Thursday, March 31, 2011

Brittania Inspired Projects: Netbook case in Kokka's London

I am really excited about the Royal Wedding.

My mum was an Aussie Monarchist (yes, they do exist) and we were required to get up very early to watch both Royal Weddings.  Those times were some of the most special memories I have of my mum.  She also gave us gifts around the Royal Wedding, first day covers, commemorative puzzles, official portrait post cards, etc..

I kept my many special royalty postcards in this scrapbook.  Little peak: On the right is a commemorative Bible from my husband's family of the Fergie-Andrew nuptials.  An official postcard photograph of young William is on the left.
This month, to celebrate the Royal nuptials, I am making a handmade Brittania gifts for my girls and husband. 

This gift is for my husband (who is a Brit).  It is for his netbook. Fabric: Kokka's Trefle London fabric.  You can find it on sale here.  I bought it at Britex in San Francisco and paid much more.  I used the Cottage Mama's tutorial, but I used fusible fleece in addition to a flannel lining {left over from a previous project} -  and because the netbook is slim, I used only one button.  The button is also from London - it's a vintage J.R. Gaunt London uniform button.

I really like the way it turned out.

Happy Crafting and have a lovely weekend,

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Easy Easter Chair backer using Target felt bags

I posted about our Valentine's Day chair backers here and my sister's dollarstore technique here.  This is an Easter chair backer of the dollar shop variety. When I was in California in February, I purchased two little felt bunny bags from the Target dollar bin (shown above, left).

I took the handle off one side and moved it around the back so it could hang on the girls chairs (it's fixed with adhesive Velcro, but you could use buttons or glue or snaps depending on how permanent you want to make it).

I also hand stitched the girls' names using two strands of black embroidery floss and a simple back stitch. I have mentioned before that one of my goals this year is to improve my embroidery skills so these little projects are great opportunity to practice.

The girls were so pleased when I revealed them.  Lily put her felt chocolate bunny (one of last year's projects using a tutorial from Andrea Creates) in her chair backer until the real chocolate bunny arrives. She will forgo Easter eggs anytime in favour of just one chocolate bunny.

Have a great day,
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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Easter Bonnets at the Sugar Bush

One of our March family traditions is to visit the sugar bush for the Maple Syrup festival. The girls enjoyed wagon rides, maple syrup tasting, pony rides.

It was also a nice opportunity to photograph our Easter bonnets. We used Pickup Some Creativity's Pioneer Sunbonnet tutorial in the school girl size. They loved the bonnets.  They are Little House on the Prairie-obsessed right now (little one calls it "Little House on the Fairy").

It was really cold, but bright and sunny.  We had a lovely day.
Wishing you a wonderful week,
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crafting with my kids: Bluebird Nests on Tin Can Stumps

I have a love affair with nests and so do my girls. I think the little board book "Are you my mother" started it all.

Last year, we made a paper mache nest .  We love that nest so much it's on permanent display.  

I thought the girls would enjoy another nest craft and I spotted this little project idea on Busy Bee Kids Crafts via Childmade {both sites has some really fun crafty ideas for preschoolers}.

This project uses those plastic eggs you find at the dollar shop, but we changed up the materials slightly. I didn't have any paper plates on hands, but found two small plastic ones which we covered in faux bois contact paper (one of my favourite craft supplies).  We recycled some brown tissue paper from the stash. The wings and beak are craft foam and we used googly eyes (googly eyes are Lily's favourite craft supply). 

We wanted our nests to sit on a tree stump, so tin cans were also covered with contact paper.

These little birds are wondering when spring will arrive (it snowed all day yesterday)... maybe this weekend ?

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Crafting with my kids: Japanese Dip Dye

Since watching the early images from Japan via CNN in our Mexico hotel room, I have had a heavy heart about the situation.  We have several friends from Japan. Since, my husband is an English teacher (including ESL certified) he has had the opportunity to meet Japanese students almost every year. 

One of the girls' teachers is also Japanese and I was only able to connect with her yesterday. She has been involved with Lily's life since she was one.  I breathed a sigh of relief when I found out her family were alive, albeit not unaffected.  It saddened me to see her pale face, her eyes did not have the same spirit. 

I don't know how to talk to young children about the situation in Japan or tragedy.  My girls don't watch news on television so it's only if they hear what is going on from other sources, including family prayers. I decided I would raise the situation of the earthquake and tsunami (not ready to address the nuclear situation) and pick out a Japanese-inspired project .

You will recall that my dad keeps his eye out for vintage craft books. This 1975 Sunset Crafts for Children is one of my favourites.

In the paper craft section, the book features a Japanese dip dye project. Basically, you fold an absorbent paper (we used rice paper, paper towel is also suggested) into fan like folds and dip into watercolour paint, unfold, let dry and enjoy the tie-dye effects.  I did find the rice paper we used -while super absorbent- became very thin and tore slightly when we unfolded it.  I think a more substantial absorbent paper would work better for younger children.

They were so excited to see their pretty papers the next morning.  They were also very complimentary of each other's project because they looked very different.  I think it is the first time I noticed them being so encouraging of each other's work. 

 I was about 5 or 6 when the book Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes was published and I recall very clearly the first person who introduced me to that book and origami paper folding. I am hoping that my girls will remember our dip dye activity and discussion for along time.

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

El Meco Dress (Built by Wendy Simplicity 3835)

When we were on vacation, we had an opportunity to visit a Mayan archaeological site, El Meco.  It was just a 15 minute walk from our resort and we were able to enjoy the entire site to ourselves, along with hundreds of iguanas.

This is a choote, the kids told me because they saw one on Diego
El Meco was a fitting site for a photo shoot for my latest dress attempt. This is Built by Wendy, Simplicity 3835, no darts, no zipper. I made this dress, which is really more of a form, just to get the sizing right. I plan to attempt the dress again - with darts and zippers - now that I know what I am working with. I made a mistake lengthening the sleeves. I shouldn't have done that. 

The fabric choice is Anna Marie Horner's Good Folks in sea (for Free Spirit) . The fabric was challenging to match the print. I messed up in one spot.

What made me happy was my little one found a scrap of the fabric on the floor. She picked it up and said "Mummy sews."  Miss Lily calls the dress an "iguana dress."

I am not sure why I want to make my own clothes again. When I was a teenager, I made close to 80%, maybe 90% of everything I wore. I suddenly have the urge back.  It feels so great!

Happy spring, my friends!
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