Welcoming the Autumn

It's arrived hasn't it?  It's well and truly here.  Our front garden is littered with the leaves from our lime tree.  We squelch through the moulded grapes and decaying brown vine leaves in the garden.  The remaining tomatoes, still green on the vine, are heading for my chutney pan at this rate.  A few are still ripening on the window sill but...  It's Autumn isn't it?

I don't want to sound down about this because I love autumn.  Those first hazzy mornings are lovely.  The freshness in the air on our dog walks up on the fields makes you breath in deeply and thank your lucky stars for living here.  It's beautiful.  And as all around you dies, or falls asleep, it makes you glad to be alive.  I love autumn colours; the low golden light; the last blackberries.   There are things that you see more sharply in the autumn; like the mushrooms that appear all over the woodland and how rich and green the moss looks when all around starts to turn brown.

This Autumn is a little bittersweet for me as Little Louis Fox has started school full-time.  I am so happy for him, and he is already settling in with his new teacher and happy to be with so many friends that he already knows from nursery.  I am not going to be one of those mother's who feels redundant now that both my children are in school, makes jokes about "having another one..." and starts manically re-decorating.  But I do miss him.  I really do.

And, as our ceiling fell down in the back room last month there is a certain amount of re-decorating going on Chez Fox. Hee, hee!

Now they are both in school full-time it makes the weekends all the more special.  We are all together and meals are noisy and messy, and we visit and host our friends; the devastation that ensues is no better or worse than before but the clean up on Monday is a little more lonely.  (Yes I do indeed leave my housework until Monday morning!)

Last weekend we went for a walk in the woods, to one of my favourite places; Trent Park in Enfield, where I used to go with my parents, aunts and cousins when I was growing up.  The children had a great time building a bivy and we were hard pressed to coax them out of it, even after a good hour of mucky play.

And that's what is wonderful about autumn isn't it.  Before you get a chance to be tired of the chill, and the wet, and the mud, there is autumn.  All the positives of the chill - big warm coats, wet - wellies, yay! and mud - erm... (you'll have to ask the little foxes exactly what the positive of that one is) are here to be enjoyed.  

So, welcome autumn, nice to see you too, xxx.


Going Wild!

kids craft boxes wild animals

Apart from going back to school, September isn't a month with a specific event to build a theme around so we took the opportunity to go wild.  This month's box is all about Wild Animals... monkeys, lions, giraffes, elephants and erm... mice.

The box has all that's needed to create these cheeky monkey masks in the snap above.
We have a beautiful hand drawn 'Lion, King of the African Plains' handy flip flap (!).  Ah yes, what on earth is that?  Did you ever as a kid, take a square of paper and fold it several times to make a 'fortune teller'.  Do you remember?  'Pick a colour', 'Pick a number'.  Then, 'You smell' or 'You're lucky'.

Our lion is like that, except you can colour him in perhaps and learn a little origami folding.

kids craft boxes wild animals

We managed to fit a rather tall papier mache giraffe into the box to be decorated with paints and decoupage.  Then cuts of fabric with lots of different shaped sequins to make an elephant fit for a parade - and what elephant wouldn't forget his friends?  In went some card, string and instructions to make some friendly mice.


My little foxes have made these before and really enjoyed having another go.
It went like this;
Them, "Mum, can we make one?"
Me, "You can decorate an elephant after you've done some reading, OK?"
Them, "OK mum."


If you would like to order this months craft box we have a few still available for £12 + p&p or join our crafty little foxes with a three month subscriptions for £10.50 a box +p&p.


Our Holiday in Brittany

This weekend it has felt like summer is well and truly over.  I've been going through my holiday photos.  It brought back what a lovely holiday we had in Brittany this year, with the other Mrs Fox & family, and I wanted to capture a few memories.  

We were initially looking for a camping holiday in France.  Little Louis Fox wanted to go on a ferry in the car - he was very specific!  I'd never been to Brittany before, but I remembered friends who went regularly raving about it as a unique region of France.  I started exploring the possibility of camping, or staying in a gite, and then a friend offered their parent's holiday home for 2 weeks at the end of August.  We didn't need to be asked twice and stayed in Penvins, just outside Vannes.

The medieval town of Vannes was beautiful, and we enjoyed exploring it:

Brittany France, Vannes, summer holidays,
I must confess my favourite shop was also in Vannes, la belle-iloise.  An entire shop of tinned sardines (and other fish).  

I know I am a sucker for good packaging, but, I loved this shop, and I have never before bought a tin entirely full of tins of fish, but from this shop I was happy to do so.

Vannes is in Morbihan on the south west coast of Brittany.  Morbihan is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution in 1790. The only French department whose name comes from the Breton language.  It is particularly famous for the Carnac stones, ancient megaliths which predate and are more extensive than those at Stonehenge.

Brittany France, seaside, summer holidays,

Brittany France, seaside, summer holidays,

After a soggy spring and summer, we Foxes were so ready for a holiday by the time it got to August. Busy with work and a family of young children we were looking for a seaside holiday with sunshine and nothing more strenuous than choosing which holiday book to read, and deciding which beach to go to.  We got that and so much more.  We had such a wonderful, relaxing time with the children.

Brittany France, seaside, summer holidays,

The weather remained beautiful and we stayed only a 2 minute walk from the closest beach and spent almost every day there.  The children loved; shell collecting, sandcastle making, swimming in the sea and became experts at tip-toeing through rock pools in pursuit of crabs.  We kept them in buckets and then ended each day with the 'traditional' racing of the crabs back to the sea.

With shells abundant on the beaches we all found ourselves becoming slightly obsessed with collecting them.  As ever when on holiday I find myself coming up with new ideas for crafts and I've plans in mind for the many shells that we have brought home.   

Where we were in Morbihan, despite it being a popular destination for holiday makers, the coastline is unspoilt.  Development seems to be done so much more sensitively than in the UK and other parts of Europe I have visited.  I was inspired and recharged by the natural beauty around me in Brittany.

Brittany France, seaside, summer holidays,

Ah, Brittany was wonderful:  We ate good food and then cycled it off on trips along the costal paths. All the little foxes are now cycling confidently.  And singing out French greetings and thanks to anyone who will listen.

We visited Ch√Ęteau de Suscinio, and dressed as Medieval knights and ladies.

We found some great children's craft magazines.  Here is a photo of some of Little Una Fox's favourite things in France.  Who remembers Barbapapa?

There is so much more I could say about what a wonderful destination Brittany in general and Morbhian in particular is, but I need to go to sleep, so, here are a couple of lists:

My favourite things in Brittany;
the people - so friendly - really, they are so kind to useless Brits who can barely mumble "Bon-jour",
galettes Bretonnes,
warm bread and chocolate and almond croissants bought from the bar in the village every morning.

Still to do;
the islands in the gulf of Morbihan,
the jazz festival in Vannes,
eat more seafood,
kite surfing,
try to speak more French.

How was your Summer Hols?

A Super Party

At the end of June, we were asked to come up with a design for a mum whose son wanted a Super Hero party and before you could say, 'KERPOW' we got to work.

We love working up idea's each month for our Crafty Boxes but we're always up for a new commission/challenge and the chance to work on something different altogether, especially when it gives us renewed enthusiasm about our Party Box side of Mrs Fox's.

Being Crafty Mrs Fox's, we wanted to ensure that the guests got to get creative too and so designed the invite picture in black and white with a few splashes of colour so that the guests could colour in the Super Hero's costume themselves.  And being that Super Hero's grew out of good old fashioned comics, we fashioned the design around... good old fashioned comics.

Of course, the 'thank you's' had to be crafty too and so using the invite Super Hero character from our invite, we made a colour and cut paper doll who had two cloaks ready for the guests to draw their own designs on.

We also made colour and cut out Super Hero masks for party bag fillers and Bam 'n' Zap 'n' Pow' bubbles which we stuck to the cups.  The final touches were stickers for decorating the party bags and to supply colour co-ordinated plates and napkins.

All in all, we had loads of fun coming up with designs for this one and Super Mum had loads of fun throwing her Super Hero party.

Mrs Fox creates bespoke parties on any theme for children of any age.  We also sell Mrs Fox's Party Boxes where we will put together a box of goodies for your party and send it direct to your home.  Mrs Fox can create a party on any theme with everything from invites to thankyou cards, crafts and games, tableware and decorations and of course the all important party bags.  Get in touch if you'd like to know more, info@mrsfoxs.com.

Mrs Fox Makes - A Milk Carton Sailing Boat

boy's crafts, crafting with children, crafts, crafty boxes, Mrs Fox Makes, seaside,

Still enthused by the summer weather and this month's Crafty Box theme, the sea, we've made a milk carton sailing boat for some of Little Una Fox's peg people.  Here is how we did it:

boy's crafts, crafting with children, crafts, crafty boxes, Mrs Fox Makes, seaside,

You Will Need:
empty milk carton 
boy's crafts, crafting with children, crafts, crafty boxes, Mrs Fox Makes, seaside, triangle of fabric (approx 24cm x 14cm)
wooden bar-b-q skewer
string, wool or thread
plastacine or blue/white tack

Wash out your empty milk carton.  Draw the shape on the right onto the milk carton, cut out the shape and discard.  

If you are using water based poster paints cover the outside of the milk carton with paper you can paint on.  Glue this down and let it dry.

Make a small hole in the boat (see above) behind and to the centre of the shape you have cut out.  Next, in pencil draw a line all the way round the centre of your boat.  From this line draw several more lines between 1cm to 1.5cms from the first line.  

Applying the lightest colours first, paint your boat, painting the lines you have drawn in different complementary colours.  We used a line of washi tape round our boat.   While the paint dries make the mast and rigging.

Fold the longest side of your triangle of fabric over your skewer then glue, or sew this down.  Next tie a double knot in one end of your string and thread the other end through the hole in your boat, pull it until the knot catches.  

Make a little ball of your white tack and secure to the bottom of the boat.   Push the point of the skewer through this into the bottom of the boat.  Then wrap and tie the string tightly to the top of the skewer, cut off any excess.  Add the bunting; cut out diamonds of paper (or washi tape) fold in half and glue over the string to make the rigging. 

Don't forget to name your boat;

boy's crafts, crafting with children, crafts, crafty boxes, Mrs Fox Makes, seaside,

For more great crafts to make around the theme of the sea order one of our Kid's Craft Boxes here. Inside are craft materials and instructions to make a milk carton sailing boat, shell keyring and huge underwater collage with jelly fish, lobsters, turtles, sea horses, fish and octopuss.  Loads to keep your crafty little foxes busy. 
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