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Archive for the ‘Craft’ Category

I recently stumbled across a great little blog called Happy Little Kiwi, which features lots of the things I love such as recipes, crafts and useful ideas & products for kids. This week featured a link to a website called Mr Printables, containing oodles of free printables and resources for preschool and beyond.

I used imagery from Mr Printables’ Alphabet Activity Book (see photo below) to create a handmade birthday card for a sweet little boy turning one on the weekend (see photo above). I downloaded the image and cropped it, then used Schoolhouse Cursive B font to type his name in the space provided. I printed the card onto 4×6 card stock on my colour inkjet printer and made a custom envelope out of brown kraft paper.

Mr Printables’ Doodle on the Moon is too groovy not to include here. You can download fabulous high-resolution images of the moon…for doodling on of course. My son drew an Alien Moon Monster…in what appears to be a purple top-hat. Where does he get these ideas from?!

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It’s been a busy month in our neck of the woods.

Almost impossible to believe but my two babies turned 1 and 3. As their birthdays are so close together, we had a combined party at the park. In a month of brilliant Sydney sunshine, the party landed squarely on a weekend of rain and record gale-force winds. As children are blissfully immune to bad weather, we grown-ups proceeded bravely outdoors.

At the party we had…

Rugged up children bearing bikes, trikes and scooters and rugged up relatives bearing fruit platters and presents.

A cake-off. The 3-year old’s Nigella Lawson Chocolate Cake versus the 1-year old’s Donna Hay Carrot Cake. In my humble opinion, the hands down winner was Ms Hay. Her carrot cake is so fabulous, it will be the subject of my next blog entry.

Loads of fabric bunting that was double gaffer-taped to poles and flapping madly in the wind (though I managed to get a miraculous ‘still’ shot between gusts).

Little handmade touches that included Where the Wild Things Are invitations:

Duck-food for a bike/scooter trip to the pond:

And take home goodie-bags made with scrapbooking paper and this handy little sticker making machine I found on my op-shop travels:

Oh and what do you do if it’s a Saturday morning and there’s only one table at Sydney’s most popular inner west park? You get an early morning covert operation underway to mind the table, is what you do…(thanks uncle).Until next year kiddos.

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Last Friday night a small miracle occurred and both my toddler and baby were sleeping soundly by 6:50pm.

At 7:00pm I had a gin + tonic in my hand and the contents of my entire fabric stash sprawled over the lounge room floor.

By 8:00pm (and giddy with the success of my recent curvy bib-making enterprise) I had selected, cut and pieced together the fabric for four more bibs.

My good fortune continued and as the house remained quiet, I was able to bring out my crotchety old sewing machine, cajole it into action and sew the pieces together.

The best and most wonderous thing about the night was being able to work on a project, uninterrupted. (Mama Flurfel articulates that feeling perfectly here.)

When I examined the bibs the next morning, it brought to mind an old Persian fable. Persian craftsmen would deliberately include one flaw in their beautifully handcrafted rugs to make them imperfect. This was so that their God would be the only perfect thing in the world. As a humble crafter, I can confidently say that these bibs pay homage to that Persian God. Many times. Particularly around the neckline.

I love these little drool catchers, but that concludes my short bib-making career.

Bib-makers, I salute you.

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Korka baby bib

I made this bib for a friend who lives with her beautiful baby boy in the hippie heartland of North Coast NSW. The fabric was given to me as a gift a few years ago from a cousin in Alice Springs. Observant followers will note the curved edges of the bib. Baby steps people, baby steps. My sister and I are still yet to launch our Etsy shop, but in the meantime I thought I’d give one of our little woven labels a try.

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With Mother’s Day just around the corner, I decided to make this sweet little mini-book for my mum (tutorial found here). I made a few changes. Mine is a little larger and on the pages I printed text, and used photographs and my children’s artwork. I also used my sewing machine to sew down the spine of the book. It’s the sort of project that would work just as nicely for a birthday or other special occasion.

During the project it was nice to take the time to think about the things that I love most about my mum.  She has six children and ten grandchildren. She’s a people person, creative and passionate with her work. Most weekends she can be found grandchild wrangling, hustling at a garage sale or having a cuppa. Unfortunately I can’t spend Sunday with her as we live interstate, but my brood and I will be hopping on a plane to visit her next week. 

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There’s a scene in the film Zoolander, where the protagonist male model admits to a secret weakness. On the catwalk he cannot turn left. Only right.

Me and Zoolander, we both have our little secrets.

On a sewing machine I can only sew straight. No curves, no squiggly bits, no zig-zags. I have lived most of my adult life without even consciously realising this. I sew bunting, bags, cushion covers, pencil cases, placemats, table runners, quilts…but they’re all straight.

I had this epiphany when I tried to make a Softie this week and the finished product looked like I had sewn without my glasses on after a couple of drinks.

My husband is kind. He assures me it’s my vindictive little second-hand sewing machine that I bought from a garage sale many years ago. It’s over 20 years old, sounds like a buzz saw and only works if I use the most expensive thread and say a little prayer to the sewing gods beforehand.

I can blame my cantankerous old machine or carry it in my heart bravely like Zoolander.

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Dioramas have a school project loveliness about them and are wonderfully tactile in this digital age.  I’ve been meaning to make a construction site for my son for some time now and was motivated again after organising his toys and seeing all his little yellow diggers together. This project is easy to make and came in at a grand total of $0.00 as I sourced all my materials from around the house and yard. Here’s a step by step guide:

Materials

  1. Large cardboard box
  2. Garbage bag
  3. Stanley knife / scissors
  4. Tape and glue
  5. Blue paint + brush
  6. Several printed sheets of rocks and other construction materials
  7. A sheet of white paper
  8. A couple kilos of slightly damp sand
  9. Small assortment of rocks, paddle-pop sticks, bark etc
  10. Building site accessories and signs
  11. Yellow diggers

Instructions

  1. Cut the box on each side diagonally from the top back corner to approximately 10 cm (4″) above the bottom front corner. Cut along the front and remove this portion of the box so that it resembles a stage.
  2. Paint the inside walls of the box a sky blue colour.
  3. Cut a plastic garbage bag to size and secure firmly to the base of the diorama with tape, making the bottom of the box water resistant.
  4. Cut out white clouds from a sheet of paper and glue to the blue sky.
  5. Glue the construction site imagery around the bottom inside wall of the diorama.
  6. Fill the box with a layer of slightly damp sand and pat smooth.
  7. Arrange accessories and diggers on sand.

This diorama was loads of fun to make and a big hit with my son. The possibilities are endless; zoo, farm, space station, jurassic…

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The Land of Bunt

When my son turned one, I may have gone a teensy bit over the top creating a vintage-inspired garden party for him. As part of my plan, I intended to make loads of multi-coloured fabric bunting to drape around our marquee. It started off simple enough…I used scraps of fabric, old cushion covers and groovy 70s shirts from op-shops to create one-of-a-kind fabric bunting flags. About 45 flags in, as my scraps of fabric and patience were starting to dry up, it occurred to me to take measurements of the marquee to calculate how many metres of bunting (and hence flags) I would need to make. I was shocked to discover that I needed to create 110 double-sided, machine stitched flags! By this stage I was completely absorbed in the project and determined to see it to the end. It took weeks and it seemed that during this period the house was littered with cotton threads and little pieces of fabric in every colour of the rainbow. Even though I was delighted with the outcome, it consumed me so completely I didn’t have time to make and decorate a cake (sadly I had to buy one). My husband has now coined a phrase for those times when I disappear into over-ambitious projects…I go to the land of bunt.

A couple of weeks ago Spotlight had an enticing sale of vintage-style fabrics and I couldn’t resist. I’ve started making some smaller scale bunting for some upcoming birthday gifts. My little sis and I are also planning to open an etsy shop with these and other crafty goodies shortly.   I promise my family that there will be no extended holidays in the land of bunt…just an occasional weekend getaway!

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