Today is St Swithun’s Day and legend has it, here in the UK, that whatever the weather does today it will continue to do for 40 days and 40 nights. The sun is blazing down in Somerset but, not being one to leave things to chance, I think we need a little bit of magic just to be on the safe side! Luckily I have a helping hand in the person of Anna Branford, Anna was born on my island, the Isle of Man, home to little folk and magic but now lives way down under in Australia where she writes beautiful books and makes lovely things.

Today she is sharing a Summer Time Wand tutorial with us and giving away a set of her delightful Violet Mackerel books!


Violet Mackerel is a quirky, creative, imaginative girl, much like my daughter! She looks at life just a little bit differently and her stories, written by the very lovely Anna Branford, are a joy to read. Violet has an interest in the small things to rival my own! In Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plotshe spies a beautiful china bird on market stall and falls in love but, with no money to buy it, what she needs is a brilliant plot! We loved the way her mind worked as she knitted together her plan. The second book in the series sees Violet in hospital for a tonsillectomy and planning to make a Remarkable Recovery, a recovery so amazing that she may well end up singing opera on the radio and book three sees her in her Natural Habitat, developing her Theory of Small Things  (which has a lot in common with the theory of Karma!)

While these books are aimed at children aged from 5 to 9 I can report that my 13-year-old daughter read them from cover to cover in one sitting and emerged smiling. She tells me they are a little bit like Lauren Child’s Clarice Bean books (which she devoured) so, if yours are fans of Clarice or of Charlie and Lola, these lovely books are for you!

Now I’ll hand over to Anna for her lovely tutorial. If you want to have a go at some more of her crafts do shimmy over to her website when you’re finished here!


Summertime wand tutorial


A thin wooden stick (mine is a bamboo skewer but you can use anything you like)

Craft glue


Fabric scissors

Green felt

Coloured cotton

A needle

Summer themed scraps for decoration


Step one:

First trim the stick to the desired length, smear it with glue and wrap it round and round with ribbon until it is covered completely.


Step two:

Cut out two large leaf shapes from green felt. You might like to embroider veins onto your leaves using a contrasting colour of cotton.


Step three:

Arrange the leaves so that they are splayed out with enough overlap to contain the tip of the stick and use craft glue to begin to hold the leaves and wand in place. (If you like you can insert some pieces of thin ribbon to dangle down from the leaves.)

step three

Step four:

After giving the glue a little time to dry, use a needle and thread to secure the overlap between the leaves with a few stitches (as well as the ribbon dangles if you have added some)


Step five:

Add some summertime decorations. I found a tiny toadstool, embroidered stars onto a felt butterfly and added a few sequins for sunny sparkle.


Thanks so much for that Anna, how fab to have a craft tutorial from the author herself! What I love about this particular craft is that it is adaptable according to the ages of your children. You can replace sewing with gluing, you can paint the stick rather than wrapping it. I had planned to have a quiet little crafting session with my girl but Bonus Boy was having none of that and muscled in on my materials! It pays to sit back and let them have a go, I didn’t think he would be able to wrap his wand as neatly as he would like, I was wrong. I didn’t think he would be up to sewing the veins on his leaves; wrong again! I didn’t get to help at all which, frankly, left me a bit grumpy! I shall have to rummage for materials and have a go when he’s at school.

As you can see, he concentrated very hard and they had a lovely time!

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We think they turned out rather well!


Anna has kindly donated a package of the first three of her Violet Mackerel books for me to give away, if you’d like to be in with a chance of winning them do enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway below! There is a new Violet hitting the shelves in paperback on 1st August 2013 so look out for Violet Mackerel’s personal space!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Disclosure: We were sent copies of the first three books in the Violet Mackerel series and craft materials to make two wands.

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