Tag Archives: crafts

Goal 53: Get more rat merch

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You know, of course, that my beady little eyes are always hunting for any cute rat-themed merchandise ūüôā Well, recently I’ve added two great finds to my ratty¬†collection, which have¬†helped me reach my Goal #53¬†(that’s in addition to my beautiful rat teapot and Cheddar soft toy). I don’t foresee an end to this collection, but I think I can happily cross off the goal from my list¬†now.

First, I discovered that despite what I think of Halloween, the supposedly scary day can be useful for bring ratties onto the shelves! I unearthed this black plastic rat in the shops as a leftover from Halloween:

painted rat toy 1

It’s really quite pathetic how they tried to make him all beastly, as though you’d ever find a real¬†black rat with red eyes!

painted rat toy 2

I took pity on the poor critter and brought him home. After a good coat of gesso to prime him nicely…

painted rat toy 3

… I painted him to look like Mishka!

painted rat toy 4

What a difference! It just goes to show: put a fancy coat and a¬†cute face¬†on a rat, and¬†suddenly it’s no longer a horrible scary monster ūüėČ

painted rat toy 5

I still have a bit of work to do to finish off the details on his face and tail, but I have already painted a white spot on the back of his head, just like Mishka’s:

painted rat toy 6

(I call that Mishka’s ‘kissy spot’ because when he hangs his head over a ledge or comes within my reach, that’s the spot I kiss to bits!)

I named this plastic rat Loki, because he was meant to be the dark bad guy, but¬†throw in¬†a bit of shape shifting he’s actually just funny! lol :mrgreen:

The other item I snatched up was this wonderful metal coat hook:

rat themed hanger 1

Isn’t that perfect?! I found it at Kamers vol geskenke in Pretoria, but you could swear it was made for me.

The whole¬†contraption fits over a standard door, with the¬†ratties’ tails forming the hooks:

rat themed hanger 2

Call me simple, but this stuff just¬†makes me really, really happy! ūüėÄ

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Nibbling at the goalposts

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I’m sure I’ve said this before, but some achievements come in little steps. Recently I’ve nibbled away at a few more achievements on my list of 101 goals.

For Goal #54 I decorated my hand with a new design in henna, as you know I enjoy mehndi designs like this:

Goal #54b - henna

Goal #54b – henna

And to chip away at Goal #55, I recently got two new button badges for my special hat.

Goal #55 - button badges

Goal #55 – button badges

Ninja won the¬†cute smiley face badge for me¬†during a recent date night¬†at the games arcade, and the floral badge I bought at a super South African craft market called Kamers vol Geskenke (lit. ‘rooms full of gifts’) ūüôā

Speaking of Kamers, I discovered another great find there… but that’s for the next post.

Look what I got!

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Yesterday I was given a truly thoughtful gift. If you want to know anything about me,¬†know that I love gifts. Big or small,¬†free or fancy, I love them all ūüėĬ†I love giving them and I love getting them, and nothing beats a gift that’s both¬†personalised and handmade!

A very thoughtful gift

A very thoughtful gift

A colleague of mine, Elise, does pottery and has recently discovered the cuteness of ratties (through wild rats invading her kitchen and all my blog posts of pet rats). Look at this beautiful ratty teapot she made for me!

'Robert the Rat' teapot

‘Robert the Rat’ teapot

It’s named ‘Robert the Rat’ after her nickname for one of¬†the cheeky wild rats that moved into her kitchen.¬†Elise has a real heart for animals and it took weeks before Robert and¬†his family¬†were kindly and humanely removed to their rightful place outside the house. During that time Elise came to appreciate the lively little vermin for their better side ūüėČ

Rat detail on the teapot

Rat detail on the teapot

This has to be one of the coolest gifts ever. Not only is it a cheerful sunshine¬†yellow; it’s also only the second time a friend has acknowledged my love for these critters with a gift¬†(the¬†other¬†was a pink¬†mouse-and-bunny-themed¬†receiver blanket given to me by my best friend when we got our girl rats; she searched everywhere to find a baby blanket that didn’t have predators on it!)

Rat-themed teapot

Rat-themed teapot

I think this counts towards Goal #53 on my new list, don’t you? :mrgreen:

Thank you Elise!

Christmas in July Part 2

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The Christmas in July gifts for me and Flea finally arrived in the post! I raced home from the post office to unwrap the box… with Flea’s help ūüėČ

Our Secret Santa (SS) was very generous!!!

Christmas in July 2013

Christmas in July 2013

Inside the box we found…

  • two small boxes (a pink one and a blue one, for Flea and the new boys respectively) filled with all manner of tasty ratty treats: mini Marie biscuits, choc-coated sunflower seeds, yoghurt drops and rooibos biscuits
  • three cute rat-themed decals
  • the Ratatouille movie DVD (which we’ve never watched before, shame on us!)
  • a fleecy tunnel for the rat cage
  • and a stunning necklace for me!
Flea tastes her first-ever yogi

Flea tastes her first-ever yogi

My gorgeous new necklace

My gorgeous new necklace

Rat treats in a jar with a ratty decal

Rat treats in a jar with a ratty decal

That was the best fun I’ve had in the middle of winter in a long time :mrgreen:

Count me in for next year’s one!

Valentine’s dinner decor for Goal #35

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A few quick pics of the decor and table¬†layout I used for the Valentine’s dinner

The theme was red, white and silver… and yes, those are cake forks! They were for spearing the tempura fish and dipping the nuggets into the mayo. I couldn’t find the two-pronged forks I was looking for.

Each person got the following welcome gifts:¬†a heart-shaped chocolate, a miniature Valentine’s mug and a magnetic page marker with a Scripture verse¬†on it.

V-day 2I made the namecards with items I had on hand: coloured paper, craft scissors and craft stamps.

V-day 3Simple but sweet ūüôā It’s the little touches that make all the difference.

Make a ninja ‘dojo’ party decoration

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The centrepiece for the table at Ninja’s ninja-themed party was the cardboard ‘dojo’ we made:

I can’t take credit for this one at all,¬†because…

  • the tip-off for the¬†idea¬†came from this lovely blog
  • the template and instructions¬†came from this helpful website
  • and the hard work of putting it together was done by my¬†Ninja himself!

I’m sure you’ll agree the results were great.¬†HP Activity Centre’s¬†template is supplied¬†in full colour, but we only have a b&w printer. Still, I think the greyscale actually worked better and made it look more suitable for an adult’s party rather than a kiddies’ one. I used small ‘love palms’ to resemble bamboo (I checked: real bamboo was ridiculously pricey!) and placed some small, smooth pebbles around the dojo to soften the effect.

How to make simple paper lanterns

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To add to the decor at the ninja-themed party, I made some red and black paper lanterns. I’m sure just about everyone knows how to make these (I remember crafting this kind of thing as a schoolkid), but just for fun, here are the instructions anyway:

You’ll need:

  • A4 sheets of paper or card in your chosen colours
  • Scissors
  • Sticky tape (cellotape)
  • Paper punches if desired

What to do:

1. Cut a thin strip off one narrow end of an A4 sheet. Reserve this strip for the handle.

2. Fold the remaining sheet in half lengthways, and cut into it at regular intervals as shown below.

3. If you want a plain lantern, fold the paper around as shown to make the lantern shape, and secure with sticky tape.

4. Before I completed Step 3, though, I punched out some star shapes with a small hand punch.

5. Then I secured it in a lantern shape with sticky tape and taped on the strip of paper as a handle.

The completed lantern should look like this:

Tuna and mince ‘ninja smokebomb’ recipes

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Here are two more great recipes I used for Ninja’s ninja-themed party ‚Ästtuna fishcakes¬†and mince meatballs, or¬†‘smokebombs’:

Smokebombs

The tuna fishcake recipe has been a family favourite since I was little. Make it as follows:

250 g potatoes, cooked and mashed

1 slice bread

1/4 C milk

1 tin tuna (or fish of your choice)

1 egg

1 onion, finely chopped (optional) ‚Äď I use dried chives as an onion replacement

salt, black pepper and dried herbs to taste

1 1/2 t curry powder

flour for coating and oil for frying

 

1. Pinch the bread to bits in a large bowl. Add the milk and soak briefly.

2. Add all the other ingredients and combine.

3. Form fishcakes of the desired size. (I made mine quite small¬†so they’d be bite-sized party snacks.)

4. Coat with flour, dusting off excess.

5. Fry in hot oil until brown, turning over as needed.

6. Drain and serve. (These are great with tomato sauce/ketchup, but I served them plain for the party.)

 

Now for the mince meatballs:

1 slice bread

1/4 C milk

1 onion, finely chopped (optional) ‚Äď I use dried chives as an onion replacement

350 g beef mince

1 egg

1/2 t salt

black pepper and dried herbs to taste

 

1. Pinch the bread to bits in a large bowl. Add the milk and soak briefly.

2. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine.

3. Form meatballs of the desired size.

4. Coat with flour, dusting off excess.

5. Fry in hot oil until brown, turning over as needed.

6. Drain and serve. (This recipe makes great meatballs for spaghetti dishes, and can be used to form hamburger patties too.)

 

Note: You could probably make both of these recipes much ‘smokier’ with hotsauce and other flavours, but since I didn’t know the taste preferences of all the guests, I played it safe with milder smokebombs.

 

To make the decorations for each fishcake and meatball, I printed on card¬†some silhouettes of ninjas in various poses. These came from characters in the free font ‘Ninjas’, downloaded here.

I stuck a toothpick onto the back of each cut-out as shown:

And then I¬†inserted a¬†toothpick into each ‘smokebomb’.

Smoke 3

This served a dual purpose: the guests could easily handle the snacks, and it was a simple, sneaky way to add more interest to the decor ūüôā

Goal #43 ‚Äď Just in time for Christmas

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As Christmas has rolled around (just saying that makes me think of¬†the rolling around we’re likely to do after Christmas… all those festive feasts!), I’ve found an opportunity to accomplish another of the goals on my list. This time it was #43: Give someone a handmade gift. I’ve baked several batches of my favourite ginger¬†biscuits¬†and packaged them like this:

#43_a

I popped packets of 10 biscuits, tied with tinsel (or ribbon), inside small brown paper bags. Then, using mini wooden pegs from a craft shop, I pegged a pretty teabag (from Pukka) onto the bag.

Homemade Christmas gifts

As a final touch, I decorated the pegs with small silver charms of teabags, teapots and teacups:

#43_b

I’ve given these to quite a few friends I’ve seen so far, and plan on making a few more batches tomorrow in time for handing out on Christmas day.¬†Homemade treats¬†are such a cost-effective way of giving gifts, and the extra touches¬†with the¬†presentation have drawn as many exclamations of¬†‘Oh, wow!’ as the biscuits themselves!

#43_c

The post no one will read

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So I’ve decided to start a blog, as a platform for sharing my¬†passions, such as painting, photography, crafts and fancy rats¬†and¬†glorifying God for His grace¬†in¬†creation and daily life. It will take a while to get it all tacked together, but here’s hoping it will be a blessing to those who stumble upon it…