Christmas Gifts – Dino Toy and Appliqué Onesie

Wow. It’s been a week already! I really must write some of these posts in advance to keep up my sleeve for a week like this one (or next one, and possibly the one after that!)

Today my post is about gifts for one cool little dude. One of my early blog posts was about some toys I made for my new nephew, and this post is about his Christmas present.

Of all the presents I made, I think this was my favourite. It was just so cute and so cool.

First of all I made a dinosaur soft toy. I used the pattern found here. I bought a funky green and purple fat quarter of fabric and matching green ribbon and whipped up this cute little toy. I think next time I might make it a fraction bigger, it’s just a tiny bit small, but probably not too bad for little hands.

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For the other half of his present I decided to make an appliqué onesie. I’m no where near talented or patient enough to make the onesie from scratch, so I bought a three pack from the Warehouse for minimal investment (my kinda present). I bought some cool patterned fabric that I was going to use to make a shirt with a little tie on it. But at the last minute I decided that sounded like far too much work (as I’d have to ensure all the edges were sufficiently covered to prevent fraying). So, with a strange turn of events, my husband suggested using some felt that I was using for another project. Fabulous idea, no fraying involved! I spent a few minutes on Google and found a silhouette of a fish (my family is really into fishing and the like) and used that as my pattern.

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A few notes in appliqué with felt – it doesn’t like Visoflix (the glue type stuff you use to hold the piece of fabric together until you’ve sewn them together). I found it hard to get the paper backing off the felt and even harder to keep the fabric pieces in place once on the onesie.

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But, after some very tiny, detailed stitching I LOVE this little onesie! I also love the colour of the fish, green is so trendy.

He even looks pretty pleased with it.

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Coming up: more Christmas presents! I’ll finish the list eventually! Plus, I’m doing some very cool cakes in the near future, so expect to see some posts on those. Also, my daughters turn two next weekend (yikes!) so there’ll be some cute little gift that I’ve made to write about (some as yet unmade gifts…)
Better get cracking!

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Christmas Gifts – Tutus!

Hi everyone

Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and New Year and all that. We sure did, spending two weeks at my parent’s beach house. The girls loved the beach and playing with their cousins and spending a lot of time with their Giddy and Poppa, who are way more fun than boring old Mum and Dad. Life is now returning to normal and I’m trying very hard to get back into the swing of things (not as easy as it sounds).

As promised before Christmas, I will be reviewing all the gifts I made, which was all of them except the ones for my husband, because honestly I couldn’t think of anything I could actually make him (I’m pretty sure fabric dive fins wouldn’t be too effective).

Anyway, here goes with my first Christmas Gift blog!
NB: sorry if the formatting and pictures etc aren’t so flash on this post, I’m trying to work out how to post using the WordPress app on an iPad!!

With two little girls of my own as well as a niece Christmas was a good opportunity to have a go at something utterly girly, that I’ve always wanted to make… a tutu!!!

I followed this tutorial loosely, but made a few alterations of my own. By tutu number three I had it sorted. It was just so disappointing the ones I’d made for my girls weren’t nearly as cool as for my niece, Lily, so much so that I had to remake the girls ones!

So I used this lady’s guide to calculate how much tulle I would need, and because I’m fairly tight when it comes to spending money on such things, I went for two rolls of 6-inch wide tulle in each, one of each colour (each roll was 25 yards). I scoured local sources for tulle, but in the end found a website that I purchased off, making it much cheaper than buying in New Zealand.

After long deliberations (seriously it took me days) I purchased bright blue, lime green, yellow and white in plain tulle, plus a roll each of glitter pink and glitter purple.

I began with Charlotte’s tutu which would be the glitter pink combined with bright blue (I’ve always combined the two brightest, most contrasting colours available – it’s a bit like a signature now!) I started with cutting the pink into strips and ended up covered in glitter. It was everywhere, glitter massacre! What a mess! I couldn’t believe it, and my child was going to be wearing this, in my house, which it have to vacuum!! Next I sliced up the blue and found a piece of elastic to make the waistband. As per the tutorial I was following, I stretched it over a chair and set about knotting the tulle onto it. After more deliberations I decided to do block colours, one knot of pink and one of blue alternating.

The first issue I encountered was that when I tied the knot the elastic stretched out and wouldn’t contract back in so I ended up with a really large waistband that in no way was going to fit my daughter. So I pulled it all back off and this time tied it all to ribbon I’ve had for about 10 years. I think it was about two metres long (I assume this due to the fact that for Lily’s tutu I bought one metre and it was way shorter). Fortunately I had pink and purple ribbons the right length and colour.

Once strung along the ribbon I sewed a small square of Velcro onto the ribbon, each side of the tulle. This way the girls will hopefully be able to do it up themselves, rather than having to tie a bow.

Next I moved onto Taylor’s tutu. This one would be glitter purple with lime green. One thing I changed between Charlotte and Taylor’s tutus was that with Charlotte’s I lay the five layers of tulle nicely together, flat, before tying the knots. With Taylor’s I just scrunched them all together. I think it looked much better, as the tulle pooffed up a bit more.

Here is a picture of Taylor wearing her tutu on Christmas morning.

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Finally I moved onto Lily’s tutu. This would be yellow and white, with no glitter tulle. I loved this tutu. For a start the glitter tulle was quite crispy. The original tulle was much softer and fluffier. Also, with this tutu I mixed the colours in each knot. One knot had three yellow and two white and the next knot had three white, two yellow. I alternated all the way along. This created much better colour distribution. After making this tutu I decided to remake the others.

The biggest reason for this was that the glitter tulle was really pushing the plain tulle out of the way, making it bulgy in places and just not right. (The only before photo I have is the one above of Taylor wearing hers on Christmas). So with the help of Mum, one night we pulled them apart and reknotted. What a difference! Now I love their’s just as much!

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And here is my gorgeous little girl, Taylor, modelling hers for you. Charlotte is currently still terrified of her tutu so have been unable to get a photo!

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Taggy Flowers Baby Toys

Well time has flown by again and it’s been ages since my last blog post.

But I have valid reasons! I was on holiday, without my kids. It was like magic. We went to Port Douglas in Australia and dived and snorkelled the Great Barrier Reef as well as visiting the Daintree Rainforest (it’s the only place in the world the two World Heritage sites meet). We had a fantastic time, as did the girls who stayed with their grandparents while we were away.

Then upon my return I was infected by the awful ‘plane germs’ that get me EVERY time I fly. So I spent a few days tucked up in bed (or on the couch trying to rest while supervising children) and then I’ve been trying to catch up on everything else! Phew!

But I am finally here to write my blog post (and to this point I haven’t actually decided which project I’m going to write it on).

I have a lot of projects happening at the moment in the lead up to Christmas. I won’t be able to blog about most of them until after the big day though, because otherwise everyone will know what they are getting!

Ok, I’ve just browsed my collection of completed projects and today’s post will be about these gorgeous taggy flowers I made for a friend who was having twin girls (it wasn’t me, honest, someone else!)

Taggy Flower Baby ToysSo I had seen something similar online (though not as fantastic as a flower) and then Mum found me this awesome book called Baby Times which included this little project and a pattern (though if you were fabulous enough you could just wing it and make it up).

So pretty much, it’s two fabrics sewn together in the flower shape, with the centre stitched on with ribbons coming out from the centre to give baby something to play with. Super simple, but a really effective gift. I also added a little ribbon loop on the outer edge so the mum can attach them to the pram etc (wouldn’t want to lose them!)

Taggy Flower Baby Toy with Reverse

I also did the centre a lovely soft minky fabric and lots of different colours and textures of ribbon so it’s bright and interesting for baby.

Taggy Flower Baby Toy - Close UPIn all making the two of them took very little time (honestly I can’t remember how long exactly, I’m not very good at timing myself on things) and it used some fabric from my stash so I don’t think they cost me anything either.

Righto, I know this is a fairly short blog post today, but it was a short project 🙂 Also I have much to do this week as I have a couple of big parties this weekend (one of which I’m doing the cake for) and also FINALLY I get to see Taylor Swift in concert on Friday (Last time she came to NZ I had two month old babies so couldn’t make it to the show).

I’ll hopefully be back next week with a full run down on this cool cake I’m doing (It’s already started and so far I’m REALLY happy with it!!!)

So until then, SMILE LOTS!

My Craft Room – The Big Reveal

Hi everyone.
The sun has finally come out so I’m writing this outside while the girls play in the sand pit, ride their bikes and take a break from the destruction of the interior of our house. It’s wonderful.

For a while now I’ve been working on a massive project. Possibly the biggest project I’ve ever attempted. It’s not completely finished yet but it may never be totally finished so I thought I’d share the beginnings of it with you.
It’s my new favorite place and my little sanctuary: My craft room. Craft RoomOur house is four bedroom plus an office, but because the house is fairly old the office’s inbuilt desk was too small to actually fit our computer on (they didn’t have computers back then!). So we made one of the bedrooms an office with the vague idea of using the old office as some sort of space for me (let’s be honest here, I had a lot of really girly stuff that I didn’t really think fair to subject my husband to continually and frankly he didn’t want to see it). But as with all vague plans nothing happened and the room became our dumping ground. Admit it. You all have one some where. That space where things get put until you store them properly or whether things get flung when your in laws/boss/any one else important or that you need to impress stops by. Well after a couple of years and one with babies our ‘little office’ (as I called it) wad piled high with all sorts of stuff. So much you could barely get in the door.

Meanwhile my sewing machine was set up in the corner of the guest room. And And by set up I mean squeezed into a corner so tiny I had to climb over the chair to get to anything and almost had to sit/stand on the bed to use my iron. Not at all ideal, especially if someone wanted to visit and I’d have to clear up all my half made projects and things!

The big thing about setting up myself a craft room was that I wanted it to be FABULOUS. Not just any old room with shoddy wallpaper would do (The other challenge was finding somewhere to put all the STUFF!).
So one day I cleared all the stuff out of the little office (putting it in the hallway) and began stripping wallpaper. A few days later someone must have come to visit because everything got thrown ball into the room which halted progress for a while. Then I finished stripping the wallpaper around all our stuff. It was quite some time for me to actually put the stuff somewhere more permanent and it was only because I couldn’t re wallpaper with it all in there (is now piled in the corner of our new office but that’s a job for another day, or year).

So I began the horrible task of choosing a colour scheme. Initially we were going to paint but the wall surface was awful so we went back to wallpaper. Then I decided to make curtains that were beautiful and have a fairly plain wall color. But I didn’t like any curtain fabric. So I went to choose wallpaper. Which was also boring and mostly ugly and also very expensive. So to cheer myself up I looked through the children’s collection. AND found a bunch to choose from! Pretty colours and cool designs. It was awesome.

Plus they weren’t stomach churningly expensive. Win-win-win.

So once my wallpaper arrived I got straight to it. It took several days (most of a week)because I could only do it during the girls nap times. But I got there and I did it all by myself and I’m so proud. I’d never wallpapered before so a whole room with almost some complicating factor in every drop was massive. It was particularly good for my ego.

Sewing Corner

Once the wallpapering was done I got straight on and filled up the room. Sewing machine on its flimsy camping table, overlocker, ironing board, then all my fabrics and trims and patterns and tools. I actually got so flustered with where to start and where to put everything I had to ring mum for a stress break. Eventually I formed some sort of organization and got everything in. Not all my fabric though. I still have two massive boxes in the hall cupboard but that’s where it’ll have to stay.

Sewing TableIroning Station

Craft Room DeskThe benefit of the inbuilt desk was there are so many drawers to organise things in. Currently I have Post-It notes attached to all the fronts telling me what’s in them, but I have a wicked idea for making a more permanent solution for that (I’ll let you know about it when I finally get around to doing it! I just need to make sure it’s going to work first!

Storage CupboardsAlong with the drawers and cupboards I filled a massive glass canister I’d bought with absolutely no purpose with my odds and ends of ribbon which makes a pretty feature in the corner. I also collected up all the buttons scattered about my house and started my own random button jar (yes, this is the sort of thing that makes me ridiculously happy!).

Craft Room Set UpAnother great thing I love is using a tiered shelf (in my case it’s like a little unit of four baskets) that I use for keeping my ‘in progress’ or soon to be started projects in. I keep all the threads, buttons, fabric and patterns together in here, so I know exactly where everything is when I need it. The only issue is I only have four baskets, and way more projects started than that! Oops.

Current ProjectsI love my new room. I filled it with my pretty things as well as a lot of photos of friends and family for inspiration.

Craft Room Set Up Threads etcI love to just sit in there and ponder my next projects or what else needs doing. Best but of all is I borrowed a baby gate so I can now sew and the girls can’t get me. They sit outside and play (it’s not mean, it’s sensible and safe and sanity-saving).

Craft Room EntranceMy craft room is my little space of awesomeness in my house that’s just for me. No children!! Just the things I need to create and be inspired. I love it.

(And now since I’m such a wall papering whiz I can tackle my next interior Decorating challenge: the previously mentioned guest room, currently a horrible kind of sea foam green/blue color)

Please let me know what you think or share your ideas for what I can do better. Also,  I’d love to see/hear about your crafting space 🙂
Until next time, I hope my little room can provide you some inspiration 🙂

Homemade Baby Toys

Very excitingly, I recently got to welcome a new nephew into the world (well, not quite… I haven’t actually met him yet! But he arrived).

I love giving gifts for new babies. Its probably my most favourite gift to give. But they are so expensive! Luckily for me I came across some great tutorials online to make simple, but gorgeous baby toys.

I raided my Mum’s scrap fabric stash (ok, so I stole it….) and bought a few odds and ends at our local emporium store (I’ve seen Arthur’s Emporium, David’s Emporium, you get the idea? It’s like a MASSIVE stuff shop… Love it!). Then I got to work. I think I probably spent less than $10 on the whole gift! (And I ended up with way more ribbon etc than I needed, so I can use it for another project 🙂 )

So, onto what I made:

A sunshine rattle. So gorgeous and squishy and soft. I used this tutorial here. Instead of using an old t-shirt (as I didn’t have any) I purchased a few centimetres of flannel. It’s gorgeous and soft. This also meant I didn’t have to do the interfacing step. It was super quick and easy. I was a little bit sad to see it go to someone else!

Here’s the pic:

Sunshine Rattle Baby Toy

Sunshine Rattle Baby Toy

The next thing I made was a little owl cuddly. I used this tutorial. I’ve just noticed now but I didn’t put the ribbon ‘feet’ on mine. Don’t think it detracted from its awesomeness.

And the picture:

Owl Softie and Sail Boat Baby Toys

Owl Softie and Sail Boat Baby Toys

Also in the picture (obviously) is a little sailboat. This was another awesome and quick tutorial, found here.

I put a rattle into mine so it makes a great little noise when baby plays with it. Another great thing (actually, probably the best thing) about this tutorial is the way she stages her pictures. Aren’t they amazing?

Another thing I did that I think was slightly different was that I tried to use different ribbons to create more texture for baby. So the Owl has a velvet ribbon and some satin where as the boat has grosgrain (I think it’s called…) as well as some cord and ric-rac. I thought that’d be fun for the little guy to experience. 🙂

So I had this collection of toys to give to baby. I had this great image in my head of them nestled in a big box of shredded paper (the nice stuff, not old office records or anything!) and then all tied up with a gorgeous big bow. Unfortunately at the time I couldn’t find the right box, so had to settle for a gift bag. But it was the brightest red and I used blue and yellow tissue paper, so I suppose it worked out ok.

Now I just have to get over there to see the little guy and watch him enjoying his toys that his best aunty gave him!

Personalised Bunting Banner – Tutorial!

When we were expecting the twins we decided to redecorate what would become their room. To be quite honest, the some of the colour schemes in our house are quite horrid and I was keen to use any excuse to make it less ick.

So, since we didn’t know if we were having boys or girls, we selected a very gender neutral colour scheme of green and white. Its gorgeous, and I love it. But recently I decided it needed some girly touches (because green is way closer to a ‘boy’ colour than it is girly).

So I trawled Spotlight (favourite shop ever!) and found some bright pink and purple fabrics. I made gorgeous dust ruffles to hang below their cots.

Dust Ruffle Dust Ruffle

I used the tutorial on this page: Sew 4 Home: Stylish Baby Nursery: Bloomin’ Dust Ruffle but with my mother’s guidance made them bigger (more ruffled) so that once the girls are finished in their cots, I can remake them into dust ruffles for single beds (honestly, my mum is so clever!)

My next challenge was some personalised bunting, as you can see in the picture above. I’d seen a basic tutorial somewhere for it and I wish I could remember where because I’d link to it. But I don’t know where it is, so therefore can’t.

And so we proceed to my first ever tutorial. Hopefully my directions are clear enough in case you want to have a go making some yourself. It’s so simple and looks fabulous and would make fantastic presents for so many wee children! (Any friends of mine reading this with kiddies, you’ve been warned!!)

So, what you need (Sorry this part will be a bit vague because I didn’t take a photo, nor did I accurately record what I used!)

Background fabric (You’ll need to work out how much you need based on how long the name is)
Foreground/letter fabric (I just used simple block colours because they were cheap and went with the dust ruffles)
Thread to match both background and foreground colours
Visoflix (Iron on glue type stuff which holds the applique letters in place while you sew – AWESOME!)
Rotary cutter and mat or scissors, ruler, a sewing machine is handy, though if you were really keen you could do it by hand (argh! The thought of all that tediousness!)

So to get started, press your fabric and then lay out ready to cut. I folded mine in half so was getting two triangles for the price of one. You might be game enough to have more layers… Or not.

Here is a wee diagram of how big my triangles were and how I cut them out:

Bunting Measurements Bunting Plan

(Sorry about the quality of the drawing… I was never good at sketching – As in it was the part I failed in graphics class at school)

First I cut strips the height of the triangles then made diagonal cuts to get the triangles.

Next step was to sew the triangles together. The tutorial I saw had them just one layer, either hemmed or cut with pinking shears (I can’t remember, I possibly saw two tutorials, one done each way) but I thought having two sides to them would make them look a bit more finished and also help them to hang nicely (You could do either of these options instead of using twice the fabric).

Sew the triangles right sides together, leaving an opening in the middle of the top of each triangle. Trim corners, then turn and press (I know the most awful part of sewing).

Nicely hand stitch the opening closed (I know almost the most awful part of sewing).

Cut out your triangles

Trim the Corners

Turn your triangles right side out and hand stitch opening

Now onto the letters. I printed my letters off the computer (I was going to say we all know you have one of those, because you need it to read this.. But in this day of smart phones etc maybe you don’t, anyway, moving on…)

Make sure you reverse the letters before printing then trace onto your Visoflix (or do what I did since I forgot that step and tape them to a window to trace them backwards).

Trace your letters in reverseTrace your letters onto the Visoflix

Cut the letters out leaving a bit of space around each one. Then iron all the letters onto the wrong side of your foreground fabric. Cut the letters out along the line this time. You should have a nice pile of letters, fabric one side and paper the other.

Cut out your lettersIron your letters onto your foreground fabricCut out the letters with Visoflix still attached

Peel the paper away, position on your neatly finished triangles and iron on. For this step, I folded my triangles and letters down the middle and matched the creases I made. Then I measured down from the top of the triangle to figure out what height my letters should be.

Iron your letters on

Switch your machine thread to your foreground colour and edge stitch nice and neatly (I did fairly small stitches) stitch around the letters. Pull your threads through to the back of your work and then feed the ends into the triangles, between the layers. Makes it nice and neat.

Stitch neatly around your lettersThe finished letters

Once all your letters are on, line them up and sew onto your ribbon/rope/hanging apparatus. I used a fancy rope to hang mine = Bad idea! It was so hard to get the triangles to sit flat as the rope kept twisting as I sewed! Next time I’d do a ribbon I think.My fancy rope

As I knew I had just enough rope, I found the middle and placed the middle letter there, then worked my way out, evenly spacing (About 2cm apart) my triangles and hand stitching on.

Space the triangles evenly along the rope/ribbon

To hang ours, I used eyelets that are used for curtains hung on a wire. We simply screwed them into the wall, threaded the rope through, folded it back on itself and stitched in place (not that easy high up on the wall, but achieveable). As you will see on the purple one, I sewed the rope back on itself where it’s visible. It looks much better on the pink one where I stitched it back behind the edge of the triangle.

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I love my babies’ bunting flags. It brightens up the room and at least the baby sitter will know what cot to put them to bed in!

Charlotte

Taylor