Sunday, January 30, 2011

royal family

The castle I've been working on is still under renovation so our royal family has had to move into this little one-bedroom home while they wait...

I bought these wooden figures from a little shop on Etsy a few months back. They came naked, ready to paint. I am not a strong painter so this is my minimalistic approach! 
I do love how they are expressionless - leaving their emotions up to the imagination.

Friday, January 28, 2011

boogaloo's very first giveaway

Today we're trying something new and will be giving away one item from my online store!

Here's a look at some of the items you could choose from:

Reversible Crown

Lil Medic's Bag

Lil Toolbelt

Lil Apron

On Monday, January 31st, I'll be randomly selecting one lucky winner to choose any one item from my online store. So go check it out and see what you could win!

Here's how to enter:

1. 'Follow' this blog publicly
2. Leave a comment at the end of this post telling me you entered the contest - and be sure to leave your email address so that I can contact you!

Easy peasy.
Good luck!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


My fabric stash is bursting with so much turquoise and various shades of blue. It's one of my favourite colours right now - especially for kids. And I love to mix greens and blues together. So when I saw this fabric, I just had to have it. I'm already regretting not buying more of it!!

Some of my favourite things to sew are dress up clothes and dramatic play props for my kids. I love to watch them get whisked away to another world of pretend play. And this fabric is so versatile.

The crown is quite feminine. It's perfect for a queen or even a fairy princess. I would have loved a crown like this when I was a little girl. But, I have two boys so I wanted to make it a bit more 'uni-sex' - fit for a king as well. So I made it reversible:

The pairing of the turquoise with deep red is just so playful and vibrant.

I added a little applique and hand stitching...

...and a velcro closure on the back so that it would fit different sizes of heads (even mine! Sh! Don't tell).

Monday, January 24, 2011

winter wonderland - part 3

This is a little Valentine's edition of my winter wonderland series. 

I had so much fun making the ice sculpture blocks with the kids that I thought I'd step it up a notch. This time we added some decorations and something a little unexpected too.

Michael's had their Christmas decorations on clearance and I managed to find some pink, purple, gold and silver ones that I knew would work well for this Valentine's project.

We started by adding water to the yogurt containers we used the last time - but just to about the halfway mark. We dropped in the decorations and then inserted smaller containers (sippy cups) to create a vessel in each one. We needed to fill the sippy cups with water to keep them from floating.

We left the tubs out overnight because, believe it or not, even in minus thirty-something degree weather (Celsius that is) they take quite a while to freeze all the way through.

It was well worth the wait though, because the results are so pretty...

Insert candles for instant romance!

 As you can see, some of the dye from the ornaments changed the colour of the water - but I think that makes them look even more romantic.

We also made one with a candle frozen inside the ice.

Are you planning anything fun to do with your kids for Valentine's Day?

Friday, January 21, 2011

cute as a button

I learned about this neat technique for painting fabric on one of my absolute favourite blogs and couldn't wait to try it. So out I went, in search of some freezer paper and a plain white toddler-sized t-shirt. I printed out a phrase in a font that I liked and traced it onto my freezer paper to create a stencil. Then I carefully cut out the letters and ironed the stencil onto the shirt. I chose some fun fabric paint colours and dabbed them onto the shirt.

Honestly, this was such a fun technique that I had to stop myself from freezer stenciling everything I own!! Consider this your warning that there will be many more projects like this one to come...

I made this shirt for my friend's 1 year old daughter Brooke.

Once the fabric paint dried I sewed a big blue button onto the shirt.

Earlier this week I showed you one of my books, called Handmade Beginnings, by Anna Maria Horner. It has an adorable pattern for reversible pants and I wanted to make them for Brooke to go with the shirt.

I lucked out and found some fabric with the same colours as the ones I used on the t-shirt (yes I know ...most people would have chosen the fabric first, but not me!) 

As usual, I aimed for super girlie. 
This is the front of one side - perfect for Valentine's Day, don't ya think?!

...and this is the back of the reverse side.
Aren't they fun? I love the panel on the bum!

Brooke has the most amazing big brown eyes and I just know that she can pull off such bold colours. I made the pants a touch big so that she can roll the hems and grow into them.

It's so much fun to make handmade gifts. To me, when someone takes the time to make a gift it means that much more. What's your favourite handmade gift to make?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

fit for my kings

This past Christmas I had a really difficult time shopping for my boys. I'd been trying to purge some of the toy clutter for months so I wasn't keen on adding any more to the lot.

When you have kids, it can be hard to have balance in the home - and not have the toys take over. With every birthday and Christmas that passes there are more and more toys that slowly invade your space. Of course, as a parent, you want your children to have everything they need to learn, develop and keep their imaginations soaring. And there really are so many great toys out there for our littlest of growing minds. But my goal is to cut back a bit and focus on better quality toys. I'd love for my kids to have more natural products such as wood or fabric, and a little less generic plastic stuff in their playroom.

Sadly, replacing all of their toys with the most amazing handmade toys just isn't in the budget. So instead, I'm making small yet conscious steps in that direction. And sometimes, it takes a bit of creativity.

I took my boys to Michael's a couple of months ago and we spotted this plain wooden castle. It was $29.99 and my boys begged me to buy it for them. Armed with a 50% off coupon, how could I say no?! 

We brought it home, and I tucked it away. I had hoped to surprise my boys and have it all painted for them on Christmas morning but time just didn't allow for that. So I'm just getting to it now.

I've managed to paint the exterior. This took me quite a while because I really had no reference (there aren't too many castles in Canada). I started off by painting it all gray and hated it. So I worked at getting some more earthy tones in there and I think it looks more realistic that way. 

I have lots more to do - like paint the top and the interior. So stay tuned!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

the big reveal for baby Chloe

Yesterday I showed you a picture of the patchwork project I have been working on. 
And last night I finally finished it!

Before I show it to you, I need to back up a bit. 

I tend to hoard craft books. I seek them out at the nearby thrift store, I drool over them at Chapters and the library, and I bring far too many of them home with me. This one by Anna Maria Horner came home with me a few months ago:

Handmade Beginnings 
24 Sewing Projects to Welcome Baby 
by Anna Maria Horner

Inside this book, you'll find beautiful images of Ms Horner's original and unique sewing creations. She has a fresh contemporary style that I cannot resist. She uses such vibrant and fun designer fabrics in her projects for babies, kids and moms to be. This book is a must have for anyone who sews and is expecting, or wants to give a truly unique gift for baby. AND it even comes with patterns to trace and cut!

So, this book is where the inspiration for my latest project came from. A friend of mine is due to give birth to a baby girl any day now. And while I'm not a super girly-girl myself, I have a real weakness for making little girl clothes. I think maybe it stems from a need for femininity in my life these days. After all, I'm the only girl at me house - seriously, even our cat is a boy!

So here it is. The 'Patchwork Sleeping Sack':

I consider myself a fairly beginner sewer and this was a great project for me because it involved many of the techniques I've learned over the past year. I've experimented with various fabrics, I've made a couple of small patchwork quilts, a couple of simple dresses and totes, and I've practiced sewing with bias tape. So in making this bunting bag I got to practice these skills as well as challenge myself a bit further. This time, I made my own bias tape! I had never attempted this before and feared the worst. 

I bought one of those metal thing-a-ma-bobs to make your own tape, cut my strips along the bias and went to it. Ironing the tape was a bit finicky at first - until I got the hang of it. In the end, it was so gratifying to make my very own binding that I may never go back to buying bias tape again!

Once the tape was made, I loved working with it and actually found it easier to pin and sew than the store bought ones. I'm really pleased with the result, and may have to seek out more projects with bias binding (rather than avoid them like in the past)!

I hope baby Chloe and her mom love it!

Friday, January 14, 2011

a sneak peak

I've been busy working on a few projects but none of them are quite ready to show you yet. In the meantime I'd like to give you a sneak peak into one of those projects and maybe you can guess what it's going to be...

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

winter wonderland - part 2

We've had nice mild temperatures and a lot of snow fall here this past week. Of course, my boys have been taking full advantage, enjoying lots of time outside.

Here is my youngest son - maybe a bit confused by it all?! Yes those are swim goggles! He definitely has a style of his own and keeps us chuckling to ourselves each day.

(You should also know that after playing out in the snow, he went in and changed out of his wet pants and into a pair of shorts)
So, as promised in my previous winter wonderland post, today I'm sharing with you another little project that we've been working on outside:

Ice sculptures!

We filled a bunch of yogurt containers and plastic cups, added some food colouring to a few and stuck them outside overnight. Once frozen, we stacked them in a row. The results were really neat.

You can't see it very well in these photos (because of the white ice shot on white snow) but there were some cool patterns made inside of the blocks. Some of them look like they have pom poms inside of them! Very neat and very fun for the kids.


Thanks for stopping by. I hope you're able to get outside and are making the most out of winter too!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

is there a doctor in the house?

Does this look familiar?! Your child's doctor kit with broken locks. This one is the second I have bought for my kids and it's the second one to break. The locks always snap off and get lost, making the storage case useless.

My solution: make a cloth bag (of course)!

If you'd like to make your own 'Lil Medic's bag' - I've prepared a little tutorial for you. If you'd prefer to simply buy one - click here to check out my Etsy Shop.

Here's how I made mine-
You'll need:

- black fabric cut into two 8" x 12" pieces as well as two 12" x 2.5" strips for the straps
- another fabric of your choice for the inside lining (cut into two 8" x 12" pieces)
- a small piece of red fabric cut into a + shape, roughly 3 inches tall (to do this I created a paper template and then traced and cut it out of fabric)
- matching thread 
- sewing machine

1.  Once all of your fabric is cut, you are ready to pin the red cross shape onto one of the black rectangular pieces. Place the cross in the middle horizontally, but raise it 1" to 2" above the vertical center. Confused? See picture below.

2.  Applique the cross onto the panel using matching red thread and a small zig zag stitch.

3.  Then sew the two black rectangular panels, with right sides together. I used a serger for mine, but a regular straight stitch is just fine. Do the same for the other 2 fabric panels.

4.  Then pinch the corner to line up the seams together and cut about an inch off the corner. Stitch across so that it looks like this:

5.  Do this again with the opposite corner. 

6.  Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 with the lining fabric.

7. Turn the black piece right side out, but leave the lining fabric with the right sides inside.

8. Fold and iron down the tops of each bag so that they look like the picture above.

9.  Fold the two 12 inch strips and sew the long raw edge lengthwise - creating a tube by leaving the two ends open.

10.  I used a pin to turn the fabric right side out. TO do this, pin one side of the tube, only putting the pin through one layer of fabric. 

11. Pull the pin through the inside of the tube and out the other end. Repeat for both strap pieces.

 11. Iron both straps flat and top stitch along the sides.

12. Insert the lining bag into the outer bag. Pin the straps in place and straight stitch along the top edge of both bags. I prefer to use a walking foot for this step but it's not necessary.

 Now you should have a bag made to last and hold all your lil' medic's supplies.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

winter wonderland - part 1

Christmas is over, the trees are tossed to the curb, and many of us have turned off our outdoor lights for another year. I love Christmas lights and think that they should really be left up all winter long. They have a way of really brightening things up in the dreary months of our Canadian winters. There is so little colour (and daylight) when we look outside now and the trees are all bare and lifeless. Kinda depressing!

This morning the kids and I made a simple, low-mess craft that I thought would help us get through these winter months - or at least give us something colourful to look at against that white blanket of snow. 

Outdoor Tree Ornaments
Aren't they pretty?!

We collected yogurt containers and found a long ice cube tray but we could have also used plastic egg cartons and plastic bowls. If you'd like to make this at home, just be sure that you'll be able to get the ice blocks out afterward (plastic that is bendy works well). Just about any shape, size will do.

Then we put in all kinds of little treasures like glittery shapes and letters, mini pom poms, sparkles, multi-coloured tissue papers cut into little squares, and even little faux flowers. 

Next we cut a few inches of ribbon and tied a knot in it. It doesn't have to be ribbon - you could also use wool, string, embroidery thread, tooth floss - whatever really. The nice thing about using ribbon though is that you can write each child's name on theirs and know whose is whose (using a waterproof marker of course).

When everything has been put inside the container - you are ready to add a little bit of water, and if you want - food colouring. You just want to cover the contents without it being too thick - an inch or 2-3 cms works well. I found it less messy to add the water at the very end. Then put the containers outside to freeze. If you are doing this on a mild day or in a warm climate, you can also put it in the freezer.

Then hang them on a tree and enjoy the splash of colour all winter long (or maybe just for the day if you are down south)!

I'm planning another fun activity for making a winter wonderland coming soon - stay tuned!

Monday, January 3, 2011

a new year

This is the time of year where many of my favourite blogs are highlighting their top moments and projects from the past year. My blog is so new that I can't really do that (yet!). Now, I'm not one to make resolutions but ringing in a new year is naturally a time for reflecting back and setting new goals for the future. So with this in mind, I wanted to focus on some of the things that make me happy - things that perhaps I need a little more of in the coming year.

So here goes, my list of (just some of) my favourite things no particular order:

- over-sized ceramic mugs, especially when filled with coffee
- cream in that coffee
- the sound of children laughing
- spending time with long-time friends
- strawberries
- giving
- being inspired
- Smoothies (especially with Mount Gay rum)
- 'Mexican night' dinners at home (usually also involving smoothie mentioned above) 
- filling up on French breads with assorted cheeses
- dark chocolate-covered almonds
- holidays
- being organized (okay, I didn't say I was good at it, just that I would love to be!)
- sleeping in
- cotton fabric
- lazy days spent in my PJs
- my family
- music
- time to sew and make things
- watching 'chick flix' with my hubby (secretly I think he loves watching them with me too)
-  playing scrabble
- reading a brand new book
- eating out
- and, of course, my new blog!

I'll be making a real effort to indulge more in some of these favourite things this year - what are you hoping to have more of?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

fleece hat & mittens

Early in December, I made a pair of pink and white 'stay-on-mittens'. I gave them to a young girl at the playgroup I frequent who had no mittens of her own. One of the other moms there saw the mittens and asked if I could make her daughter a pair with matching hat as well. She has a young son so she wanted a set that was gender-neutral to pass on to him one day.
I had never made mittens from scratch before and was up for the challenge.
This is what I came up with:

I had just enough navy blue fleece in my stash to make this set and I finished off the raw edges by hand with a blanket stitch, using some earth-toned wool I had on hand. To make this set, I used the Butterick B4673 pattern and modified it quite a bit.
I'm happy with how it turned out, and I hope she is too!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...