Sunday, 13 November 2011

Birthday Boots!

Miss almost 3 LOVES Dora, I mean really wildly like only a small child can, and she has been begging me for a Dora and a Boots, so I decided rather than fork out a large amount of money on what will be a phase which probably only lasts until Christmas, I would attempt to make her a Boots, Waldorf doll style, and here's the end result. (Don't look too closely at the face!!)

Anyway, if you're interested in having a go yourself I can tell you my method - but you might want to figure out a better way to do the face and the tail, both were a real pain and really there must be an easier way!

I started by drawing out a pattern - see the bottom three photos (sorry there aren't any more photos - kids got sick in the middle of making this and I forget to take photos as I went along.)
Then I figured out where I needed two tone fabric, and cut pieces out, sewed them together and THEN cut out the pattern, much less fiddly than trying to sew together pre cut pattern pieces - only downside is that my accuracy wasn't 100% so one hand is longer than the other, but small children don't seem to mind things like this! Then I added all the appliqué bits required - like the tummy, the ears, the eyes etc.

The rest was pretty much a case of following the Waldorf doll construction method from here
but without making a head ball to start with - instead I stuffed the head tuft and the ears lightly, and the pink bottom face which I had sewn over top of the face I stuffed as hard as I could (I cut a small hole in the head behind the face part to push the stuffing through) Then I sewed over the head tuft to create the three "hairs" and around the appliqué on the ears.
I stuffed the head as hard as possible and made sure I got the neck really well stuffed so it wouldn't end up wobbly then I finished the neck - minus wrapping thread around it to define the neck, it just didn't need it.
I put the arms, head and body together as the instructions show, and then sewed the tail on the back - I had meant to make a cut and sew the tail into the back body piece but I forgot (I blame the kids - hard to remember anything when you're always being interrupted to answer questions!)

The final thing was to make some boots, and I used this tutorial
some soft red felt and the sewing machine - my hand stitching isn't very neat. Because the felt is so soft I managed to turn the boots so all the seams are hidden, and turn and stitch the tops down to hide the raw edges.

Now to convert a Waldorf doll into a Dora doll.... wish me luck!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Nursery Art

I've been inspired by Little Blue Boo to try my hand at nursery art, I won't show you my first attempt, but the second one, for my new niece came out ok - our local Chinese import shop has these wee canvas blocks at the moment so I hope to make some more soon.

Week two, very late, upcycling sheets

Well, it's been way more than a week, but in my defense we have been SICK, and Mr 4 turned into Mr 5 and started school, so I'm doing mother help twice (or more)a week, but anyway, here's week two - upcycling sheets...

This is just one idea, I'm sure there are hundreds more out there, but as there have been a few birthdays I've been putting together "build a fort" kits - very simply you take an unwanted but unripped sheet, cut strips from an old tee shirt and make loops and ties at each corner and down the sides/ smack bang in the middle of the sheet. (sew these on) visit your local $2 store and pick up some pegs, rope and a torch and bob's your father's brother, one self build fort.
There are several blogs out there which already show you how to do it, so I won't reinvent the wheel, but send you to have a look instead.
Jodi Michelle
Salt Water Kids

But anyway, here's one of my version - I forgot to get photos of the other so you'll just have to imagine.

So, what can you use an old sheet for?

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Upcycling old blankets into new

I've been doing lots of upcycling recently - stuff I've been meaning to do for ages and finally got the time for, so I'm putting out a One a Week Challenge to everyone to see if they can upcycle one item each week.

This week my challenge is old wool blankets, I have 3 or 4 really old manky woolen blankets, not good enough to make into coats but certainly good enough to hide inside some nicer fabric and use as quilt inners.
So far I've covered two (using cot panels as focal points, yes it's taken me THAT long, Master almost 5 was still pleased as punch with them thankfully), have quilting fabric needing to be ironed and cut before sewing up number three for Miss almost 3 and the last one is going to be a nice warm chair blanket for me to keep me warm in the evenings and I've found a couple of pretty vintage sheets to cover that one.

Covering these wasn't difficult, the biggest tip I can give you is IRON, iron everything! The first one I put together was much more difficult because the blanket was wrinkled. You can't really see how stained and manky the blankets were even after a really good wash, but trust me there was no hope for them for anything where you could see them!

I started out with two sheet sized pieces of fabric (top and bottom), laid the blanket on top of that and then sorted out where I was going to put the cot panel, then I ironed the hem allowance on the cot panel over and pinned it to the top sheet of fabric and stitched it down.

Once I'd got the cot panel sorted I then sandwiched the blanket between the two sheets and pinned all the way around and spot sewed parts of the cot panel and right around the edge of the blanket sandwich.

Once held together properly I trimmed the edges and did a fold and turn and pinned and sewed the edges together, you could also use a nice wide bias trim and finish the edges properly, but I found as I had quite a large fabric overlap I could fold it under and get a neat edge without the hassle of cutting and ironing a whole bunch of bias binding (lazy, moi, why yes!)

So, what can YOU do with some old blankets, I can think of a few more things depending on the state of them, like coats and cushion covers if you've got some pretty ones, and the bits you trim off can go into oven mitts and pot mats.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Putting myself out there

One of the scariest things I've done in a long while is to put my clothing patterns up for sale. Testing them is no problem, after all they aren't supposed to be a 'final' product and as a result it's no big deal when someone doesn't like them, or they don't fit well, need altering, etc... but selling them, asking people to part with hard earned cash, now that's HARD..
I hope that my patterns are sufficiently ok to be worth the money people are paying for them, they are hours of ME, my work, passion, vision (yes even the really basic boring ones) I'm not a sequential thinker so the whole process is a work of mastery over my impulse to leap ahead of myself.
In the end I hope my patterns are USEFUL, because to me, usefulness is the ultimate goal when I'm making these...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Feijoa Muffins

Too easy to eat, even easier to make

Ice cream container of feijoas - (2 ltrs before scooping), scooped out.
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
100mls oil
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder

Pre heat oven to 180deg C
Mash the feijoas, add the sugar , essence and oil, stir mix. Add in flour and baking powder, mix lightly. Spoon into muffin tins, bake 25mins.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Darn Cat!

I'm working on a new project, and as part of it I was TRYING to take some photos - outside - on the grass.... without children... I didn't figure on the CAT joining the party!!!!!!!! While it's kind of appropriate to have a cat in the midst, having her start eating the pants was a touch too far..

Cute ain't she?!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sewing for swaps

Been involved in a winter clothing swap, and made one extra jacket for little miss

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Lazy Hot Cross Buns

I'm a lazy baker, and can't be bothered warming soy milk and melting margarine etc, so here is my cheats version of the good old hot cross bun

2 cups warm water
3 Tbsp sugar (I use raw)
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp margarine or oil
2 Tbsp yeast - not the surebake stuff the ordinary kind
1 cup wholemeal/ chapatti flour (or high grade white)

Mix all these together, leave to go frothy, then add

1 cup raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp mixed spice

Stir through well, then add

4 cups high grade (bread making) flour

mix well, knead till smooth (love my kenwood dough hook!), leave to rise in an oiled covered bowl till doubled in size.

Divide into 24 bits (half, divide each half into 3, and each 3 into 4) make the bits into bun shapes by tucking the loose bits under - try and hide the raisins so they won't burn while cooking.
Leave to rise till doubled in size - I heat the oven to the lowest setting it will go, put a cup of boiling water in there and leave the buns for 15-30 mins.
Bake 200C for 20 mins.

Oh yeah, you can glaze and put the crosses on before you bake, but like I said, I'm lazy!

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Crowns for Christchurch

Lots of people are banding together to fundraise for those affected by the Canterbury quake. I've been busy making some crowns for both the quake and for a friend who's mum is dying of cancer and wants to raise money for hospice to say thank you for all their wonderful support. I've made six, but two small people claimed one each, so I have four to donate so far, I have more cut out, just need more sewing time to create a few more.

And here is my first ever attempt at quilting, it hasn't come out quite the right size, but still quite proud of it!

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Christchurch, words cannot express :(

Calling it New Zealand's wost natural disaster doesn't do the terrible loss of life and heartache justice.
Our thoughts and love are with you

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Gratuitous Chicken Pictures

I just need to show off our four lovely chookies, since the last photos posted we have been given a wee brown shaver called Flossy, (we call her Bossy Flossy!) she is lovely, very friendly - lets the kids cuddle her, and generally tells us what to do and bosses us around. The other three are now bigger than her which is funny for us as when she arrived she was the biggest and bossed them around, now she just tries to boss them, and they ignore her for the most part, but they are all happy so it's all good.

Here's a preview of the pumpkins in the self seeded pumpkin patch (aka the compost heap). This pumpkin doesn't look like much in the picture, but it's about the width of a beachball!

And here is a warning picture of what happens if you leave a 4yr old alone in daddies office for more than 5 seconds with the self inking stamps.....