Family farm holidays in Cornwall magical for children, toddlers and babies.
Coombe Mill Blog
"Tales from the farmers wife" shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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Welcome to a new year of Trash 2 Treasure. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year. I can’t quite believe it is 2017 but I’m looking forward to watching the days begin to draw out a little this month and seeing if I can spot the first buds on the trees. With Chinese New Year this month and Valentine’s Day next month there are plenty of opportunities to get your crafting hats on. Alternatively why not share how you use up your Christmas turkey leftovers or inspire me for the mountain of nut shells I am looking at in our house. Whether you are sewing, crafting, cooking or sawing I love to see all your upcycled ideas.
My photo below is from our New Year’s Eve crafting here on the farm, while my post this month looks forward to Chinese New Year.
Joining in with Trash 2 Treasure
Trash 2 Treasure is all about upcycling. Posts should be about making something foraged from nature, household throw away items or low value items you have added value to.
Posts can take any form, all that matters is that the item made has primarily been upcycled. Whether you cook, sew, make or create I’d love you to join me.
The linky will run on the 1st Monday of every month and stay open for the full month.
There is no post limit as the link up is open all month.
Old posts and new posts welcome.
Please comment on my host post and at least 2 others and use #Trash2Treasure in the sign off so other’s know where you came from and can pop back to see what you have made too.
Do remember to pop back during the month to check on later posts linked up. I will share linked posts during the month as a reminder to pop back and as a thank you for joining in.
Please add my Trash 2 Treasure badge to help others find the link up and to be in with a chance of winning the lovely Duck Tape Colours (see below).
Most of my Trash 2 Treasure tutorials will come from fun keepsakes we have made with the children in our farm activity hour, but sometimes I share bigger upcycling projects from the farm too. I hope through the linky to acquire some new ideas from you.
A little extra from the awesome folk at Duck Tape Colours
Trash to Treasure is sponsored by Duck Tape Colours, makers of colourful tape to add pattern and sparkle to all your upcycling projects. My favourite upcycling post each month will receive 3 colourful rolls of tape to inspire their next project. Do check out the website for plenty of creative ideas.
My December winner of the duck tape colours is Anna of Tea and a Sewing Machine. Anna made a wonderful Christmas wreath from dried citrus pieces. Why not pop over and see how to make one yourself.
Thank you to all linking up in 2016 there are some wonderful ideas I have pinned over the year.
Trash 2 Treasure Communities
Please use the hashtag #Trash2Treasure for your makes, I’ll find you and promote your post or picture on
If you link up below to Trash 2 Treasure December I’ll also send you an invite to pin on the Trash 2 Treasure Pinterest board
I love how national events are slowly becoming international events. When I was growing up I had never heard of Chinese New Year, for my children it is quite different, even in primary school there were crafts and Chinese food to mark the occasion. While we don’t celebrate Chinese New Year I like my children to be aware of different cultures and events and when they take place. A craft is a good way to do this. I decided it would be a fun to make a chinese lantern with the children at Coombe Mill. We had a little look at the pages about China in my lonely planet Kids cities of the world book, discussed Chinese symbols from my printable below and then set about making some Chinese Lanterns.
What you’ll need to make a Chinese Lantern
Yellow or Gold Paint
Black or Gold Marker Pen
Yellow or Gold Floristry Ribbon
Method for making a Chinese Lantern
Paint your toilet roll red and put it aside to dry
Squash the toilet roll and cut a long thin strip from each side leaving a good cm untouched at the top and bottom
Open your toilet roll and flatten again in a new place about 2 cm round from the first squish and cut another two strips along both sides. Repeat once or twice more until you have strips spaced around your toilet roll.
Now bend the toilet roll gently in half across the middle of the strips, open and push the toilet roll end to end to so the lantern shape pops out from the fold line.
Cut two thin strips from the end towards the centre (without cutting all the way through) and lift to form handles.
Cut a length of red, orange and yellow floristry ribbon and split them in half
Cut the ends of a half of each colour into a point matching a Candle flame
Split the remaining three halves in half again, curl with scissors and organise with the flame style floristry ribbon
Staple onto the lantern for a flame effect inside
Use Yellow / gold paint to accessorise your lantern
Add Chinese symbols with a black or gold marker pen. (There are some simple symbols with happy greetings on the printable below)
Printable Chinese Symbols.
A few alternatives you could try
Try yellow lanterns with red trim.
Add your lanterns onto a length of string or floristry ribbon to form lantern bunting
Hang your lanterns over fairy lights to create light up bunting.
Place on a saucer over a tea light for a table decoration (don’t add the pretend floristry ribbon flame for this option).
Add a little glue and glitter if required (or you could add this to the red paint when it is still wet.
A Vlog tutorial on making a Chinese Lantern
Making a Chinese Lantern in Activity Hour on the Farm
Do you celebrate Chinese New Year or feel it is important for children to be aware of such events?
So with a year of vlogging under my belt you’d have thought I’d have mastered the art by now and made vlogging bloopers a thing of the past. It turns out, when I look back through my video clips from the year; this is far from the case. On the contrary, my crafting projects in particular are riddled with retakes thanks to moments of memory loss and things that didn’t quite work out as easy as they should have been when filming!
Last year I shared the silly outtakes and even though I’d hoped there wouldn’t be any this year I’ve managed to pull together a hefty collection of the bits that were edited out of all my published blogs. It feels a waste to just hit delete on them when many of them make me laugh looking back. As a result I find myself competing with my own mistakes in another year of vlogging bloopers edited to show off all my worst moments. I hope they make you chuckle, and if you vlog yourself, please tell me you have a few of these hiding on your lap top somewhere too?
Coombe Mill Vlogging Bloopers for 2017
If I’ve not put you off watching one of my real vlogs, they are largely part of my #Trash2Treasure upcycling posts. I’d love you to jump on board with the linky; no vlogging necessary, just sharing ideas for making something of value from something that might otherwise be thrown away or abandoned. The link up is the first Monday of each month lasting all month. December is still open and a new January link up will go live on the 2nd.
For now I leave you to continue with your family festivities and in my case way too much Gin! Just as well it is only Christmas once a year.
Autumn is perfect for foraging and the farm is rich in natures finest seasonal offering. I wanted to take advantage of the countless acorns falling all around this week and set about creating acorn crafts from a nature hunt.
A Nature Hunt
We were spoilt for choice with where to go hunting, it could have been as close as the car park but the children told me they had seen lots over by one of the play areas so we set off there with a collecting tub each looking for oak leaves, acorns, acorn shells and a feather.
Collecting in a play area naturally necessitated a little play too!
With our pots full we headed back to begin creating. The girls were very keen to try the jewellery first. I guessed this would be the hardest so it made sense to do it first moving to the messier painting afterwards. The adults helped me to skewer the acorns so the children could thread the acorns onto their string. They made a simple but fun nature necklace. For those happy to learn a little finger knitting we made stretchy bracelets with an acorn feature. This was pushing things for many of the little ones so we just pulled a couple of strands of wool through the acorns for a similar effect.
Whist wearing our jewellery we extended our acorn crafts to paint work. I had three separate challenges which all came together on one colourful card.
First we selected the shells from our collection and holding onto the stalks made geometric designs in overlapping colours.
Next we rolled acorns in paint and shook them on paper inside the tub to create messy art.
Finally we painted our oak leaves and made colourful prints.
I do love all the Christmas crafts around, there are so many lovely ideas for using up old packaging, making gift tags, recycling Christmas cards and turning toilet tolls into Christmas figurines. I wasn’t sure which of my ideas I wanted to share the most. In the end I settled on a very simple idea that my children adore: A Christmas gift tree decoration. A bit of a mouthful as it is two things in one, a little like a Christmas cracker but without the bang and so very simple to make.
This will be the first year at Coombe Mill that we will have our games room to host our Christmas activities. I plan to put a Tree up in there and decorate it with a little Christmas gift tree decoration for each of the children staying this Christmas. It will be a little something extra for them to open while the adults are enjoying a glass of bubbly or two at our Christmas Eve Family Celebrations.
What You’ll Need
Gift wrap string
Christmas wrapping paper (left over scraps are fine)
Gift to fit inside your toilet roll
Christmas Message (optional)
Here are the downloadable messages I used, click on the image below to get a printable version.
Seal one end of the toilet roll:
a) Press one end of the toilet roll inwards to make a dent.
b) Turn the toilet roll round 180 degrees and do the same
again to form two peaks at one end
c) Fold the Two Peaks down
2. Place the Gift(s) inside the toilet roll with a Christmas message.
3. Fold the toilet roll end as above to achieve your sealed parcel.
4. Wrap the gift in Christmas paper large enough to cover the shape.
5. Take a piece of gift wrap string and create a cross design to hold the present together.
Finishing at the top with a double knot and enough string left to tie onto a branch of your tree.
6. Add your Christmas Gift Tree Decoration to your Christmas tree.
A few Extras you could try.
Try filling and wrapping match boxes instead of toilet rolls
Why not look up a few Christmas Jokes to put inside instead of a Christmas Message?
Make them rustic style with brown paper and rough string and add a sprig of holly or Ivy.
Why not make 25 and use them as advent calendar presents.
How to Make a Christmas gift Tree Decoration Tutorial Vlog
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares life on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. Step into our beautiful 30 acres and experience nature close up with farming and educational crafts in stunning North Cornwall. Family, fun and adventure start here.