Crafty Afternoon

Sock Puppet made by MichaelaYesterday we had a crafty afternoon at our place, with 8 kids and three adults.  I was having so much fun that it didn’t occur to me to document it with a camera, but you can see what Michaela made (with a little bit of help).  There was a lot of crafting with felt, which is a pretty perfect medium for kids to work with, because it doesn’t fray and can be easily hand stitched.   There was also a little bit of crochet, embroidery, and t-shirt altering, (using my nifty tutorial).Ugg Boot Repair with a felt heartThe previous evening I had done some felt crafting of my own.  While it was as seasonally inappropriate as my previous post, I decided to take the time to repair the toe hole in my Ugg boots because I actually have time for little jobs like this in the summer holidays.  The hole was in the boot you can see on the left, and I decided to match the heart on the other toe, because it too was wearing thin.Ugg Boot repair with a felt heart - up close.

I used some quite thick felt that I had, and some ordinary sewing machine thread.  As simple as it looks to sew, it was actually a little tricky, as the sheepskin is difficult to pierce, and the sole tends to get in the way as you sew close to it.  I used a thimble on both hands (one inside the boot).  I am not sure how durable my repair will be, but I figured that trying to repair them was better than wearing Uggs with holes in them.

What is the strangest repair that you have made?

The tiny sewing machinist has a finished project

Michaela with the cushion she made

This weekend Michaela and I finished a project we started 10 months ago.  We finally turned the foundation-pieced, homage to pink and purple, that she pieced herself, into a cushion.  You can see more about how she pieced it here.

Michaela's cushion - a view of the back

The back of the cushion is a riot of colour – a piece of fabric exactly to Michaela’s taste.  I’m pretty pleased with this photo, which shows off a few recent changes to Michaela.  In the past two months she has started loosing her first teeth rapidly.  In honour of her birthday, she had her ears pierced, and at her request we cut her a fringe.  I was pretty worried about how the fringe would look, but thought it was important to respect her wishes for her own hair, and I am really glad I did.  I like it, (even when it has the remains of purple hair spray in it, following a birthday party attendance).

Michaela with the cushion that she made

I quilted the cushion-front with random stars, hearts, swirls, flowers and Michaela’s name.  You can see the quilting better in the first photo, but I wanted to include this one, because I love the expression on her face.  Michaela is extremely pleased with herself, and is glorying in the beauty of her cushion.  She is adamant that it should live in the family room, for everyone to enjoy.  I was expecting this extreme embodiment of the love of pink and purple to reside in her bedroom.  I guess I can live with it hanging out on the couch for a little while, before it takes up more permanent residency in her domain.

If you want to start sewing with your children, I would really recommend a project like this.  The foundation piecing is easy, and creates a finished project that is relatively quick to finish (as long as you don’t wait 10 months to pull it out and quilt it).  You could do this easily in a weekend.

So, do your kids get to raid your stash, or do you encourage them to start a stash of their own?

Knitty Teddy

Amelia with the small Teddy that she knitted

For several months Amelia has been knitting this dear little teddy, a smaller version of the one she made last year.

Arden, almost 3 months old.

She made this one for a special little person, her cousin Arden, who is just shy of 3 months old.

Arden with his knitted teddy

And the teddy is just the right size for him.

I’m pretty impressed with Amelia’s efforts, and it warms my heart to see how much my three kids already love their little cousin.

Get the kids sewing…

Olivia and Amelia in the aprons they made

Last weekend Amelia’s best friend, Olivia, came over so that the girls could do some more sewing.  They were working on the slightly larger version of my apron pattern that I had just drafted, (so really these are prototypes).  The girls chose their favourite motif from a whole range of food-themed appliques that I designed ages ago, and slightly different applique fabrics from my stash.

The girls are sewing

Apart from sewing the appliques on, using the dangerous rotary blade, and a tricky bit of top-stitching to attach the pockets, the girls did the lot.  We had a really fun time and they are very proud of their aprons.  I found having one sewing machine (set to very slow) and a space to pin and measure was perfect.  There was barely any standing around waiting for a turn.

Amelia "following the line"

When it was time to sew around the circumference of the apron (including the two curved sections that go under the arms) with a 1/2″ seam allowance, I decided to use a trick – to draw the stitching line on.  Until then, the girls had been sewing using the 1/4″ foot to align against.  I gave each of the girls, a ruler and one of my new “frixion”pens, which are erasable pens.  The ink is designed to erase when you “rub it out” using the rubber tip, but the tip is not really an eraser, it is actually heat, that the friction or rubbing creates, that makes the ink disappear.  This means the ink disappears when you iron over it!  This made the going much easier for the girls, because they just had to follow the line they had marked, with the needle.  I know they could have marked a line with chalk, or washout pen, but these lines are really crisp and stand out.

flowering gum

Since the weekend I have been really busy.  On Monday I went with the preps on an excursion to the Zoo.  Big groups of 5 and 6 year olds are exhausting, (but so enthusiastic).  We had a lovely time, and the fact that there was a gentle rain all day meant that the school groups pretty much had the Zoo to themselves.

On Tuesday the kids had no school, so were home with me all day.

Yesterday I drove out to Healesville with my Mother and her friend, to see the portraits created by the Archibald Prize Finalists  for 2011, at TarraWarra Museum of Art.  It was wonderful, I am so glad I went.  I enjoyed all the different styles of portraits, but this one was my favorite.

Finally, I will leave you with this lovely clip, celebrating the Sydney Opera House.  You can read more about it here.



Birthday Season

J Shirt for Jaide

We are in the midst of Birthday season, here in the Matching Pegs household, with 3 of our birthdays within 12 days.  Yesterday we celebrated Rory’s special day, with Michaela taking a couple of hours off, to help her friend Jaide celebrate her birthday.  Pictured above is the top I embellished for Jaide, with a simple needle turn applique.  Rory’s new mini-figures are checking it out.

Rory blows out 9 candles

Rory turned 9, and his cake was fantastic!

Plasticine Angry Birds

It was several days in the making – if you include the practice characters that the kids (and Luke) made with plasticine.

Angry Birds Cake

For those of you familiar with the game, it is easy to see that the cake featured “Angry Birds“, complete with evil green pigs (and boss pig with his moustache).

Making Angry Birds

The birds and pigs were made with solid icing, and it is safe to say that the experience of planning and making them was as important as the outcome – the look of the finished cake.

I was so impressed with the figures that the kids made, and the cake architecture that supported them, (constructed by Luke).  Oh and the cake was deee-lish!

Are you addicted to Angry Birds?

Busy Kids

The kids were determined to enter a competition on one of their favorite websites – Moshi Monsters – by making two of the characters out of recycled rubbish.

Amelia and Rory made these guys out of boxes, cardboard rolls, milk cartons, and paper mache. I think they did a fantastic job. I told them they will have to share the iPod touch if they happen to win, (not a problem I am really worried about) but either way, we had fun making these guys.

Very Proud

On Wednesday night, Amelia blew us away with her confident and clearly enunciated performance as Alice in Wonderland, in the school play.  I had spent some time, going over lines with Amelia, (so I knew that she had memorised the pages of dialog well) but I had no idea she would have such presence.

At times Amelia is pretty shy, I was expecting nerves to be a bit of an issue, but I was so wrong.  She nailed it.  Apologies for the ordinary photos – we were not allowed to use a flash, as there was an official videographer at work – I am hoping that the video they shot is pretty good, because I really want a record of the event.

Another little thing that is making me inordinately proud, is this small piece of fabric (8″ x 8″).

It’s fabric I designed and printed using Spoonflower.  I saw that they were having a free swatch day, and it was just the prompt that I needed to give it a try.  I quickly manipulated the floral and butterfly designs that I already had drawn up in Illustrator, and was fairly pleased with the repeat that I created.

While you can use any colour you can conceive for your designs, I chose to use some of the colours that Spoonflower recommend.  They are colours that print true to the colour you see on screen.  This resulted in a print that is quite bright.  In my imagination, I have a whole line of fabric, in much more subtle colours.  If I decide to go ahead with any more fabric design, I will probably go to the trouble of printing test swatches just to narrow down the right colours.  I am thinking that the curtains that I need for my laundry might have to be bespoke!

What would you make with your very own fabric?

What would you make with my butterfly fabric?

Party Cushions

I have been diligently stitching around the applique shapes, on the cushion fronts that the kids designed at Amelia’s party.  Hers is the cushion on the right.

The kids chose the fonts, and the applique motifs (from a choice of several of mine) and then carefully selected fabrics from my stash.

I ironed the fusible web (vlisofix) onto the back of the chosen fabrics, and the kids trimmed the shapes, and placed them where they wanted them.

Michaela’s cushion is on the right (above) – she just chose the butterflies, and all the purple fabrics – she does not quite have the dexterity for the sharp scissors yet.

Rory’s cushion is on the right.  “B” is clearly a minimalist – she only wanted her initial.  I thought they all did a good job – and I think they all enjoyed it.  So once I finish sewing down the shapes, I just have to whip up 6 cushions.

Would you consider letting kids loose on your stash?

Sewing Party

Amelia’s 10th Birthday Sewing party was a great success.

Button Gingerbread biscuits were consumed (along with plenty of other treats).

The “Birthday Cake” was a plate of flower cupcakes which Luke made with the kids.

“Hoop Face” stitcheries were stitched by all.  This one is Amelia’s, you can tell by the very neat stitches.

Rory is more of a speed stitcher, he really enjoyed working on his Robot.  I need to track down a couple more 4″ hoops, so that his can have a properly sized face.

While the kids were stitching, they also took it in turns to rifle through my fabric stash to design themselves a cushion front featuring their initials.  Next time I will give you a peek.

Go-Fish Multitasking.

After pre-washing all my fat quarters, yesterday I prepared them for cutting, by adding a new step.  I decided to lightly starch each piece, in the hopes that this will help the accuracy of my pieced star blocks.  I have done lots and lots of Maths, while designing this quilt (My Tea in the Garden Quilt) and have worked out all the cuts and fabric requirements.  All that was left was to actually start cutting.

This is where my multitasking genius comes in.  I managed to play about an hours worth of Go Fish, with Miss Michaela, while cutting.  She was perched on a stool at the end of the cutting table.

Now I would not normally recommend this type of multitasking, but because my maths had all been done, and I had actually drawn out all the cuts per fat quarter (with colour diagrams representing each different piece of fabric) I didn’t have to concentrate quite as hard.  I was able to keep us both happy at the same time. Win-Win.

And then my clever girl arranged an Elephant with the scraps.

Do you wield sharp objects with your small people close at hand, or do you think I’m crazy?