Friday, December 31, 2010

Little iddy biddy eco owls

I am a big toy owl lover! for those new to me and my life, I created Wishing Owls back in 2008 and sell them in stores all over Vancouver, as well as shipping to the rest of Canada. They are made from reused fabrics and eco fabrics, making them kind to the earth which was my goal. Each and every one is a little different so that they are each as special as their recipients.

I have thought about making a smaller version many times but have not gotten around to it yet. In the meantime I saw my friend post a little owl that she had made many of for gifts on her blog and I just had to make some for gifts too. I bought the pattern from Etsy for about $4 and made over 30 of them for E's 2nd birthday to put in the gift bags.They were pretty quick to make after the first few. They are great because again you can use any scraps of fabric you have to make them and I love the idea of making each one a little different.

I used an old grey sweater as well as scraps from fleece blankets and the unwanted sleeves from E's dress that I altered. I love the way the sweater ones turned out the best....all woolly and wise looking.

While searching for the other owl on Etsy, I found an even cuter and smaller owl. This one is made from using old baby socks. You do have to be a little choosy as you can't use the ones with sticky grips or with words on the sole but I had loads left over from my two kiddies.

I found, as with anything, the first one was a little fiddly but they have got easier to do with each new one. I gave one to each of my kids for their Christmas Eve present and added a cord so they could be tree decorations. As you can see from their faces they were pretty excited about them and the thought of Christmas morning too. I also made one each for my best friends little girls and they have just become their favourite little stuffie....they fit in a palm or a pocket so easily.

Claire of Craftschmaft who made the little sock owls also has patterns for other sock animals which are all very cute and their is also a sock owl mobile which I hope to make in 2011. I have already found the drift wood sticks for the top just need the motivation of a friends new baby!

Cute Baby Blankets and Matching Tees

I am often inspired by the things I see in the kids stores. After looking at the price though I usually figure I can make it myself most occasions, for a lot cheaper and make changes to the design too so that it looks even better......more me :o)

I have liked these style of blankets for a while but they retail between $60 and $80. When my little ones were small I never thought of making my own but now my friends are having babes too I decided to have a go at making my own.

I added little felt applique animals and shapes to the cotton side of the blanket and stitched in a contrast colour to the felt.

I also made some matching sleepers. I love the iron on film !! I ironed it to the back of my cotton then drew my shape directly onto the back of the fabric and cut it out. Then I hand stitched them onto the tee and baby onesies using the same embroidery thread as the blankets in a chunky running stitch.

This makes a really lovely baby gift package without it costing the earth. Literally mine were made from  fabrics I already had leftover for both sides of the blanket and the appliques. The tee shirts and onesies were all from local Canadian companies and made of organic cotton. I often pick up great pattern fabrics from second hand stores and Value Village. I love up-cycling!

Felt Food

After seeing just how expensive it was to buy the Haba felted foods I decided to try my hand at making my own. What I already knew about felt is that it is very forgiving so you never need to be too neat.

I started with some farfalle. I cut squares of felt, two edges had a straight edge and 2 edges with pinking shears and then gathered them in the centre and used a few stitches to hold the shape.

Next was tagliatelle which I made by cutting very long but narrow strands of felt. For the ravioli I cut out squares with pinking shears. I then sewed three edges of the felt together to form a smaller square inside and added a little stuffing and then finished sewing the last side so that they were plump in the middle just like the real thing.

The tortelini  were a little trickier. I cut a circle, folded it in half and put a little stuffing in and stitched around the edge. then I took both ends of the semi cirle and drew them together so that the straight side folded on itself and again I tacked it together to hold it.

I also made donuts, cakes, strawberries, a tomato and a fried egg. The doughnut idea I got from another Vancouver crafty mum over at Playgound Love

They went down with E very well on Christmas morning and she has been cooking up a storm in her wooden kitchen ever since.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Pine Cones

I am posting this idea a little late considering Christmas has passed but as it took us a year to make them I thought I would share when I had the chance.

Last winter we took a trip up to Mount Seymour and right next to our car was a huge pile of large pine cones.They were lovely and although I wasn't sure what I would do with them we filled our trunk anyway and then stored them at home until this December.

I wanted to do something Christmassy with them and include my two kiddies.We painted the cones with silver acrylic paint and on a few that we made for gifts we added a silver pipe cleaners too and the rest we displayed in a big bowl by the fireplace.

The ones we had left over we sent to Ezra's after school club so the kids could have fun with them too!

Easy Knit Kid Scarf

This little scarves are great for using ends of balls of yarn and great if you are just starting out knitting.

I just used regular garter stitch and used one of E's bought scarves to measure the length against then added a little homemade label and a few big coloured buttons which make anything or any little kid look cute.

The chenille yarn I used was super soft too which is great for all those little ones that are not too keen on the itchy yarns.

Keep that Chill Out!!

I wasn't expecting to be so cold this winter and I don't think the houses in Vancouver are built for it so I came up with a very quick and easy door draft pillow.

I took a old pair of mens jeans (my hubby's actually) I think with the door sizes the bigger the better.

I literally just cut the leg off as high up as I could and then turned it inside out.

 Then I sewed the top and bottom of the leg but left a little hole one end to bag out the pillow.

Once the right way and I stuffed it with fabric scraps. I find this works the best as a fill as the pillow becomes really firm and traps the cold air trying to come in. The pillow should be pretty sturdy and stuffed full. I then hand stitched the opening and added a little handmade label.

It works pretty well but our door is wide so I'm making another as this one falls a little short.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

E's Room

E's baby room was a hotch potch of hand me down's from her brother's room when he was a baby too. Girls are always a little ahead of the game so E took it upon herself at 15 months old to move into a grown up bed and so my biggest craft project to date, began.

So where to start? I loved the idea of red and pink together and my first idea I happened to stumbled across on someone's site....I am always surfing. Instantly I loved this artist's work and so it started with 3 tree pictures from Etsy by Angela Vandenbogaard and literally grew organically from there.

 This one above was called mother and Daughter and the one below Sisters.

I also wanted to thrifty so I could get what I wanted by either making things or finding little treasures so that E's room held lots of little secret stories to be shared.

I moved onto her bedding next. The handy thing about toddler beds is that they are a manageable size and pretty easy to run up sheets and bedding for. I had found a red flowery sheet in Value Village for $3 and it easily made a duvet cover and pillow case and left more fabric which I would use in later projects for bunting/banners, murals and a cushion.

My gran gave me this Habitat Lamp shade a few years ago, still in its original 1970's packaging and I didn't what to do with it until now. The theme was steering towards Japan and here I decided to add in my fascination with kokeshi dolls.

I designed an illustration of a kokeshi doll and did the 4 seasons as a theme and framed that above her bed.
Below is my fabric interpretation of the same doll in a denim mural trimmed with the fabric in her duvet.

I wanted to add a vinyl decal to E's wall and was going to design it myself when I came across Surface Flik on Etsy. They were so friendly and only out in Surrey. I loved this tree so I went with their design but they were able to send me the artwork so I could organise the colours and placement of them as I wanted it to be a 2 col print. It took me about 3 hours to get it all on the wall but well worth it.

The part of the room that had the most work was the mobile. The kids and I headed to the beach to collect some driftwood. We found a nice large stick which I smoothed over with a few sheets of fine sand paper. I then added felt butterflies and felted shapes onto fine embroidery thread and now they all move with the current of the air.

The felt stars and beads as well as the felt string I ordered from a little UK site I found called Blooming Felt. They had so much to chose from!

The bunting and the cushions were made and added....... then the room was complete.......for now.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Homemade Christmas - Advent calendar

So I felt inspired this year to make as many of my gifts and Christmas items as I could, so I started in January to get a good head start although the majority was done in the last few months.

I decided to make the kids an advent calendar that would last as they grew and that would be an activity in itself.

I loved these bags I found on Etsy but  not so much the price although after making them I can kind of understand as to make 24 of them took me a good chunk of time.

So I used a lighter wait unbleached cotton. I threaded each bag with red ribbon and then used transfer paper to add the numbers. I wanted the hand print look so when I ironed the numbers on I wasn't too careful so that it didn't hold the ink in some areas to give it the uneven look.

I wanted it to be more than just putting candies or toys inside each year. I came across this idea for an advent calendar and I used her pattern but made it smaller in Adobe Illustrator to make a template for my birds. I loved the shape of the birds but wanted to change the look of them. I edged mine with contrast back stitch and adding a button eye and leaving out the wings and tail feathers but keeping the heart that also looked like a wing. I did lots of different colours so none of the birds were the same so my kids would be surprised each day. Then I added little hemp string loops to them.

I managed to pick up 2 mini $2 trees from the Superstore - one for each of my kiddies. This way as they pulled their bird out of the calendar each day they have had fun being able to hang them on their very own tree.

I think the birds would also make good gift tags for presents too. You could add a paper back or embroider the recipients initial on the little bird.