Ladybird Tuesday - The Party

I have a confession - I don't have time to post a blog for this weeks Ladybird Tuesday, I should not even be on the computer. 

Ladybird Tuesday

And the reason is above.  No, not the book, I don't have this book.  I would like it very much tho.

Una's birthday party is tomorrow and I should be sewing peacock feathers onto her tutu, baking her birthday cake & the cup cakes for the party, making tissue paper pompoms, painting the picture of the peacock for the pin the tail on the peacock, cutting out the tags for her party bags, the sweetie bag favours, sorting out her pass the parcel and musical bumps prizes and the tableware and ...

making a peacock tutu craft party kids children

I need a coffee...


I'll post details of how to create a fabulous peacock party and how to make the easiest tutu ever next week.  Or maybe the week after.  Louis' birthday is next week.  He wants a car party. *small sigh*


All Nearly Done - Competitions, Parties, Boxes and a Studio

Since Valentines day it has been a rather crazy busy week or so. I have not updated our blog as I have simply fallen into bed exhausted every night with nothing to say and fingers too tired to type.  There is still time to get involved with the 'imapiece' Craftivist Jigsaw Project and sign the Save the Children epetition.  I know that we have not published the winner of the vintage Ladybird book - Learning to Sew yet, so, here it is:

What have we been doing?

Well, it's been half term and here at Mrs Fox's February is party month.  We have parties this month including three of our own little foxes and Mr Neil Fox.  Mr Fox is 40 and obviously found turning 40 more traumatic than a celebration.  I must admit I was surprised.  I thought it was only women who greeted the passing of such a milestone with such undisguised dread.  When I said I really needed to update our blog he gave me full permission to use his trauma as an excuse for my neglect.

On the other paw it is always a joy to work on a party for the little foxes.  We always get to be so much more inventive with our own parties as, to be honest, we can talk our own little foxes into things we wouldn't try out on a client.  As I knew we would be particularly busy this February I had warned my little ones that it was going to be small parties this year and they could have a little garden party in the summer with their friends to make up for it.  Little Una Fox will turn 7 next Wednesday and we have worked on a Peacock Party to celebrate.  What is a Peacock Party I hear you cry.  Well here is the moodboard and which includes Una's picture that inspired the whole thing, further details and some great 'how to'-guides will follow shortly.
children's party theme peacocks

Mrs Fox's first Crafty Box is due to be sent out soon and the finishing touches are just being added to  a great new project from Mrs Fox's.  We will be sending out a Mrs Fox's Crafty Boxes every month filled with themed children's craft projects and a variety of ideas and suggestions around that month's theme to fuel your child's imagination and aid you in developing their interest and enthusiasm for making things.  If you are interested in subscribing to Mrs Fox's Crafty Boxes further details are here please email us if you are interested.

And finally Mrs Fox is, almost, nearly ensconced in her new studio.  There is much still to do and the smell of paint and floor sealant is almost overpowering.  But it makes me so happy to sit in here and type this blog post.
craft studio


Show a Little Love - Craftivist Collective's Jigsaw Project and Help Save the Children in it's Race Against Hunger

Happy Valentine's Day!

Here at Mrs Fox's we are celebrating the day of love with an update, as promised, on our jigsaw pieces for the Craftivist Collective's Jigsaw Project (#imapiece).

"Using jigsaw pieces stitched together, the project will create an art installation to raise awareness of the issues of world hunger and injustice. As well as making a piece for the artwork, we're encouraging you to make one for yourself to keep as a reminder to be part of the solution, and to give a piece stitched with the words "I'm a piece" to your MP, to ask them to be the positive change they wish to see in the world. You can find instructions here, your jigsaw template here, suggested slogans here, a story to reflect on whilst stitching here and there's also a video here.- everything you should need!"

On Monday I printed out the jigsaw template from the Craftivist Collective's website and cut out three shapes on white cotton.  Little Louis Fox is only three and not yet holding scissors with ease, much less a needle, so in order not to exclude him from this activity I dug out some fabric pens.  (For this they probably could have used ordinary felt tip pens.)  The children watched the instructional video on the Craftivist's website and we talked about what we were doing and why.  Then I told them they could do what ever they liked as a design on the fabric with the pens.

As you can see, Louis went for the abstract approach while Una said she wanted to draw; "something beautiful to make the children smile".  Una's is covered in flowers, butterflies and ladybirds.  I love the way the flowers are arranged in an arc around the hole in the jigsaw piece and the blue of the sky stops leaving a big white gap.  Don't you remember drawing the sky like that?

As I talked a little more with Louis about what it means to do something for others, 'kindness' seemed to be the word that for him was most helpful in understanding this concept.  So, I wrote out the word and very quickly, with Louis watching, stitched over it in chain stitch.  Louis had been looking at what Una was doing and requested a flower too.  So, I used one of the felt daisies that I make for our felt flower headbands and sewed that onto his jigsaw piece.

That evening I cut out some more of the jigsaw shapes this time in blue cotton to back and stiffen, their  pieces.  The Craftivist website very sensibly suggests you use bondaweb, which you can iron onto fabric, but I don't have any and thought that sewing around the shape was well within Una's capabilities.  I've finished Louis' for him, sewing the 2 layers of fabric to the back with a simple running stitch.  Una has finished her backing and is still trying to decide what words of wisdom to embroider onto the front in the space she has left for this. 

It is so nice to be crafting with the children and also teaching them about their place in the world and responsibility to help others.  It feels right that their creativity has the potential to do good even while they are so young.  And I find myself absolutely inspired by the Craftivist Collective's approach to activism.  

If you fancy a really worthwhile craft project to share with your children, why don't you have a go too.  All the details can be found on the Craftivist Collective's webpage, including a step by step video guide.  

If you need help with the sewing then take a look on our previous post at our offer of a FREE copy of a vintage Ladybird book, Learning to Sew.  All you have to do is go over to the Save the Children's Race Against Hunger petition, sign it, and then leave a message in the comments section of our posts here or here.


Ladybird Tuesday - Learning to Sew, Ladybird GIVEAWAY and Craftivist Collective's Jigsaw Project for Save the Children

Phew!  My longest title ever.  This is a special Ladybird Tuesday here at Mrs Fox's.  I'm combining this weeks post with a FREE GIVEAWAY of the Ladybird book in question, (I found a copy at my local charity shop) and a call to get involved with the Craftivist Collective's Jigsaw Project, (#imapiece).

Learning to Sew by Noreen Davis with illustrations by Eric Winter was published in 1972 and is part of the Ladybird series 633.  This book is close to my heart, it combines the 70's version of the make do and mend ethos with Ladybird's classic educational agenda. It is probably as a result of books like this one that I love to make things.  Out of this love of crafting, Mrs Fox's was born and Mrs Fox's Crafty Boxes are the latest product of this.  If you love making things with and for your children too, then at the end of this post I'll tell you how to get yourself a copy of this book.

Ladybird Tuesday - Learning to Sew

"The simple text and clear, colourful illustrations of this book will make learning to sew a pleasure.  The reader is taken step by step through the beginnings of sewing and at each stage a useful article can be made which adds to the sense of achievement."

This book starts with a list of "Some materials you will need", and a great Ladybird illustration too.

Ladybird Tuesday - Learning to Sew

It then proceeds with a series of skills; explaining various stitches, hemming, sewing on a button etc.

Ladybird Tuesday - Learning to Sew

And includes a series of simple projects that will help a child learn to sew.  As I love to make things in fabric, (we sell some of them on our Folksy store) it is no surprise that my oldest little fox, Una, has been quick to learn and insistent on using her sewing skills, my last post being the perfect example.

Ladybird Tuesday - Learning to Sew

I love to sew and I love fabrics, and pattern.  There is something straightforward and practical about sewing, as a skill it can be used to make so many things, there are so many methods and processes.  But sewing is also creative, artistic and really very meditative.

So, when I discovered the Craftivists Jigsaw Project  which aims to raise awareness of Save the Children's Race Against Hunger Campaign I signed the petition straight away.  And then I found some white cotton, scissors and fabric pens because it gave me a starting point for a sewing craft with the little foxes.

Mrs Fox's crafting with children

The Craftivist Collective is going to create a giant embroidered jigsaw puzzle.  Each piece of the jigsaw will be handmade by individual crafters and so this afternoon I have cut out three of the jigsaw templates for me and each of the little foxes to decorate.  I will pop pictures of the results up on Valentines Day:

"Using jigsaw pieces stitched together, the project will create an art installation to raise awareness of the issues of world hunger and injustice. As well as making a piece for the artwork, we're encouraging you to make one for yourself to keep as a reminder to be part of the solution, and to give a piece stitched with the words "I'm a piece" to your MP, to ask them to be the positive change they wish to see in the world. You can find instructions here, your jigsaw template here, suggested slogans here, a story to reflect on whilst stitching here and there's also a video here.- everything you should need!"

So, how about spreading a little bit of your love a little bit further this Valentines Day?  How about showing your love for the people of the world and helping to put hunger at the top of the agenda at the G8 next summer, sign the petition here and then pop a comment on this post for the chance to win a vintage copy of the Ladybird book; Learning to Sew.   We will pick a post at random on 21st February when the jigsaw pieces should be with the Craftivist Collective.  And spread the word, on your own blog, Twitter and Facebook.

Craftivist Collective

This post is part of Ladybird Tuesday started on the Being Mrs C blog, take a look at her posts here.

And the rest of Mrs Fox's Ladybird Tuesday posts are here and if you have a collection of Ladybird books, please do feel free to join in.


Valentine's Craft for Kids - WIN handmade felt heart pocket

Maybe I am feeling a little guilty about my weekend of crafting without the little foxes.  Also, February is Birthday Month for us at Mrs Fox's Hertfordshire HQ, and while I've been thinking about all the family birthday's I've not really bothered too much with Valentine's Day.  Mr Fox is such a great husband and father that I really should do something to let him know just how much we appreciate him.

So, Monday after school, as I felt I needed to give the children a bit of undivided attention I though maybe we could do some Valentine's crafts for daddy.

Felt Heart Pockets 
Little Una Fox received various sewing kits for Christmas and has been itching to use them.  I thought that a simple sewing project would be a great way to give her a bit of practise.

You will need:
pencil & paper to make template
coloured thread, wool or embroidery silks

  • First we drew our heart template onto paper and cut it out, they were about 10cm across at the widest point.  Next we pinned the template to the red felt and cut round it.  
  • Then we took two pieces of felt overlapping them by about 2cm, we pinned them to our template and cut out our heart shape again.  Before unpinning them from the template we pinned these 2 pieces of felt together at a central point,  This is where the opening of the pocket will be.
  • Placing the two felt heart shapes together we used a simple running stitch in a contrasting colour to sew them together.  We started sewing at one side of the opening, following the outside edge of the heart until we were back to this starting point.  We then sewed across the opening flap of the pocket. 

We've filled our little heart pocket with LoveHeart candies for daddy.  This craft could also be used to make a little coin purse, or with a loop of ribbon can be hung. 

I made two of these little hearts alongside Una.  I've found that if I sit next to Una showing her a new skill by doing it myself she catches on pretty quickly and I can better explain how to do it, if I am doing it myself.

To celebrate the launch of Mrs Fox's Crafty Boxes we are having a bit of a give-away week or so on our blog.  

WIN! - The hearts that I made, along with a set of 3 heart crayons (from the lovely BeeBee's Quirky Crayons) and a pack of mini LoveHeart candies are yours if you go across to our Facebook page, 'like' us and then pop a comment on this post telling me what you would like to see come through your letterbox this Valentine's Day. Una will pick the winner on Friday 9th February - so you are aiming to impress a 6 year old judge ; ) 


Mrs Fox's Crafty Boxes - Q & A's...

Mrs Fox’s Crafty Boxes questions and answers. 
Starting this Easter we will be creating craft kits for children delivered to your door on a monthly basis.    

How much is a monthly subscription?                                 
Each month works out at a cost of £10.50 per box plus P&P. 
(P&P £4.95)

Do we have to subscribe on a yearly basis?
As a new venture, we will be asking for payment for each forthcoming 3 months.  We will require 1 months written notice (an email to will do) if you do not wish to renew your subscription.  

These boxes sound interesting but I have 2 children… I can’t buy them each a box, how can this work for me?
Our boxes will always contain plenty enough for you to be able to make at least 3 of the main craft.  On top of this, we will also include at least 3 additional craft ideas so there will be plenty to get on with.  In fact, if you have a friend back after school, you will have enough to keep them all busy.

I can buy craft packs from my local supermarket, why are yours different or better?
The creations that will emerge from our box will not be like anything you can buy in the supermarket or even major craft shops.  We take pride in coming up with something a little different.  We also, where possible, use natural or recyclable materials.  We will even have you recycling items from your own home.  We aim to have you and your child creating items that you will not want to throw away.  We will only use plastic or foam if there is no alternative.  The designs are our own and much of our kit is hand crafted or cut by us.

My children are aged 4, 6 and 10, will they all get something to do from this box?
We spend a lot of time trying to design our products with variations for age.  We offer more difficult, alternative methods so that the interest of older children is held and their own inspired imaginations are encouraged.  We like to think that children up to 12 years old might enjoy customising our crafts and stamping their own identity on them.

I have a boy and a girl, on your site you point us to a sleeping princess kit, how are they both going to enjoy this?
  • As much as possible, we make our boxes non-gender specific.  As parents of both boys and girls, we are aware that sometimes gender is a very grey area and at other times, the divide is glaringly obvious.  We use this experience in our designs.  If one of our crafts errs towards the feminine, we will offset this or spin it so that a boy will be interested.  For example, our Easter craft box will offer the chance to make tulips or daffs for mum or grandma.  Both my sons love to give me flowers (usually picked from some-one’s garden) and pictures as much as my daughter does and they all love making anything out of cardboard.
  • We will ask upon subscription, the sex of your child/children in order that we can make adjustments should any craft be, to our mind, too gender specific.

If you have any more questions about our boxes, please leave them in the comments box below and we will do our best to answer them as soon as possible.

If you’re one of our 50% off-ers….

If you are lucky enough to be a winner of our fantastic Mrs Fox’s discount, we ask for a little something from you in return.

We would appreciate it if you would take the time to send us pictures of some of the things you make from our boxes, maybe even piccies of you and your children (or just their hands) making them.  We would also be grateful for comments and feedback (good or bad) so that we can constantly revise our plans for future boxes.

We’re not asking that you do this every time you receive your box but we hope to build a little place where people can share their crafting experiences and offer hints and tips to each other.

Thank you!


Ladybird Tuesday - Everyday Words for Numbers

Everyday Words For Numbers by J McNally and W Murray with illustrations by Kenneth Inns is part of the Ladybird Words for Number Series, it is book four.  Being Mrs C posted on the third book in this series (which I also have) last week, so I thought I would post on this one.

Are you wondering what the Ladybird Words for Number Series is?

Ladybird Tuesday Everyday Words for Numbers

"A vital part of a child's development is concerned with language growth.  Language shapes our thoughts and influences our modes of learning.  Words and symbols not only represent objects, but events, ideas and concepts...  Numbers are not met in isolation from language or experience."
Still none the wiser?  Well, it's four books for children that present the words that are most frequently used to describe situations involving numbers; ie weights and measurements, distances, temperature, coins etc.  For example: This book originally cost 2'6.  The first thing, on the first page, that strikes me is all the old currency and what, to me, seems like the extraordinarily complex coin system.  It takes three pages to explain it.

Ladybird Tuesday Everyday Words for Numbers

Ladybird Tuesday Everyday Words for Numbers

Ladybird Tuesday Everyday Words for Numbers

It pains me to cast aspersions on Ladybirds ability to impart knowledge on any subject, but, to be honest, I am still ignorant of any real understanding even after reading this.  I was born in 1970 and am too young (just) to remember, 'old money'.  But, what I do recall is my mother and grandmother periodically going off into these impenetrable tirades on florins, and half crowns, and shillings, and sixpences.  So, I may have just switched off as soon as I saw the word 'threepenny'.

Everyday Words For Numbers was first published in 1967, three years before Decimal Day.  It was on 15th February 1971 that the United Kingdom changed from the centuries old tradition of using 12 pence to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound to a new decimal system.   A year after  Everyday Words For Numbers was first published the government began to issue the new shillings and florins which were 5 and 10 new pence coins.  So, with the publication of this book there must have been some knowledge that decimal was coming.  Yet they leave the last two pages of this book to discussing decimal in any form and then it is only decimal fractions and the metric system for measurements.
Ladybird Tuesday Everyday Words for Numbers

And they don't exactly try to make it look very exciting do they?  Whereas using the imperial system to measure volume is a right wheeze...

Ladybird Tuesday Everyday Words for Numbers

I love the little boy in the foreground's jumper and his brown Start Rite shoes, don't you?  One of my favourite things about this book is the illustrations.  The clothes the children are wearing, the milk bottles, the scales they're using and the scale being used to weigh them; see below.  I remember at infant school when we all used to troop down to the school nurses' room to be weighed, measured and checked for nits - Ahh the 70's.  Kids today just don't know what they're missing.

Ladybird Tuesday Everyday Words for Numbers

One of the things I am really enjoying about our Ladybird Tuesday posts is that as I read each Ladybird book I notice the tension between the differences that the years have made to this world we live in, and the constants, the things have remained the same.  In the illustrations there are those grey institutional interiors, the utilitarian props and the 70's dress sense that I look back on with nostalgia and genuine affection.  Then there are the things that never change, that British love of the bargain, sale shopping.  There is a whole page on it and one of the most colourful and animated illustrations.  And apparently they happen only once a year. 

Ladybird Tuesday Everyday Words for Numbers

This post is part of Ladybird Tuesday started on the Being Mrs C blog, take a look at her posts here.

And the rest of Mrs Fox's Ladybird Tuesday posts are here and if you have a collection of Ladybird books, please do feel free to join in.
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