Fairy sized crackers

Last week we made some paper chains using recycled magazines or papers. This week I thought I’d tell you about the cutie little fairy-sized crackers that I had a go at making.

You need a few basic things to make these – but before you start I should mention that they do not actually crack! (Although you can buy the poppers at some art stores if you really want some.)

You need:

  • crepe paper
  • the inner core of a toilet roll
  • glue, sticky tape, scissors, ruler
  • pretty string
  • shiny tape or wrapping paper
  • goodies to put into the cracker – like sweets, little charms, jokes or even vouchers to wash dishes or make cups of tea or coffee.

First you need to modify the toilet roll core.

A normal toilet roll core is 10cm long and 4cm wide. Cut it down the centre and then cut it in half.  Roll one half around your finger and tape it closed. This should give you a baby sized toilet roll core of 5cm long x 2cm wide.

Crepe paper is nice and stretchy and comes in flat rolls in many different colours. You can get lots of crackers out of one roll.

Put your tiny core in the middle (at the bottom) of a rectangle of crepe paper that measures ~15cm x 11cm.

Roll it up and put a bit of glue on the edge to stick it down.

Carefully tie one side up with a piece of pretty string.

Pop the sweet or whatever you are going to use into the core and tie up the other side.

Then you can decorate the middle bit of the cracker with shiny tape or anything you have handy – stickers, pictures, leaves – get your creative hat on.

The crackers can then be used as table decorations for a special meal, or you can hang them on the Christmas tree if you have one. You could even staple one end of the cracker to your paper chain. Or you can simply use them as little presents.

Remember – you can always adapt ideas and make them your own. There is no right or wrong when it comes to being creative.

The main thing is to have fun in the process.

Lots of love,


Festive Decorations

Somehow the festive season always seems so much more jolly when decorations are involved.

Of course, you could tootle off to the shop and spend money on fancy, shiny, plastic, commercial decorations that might, or might not, land up in the bin after all the festivities.

Or you could make your own.

Like paper chains – they are nothing new – but they’re still fun and easy to make.

All you need is… imagination, an old magazine, scissors, a ruler, a glue stick or stapler.

  • Cut the magazine into strips. (~2cm strips are very easy to use and you get a chain of about 60cm long from one page.) If you make the strips 1cm or less, it becomes a little fiddly, but you obviously get many more strips out of a page so your chain is much longer.
  • Cut (or tear) all the strips in half.
  • Make a circle out of the first strip (overlapping the ends) and glue or staple it closed. Stapling is easier but is less environmentally friendly because when the paper breaks down you are left with little bits of metal that hang around for a whole lot longer.
  • Interlock your next piece of paper through the first circle and close it.
  • Keep going until you have a chain long enough to stretch from one side of the room to the other – or however you want to drape it. Better check with your parental agent before you stick things on the walls though.

Get creative and make little bunches of shorter chains to hang at the end of the long chain.

Traditionally chains used to be made out of coloured crepe paper. You can easily still get this paper and it’s not very expensive. Crepe paper has a bit of a stretch to it – so does not break very easily. It also comes in lovely bright colours.

If you are financially challenged though – magazines work just as well. You can even use newspaper!

You could glitz the chains up with a bit of glitter… but I was reading the other day that glitter is also becoming an environmental no-no. It is now classed as a micro-particle – it gets into the water system and does all sorts of nasty things to birds and other little critters.

Next week we’ll make some more decorations so stay tuned!

Have fun and stay safe this holiday.



Creative Holiday Doodles

Yay! It is holiday time again. If you are looking for something cool to do – try this out. It’s really easy and lots of fun. Plus for once you can do it on your own and you don’t need parental agents to supervise anything.

All you need are: wax crayons, paper and a toothpick.

Start out small first just to see how it works and then work your way up to doing something bigger.

Fold a piece of A4 paper into half and then into half again so you have four little sections. (You can even cut along the folded lines so that you have four pieces of paper.)  If you don’t have any paper you can always use the back of a used envelope or something similar.

Draw up a pattern in the middle of one of your bits of paper. You could draw a diamond within a diamond within a diamond or use circles or squares or flowers or anything you fancy.

Then colour-in the different sections in using nice bright wax colours. Make sure you colour in the whole section of paper. (Have a look at the picture provided.)

When you have finished, grab the black crayon and colour over your already coloured in pattern.

No! Don’t worry – I have not gone mad – it’s part of the process.

Once you have a nice big black blob your sneaky canvas is ready…

Use your toothpick, to doodle little pattern. Or draw a picture… or even better you could draw an Easter egg and decorate it with doodles.

Then you could cut that out and stick it on another piece of paper or cardboard to make a pretty Easter egg card for your parental agents or somebody else.  You could even email a picture to me and I’d put it on my website. I always love hearing from people.

Remember – the 7th April is also World Health Day. I don’t know about you but I hate being sick – so it’s important to stay healthy.  It’s not hard if you get enough exercise, plenty of sleep and you can always nibble on fruit, raisins or carrot sticks instead of sweets and chips if you are looking for a more healthy option for snacks.

Happy holiday’s people!


It’s a wrap

Well! This year took forever to get finished.

That’s what I think – but my mum says it whooshed passed so fast that her head is reeling and she cannot believe it is finished already. She’s muttering ridiculous things like she wishes she could cancel Christmas. Did you ever?

I’ve heard that the older you get the faster time goes. Seems silly to me – it should go fast when you are young and impatient and then slow down a bit when you have less time left.

I’ve started making some of my Christmas pressies – sneakily – because I don’t want Mum and Dad to see what I’m making them.

Then I started thinking about gift wrapping.

Sjoe! Wrapping paper is rather expensive when you don’t have lots of money. Seems a huge waste to spend money on something that is just going to get ripped off and thrown away – or hopefully – recycled.

Decided I’m going to get creative with wrapping paper too.

If it’s a small gift you can use a pretty picture from a magazine. You better check with your parentals first before you start chopping up a magazine.

You can also use newspaper – the comic sections are very cool. Spice it up with paint, glitter or interesting stuff from the garden.  Use your imagination and get creative. You can also wrap up a very small present in a lot of newspaper (a bit like pass the parcel) and have fun watching the person unwrap it.

One of my friends has a nice system going. She wraps up a present for her sister in a pretty piece of material – it started out as a scarf but then it got too tatty to wear.  Then her sister wraps up my friend’s present the next year in the same material. They have used the same material for birthdays and Christmas for years, but they would always wrap it up differently and add interesting touches. I thought that was an awesome idea.

Of course you could also use old cereal boxes or other containers that would usually get thrown away or recycled. The inside of a toilet roll also makes a brilliant container – you can make the present look like a cracker!

Don’t forget to recycle or reuse all the wrappings once the presents have been opened.

Have a fabulous festive season everybody!

See you in 2017!


Is it a Snat… or a Cake?


Ginny was telling me the other day that when she was a kid she loved drawing monsters.

Monsters? I said. Whatever do you mean?

She reckoned she and her friends used to take a couple of pieces of paper and draw imaginary creatures. Scary ones, funny ones, tall ones, thin ones – you name it ones.

Then they would give those crazy critters names and make up stories about them.

Of course, I should add that Ginny grey up in Malawi a million years ago when there was no social media, internet and… it’s really hard to imagine this… but they did not even have a television. Sjoe!

No wonder they had to find stuff to occupy themselves.

But then the other day a friend of mine posted a picture of her cat on Facebook. She was holding the cats’ ears back, so it looked a bit like a snake.


I started thinking about those monsters and wondered what it would look like if you drew cats’ ears on a snake. Or if you gave a cat a spitty tongue like a snake has. And what would you call your creature… a Snat? Or maybe a Cake?

I reckon that often we’re so busy going about our lives that we don’t use our imagination half as much as we could. And with with all these awesome animated movies it’s also a bit mind boggling and feels like a hard act to follow.

But actually we don’t have to follow anybody – we can do our own thing!

Plus we have cool tools. Apart from good old kokis or crayons and paper, we can also draw monsters on the computer.

You could even write your own little book with monster illustrations too!

So… who wants to accept the monster challenge?

Draw a monster – post it on Sibo’s Facebook page  and we’ll have a lucky draw where somebody can win some Sibo books. We’ll put the pictures on the website too.  If you want to make up a story about your monster – go for it!

You can draw them on paper and take a photo – or get your parental agent to take one. You can also draw one on the computer and post it or email it. There are no rules. You just have to draw a monster!

Have fun and be creative!



Get off your butt!

Sibo hula hooping

Last week you had to get off your phone – this week you have to get off your butt!

Yip – we’re talking about exercise.

It‘s so important. Like getting enough sleep – remember – we covered that a while ago ago.

Getting enough exercise applies to big people just as much as it does to little ones. Often I ask my friends if they want to come and ride bike with me and they say… nah – I’m having fun watching TV.

Yet there are so many fun things we can do that can be counted as exercise.

Like hula hooping . That’s my favourite. You can either buy one or make your own hula hoop out of irrigation pipe and a hose connector. Then tape it up to look pretty. Moms can do this too – it’s really good exercise, strengthens all your core muscles and gives you nicely toned arms and legs – especially if you learn some tricks. There are loads of how-to-do-tricks videos on the internet.

Another form of great exercise is jumping. Of course if you have a trampoline, or access to one, then it’s really easy to jump – but you can also skip using a skipping rope or play hop scotch. These all count as jumping.

You are wondering why jumping is good for you – aren’t you?

It releases toxins and builds bone mass. Obviously it also increases flexibility too. Bouncing around on a trampoline develops motor skills – because it allows a child’s brain to function bilaterally. That means it gets both sides of your brain and both sides of your body to work together so that you don’t lose your balance and fall over while bouncing! Apparently it also helps improve cellulite – that should get your mom’s attention.

Never forget – when you are outside having exercise, the sunlight encourages the production of Vitamin D – which is responsible for a healthy immune system and brain.

Our brain chemistry is also affected by posture, positioning, as well as specific movements. Try this next time you are stressed and feeling a bit like you cannot cope.

Stand up straight with your feet apart and your hands on your hips for a few minutes. Breathe deeply and imagine you have super powers… let me know if it works please.

All in all exercise makes you feel better – no matter what you do. Plus it’s good for your body too.

Get moving people.


Nifty Beads

Sibo beads 2

We made some seriously cool beads last week. They are really easy to make too. Here’s how you make beads out of salt dough…

Making the dough…

2 cups of plain flour
1 cup of table salt
1 cup of water

Put all ingredients into a mixing bowl and gradually add the water, mixing to a soft dough.

Remove the mixture from the bowl, put it on a flat surface and knead it for 10 minutes. (Yes I know your arms gets tired but you need to do this because it helps to create a good smooth textured  dough.)

Let the dough stand for about 20 minutes before you start working with it.

While your dough is having a rest (you can have one too) you need to cover some baking trays with grease proof paper or baking paper.

If you don’t use all of the dough at once – you can wrap it in plastic and store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Making the beads….

Pinch of small amounts of dough and roll it into a nice round ball in the palm of your hand.  Carefully make a hole in the centre of the bead using a toothpick or something similar. Place it on the baking tray.

Make a hole through the centre. You must make the hole in the centre whilst the dough is still soft – it becomes very hard once it has dried completely.

You can, or course, make the beads any shape or size that you want to.

You can leave them to dry naturally in the air. This is environmentally friendly, but it does take around 48 hours for them to dry. Or you can dry them in a very cool oven ~60 degrees Celcius.  (Don’t be tempted to make the oven any hotter – the beads just crack and then they are useless.) It takes 3-4 hours for the beads to dry.

Once they are dry you can paint them different colours with craft or spray paint.    When the paint has dried, give them a coat of clear varnish or spray paint to make them nice and glossy.

Now you’re ready to thread your beads.  We use fishing nylon – but you can use anything – wool, twine,  leather – whatever you have. We also cut up slices of cork (from wine bottles) in between the big beads.

Go crazy – have fun.


Sibo gets organized!

Sibo T-shirt

Feh! After just a few days of school I am missing the holidays already. Mind you – it was really nice to see all my friends again and I do like learning new stuff.

I decided to be more organized this term. Often I used to scatter my school stuff all over the house and then sometimes land up in class without a book I need or I’d forget my sports clothes or something else important.

So I asked my parental agents if I could have a table into my room so that I can do my homework there instead of in the kitchen. Dad found one at a second hand store and sanded it down for me. We painted it a nice bright pink and now it looks really great.

Funny, but I feel more motivated to sit down and work at my new pink desk.

I also keep all my books lined up against the wall.  I pinched two of mum’s smooth round stones from the garden and painted them the same pink as my desk so that I can put them either side of the books and they don’t fall over.

I covered an old tin with a page from a magazine that I liked and I’m keeping all my spare pens, pencils and rulers all neat and tidy in one place, so I can find them. I even have a diary and I write down all the important things that I need to remember and diarize dates.

My next project is to make a notice board that I can put up above my desk, so that I can pin stuff to it. When I finally make it I’ll share details with you all too – in case you want to have a nice tidy, inviting workspace too.

When I get home from school each day I first have a snack. Then I get changed and hang up my school uniform all nice and tidy for the next day.

Instead of procrastinating as much as possible before doing my homework – I am trying to do it straightaway. Then I can reward myself with some TV time or go have fun working in my veggie garden or riding my bike.

So far it’s been working rather well – but then again – we’ve only been back at school for a few days.

We’ll see how long it lasts!


Helping the end-of-holiday blues.

Sjoe! It’s unreal how quickly the holidays have whizzed past. Unbelievable!

I considered getting depressed at the idea of going back to school next week but then I thought it would actually be nice to see my friends again. Plus learning new things is always pretty awesome.

Did any of you use the ideas in my previous blog? If so – I’d love to see the results. You can always email pics to me at sibo@sibo.co.za . We could put your pictures on the website so that other people could also be inspired.

A great way to end the holidays is to make something tasty to eat. I’m talking seriously tasty now – like milo balls! You could get a group of friends together and pool your resources to buy the ingredients.

This is what you need:

I x 250g packet of Marie biscuits; 4 x table spoons of Milo, 1 tin of condensed milk, half a cup of coconut plus extra coconut to roll the balls in.

Smoosh up the Marie biscuits until they are all small and crumbly.  If you don’t have a blender or a mixer – you can put them in a zip lock bag and smack them gently with a rolling pin or a wooden spoon for a bit. Be careful not to be too enthusiastic and break the bag though.

Once the biscuits are all nice and crumbly put them into a bowl (if you are not using a blender) and add the Milo, coconut and condensed milk. Blend it well until it is all nicely mixed together.

Using a tea spoon – take a spoonful of mixture and roll it between your palms into a nice round ball. Then drop it into a cup of coconut and swish it around until the ball is coated with coconut. Place it on a baking tray or something similar. Keep rolling until you have used up all the mixture. (It should make approximately 50 – 60 balls – or more if you make them smaller.)

Beware… you will get very sticky hands but you can always lick them clean – after you’ve finished that is!

Place the tray of Milo balls into the fridge for 10 minutes to harden. Then store them in an airtight container.

These really are a delicious treat – and they’re not as sweet as you might imagine. Have fun making them and remember to clean up the kitchen afterwards.


SiboSibo with Milo Balls

Holiday Fun Again


I bet you are all really glad that its school holidays again – especially now that its winter and is cold in the mornings. But after a few days of sleeping in those odd few twinges of boredom start to set in.

I mean we can only watch so much television, play so many computer games and even after a while I even want a break from reading books too.

It’s great if you money is no object – then there are lots of things to do. Like going to the movies, shows, amusement parks, on holiday and other fun stuff. Or one could visit a science centre like Sci-Bono Discovery Centre in Newtown. It’s not so expensive and they have some very cool things going on for the holidays.

But many of us are a tad financially challenged and that’s when we have to make a plan.

Firstly remember that if you’re feeling cold and a bit in the doldrums – get some exercise. Any kind of exercise. Grab a friend or even better – a couple of friends and go for a nice brisk walk. Or a run. Or a bike ride. Or hula hoop.  Do somersaults and handstands in the garden or the park. Go crazy.

Exercise boosts creativity – so when you’ve finished it’s time to get creative.  You can make amazing things with junk. Using fishing line (which does not cost that much and you get an awful lot of it on one reel) you can string up all sorts of things like bottle tops, corks, buttons, old beads and bits of plastic. These days’ plastic bottles come in all sorts of colours too.  You can also paint the stuff you string up. One string might look a bit odd – but if you make lots of strings you could make a hanging doorway for your room or even a secret nook in the garden.

Don’t forget about fabric painting. If a bunch of you each buy one pot of fabric paint and share – then you’ll have lots of colours. You can brighten up old t-shirts or even paint flowers or patterns on your sheets. Make sure you get your parental agent’s permission first though.

If you have access to the website – there is a fabulous site to visit to find things to make Toys from Trash.  Arvind Gupta is a friend of Ginny’s and lives in India.

Happy Holidays.