31.10.11

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS... part eight {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I'd ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas... 
This week we're lucky enough to hear from the clever MultipleMum who blogs about frugality, green living, parenting, and other musings at And then there were Four. There is never a dull moment in her busy and contented life.  I'd highly recommend a visit and to join in with her Weekend Rewind on Saturdays!  This is such a great simple handmade gift idea for a child - I LOVE it!  

BIG BOOK OF CRAFTY GOODNESS

I don’t follow many crafty blogs. I love looking at them but after awhile I get so envious of their crafting prowess that I decide to just let them be. So it is kind of strange that I have hung in with Emma and Frog, Goose and Bear. She is the ultimate crafty Mum. But the funny thing is that I have actually *made* things under her tutelage. 
In February this year, my family committed to Buy Nothing New for a Year.  It has been an interesting journey for a total creative hack . The hardest part for me has been making gifts. I am getting the hang of it now, but I am somewhat limited by my lack of sewing ability.
Emma's recycled crayons were my first attempt at home-made gifts. I can’t say that mine turned out anything like hers, but it was a fun process and we ended up with some fabulous circular shaped crayons that were perfect for the little toddler boy we gifted them to. Note to the uninitiated: I am not sure the fumes from melting crayons are all that good for you. You have been warned.
I moved on to the Cook Republic’s no-sew aprons and 'cookies in a jar' which were a real hit with the 3-5 year old girl set. My daughter now requests that all of our tea-towels are ‘dressed up’ with ribbons. As an aside, I highly recommend the Paul Newman’s spaghetti sauce jars (750ml) as the perfect jar for these gifts, we tried a different shaped jar the first time and ran out of room.
Recently I teamed some of Emma's pretty paper covered pencils, erasers (I still can’t call them rubbers without having a bit of a giggle) and sketch pad (having my first love affair with Mod Podge) with my favourite gift to date, the home made “My Big Book of Crafty Goodness”. It is every little girl’s dream!
My Big Book of Crafty Goodness is a collection of all sorts of paper crafts that are free to download on the internet.  I used some lovely matching games and colouring in printables from the amazing Made by Joel as well as some old-school paper dolls, ‘sewing cards’, origami folding tips, ‘memory games’, dot-to-dot printables, and Thaumatropes.
They have been a big hit! I have done a couple of different volumes now (one for the 2-4 year old, another for the 5+) and recommend that if you do do one, that you print off a few at a time. Once people catch a glimpse, I guarantee they will be requesting one for their daughters too.
Volume three is about to be put together, just in time for Christmas. Have you come across any wonderful paper-craft sites with free downloads that I should be stalking? Better still, do you create your own and want us to share them? Please leave a link in the comments.
Thanks to Emma for asking me to Guest Post. I am absolutely flattered!


Thanks so much Multiple Mum!  My kids are now sitting next to me at the table coloring in some Made by Joel free coloring pages as I type!


Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I'm planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post - send me an email.  I'd LOVE to hear from you!

27.10.11

Frogs & Snails & Puppy Dogs Tails...

Snail races!  


Yes, I need to do something about the snails in our garden, but in the meantime...


"Frogs & snails and puppy dog tails, that's what little boys are made of..."


Someone just forgot to tell that to the girls in my house!


Linking in with Outdoor Play over here.

24.10.11

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS...part seven {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I'd ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas... 

Last week the clever Lioness Lady showed us how to make a very simple skirt and this week the gorgeous Cat from Raspberry Rainbow is sharing another simple handmade gift for girls.  I came across Cat's blog very early on in my blogging days.  I was drawn to her bright & colourful photos, her fun & colourful sewing creations and her honesty and relatability.  She has recently embarked on a new adventure when she moved to Hong Kong with her husband & two daughters.  I'd highly recommend heading over to Raspberry Rainbow for a visit!  You might like to check out this other simple handmade gift for a girl while you're there!

Simple Beaded Bracelets


Our bracelets.

When Emma asked me to do a guest post on her blog, I was so excited.  I love her blog.  Emma always has fabulous ideas on kids craft, easy peasy recipes and amazing kids birthday party ideas.  Recently, she started the Simple Handmade Gift for Girls series. I love this series - having two little girls of my own, I am always on the look out for simple, quick and easy things to make my girls or for other little girls we know.

We moved from my home town of Melbourne to Hong Kong in July of this year.  Since being here, I have been exploring the wonders of the Hong Kong fabric and crafting district, in Sham Shiu Po.  Mainly in three streets, you can find a plethora of shops selling fabric, lace, leather, buttons, ribbons and beads.

I only stumbled upon the bead shops last month when walking to the main fabric section a different way than I normally go.  I could not believe what I found.  There are 4 or 5 shops, all in a row, with millions of beads to choose from. This photo below shows a small section of only one of these shops.  You use Chinese soup spoons to scoop up the beads you want into little bags and then pay by weight.

Millions of beads!

Last weekend I took Abbey (our 5 year old daughter) to Sham Shui Po to choose some beads.

So many to choose from.

She was very excited and had a great time choosing a selection of beads.  


Our chosen ones.


I was very impressed (and nicely surprised) that our pink obsessed girl chose a great selection of different beads, in many different colours.

To thread our beads onto, I bought a roll of this clear, stretchy stuff, called crystal string.   It is easy to tie knots into and can stretch quite a lot before it breaks.  Since it is stretchy, it makes it easy for little girls to put on and off their wrists as bracelets, there are no fiddly clasps involved. Your beading supply shop will most likely have other stretchy materials you can use or you could use hat elastic*.

Crystal string

I roughly measured the crystal string around Abbey's wrist to get an idea of the length required, then added an extra 8-10cm of "tying off" length.  Don't make it too short or it is very difficult to tie knots into (I learnt this the hard way!)  I tied one of the smaller beads onto one end of the crystal string to keep all the beads on.

Concentration face.

This is the fun bit - add your beads, leaving some of the crystal string empty (4-5cm) so you can tie the two ends together creating your bracelet.

Our bracelets.

These are our finished bracelets - I had to have a go too, it looked like so much fun!  I made the one on the left (in adult size, for me) and Abbey made the one on the right.

Making beaded bracelets (or necklaces) like this is an easy and fun gift idea for girls.  Abbey loved making them and she has plans to make more for some of her friends**.

My mum has since told me that if you tie a knot between every bead, it strengthens the bracelet/necklace.

Happy beading!

Cat.

* Please note I am not an experienced beader, I am self taught using materials I have found in these bead shops here in Hong Kong.
** Please be careful with children under 3 as most beads are little and can pose a choking hazard. 

Thanks so much Cat!  My girls would love these and I love a gift that the kids can participate in making also!  You could always include a little 'beading kit' for the recipient to make some of their own also.  They'd also make a great party favour!


Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I'm planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post - send me an email.  I'd LOVE to hear from you!


22.10.11

MARKET FINDER for Victoria & Tasmania

For all you lovers of a good farmers market or art/craft market, I just thought I'd quickly let you know about a handy little iphone/ipod app. designed by a lovely friend of ours...

This app helps you find out where the markets are on any given day, in any area of Victoria.  
Markets are the perfect indulgent activity now that the weather is warming up! 
For those of you down south, there is now an app for Tassie as well!
If you are not a local, it would be perfect to use while on holidays in Vic or Tassie too!


Here is their little blurb...


Want to quickly find an art & craft market in Victoria, Australia?  Then this application is for you!

Want to find all markets open today, on the weekend, over the month, or that special weekend away? 
Pull up a map and find out where they all are.
Fast and easy no nonsense app! 
Over 400 markets from Abbotsford to Yea.
From farmers markets to swap meets to craft markets. 
Fast access, only uses internet for maps. 
Iphone and Ipod compatible. 
You can purchase the market finder for Victoria here

You can purchase the market finder for Tasmania here.

Enjoy the markets this weekend!  
What is your favourite market in Victoria?


* this is not a sponsored post. I gladly paid for my app and it has come in handy quite a few times!  I've also passed it on to a number of friends who I know use it regularly too.

20.10.11

MY 'SUPER' CREATIVE SPACE... is it a bird? Is it a plane?


This week 'Super Frog' and I have been creating an especially Froggy* superhero outfit for her upcoming 3rd birthday party.  The outfit was completely inspired by this vintage supergirl party and the photoshoot idea from this vintage pink party.

- I used this pattern for the mask and used felt with fabric sewn over the top.
- For the armbands, I cut the toes off a pair of Frog's socks with an extra slit on the side for her thumb.
- For the belt I used an elastic headband which amazingly was the perfect size for her waist and used felt & fabric again for the heart and letter 'A'.
- Frog's ever favourite superhero cape was made by her Aunty Lou who used this free pattern.

 Frog's favourite thing at the moment is to dress up as a superhero and run around the house with her fist out in front of her.   


If someone dares tell her that she is 'gorgeous', 'adorable', 'cute' or any other form of endearment, they are promptly corrected with - "No I'm not, I'm super!"

 Frog has worn a superman costume to bed as pyjamas almost every night for at least 6 months and now she wears this one (minus the cape & mask). 

Frog's favourite color is pink.  She is one of those children who refuses to eat or drink out of any bowl, plate or cup that is not pink.  It's just one of those battles we've decided we're OK with avoiding.  She chooses her own clothes (I wouldn't dare!) and the outfits are inevitably pink.**

So we did not have much trouble at all coming up with a theme for her 3rd birthday party!  
Pink Superhero it is!

We had so much fun taking these photos for her party invitations.  A simple photo shoot in the backyard - an old doona cover*** hanging from the clothesline with an old wooden box and a piece of wood I found behind the shed that I quickly painted with chalkboard paint. 

Even her friends the chickens had to be a part of it!  
She put a pink cup of tea out for them especially!


  I took far too many and now I can't choose which ones to use for the invitation!


 Frog kept asking to draw on the chalk board and when I finally let her, she drew the cutest superhero I've ever seen, or is that a 'super' superhero?

Joining in today with our creative spaces.



* Her real name is obviously not Frog, or she would have an F on her belt.
** This fascinates me!  Her older sister could not care less about color, or what she wore.
*** This doona cover was my first doona when I was a girl.  How vintagely cool is it now?!  Nicely ironed too you'll notice ;) - we don't go toooooo overboard!

17.10.11

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS... part six {guest post}


There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I'd ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas....


The first cab off the rank is the fabulous Lioness Lady!  Sonia and I have much in common and I always feel right at home when visiting.  I was lucky enough to win some of her gorgeous crochet bunting and it hangs in my kitchen with honor.  I have a feeling that if her little girl Matilda, got together with my little Frog - they'd have a ball!  If you don't know her, I'd highly recommend a visit!  She is going to share with us a simple handmade gift for a girl.  I'm off to go and make one right now - they're gorgeous - thanks Sonia!


SIMPLE SKIRT TUTORIAL



When I bought my bargain sewing machine at the Spotty Boxing Day sales last year, all I wanted to know how to do was make a skirt for my wee girl. Luckily I had my trusty MIL by my side to show me her way which, even though it resulted in a fabulous skirt, it involved yards of material, pleats, oodles of pins, lots of measuring and most of the day!
There must be any easier way I thought, a simplier way - and lo and behold there is.
Let me be really clear right up front and say that this is not my pattern. I am only including my pictures and directions here to show you how simple these skirts really are to make and how quick they can be. I can do one in less than an hour.  This tutorial comes from Dana at Made.   Go there and read her instructions - they are much better than mine! And she has LOADS of other tutorials as well that you need to look at.
Basically though, imagine you have a rectangle of fabric. Join the short ends and sew. Fold down the top and insert elastic for a waistband and roll up the bottom and sew for a hem and you're done!!!!  Simple right?
So, pick some pretty fabric first. I tend to guesstimate the finished length I want my skirt and then add an inch or so for the waistband and the hem. In terms of width I think the best thing you can do if you dont have the small person in front of you to measure is to look in a pattern book or google waist measurements. 
This skirt was heading to a 2 year old so I cut a length of about 30cm and made the width around 110cm. In this case I just ended up using the width of the fabric but apparently if you want a nice full skirty skirt, take the waist measurement and double it. 
Join the two short side of your rectangle of fabric, right sides together and sew. 
Press your seams nice and flat with the iron. 
Now, while there are pins in this pic below, generally when I am being quick and my rectangle of fabric is nice and straight, I do A LOT of guessing and she'll be righting! Below I have folded up the fabric about a centimetre or so and then press with the iron. 
Now roll that over another centrimetre or sew and press again. This hides away all your nasty cut edges and means no overlocking or zigzag stitching either. 
(Hello short fat sausage fingers and bad nails!)
Sew all around. 
And if you felt like being really fancy, sew all around twice.
Hem done! 
To create the waistband, roll the top down a centimetre or so and press. 
Then take your elastic and roll down the fabric again so it is slightly wider than your elastic. Look at that very careful measuring I am doing below. 
Sew your waistband at the bottom leaving a gap to thread your elastic through. You will notice I am sewing at the top too in the picture below just because I once heard that it makes your waistband sit nicer and means your elastic is less likely to get all twisty. 

Once you have threaded your elastic through, sew your two ends together and then sew your hole closed. Move your fabric around so it all looks nice and even and you should end up with something like this..... 
And here is another one I made earlier.
Team your skirt with a plain t-shirt from Target (I love the puffy sleeves on these ones and that when they are on special they only cost about $4 and that they come in bunches of colours). You can see I have prettied this one up with some yo-yo's I made from one of Emma's earlier tutes on simple handmade gifts for girls.
This little set is also heading to a sweet two year old small person. Matilda obviously found it highly amusing! 

So, what do you think, simple and easy and straightforward, yes?

Below are some linkyloos to other simple skirts you might like.


Thanks Emma for letting me guest post in your Simple Handmade Gifts for Girls series.

15.10.11

THIS SATURDAY I'M GRATEFUL...



- for wonderful playgroup friends (they really are the best group of Mums!) who put together a fantastic birthday gift that was so 'me'!  Homegrown roses & vege seedlings and a handmade felt pouch containing a collection of tried & true recipes from each of them.  


- for Mr FGB being home on a Saturday and making the best pancakes ever!* for breakfast.

- for regular craft nights with friends, sweet treats, a glass of wine and great conversation.

- for three gorgeous kids who don't mind their Mum taking thousands of photos of them with her new camera!


Frog


Goose


and Bear.

- I was grateful this week that when our washing machine decided to die it was within one month of warranty and that they will replace it with an upgraded model.  Although not so grateful that it will take 2-3 weeks(!?!), I am grateful for kind friends who have offered to do a load for me in the meantime.  

- I was not so grateful to discover that someone** had put a disposable nappy in that very last load which had released millions of jellylike crystals throughout the entire load!  With no machine, I decided to hang it out anyway and deal with it later.  To my surprise, I was extremely grateful at the end of the day to discover the sun had worked it's magic and completely evaporated the jelly - what an absolute gift!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Joining in once again with Maxabella's gratefuls.





* let me know if you'd like the recipe.
** last time I'll be using child labour in that department!  I should add that the nappy was unused.

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