Monday, March 23, 2015

Our Creative Spaces and Elsie Marley KCWC days 2 and 3

So super efficient and organised am I, that today I can lump 3 posts into one. Fantastic! What a time saver! This is very lucky as time is not something many of us Mummys have these days. Actually, I don't think Mummys have ever had the luxury of time on their hands but that's a whole other post.

So back to the main reason for this post, the one hour a day sewing challenge set as part of the Elsie Marley Kids Clothes Week Challenge. Tuesday's hour allowed me to applique a little dinosaur onesie for a friend who is going to be a Grandmother soon.

 I am quite sure dinosaur experts would have a fit and criticize the non specific nature of  my dinosaur, but I like him.
The little zigzags on his back were created with ric rac if you haven't already guessed.

 And this was yesterday's creation much to the happiness of Dora's number one fan (who admits, even to me, that she has more Dora stuff than any little kid could ever need.)
 It's a bubble skirt made using a pattern from Making Clothes for Children by Emma Hardy . I've raved about this craft book author before. I love her simple and straightforward method of making really cute things and this was no exception. It took me 1 1/2 hours (including the time that it took me to unpick a whole bunch of lining fabric that had folded over double under my machine) to make the skirt and she loves it.
You can see where the lining meets the skirt outer to create the bubble effect in this photo. You can also see one of the many plasters currently being worn as an important accessory by Miss E. Does anyone else need to take out a second mortgage in order to keep their children in plasters? I believe she went to kindy wearing 4 plasters this morning. I hasten to add that most of the injuries that the plasters are protecting are weeks old or absolutely miniscule but they are important to E so I tend to just give in and give her a plaster! 

Back to the skirt... it has an elasticated waist so no buttons or zips. Super quick and very cute. One thing I would change next time is to make the skirt out of a less crushable fabric. I can imagine this skirt is going to be a nightmare to iron (when that ever happens... hah!)  and the pure cotton creases like you wouldn't believe. E is happy so that's the main thing! She has worn it to kindy this morning so I am expecting it to be covered in paint and playdough and mud by this afternoon.

There are some fab outfits being shown off on the Elsie Marley KCWC flickr group so go and grab some inspiration there. And while you are at it, pop over to Our Creative Spaces and check out everyone's Creative Spaces. I can guarantee that you'll be glued to your computer for hours.

A Big Little Coat

Last month I was lucky enough to be chosen as a pattern tester for Big Little's new Pixie Hood Coat for both the kid's coat and the ladies coat. The pattern was really easy to follow and made up very quickly. There are no tricky button holes (which I was very glad about!). What I love about this coat is the value for money with the pattern. You can get kid's sizes 1-14 in one pattern. There's the Pixie Hood Coat or the Pea Coat option (with a cute little collar) and you can download the round hood pattern (which is what I used on E's coat) for free from the Big Little Facebook Group.

What's even more value for money is that this week (from Monday 23rd March), you can buy the pattern for just US$8.50. Be quick though, the discounted price ends on Sunday.

The Ladies Coat pattern is being launched next week. Watch this space for links to that pattern then.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Miss Mouse

I do it every year. There are dozens of other things that I really need to do before Christmas, but I can't help myself. Quite often, it hits at around 9pm, the night before I'm due to travel to meet family. My husband now just rolls his eyes. He knows the futility of suggesting it's not the best idea. This year I'm feeling very justified in indulging my urges. It's not chocolate and it's not sex, drugs or rock n' roll. It's making last minute gifts. Pretty weird I know, but I can guarantee that there will be at least one of you reading this blog who will be nodding their head in recognition.

I made this gorgeous wee mouse from a pattern by Jodie from Ric Rac this morning and I'm totally in love. The pattern was so easy to follow and make and I know that Miss E will love her. 

This particular pattern was featured in Australian Homespun magazine in November. You can order a download a digital copy and get the pattern from there. I made the little mouse a bed in a craft suitcase. The mattress is a lightly stuffed rectangle of fabric, a smaller one for the pillow and I made the sheet/blanket by turning under and stitching around a square of fabric. I then cut out a square of minky the same size and zig zag stitched the two together around the edges.

Jodi has lots of other gorgeous animals and dolls to make in her shops and I highly recommend you read her blog. She writes stories for the toys she designs and is utterly hilarious.

Now I just have to make another of these for my other daughter. Or maybe I'll have a go at this fox instead.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Bees, Butterflies, Flowers and Frogs

Miss E's class is doing a little play in assembly next week. The other Mums in her class and I have been busy making costumes for the kids.

We're using the basic pattern from Emma Hardy's cute and easy Costumes for Kids. I've used this book for so many of the kid's costumes in the past and can't recommend it highly enough!

Can't wait to see them all do their performance!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Hello Again

It's been a long time since I've posted anything up here. I'm sure you've noticed ;) I'm slowly getting back on board with Cotton Kiwi after a long break to organise our wedding.
Happy on our wedding day

It was a fabulous day and just what we wanted. It's taken me several months to get back into the swing of things post wedding and I've been busy with managing three markets and the children and all the rest that comes with life. I made the tough decision last month to stop organising Devonport Craft Market. I was spending so much time on the computer at home that my girls were starting to question my availability for them. Luckily, I've been organising the market with Sarah McLeod of Songbird Designs for the past 5 years and she happily agreed to take it over full time.

Our daughters made wonderful bridesmaids
The girls are growing up so quickly and although they are well able to look after themselves in the conventional ways: getting dressed, staying clean, doing chores and getting themselves something to eat if they feel like it; I feel like they need me to be present more than when they were younger. They need me to help out at school and to be there to listen with both ears and answer questions. Have you found that as your children have grown older? This'll be the first month that I haven't managed Devonport and it's been lovely not to have all the extra work involved, but I know I'm going to miss it. I'm still going to be selling there. It would be too hard to say goodbye completely! I'll be there at the next market on 6th October and I can't wait.
Flower Filled Fairy skirt

I've also booked a stall for myself at tomorrow's Craft Harvest market (I'm the manager there so the application procedure was quite straight forward!). I've got flower filled fairy skirts, kids aprons, girls' dresses, boys shorts, sock monkeys, bibs, nappy covers and my new Waldorf inspired dolls. The market runs from 8am-11.45am in the Jubilee Hall at 545 Parnell Road, Auckland. The Farmer's Market runs at the same time just outside the hall which is great for coffee and treats as well as being able to do your weekly shop. Hope to see some of you there!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Little fairies

I've been taking a break from my Cotton Kiwi shop for a while but I've been taking the odd commission. I've just finished a very sparkly little flower filled fairy skirt for a 2 year old which will be off in the post tomorrow. I sent one off to Australia a few weeks back and this little fairy's Mummy was kind enough to send me a photo which she said I could share with you.

Isn't she adorable?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Back to School: Fabric covered exercise book tutorial

The girls went back to school today and I have to say I'm feeling a little lost without them at home. There'll be plenty to do and talk about when they get home. There's also the school exercise books to cover and label with all their different subjects. If you are anything like me, you will hate the sticky backed plastic stuff that you buy from the shops to cover books with. It never, ever, goes on without wrinkles for me and there's a whole lot of swearing that goes on. Plus, I don't really like the high waste aspect of it. There's so much unrecyclable backing paper to pull off and the plastic coating, whilst keeping the books dry (and yes, this is a very good move for at least one of my daughters!), it just doesn't appeal to me. I should say now that I do give in to the kids and buy them one pack of the sticky backed plastic but the deal is that I then get to have my own way and create covers for the books that are far easier for me to do.

Fabric covered exercise book
If you have a sewing machine at home (you can get away without one but the cover won't stay on as well), this is an easier and much more environmentally friendly way to cover your kids' school books (and it makes sure that their books will definately stand out in the class room when they go to look for them.) Here's how to cover your books with fabric.

What you need:
Lightweight fabric (old sheets and printed cotton are great)
Glue stick
Pinking shears
normal scissors
pencil or pen
ruler (not essential but handy)
Sewing machine

  • Iron your fabric out flat and place your opened exercise book on top.

  • Lightly mark all around the book, leaving about 2.5cm all around.

  • Cut out with pinking shears.

  • Place your closed book in the centre of the fabric and cover the front cover of the book with glue and then place it face down onto the fabric. Turn the book over, being careful not to move the fabric on the front cover. Cover the back cover with glue and fold the fabric over.

  • Open the book at the front cover and using normal fabric scissors, cut a square at the top and bottom corners. Also make a small snip as far as the book at the top and bottom centre (where the binding of the book is). Glue the longer side strip and fold it towards the book. Do the same with the top and bottom. Clean off any glue that might have escaped before you turn the book over. Turn the book over and do the same for the back cover.

  • I'd recommend you leave your book to dry for a while otherwise the glue can clog up your needle so glue all your book covers on and then make yourself a well earned coffee before you start the next bit. When your books are dry, Set your machine to a zig zag stitch and stitch around the front cover and then around the back. The best needle to use is a jeans one but ordinairy needles will work pretty well. Don't forget to change it before you do anymore sewing though as the card will blunt the needle.
  • If you don't have a sewing machine, you can just leave it at the glue stage or use some wide tape to secure the inside edges.

I also stitch labels onto the front cover of the books. Just cut them out, glue them in place and stitch them on. There are some really cute ones here:
The butterfly ones are here
Good luck with back to school!


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