Posts Tagged ‘crafting’
Finally- after how many months? I’ve pulled my finger out and finally finished A’s bedroom. Ah- as part of the purging process we’ve been going through since the new year (15 bags donated and counting, + countless items posted on Craigslist and at work, 3+ bags for consignment and several bags of trash) I felt ready to finish A’s room. And all it took was hanging up a magnetic board (repurposed from my sewing nook).
And cleaning her room.
And sorting her toys.
And wiping the walls of some funny foot gunk.
While it doesn’t quite look as finished as if a real designer had taken over, I am really pleased at how it turned out. And the irony is that A will probably only have about 10+ months to enjoy it on her own before we meld her and her brother into the same miniscule space. That will be a challenge. So anyhow- guess how much this whole endevour cost, even with second hand bed and new comforter? Supplies cost $184 plus tax (mostly fabric and electrical stuff) + $60 for the comforter set + $100 for the bed. Less than $350 for a whole new room. Fantastic. I long ago lost track of the stuff I sold to conteract any costs I had to incur to complete the projects, but I’m faily certain that I broke even.
The repurposed/ re-used list:
- felt, twine
- fabric scraps, batting
- fabric scraps, interfacing, wool blanket
Doll crib + highchair
- repainted crib, recovered dolly mattress, made cushion for highchair out of fabric scraps and left over batting
- re-used paint, wall plugs, screws
Pouf for reading nook
- reused fabric scraps
Fabric wall decal
- fabric scraps, used old box shelves from bath/living room and repainted with paint from master bedroom
- repainted shelves with old paint, re-used rope light, mesh curtains, felt, curtain rod and cup hooks
- repurposed from my sewing nook
I decided to make an advent calendar for our family this year based on fun activities we can do together (ie: low cost) or ways to take advantage of Holiday activities to places we have membership at (Science World, the Aquarium, etc). And to do fun crafts, of course! It’s a great way to count down the days until Christmas (and still keep us in the mood to celebrate- even when we hear those horrible carols on “all-christmas, all-the-time” radio stations. Example of worst Christmas Song ever: New Kids on the Block: “funky, funky Christmas.” Heard it at chiro yesterday. Sigh. Anyhow- this will get us through the pop crass-mas…
I tried to think of fun things that were realistic for our busy schedules but that were really sweet and inspired at the same time and have come up with a bunch that I think will be really great. I found a lot of inspiration for the activities and the advent calendar itself from these crafty ladies:
- Mayamade blog (2010)
I made our calendar out of old felt pieces- acrylic, wool and melton. I cut 24 7”x 3” inch rectangles, folded them up and zig zag stitched the sides, leaving a bit of room at the top to be able to attach the banner ribbon. I glued on stickers and other fun holiday items in our wrapping paper/ gift tag box and then sewed 12 of the pouches onto each of the two ribbons. I printed out the numbers, cut them and attached with wooden clothes pegs from the dollar store. Total cost for this project was probably $3.75- which suits me just fine!
Here is what we have planned:
- make salt dough ornaments for X-mas presents
- paint toenails red/ fuschia and green
- write and mail a holiday card for a loved one
- decorate paper X-mas tree with potato prints
- put up Christmas tree
- have some roasted nuts and hot cocoa at Granville Island
- Put up Ho Ho Ho window decoration up
- make pinecone ornaments
- go to library to pick out more holiday books
- snowflake spin art
- go to Christmas Market downtown with Aunty Jenna
- Scuba Claus at the Aquarium
- make wrapping paper with bubble wrap printmaking project (a la Told Oldham’s Kid Made Modern book)
- make a drawing with Christmas stickers
- watch a holiday movie and have popcorn for dinner!
- The Light Before X-mas movie at Science World
- bake x-mas cookies
- bring a toy in for donation/ Solstice brunch party
- make a lantern for solstice
- special art project at Dimpleskins
- candlelight dinner- Happy Solstice!
- Go for a drive to Trinity Street in Vancouver to see the Christmas lights
- bring back holiday books to library
- put presents under Grammy + Pops’ Christmas tree/ Ukrainian X-mas (perogies for dinner!)
If you’d like to join us for any of these activities, we’d love some company. Give us a shout and we’ll set something up.
While most people where stocking up on school supplies last weekend, I got a jump start on supplies over the summer. While we are still several years away from schooling, I decided to really beef up what A has to choose from and we’ve been producing a lot of art. Spaced-out me hasn’t been doing a very good job of documenting the creations, so I thought I’d make a list of our art supply essentials to share. With children’s art supplies, remember this rule: you usually get what you pay for. That doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money, but it does help to know what is good quality and what isn’t. PS- ask around!
From left to right, here are some of the things I absolutely love to work with (A enjoys them too!)
1. White glue- I love the size of this container and the fact that the lid screws off. I hate trying to squeeze gooped up glue out of a pin-hole sized opening. We usually have a small yogurt container with a lid ready to go at all times.
2. Glue spreader- plastic invention used for dipping and applying glue. Great to have and easy to hold. Keeps fussy fingers clean-ish.
3. Tempera paint- can’t have too many colours! Creative Children has a great deal on these and a whole array of colours. You can get bigger ones, but storage space is an issue, so we went with the medium 500 ml ones. Mix them up and make new colours. There are also some poster paints mixed in here too.
4. Lyra pencil crayons (in the glass jar). Super expensive but so worth it. We’ve had these for about 10 months now and I’ve only had to sharpen them once. They come on all our trips and excursions in a zip up pouch. Their triangular shape makes it really easy for toddler hands to grip. From Collage Collage.
5. Paint pots and paint brushes. These are from Opus and they really make the area around the art easel much tidier than I would have expected. The jars have a funnel lid which allows for dipping the brish into the paint, but maximum containment when taking the brush out.
6. Oil pastels. Great fun to work with and so vibrant. One of my favorite art tricks is to get A to cover a large area with the oil pastels and then work with watercolour paint overtop. The oil pastels will resist the paint so you have a really neat effect of the pastel image not being painted over. These were really inexpensive from Michaels.
7. Miscellaneous mixed media for collaging. Anything works here- kids love gluing things. Interesting shapes, textures, papers, plastics, whatever. I love going to Urban Source on Main St. and loading up a paper bag of goodies from their bulk bins. I need to take A there on our next rainy day adventure! This place proves you can make art out of anything.
8. Watercolours- still struggling to find good watercolours that I can pour into paint pots. A has tried using the ones you dip into water first and then the watercolour puck, but gets stuck when it comes to cleaning the brush before moving into another colour- most frequently black, gooping up all the other pucks in the tray. Plus the pucks and the brushes that come in those tray sets are usually quite small, which small hands with developing motor skills find quite challenging. These ones are from IKEA. They have a limited selection of colour, but if you want to try the oil pastel and paint resist thing, these will work.
9. Paint smock- old t-shirts, fancy velcro plastic arm covers- anything to keep the clothes underneath clean. Or go al fresco as A did over the summer.
10. Tempera paint pucks- these are the right size to drop into the paint pots we have from Opus. Add a little bit of water and you are good to go. For older toddlers who understand cleaning the brush before changing colours as well. (remove the black if you want your tray to stay in good shape if you’re working with a beginner!) Or not- embrace the darkness!
11. Sponge rollers- a bit of a luxury item here, but really fun to use. These work best with a tray or styrofoam dish with paint squirted in the dish. Roll the brush around the paint and then apply and the textured roller brushes leave all sorts of neat shapes and designs. From Creative Children. Not expensive and also not essential, but fun.
12. Sponges for prints- we need to invest in some really good foam backed shapes that make for good block printing, but for now, we are having fun with these inexpensive shapes. Dip into paint and apply. From Creative Children
13. Good quality paper. This is a 45 lb heavy weight cartridge paper 18 ” x 24″. Fits great on the easel and allows kids to work really big! Get thick paper if you want the art work to withstand constant painting over and pounding. Also from Creative Children.
14. Washable table cloth. I don’t need to explain this one. Our kitchen table also doubles as the art table so I sometimes need to protect the surface below.
15. Art easel (not pictured)- this one is great. We got ours from Ikea- it has a blackboard on one side and a wide tray to hold paints, crayons, etc. When we need a break from paint, it folds up into less than 5 inches wide and slides in beside our refrigerator- that is magic for small space dwellers!
Are you inspired? Hope so!
PS- for those who have been folowing the Zero Cost Challenge project- it will return in it’s final two installments shortly. I finally had the chance to do some painting and made some progress on completing A’s room. Stay tuned!
I’m not sure it it’s just a little girl thing or not, but most of our time these days consists of playing in the play kitchen making food for A’s dolls. Most of the time we are getting ready for some one’s birthday party and need treats. I’ve been making a few pieces here and there so here is my tutorial for making donuts (ironically, these look much better than the real thing, except for Honey’s of course!)
You will need:
- 1 sheet of acrylic felt
- 1 sheet of acrylic felt in a contrasting pretty icing colour
- embroidery thread for sprinkles plus embroidery needle
- regular needle and thread
- stuffing (old pillows work great)
- something circular about 6 inches in diameter to trace ( I use A’s wooden stacking ring for a disproportionate amount of crafting these days!)
1. Lay your circles down on the acrylic felt and trace them. Make a centre point and a smaller hole- about 1.5 inches. Cut them out. You will need two.
2. Lay right sides together and sew all around the larger (outer) edge with the regular needle and thread.
3. Turn the donut right side out. Begin sewing the smaller circular edge but leave about 2 inches unsewn. Stuff all the pillow stuffing through this hole. Sew it up tight.
4. Using the same size large circular object, trace another circle and draw a hole inside. Instead of following the chalk line all the way around the circumference, I cut the circle in a wavy pattern, mimicking the drippiness of icing.
5. Take contrasting embroidery thread and make large haphazard stitches over the icing circle. This is the icing wrong side facing the camera as you can see the stitching crossing over and the knots. Sorry!
6. Using the same colour regular thread, blanket stitch the icing in place over top of the sewn up donut (sew right side of icing facing up on top of right side of donut). Don’t forget to sew the icing to the donut hole small part too!
I had been really wanting to work with linen for a while and was always keeping an eye out for it on my thrifting haunts but couldn’t quite figure out what to do with it when I found it or what colours I wanted to work with. Linen is a fabulous cotton with gorgeous texture and comes in a wide array of muted colours. I’ve got some strict rules while looking for thrifted fabric these days, ie: I must use it. I am running out of space to store all of my bounty (if you’d like some fabric, please drop me a line and come and take some!) I was looking for a linen in light grey and was unsuccessful in finding a thrifted piece. I was successful in finding the exact shade of grey I wanted during one of Fabricana’s linen sales though! It’s not expensive, but it is a luxury for me at this point being off of work for the summer.
So I lucked into the sale and knew exactly what I would make with it. My other rule for linen in general is that it had better be pretty damn gorgeous/ cute/ twee if I am going to use/ wear/ work with it on a daily/ weekly basis. The problem with linen is that you must iron it. I’ve recently rediscovered my iron lately as it can make your life immensely easier when sewing and assembling garments. I still have a love/ hate relationship with it when it comes to taking care of my own clothes, never mind keeping it pressed for toddler clothing. Toddler garments = lots of wear and tear + lots of food spills = lots of washing + linen = way too much ironing.
Again I broke my linen rule for toddler clothes- but damn- this pattern and frock are very cute and gorgeous and so far have been really worth the upkeep.
I ordered this apron pattern off of etsy ages ago and never got around to completing it. As soon as I saw the linen though, I knew that I would use the pattern for it. Unfotunatley, the pattern is no longer available on etsy, but it shouldn’t be hard to find one. I can share mine, but don’t feel right about posting it publicly.
I found a lovely accent fabric to go with the linen and I think it’s made a wonderful dress/ smock top. My only caution with this one, besides forewarning you about the collasal amont of ironing this will require (or choose different fabric), is that the bow holding everything together is quite large. You may want to plan to put this one on for a day-at-home day, but maybe not a day requiring a lot of sitting. If I was tethered into a toddler car seat with the bow pressing into my back, it might drive me crazy:)
A and I have been delving into the world of nude painting lately. Well, I’m fully clothed and A is painting scantily clad. There are practical reasons for this as we all shall see….
Several weeks ago, I rediscovered Creative Children. I used to work for an art school for kids and ordered a lot of supplies from CC. A mom in my area reminded me that CC is actually located quite close by, in Port Moody across the street from Rocky Point Park. So A and I went on a mission to source out some new tempera paints and heavier stock paper for painting on.
We came back with a big boxful of lovely new art supplies and have been pretty busy creating ever since. The deck in the late afternoon has become the creating place of choice. These next projects are not for the faint of heart….
1. Get yourself a large tarp AND drop cloth. The tarp will protect any paint from bleeding through onto the surface (ie: deck) below. Use large paper. We bought a 50 lb weight paper that is 18 x 24″. I’d go even bigger if I had a place to store it properly. Right now, whatever is not clipped onto the easel is stuffed under the couch…. You will also need a set of textured roller brushes and some flat bottomed pans, lids or containers. Whatever you use, make sure it has a lip- this will collect any paint that is bound to slide around. I think next time I do this, I will just use a baking sheet and lay out the colours inside. I added bits of tissue paper and paper scraps in case A decided to move into mixed media territory. I also added some chalk pastels to play with and a paint pot with a contrasting colour of paint.
2. Take off your child’s clothes and run a bath.*
* You can only skip this part if you are planning on dunking your child in a nearby kiddie pool or hosing them down. Your child will be covered in paint and will not hold still while you try to contain them and run a bath at the same time. They will ensure maximum collateral damage is done to your clothes, your body and your bathroom.
3. Encourage your child to experiment with the roller brushes and paint pots. We have a few rollers that have squares and stars as raised images on them which leave a really neat texture on the painting when rolled into the paint tray and then onto the paper.
4. I was a bit bummed when I super excitedly introduced A to splatter painting with little to no obvious effect the other day. Imagine my delight when she decided to add the splatter paint technique to this painting! Splatter painting is just loading your brush with runny tempera paint and letting the paint drip while holding the brush from various heights onto the paper below. You can also gently arch your arm over the painting for interesting effect. This can get messy and you will want to at least quadruple the area covered in tarps.
5. Hold onto your child when they decide to step into the roller paint tray to leave multi coloured foot prints on their painting. This can get quite slippery and your child will get quite excited.
6. Have a cloth handy to mitigate any damage made from paint drips while you haul your child from the outside into the bath once they have completed their works of art
7. Groan when the tub drains and you realize you will have yet another thing to clean. Although this one is kind of fun to clean as you chuckle to yourself about what you’ve just let your child experiment with.
How did time pass so quickly that I am now the mother of a 3 year old? Hard to believe! A’s birthday was the 20th but we celebrated on Sunday. The house was full of little people and the deck was crammed with friends. It was a lot of fun and A enjoyed herself immensely. I thought I’d show a little of what went into planning her party…..
1. Gift bags:
Here is the tutorial on how I made the badges. I found a great new Canadian semi-local (she’s on the Island) source for wool felt sheets: http://www.beardancecrafts.com/wool_felt.htm To keep everything together, I made little tote bags, added a balloon, a healthy fruit juice sweetened lolipop and not so healthy “fruit” snack. Sorry Aunty Jenna, I had to get those crazy Korean sweets out of the house somehow!
2. Woms and dirt.
Inspired by the dish of the same name at Munch. After looking at the ingredients of regular gummy worms (don’t ever look at the ingredients!) I sent M on a mission the day before the party to track down some healthy worms made by Yummy Earth. We bought some in bulk from Munch in case you were wondering! Unfotunately, I didn’t take a picture of the worms or the cake and ice cream that was their dirt, but it was a hit. I may have freaked some of the kids out when I mentioned we were going to eat worms, but they quickly overcame any aversions. The cake was a chocolate carrot cake recipe that was given to me in part by my co-worker Megan (who got it from a friend….) but I added 2 eggs to the recipe to lighten it up a bit as it seemed quite dense. Here is the recipe: It made a small 2 inch x 8 inch loaf (which I crumbled up into “dirt” after A blew out the candles) plus 12 good sized cupcakes. Iced with cream cheese icing of course!
3. Happy Birthday banner:
Made last year for A’s 2nd b-day. I can see the benefits of having a reusable banner. It may have been stressful making all that I did last year, but with the banner already made for this year, making the barettes, badges and bags was really enjoyable!
Here’s a few more shots of the party. Oh! Almost forgot- A’s friend M made her some flubber.
This stuff is amazing, and I think every parent needs to have some on hand for a rainy day. I searched for a recipe and here is what I found:
A’s big day was spent at the Aquairium. Both M and I were off work (me for the whole summer!). She had a pick of anything she wanted to do today and this is what she chose. She was a princess for her special day and we were there fo the ride. My how time passes. Such a sweet and caring little girl. What a pleasure it is to be her mom.
I promise to start posting more about A’s art. She really been into princesses and dragons lately. I’m more of a paper bag princess type, but A definitely gravitates towards the frills and tiaras. No matter- I’ll keep Robet Munsch handy to keep her grounded (not as in punishment, but as in centred). Castles and princess art to come.
This wasn’t nearly so difficult as I thought it might be. It was incredibly time consuming though, or perhaps could be done over the course of a weekend. Lot’s of little tasks and a lot of cutting involved.
But both A and I are super excited with how the tree has turned out. Really pretty and so feminine. I will be looking to ad a few more things to wall over the coming weeks, but am in no hurry to get started on those backburner items.
The big expenses for this project was the Steam A Seam 2- @ $6/ metre x 4 metres it ran upwards of $24. You could do this project with a lot smaller of a decal, but I wanted this quite big and close to scale. Fabric cost $0 as it was all stuff I had on hand. Still less expensive than many wall decals I have seen in stores and much larger. I ended up selling some of A’s old toys and spent the money on the SAS2 and some strawberry plants I bought for the planter I made (more in the next post).
I was looking back recently to when my first blog post was posted and this week celebrates my one year anniversary. Unbelievable- I cannot understand where the time has gone. I’ve met some really inspiring people over this past year and have jumped into the crafty mama blogosphere head first. I’m in love with so many blogs and projects, that it’s hard to figure out which I love most. To celebrate this past year of crafting, I have made this cute little wine cozy and I’ll do a random draw for it. To enter the contest, leave a comment in the comments section below (e-mails do not count!). My handy random number picker will choose the winner. Contest closes on Sunday, June 27 at midnight. Thank you and good luck!
In the last post, I mentioned that I’d be taking a bit of a break from the Zero Cost Challenge project of redecorating A’s room. If you’ve been keeping track, I’ve done 3 out of 4 walls plus a closet and window. I’ve got a grand idea for the fourth and largest wall involving a fabric tree decal as seen on Sewing for Scarlett. I tested this on a spot on our wall and it didn’t peel off as promised and left sticky goop on the walls so am now torn about doing the decals this way. I think the size of the project is intimidating me and this makes me want to step back a bit and take a break. However, I love a good challenge, and I think to make it more manageable, I may document it in smaller steps. Anyone have some nice latex brown paint (nice for a tree trunk brown) they’d like to lend me or do a fabric swap? I’m looking for fabric that’s got nice modern prints with greens in them for leaves. In keeping with the spirit of the challenge, I am trying to refrain from buying anything (especially paint and MORE fabric) that I cannot reuse.
But I digress, the real purpose of this post it to highlight some of the cutesy items I’ve been making lately:
A’s beautiful sundress. This pattern is from Heather Ross’ Weekend Sewing. I found the pattern to require an excessive amount of fabric. Most of this ends up getting trimmed off. You can use a bit less length wise and about 12 inches less width wise if your keen to try the pattern.
This is A modeling the dress with her cowboy hat and ballerina tutu. What a fashion maven.
A’s super cute shoulder-tied “halter”.
This was inspired by the pillow case dress I made in February when we went to Cabo San Lucas. For the halter, I used up some of the fabric from my most treasured red dress. When I wore this dess and cruised around East Van on my custom baby blue faux cruiser, I could almost smell the Parisian baguettes in my front bike basket. Sigh.
I had this for ages but got a rip just below my bust (no idea how that happened!) and it was unfix-able. I also had tried to let out the seams underneath the arms to make room for a bigger bust while pregnant. Bad move. It’s been sitting pretty in my closet because I can’t bear to part with it. I can’t consign it because of the alterations, so I am reusing it.
It’s a pretty simple idea, take a pillow case, use the hemmed bottom and cut above to desired length, make a casing with the raw edge, cut out some ½ circle arm holes. I rolled and finished the arm holes for a cleaner look. Fold, press and sew the fabric strip that becomes the tie, thread it through. I also added the matching ruffle along the bottom in a fit of brilliant inspiration. This was done by making a really long fabric strip (about 2.5 times the width the circumference of the bottom hem), stitching it with the tension let out and then pulling the thread so that the tie bunched up. I pinned and sewed it from there. These are brief instructions so if you’d like more I’d be happy to share them.
A’s cute tights from old stretchy fabric. I used a pair of her old holey leggings that couldn’t be fixed as a template and made a pattern from them. This was super simple and fast. It took me about 2.5 hours from the creation of the pattern to finished product and I’m not speedy when sewing! I’ll be looking for odds and ends of stretchy fabric now that I know how to make pants. I have an overabundance of elastic (a Value Village score) so A should be set for stretchy leggings now. In our climate, it’s a great way to still wear a skirt but keep the breeze off of young legs.
Shay’s b-day party frock.
Thanks to Soule Mama for turning billions of women on to this pattern from Near Sea Naturals (after it was featured on her blog, NSN experienced a shortage and had to do another run on the pattern). I happened to be one of the people who got backlogged waiting, but am so glad it finally arrived! Shay’s is made of with two gorgeous batik prints. One is a bit more subtle than the other but complement each other well.
I made a vintage fabric- inspired version for A as well:
I made something for me after finding some lovely fuschia organic cotton jersey at my last Fabricana trip. I used the “Yard Sale Wrap Skirt” pattern from the Heather Ross Weekend Sewing book and really was not impressed. I’m not going to dwell on patterns, because I hate them. I hate following instructions. However, if I am going to take the time to sit,read and learn, the pattern better be made properly. The “wrap” was ditched in favour of a seam. I kept the tie waistband and made the skirt more of a faux-wrap. I liked this fabric because I didn’t have to finish the edges. It’s the first time I’ve worked with jersey and I don’t really want to work with it again. I really like quilting cotton and wool felt the best.
It’s A’s birthday in a few weeks and I’ll need to start thinking about making some birthday treats. Capes? Felted food? Not sure, yet.
I will have a lot of time this summer. I’m looking forward to getting a break from work. It will be nice to comb the beaches and waterparks with A. Ah summer. It can’t get here fast enough!