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September 2007
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November 2007

Party on


An arty party, Gracie's final decision on a party theme. More an activity than a theme, unless everyone arrives dressed as famous artists - probably end up with 25 Van Goghs with bandaged heads.

This year she designed her own party invites. At the moment Gracie's into designing dresses so we simply scanned her latest creation. So quick and easy to do and such pleasure for the artist, passing round her work to everyone. I love using kids art for more than fridge surface filler and will definitely try this with Gracie when I get a chance. Ours may turn to applique + embroidery because she loves big bold patches of colour, always has.

Since we won't be doing the Halloween theme this year I'll be converting the pumpkin piñata I made for these guys into a princess, a birthday girl request. She'll have to settle for a princess head - she probably won't care as long as it's wearing her signature heart tiara (which will then of course be pummeled with a stick.)

I'm making a few gifts for her this year, and really loving it - so much so I may keep them just between Gracie and I. I'm sure I'm not the only one who wants to hold back the really special stuff. Just can't bear the thought of these things replicated, might make their magic disappear. I may change my mind, might even replicate them myself and do an Etsy with them.

Thanks2_2What I will share is my desire to adorn all cards I make with fabric and trims. These days I seem to be using my stash for everything except sewing. These little cards were thank yous to the lovely ladies who shared my recent birthday with me.

I never have really seen the point of all the fabricated bits sold for card making and scrapbooking, seems to take the craft out of it all. If things are simply glued into place is an item really handmade? Not in my book, and definitely not in my scrapbook - I don't have one ; )

Scarecrow party


The Form 1 garden is just about finished and with children running all about frightening off the birds - there's not much left for these scarecrows to do but party!

These are just a few the class made using this template. I love how individual each one of these guys are - such a simple project and even after an hour of busyness the children were all still eager for more. I highly recommend this one for anyone needing to entertain groups of children.

Adventtree_2Next time I'll save enough cereal boxes to cut the body parts out of, they'll look better than the white card I had. My husband gets a little tired of me scavenging through the recycling bin because much of it ends up back in the house waiting for one project or another - there's just so many!

Like this one I recently finished for the lovely Green Parent magazine. To learn how to make this advent calendar, pick up their December issue in shops on Nov 19.

Crafty in the country


I'm really looking forward to taking part in teaching grown-ups soon (I'm presuming they'll wipe their own noses and won't need escorting to the loo.) If anyone local to Kent wants to come along to the beautiful Mistletoe Cottage to make one of these gorgeous, unusual wreath baskets and have a cozy autumn lunch on November 21, I'll be there. Just email me here if you'd like to join us.

Wreathbasket_2I'll be adding details about more events at Mistletoe Cottage soon!

Making dancing scarecrows

PicofsctemplateI teach five and six year olds this year, a bit younger than previous years. As an autumn/harvest project I wanted to make some simple scarecrows that the children could personalise and can easily be displayed in limited space.

I couldn't find a template I liked for a scarecrow so I made up this simple one - if you'd like this friendly but featureless scarecrow, click here. It's featureless so the children can create their own clothes and faces using whatever materials they'd like. When they're finished we'll use paper fasteners to make them movable and glue on a stick to make them puppet-like and appear as though they could stand in a field.

I'll supply stuff to glue on: scraps of fabric, yarn, buttons, straw, felt, trimmings and whatever else I have laying around my craft room (probably quite a bit.) For children this age I will pre-cut small pieces of fabric that can be glued in a haphazard patchwork effect. Older children could cut out their own whole shirts, trousers, hat, boots, etc.

Check back here to see the finished scarecrows. If you make them, send me piccies!

Quick apron for a little cook

Finalapron_2My "Really Want to Make List" is getting longer, but will have to wait - probably until January. I suddenly have deadlines looming on exciting, unexpected projects in addition to the usual pre-Christmas school project frenzy.

I did manage to squeeze in this hastily made gift for Clemmie (not for Gracie, hence the frown.) Just realized I always refer to my gifts as hastily made - they always are.

I picked up some children's cooking utensils at a local shop for a gift, but they were crying out for a little apron to go with them, so I made this. It's adjustable to grow with the child.

I know there are hundreds, probably thousands of apron patterns out there, but here's a hastily made tutorial for this one in case anyone would like to make it. Needless to say - it's VERY simple.

Love aprons? Take a look at this site of Amy Karol's, she links free apron patterns there and hosts a regular apron challenge. Or go to The Apronista, another entirely apron blog with more pattern links.

Oh, and the apron fits better than it looks in the picture. The frowning child wouldn't allow me to adjust it - had to snap it quick. I think I'll be knocking out another one to give to my model on her Halloween birthday.

Today happy birthday to Clemency, hope you cook up some tasty treats : )

Sunshine & serendipitous shopper

Coolshopper1_3Today the sun is shining, all is right with the world, it hardly feels like the autumn pictured in my last post. Amazing how a few rays give me so much energy - almost worth all those fine lines it also gives me.

As the sun is finally shining today I walked down the hill to suck it up and get some bits for dinner. Walking past a charity shop I saw this large shopper in the window and as I still haven't got my shopping bags made : ( I had to have this one. It's much larger than it might appear, I fit two carrier bags worth of shopping into it! Much nicer than the old green rucksack I'd brought to stuff purchases in.

I filled it up at the green grocers, grabbed a few things for Thursdays art class and walked back up the hill with a little more spring in my step.

Thank you to the little old lady who discarded it only so that I could come upon it and give it a second life - I will love it : )

I have loads of favourite finds, might be time to do my own discarding or a swap. Never swapped before, would be fun to try one - anyone know of a vintage finds swap?