DIY – Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween Wreath

Nightmare before Christmas Halloween Wreath

In hindsight it was a totally ‘oddball’ purchase, but the first animated/family DVD we purchased when Dave and I found out we were pregnant 12.5 years ago was Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas – how can that movie have come out in 1993?!

the_nightmare_before_christmas_posterAnyway, I freaking LOVE this movie, it’s a stop-motion masterpiece and thank goodness it’s on Netflix as there is literally nothing I despise more than DVDs………….except CDs lol.

We also LOVE Halloween.  You guys already know (I’m sure) that Dave is American and I lived there for 6 years so we bring our A-Game at the end of every October.  New Zealand is slowly starting to embrace the spooky season and we are super lucky to live in an amazingly Halloween Friendly neighborhood which has become a bit of a ‘destination’ for Trick or Treaters over the past few years.

So, decorating for Halloween is one of my favourite themes to work with as it doesn’t matter if it’s *less than perfect*, which to be honest, is how I roll 24-7.

So, If you’re hosting a Halloween Party or welcoming Trick or Treaters, a wreath is an easy way to set the mood and create a great focal point – it doesn’t have to hang on the front door, this one will probably go on our mantlepiece with some other spooky decorations.

I’m creating a Jack Skellington themed wreath this year because my kids NEED more Nightmare Before Christmas in their lives, I’m a bit worried I’ve been failing them on the Tim Burton front – Ethan hasn’t even seen Beetlejuice ::::::gasp!:::::

How to Make a Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween Wreath

You will need:

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

1 x foam decor ring, 1 x foam decor ball for Jack’s head, wool/fabric strips in your choice of colours, artificial flowers, craft glue, a black permanent marker or black paint, scissors, pins, artificial spiderweb, ribbon for hanging.

Step 1: Cover your foam ring

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

I used a mix of cheap acrylic yarn, fabric from my stash cut into long strips and spotted crepe paper streamers.  I tied the wool off then applied craft glue to the inside of the ring.  Holding the ring between your knees as you wrap it will help things move along quite quickly!  Wrap the ring in whatever pattern/configuration you like – Jack’s colours are traditionally black and white but I wanted to add a pop of colour so used orange for contrast.  Leave a section unwrapped to save time as this will be covered with flowers. 

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

Step 2:  Attach flowers

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before ChristmasI used dressmaking pins but you could also affix the flowers with craft glue.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

Step 3: Draw Jack Skellington’s Face

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

Find an image online to work from – I used this one.  Sketch the features on in pencil, It’s pretty simple just watch the proportions.  When you’re satisfied, trace over the pencil with black permanent marker and colour in the eye sockets.  I went over the eye sockets a couple of times to get a good black finish.

Step 4:  Suspend Jack in the wreath

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

Pin (or glue) ribbon to the back of Jack’s head, make sure it’s angled so his face is square.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

Pin (or glue) the other end of the ribbon to the back-top of the wreath.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

I used a large needle to hold Jack’s head in place, glue would also work fine.

Step 5: Wrap wreath with artificial spiderwebs

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

Step 6: Attach ribbon for hanging wreath

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before Christmas

Fold ribbon into a loop and staple or glue.  Fix to the back of your wreath using glue or pins.

Step 7: Marvel at your creative genius!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Travel Blog Halloween Wreath Nightmare Before ChristmasHappy Halloween!

School Holiday Craft – The Seven Day Mural

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art CraftThere’s only one thing better than a great art project and that’s one that lasts for 7 days!!!

This one’s all you need mamas; the 7 Day Mural can be customized to use up whatever craft supplies you have on hand, will suit whatever age/stage your kids are at and can easily incorporate whatever creative project the kids have been dying to try.  

The foundation of this crafty creation is definitely the Science Project Board.  Ethan spent last term working away on his project and Nix became quite fixated on that damn board (that had to be protected from him at ALL costs!) so I decided to create his own ‘project’ and let him at it.

So, the plan here is to divide the board into multiple art-boards and create a different, amazing, fun, visual medium in each, working on a different aspect each day.

For Nixon’s board, I had to use some restraint and keep his projects simple and fun.  I also wanted to use as many different materials as possible, resulting in a really textural, multilayered experience that he looked forward to working on each day and that he was super proud of at the end of it.  Being conscious of the age of your kids is key here – Nix has just turned three and his attention span maxes out at around 20 minutes. Quick and easy to complete is definitely what you want to shoot for.

Materials

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Ummmm, anything goes in this art and craft tutorial!  I shopped my own craft stash for my supplies plus headed in-store to Warehouse Stationery where I really had to pare things back when I went to the checkout!  Create Month is on right now so there are heaps of inspirational ideas to be found at your local store.  Not a crafty bone in you body?  Don’t worry, sometimes you just need to get started – plus the kids’ enthusiasm and ideas you can find at the in-store Inspiration Station might be all you need to get those creative juices flowing!  As you can see in the photos I popped a cheap plastic tablecloth down on our dining table, which was one of the most genius ideas I’ve ever had to be honest!  No worries about mess and I’ll reuse it as a playdough drop cloth after this project is over!

Day 1, ongoing – Colouring pages

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Print out some pages that relate to your theme (if you have one, we didn’t) or just something your kids are really going to enjoy colouring.  I did a Google search for dinosaur colouring pages and lots of printables popped up.  I left these out over the week so Nix could potter and colour bits and pieces when he felt like it.  When we were finished with the mural I cut around his gorgeous colouring and glued the dinos onto the board.  The crayons we use are Jovi Wax Crayons and they are perfect for stubby little fingers!

Day 2 – Watercolours and Stickers

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Watercolours are the best!  Barely any mess and they dry quickly.  Once again I just let Nixon freestyle here (there’s not much else you can do with a 3 year old to be honest – remember that attention span!).  In the afternoon, when the paint was dry, we went back and decorated this panel with some assorted stickers that he had picked out in-store. Easy and great for fine motor skill development.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Day 3 – Geometric ArtWork!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft
The inspo for this activity came from a flyer I picked up at the Inspiration Station desk at my local Warehouse Stationery.  I used some masking tape and simply pressed it down firmly at multiple angles across the board.  Nix got stuck in and, voila!  I love this section of his board, he was amazed at how it looked when I peeled the tape off to reveal the clean white lines underneath.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Day 4 – Painting and Sticky Foam Shapes

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

I’ve always wanted to use a chipboard letter or word in a project so this was my chance!  I let Nix loose with some Crayola paints and told him to “cover up all of that yucky brown!”.  He did a brilliant job and we popped this off to the side to dry.

I had picked up a foam shapes ‘jungle scene’ in-store, but you can also buy a 10 pack of foam sheets if you wanted to cut up your own shapes.  Nix had a great time placing the sticky shapes and then went to town with some markers for an extra splash of panache lol!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Day 5 – Dressing Paper Dolls

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

When I saw these boy doll cutouts, I wasn’t too sure what my plan was, but look how cute they turned out!  I cut some pants and tops from my fabric stash, unwound some old knitting to make curly hair (just like Nixon’s) and used some googly eyes from the Fuzzy Craft Kit I picked up – just in case!  This was definitely his favourite activity; he loved dressing the wee boys and making them look cute.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

Day 6 – Mixed Media

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

You could do whatever you like here depending upon the age of your kids.  I wrote ‘NIX’ in sharpie and popped some paper scraps, feathers, pompoms, coloured foil, bits of pipe cleaner etc in front of him with some glue.

Day 7 – Felt and Velcro

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft
I couldn’t believe how cheap a 10 pack of felt sheets was at Warehouse Stationery – something crazy like $2 a pack!  You can almost pay that for 1 sheet at other stores that I’ve visited.  I had some velcro dots that needed a home so popped those on the project board and cut some random shapes from the felt.  Nix loved this activity as he could take things off and move them around; he obviously had a ‘vision’ and knew when he was done lol.

The Finished Product!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Toddler Art Craft

So that’s it!  Isn’t it so cool?  Nixon is really proud that he created something so BIG – size is everything to a toddler and I’m quite proud that we did something creative every day for a whole week!  

Guess what?  The project board has TWO SIDES!  Start planning now for round 2 during the next school holidays lol.  

For more fun and creative inspo, check out our Dinosaur DIY’s here.

There’s heaps more inspo in store at Warehouse Stationery, plus lots of take home activities the kids can do, totally a School Holiday desperation destination!

mummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-mommy-travelblog-dinosaur-craft

 

School Holiday Craft – Dinosaur DIY’s

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

School holidays kick off here in New Zealand next week and I like to be organised and have a pretty clear plan of what we’re New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craftgoing to do or where we’re going to go each day.  This helps me get organised and also (hopefully) avoid the “I’m bored” catch-cry that’s every mummy’s nightmare!  

It’s also Create Month at Warehouse Stationery! They’ve just launched their brand new Art and Craft Club – Inspiration Station.  There’s lots of super-cool and creative initiatives happening in stores around New Zealand and we’ve teamed up to bring you some fun and crafty ideas to help survive the school holidays!

Crafts are good, if not essential winter holiday activities.  They are cheap, fun and creative and can usually be re-invented and repeated without your little darlings losing interest.

Both Nix and Ethan are obsessed with dinosaurs at the moment, so integrating what they are playing with into a creative exercise is a no-brainer.  Both of these craft ideas would work well with any animal theme – come on Mum’s you can do it!

Let’s get creative!

DIY Dinosaur Fossils

This is a great, therapeutic activity using everyone’s favourite – modelling clay!  I wanted to create some cool looking bones and fossils that the kids could use in play with their dinosaurs or alternatively they could bury them in kinetic sand and use small paint brushes to excavate them and play paleontologists – think of the fine motor skills mamas, not the mess of the sand lol!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 1:  Head into Warehouse Stationery and pick up some bake-in-the-oven clay (all modelling products are 30% off until 31/7/16!).  

Step 2:  Roll out clay ready to use.  I had totally forgotten how hard these clays are!  I used little dabs of canola oil, dotted it on small pieces of clay then rolled it out really flat to get it soft enough for Nixon to use.  There are ‘soft’ clay varieties available from each brand and these would definitely be better for little hands.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 3:  When the clay is nice and soft use toy dinosaurs and let the kids stomp footprints in it to make fossils, press shells or lay little dinosaurs on their sides and press into the clay to create cool profile fossils.  Slightly older kids will be able to make bones to add to the fossil pile!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Step 4:  Place finished creations on baking paper on a tray and bake for approximately 30 minutes at 130?.  The clay will harden fully as it cools.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

DIY Dinosaur Matching Game

This activity is so easy and cheap and will provide little ones hours of fun.  As I mentioned above, you could use any animals, trucks, household items that your child enjoys – you could even have them create their own artwork to use!  

Step 1:  Source your images, you will need 6.  

  • If finding them online, look for creative commons / royalty free images that you can legally reproduce.  
  • Take photos of toys / items you have at home
  • Use kids own artwork and take scans or photos of each piece

Step 2:  If you want to, label each image with the name of the dinosaur or animal etc.  I used Photoshop, but this can easily be done on your phone using an app like Phonto.  Can’t be bothered?  Once you’ve ordered your prints, write the name on each image with a marker!

Step 3:  Order your 12 (x 2 per image) 4×4 photos using the amaze Printicular app.  I love this app so much, Ethan and I use it all the time for his school projects or when I need crafty images printed out in a hurry!

Step 4:  Head in store to Warehouse Stationery to pick up your prints.  I took some double-sided tape and scissors with me so I could get everything finished while I was in store – there is plenty of bench space to work on projects at the print centre!

  • Lay out your images on a large piece of cardboard available to purchase in-store and fix the photos with a small piece of tape or glue.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

  • Get the print centre staff to cut up your cards using one of their guillotines and then laminate them so they will last well.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

Take them home and play!  

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Parenting Rotorua Travel Blog Family Dinosaur Craft

There’s heaps more inspo in store at Warehouse Stationery, plus lots of take home activities the kids can do, totally a School Holiday desperation destination!

mummy-blog-new-zealand-mummy-blogger-mommy-travelblog-dinosaur-craft

DIY | Desktop Instagram Infinity Calendar + Giveaway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Instagram DIY CalendarNew Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Instagram DIY CalendarAhhhh yes.  I love photos. Photos, photos photos, all day long.

Every day. Photos.

Photos on my hard-drive, photos on my Instagram, Snapchat, FB……. wherever I can whack up some digital snaps I do.  We used to be ridiculously diligent about getting our precious snaps printed out but yeah, life.

So, to make it up to my Mum and our assorted Nana’s that love a hard copy picture, I’ve created a super-cute, super-easy project you can knock out in no time and wow your Mum with on Mother’s Day.

You’re welcome!

 

How to: Desktop Instagram Infinity Calendar

Step 1: Download and install both Printicular from Warehouse Stationery and Phonto (a text-on-photo app)

Step 2:  You will need 31 square photos, so resize your images using your native Apple or Android editing features first.  If you have ‘Save original photos’ selected in your Instagram app, you probably have all the images you need to get started!

Step 3:   

  • Open a photo in Phonto
  • Click the pencil icon to edit
  • Type the calendar number you’re working on and pick the font (I used Anton), select the size (I used 300)
  • Move the number around to the perfect spot and save the new image
  • Repeat 31 times!  Yay!

Step 4: Once you are ready to order;

  • Open Printicular
  • Select pick-up as you will need to head in-store to Warehouse Stationery to get the calendar bound
  • Select ‘local photos’ and upload your 31 images
  • Choose whatever size you want, I figured 5×5 was perfect for a desktop calenda
  • Select quantity and complete your order!

Step 5: Head into Warehouse Stationery to pick up your images and get your calendar wirebound

  • Wire-binding is quick, cheap ($4.49 per 31 page calendar) and looks great!
  • Specify you want your project bound along the top edge

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Instagram DIY Calendar

  • You will need to have 2 stiff cardboard covers added before binding to create the stand
  • Get the staff member to trim these down the sides with their whizzy guillotine but leave the bottom edge long

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Instagram DIY Calendar

Step 6: Create the stand by folding the 2 covers along the bottom edge of the photos and glueing together to make a flat edge

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Instagram DIY Calendar

Voila!  Infinity calendar ready to gift!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Instagram DIY Calendar

If you’re not feeling the urge to make something yourself, check out my 3 favourite gift ideas available to order online and ready to personalize;

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Instagram DIY Calendar1.  Photo Blocks 2.  Photo Books 3.  Hard Phone Case $29.95

I’d love you guys to get creative and put all of those beautiful images stuck in your phones to use, so, we have a $100 Gift Card from Warehouse Stationery to give away!  Comment below with your pick of Gift Ideas 1, 2 or 3 (above).  

Competition closes 15th May 10pm.  NZ residents only.

This post was made possible thanks to Warehouse Stationery.

DIY – A Winter Playroom without the Reno Budget

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger DIY Playroom

Our back door opens to a flat concrete patio complete with roof, the perfect spot to enclose for winter play with the addition of two sides of roll-up PVC blinds.  I can see it now……

That’s on the wish list.

A very rainy first weekend of the school holidays was a sign – it was time for action.

With no funds for an extension, a reno or just those roller blinds ( Lotto wth?), I figured I had to get creative with what we have.  Move over mower, it’s garage time.

We don’t actually use our garage for its intended purpose, that is, no car has ever been parked in there.  That would be weird right???  

Pro tip > If you’re thinking about checking the suitability of your own little concrete den for a playroom transformation, I’d totally recommend actually scoping out the space before hand.  

Not me.  I just dived right in and went shopping.

With Nixon.

In the pouring rain.

Once environmental factors had been taken under consideration (torrential rain!) it was obvious that this was going to be a one-stop-shop affair, so Nix and I headed to The Warehouse where I was pretty sure I could find most things on the Pinterest board that existed only in my head.

I was right thank goodness, we found everything we needed at #thewarehousenz…….and maybe some things we just ‘wanted’ oops!

Pro tip > It actually might help to curate a Playroom Pinterest board! I’ve made one for you to give you some inspo, check it out here!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger DIY PlayroomStart from the ground up

You can’t hang out in your garage during winter on a concrete floor.  I wanted something thick, hardwearing and that didn’t look too out of place in a garage.  Jute is perfect for the job, helping to blur the lines between trying to put an indoor space in an external garage lol.  There were probably 5 rugs I was agonising over but I was so pumped at finding the large Jute rug one first, so I took it as a sign!

Furniture

I wanted two seating options, one for Nix and one for Big People.  I wasn’t planning on a Paw Patrol Moon Chair tbh, but if you saw his little face when he spotted it……..anyway, it’s in the garage, he loves it and I LOVE my styley, geometric beanbag.  Our wifi reaches to the garage so Dave and I have a comfy spot to sit and work while Nix paints and plays.

An easel has been on Nix’s wishlist for a while so I really couldn’t deny his artistic expression any longer (considering I was putting together a messy play area!).  It was another ‘AHA’ moment when I found the Kids Caboodle Whiteboard/Easel combo in the furniture department.  Many I’ve looked at are very lightweight and flimsy – Nix would knock these over in a flash, cue the end of painting!  There was also a matching shelving unit with lots of little coloured boxes for DVD and book storage which has been fully utilised already!

Add in a plastic kids table for arts and crafts and a heavy duty storage rack for ALL the toys I’m going to be moving out of the house and I was finished in the furniture department.

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger DIY Playroom

Time to Decorate!New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger DIY Playroom

Let’s face it, it’s a garage, there’s only so much you can do!

I used a vintage sheet to cover up some ‘garage-y stuff’, hung some cahh-yoot Frozen bunting and whacked some nails in the beams to hang some banners I spotted in the Homewares department.  On trend and at the right price, these are perfect for any kids space.  Don’t forget a snuggly throw for watching movies or reading on the bean bag!

Add the Fun

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger DIY PlayroomNo messy playroom would be complete without Kinetic Sand, Paints, Markers and a BIG cardboard play shop that you can DRAW ON!!! Found on clearance for $10.48!!!!  How could you not??  Nix was freaking out when I assembled it, it’s definitely his favourite part of the whole playroom.

We were storing an entertainment unit and a little TV in the garage so I picked up a baby DVD player for $39 WHAAATT?!?  Couldn’t believe that one, cue #bargainfeeling!  So now on yucky days, one or both of the boys can head out to the garage and chill out with Doc McStuffins or Star Wars.

End result?  We freaking LOVE this little corner of the garage!  It’s so nice to have created a usable space without taking out another mortgage.  We’ve combined unused items we already owned with some key new pieces and a little re-organization and voila!  At least one corner of our garage is totally awesome and ready for school holiday fun.

If you’re looking to grab any of these playroom essentials, I shopped three main categories at The Warehouse for this little project;

Or, check out my Pinterest Board for all shopping details and please share if you decide to tackle a Bargain Playroom at your house!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger DIY Playroom

This post was made possible by our friends at The Warehouse.

DIY: Easter Bunny Treat Cups + Happy Birthday Spotlight Giveaway #3

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Happy 20th Birthday Spotlight!  This month Spotlight celebrates 20 years in New Zealand with in-store parties this Saturday, March 12th at all Spotlight NZ stores.  Visit your local for huge discounts, giveaways, games & even birthday cake at 1pm in each store!

Here at The Best Nest we are doing a spot of celebrating ourselves, with three days of Easter themed DIY’s, all shopable at Spotlight, plus there is a $100 Spotlight Gift card to be won each day!

Down to the business end of our Spotlight birthday series You can catch up on Post #1 here and Post #2 here – make sure you have entered EACH day’s giveaway!)

There are so many cute and creative ways to gift Easter Eggs but if I’m going to make something myself, it’s got to be super easy lol.  These little Bunny Bum Cups work really well and are quick to put together.

DIY: Easter Bunny Treat Cups

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

You will need:

Instructions:

  • Glue pom pom on to foam balls for bunny tails
  • Cut bunny paws out of white felt
  • Cut bunny toes etc out of pink felt and glue onto white paws.  Then glue completed paws onto foam balls.
  • Stuff tumblers with shredded paper and Easter treats

Enjoy!  Happy Easter! (Don’t forget to scroll down to enter the Spotlight Birthday Sweepstake!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

DIY: Easter Wreath+ Happy Birthday Spotlight Giveaway #2!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Happy 20th Birthday Spotlight!  This month Spotlight celebrates 20 years in New Zealand with in-store parties this Saturday, March 12th at all Spotlight NZ stores.  Visit your local for huge discounts, giveaways, games & even birthday cake at 1pm in each store!

Here at The Best Nest we are doing a spot of celebrating ourselves, with three days of Easter themed DIY’s, all shopable at Spotlight, plus there is a $100 Spotlight Gift card to be won each day!

I love adding simple, unfussy decor items to our mantle to set the tone for the season or celebrate the holidays.  A wreath is always my go-to as it can be placed anywhere and when you DIY, it can be modified and re-purposed very simply.  Plus, it’s such a welcoming decoration to have on your front door or in your home, and can form the basis of your holiday decor by tying everything together if you build you colour palette on the wreath itself. 

This pretty Easter wreath took me 20 minutes tops, so get creative and give it a go!

DIY: Easter Wreath

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

You will need:

Instructions:

  • Wrap foam ring with the burlap (or your choice of ribbon, fabric or bakers string looks great!), fasten on the back side with floral pins.
  • Place the large artificial flower stems and fix with floral pins.
  • Attach the paper bunting.  This comes with adhesive stickers which are holding just fine on the burlap.
  • Glue the eggs in place using a craft glue.  I used Helmar Craft Glue.
  • Place remaining small flower heads and burlap flowers.

Enjoy!  Happy Easter! (Don’t forget to scroll down to enter the Spotlight Birthday Sweepstake!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY 

DIY: Chocolate Easter Nest Spoons + Happy Birthday Spotlight Giveaway!

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Happy 20th Birthday Spotlight!  This month Spotlight celebrates 20 years in New Zealand with in-store parties this Saturday, March 12th at all Spotlight NZ stores.  Visit your local for huge discounts, giveaways, games & even birthday cake at 1pm in each store!

Here at The Best Nest we are doing a spot of celebrating ourselves, with three days of Easter themed DIY’s, all shopable at Spotlight, plus there is a $100 Spotlight Gift card to be won each day!

My first easy-peasy Easter DIY  is these yummy chocolate Easter Nest Spoons.  They are perfect party favours or place settings if you’re hosting friends or family this Easter, or use them in your egg hunt or as gifts for the kids friends.

DIY: Chocolate Easter Nest Spoons

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter Nest Spoons

You will need:

Instructions:

  • Melt chocolate per directions on the pack, I used the defrost function on the microwave for 2 x 30 seconds, stirring in between.
  • Spoon melted chocolate onto your plastic spoons, underfill slightly.
  • Leave to cool a little whilst you fill more spoons.
  • Stand up 2 Cadbury Mini Eggs in each spoon then sprinkle with either the hail or confetti.
  • Once set, shake off excess sprinkles, pop spoon in the cello bags and tie with ribbon or raffia.

Enjoy!  Happy Easter! (Don’t forget to scroll down to enter the Spotlight Birthday Sweepstake!)

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

New Zealand's Top Mummy Blogger Easter DIY

Enter via the widget below to win a $100 Spotlight Gift Card!  Competition closes Sunday 13th March 10pm.  There are 3 gift cards to be given away, look for the next Easter DIY post tomorrow!

A Jolly Jelly Christmas Printable!

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Christmas Printable

Don’t be scared, I know it’s early but Christmas WILL be here soon, there’s just no escaping it!  To get us in the mood I’ve whipped up these super-cute gift bag toppers that you can download and print out for your own festive celebrations.

Ethan is planning on hosting a Christmas Party in December to celebrate the season, and finishing school, with his family and cousins.  I wanted to come up with a small, inexpensive (but cute) Christmas gift that could be easily attached to a Christmas Card that was NOT a candy cane – because everyone gets SO sick of Candy Canes by the end of the holiday season!

My lollies of choice were the new range of Jelly Tots and Tangy Tots from Allen’s plus everyone’s favourite Allen’s Snakes, all of which are free from artificial colours.

I plan on serving healthy snacks and finger food at the party, so will skip any sweet desserts in lieu of a perfectly portioned treat which I know everyone will love and there’ll be no wastage, yay.

Top Mummy Blog new Zealand Christmas Printable

I picked up the cellophane gift bags from Spotlight and had no problems figuring out a healthy serve per bag as the new packaging from Allen’s has a handy serving size indicator on the bag! Two snakes or 12-14 Jelly Tots.

The toppers are printed on some light cardboard (2 to a sheet of A4), so you just need to cut them out, fold them and staple them to the top of the folded gift bag.  Super easy and super affordable.  

Christmas is a special occasion and finishing school for the year is certainly a big deal, so I’m totally happy offering our guests a sweet treat to take home and enjoy, knowing that they haven’t had a free-for-all at an overloaded junk-food table before-hand.

I hope you love these printables as much as much as I know the kids will enjoy their treats.  Thanks so much Allen’s for the lollies, these were the perfect options for portioned gift bags and are so yummy, you’ll have no complaints!

Download the Jolly Jelly Gift Bag Topper here

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7 Simple Steps to get your Home & Family Ready for Winter

The torrential rains of last week followed by the sudden drop in temperatures over the past two days have left me shivering, but no longer am I in denial that winter is coming!  It’s just around the corner which means it’s time to be proactive and get my A into G.  

I am always freezing cold (right now I’m wearing my #1 winter warmer – a stunning khaki green Swanndri Polar Fleece which is just the ugliest warmest thing in the world!), so keeping our home warm and dry is almost an obsession of mine.  I can’t bear the thought of the kids being cold and our house being damp.  Preventing both of those things will help us all survive the winter with a minimum of colds and illness – hopefully!

  • Seal the windows – Glass windows and doors lose up to 10 times as much heat as an insulated wall.  Light is good, so there’s no getting around windows but we can definitelyr educe the energy loss that they are responsible for.  In our last rental before we purchased our home, the wooden joinery was in terrible condition due to a complete lack of maintenance.  There were also no curtains or effective window treatments on any of the windows to prevent the warmth we were able to generate simply slipping through the cracks.  The solution was cheap and easy.  I sealed all the windows in the bedrooms with 3M Indoor Window Insulation Kits available from Mitre 10.  Once you get the hang of the application process, it’s not hard, this product will blow your mind.  It creates artificial double glazing – you know how you can feel the cold coming through the glass in an old window frame?  This plastic film completely stops that and the reverse effect of heat loss.  I used this every winter when we were renting and cannot recommend it enough.

3M Window Insulation Kit New Zealand Mum Blog

  • Draught stoppers – Much like windows, doors can wreck havoc whilst trying to keep your home snug and warm.  We have all wooden joinery which is a bit past its prime and our french doors in the lounge are so gappy you can feel a little breeze whistling through them which is not optimal lol.  Two solutions here; add a window strip and use an old fashioned draught stopper.  Last year I added a window strip down the length of our doors where they join and I’d say it cut the breeze by about 95%!  This year I will be investing in some of Kmart’s cute draught stoppers to seal the bottom of the doors – I think they’re only $6!

3M Window Insulation Kit New Zealand Mum Blog 3M Window Insulation Kit New Zealand Mum Blog

  • Dehumidify – My dehumidifiers are my all time fave household appliances.  I might be a little bit addicted to them.  I love them for their white noise and also for their intended purpose of drying your home!  I’ve had mine off all Summer but since the rain last week have been running the big guy every day.  Prevention is better than trying to fix a damp problem.  I rotate mine around each room, usually doing emptying it twice before moving on to the next room.  Don’t forget, it’s easier and cheaper to heat a dry house!
  • Get your chimney swept – This is just a basic maintenance and safety issue.  If you are renting this is something your landlord should pay for and have attended to annually to prevent build up in the flue.
  • Heating – We have a very charming but pretty ineffective gas fireplace with a hidden flue, so we don’t receive any benefit of all that nice hot air going up the chimney.  We also have an ‘L’ shaped house so warm air does not naturally flow through.  I’m not entirely convinced our heat pump is that economical so I’m thrilled to have been using the new Goldair Platinum Series Ceramic Tower Heater for the past two very chilly days.  Both Dave and I agree that we have never used any kind of heat source that heats up a room as quickly as this ceramic heater does.  I love it’s modern styling, tiny footprint and upright design which means it can safely operate in some awkward spaces.  The LCD display is a great feature that makes it easy to keep an eye on the temperature and adjust accordingly – with the remote!  With hurricane Nix in the house the most endearing feature for me is the safety tip-over switch.  Available from Farmers, Briscoes, Noel Leeming, Mitre 10 etc RRP$249.99

Goldair Platinun Ceramic Heater Mum Blog New Zealand

  • Linen – While I’m still able to get things {mostly} dry on the line I have popped the big blankets and flannel sheets in quick 15 minute wash cycles to get them all fresh and ready to pop on the beds when we need it.  There’s nothing worse than trying to dry large, heavy loads of laundry when the rain is relentless.
  • Gutters – After the trees have lost all of their leaves head up on your roof or get up the ladder and clear out the gutters.  Pooling water that’s unable to drain can get into your house and cause major damage.  It’s not the best job but one you only have to do once a year.
  • Clothing – Take a quick inventory of winter items that the family needs.  This is a great opportunity to clear out the drawers and wardrobes and pass on items that may now be too small or surplus to requirements.  Keep your ‘need’ list on your phone or in your purse so you can reference it while out shopping/thrifting if you stumble across a bargain.  Don’t put off buying items you know you need, like gumboots or raincoats, scrambling for these items the day of a rainy school trip or family outing will easily raise stress levels!

 

Stay, warm, and stay dry, but don’t be afraid to enjoy the outdoors even in less-than perfect weather.  Sometimes popping a raincoat on and heading out on a blowy, showery day can clear the cobwebs and make you feel alive!  Kids don’t melt in the rain and really don’t care about getting wet.  Puddles are friends (with the right equipment) and will instantly cure even the most stubborn case of cabin fever.

Enjoy the season everyone!

The Goldair Platinum Series Ceramic Tower Heater was provided for editorial consideration.  All opinions expressed are my own.