DIY Jam Jar Pallet Planter

When we did our garden makeover last year, I started to pin ideas for the white wall. I wanted to create a wall hanging full of succulents or a pallet with jam jars to hold tea lights and plants.

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We had a pallet left over from building Sophie’s mud kitchen and lots of jam jars leftover from our wedding so I decided to try to create a planter that I had seen on Pinterest. It was part of a photo shoot so there were no details about how they made it so I decided to just go for it. I described the metal parts to the man at B&Q who eventually worked out that I needed hose clips! Then we headed to the garden centre to buy some plants. I chose some ivy, thyme and heather.

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I started by trying out a few arrangements while Craig drilled some holes in the hose pipes. I decided to use three jars for tea lights and tried to arrange these in an irregular triangle to space them out.

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Then we screwed the hose clips to the pallet.

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We tightened the hose clips so that the jars were held in place but they were still loose enough to remove.

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Craig drilled some holes into the wall and added some wall plugs.

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Then we used some small metal corner brackets to hang the pallet onto the wall. We are going to drop that black pipe, which provides the shed with electricity, so that it runs along the ground rather than across the wall.

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While Craig was fixing the pallet to the wall I started to prepare the jars. I washed some gravel to put at the bottom of the jars to help with drainage.

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Then I put the plants into each jar and a little compost if needed.

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I washed the jars and watered the plants before placing them into the hose clips. Then we tightened each of the hose clips to make sure the jars were held securely. If you have a go at making one of these, make sure you don’t over tighten the hose clips as we managed to split a jar in half doing so!

I am really pleased with the finished pallet. It didn’t take too long so we managed to get it completed during Sophie’s nap time. I love the pop of colour from the heather and hope that the ivy will trail around the wooden planks as it grows. I am not sure how well the heather with last but the jars are really easy to take out if I need to replant anything.

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I have saved the lids for the jars with the tea lights so that we can put them on when we are not using them to stop the jars filling with water if it rains.

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Here are a few more photos of the finished planter.

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I can’t wait to sit out in the garden with the festoon lights on, the tea lights lit and the fire pit going. Here’s to the lighter summer evenings that are on their way!

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anna

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Jam Jar Pallet Planter

Gruffalo Spotter Trail – Wyre Forest

Sophie loves the Gruffalo, so we decided to try out the new Gruffalo Spotter trail at the Wyre Forest today. We had read that they advise you to download the Gruffalo Spotter app before you visit as the data signal isn’t great in the forest. So we downloaded it, packed a picnic and headed to the deep dark woods…

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Sophie was keen to get started and she ran to the clues when she saw them. Some of the signs turned and showed close ups of the animal for you to guess which animal you were looking for find next.

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The Forestry Commission sell an activity pack at the visitor centre with a guide, but the trail is so clearly signposted that you can also follow the trail without the pack.

The clues lead to five different footprint markers in the forest. At the first marker, we told Sophie to stand by the tree so we could take her photo and she headed to a nearby tree rather than the marker. You can see how confused she was in the photo below as she couldn’t actually see the tree or the mouse and kept looking at the actual tree!

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When you reach the marker you point your camera at them and the characters appear and move. We didn’t realise until the last marker that they also play sounds. Sophie liked watching the characters appear on the tablet.

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We downloaded the app onto our tablet so that Sophie could see the characters better but the camera isn’t great on it and we ended up with lots of blurry photos. I wish we had downloaded it to our phones as well before we went. She asked to see the photo after we had taken them and thought it was great because it looked like she was stood with the characters.

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The trail leads through the forest and follows and path which lots of people were pushing pushchairs along quite easily. We ventured off the path a few times to explore. There were lots of dens throughout the forest which you could go into.

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Sophie also found a ‘tree’ which she carried around for a while.

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As we walked through the woods, we spotted a sleeping Gruffalo! This was perfect timing as Sophie was beginning to get a little tired but she soon picked up speed as she headed towards it!

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She was really quiet so she didn’t wake him, which was really cute. Then she decided to tickle him with her tree.

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We also found the Gruffalo’s child. Sophie went running towards her and gave her a big cuddle.

The trail was just the right length for Sophie who only asked to be picked up at the very last marker. She did get slower towards the end but the clues kept her engaged and a pack of raisins kept her going until we fetched the picnic from the car!

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The trail is free but you do have to pay for car parking. They sell an activity pack at the cafe or visitor centre for £3 which contains a guide, some stickers and fact cards. We didn’t buy one of these as Sophie wasn’t interested in the pack we bought when we did the Stick Man trail but I saw some families with older children using them and they looked like they were enjoying them.

I would recommend the Gruffalo Trail to families with young children and we definitely plan on going back. If you are planning on going, double check that the trail has been launched at your nearest forest as there are different start dates and remember to download the app before you go.

anna

If you love the Gruffalo, check out the Gruffalo feast we made in our mud kitchen.

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Simple Jam Tarts Recipe

I wanted to bake some jam for Valentine’s Day with Sophie so I searched for a recipe online. I found a really simple recipe from Paul Hollywood’s mum on the BBC website.

I like that this recipe only had a few ingredients:

  • 85g unsalted butter
  • 170g self raising flour plus extra for dusting
  • jam
  • water

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Before we started, I preheated the oven to 200 C.

I recently organised my pantry and put all my baking ingredients into glass jars. It was much easier for Sophie to scoop the flour out of the jar than out of the bag and since we needed some on the table for rolling out the pastry later, I wasn’t too worried if she spilled any.

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She measured out the flour by herself and I just checked whether she had reached the correct level.

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Sophie tipped the flour into the bowl. I was impressed that it all ended up in the bowl – Phew!

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I cut the butter into cubes and added it to the bowl. Sophie got stuck right in and squeezed the butter with her fingers.

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I remember making pastry with my sister who wouldn’t let me touch it because my hands were warm and she didn’t want it to be overworked. We are amateur bakers in my house, so we got stuck in with warm hands and squished and squeezed until it was all mixed! Sophie enjoyed this and commented on how soft the flour was.

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Then Sophie added a spoon of water and I continued to mix until it formed a dough. It needed a few spoons of water to get to the correct consistency. I did have to hide the jug from Sophie as she wanted to tip the entire thing in.

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We rolled the dough out onto the table (which we had dusted with flour).

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Sophie helped me to cut 12 round shapes which we put into a greased cup cake tray.

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We re-rolled the left over pastry and cut small hearts to use a lids for the tarts.

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Sophie helped to put a spoon of jam into each of the pastry cases (and also a fair bit into her mouth!)

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We put a pastry heart on top of each jam tart to act as a lid. We didn’t much jam in each one because the recipe said it would ooze and spread.

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The recipe said to cook the jam tarts for 30 minutes or until golden brown but ours only took about 15 minutes. Sophie was desperate to eat one as soon as they were cooked but the jam was so hot. I gave her the bowl of jam and spoon to lick while I cleaned up instead.

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Sophie ate one for her pudding later on. I think she enjoyed the jam more than the pastry! I’m not a big fan of jam tarts so haven’t got much to compare them to but Craig said we had created a jam biscuit. He did eat quite a few so they must have tasted ok! I think the pastry might have been nicer with some sugar and an egg but I love how simple these were to make and that Sophie could help throughout. If you have a go at making them, have some wipes on hand for sticky hands covered in jam!

anna

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Cheerio Bird Feeders

Sophie loves to look in the garden for birds so I thought we could make some bird feeders to encourage more birds to visit our garden.

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Last year, we read this a book called ‘Rupert and the Runaway Robin’ which came with a packet of bird seed. We followed the instructions at the back of the book and made hanging bird food balls using the seeds and some lard. However, I found that they melted because it wasn’t cold enough outside.

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Source: The Bristol Shop

This year we read the book again, but made bird feeders using cheerios, pipe cleaners and ribbon.

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I looped the end of the pipe cleaner to stop the Cheerios from falling off.

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Then I showed Sophie how to thread them onto the pipe cleaner.

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She did really well and got the hang of sliding them along to the end so that she could fit some more on.

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Although, I think Sophie ate more Cheerios than she threaded!

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When the pipe cleaner was full, I twisted the two ends together and bent the wire into a heart shape.

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I tied some ribbon through the loop so that we could hang the bird feeder up.

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We took the bird feeders outside and Sophie chose where to hang them.

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Unfortunately, it started to get dark so we couldn’t watch to see whether any birds came to eat the Cheerios but when we checked the bird feeders the following morning all of the Cheerios had gone! Although, I suspect that a squirrel might have eaten them. So we are going to make some more and hang them outside in the morning rather than the evening.

anna

 

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Hot Air Balloon Cot Mobile Tutorial

I have been making a list of things I would like to make for baby number 2, although I am not sure I will ever find the time to make anything with a toddler in tow! I made this cot mobile for Sophie before she was born and it is still hanging in her room now.  Continue reading “Hot Air Balloon Cot Mobile Tutorial”

Cooking a Feast for a Gruffalo

Sophie is really into Julia Donaldson books at the moment and we have done lots of Halloween activities after reading Room on the Broom.

A couple of weeks ago I set up an activity linked to the Gruffalo story. I decided to place the Gruffalo in Sophie’s mud kitchen for her to discover when we went out to play. As soon as she saw it, she went running over. Continue reading “Cooking a Feast for a Gruffalo”