Monday, March 21, 2016

Cardboard House

Sophie's bottom drawer was broken, and while it was out and we were fixing it, the girls climbed in and out like mad. So I got them a box out from under the house so they could continue to climb in and out of things without me pulling my hair out. It was from my parents new air conditioner, so very good quality cardboard - perfect for children to climb in and out!

After it had been in the house for a while, I thought I'd better actually make it into a proper house, so I did! It's a little bit of an irregular shape for a box - much longer than usual, and no door (it came with a removable lid, which I didn't use here). Still, I think it works as a house. I used some random sample tin of paint I found in the laundry to do the outside and some of Fiona's old student acrylic paint for the roof.

Wall paper on the inside is just wrapping paper. I managed to rip it getting it in there, so I don't like our chances of it staying too long, but oh well. The kids are kind of confused as to why that smaller set of windows don't actually open out. I'm pretty happy with the windows, because they are double layered for strength.

That said, I think the frame of the window needed more strength because Hugo got over excited about looking out and managed to make the whole box fall over and ripping the wall in the process. I was thinking I'd just use the green pop tape to fix it up, but then we were resilicone the window fly screens last week (can you believe ants eat silicone?!?) and had some silicone left over so I just used that. Should last a long time right? And now that rip is water proof.

I'll cycle the houses back under the house next week so that the kids don't get bored with them. Then, next time I take them out, they are new all over again!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Library Visits

I've started taking the kids to the library once a week. I should have started it long ago really, but I've only just now found the right time for it in our busy schedule. And since we are visiting the library, that calls for library bags right? Yes!

Sophie was pretty delighted when I told her I'd be making a library bag and was ever efficient at helping me pick out material. Unsurprisingly: trains. It's a green version of the blue train print I made a dress for her out of way back before Rachel was born. I've had it in the drawer for a year or two now, so it was good to see it get some use.

Speaking of fabric that had been in the drawer for a while, that denim was a remnant that my mum picked up from Lincraft, when it was still at Garden City. If you are any sort of south side local of Brisbane, you'll know that Lincraft haven't been at Garden City for about 15 years. So it was about time that denim got used really! I also used a fun animal print for Rachel's bag that I had grabbed at Spotlight (a year or two ago now as well!) for $4 a metre. I've used it before in a cot bumper.

Yay for using up stuff rather than going out for new. On that note, I also went through my bag collection and found one that was simply falling apart and helped it fall apart some more so I could reuse the magnetic snap. Yes! I also, cut up the first backpack I made for Sophie (which unfortunately was made with the same red fabric I used for mum's ill-fated birthday present, that turned everything red rather than washing like normal fabric) and reused the velcro and the adjustable strap thingys too. I also managed to scavenge another set of adjustable strap thingys from a backpack Sarah and her Steve were throwing away too, so not a penny spent!

I had a look at some backpack tutorials, as well as referencing some great bags made by my favourite blogger, ikatbag, (that's where I copied the shoulder strap shapes) and then just winged it from there. Overall a good turnout. I wanted the shoulder straps to be padded, but I didn't have any scrap quilting batting, so I just stuffed them with stuffing and quilted over them (patterned on Sophie's and free motion on Rachel's). They are a little puffy but they do the job.

They are a bit matchy, but not too much. They also have inside pockets (made from scraps) which I kinda thought for library cards, but I'm not sure about trusting the girls with them yet.

The girls are pretty delighted with them and I let them pick some iron on motifs (also from the stash - honestly, I've no idea where they came from!) to add afterwards. The day I finished making them, the power had been off all morning and I'd done as much prep work by hand as I could. When the power finally came back on at 1:00pm, (thankfully three out of four kids were sleeping) I skipped gleefully off to Sally. The girls put them on and wore them all afternoon. I wish I had photos.

To the library!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Pi Day

It was Pi Day yesterday. Did you celebrate?

We did.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Felt Puzzles

A few weeks ago, I was looking for something to do with my hands while there was a bit of down time that didn't involve getting Sally the sewing machine out. So I looked at my pintrest board (one day I want it to be full of pictures of things that I've actually done, rather than just put there and dreamed about. :P) and noticed this little activity.

Dug through the felt box and came out with enough stuff to make them up. Lots of hand stitching and a little bit of machine sewing later and they are done. I actually finished them about two weeks ago, but forgot to take good photos and then totally forgot to blog about it at all. Thankfully I sat down on Thursday night and wrote an extensive list of things to do, digging from the far corners of my mind, which included blogging about this. (I say thankfully, but really, that very long to do list is quite daunting, even if crossing things off is satisfying.)

So here we are! That alien space craft does actually match up properly by the way, I just didn't notice when I took the photo and couldn't be bothered retake a photo when I did realise. I pre cut the back pieces of felt but managed to loose one the day I came to sew the backs on. Alas! Even though I've since found it - I still haven't sat down at the machine to sew it on. Maybe tonight.

Anyway, even when I'd thought it was lost for good and I'd always have one puzzle piece that wasn't backed, I didn't mind at all, because it reminded me of the story of the Tin Solider. I mentioned it to Steve who said he didn't know the story!

Shock! How can you go through child hood without reading the story of the Tin Solider who is short a leg because he was the last made in his regiment and there wasn't enough tin for him to have both legs? He lives in the nursery and the little boy loves the Tin Solider and plays with him even though he isshort one leg. And then he falls in love with a Ballerina, who, pirouetting on one leg, the Tin Solider mistakenly thinks only has one leg as he. Enter the villain as the goblin pushes the Tin Solider off the window ledge out into the street where he is unfortunately knocked into the gutter and down into the sewer. Just when his luck can't get any worse, he is swallowed by a fish!

At last, when we think the Tin Solider is no more, the fish is caught, sold and cut open by the cook of the house he came from! Hooray, our hero has returned to the nursery, reunited with his love, the Ballerina. Then (is it the wind or that nasty goblin again?), the Tin Solider is again blown from his place on the mantle and this time into the fire, where he melts in the heat. Some versions of this tale, and in fact, the ones I love the best, have the Ballerina jumping into (or falling by the same gust of wind) the fire as well, thus the lovers die together.

Steve told me it was not a very uplifting story. Maybe not, but not every story can have a happily ever after.

Besides, my puzzle story does have a happily ever after, because I did find the backing felt for that aeroplane piece. And even if I hadn't I still loved the puzzle and the pieces just as they were, just like the little boy loved the Tin Solider and played with him even though he was short one leg.

Saturday, March 05, 2016

Lady Bug

Two weeks ago I made a tiger for Sophie. Which both girls simply love. I do have some other fuzzy fleecy stuff to make a dog or some similar fuzzy animal for Rachel, but that fuzzy fur stuff is hard to work with so I've been somewhat less than inspired to actually get working on it.

In the mean time, I thought I'd make Rachel something else. Something smaller. So I made a lady bug. (Sorry in advance for the lack of photos of the lady bug in relation to something else so you can see just how small he is, my bad. Maybe next post.)

There are some really cool things about this little guy. I used the same base pattern as I did for the tiger - the Raccoon Tutorial from ikatbag (swoon!), but I printed it smaller. I don't have a way of resizing pdfs any other way it turns out, so I just printed it as A6 size and hoped it would work out. Never before have I been so thankful that there are no seam allowances on a pattern. It really made resizing much easier.

But while I was printing and thinking about how I was going to sew this little guy, I had a think about some other things I would change - not just the size. So I added moveable wings! Honestly, I couldn't be more excited about how it turned out. I'm stoked that what I wanted to happen in my mind actually happened in reality as well. I a little bit wish I had resized the actual wing pieces (rather than just duplicate the body template) so that they would have met in the middle there a bit smoother, but that's ok.

I even sewed little hooks into the seams (nearly invisible!) so that you can hook the wings down while he's resting. Not sure they will get used heaps, but I like the feature. It was really hard to actually photograph those hooks, because they are firstly in the seems and then secondly black like the felt around them, but trust me - they are there.

I debated for a long time about eyes for him. I don't know that I've ever really seen eyes on a lady bug, so it seemed a bit wrong to put them on, even after I googled for it. But then, when I went to Spotlight, they had no shiny black safety eyes that were small enough so that sealed the deal.

The last thing I have to say about this guy is that I hand stitched every last stitch on him. Since I was making him small, I figured he'd be a good project to work on by hand and that I could take him out and work on him while I did other things. I actually got most of him done last night at a church training event. So good to have busy hands as well as a busy mind.

And then to have a fun finished product at the end of another hour or two - even better!

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

First Fruits

It is really satisfying to see something grow. Even more satisfying when you can actually eat the end product of your hard work. Yes, the plant did the growing, but I watered it every day and made sure it wasn't uprooted by stray children (which was the biggest challenge in itself!). So it was pretty fabulous when at last the capsicum that had been growing and getting bigger finally turned red. Red enough to pick and eat.

Yes. It was a good feeling. And it was a delicious capsicum. I am looking forward to more.

Tomorrow, I'm going to use some of the spinach/rocket that is growing along with the basil. Yes.