Monday, February 6, 2012

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Francesca the Fairy

After quite a long absence, we're finally back with a new paper doll, drawn by Charlotte. Meet Francesca the Fairy, complete with four pretty fairy dresses and a pair of fairy wings. The wings need to be attached to the doll's back with a blob of blu-tack. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

St Valentine

St Valentine's Day arrives tomorrow. But behind all the red roses, boxes of chocolate, and pink, white and red cards, what is the real story of St Valentine?

Who was St Valentine? No one is absolutely sure. But it is almost certain that he was a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Cladius II. A tomb in the catacombs was found with St Valentine's name and a little information about him.

The text tells that he was a priest who was caught marrying young Christian couples and helping Christians that were being persecuted. He caught the emperor's eye and was imprisoned. The Emperor seemed to like St Valentine. But St Valentine made a mistake and tried to convert Claudius. Claudius at once had him killed. He died on 14th of February.

St Valentine is known as the patron saint of engaged couples, bee-keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young couples.

Today we are putting up a new Annie Belle in honour of St Valentine's Day. Click on these links to download her or go to the paper dolls page:
Annie Belle's St Valentine's Day
Annie Belle's St Valentine's Day Colouring in
Have a happy St Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australia Day Annie Belle

Australia Day is celebrated on January 26th. We celebrate it in remembrance of when the First Fleet, made up of 11 convict ships, landed in Sydney Cove and Governor Arthur Philip raised the Union Jack on Australian soil. People have Australia Day tee-shirts, thongs and flags so we decided that Annie Belle should have her very own Australia Day clothes and food.

Electra and I designed Annie Belle two new outfits and some great Australian food for her Australia Day celebration. She has an Australian flag tee-shirt and a boxing kangaroo tee-shirt to wear. Also Annie Belle has her very own Australian flag. For dinner she has a sausage in a roll and for pudding Annie Belle has pavlova. And for a snack Annie Belle has a lamington to eat.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Tinkerbell's Special Day

Special days are ones we remember for a long, long time. They stick in the memory and we take great pleasure in looking back and remembering all the little details of that particular day. This Sunday it was Tinkerbell’s day.

Tinkerbell made her way up the church aisle, looking like a small, nervous cloud in her floaty white dress. She was about to receive Jesus for the first time in her short life. Who wouldn’t be nervous, especially with their godparents watching?

After mass though, the nervousness disappeared and Tinkerbell’s customary sunny smile shone on one and all as she flitted from person to person, sharing her excitement and enjoyment of the day.

Breakfast in the park was new, especially with the weird and wonderful mixture there was on offer. Bacon and eggs rubbed cheeks with yogurt and mince pies. Croissants were more normal, but cake? A perfect breakfast by her standards.

Home from the park and it’s time to put on her white dress again and prepare for the arrival of her best friends. What better fun than to rustle round the house in her pretty dress with six layers and play games?

Lunch and it’s nice too. But better than lunch, what about another cake? How can this day get any better? And with ice cream! Not much cake hits the floor as it gets stuffed in small mouths.

A movie in the evening with her brothers and sisters with the odd guest. Then time for bed. What a perfect day all round. Mr Incredible might have collapsed on the bed from exhaustion and Juliet might be sitting on the sofa with a headache, but such trivialities pass Tinkerbell by. It’s been a lovely day, one that she will look back to for a long time to come.

Etcetera and I were trying to think of a theme for Annie Belle for this month. What should it be? Then Juliet suggested that, in light of Tinkerbell’s first holy communion, why did we make an Annie Belle First Holy Communion doll. We caught onto the idea at once, and Annie Belle’s First Holy Communion was born. Download the doll from either the side bar or go to the Paper Doll page to preview a picture before downloading.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Celebrating Epiphany

Our girls are excited. Epiphany comes this Sunday and with it comes the multitude of traditions and customs that are part of any family celebration. For us it's a time to get out the crowns, start baking, and begin the fun.

Titania and Tinkerbell make each member of the family a crown out of either foam or card board. With some of the larger members of the family this is no mean feat. Each crown is carefully cut out and covered in ‘jewels.’ These consist of anything from patty pans and paper shapes to sequins and glitter. These carefully made crowns will grace our heads at dinner.

Etcetera and I make the crown cake. This is usually an ordinary cake baked in the shape of a crown. When our cake is baked it’s time to decorate it. This is our favourite part because there are almost always some decorations left over. We use jelly sweets, freckles or any other sweets that will pass for jewels, and cover the cake liberally with these delicious treats.

Some people add a bean or a button to the cake. The person who receives the bean or button is the ‘king’ for the day and can decide what games are going to be played or what the family is going to do together.

Juliet sees to the gold gifts. Each person will receive a golden gift at dinner time. These will range from a chocolate in gold foil, to nuts in gold packaging, to some small treat wrapped in gold cellophane. These gifts sit by our plates until after dinner. Some years we save some Christmas crackers or bonbons and pull them on Epiphany. Really, it's almost like having Christmas all over again.

Finally, the three kings reach their destination after weeks of travelling round that house, hiding in the most unlikely of places. Now they give their unforgettable gifts to the baby Jesus.

For Epiphany Etcetera and I have made some Three Kings paper dolls to add to the nativity scene. They, like the original kings, bring their gifts to the infant king: Gold, Myrrh, and Frankincense. They come with their camel to adore the infant king.

Epiphany is only one of the many feast days in the Christmas season. Christmas doesn’t officially finish until the Baptism of our Lord on the 9th of January. It is important to us to remember that Christmas is not just one day, but many. Each day of the Christmas season should be celebrated as much as Christmas Day. So don’t take down the decorations just yet. We’ve still got over a week of Christmas to go.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Nativity Scene for Christmas

Walking through a shopping center last year, I rounded a corner and suddenly found myself face to face with a surprising Christmas decoration. Hidden away among all the tinsel and the Christmas trees and twinkly lights I found a Nativity scene. I was so surprised that a shopping center of all places would have one of these. Most public places seem to be trying to take the "Christ out of Christmas." Some 'Christmas shops are full of lights and baubles and wrapping paper, but not a single nativity scene.

But way back, even to the 10 century, people were making nativity scenes to remind themselves of Christ's role in Christmas. These nativity scenes were much like the ones we have today, except that people then covered the humble stable scene with gold and jewels. Jesus's humble act of being born in a stable was lost among the precious materials used to make the nativity scenes. It wasn't until St Francis of Assisi took a hand that the people were finally put right.

St Francis of Assisi had seen the nativity scenes of the day and knew that they were wrong. To show the people that what they were making was wrong, he decided to make his own nativity scene. On Christmas day he showed people his living nativity scene. Everyone could come and look at St Francis's nativity scene and see for themselves what the first Christmas was really like.

It was through St Francis that the nativity scene was really popularized. Nowadays you can find nativity scenes in the homes of all good Catholics and even in those unexpected places such as the shopping center where I had my surprise.

Many nativity scenes are made of china and cost quite a lot. But you don't need an expensive nativity scene at all. We have a couple of nativity scenes, but our main one is a simple scene that we created out of Cornflake boxes and felt. We have had it for around fifteen years and still looks as good as new. Plus the fact that our three wise men aren't breakable makes them perfect for 'hunt the wise men.'

Because the nativity scene is so important to us as Catholic, Etcetera and I decided that there was nothing better that we could make than a nativity scene of our own. Our nativity scene includes a Manger for baby Jesus and a stable. Normal nativity scenes have the three wise men also, but we've decided not to release them until Epiphany, the feast of the Three Kings.

We hope you'll love our cute nativity scene. It comes coloured or uncoloured, if your children are the sort who like to colour in their own paper dolls. To make the dolls stand up, simply bend the stands on the dotted line. If the dolls are a bit unsteady a bit of blue-tack stuck on the stands should help. We recommend that you either printed the set out onto card or cut it out and paste it onto card.

To make up the stable first cut out all the pieces. Then bend the flaps of the triangular front pieces backwards. Stick the roof pieces to the flaps. This should create a triangular roof. Bend the flaps of the walls backwards. Stick the top flap of each piece to the roof. Stick the bottom flap to a pieces of heavy cardboard. Now your stable is ready to receive Jesus on Christmas day.

Please go to our paper dolls page and check out the new nativity scene. Merry Christmas!