Homemade Raw Bars

After giving up refined sugar I got hooked on these things.  They are an absolutely delicious, feel-good treat (Pulsin is on the ethical chocolate list) which is almost guilt-free.  Almost.  Unfortunately they’re wrapped in plastic.  So, to avoid that, I decided to make my own – and they are equally yummy, if I do say so myself 😀

I ordered my supplies from the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful new company from whom you can order all sorts of healthy staples without plastic wrapping.  The following is my first attempt and it made a lot of bars.  In future I’ll halve these measurements 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Almost 3 mugs full (500g) of organic pitted dates
  • About 2 mugs full (about 350g) of organic cashews
  • About 1 mug full of organic raisins
  • About half a mug full of organic cocoa powder (to be truly raw, substitute raw cacao)
  • About a mug full of organic cacao nibs
  • Some organic oats (to be truly raw, omit these)

First soak the dates and the cashews in water (separately) in the fridge for a couple of hours to soften.  Afterwards, drain and rinse the cashews in a colander.

I don’t have a food processor (I used to have one but it broke and I refuse to buy another one which will also break at some point and add more plastic to landfill) so I used my beloved manual juicer to process these ingredients.  This is a simple, hand-crank machine made of stainless steel which I believe will last me a life time.  I highly recommend it 😀 (BL-30 Manual Stainless Steel Wheat Grass and Vegetable Juicer)

  1.  Process the softened dates into mush and put them in a large mixing bowl.2.  Process the softened cashews into mush and add them to the bowl with the dates.3.  Mix the stiff mixture of dates and cashews until thoroughly combined.4.  Process the raisins into mush and mix them into the mixture.5.  Add the cocoa and the cacao nibs and mix until everything is fully combined into a lovely chocolatey mixture.6.  If you don’t want to add the oats, you’re finished so you can spread the mixture into a tin or onto a plate or container.  It is delicious now but you won’t be able to pick it up with your fingers to eat it, like a shop-bought bar.  You’ll need a plate and a fork coz it’s mushy.  So, I added a few oats to stiffen it up.  Just add a few at a time and mix them in until you’ve got the consistency you want.7.  When the mixture is the right consistency, spread it onto a lined cookie sheet (I lined it with eco-friendly grease proof paper from If You Care)  Flatten it with  the back of  a wet spoon.8.  Then cut it into bars and chill in the fridge.  Easy 😀 Yum 😀

 

Getting ready for the Christmas Bazaar

For the story so far click here 🙂

Friday 29 November

In history we studied more about Boudicca and her battles with the Romans.  She sounds brilliant.  I like that she had long red hair.

This afternoon we made treats for the Christmas bazaar! I made chocolate hazelnuts and fudge, while Jude made chocolate oaty treats and peppermint fondants.  Fondant is great because you can do anything with it.  You can dip it in chocolate or stick leaves to it, or make it shaped like mice, or turn it pink with beetroot juice.  The fudge was so nice I wanted to eat it all.

I am really looking forward to the bazaar because it’s so much fun. There is always a raffle and a bric-a-brac stall and a stall where you can buy knitted tree decorations and a games stall and a lucky dip where you close your eyes and pick a prize.

They also have a mystery jars stall which has lots of glass jars wrapped in Christmas paper and you pay fifty pence to buy a jar without knowing what’s in it!  Sometimes the jar will have cotton wool in it, or sweets or toys or buttons or jam or anything.  Once I got a jar full of mint imperials, which I wasn’t too keen on at first, but after I ate some I really started to like them. They also sometimes have a game where you have to name a teddy bear, which is how Jude won those bears we drew in art.

Find out what Jude and her sister got up to in December – Chapter 3 coming soon 🙂

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vegan, vegetarian, home-school, education, learning, children, reading, books, literature, veggie kids, vegan children, vegan family, home-education, Christmas Bazaar, home-made

Make your own Reflecto Girl doll

Reflecto Girl doll

Here’s how:

First, find a pattern.  I used this one but there are plenty of others to choose from, including lots of free ones you can download.  So, I won’t give you pattern details, you can just download whichever pattern you fancy and then make her look like Reflecto Girl.  If you don’t know how to knit you can learn

Or, if you don’t want to do that, you can make a rag doll instead 🙂

Anyway, this is what I did:

2

As per the pattern, first I knitted the legs.  I used DK  (Double Knitting thickness) acrylic yarn from the bag of oddments in the attic – no need to buy anything new, and if you don’t happen to have lilac, I know Renée wouldn’t mind her outfit being a different colour.

3

Then I pinned and sewed the back of leg and top of foot seams

4

and stuffed them with cut up bits of an old cotton T-shirt (no need to buy stuffing – recycle all the way!)

5

Then I knitted the body.  I thought Renée would like a pretty cream vest with a pink decorative stripe close to the bottom edge.

6

I sewed it, stuffed it and attached it to the legs.

7

Then I made and attached her head,

8

followed by her arms.

9

Then it was time to do her hair, which I was very much looking forward to.  I started with the fringe by  just sewing some gorgeous orange yarn into her head making sort of loops between the top of her head and her face, just above where her eyebrows would be.

10

Making her gorgeous long locks was quite time consuming but worth it.  I sewed the yarn into the back of her head, alternating between a small stitch to hold the yarn in place and then a long loop which reached down her back.  Then another small stitch, then another long loop.  The stitches began at the top of  her head and gradually covered the top three quarters of it so that she wouldn’t have any bald patches.  When her scalp was covered I cut the loops so that she had thick, long hair.

11

Then I sewed on some eyes and ….

12

… some lips.  I’m not a neat sew-er but that doesn’t matter, just have fun with it 🙂

13

Then I made her top (included in the pattern) and embroidered – if you can call it that 😉 – the Reflecto Girl logo on the front 🙂

14

And then of course she needed a mask!  This is not included in the pattern so you’ll just have to make it up – you can do it!  What I did, if you’re interested, is

  • cast on 70 stitches, using size 10 needles (3.25mm needles);
  • first row: back stitch;
  • second row: Purl 29 stitches, cast off 4, P2, cast off 4, P 31
  • third row: Knit 31 stitches, cast on 4, K2, cast on 4, K29
  • Cast off purlwise

 Then I sewed in the ends of yarn and tidied up the eye holes with a couple of stitches sewn with the same yarn so they’re invisible 🙂

15

Yes, ok, I know it looks like a giant sleep mask, but if you look carefully you can see her little eyes through the holes.  Come on, use your imagination 😉

And that’s not all –

16

she had to have her red Wonder Woman bag!  Accessories are the best!

17

For this I cast on ….. oh, you know what, I can’t remember how many stitches or rows I did – basically you need it to be about this big against the doll.  Knit a simple rectangle that can be folded and sewn into a bag this size.  I attached a press stud so that it can be fastened.

18

Her bag has a picture of Wonder Woman’s face in a circle on the front – remember?  Luckily I had a scrap of fabric with circles on, just the right size.

19

So I drew Wonder Woman’s face in the circle, cut it out and sewed it to the front of the bag 🙂

Oh, and I knitted a long handle to make it a shoulder bag.  Three stitches, size 10 needles, stocking stitch (ie 1 row knit, 1 row purl) until it’s long enough for the doll to wear over her shoulder like so:

20

Now, Reflecto Girl wouldn’t be Reflecto Girl without her …

21

Dounto!  So I made one.  It needed to be just the right size to fit in her bag 🙂

22

The card I used was quite thin so I cut out two to stick together and make the ‘mirror’ stronger.

23

On one side I drew round a smaller circle to make the mirror glass.

24

25

Then I added the Celtic-ish symbols and letters …

26

… and coloured it in 🙂

27

28

All done!  Reflecto Girl has everything she needs to get the job done!

29

Let’s play!

30

31

32

33

34

Why don’t you make yourself a Reflecto Girl doll?  There’s lots of fun to be had.

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Now, I need to make a Distracto Boy, and a Venus Aqueous, and a Megan and a Flos , oh, and an English Family Anderson! – it’s a good job I’ve got a big bag of yarn oddments 😀 It’s going to be a busy weekend 😉

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crafts, home made, knitting, toys, action figures, vegan, veggie kids, vegan superhero, things to make and do

The Cake!

… when the buzzer went off he put on his oven gloves and carefully removed the cake from the hot oven.  He took it out of the tin and put it on a wire rack to cool.

vegan children's story

When it was cool, Cedro sliced it in half and spread jam in the middle to make a big jam sandwich cake.

vegan children's story

Next, Cedro weighed out 4 ounces of icing sugar and sieved it into a bowl.  To that he added about 3 teaspoons of water and 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence and stirred until the icing was thick and smooth.

vegan children's story

He spread the icing on the cake.

vegan children's story

Then he decorated it beautifully with deliciously sweet organic raisins.

vegan children's story

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continues tomorrow 🙂

but if you don’t want to wait you can read the whole story now 😀

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vegan story, vegan children’s story, vegan children’s book, vegan picture book

Knit your own Father Christmas

A bonus of Miranda working at Raystede animal sanctuary‘s charity shop is that she comes across lots of useful things like old knitting patterns and left over yarn that people have donated, which she can then buy and make use of.  And now you can make use of this one too 🙂

img616

img617

And I know you might be thinking it’s a bit late in the day to start making this – the day before Christmas! – but it’s only a couple of hours’ work Miranda says, so, if you want to do something with your hands while relaxing in front of that Christmas movie, this is it! 🙂

Now, bear in mind that Miranda is very much her own person, who isn’t one for following patterns too closely, so it’s no surprise that her Father Christmas doesn’t exactly look like the picture on the pattern.  But he is very cute just the same:

right turn

smile

there he is look

Oh, and just in case you don’t know how to knit yet – these videos (for left and right handed) will solve that problem 😉

A Good Book and some Upcycling

Unqualified Education

When we began our home schooling adventure all those years ago we were very lucky to find this wonderful book.  Unqualified Education is full of inspiring ideas and information, advice and encouragement.  It is an absolute joy and still a great resource after the children have grown up.

contents

We decided to home school when my eldest daughter was just 12 and my youngest was 9.  It was not because they were bullied or anything, and they were not struggling with any of the work.  It was just that life is short, and childhood so short that they should be able to enjoy it all.  In school they were forced to conform to the ‘norm’, to study a set curriculum.  It was so rigid.  My eldest was so stressed.  She got detention for wearing the wrong colour socks for PE; her friend who had cut his hair into a mohican, and had assured his teacher that he would wear it flat and combed tidily for school, was told “Absolutely not!  Shave it all off!”  They simply weren’t allowed to be individuals.

At home we were free.  They could study what they wanted, how they wanted.  We went bike riding and swimming.  We grew vegetables and cooked and sewed and painted and, yes we did maths and English, but we read and read and read – really good books.  We did history and learnt Welsh (a bit).  What I knew I taught them; what I didn’t know we learnt together.  It was the best time.

This book was a wonderful support and inspiration.  Mind you, it’s a good book for anyone, whether home schooling or not.  As you can see from the Contents page, there’s a lot in there, and the recipes in the cooking section are all vegetarian and nearly all vegan!  There is the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe – mm mmmmm!

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Anyway, I needed a new apron so I got out the book, looked up the apron pattern and upcycled myself one:

how to make an apron

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them by the way)

first

first pic

I didn’t have a broadsheet newspaper but luckily Miranda had an old pad of flip-chart paper which she’d rescued from the bin at work and that was just right for this job.

second

second pic

I upcycled an old duvet cover – thoroughly washed of course!  I didn’t do the little pocket because I wanted a big pocket – read on 🙂

cut out

third

fold, pin and hem

You can sew it by hand, it just takes a while.  Luckily I had use of a sewing machine – thanks Mum 🙂

After the hemming was done I attached the ties as shown in the instructions.

vintage tea towel

I decided to make a pocket out of this gorgeous vintage tea towel Miranda bought at the Raystede Christmas fayre a couple of weeks ago (she said I could!)  I cut off the bottom row of dogs and hemmed the raw edge.

fold and hem top edge of pocket

Then I put on the apron so that I could position the pocket and put in a pin to mark the position of the centre of the top of the pocket.

put on apron and mark with pin where centre top of pocket will be

Then I sewed it on.  With a pocket this size you have to sew up the middle, effectively creating two pockets.  No dogs were harmed by this procedure – I was very careful not to sew over any of them 🙂

All done!

finished

finished apron

The Hungry Compost Bin

compost bin

The compost bin was hungry

And it wanted something new.

It’d reduced old fruit and lettuce leaves

To gloopy, slimy goo.

“Enough with all the green waste,

For now I’ve had enough.

I need something dry and brown

Like paper and card and stuff!”

So strips of card were fed to it

And more and more and more,

‘Til finally an old paperback

Was swallowed whole and raw.

paperback swallowed whole

The Andersons’ Bus Part Two

For those who don’t know who the Andersons are, they are characters in one of our stories – a vegan family who live in an old bus. Look here

Anyway, I had such fun building a model of their bus last week that I didn’t want to stop there – I had to furnish it!  Now, before I show you what I did I want you to bear in mind that I have no previous experience of doing anything like this and I just made it up as I went along.  So forgive its many imperfections and picture how much I enjoyed doing it – that’s the main thing 😉

First I re-opened the cardboard model and carefully cut out its windows with a tiny pair of nail scissors

First I re-opened the cardboard model and carefully cut out its windows with a tiny pair of nail scissors

Then I cut out some clear plastic from an old fruit punnet and stuck it on the inside.  Now my windows have  'glass'!

Then I cut out some clear plastic from an old fruit punnet and stuck it on the inside. Now my windows have ‘glass’!

I covered the inside with decorative paper ...

I covered the inside with decorative paper …

... and stuck on some cupboards and a woodburner on one side, and drew some storage racks above the windows.

… and stuck on some cupboards and a woodburner on one side, and drew some storage racks above the windows.

I found some boxes of matches in the drawer and decided my husband wouldn't mind if I used the boxes - I left him the bit with the striking strip!

I found some boxes of matches in the drawer and decided my husband wouldn’t mind if I used the boxes – I left him the bit with the striking strip!

I made one of them into a bookcase and used the other two to raise the bus floor so that it was above the wheels.

I made one of them into a bookcase and used the other two to raise the bus floor so that it was above the wheels.

I drew shelves and books on the shelves ...

I drew shelves and books on the shelves …

... and coloured them with coloured pencils.

… and coloured them with coloured pencils.

Looking at the pictures I’d drawn of the inside of the bus in episode 1, I wanted to make furniture to match – ish.  So I needed a driver’s seat with a partition behind; a table and chairs behind that; and a settee behind that.  I made these out of cardboard and stuck them to another piece of cereal box, the same size as the bus roof, covered in decorative paper for the floor.  They are very basic, and too wide which is why I only had room to draw the furniture on the other side of the bus, but it doesn’t matter, I can still get a feel of how things are laid out in Old Red.

11 fully furnished

15 drivers seat

I see now that the driver’s seat is waaay too big! Oh well.

Then I re-closed the outside of the bus and slotted it over the inside.

Then I re-closed the outside of the bus and slotted it over the inside.

And you can see the furniture through the windows

And you can see the furniture through the windows

And look - there's people inside! Denzel is cleverly disguised as a spaniel and Casey is also in fancy dress - but honestly, it is them!

And look – there’s people inside! Denzel is cleverly disguised as a spaniel and Casey is also in fancy dress as a knight – but honestly, it is them!

Old Red

Old Red.  What fun! Why don’t you make one?

Make a bus like the Andersons’ Old Red

cardboard bus

Take a look at Old Red in The English Family Anderson and have a go at making a model bus just like it 🙂

You’ll need:

some cardboard, a pencil, a rubber, a pen, some paint, some scissors, a ruler and some sticky tape.

some cardboard, a pencil, a rubber, a pen, some paint, some scissors, a ruler and some sticky tape.

measuring it out

First measure out the shape of the bus.  Using a cereal box made it easy because I could use the side as the roof (so it already had neat folds).  The front needs to be the same width as the roof; make the length at least twice the width of the bus.  Mine came out a bit short but you can make yours as long as you’ve got room for on your cardboard.

Once you’ve got the two sides, roof and front measured out you can draw in the details.  My bus is open at the back because I want to be able to furnish the inside later, but if you’ve got a long enough piece of card you can draw a back too (see the video at the bottom for how it should all be laid out).

front

windows

windows and door

When you’ve got it all mapped out, go over all the good lines in pen.

pen

Then rub out all the untidy planning lines you don’t want anymore.

rub out pencil lines

Then paint it 🙂

paint

When it’s dry, cut it out:

cut it out

Now you’ve just got to fold it and stick it.  If you’ve used a box like I have, you should already have good tidy creases between the sides and roof, but you’ll need to score a neat crease where the front folds to meet the other side.  Carefully place a ruler on the wrong side (inside) of the bus, along the line where you want to fold it, and score a line with your scissors.

score

NB: If you want to furnish the inside of the bus then take a look at this before you stick it together.  Then put a piece of tape on the top and side edge of the front of the bus (again on the wrong side)

tape

Then you can fold it and stick it to the top and other side of the bus.

It’s a bit fiddly but you’ll get there 🙂

And there you have it!

cardboard bus

model 2

model 3

I got this idea from Dylan Bryan.

Watch him do it (especially look out for his mum interrupting) I love this video* 🙂

* sadly, Dylan’s video is now deleted from youtube 😦

If you want to furnish your bus, go to Part 2 🙂

Remember I wanted a new hat?

recycling hats

Remember I wanted to make a new hat

With the yarn from old hats I’d unravelled?

Remember I said Random Rose made a hat,

beret with ridges she cabled?

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Well I followed the pattern that Rose kindly shared,

Though the yarn had lost elasticity.

The needles I used were not quite the right size,

But I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

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So I finished my hat and I’m pleased how it went,

Cream and purple go well together.

I admit it turned out bigger than it was meant,

For my head is decidedly smaller.

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As luck would have it, Miranda’s got a big head,

Though not the metaphorical kind.

So I decided to give it to her instead,

And I honestly really don’t mind.

recycled beret finished

recycled beret side

recycled beret back

Miranda's new beret

Recycle an old shirt or two

Here’s an idea I got from this book:  Sewing Green Click on the pic find it on Amazon

At least, I think I got it from this one but I gave it away a while ago so I’m not 100% sure.  Anyway, if you’ve got a couple of old shirts – preferably big men’s ones – lying around with nothing to do, why not cut them up and make a new apron?  My husband decided these just weren’t him any more.  Excellent! 😉

1 old shirts

So, you’ve got your hands on a couple of old shirts that nobody wants – actually you could do this with one shirt but it’s nice to have contrasting patterns and colours to work with.

2 cut the back out

Cut out the back of the shirt which is going to be the main piece of your apron.  If, like me, you don’t want to be bothered with hemming or edging, cut outside the seam (as shown here) and then your edge is already hemmed.  Cut up to the arm pit on both sides of the back and then straight across.

3 back

It should look something like this.

4 collar waist band

Cut off the collar of the other shirt (or the same one if you prefer) – this is going to be your apron’s waistband.  You only want the bit that would go around the neck, not the triangle-ish bit.  Again cut outside the stitching so that you don’t need to edge it yourself.

5 unpick collar

Then you need to unpick the bottom edge of the collar …

6 pin collar on

… so that you can slightly gather the top of your apron and fit it inside the collar (now waistband).  Pin it in place.

7 sew waist band on

Sew on the waistband.  I like zigzag but you could easily do this by hand.

8 cut out letters

Now for your design.  You could cut out the breast pocket from one of the shirts and attach it to your apron.  I think that’s what the book tells you to do and it does look lovely but I thought “I don’t need a pocket on my apron” so I decided not to.  You could do anything you like … or nothing at all 🙂 I went with lettering.

Cut your design out of the contrasting material ….

9 pin them in place

… and pin it to your apron.

10 sew the letters on

Sew it in place.

Nearly there.  Now you just need ties.

11 ties

I used the shirt button bands for the simplicity.  They’re already stitched and you can attach them to the collar/waistband with buttons!

12 finished apron

13 button band ties

14 back view

15 front

16 hanging apron

Crafty Vegan

Veganism should be happy and it should be everywhere.

You can say it loud and proud without ever having to open your mouth!

sewing

Show the world your happy veganism by writing it on your stuff!

vegan upcycled bag

vegan upcycled bag front and back

vegan upcycled pencil case

No pattern needed for these make-it-up-as-you-go bags and pencil cases made from upcycled old jeans and shirts.  Just put your imagination behind your scissors and get snipping.  Then sew your designs to your background.  The lettering (above) is made by sewing knitting yarn onto the material with zigzag machine stitch.

vegan smile bag front

This bag is different from the others in that it has no zip at the top.  Instead it has a fold-over flap that keeps your bag closed.  This is easily done by taking a rectangular piece of fabric which is a little wider than you want your bag and a bit longer than three times the depth of your bag.  Place a piece of contrasting material the same size (for the lining) with it’s right side against the right side of the outer fabric.  Then sew around 3 sides of the two of them and turn them right side out.  Tidily sew the open end together with the rough edges tucked in.

Then sew on your design(s).  If you’re doing a design on front, back and flap like this one, make sure each design will be the right way up when the fabric is folded.  Pin it first if you’re not sure.

Now, with your designs on the outside, fold the bottom of this piece up to 2 thirds of the way up – the last third will be your fold-over flap – then sew up the two sides (sew it inside out if you don’t want the stitches to show).  You should now have a bag (minus the strap) with a fold-over flap.

vegan smile bag back

  So, you’ve got your bag, you’ve got your design on your bag, now you just need to cut your strap, sew it together if it’s in two pieces, and attach it.  This “Smile – U R Vegan” bag is made of an old shirt and some oddments of material.  The strap is the button bands of the shirt.  Make sure your stitching is strong but don’t worry about neatly hemming it – I think it looks good being a bit rough around the edges.  Button hole bands are good to use for this because half the work’s done for you as it’s already sewn double thickness.

And that’s pretty much it.  You could have a different one for every day of the week! 🙂

Say it with knitting!

knit writing

Whether it be on your clothes, a cushion cover or a patchwork blanket – you can say it with knitting!

First of all decide what you want to write.  Then make a plan.

You’ll need some squared paper which you can buy or make yourself.  Each square on the paper will represent one stitch on your needle.  So number the squares and then mark out whatever you want to write in knitting.  Once you’ve worked out how many stitches wide your whole piece will be you can cast on in your background colour, and have your contrasting colour ready to use when you come to the stitches mapped out on your plan.  As you change colours you just string the other colour across the back of the knitting ready to use next time that colour is required by your plan – you don’t cut – just keep changing between colours while keeping all yarns attached until you’ve completed your design.

knit plan

It’s important to make sure you’re counting from the right direction so that your writing comes out the right way round.  Look what happens if you don’t:

knitting word backwards

This should read NEVER TRUST A MAN IN A SUIT but the words A MAN have come out backwards because the stitches were counted from the wrong direction – ie On your plan, on a purl row the stitches should be counted from the left and on a knit row you count from the right.  Let me show you what I mean.

knit plan 2

In this picture the purl rows are indicated in purple and the knit rows in red.  When you want to produce an image or writing on your knitting you have to remember you’ll be building from the bottom right.  So, if you’re following your own pattern, starting the bottom line of your words with a knit row, you need to count from the right.  For example, the first stitch for which you’d use a different colour in this example would be the 21st stitch of a knit row which is the tail of the G.  Then, on the next row, the first purl stitch for which you’d use a different colour would be the 6th, for the bottom of the V.

Does that make sense?

So that’s it.  Be a crafty activist and make your own outspoken jumpers, hats, scarves and blankets 🙂

Oh, and if you don’t know how to knit but would like to learn, here’s a really good video to get you started:

For the right handed:

For the left handed:

Reflecto Girl Paper Doll

Make your own Reflecto Girl paper doll 🙂

All you need is some cardboard (maybe from  an old cereal box); some paper (I used the back of some sketchbook pages I'd already used); a pencil; some paint or crayons and some scissors (careful with those!)

All you need is some cardboard (maybe from an old cereal box); some paper (I used the back of some sketchbook pages I’d already used); a pencil; some paint or crayons and some scissors (careful with those!)

First draw a picture of Renee in her underwear

First draw a picture of Renee in her underwear (include a semi circle at the base which will form part of the stand)

colour her

colour her

cut her our (remembering to cut around the semi-circle at the base, not around her feet)

cut her out (remembering to cut around the semi-circle at the base, not around her feet)

You might find at this point that she flops over a little when you stand her up.  If so, you can draw around her on another piece of card, and make her stiffer by sticking that to the back with a little water-based glue

You might find at this point that she flops over a little when you stand her up. If so, you can draw around her on another piece of card, and make her stiffer by sticking that to the back with a little water-based glue

Now draw her some clothes.  I chose to draw her Reflecto Girl costume and her dungarees which she wore over her costume in episode 3 - but you can make any clothes you like, and as many as you like.  Place the cardboard doll on a piece of paper and draw round her.  You can hold them up on a window if you're having difficulty seeing through your paper (this will also help with seeing where the neck and feet are).  Once you have the outlines drawn, you can use your imagination in drawing the clothes.

Now draw her some clothes. I chose to draw her Reflecto Girl costume and her dungarees which she wore over her costume in episode 3 – but you can make any clothes you like, and as many as you like. Place the cardboard doll on a piece of paper and draw round her.  To draw where the feet and neck are on your clothes, hold the paper over the doll against a window and trace. Once you have the outlines drawn, you can use your imagination in drawing the clothes.  NB You must also remember to draw the tabs that will be folded round her body to attach the clothes.

Colour them in and cut them out.

Colour them in and cut them out.

Now you need to get her standing up by herself.  To do this you need a strip of cardboard into which you cut 2 slits (half the length of the width of the strip), the same distance from each end.  Then cut 2 slits of equal length in the semi-circle base of the doll (close but not too close to the outer edges).

Now you need to get her standing up by herself. To do this you need a strip of cardboard into which you cut 2 slits (half the length of the width of the strip), the same distance from each end. Then cut 2 slits of equal length in the semi-circle base of the doll (close but not too close to the outer edges).

Slot these pieces together like so.  And there she is, your own Reflecto Girl

Slot these pieces together like so. And there she is, your own Reflecto Girl!

Now you can dress her ...

Now you can dress her …

... and dress her again (and yes I have noticed that her feet don't quite line up with her shoes, but nobody's perfect, so let's not worry about it.

… and dress her again (and yes I have noticed that her shoes don’t quite line up with her feet, but nobody’s perfect, so let’s not worry about it).

We hope you enjoy making your own Reflecto Girl and if you do we’d love to see photos 🙂

And whenever you feel like it, you can make her more clothes and accessories.

Miranda wanted her to have some pyjamas and a doll to sleep with:

new pyjamas

Make Your Own “Helping Venus” Game

FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY

FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY

Venus works hard trying to clean up the rubbish in the ocean in order to save the animals who are being poisoned and ensnared by it.  But since 80% of the rubbish in the oceans originates on land, it’s impossible for her to keep her beloved sea clean.  So, the rest of us need to make sure that all our rubbish is properly disposed of, preferably recycled, and not littered.  More than that, we need to actually pick up other people’s litter in order to protect wild animals and help Venus.

 Yuck!  That sounds like a dirty job, and it’s important to take care not to pick up anything dangerous like broken glass or needles (ask a grown up to deal with that stuff) but if we don’t do it, who will?  Of course it would be better in the long run if we stop buying things that don’t degrade harmlessly in the environment – namely plastic – and then this nasty litter problem might be solved.

Anyway, we’ve invented a board game that you can make for yourself and all you need is paper; something with which to draw or paint; stones or buttons or whatever little things you’ve got lying around to use as counters; and a dice pinched from another game.

1.  Paint an aerial view (map-type) picture of Venus’s home town (it doesn’t have to be the same as this, you can use your imagination 🙂 )

This is Venus's home town, Weston-on-sea

This is Venus’s home town, Weston-on-sea

 2.  Add places to visit, like shops and cafes

3.  Then add ways to score points like picking up litter; refusing to buy plastic items; recycling what you’ve found or bought; and freeing animals that have been trapped in cages.

4.  Finally add stepping stones which link all these places on your map.

Now your picture should look something like this:

game 2

IF YOU CLICK ON THIS PIC YOU WILL MAGNIFY IT SO YOU CAN SEE IT BETTER

NOW YOU’RE READY TO PLAY!

Imagine you have come to visit Venus and are staying at the campsite (place all the counters at the campsite to start).  But Venus is out diving, cleaning up the rubbish in the sea, so while you’re waiting for her you can explore the town.

Each person rolls the dice and the one with the highest score starts.

When you roll the dice you move that number of spaces (stepping stones) from the campsite.  You can go in any direction but you can’t change direction in the middle of one roll.

The idea is to go around the town, accumulating points by landing on the award-giving spots.  You have to roll the exact number to land on the award-spots (and that doesn’t mean the stepping stone next to the award-spot – you actually land on the award-spot).

You can go around the town as many times as you like and land on the same awards more than once, but if you go back to the campsite the game will be over.

In other words, the game can last as long as you like.  As soon as the first person gets back to the campsite, the game is over and you add up all your points.  The person with the most points is the winner (not the first person back to the campsite).  So, you need to be aware of when you are in the lead on points and then get back to the campsite as quick as you can before someone else overtakes your score.

It’s fun and very easy to make 🙂

Home Made Vegan Monopoly

monopoly instructions 1

Cut out a large square of cardboard from your cereal box or whatever and draw a line inside the outer edge to create a border.  Then divide the border into squares like this.  A traditional Monopoly board has 40 evenly-sized squares altogether, like this one, but if you want you can have a random number of different-sized squares.  It's up to you!

Cut out a large square of cardboard from your cereal box or whatever and draw a line inside the outer edge to create a border. Then divide the border into squares like this. A traditional Monopoly board has 40 evenly-sized squares altogether, like this one, but if you want you can have a random number of different-sized squares. It’s up to you!

Each square represents a place, so think about places in your town, or places you wish were in your town and put them in - include places like veggie/vegan cafes and shops like 'The Loving Hut' and 'Infinity Foods' in this one, and place you enjoy going to like the cinema, the park and the pier.  Don't forget to put 'GO' in one corner and a few 'chance' squares.  The original Monopoly  also has fines on some squares like 'income tax' but you can make up your own like we have with 'bus fare' and 'new shoes'.  Just free your imagination and run with it!

Each square represents a place, so think about places in your town, or places you wish were in your town and put them in – include places like veggie/vegan cafes and shops like ‘The Loving Hut’ and ‘Infinity Foods’ in this one, and places you enjoy going to like the cinema, the park and the pier. Don’t forget to put ‘GO’ in one corner and a few ‘chance’ squares. The original Monopoly also has fines on some squares like ‘income tax’ but you can make up your own like we have with ‘bus fare’ and ‘new shoes’. Just free your imagination and run with it!

You need play money for monopoly so you can make some fake paper money or you can make coins.  We made coins by finding whatever coins we had lying around and making rubbings of them with our crayons.  Then we stuck them on cardboard and cut them out - or the other way around but that's twice as much cutting - it's up to you!

You need play money for monopoly so you can make some fake paper money or you can make coins. We made coins by finding whatever coins we had lying around and making rubbings of them with our crayons. Then we stuck them on cardboard and cut them out – or the other way around but that’s twice as much cutting!!

We found an odd assortment of coins including a commemorative £5 coin and an out of date ha'penny - anything goes when you're making it up yourself!

We found an odd assortment of coins including a commemorative £5 coin and an out of date ha’penny – anything goes when you’re making it up yourself!

Now that you've finished your board and you know what each place is, you need to make property cards - one for each place (don't include fines/go/free parking/free cup of tea and the like)

Now that you’ve finished your board and you know what each place is, you need to make property cards – one for each place (don’t include fines/go/free parking/free cup of tea and the like). You need to decide on a purchase price for each place and a landing fine to be charged to other players that land on it. Bear in mind what denominations of money you’ve made when you decide on prices but don’t be too serious about it – we went crazy and our landing fines were often higher than the purchase prices! Just have fun with it.

There are also in Monopoly 'Community Chest' and 'Chance' cards.  Your game doesn't have to have these but it's good to have some kind of 'chance' spaces around your board (as indicated earlier) which you can give any name you like.  In our game these spaces are called 'Family Treasure' and '?'.  Now you need to make cards for players to pick up if they land on these spaces.  You can write something good or something bad on these cards (for eg the player has won something, or has to pay something) - but again, just use your imagination, it can be anything you want.

There are also in Monopoly ‘Community Chest’ and ‘Chance’ cards. Your game doesn’t have to have these but it’s good to have some kind of ‘chance’ spaces around your board (as indicated earlier) which you can give any name you like. In our game these spaces are called ‘Family Treasure’ and ‘?’. Now you need to make cards for players to pick up if they land on these spaces. You can write something good or something bad on these cards (for eg the player has won something, or has to pay something) – but again, just use your imagination, it can be anything you want.

that's about it