Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Tutorial - Parrot Wings

It was back to school yesterday after the half term holiday. I vaguely remember reading a newsletter before we headed off to Disneyland about Jacob needing to dress up as an animal during the first week back. I read the letter properly on Sunday and realised that a costume was needed not just a set of clothes in an animal colour. It had to be an animal from the African plains, the rainforest or the desert. 

I thought that the tiger tail and mask that I'd made for him when he was three would do but oh no, Jacob had decided that he wanted to be a parrot! I know I could have said "no, you will be a tiger" but he might not wear fancy dress I make him for much longer (when do boys grow out of that?) so I said "ok, I will make you some parrot wings" (Daddy's birthday present which is already a day late can wait one more day, sorry Chris).

I did a quick google image search and found this parrot...

...and a quick sketch and a measure of Jacob later and I had my plan. 

Here is how I made Jacob's Red and Green Macaw Wings!
I used:
Tape measure
Fabric in your parrot colours, I used Honeycomb Parc from Fabricland
125cm of bias binding in one of your parrot colours
Sewing machine or needle if you are hand stitching
Safety pin
Felt scraps
Two buttons

I wanted the wings to look like the parrot was in flight. So I got Jacob to stand with his arms out at the side and measured from wrist to wrist across his back, which was 91cm.

I made my pattern pieces using a large roll of paper (you could use a roll of brown paper or cheap gift wrap). I drew one half of the wings and placed the paper on the fold of the fabric to get a symmetrical pair of wings.

In total I had; one large blue piece, one green feather piece, one red feather piece, a blue piece for extra feathers at the bottom, four light blue single feathers, one large light blue feather piece and three single red feathers (not in the photo below).

I bought some honeycomb parc which comes in lots of bright colours, is really cheap and doesn't fray. I also like the way the honeycomb pattern in it gives a textured effect for the feathers.

I then cut out the paper pattern pieces using normal scissors. I folded the fabric and placed the centre edge of the pattern on the fold, pinned it to the fabric and cut them out using fabric scissors. 

Handy Hint
Don't use fabric scissors on anything other than fabric. I ruined my Mums pinking shears cutting paper with them when I was little!

Next I assembled the wings, layering each set of feathers and pinned them into place. 

After a quick tea break I set my sewing machine to zig zag and stitched all of the pieces together, leaving the dark blue feathers unstitched at the bottom to create movement.

To finish them off I took the bias binding and folded it over the top edge of the wings (leaving approx. 15cm at each end for Jacob to hold on to) and stitched it into place. I then tied the 15cm bits into loops to go over his thumb.

The wings looked great but the outfit was "missing" something. So, I made a parrot head bandana using a rectangle of the red parc, some felt for a beak and a couple of buttons.

First I made sure that the rectangle of red parc would fit round my head (as my model was at school). Using pieces of grey and cream felt I cut out two slightly curved triangles, one slightly bigger than the other and basted them together, I marked the centre of the bottom edge of the rectangle and stitched the felt into place. I cut out a couple of almond shapes for the eyes and stitched them on with a button in the centre of each.

One little Red and Green Macaw ready for school. Squawk!

Monday, 25 February 2013

Memory Picture

A couple of weeks ago I made a list of all the projects that I wanted to start. I haven't got round to as much as I had hoped but this weekend I managed to tick another item off the list. 

Frame Ruby's Jumper - tick!

Every couple of months I have a sort through the kids clothes and remove the items that no-longer fit. I'm left with two piles. One pile that I am happy to pass on to friends for their kids and a pile of 'special' bits that I can't bear to see another child in. 

I have made memory bunting for a couple of Mums using their daughters baby clothes and I thought that this made a really lovely keepsake. I've also heard of memory quilts that other Mums have made for their children. Over the years I have kept a stack of Jacob's T-shirts for a memory project that I am still to get round to. 

Just before Christmas I tried to throw away a gorgeous red cord pinafore dress because it had an irreparable tear in the back. Ruby went mad and wouldn't let me get rid of it because she liked the cat. So I decided to frame it. I took the glass out of the frame so that the pocket didn't get squashed. It now sits on her dressing table, Ruby has a nice picture to look at and each time I see it I remember my three year old toddler wearing it. 

A couple of weeks ago I realised that this cat top was too small so once it had been through the wash I popped it in a cheap frame from Tiger. Now all I need to do is hang it on her wall. Can you see a theme developing? Ruby likes Cats.
Do you hold on to your kids clothes as keepsakes? Do they sit in a box like some of mine do or have you made them into fun stuff?

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Ruby (and Jacob) Makes - Milk Bottle Elephants (with tutorial)

A couple of weeks ago Jacob made the blue elephant at Beavers, it has his Beaver Promise under the lid. When it came home Ruby decided that she had to make one too and promptly helped herself to a milk bottle out of the recycling box. 

They are very similar to the Elmer Elephants craft session I set up at Dragonflies playgroup a couple of years ago.

They are so easy to make...

You will need:
A clean milk bottle (any size will do but a 4 pint is best)
PVA glue
Tissue paper
Googley eyes
Craft knife

Depending on the type of elephant you make:
Craft foam
Milk bottle lid

To make both elephants: 

Using a craft knife (or kitchen knife as the plastic bottle is soft) cut the bottom half of the bottle off (leaving roughly 2 thirds of the handle there as the trunk) and discard. Then using scissors cut out arches on all bottom sides of the bottle to create legs. 

For the Indian elephant (top one):
Leave the lid sections un-touched.
Cover bottle using tissue paper in a colour of your choice using the PVA glue. Allow to dry.
Take a piece of felt and cut into a curved rectangle shape with a point in the centre at one end. Undo the lid, place felt over the opening and screw the lid back on.
Add googley eyes to the front of the elephant above the handle trunk and sparkles to the felt.
Ta-da! you are finished.

For Elmer (bottom one): 
Carefully cut away the raised lid bit of the bottle. 
Cut squares of different coloured tissue paper and cover the bottle using the PVA glue in a patchwork pattern. Allow to dry
Cut out ear, tusk and tail shapes from the foam and glue into place.
Add the googley eyes and you are finished. 

Why not use your Elmer to re-tell the story!

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Made with love by Mum

Chris bought me these labels for Christmas 2011 to put inside things I make for our kids.

I have my Mum to thank for my craftiness. There are lots of photo's of me as a baby wearing sundresses made by my Mum and as I got older she made my dancing presentation dresses too. I now make outfits for Ruby and I like to think that maybe one day she will make clothes for her children.

Here are a couple of recent outfits that I have made for her. It seems her very pink bedroom makes everything I photograph in it come out with a pink tinge.

The dresses are variations of a burdastyle pattern. I found this pattern quite difficult to follow as is based on european sizes and the instructions are a bit confusing. But they turned out alright in the end. 

Denim dress with pink binding edges and ice cream iron-ons by Julia Rothman.

This one opens at the front and has little bunny rabbit buttons and pink binding. I love pink and orange together. It reminds me on my primary school summer dress.

Every little girl needs a fake fur cape. The pattern is Burda Kids 9475, the fabrics are a cream fake fur and I lined it with cream fleece for warmth. All are from Fabricland on Western Road, Brighton. The cape is fastened using a popper and finished with a pink bow. It's so cute and she loves it.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Flashback Friday - We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Whilst helping at school last week I remembered the "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" interactive mat I made for the reception teachers whilst Jacob was in reception. I was asked to make a something for the children to use to re-tell the story. I thought it was great opportunity to get some use textures and different materials.

I spilt the story into the main areas, grassy, mud, stream, forest, snow, the cave and their home. I made the characters using fabric pens and pastels and made them squidgy so that the children could hold onto them and move them round the mat. 

Then they went...

Through the tassle grass with mini ribbon roses

Through the shiny water with duck buttons
Through the waddling and felt mud 
Through the forest with some of the trees only sewn at the top and botton so that they could walk "behind" them
Under the netting snowstorm
Which opens to find the bear!
To the cave
The mini bear chases them all the way home...
Where they hide in the bed
It was so much fun to make and great seeing the kids play with it.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Golden Hands

About 18 months ago Chris spotted an advert for a set of 1970's Golden Hands Craft magazines on Freecycle but when he contacted the lady she said that someone else had beaten him to it. Luckily for me, she contacted us a few days later to say that the person didn't show to collect them and did we still want them. It turned out that she lives on the next road over from us. I very excitedly popped round the next day and picked them up. Carole, the lady, explained that she was having a big clear out of her Mum's sewing things that she could no longer use and would I be interesting in taking a look before she advertised future lots. Er, yes please! So over the last few months Carole has been phoning me whenever she has a bag of sewing swag for me. Each time it has been like Christmas and I have been very lucky to receive bags of binding, cottons, fabrics and squeaky toy things. I've so far made a dress using some of the fabric and the bindings have come in very handy making dresses for Ruby (more on those another day).

I often spend hours looking through these magazines and have found them really inspiring. I haven't done any needlework since I was little but armed with a bag of threads and wools from Carole I made a tall ship cushion for Chris (he is a bit obsessed with them) for Christmas. If I did it again there would be lots of bits I would do differently but I am very chuffed with my first attempt. 

Can you spot the bit I missed? I really must get round to finishing it off for him. 

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Hey there, Hi there, Ho there it's a Disney kind of day!

We're back from an awesome time at Disneyland Paris. I now have a Sheriff for a son and a daughter with an ambition to be a Disney Princess and a Doctor at Disneyland. Chris has gone back to work and I have a load of unpacking and washing to do.

Before I make a start on it I wanted to get back to my blog and share some things with you. I wasn't expecting to find that much crafty inspiration whist we were away but there some bits and pieces that caught my eye. If you would like to see some of my other photo's check out my instagram!

We stayed at the Hotel Cheyenne which is set in a western village. Jacob has decided that he wants a cowboy themed bedroom. Which is slightly easier than the zebra theme he has been certain about for 18 months. Below is the wallpaper from the hotel bathroom. I'm now trying to work out all of my orignal ideas for his room to fit in the new brief. Yee haa!

Inside the park itself I was very excited to see lots of owl statues at the castle. I think my favourite Disney owl moment is in Bambi when the owl swoops down and the whole screen fills with his eyes. It used to frighten Jacob when he was two. I loved the tiles on the outside of the castle. Fired Earth do some that I would love on the chimney breast in my living room.  

In the queue for the "Meet a Disney Princess" attraction there are murals of each princess castle. I really like the sun, clouds and the way the sky is made up of different sections of blue. At the end of the queue Jacob and Ruby met Cinderella and I think it made Ruby's trip :) I was very excited. 

The castle at Disneyland Paris is based on Sleeping Beauty and there is a huge stained glass window displaying the story. There are also some tapestries continuing the story in sections where there aren't any windows. I've been into tapestry for a while now, I received some 1970's Golden Hands magazines  from a lady on Freecycle and they are full of interesting pieces of needlework that I love looking at.

Another owl on a pillar. Woo

I can't do a Disney post without Mickey and Minnie! We met them on Monday and they were being very cheeky!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Tutorial - Lego Brick Piñata

How to make a pull string Lego brick Piñata

You will need:
A shoe box with lid
A circle cutter
Polystyrene or foam approx. 2cm deep
Craft knife
Coloured paper or paint
Tissue paper
PVA glue
Ribbon or string

Take your box and cutter and measure both. Then work out how many circles you will need to make the box look like a brick. The number of circles will depend on the size of your box. I used 8 on an adult shoe box.

Cut out your circles using the cutter and craft knife, check their position and glue to the lid.

 Turn your box over and cut trap doors in the bottom for the sweets to fall out. The trap doors need to remain closed until it's ready for use so only cut your square on three of the edges.

Paint your box or cover with PVA and coloured paper in your chosen colour. 
My favourite colour is green, what's yours?

Apologies for these photo's they were taken on my HTC. 
Cut lengths of the ribbon approx. 45cm long and securely tape a couple to each trap door and then add some fake ones to the rest of the box. 

Take the tissue paper and some little slits to poke the ribbon through then glue to the base of the box covering the trap doors.

Open the lid and fill with lego bricks and sweets then tape down the lid.

I forgot to take a finished photo and the one of the kids attacking it is a bit of a blur. But it was sturdy enough to use twice. I just replaced the tissue paper and ribbons. It was also much safer than a traditional Piñata as no sticks were involved!
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