Just sketching

When I set up this blog the whole idea was to keep a record of my paintings. Yet, ever since I have been actively updating my blog I haven’t done any painting (of my own, painting with the kids doesn’t count).

When I realised this I had a bit of a  mourning period because I loved to paint. I loved my art. Not that it was anything spectacular, but with kids and every other type of craft I have been putting my hand to, I haven’t made time for it. I will have to work on that! The cards idea was only meant to be a ” to do while the paint was drying” activity and well things have spiralled out of control.

But for now, I made my self sit down the other night and just draw, which I just haven’t done.

Nothing special but here is the produce of that evening.

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Fun with the kids Jan 2015

Little late this week

My kids love colouring, painting, cutting and sticking. Glad to see my craftiness is rubbing off on them.

My main challenge is channelling this creative energy into tangible projects. (School and nursery don’t seem to have this problem.)

But for 2 shiny weekends this January we succeeded in working together to make some lovely projects I’m very proud of my kids for working on.

The Birds

R had a made a squirrel (with a hand print tail) in school last year and really wanted to make another one. I amazingly found a pot of greeny blue gluey paint that needed using up (left over from the Frozen castle). It was decided that a blue squirrel was probably a bit odd so I suggested making some birds instead.

On day one, we painted the cardboard tubes (a big one for E and a little one of R, because that is what they wanted). Then we made some hand prints (5 for E and 3 for R, again because that is what they wanted).

On day two, construction! we cut around the hand prints then stuck them too the cardboard tubes to make wings and tails. We cut out little triangles for beaks and added some googly eyes. Then E spotted some orange cellophane wrapping that had come from a pudding and decided that she wanted to use strips of it to make hair or top feathers.

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The Boxes

The next weekend the girls once again wanted to do some painting and I convinced them it was time to decorated some lovely mini orange crates that we get from co-op. (The girls love these for carrying round random bit in.)

On day one, we used yet more greeny blue gluey paint which had surprisingly not yet been used up to paint the top and sides of the boxes.

On day two, I let them loose with stickers and glitter glue to personalise.

 

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Before

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Painting

 

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Finished

I am very please with my girlie’s work and thought it worth showing off. Hope you enjoyed too.

 

Sewing practice

This week I have been mostly mending, which in fairness uses pretty much the same skills as some of my crafting but never the less is much less glamorous.

My sewing course has started again so my main crafting time is in use, so will probably get a few smaller projects for the next few weeks.

I had a bonus free evening this week so decided to make a little project to practice the skills I had been taught on my course this week. Being, French seems, corners, reinforced corners and curves.
I thought I would make a little pocket bag just to practice (as I dislike doing things without an end purpose).

Used some fabric quarters I had picked up for the charity shops. Picked this one as it had a nice rounded pattern that made a decent curved shape for the flap. On actually getting round to cutting it I realised it was not a very even curve so used a plate as my template.

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Quite pleased but clearly need much more practice…and maybe a proper pattern next time.

Super hero day

R class is doing a super hero theme for the term so of course they have to have a super hero day.

I’m not going to go out and buy a costume just for a day event but I will adapt previously made items to make up a super hero outfit.

R had had a super hero themed birthday party (as requested) earlier this year and I had made a few super hero items including capes and masks (see previous post). So asked R to pick a cape and a super hero logo (had given her the option to make her own up but she chose the “S” from Superman). We then when through my fabric stash and she picked out the colours she wanted the logo in.

First to make a template. Since she had chosen a pre-existing shape I simply looked it up. I used the ones found here:

I used a graphics programme to copy out the superman logo on to its own page then enlarged one for the back of the cape and shrank one for a belt buckle. (both printed on the same A4 sheet)

I ironed on some wonder web to my fabric pieces then drew and cut out my templates. Cut the insides first, as these were the most likely to go wrong, then used may snazzy new rotary cutter to do the edges in a snap.

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I ironed the cape logo directly on to the cape but the buckle logo I ironed on to another piece of fabric.

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I put a line of purple stitching just inside the edge of the purple to make sure everything stayed attached.

For the belt buckle I cut a piece card to (roughly) the right shape, then wrapped the fabric around and stuck it down with glue. I had planned to attach it over other belt I had that fitted her but it has been lost, possibly thrown. So I had to improvise. I had a length of the purple fabric that was just too short to get around her waist which i sewed into a strap with a few pieces of elestic at the back filling the gap and giving enough so it could just be pulled over her waist.

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She seems very pleased with it

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Frozen Castle

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I love my girls and for the moment my girls love the film Frozen.

As it turned out my 5 year old wanted a Frozen castle for Christmas. Now she was very happy with the gifts she had got but was quite put out that Santa had forgotten this very important item. Mummy didn’t know.

Of course, we had lots of conversations about being grateful for what we have and explaining you can not have everything you want. Santa brings you presents not everything your heart desires. Then she went and had a ball in a new ball pit (which she had also asked for).

I had considered buying her a castle, even looked it up, curiosity really, but the prices (especially post Christmas, when most places had sold out) were extortionate!

Then a crafters mind wanders and starts thinking … it wouldn’t be too hard to make one would it?

I had a few ideas how but thought best to raid the realms of Pinterest first. Have to say some mum have found some great ways to make different castles but my favourite was this one from We got our hands full

Well I didn’t have the castle pattern print out but it seemed an easy enough shape to make. Dug out a cardboard box that was going to be recycled and made some rough sketches based on the pictures in that post.

Hid the cardboard pieces so the kids didn’t see it during the day.
The next night I got a proper ruler (not the side of a lovely new garden set) straightened the lines, actually measured towers so that they were evenly sized, centred the balcony and door properly. Then I started cutting. (I cut one side panel then used it as a template for the other side panel)

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Notice no roof sections. That is because I sized them up after putting the castle together because it seems easier to me to get all the slots in the right place that way. Remember I didn’t have a print out pattern to cut round (may have been easier to look for one in hind sight but it all turned out fine)

Next the painting

That was the real trick. Firstly to get the right colour and secondly to hide the pieces every morning before the girls came into the sitting room as I had to leave them out to dry over night.

Painting took 4 nights so that they had 3 coats of paint on both sides of each panel. I made sure to paint vertically so had any streaks (not really shown in the pictures) they just would add to the ice effect.

Out of interest I used the girls poster paints mixing blue, white and a small but increasing amount of green on each layer, with an equal amount of PVA glue for added strength and to make sure it would stick to the cardboard and any labels.

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The floor of the castle needed to have the snowflake so again I searched on-line (Google this time because, on this occasion, Pinterest failed me) and found a version closest to the one in the film. Find the one I used here. Cut it into a hexagonal shape as didn’t fancy doing all the detail on the snow flake and not sure it would have added to the effect either. Printed it out on photo card (slightly thicker than photo paper) I just stuck this down with PVA.

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Finally the characters, because there is no point having a castles and no one to play in it.

For this I came across some wonderful printables. My chosen one for this project found here

Because of the size of the castle I had to print the sheet out at A5 size. I cut them most of them out leaving the white because I was afraid it would make them too easy to bend and break if I tried to cut out the detail.

I stood them up using cut pieces of cardboard rolls (from things like tin foil and wrapping paper). I attached them with glue and double sided sticky tape (double sided sticky tape attached quicker, glue sticks longer and better once dry)

Once attached the card rounded a bit which actually improved the appearance of them (I think so anyway)

Time to put it all together and see if it works.

Once constructed I sprayed the structure with some glitter varnish spray I happen to have in my craft stash. It has given it a lovely shimmer, again not really shown in the pictures but if you look closely at the close up of the balcony you can just about see it.

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I’m pretty pleased with myself I have to be honest. It has come out rather nicely and little miss was very happy to find it. OK it is not the strongest structure as you can only really pick it up (safely) by the balcony level floor board but definitely a success.

Please let me know what you think?

If I was to continue or do it again I probably would actually make a base for it and paper mache along the joins for strength. I had decided against putting a rail on the balcony and I think it would get in the way of play .

I very much recommend searching out fab ideas on Pinterest and for more ideas, and cool print outs please feel free to check out my Frozen board (yes I had to make one)

Long post hope you enjoyed it

Bottle holders

My littlest E loves her water bottle. When ever we are out and about after having a drink it is a great challenge to get her to give it back so we can carry it for her.  Little slips mean the bottle has quite a few accidents and thus a shorter life.

In September, I think, I came across a pattern for a water bottle carrier in one of my magazines and thought that may well solve this problem.

I have come across multiple patterns since, here is 1 I have linked to on Pinterest.

http://believeninspire.com/2014/07/diy-water-bottle-cover-back-to-school-sewing-ideas-easy-sewing-projects.html

I looked at the instructions then promptly ignored them as I got going. I used some wading I had left over for my tablet cover as the central layer. I also didn’t have a long enough price of fabric to make the strap so instead made 2 straps that attach with buttons so it is adjustable. Bonus!

I had to wait to make the button holes until I learnt how to use the button hole attachment on my machine but fortunately had signed up to a sewing course so finished my first bottle holder (the blue spotty one) after my second lesson.

The second bottle holder (red) was made as my course project. Also made my eldest happy to have her own bottle holder.

 

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Showcasing older makes – Cards

 

I set up this blog first and foremost to be a record of my makes. In picking and choosing cards for different occasions over the year, my lovely husband has reminded me to make of record of those things I had made before I had set up this blog.

This post is dedicated to cards

There are quite a variety of styles from different periods of my life (in the last 7 years anyway) and craft styles

 

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These illustrated ones are how it first started (as a long term project) I thought I could make miniature pieces of art as cards to fill out the craft stall I was going to sell from.

 

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Then I started using old cards and foiled lettering to design something a bit different

On the left picture at the bottom there is a card made with a laminated pressed flower. I made a few of these flower colour blocks but not many cards from them. I may have to dig them out and see if I can make something a bit more interesting.

Someone may also recognise the right most card in the right hand picture as one of my wedding invitations which I suppose is technically the first card I designed and sent, on mass with a small production team or uni friends

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an example of some Christmas cards made from old cards and one hand painted card at the back.

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Experimenting with different craft styles

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Finally last years Christmas card makes Above: from a kit that came with a magazine. Below: up-cycling imagery and verse from card boxes

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This is not a complete catalouge as many cards have already be given out long ago. Not impressed with all of them but still they exist and sometimes it is as important to note those things that have not worked as those that have.

a small reminder that layering in card making makes a big difference

I left this card out of my October card make update as I wanted to wait until it had been received. There are many birthdays but not so many friends waiting to have a baby imminently.

Since it was a special card I spent I little longer thinking about set up. Although it was a pre printed kit I thought it needed a little something extra. So I decided to add some extra layers. I always find picking the right colour the most difficult part but I finally picked a blue to match the butterflies in the backing paper.

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The card placed together with out layers   

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The card placed together with the extra layers

I hope you agree with my that with the extra layers the card looks much better.

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The finished card

Congratulation Joy and Jeremy I can’t wait to meet him!

Hooded towel

Simple and amazing gift ideas are always sought for, so when I came across this link for a hooded towel I could not wait to give it a go.

http://www.trueaimeducation.com/15-minute-diy-hooded-towels/

Sadly took me a few months to get round to sourcing the towels and needled needed (didn’t help that I had lost  the needles the first opportunity I had time to start the project).

Finally done

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Also made some some wash mitts with the bit of towel left over.

I hope it is enjoyed by the little girl who has receive it. Chances are, if you have a little one I buy things for I shall be making them one as well over the next year.

Advent calenders, match box tower

As I do I came across another wonderful “I can do that” project on Pinterest not too long ago.

http://www.welke.nl/photo/peroniek/oude-tijden-herleven-enig-om-met-kinderen-en-ook-gewoon-voor-jezelf.1391106247

Advent calenders made out of matchboxes. Admittingly I have seen a few different styles of these but none of them have particularly taken my interest until this one. So I went to my local nic nac shop and picked up some craft matchboxes (pack of empty blank matchboxes designed for silly crafters like me.

I dutifully didn’t bother looking at the instructions and stuck them all together. (Although I did first check they were not wonky and all opened and closed properly)

 

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I appear to have lost my in the process photo’s 😦

Got another on to finish will update once I have

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