Monday, 30 November 2009
Monday, 23 November 2009
I nearly cried. I swore a lot. The whole experience up til then had been such a pleasure (I find 'home grown' patterns so much easier than commercially produced ones. They make sense!). Grandma pickledweasel suggested smaller buttons, but that still wouldn't solve the problem of the rapidly unravelling buttonhole. I eventually decided to stitch the buttonhole together and leave a small gap in the middle, push the shank of the button through the gap and sew it on the other side. So it looks like the coat has buttons and button holes. Then I sewed press studs on the other side so the coat will fasten.
It means the coat isn't reversible, which I am gutted about, but it does make it wearable. Massive lesson learnt - never ever ever make anything that requires button holes ever again ;) Munchkin likes the coat, and whenever 'elephant coat' is mentioned she does her elephant impression, which involves a sort of trumpety noise accompanied by a flailing arm, which is meant to be a trunk. The arm action is very similar to that of her washing machine impression. I may put her in for Britain's Got Talent next year. Obviously she will wear the coat to her audition :D
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Two vintage knitting / stitching magazines, one for the fantastic 'evening jumper' pattern, and one for a lovely 'Noah's Ark Workbox' which apparently is perfect to 'hold all the nursery mending things' :)
One fat quarter and a little bundle of scraps, which included some Beatrix Potter bits. And a little pack of vintage bits and bobs that made me think of the forties - I might try and do a collage with it.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
- Wallpaper with a flowery pattern, or failing that, coloured / textured wallpaper you can cut into flower shapes.
- Sturdy cardboard, preferably corrugated (I used a cat food box, the sort that has those foil pouches in)
- Straws (If they're bendy, cut the bendy bit off)
Start by cutting out your flowers. If your munchkin is too small to manage scissors, get them to choose the flowers and you can do the cutting. I tried to get a photo of Munchkin choosing a flower, but she was in a major strop this morning. But this is the flower she chose, honest!
Now cut some discs of sturdy cardboard to mount your flowers on.
Stick your flowers to your discs.
Stick your straws to your flowers with tape.
You're done! And now find the best way to display them. I used a jam jar and filled it with those little glass nuggets, and then pushed the straws in. I cut the straws to different lengths so you could see all of the flowers. If you haven't got glass nuggets you could always use that pile of pebbles that your munchkin collected from your last visit to the seaside that's gathering dust in the bathroom :)Now I just need some stories about flowers to go with my craft activity for storytime. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Sunday, 15 November 2009
So instead I'll try and give you so many amaaaazing websites about crafting with little ones that you'll run out RIGHT NOW and buy some stickers and glue and glitter and poster paint. Go on, there's bound to be a 24 hour Tescos not too far away :)
The Crafty Crow is a brilliant source of craft ideas, and is very conveniently organised by age group, from 18 months up to 12 years. The halloween section this year was fantastic, and gave me loads of simple stuff to do with my storytime group. The blog doesn't feature the tutorials in full, but has an image of the end product with a link to the site it came from. Saves you trawling through Google looking for 'Homemade Bathtub Paint' :)
Bloesem Kids: Bookhou Crafts is the kids crafts section of Irene Hoofs' pretty blog. It's so beautifully designed and calming to look at, you might even forget the glue on the sofa :) There are four contributors (all with fantastic blogs of their own), each taking it in turns to post a project. The photography is lovely, the projects are delightful, and there's not a glitter encrusted child in sight. As well as crafts for children, there are crafts for you too, like new ways to display the endless streams of paintings from nursery, and a brilliant book of textures for little sticky hands to explore.
This next one's in French, but the photographs for each project are so simple and self explanatory, that it doesn't matter if the only French you know is, 'Ou est la gare s'il vous plait?'. Julie Adore Dimanche is the crafting adventures of Julie and her cute-enough-to-eat 2 year old daughter. I am loving Monsieur Enlacet, who can help a child learn how to tie shoes, and the Mer Salee is very pretty.
Finally, Kids Craft Weekly is a fab little newsletter sent by email, full of stuff for you and your munchkins to get stuck in to. You can sign up here, or view back issues here. Each newsletter has a theme, which you could easily tie in with other stuff you do that week - so for example along with making some rockets and aliens from the space themed newsletter, you could also visit a science museum, find some books about space in the library (Aliens Love Underpants is one of my favourites), and watch Wall E on dvd.
So what are you waiting for? Clear the furniture, make sure the cat's in a safe place, and have the industrial strength cleaner and bottle of gin on hand for later. My best tip for a stress free session is oilcloth. The biggest piece you can afford. You can spread it out on the floor or drape it over your table, it's waterproof, wipe clean, and if you buy the heavy duty stuff it should last for a long time. Happy crafting!
P.s. The artwork in this post, 'Quality Street Wrapper on Fire', 'Aggression with Crayons' and 'Glitter Glue versus Biro' are originals from the new autumn exhibition by Munchkin, and have been reproduced with the artist's permission.
Wednesday, 11 November 2009
Two tea towels. Mine were from Home Bargains as part of a set of three, and were £1.49.
Twill tape or ribbon. I used tape that was half an inch wide because that was what I had in my stash, but I think 1" wide would be better.
Matching thread - you might need 2 different colours if your tea towels are different colours.
A sewing machine (optional, you could do all of the sewing by hand if you don't have a machine).
A ready-made apron to help with your measurements.
Start by laying out your ready-made apron, using it as a guide, and placing your tea towels on top. You need to take into account how long you want your apron to be, and how deep you want your pockets to be. The top of your vertical tea towel will be folded over to make a casing for your neck strap, so leave enough space for this (about an inch or two).
Next you'll sew a line down the middle of your bottom tea towel to make the pockets. Fold your apron in half to make sure you centre the line.
You're halfway there! Next you need to make the casing for your neck tie. Fold the top of your apron over, using your tape / ribbon as a guide. You need to make sure it will fit through comfortably and won't get twisted. Now sew your casing. As the edge of your tea towel is already hemmed you don't have to faff about turning it under to neaten it :)
Attach a safety pin to the end of your tape and thread it through your casing. You'll need enough tape to fit comfortably round your neck - I cut a piece about 40" to start with, and adjusted it to the right length later.
Runkle up your casing until you're happy with the gathers, and then pin your tape either side. Make sure you have an even amount of tape either side of the apron top.
Now sew the ends of your casing in place where you've pinned it.
Next you have two options. You can leave the ends of the tape free, which will mean you will have to tie the apron at the neck and the waist when you put it on. I recommend you do this if you're making the apron as a present for someone, unless you know their exact height / shoulder width / neck girth etc. :)
Or you can join the two ends together, making a loop that you pull over your head when you put the apron on. If the apron is for you then this is the best option. Put the apron on and put the tape around the back of your neck. Make sure you have enough tape to be able to pull the apron on and off over your head, and pin the tape together.
Cut the excess tape off, and join the two ends together. I folded each one over and then sewed them on top of one another, if that makes sense.Next you need to add the ties for the back of the apron. Take your tape / ribbon and measure out enough to go all the way around your waist and tie comfortably at the front. I used about 55". Cut your tape in half, and attach each piece to the sides of your apron, where the two uppermost corners of the bottom tea towel are. Make sure you sew the tape on well.
Now neaten the ends of your tape by folding over twice and sewing. If you're in a rush (or are fed up with sewing fiddly little bits of tape) you could tie a big knot in the end instead.
Finished! Sit back and admire your handywork :)
No, I haven't suddenly got a lovely new big kitchen, the photoshoot took place at grandma pickledweasel's, with munchkin as assistant (she sat in an armchair eating raisins and shouting encouraging things).