Saturday, 27 April 2013

A Winnie the Pooh quilt

A friend of mine had a baby boy recently and she loves Winnie the Pooh so it seemed an obvious choice of fabric for a cot quilt. I love making cot quilts for new babies and over time I have learnt to simplify my designs for the quilts so that I manage to get the quilts finished sometime before the baby's first birthday!

This cot shows one of my favourite ways of getting lots of quick detail into a cot quilt, which is starting with a fabric panel that is supposed to be sewn into a book. I measured the "book pages" on the panel and designed my quilt around those dimensions. I bought more Pooh bear fabric for the little squares to go with the book panel.

I stitched the yellow and green check fabric in strips around each panel before stitching it all together with the Pooh bear squares and white sashing. I felt the design looked a little plain when I had sewn all the panels together and I had a couple of panels left with some characters on so I appliqued Winnie the Pooh with his umbrella near the bottom of the quilt and Tigger peeking out near the top.

Then it came to the quilting and I used my walking foot to quilt horizontal and vertical lines and either side of the brown border around each picture. I then used my regular machine foot with a quilting guide to quilt the lines onto the white sashing and around the applique characters. I finally changed the machine foot again for a darning foot and did some free machine embroidery around each cloud that appeared in the pictures.

For the back of the quilt I used some lovely soft flannel ( flannelette)  with more Pooh bears on - perfect for a baby quilt.

I completed most of the quilt before the baby was born as I had a plan to sew pink or blue binding around the edge after we knew baby was a boy or girl - as you can see I went for blue!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Wednesday Love : Spring love

I am working on revamping my blog and one of the first things I am going to do is to start a new series - "Wednesday Love". It will be a little bit of midweek happiness and this week I am starting with Spring Love.

Hurray, Spring has finally arrived! My favourite ornamental cherry is covered with little green leaved and tiny red buds, which promises the beautiful pink blossom yet to come.

The magnolia has finally started to bloom - about a month late. And look behind the flowers - blue sky!!

Buzzy things have started to appear...

The first time the grass has been cut this year, transforming the garden into looking so tidy (which I think helps the house to look tidier too!)

Do you have some Wednesday Love you could post on your blog?

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Brownies Toymaker Badge

At Brownies the girls have been working towards their Toymaker badge. We've had lots of fun working towards this.

The first thing we made was this toy owl. The girls loved making their owls! I cut out all the felt pieces using by Sizzix Big Shot and the Sizzix Bigz Die Owl #2 . This was a great way to cut out all the pieces quickly. The die does cut out circles where the eyes should go and so I had to layer up a few pieces of scrap felt over the die to make sure the big owl shapes didn't have two big holes in the middle.

All the owls were different colours with different colour button eyes. I sat with the girls in small groups (up to 8 girls at a time) to do the sewing. Some hadn't sewn anything before and so it was great to sit with them and encourage them to have a go. This toy also included sewing on buttons, which is a great skill to have.

The next toy we made was this Brownie board game. We found blank board games "paths" from Little Crafty Bugs which the girls customised with instructions. I printed out lots of instructions in squares and then the girls cut them out and stuck them down to make their unique game. The path was stuck down to some card with Brownie pictures around it and then laminated it.

We made our own game spinners with some downloaded hexagon backgrounds (from HERE) and some spinner arrows (from HERE). I also bought a big bag of counters and each game had 4 counters. We've got loads of counters left - perfect for a tiddlywinks championship!

Our last toy the girls made was shadow puppets. These were the easiest toys we made for the badges. I made these ones as examples and then we handed out black card, pencils and scissors and let the girls make whatever animals they liked. We made them around Chinese New Year and so I printed off some pictures of the Chinese Zodiac animals for inspiration. The girls needed a little help cutting out the holes to cover with tissue paper and then again to put in the paper fasteners (brads) so the puppets could move. But they were happy to use sticky tape to stick on their own bamboo skewers.

I made a screen with my silk painting screen and a piece of white polycotton fabric stretched tight across it with a desk lamp behind it.

For the girls who may have missed one of the activities above we also made pom pom rabbits for Easter!

Monday, 22 April 2013

An egg hunt sketch

This month's sketch is now on the Sketchbook365 blog along with some ideas from members of the design team (including me).

Here's the sketch, based on a layout by Gabrielle Pollacco. This was a tricky one for me as the sketch has so much detail, so I'll try to explain how I used it to inspire my Easter Egg Hunt layout. I'm always impressed by the variation of pages that can be produced by different people following the same sketch!

I kept the idea of the two photos in the centre. Then I started misting some lines of butterflies on the diagonal corners, in place of the curled detailing. I wanted to include the torn element almost the same as shown in the sketch.

I collected a few pieces of patterned paper and a piece of acetate to layer behind the photos and made a collection of a few fabric brads ( by Amy Tangerine) and a button badge as a group of embellishments. There looked like there was a border underneath the photo, so I replaced that with a piece of green chevron washi tape.

I kept the title and journalling in the same place and then embellished it a little more with page marker stickers and stamps.

Does that help to show how one sketch became a different layout? There has been some chat about whether sketches with this much detail make it more difficult to interpret. What do you think?

The closing date to enter the sketch challenge is May 16th 2013 and you could win a Mint Julep collection pack from Basic Grey.

Saturday, 20 April 2013


The Boy received a cowboy outfit for Christmas and he loves it. He puts it on and gallops around on his hobby horse. He has even galloped into pre-school for Book Week! I set out to look for some cowboy themed stickers and found that a little while ago October Afternoon had produced a cowboy range called "Sasparilla".

The stickers even included a red patterned neckerchief just like the one in the photo. I love the vintage style of the cowboy drawings, like they are from a 50's comic book.

I have rediscovered my selection of eyelets! Look out for more eyelets appearing on my layouts again. I'm loving the look of them again.

As I uploaded the photos onto here, I realised that I hadn't put an obvious title on the page as I usually would. There is a little "Yee-haw" sticker, which I love as the Boy does love shouting that when in costume. The woodgrain background paper (which is by Glitz Designs from their Color Me Happy collection) has the words " Live for Adventure" already printed on it, so I guess have a title after all!

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

My Boys

This page has one of those photos on it which I love but haven't scrapped for ages as I didn't quite know how to go about it. I received my latest Quirky kit and spread out the papers and took out my packet of photos and this photo and the background paper seemed to work together well.

My next step on the page was to have a go at misting a row of hearts, as I had seen on this fabulous page by the oh-so-talented Lisa Saunders. I love how the hearts fade out. I cut out my own heart stencil from a piece of scrap paper.

I collected up all lots of bit from my kit with chevrons and layered up strips over the top of the woodgrain print envelope. I also used a couple of new stamps on this page including my American Crafts (Dear Lizzy) roller stamp and the Hey Day Sentiments set by Studio Calico from Hero Arts.

I feel like I'm getting the hang of the layered look .

Monday, 15 April 2013

A Jonah and the whale game

I was asked to bring along a game for Sunday school yesterday connected with the story of Jonah and the whale. Our group is for kids aged 4 - 7 and we have quite a lot of boys in the group so a competitive game usually works well. I painted the whale above on a large piece of lining paper and I used my kids ready mixed paint to make it really easy.

The kids had to throw Jonah to see if they could get him in the whale and here are our Jonahs...

They may look more like Star Wars figures than Jonah (!) but the kids didn't mind. We split the kids into two teams and team 1 won 25-24 - it was a close competition! I think my favourite part of the morning was getting all 10 children under the tables and covering  them with a table cloth, imagining they were inside the whale. They thought it was hilarious!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Neocolor cameras

A while ago I had a play at making some backgrounds with my Neocolor crayons using ideas from a video tutorial by Ronda Palazzari. There was one technique in the video that I liked the look of , using the crayons with a stencil, but I didn't have an appropriate stencil. Ronda used one of her own designs made by Crafters Workshop which is called "Picture Perfect" and has lots of different cameras on it. I was looking at buying the stencil last week but then didn't.

On Saturday I went to my local crop and my friend Katrina (she's super talented - here's her blog) mentioned that she had a new stencil and it was the 6 x 6 Picture Perfect stencil - yay! She very kindly let me have a play with it. This is one of the things I love about going to a crop - we get to have a look at other people's materials and our group are lovely at sharing tools around. Although I do come home with a shopping list of things I'd like sometimes!

I LOVE these cameras! I drew through the stencil using the Neocolor crayons and then used a wet paintbrush over the top (exactly as Ronda showed us in her video). They turned out so well! This is the 6 x 6 version of the stencil and I really like this size on a scrapbook page.

I also used the stencil as a stitching guide on another layout. I placed the stencil on the page and used a pin to make a stitching guide. When I lifted off the stencil it looked like a huge collection of holes rather then a camera! I used the stencil to work out where the lines were and I think it turned out really well.

Now, the problem is that I really like how these turned out so maybe I need to buy my own stencil!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Easter baking

The Easter holidays finished yesterday and it's back to school today. I had lots of fun baking over the holidays. My three kids have got to the age when they play together really well and so I end up feeling like I'm at a bit of a loose end. I can't really start any art projects as I know I'll be working on it for about 30 seconds before a little voice next to me says "that's looks like fun - can I do it too?". I decided to get creative in the kitchen instead.

The photo above is my first attempt at hot cross buns. I was so happy that they not only looked like hot cross buns, but tasted like them too! The recipe came from the latest copy of Good Food magazine. It was a good recipe to follow but could have had a lot more fruit in it.

In fact I had so much dried fruit left that I made a tea loaf. It is such an easy recipe and it's so yummy, particularly toasted with butter. I think I have enough fruit left to make another one later this week. You can see from the photo that all the fruit sank to the bottom - oh well, it still tasted nice!

We have soooo many Easter eggs in our house! With 5 people in our family it doesn't take long for there to be a mountain of chocolate after Easter day (16 in total plus extra little goodies!). My favourite thing to do with excess Easter eggs is to chop them up and put them in cookies. My recipe comes from Good Housekeeping's Vegetarian cook book and it has oats in the recipe for added texture.

Then more Easter eggs were turned into brownies with this recipe. Yum! I used milk chocolate instead of dark (as those were the eggs we had left) so these were very sweet. The dark chocolate would have been better - but the kids didn't seem to mind!

More eggs were melted down for these no-bake treats, with rice krispies and digestive biscuits. Another recipe from the Good Food magazine.

Just in case we hadn't had enough sweet treats over the past couple of weeks, we had two birthdays as well!
The first was a Lego batman cake - as requested the day before the birthday. Phew - using my Mum skills I had already bought these Lego batman rice paper cake toppers from Ebay!

A Moshi Monster cake was requested by the ginger one. We looked online for inspiration and saw lots of wonderful complicated looking creations. I went for a Victoria Sandwich cake with Kitkats around the edge and some Moshis on the top. It went down very well with all the girls at her party.

Another bonus of being in a larger family is that I can bake all these treats but I don't get to eat a lot of them! One slice of cake, a hot cross bun and a cookie or two (or three) so I don't have too worry too much about the calories!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

A salad spinner and some paint

How much fun can you have with a salad spinner, some paper plates and some paint?  Here's the answer...lots! The boy asked to do this after watching Mister Maker on CBeebies and I was a little hesitant but it turned out so well and with a lot less mess then we usually end up with after painting as all the paint was in the spinner. We used ELC kids paint which washed off the spinner very easily.