Sunday, May 13, 2012

Homemade Play Dough

Homemade play dough has gotta be up there as far as DIY toys for your kids! I've had this recipe for a while but hadn't attempted it until this morning and I must say it was a hit all round. Its fast and easy and if your kids are old enough, they can even help!

Not only is homemade play dough much cheaper than the store bought stuff, you also know exactly what has gone into it, so it's safe for your little ones (especially if they can't resist tasting it!). It is also, in my opinion, better! and nicer to play with!
So here's how you make it.

You'll need:
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp cream of tartar
1 cup water
Assorted food colouring

Place the flour, salt, oil, cream of tartar and water in a saucepan and mix thoroughly. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the dough is no longer sticky and comes away from the pan. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly, add your food colouring and knead until colour is uniform.

When you're done - the kids can play til their hearts content! My little boy loved pressing his toys (legos' pens, cars etc) into it to leave impressions. After all the playing is done, you can store it in some little airtight containers or jars (I used old baby food jars), or wrap it in plastic wrap, and it will hopefully last a fair few more playtimes! You can even freeze it if you want to save it for a rainy day.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Missing in Action

Oops. I have been a bit slack in poor old Blog world. I just saw my last post was almost 12 months ago! How bad is that? Well, on a positive note, I'm back on board and hopefully the gaps in between from now on will not be as long!!

I'm so excited to announce that my products are available on Down that Little Lane - a gorgeous boutique online store which is full of the most splendid range of products. I'm really honoured that my stuff is there with so many other talented artisans.

To check out my store front - goto http://www.downthatlittlelane/willow-and-elm

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Is it a Cushion? Is it a doll? No, its a cushion doll!

You can play with them, you can cuddle them, you can put them on your bed. What are they? Well, theyr'e... half doll, half cushion! They're cushion dolls! And they are coming to my etsy/madeit stores soon! They come as a pair, so each one includes a doll and a little playmate as well. So far I've only been able to source enough of this gorgeous fabric for one of each different doll (theres 4 in total) so they will be very limited at the moment (at least until I can get some more fabric!)

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Well it's easy to say that now! But unfortunately a couple of months ago, I wouldn't have been so upbeat and dismissive of this terrible skin condition.

Like many others, my little bub suffered terrible eczema for the first 6 months or so of his life and it really was difficult to deal with. His skin was constantly dry, he was terribly itchy, oh.. and the scratching! The scratching was a nightmare. I hardly ever got to see my little boys hands, as we had to cover them with mittens 24/7 so that he wouldn't break the skin. He'd always somehow manage to get them off, have a great scratch at his itchy skin and make himself bleed. The whole  thing was driving me mad and although bubs was very brave, I knew it upset him too. I tried countless potions and lotions, but to no avail. The doctors would only prescribe steroid creams, which in my mind were a last resort and didn't get to the bottom of the issue....

My poor little eczema-ridden boy :(

Eventually we discovered his eczema was because of a milk protein allergy, and as soon as that was identified and eliminated, his skin improved significantly. However even now he is still prone to the occasional break out. After battling through so many routines trying to 'cure him', I have now got what seems to be a fail-proof system worked out for him, and his skin has never been softer, smoother or more beautiful. So I thought I'd share it with you!

My beautiful eczema-free, clear, soft-skinned and HAPPY boy :)

1. Bath every day! (this went against what I'd been told originally, to avoid bathing often as it dried out the skin). But apparently not! If you give your bub a bath every day the bacteria which irritates the skin and can cause it to be infected is washed away, so you have less chance the eczema will become worse. Don't use any soaps or shampoos though as these will only aggrevate the problem.

2. The only exception to the bathe every day rule is.... You must use a bath oil in the water! I use QV Bath Oil which kind of clings to bubs skin and acts as a bit of a barrier to the drying effects of the water.

3. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! And halleluiah, I found a product that works! The Royal Childrens Hospital even recommend it.. it's called Cetaphil Restoraderm. The best cream I've used thus far (and trust me I've used A LOT!). Moisturise after each bath, and top it up at each nappy change.

4. Try not to overheat bubs with too many clothes and bedding. Don't dress in singlets unless necessary etc.

5. For the occasional breakout, use a prescription cream if you have one, but keep it to a minimum.

6. Use natural fabric when it comes to things in contact with your baby - clothes, bedding etc. Cotton is ideal. It is breathable and will not irritate sensitive skin. That's the reason I only use 100% cotton fabric in all of my handmade toys.

I know what its like to see your baby suffering from eczema and feeling helpless when nothing you seem to do helps... and I also know the joys of finally having a baby free of nasty, itchy and painful skin. I can only hope that these tried and tested tips help you too!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Revealed!! New Products in Store

I'm so excited, and a little relieved.. things are finally starting to take shape!

Over the past week I've been busy getting my new range up and running and gradually adding items to etsy. It started with these two art prints, perfect for a baby's nursery... or anywhere really!

Three birds nursery giclee art print by willowandelm on etsy

Three owls nursery giclee art print by willowandelm on etsy

And I am now listing a range of handmade baby toys. This is the first one listed, but stay tuned for many more..... :)

All toys are made with 100% cotton fabric and ribbon! No synthetics in sight :)

:: Why 100% cotton? ::

♥ Cotton is a natural, renewable, biodegradable and sustainable fiber.
♥ It is a natural fabric, suitable for people with sensitivity to certain chemicals. It is therefore great for baby's sensitive and/or eczema prone skin.
♥ It is not only soft and breathable, but strong and absorbent too.

So if you haven't already guessed, willow and elm has changed for good and is now aimed towards handmade baby toys, nursery art and decor ;) I'm very excited about this new direction and am so pleased to be able to finally reveal all!!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

New Year, New Store

Happy New Year everyone!

I anticpate it's going to be an exciting year for me and willow and elm. As you're probably aware, I started out willow and elm by making digital photo cards and invitations, however as much as I enjoyed it, I didn't have a lot of success with sales, given there is a lot of other competition, so unfortunately I've decided to close my existing etsy and madeit stores..
but don't panic,  it's only a temporary measure! And what is even more exciting is, I am planning to relaunch them with some brand new products!!

I won't tell you exactly what it will all be about just yet.. you'll have to be patient :) But I am very excited and I hope you can continue to join me along the ride....

Friday, November 26, 2010

Starry Starry Night

Star Light Star bright,
The first star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have the wish I wish tonight.

Here's two new items in my madeit store....