US. I’m skeptical this would actually go at all well in real life, but I love daydreaming about it!
I’ve lived in NYC, Chicago, Cleveland and San Diego, and Southern California will always be one of my favorite places – a big part of my spirit is forever a California girl! I love being outside, especially being near (or in!) the water, and take every chance I can to get out and play. I’ve tried my hand at quite a few different professions – reinvention is one of my favorite things! I love experimenting with all different kinds of art mediums and am outrageously jealous of the abilities of good illustrators, but am trying to practice more. I’m a digital and visual tinkerer, I can easily spend a day playing around on my computer editing designs, figuring out some little trick in a program, or moving 2 pieces of paper around to determine how they’re going to look best together.
Laughter is my own best medicine and I love making other people laugh. I’m a movie buff (new and old), a habitual Bette Davis quoter, and armchair singer/dancer during musicals. I’m an extroverted introvert, so love being with people, but need my alone time and privacy on the regular. Revealing anything about myself on social media still feels very, “ohhhh gaaahhhhd”- it’s been a challenge, but I’m slloooowly wading in…!
I find inspiration… Anywhere and everywhere. All the classics: nature, art, books, working with kids. Those are the big ones. Some *extremely* specific things I’ve found inspiration in lately, just for fun: The podcast Making Oprah (and *actual* early ’90’s Oprah) Jim Henson, the Christmas cards of Hilma Berglund (google them!) the artwork I made when I was little, the designs and illustrations of Olle Eksel.
I’ve been really into learning more about creating art materials from nature this year, and I’ve found amazing inspiration in the IG feed of The Toronto Ink Company – the colors, the textures, the layers – don’t even get me started. I also subscribed to some monthly newspapers and zines from small independent presses this year – one called the Smudge has become the highlight of my mail and is absolutely jam-packed with things I pull ideas from.
Another hobby (or…maybe more accurately a hobby I like to daydream about) is film-making and animation. You’re either a Wes Anderson fan or you’re not, and I AM. There are so many scrumptious details in Anderson’s style, aesthetic and process that have given me ideas for kid-related projects or concepts. Instagram is also just an endless fountain of inspiration for me – everyday I find a new person to follow or see something that I HAVE to save.
I am excited about … So many things! In addition to my art work and planning some new things for barley & birch, I’m also teaching some very small family creativity workshops. This is my first time teaching kids, and I’m still slightly terrified before every class, but as soon as we start working on something that melts away, and we’re all just making something together. That’s exciting to me.
I’m also thrilled about the new people I’m meeting through barley & birch! For anyone who works from home, I think the lack of physically-present work peers can be a challenge in that it sometimes feels lonely and isolating. Every time I make a connection through b&b’s social medias I have the sense that I’ve gained another “coworker” and I find myself buoyed by the community (so many of you!) almost every day.
When I’m in a creative slump, I… On a good day, I take my dog for a walk or bike around for awhile. We tend to walk the same routes, and I’ve resisted succumbing to the boredom of it by becoming a stellar observationist. Doing anything over and over and over again is a great way to learn to appreciate the smallest of things! I think it’s also helped my brain to stay on its toes, observe everything, appreciate sensory changes and practice the ability of seeing one thing in a variety of ways. It’s also just refreshing to walk away for a bit!
Of course, those are the good days – on a bad day I pound coffee and lose myself online, or just give up and stream Mad Men for hours at a time.
For what it’s worth, I think days like that have their place too.
I’m really proud of… To say I’m a commitment-phobe is probably an understatement, so when I stay committed to anything for more than 2 hours I am more proud of it than I deserve to be. I have worked really hard to stay committed to barley & birch, finding helpful purpose in what I do and using my imagination every day. All three require the others to function successfully as a whole – that’s been a magic combination for me, so I’m MOST proud I never gave up on finding it.
Someone once told me… One of my favorite books as a kid was Miss Rumphius – if you haven’t read it, the main character is advised to “go to faraway places, live by the sea and do something to make the world more beautiful,” and that’s hands-down some of the best advice I’ve ever heard.
Another important one for me was being told to “sit down and do the work”. As a lifelong serial procrastinator, I’ve spent quite a bit of my adulthood working at “doing the work”. More good advice: listen and observe as often as you do anything else.
My grandma would say we should all lay out in the sun more, and to be completely honest, I think that’s rock-solid wisdom!
My advice to you is … Come at life with as much informed optimism as you can. It’s under-valued, under-appreciated and often the hardest choice. People have a tendency to write it off as silliness, naiveté, or even willing-ignorance, but the truth is that it’s hard work that’s totally worth it and always ten times more productive.
You’ve had minimal sleep. The kids want oats for breakfast, but there are no oats. You try to move through the kitchen but keep tripping over small humans tugging at your pyjama pants.
You feeling me?
This post came about after such a morning. And then some.
The baby would. not. sleep.
As the baby grizzled, the preschooler descended into a 40-minute tantrum about the socks she was wearing; apparently she really, really needed to be wearing the socks her brother was wearing. Meanwhile, her brother had grabbed a carton of milk off the bench. It then ricocheted off the floor, sending milk everywhere.
No use crying over spilt milk, right? Well, there is when it is dripping off the ceiling.
Once I had changed the toddler into dry, milk-free clothes, we attempted to go for a walk (to the shop for milk, because no milk meant no coffee for Mum). Mr Toddler Milk Man then proceeded to tantrum on the driveway because I dared asked him to use his own legs to walk.
I wish I could pretend that such a morning was a freakish, one-off event caused by planetary actions. Unfortunately, that would be a lie.
I have many mornings where it feels as though things and moods are spinning out of control, kind of like a Small Kid Snowball Effect — and then the vicious chatter inside my head starts.
“The day is well and truly falling apart. You may as well give up now. Is it nap time yet? You should have just given her the socks. Why didn’t you try and put the baby to sleep earlier? What was the milk doing so close to the edge of the bench?”
When that chatter starts, I know it’s time for something I like to call a “circuit-breaker.”
Something that can help shift moods, shift my thoughts and help me regain control of my day.
Here are five ways to turn around a Bad Mum Day when it feels as though things are completely falling apart.
1. Shake It Off
Tay-Tay was onto something. Music and cheesy dancing are an instant mood-booster.
When the bad moods are in full Snowball Effect, I put on some tunes, turn the volume up and bust some moves. All those schmaltzy greeting cards are right — sometimes you’ve just got to get your groove on and dance like nobody is watching.
Alternatively, I’m also a big fan of the old Car Karaoke session. After a fraught preschool drop-off last week, I got in the car, turned the radio up and belted out some power ballads. Other drivers may have been slightly alarmed, but I instantly felt better.
2. Get Outside
You can never underestimate the power of a change in scenery. Sure, sometimes it can be an absolute battle getting everybody out of the house (Driveway tantrum, anybody?), yet I’m always thankful for how a bit of fresh air and a hit of sunshine can really turn things around.
3. Embrace the Silly (AKA ‘Fake It Till You Make It’)
When you’re in the thick of a Bad Mum Morning, I know that acting like a goofball may be the last thing you feel like doing, but sometimes having a laugh is just what is needed to break the tension and dispel the bad vibes.
We embrace the silly at ours by talking in funny voices, making up our own language or “running around like maniacs.” (This is a game devised by the preschooler that simply involves running around the living room making loud noises.)
4. Get Creative
You know when you’re in a stressful situation and people advise you to “just breathe”? I mostly want to poke these well-meaning people in the eye with a fork when they advise that. (Not very zen of me at all.)
I’m well aware that connecting to your breath, and just slowing down, can help to centre you. To do this, I find a way to connect with my kids through being creative. It’s often something as simple as all of us sitting down at the table with paper and pencils. As we sit and draw and chat, we reconnect, our breathing slows and we’re ready to move on.
5. Scroll through your photos
Looking back over joyful memories can help to release lots of feel-good hormones into your system. So, even if your child is screaming like a banshee at this very moment, you can at least recall their more angelic, less-banshee moments and know that this will pass.
And if all else fails, I’m a passionate advocate for coffee and cake.
Mary Alice revealed her love of connecting, collaborating and community during an Instagram conversation, and at that moment, I knew she was my kinda creative lady. We’ve also had several hilarious exchanges about this season’s Game of Thrones (and that will always earn you extra points in my books.) Mary Alice is the brains behind Brainy Beginnings Network, a place filled with insanely rad creative ideas. All of her projects have this magical and unique twist to them. It was most excellent to get a peek into the brain of this genius! Introducing Mary Alice!