Tag: toy

Christmas Tree fairies

One of the most pleasurable things to do at Christmas is to spend time with your children helping them make traditional tree decorations using scraps, oddments, fabric, ribbon and tinsel. Whilst the expensive gifts we give at Christmas are high up the wish-list, its the memories of time spent together that children really treasure.

Christmas Tree Decorations Fairies and angels

My daughters are still very nostalgic about their childhood attempts at making of these old-fashioned tree decorations and it is rather handy having a host of naughty (but cute) tree fairies to blame when presents (inevitably) get mixed up or something goes wrong on the big day!

To make vintage-style tree fairies or peg toy soldiers you will need:

A pack of old-fashioned dolly-pegs
Paints for faces
Indelible pen
Assorted ribbon or felt (thick wire-edged ribbon is very useful)
Wooly batting, net or wadding (for underskirts)
Wool and scraps for hair, buttons etc
Pipe cleaners for arms
Glue (Victorians often used hot glue in pots – our modern day equivalent is a glue gun)
Silver or gold thread for hanging


Paint the heads and faces of all pegs in skin tones or leave pegs neutral colours. . Leave to dry overnight.

For soldiers – paint red or blue coats with black trousers beneath. Leave to dry. Draw faces, belts, buttons and hair with indelible marker or glue on sequins and wool. Use pipe cleaners for arms and a scrap of red ribbon glued in a little cylinder and onto the head for a hat. Suspend with silver or gold thread.

For tree fairies – glue a thin band of ribbon around the top “chest” area of the peg. For the skirt, cut about 8″ length of 2″ wide ribbon, (ideally pre-wired at both edges). Glue the cut edges together so they just overlap and concertina and glue one wired edge so that it ruffles into a neat “waist”. Glue directly onto the body of the peg. With small children get them to choose the colours and help them with the gluing as the glue gun gets a bit hot. Use wadding to plump up the skirt. Use pipe cleaners or wired ribbon for arms and silver or gold ribbon for wings glued in a bow at the back. Children love to add hair, faces, hats and shoes – dipping glued feet in glitter – you can use PVA glue for this rather than the glue gun. Suspend the fairies with silver or gold thread.

The end results can be fabulous – and much more memorable than shop-bought decorations.

Christmas Tree Fairies

Published by annie, on 5th December 2011 at 10:50 am. Filled under: Christmas,Vintage Activities,Vintage Events Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Comments Off on Christmas Tree fairies

William & Kate retro kitsch competition

Well, we couldn’t let the Royal Wedding go by without indulging in at least a little bit of nonsense and so what better than a competition to win a “dress-up dolly” kit featuring the happy couple and a selection of outfits for every occasion!

paper dolls from 1919The first paper dolls were recorded in Europe during the mid-18th century. The arms and legs were jointed so you could move them around and they were called pantins meaning dancing puppet or marionette. Paper dolls were available initially to entertain adults and were fashionable throughout high society. They were drawn or painted with fashions for each doll, often representing famous people – like film actress Norma Talmadge from 1919.

I remember similar child-orientated play-sets from the 1960’s and 70’s. By this time, paper dolls were an affordable toy option. They don’t quite compete with the modern computer version (“SIMS”) but my sisters and I would be very contented little girls snipping out our doll and refining our eye-hand co-ordination whilst dressing our cardboard dolly.

Remember those halcyon days or introduce this old fashioned toy to your own children (something to do whilst waiting for Kate to arrive at Westminster Abbey?) We’ll send a free copy of the Royal Wedding dress-up dolly book to our favourite comment between now and Retro Sunday on the 17th April in Weymouth. Alternatively you can buy the kit from Ladybird Booksjust click the link to go to their website.

Comparing this version to the 1919 one – I have to confess that our standards of paper doll publishing have severely slipped!!

dress up william and kate