Sunday, 27 January 2013

Groovy snowman!

Before the snow all melts or washes away in a torrent of rain I want to share with you our groovy snowman.
Isn't he gorgeous?  C insisted on the sunglasses, but wasn't impressed with my choice of hat, he thought one of my best ones would be better than one from the dressing up box.  Bug was most insistent that he should be wearing a scarf.  He did have a plum for a nose, but I just can't make it stay on his face.  C is disappointed that the magic hasn't worked and he hasn't come to life like the snowman in the film.

This picture was actually taken last week, and the mega snowfall that we had on Friday (another 12 inches) has now pretty much obliterated the snowman, who collapsed under the weight of so much extra snow.  Still, we all helped clear the driveway yesterday for an elderly neighbour, we've been out and about on the sledges, and C and I spent one twilight digging snow caves in the front garden, in which we placed tea-lights, to welcome Hubby home and light his way up the path.  A little bit magical.  I'll confess, I now want to get back to going jogging in the evening, being able to go out for a walk with the children (the snow is just too deep for them to manage far), and to be able to get into the cellar without fear of the cornice hanging from the conservatory roof.  In short, I'm ready to get back to the wet but not nearly so beautiful weather that makes up the rest of a Scottish winter!

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Embracing the Camera

A way to ensure that every now and then I get in front of the camera instead of behind it, and there are a few pictures that actually have me in them, loving my children (or Hubby, but he tends to make faces at cameras!)

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Number Bean Bags

I saw this ages ago on Chez Beeper Bebe and stored the idea away (on a list, naturally) for future reference. I FINALLY got around to making them... I do get around to things on my list eventually you see!

 Here are the principles I used:

  • It had to be quick.  I have a pair of toddlers who require a lot of attention, I've loads of stuff that needs doing for Scouts, I've loads of crafty things to make on my list at the moment... you get the picture.
  • It had to cost next to nothing.  I don't like spending money that I don't need to spend, especially while not earning anything as a stay-at-home-mum.  Also, we've just had Christmas and it's a long stretch to January pay-day.
  • I wanted them to be tactile and pleasant to play with.
So I cut up an old ripped lilac sheet and an old black velvet skirt.  I vaguely used templates, but didn't cut them very carefully.
I cut out the numbers from the velvet.
I then approximately tacked the velvet numbers on to the sheet rectangles.  Chez Beeper's instructions involve some iron-on fusible web, but that I didn't want to spend the time waiting for it or the expense, so went for the tacking option.

Next was the tricky bit.  I've never used the applique option on my sewing machine.  I zig-zagged around the edge of each number.  Because there were so many twists and turns there was a bit of bunching.  I'm not sure, but I think perhaps the fusible webbing may have prevented this.  Also I'm not entirely sure about the green thread, I think it looks okay, but it does mean that my sewing deficiencies show up clearly.  I used it out of laziness.  It was the first thread to come to hand and I also already had this thread on the bobbin of the sewing machine.
Following this, I put the velvet and the numbers right-sides-together and stitched around three and a half sides of the rectangle.  I didn't pin them.  This meant that, again, there was some fabric bunching, and also some aren't quite rectangular.
I filled the bags with a mixture of chickpeas and lentils (which of course I had knocking about in my pantry), and then hand-stitched the last bit.

Of course, the children love them, and they are every bit as tactile and functional as I had hoped.  Not quite so aesthetically pleasing as those made by Chez Beeper Bebe though!

For the future, what would I recommend to do differently?
  • buy some nice fabric
  • cut the fabric more carefully
  • use the fusible iron-on bonding stuff
  • use a matching thread
  • pin the pieces together before sewing.
All in all, yet another project completed, and yet more lessons learnt.  You can't go wrong!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Slings and things...

Hello and Happy New Year!

I'm back and full of resolve for the coming year.  I WILL make some money through creative endeavours.  Even if it's only a little bit, enough to pay for a holiday.  It would be enough... to take some of the pressure off Hubby and to convince me that I can make "proper" money this way in the future when the little ones head off to school.

Now... before Christmas I tantalised and teased you by telling you that I was being creative, but not giving any further information because I didn't want to spoil the surprise for gift recipients.  Here are some of the things that I made:

First up, for a six-month-old baby nephew - I made a cross-stitch of his name and date of birth and framed it for his bedroom.  I haven't shown the finished item here as I don't want anybody stealing his identity!

For Bug, for her main present from Santa I spent many many many hours sewing this house.  I know, it doesn't look fantastic, but I practised all sorts of techniques in the making.  It's a Goldilocks and Three Bears house bag, complete with quilting and embroidery all over.
 The roof opens, and inside is a story book, three hand made felt bears with clothes, a little Goldilocks, a wooden spoon and a bowl of papier-mache porridge so that we can re-enact the story when we tell it.  I'm delighted and relieved to say that both she and C love it.

I also made three dolls slings and three hairbands, one each for my two nieces and for Bug.  
 I worked hard on the packaging and branding too - looking to how I might sell things in the future, and was delighted with how they looked in the end.
 Bug is still a bit small to wear the sling or hairband for long, but she was pretty pleased with them on Christmas morning.