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November 2009
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January 2010

Sleep-time teddies from outgrown pajamas

Lavender-teddies
Tristan wouldn't give up his favourite brushed-cotton pajamas that he'd long outgrown but a hole in one knee the size of a football made me finally take the scissors to them. Though the fabric was fairly threadbare I salvaged enough to make him a soft teddy so he could still enjoy it. Gracie wanted one too and has the perfect pair of way-too-small jammies with tiny pink rosebuds I couldn't wait to use, but no, she wanted her brother's fabric, and absolutely no pink. Luckily, I was able to maneuver the pattern enough to squeeze out a second teddy.

To make them I drew a simple one-part teddy pattern, cut it out and stitched features on the pieces to keep them entirely soft. I then stitched around it and left a gap for stuffing. I stuffed the head and limbs with soft filler, made a little pouch of the filler and poured in some lavender, then tucked the pouch into the teddy's tummy. I could bearly get the gap stitched up before they were usurped for a cuddle. T & G love the lavender scent and both are snuggling with their new friends as I type.

They're so simple I thought I should share them. My children always appreciate the things we make from re-purposed materials much more than those from new materials; to them the process of transformation is a little bit magical and it is to me too!

The teddies say thank you Sonia for the nature finds they're modeling with ; )


Merry Christmas one and all!

Christmas-tree

We watched A Christmas Carol tonight, the one with, Patrick Stewart as Scrooge; a great version of the story, but I kept expecting him to be beamed up by the Starship Enterprise instead of the Ghost of Christmas Past ;)

I think I'd better go wrap some presents, it's getting late. Merry Christmas!

Night-night,

J x


Last minute make

Angel-ornament Make these spontaneous patchwork angels to hang on the tree or to tie to gifts. Yet another way to use up more scraps and the unfinished edges mean these ornaments are quick and easy to make.

 Here's how:
Ornament-template1


  1. Download Ornament template, print it and cut out an ornament shape
  2. Cut out two pieces of fabric larger than your ornament shape
  3. Take one of the pieces of fabric and using a small zig-zag stitch, sew scraps all over the piece of fabric going in any direction - be sure each edge of each scrap is stitched down
  4. Cut a piece of felt or heavy interfacing out using the smaller, inner template of your ornament pattern
  5. On the unstitched piece of fabric trace your ornament template in fine pencil or water soluble pen, then flip it over, tape it to a window so the light shines through it and trace the template on the other side (the tracing should be in the same position on both sides of the fabric)
  6. Add a tiny bit of glue to your felt piece and center it in the middle of one side of the tracing and let it dry for a couple of minutes
  7. Lay your zig-zag patchwork fabric on top of the other fabric (patchwork side up) sandwiching the felt shape inside
  8. Pin a looped ribbon or string, loop pointing up, inside the sandwiched pieces at the top of the ornament template
  9. Pin the pieces together, turn them with the plain fabric facing up and stitch around the tracing marks using a straight or zig-zag stitch
  10. Trim the fabric right up to the edge of the outer stitching, finished!

Note: Try embroidering a name, message or date on the plain backing fabric before gluing the felt shape on the opposite side and pinning your pieces together.

The down-loadable template includes a few different simple shapes which can be used in many different ways. Tristan and Gracie have been colouring, cutting and gluing them today.

I hope, unlike me, everyone is very organized and ready for Christmas, then you'll have time to whip up this simple project.

Also, thanks to Annet for sharing her Tree Family wall hanging with me.

TreeFamilyChristmas-1
I love the ornament earrings she gave the mama tree and the spotty, snowy fabric she used. Visit Annet's blog Fat-Quarter to see more of her fantastic quilting and patchwork pieces.

Hope you're all cuddled up with your families, or your cat and are keeping warm.

Night-night!


"Winter... is the time for home"

Robin2
Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home.  Edith Sitwell

Wherever home may be, it's lovely to be snuggled up with friends and family during short days and long winter nights.

We had a wonderful weekend with friends and family back in Kent. Celebrating birthdays, the season and an early Christmas. Happily we made it there and back in the snowy conditions, only needing to be towed out by friends once during our stay. We were lucky to have a chance to meet up with lots of friends and enjoyed lots of laughs, cozy fires and more than a little mulled wine.

I caught the friendly robin above enjoying a little bird seed we set out on some unused clay pots. These are just under the apple feeders we made.

Crabapples Dianne's crab apples brighten up the fresh snow.

Tire-swingSnowy scene at Claudia's

Snowy-shed
Back at home in Hampshire the snow fell harder and treacherous roads have kept us housebound, but we don't mind there are snowmen to be made, bread to bake and birds to watch.

Frozen-pond Too bad we have no ice skates.

Hedgerow-book
I'm also enjoying looking through some recent bookshop purchases. We have a fantastic antiquarian bookshop nearby, when I go in I have a very hard time coming back out. This is one of my recent favourites, it's about British trees but it also incorporates the plants and wildlife in hedgerows, an integral part of the English countryside.

6a00d8357ada6869e200e553ce12fb8833-pi On the craft front, if you like robins like I do, try this little tutorial from a couple of years back; it's a fun project on a snowy, winters day.

I hope you're all snuggled up and warm enjoying the season like we are!


Snowy days, winter craft and feeding the birds

Clay-sculpture
The snow has come and is settling a little, just enough to get the children squealing in anticipation - it's not time for the sled just yet but the forecast says there's much more on the way.

Paper-House
T and G are into all sorts of making. Each year they bring out the clay for ornaments, this year the ornaments took on new dimensions. If we had any normal flour in the house we'd have tried Sonia's cinnamon scented salt dough recipe.

In addition to the clay there has been much sculpting with paper, stories written and illustrated, bird feeders made, a song written and a puppet theatre backdrop designed. It's only Wednesday - phew!

I haven't been allowed to show any more than these activities, Gracie is apparently saving the rest for her own website.

Apple-feeder 

Woodpeckerbdfeeder These impromptu bird feeders were thrown together with apples instead of the pine-cones we normally use. The friendly woodpecker at the left is enjoying one of our feeders from a couple of years back.

Tomorrow we'll be making some of our favourite seasonal gifts to take away with us at the weekend. These pomanders fill the house with lovely spicy scent, we make them every year. Here are some quick tips for making your own.Monogramsoranges_3

We're headed to Kent for a birthday celebration (Happy Birthday to Claudia and Ian) and also an early Christmas with my lovely in-laws. Maybe I'll return with some snowy images to share, today my ailing camera wasn't up to the job.

Enjoy a restful weekend everyone. 

 

 


It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas

Silhouette-ornament School's out for Christmas break, today we got the tree and the holiday festivities are in full swing. I've had this Robertson's marmalade lid sitting on my work table for months with the aim of putting a tiny silhouette in it and today was the day. When the Christmas tree is up later it will be our newest ornament addition.

Peppermint-bark
We followed Rachel's suggestion for peppermint bark earlier this week and made it for the teachers. Ours doesn't look as pretty as the batch Rachel showed us, or the one in the original recipe at Brown Eyed Baker. We used Green & Blacks white chocolate which has small bits of vanilla in it and it's very yellow – but I can tell you it was very tasty regardless of it's less than perfect appearance.

Mush-cap Also, I got into the habit of melting chocolate in the microwave, why, I don't know. This time because of  the large quantity of chocolate I popped it in a huge stainless steel bowl and put it over a giant pot of boiling water so the kids could do all the stirring and watch the melting process happen more easily. They loved it - probably their favourite culinary adventure to date, I highly recommend it.

We made jars like these on the right for gifting the peppermint bark, a pattern for them is coming soon ;)

Tiny tutorial
The silhouette project above was very easy but it was so tiny to cut that I gave up after several tries and decided to Photoshop her instead. It was very easy to do and I'm sure any image editing program would work, here's how to do it:

  • Measure the inside of your lid to find out what size you'd like the image to be, mine was just under 2.5" or about 6cm in diameter.
  • Photograph your subject in profile against a plain, light background then open the image in your image editing program.
  • Reduce your image to a size that will fit within your lid and save it to 300 pixels per inch.
  • Select the light background and then invert it. In Photoshop you would select the background with the magic wand then choose "Select" from the menu, then "Inverse." This step will make your subject selected.
  • Lastly fill the selection of the subject with black (make sure the background is white)
  • Print it out on to heavy weight paper, cut it into a circle (fitting the diameter of your lid) around the subject and glue it to the inside of the lid.
  • Glue a looped ribbon to the back, finished.

Note: Gimp is a very good, free image editing program, I'm not that familiar with all of it's features but I bet it could handle the simple tasks for this project. Also, cutting the silhouette out probably would have worked with manicure scissors, my embroidery scissors were not tiny enough.

Now I'm hoping my boy will pose for his profile so we can have a matched set, but now I must make a start on some Christmas cards.


A new friend

Snail-reserve

Isn't it funny how dust and dirt isn't at all noticeable when the sun doesn't shine. This morning we woke to clear, sunny skies, which meant a beautiful, thick frost and also dust and cobwebs around the house - so out came the vacuum.

In the midst of this overdue clean I discovered a little friend keeping warm on the wall behind the curtains in our family room. I grabbed a glass and gave her a more suitable, temporary home, of course Gracie will surely want to build a whole snail hotel for her when she arrives home from school. My new friend told me Fern sent her from across the sea.

Now she needs a name, no doubt Gracie will have several ideas, any suggestions?

As we've had so many weeks of rain, this was our first real frost, here are a few images from our morning.

Frosty-fence

Frosty-leaf

Frosted-daisies

Happy Tuesday everyone : )