Make a cute Jumble Spider for Halloween

Halloween is only a month away and it’s never too early to start preparing AND it’s fun! 

Make this cute spider for virtually nothing ….  it’s made from a small section of a pair of black tights so you could make enough  for a class of  kids from one pair of tights.  You do need to use the thick 80% denier tights because the stuffing will show through the finer variety.   It took me twenty minutes to make and it can be easily made by a child with supervision. 

1. Cut a section off a leg off the tights and lay on the table.  

2. Put an elastic band around the centre of the four pipe cleaners and then pass through the piece  of tights.

3. Take a small elastic band or hair elastic and wrap it round one end tightly leaving about 1 inch of the fabric free. 

4. Take a big handful of stuffing and push into the centre of the tights.,

5. Secure the loose end with another elastic band or hair elastic.

6. Trim off any excess fabric.

7. Glue on the eyes,  Nose and mouth. Add hair if desired or stick a bit of fluffy stuffing on top. 

8. That’s it! 

Make a cloud in a jar

What IS a cloud?  Where do they come from?  What do they feel like?  Can you sit on one? Can you catch one ?  

Children ask lots of difficult questions!  

Often they require more than just a verbal answer and that’s when Lizzie Witch comes to the rescue!  The Lizzie Witch Science Programmes explain the most complicated of scientific concepts with easy-to-understand and fun presentations.  They motivate children to ask even more questions, to investigate the world around them and, I hope, to develop a love of science! 

In this programme Lizzie explores the subject of ‘clouds’

                ​​Click here for the science lesson on clouds

Too much, too many, too often! 

This week I have:

  • Eaten far too much Ricotta Cheese !
  • Drunk far too much red wine.
  • Recycled far too many magazines.
  • Used far too much glue
  • Got drenched with rain far too often.
  • Spent too much money at Marino fa Mercato
  • Become weepy far too often!

So, to explain!

The Ricotta Cheese. For some reason Ricotta is a new taste discovery for me. I know this is very strange since I’ve been visiting here for yonks and have owned a house here for fourteen years. But it IS a new discovery and it has turned into a kind of love affair! I can’t leave the stuff alone! I have all these amazing recipes for cannelloni and ice-cream and cheesecake but never get round to making anything. I buy it. Put it in the fridge. Then the next day it’s gone!


Recycling magazines? A while ago I produced a Sunday Challenge programme for children demonstrating how to make pencil pots and picture frames from rolled magazine pages. (If you would like to catch up with this just click on the link below)

                  Making a Picture Frame from Recycled Magazines 

Its a very relaxing craft and fun for adults too. I enjoy using the technique to make clocks and yesterday I produced the biggest, craziest one yet! Designed to drive people who love order and symmetry mad and made entirely from the pages of small shiny magazines plus lots and lots of glue which brings me on to the next excess.  Making clocks this way is easier than it looks.  I will post some instructions over the next week. 


I use ordinary white glue to make the tubes but stronger stuff is needed to stick them onto the board. Where do they make the tubes these days? I know what my husband would say. Somewhere beginning with Ch!! Once upon a time a tube could be carefully rolled up from the bottom to extract the last, tiniest droplet cleanly and precisely. Now? The tube itself gives up the ghost before I’ve even used two thirds splurting glue from a zillion tiny holes all over me and the floor.

Marino fa Mercato! Fellow Trasimenians (is there such a word??) will now have that irritating little jingle going through their heads!   ‘Merino …. Fa ….Mer ..Car …tow! 

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Marino fa Mercato is our local big store, tin-shed, ‘magazine’ that sells everything and anything. Cheaply!

I love it and so must thousands of others since the car park is always full. Once nicknamed ‘the fridge’ because it used to resemble one during the winter months, it is like an Aladdins cave. I depend on it for art and craft materials and plants and stationery and cat food and cleaning materials and pots and pans and bedding and gardening things and, and, and …..!


Unfortunately last Monday they were just unpacking all their Christmas stock and there in font of me stood the cuddliest, jolliest, cutest Father Christmas! He is the reason I spent far too much money at Marino Fa Mercato!

Become weepy far too often? This is probably the fault of Marino fa Mercato too! Seeing all though Christmassey things brought this song into my head.


               Watch video track of song here.

Its my favourite Christmas song and it always makes me weepy. Why? It’s the nostalgia. I love Christmas. But Christmas is about families and, as the the years go by we lose the people who made those days so special and there’s nothing like a song to bring back the memories. When I listen to Nat King Cole I feel my cheeks hot from sitting too close to the fire. I smell roasted chestnuts and see my dad raking glowing red coals.


Getting wet far too often?  Well this is partly because of Lizzie Witch . I’m always having to mop up spills and water is the easiest! But this week its the rain, whatever has happened to the weather? These grey, wet, cold days are more reminiscent the North West of England.



                          The red wine probably doesn’t need any explanation!



                     Read the BLOG here.          

We cut sugar out  this week because we wanted to get rid of our coughs and colds.  BUT after reading this very open, informative and funny blog we will be looking at that sweet monster a little bit closer!  We knew that bad bacteria find sugary foods very yummy but there’s a lot more to it than that! 

There’s some great tasting recipes there too. 

How to tie-dye and paint on fabric .  Making animals from fir-cones

The Activities are designed for families to enjoy together. 

Today its possible for every member of the family to enjoy one of the activities.  Even a toddler can dab a bit of fabric into different colours and teenagers can experiment with using different techniques perhaps as a base for a textile project.

Children should always be supervised but then I believe that it’s so important that your kids see you enjoying participating in the activities and it’s so much more fun than just standing there making sure they don’t hurt themselves!
Try to prompt with open questions rather than saying ‘It will work better if you do this..’.

Your participation motivates and encourages them and they also see that making mistakes is part of the learning process. That you become more determined to get it right next time. Not to sulk and give up!

Today Alfie shows us the models he has made from Fir-cones and Georgie demonstrates how to do tie-dye and silk painting. She has experimented with using food colouring in place of proper fabric dyes and they worked great! Georgie and Maisie have made scarves out of the large pieces of fabric . They used the small silk samples to dress some spoon people. 

Food, colouring stains everything especially fingers and it’s a devil to wash off som gloves and protective clothing are the order of the day!

An iron will be required so obviously adults need to take over here or, with older children it is a good introduction providing they are supervised. You never know maybe the boys will progress to ironing their own shirts!!

The  use of food colouring was effective and so much cheaper . It offers children the opportunity to try out lots of different techniques without spending a bomb!

We rinsed our samples quickly before drying and ironing and the colour stayed well but I don’t think it would be any good for items that needed to be washed properly.

The challenge this week is to find out what happens to fir cones when it rains. Also why? We are going to make a weather station at Jumble House.
Maybe you can do too!

Click on the link below to view the programme: 

                    Today’s Sunday Challenge Programme
I really enjoy what I do and hope you do too so please leave a comment if you have enjoyed today’s post and video programme. 

It would  also be great if you could subscribe to my channel. 

Our email address is : Email address

I’d love to receive photos of models or print samples that your children have made following this programme at home or at school. Only their first name would be published. Nothing else. 

Thanks for visiting .

Bye for now.

Judi and the Jumbles.

Helping ourselves to get better

The Jumbles are a bit poorly. Coughs, sneezes,sore throats. 

They have seen their GP and are taking the medicine but they are also trying to help themselves.

They believe that eating the right food helps. That a drink of Honey and lemon in hot water soothes a sore throats . 

That sugary foods should be avoided because bad bacteria love sugar and so breed. 

Of course it is very important that everyone seeks advice from their own GP before acting on advice from anywhere else. 

The recipe for Maisie’s Clear Chicken broth is here. It  is also very good with noodles. 

To watch the complete video click on the link below: 

               Click on here to watch the video

Ingredients for soup or noodles in broth. 

Two pieces of chicken on the bone cause Hines make good stock 

One onion chopped fine

I can or peas or equivalent in frozen peas. 

2 carrots ..better grated otherwise chop very fine.

1 clove of garlic.

Maisie also added a courgette but you could add o her greens like cabbage or spinach depending on taste. 


All you do is put everything in a pan with a stock cube and cover with water ..about two inches above the ingredients. 

Bring to the boil then cover and simmer gently for 30 minutes till everything is tender and the chicken is cooked. 

Remove the chicken and take out the ones. Chop into small pieces and put back. 

Taste and season. 

Serve on it’s own or use as a base for noodles. 

‘Five a Day Hill’ Soup

‘Five a Day Hill’ is where Gertie Garlic, Sally Strawberry, Mandy Melon, Pedro Pear and Monty Mushroom live!  They are a healthy gang hence the name!  I wrote this set of stories during a series of workshops presented on the Sunday Challenge programmes. The aim was to motivate children to create and illustrate their own stories. The workshops can be found on the Jumble Fun channel.  

                                  The Jumble Fun Channel
                   Click below to hear their stories narrated

             Five a Day Hill story playlist of narrated stories on YouTube

Now for the recipe! 

Five a Day Soup is also a very healthy soup containing guess what!  Yes. Five vegetables. 

It’s also what I call a ‘stock cupboard’ Soup. You should be able to make it from  things in your cupboard but, if you wish, you can substitute fresh veg for the tinned and make your own chicken stock. It’s very quick too. From start to finish about 30 minutes. 


One large tin of tiny peas 

One large onion and one clove of garlic 

A large tin of carrots or 3/4 fresh ones.

About three quarters of a pint (3 coffee mugs) of stock or a chicken stock cube

One tin/jar of chick peas but if you don’t like these substute a tin of cannelloni beans. 


Chop any fresh ingredients and drain the tinned ones.

Put everything into a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently with a lid on for about fifteen minutes. 


Pour into blender and blend till smooth adding about two mugs  of milk or sufficient to give it a creamy soup consistency,

Taste and season. 

Serve sprinkled with parmeasan or a dollop of Creme Fraiche