Friday, April 29, 2011

Union Jacks & Canada Post Royal Wedding Keepsake Kit Giveaway

Well the big day has finally arrived and the ceremony just finished and Prince William is walking his bride down the aisle as I post this.   I am not the blogging blow-by-blow sort, but I can tell you I enjoyed every moment and the modern simplicity of the touches and service. I woke up at 5:00 am to see Prince William's arrival and Lily woke up just in time to see the Duchess leave the hotel.  My littlest one woke up just after the vows were spoken. I will remember this morning, just like I remember getting up to watch the weddings as a kid.

Giveaway: today, Canada Post releases its official Royal Wedding stamp today.  I have pre-ordered an extra keepsake kit scheduled to arrive next week - thinking that maybe someone who reads this little blog might like to win one. If you would like to win it, leave a comment on this post and how to reach you.  I will pick a winner on Tuesday (open to any reader with a mailing address).

So, I have spent the last four weeks or so creating projects so that my girls would remember this moment in time.  I have wanted to include a couple of boy-related projects to round everything out! 

My sewing pal created this awesome Union Jack pillow for her sons using licensed Mickey fabric and red polka dots.  The finished pillow is 13 X 21 inches.

Pal's Notes to File:
I worked backwards knowing that I wanted a quilt block that measured 13" x 21" (based on the pillow form size). I approached the project in stages. I first pieced together three long strips of white and red and white fabric, and cut it into 4 equal lengths. I then attached the triangles. I probably should have paid more attention to the angles at which I attached the strips to the triangles. I first tried measuring and cutting a triangle and sewing it to the red and white 'band'. That produced not so great results, so then I cut a big rectangle, sewed the strip to the rectangle, and cut off the excess. This method wastes a lot of fabric, but saved me some time (or so I think). A seasoned quilter probably has a tried and true method for sewing triangles; I clearly don't. Once the four 'quadrants' were assembled, the rest of the block fell into place. There were a few nervous moments when I went to attach the left side to the right side; luckily all the seams aligned. I probably would have abandoned the project altogether had the seams not lined up at this point. I quilted the block, and finally inserted a zipper.

I am somewhat pleased in the result, although a little disappointed in how two of the quadrants turned out (or didn't). Perhaps when Lily's Quilts' union jack block tutorial becomes available in June, all secrets will be revealed and I may toy with the idea of making a pillow for my older son. Until then, I will be making other things.

and I made this little Union Jack fabric bow tie (clip on) for my nephew.

Between my pal and I, much research has  between my pal and I has gone into Union Jack Quilt Blocks, I thought I would  share the links here:

Lily Blossom's Pillow pattern (not pieced - I posted about it here)
Shabby chic union jack over at Hayley makes it
Freezer paper stencilled over at Junkin Junky
Lily's quilts is full of inspiration, just start here
There is a free paper piecing pattern at Just Sew and  here
Free tutorial over at the Giantess (not pieced)
Free tutorial over at Blu Babes Creates (not pieced)
Lady Sew and Sew has a free Red Rose Union Jack Quilt Pattern
Amy over at Diary of a Quilter's work using the Victory Garden pattern is mind blowing
I was just perusing my pal's copy of the May 2011 issue of the UK's Homestyle Sewing Magazine and there are three wonderful Union Jack projects (a pillow, tea cozy, and luggage tag)

Enjoy this historic day!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Crafting with kids: Crown Jewels

On the weekend, my sister and I spotted some "Crown Jewel pre-made craft kits" on a UK site (unfortunately, I can't find the link right now, but will add it when I do!). 

Inspired this post on Red Ted's Art Blog and my old 1973 version of The Queen, we cut out the shapes from my cardboard stash (the cardboard is cereal box weight). (Not shown: two additional strips of cardboard for the top of the crown and white felt for fur for the bottom).

After painting the cardboard gold (DecoArt's Spun Gold), the kids decorated the crowns with stick-on jewels.  I added white felt and painted on black spots because I didn't have any leopard faux fur in my stash.

We now have something to wear !

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Doll Cradle and Union Jack Doll Quilt

This is a project which I started last year, but only recently finished.   A neighbour was getting rid of this doll cradle.

The timing was perfect.  I have been searching for a second hand doll cradle for awhile. My little one likes to put her babies to night-night.  This cradle, however, was in rough shape, but I saw some potential.

Before committing to the project, I used one of those lead check kits to determine whether it was safe (it was!). I then sanded it, primed and painted it white.  The cradle require some bedding, so I made a little doll quilt using LillyBlossom Union Jack pattern.  I adjusted the pattern to fit a rectangle and the rose fabric is from a vintage pillowcase.  Altogether it was a very inexpensive project, it took some time to complete.

 Looking forward to Friday!
This post is linked to

Monday, April 25, 2011

Niagara Falls

We love to take the girls to spots that we enjoyed growing up.  I never tire of Niagara Falls (I don't care too much for the touristy areas around the falls, but I love the falls).

Saturday turned out to be a beautiful day. After visiting the Butterfly Conservatory (I will post photos of the conservatory in a future post), we drove to the falls. It was the girls' first time to the falls.

There was a perfect rainbow.

The daffodils were also putting on a show. 

In the evening, we had a chance to see falls on the Niagara Sky Wheel.  This giant ferris wheel opened in 2006.  The ferris wheel that I enjoyed as a child is no longer around (it was located across the street in the old Maple Leaf Village and dismantled in 1993).

It was a wonderful day and lots of memories were made.
Have a great week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Sensory Bunny

I wanted to pop in and wish you a very Happy Easter.  We are spending the weekend with family.   My nephew brought this bunny he made using chocolate pudding paint

What a great sensory activity. Can't wait to try it.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Earth Day Activities

I wanted to post about a really cute craft my sister did with her son and her kindergarten class, but before I do I thought I would give a shout out to the park clean-ups occurring  in Toronto.

In Toronto, throughout the entire month of April neighbourhoods organize formal and informal clean-ups.  In addition to cleaning up the area, free garden compost is available.  Sadly, this spring, the weather has been extremely windy, cold and rainy and many of the clean-ups have been cancelled. My good friend - who I met about 8 years ago at a park clean up (and who is now 8 months pregnant and has 3 boys 4 years  and under!) - organized an informal clean up a very bad alleyway space in our neighbourhood.   Four of us got together to clean up the space. It is so nice to have enthusiastic people around me, motivation is catching.  I documented the efforts.

As for a very sweet Earth Day craft, my sister was inspired by this post by Christy over at Super heroes and princesses. Christy has a great activity for children to make an earth using hand prints.  Here is a picture of the hand print earths in my sister's classroom.  My sister used old newspaper to cut the circles.
 With my nephew, they used paper mache to cover a balloon and they applied the same hand print technique.  This is the sort of craft which might take a few crafting sessions to complete given the drying time involved.

I think this is a wonderful craft.  Have a great day!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Teaching myself new skills: Cross Stitch, Will & Kate

When we were on vacation, I tucked a little cross-stitch sampler in my suitcase, just in case.  I knew nothing about cross-stitch.  I have never tried cross stitch.  The sampler kit was actually a donation from my manager who was downsizing her "craft department."

Anyway, I taught myself to cross-stitch.  Here is a peak at that project.
I will probably post about the sampler in its finished form in a future post.

While I was teaching myself to cross stitch, Miss Lily had a hoop in her hands.  We used produce mesh (specifically the mesh which covers a clementine crate).  I was inspired by this post over at Two chicks and a hen .   {If you are interested in teaching kids to embroider you may also be interested in this post over at Filth Wizardry which uses shelf liners}.
Instead of a needle, Lily used a bodkin (the blunt tool which is used to pull elastic through a casing).

Since that first heart sampler, I have completed another project (haven't posted about yet) and I was ready for a third more complex piece.  Enter Bugs and Fishes' Royal Wedding Cross Stitch Sampler.

I finished the piece prior to the wedding (sigh...) and I set it into a block to make a small pillow (9" by 9").

The sashing fabric is a discontinued print from Aunt Grace's 2005 Scrap Bag.  The pillow will be a nice momento pillow to celebrate the upcoming nuptials and I am linking it to Stitch in Color's Bloggers' Pillow Party
Blogger's Pillow Party
Unfortunately, there is only one pillow and my two girls are bickering over it!

Have a wonderful week and check out all the great projects at
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Crafting with my kids: Peat Pot Easter Baskets and Wheat grass

It's just about Friday and the wheat grass we planted on the weekend is ready for a haircut.  This is the second year we have planted wheat grass and I think we are going to make it an annual tradition. This time, we soaked the wheat berries for a day or so before planting.

We also worked on some peat pot Easter baskets.  About a month ago, Kim over at the Musings of Kim K put together a wonderful post on decorated peat pot Easter baskets (you must check them out!). It had me looking a peat pots in an entirely different way and completely inspired. My girls created these baskets themselves.

Watching paint dry

Have a lovely weekend,