Wednesday, 30 September 2020

Miniature Food Made of Salt Dough

Do you remember when I made a tiny table full of miniature salt dough food? That was 9 years ago!

So I thought it was about time to give it another go and see what other food I could create (and see if my skills have got any better).

I decided to focus on pastries and made croissants, pain au raison, cinnamon swirls and Danish pastries.
Check out the video at the bottom of this post for the how to!


After baking the salt dough I painted the pastries with acrylic paint and used PVA glue to give them a shine.




























I also made a little wooden tray out of lollipop sticks because presentation is everything. This is a tiny brunch I'd like to go to!




Wednesday, 23 September 2020

Handmade Baskets

Today I'm sharing how I made baskets out of newspaper. Legit baskets! Out of paper!
I'd seen this project a long time ago on Pinterest and lockdown finally gave me the opportunity to try it out.

I looked at a few different tutorials and I suggest you do the same if you want expert advice! This is the tutorial that I followed. It's just pictures so there were some bits I had to figured out for myself.

I started by ripping sheets of newspaper in half along the long side, and then rolling them at an angle into long tubes, secured with a bit of Pritt stick at the ends. One end will be wider than the other and that's meant to happen and will be useful later.

Once you have a bunch of tubes you need to sandwich them between two pieces of cardboard with a lot of PVA glue, which will be the base of the basket. You need an odd number of tubes +1 around the edge so the weaving works. I learnt this by having an even number in my first attempt which messed up my over/unders. The +1 is the tube you start off weaving with.

Once the glue is dry fold the tubes up and secure them to a box with pegs. It helps to choose your box first and then cut the cardboard bases to fit it.

Then get your weave on, starting with the extra tube you stuck in the base. When the tube you're weaving with gets too short, stick the thin end of a new tube into the end of the first tube.

When you've reached your desired height, fold and tuck the ends of the tubes in a way that I can't explain but you might be able to see in the picture. Now would be a good time to check those other tutorials online.

Then there's some more folding and tucking to finish the top.

I then painted my baskets white with house hold emulsion, but most paints will do; acrylic, pre-mixed bottle paint etc.

I decorated one of my baskets by painting a gradient/ombre effect using turquoise paint mixed with different amounts of white.

For the other basket I managed to sew a lining which fits inside.

And that's it! I now consider myself a basketeer!

I can't wait to make more in all different shapes and sizes. I never need to buy a basket again! 

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Bunny Dolls

I'm definitely spending more time on Pinterest at the moment. One thing I keep seeing is cute, and often quite stylish, animal dolls. So I had a go at making my own.

This is the first one I made. A little bunny in a knitted jumper and jeans.
I found some cotton fabric that looks just like patterned denim, which is perfect to use as it looks like jeans but isn't as thick as real denim so it easier to work with.

I made the jumper by knitting four squares; one for the front of the jumper, one for the back, and one each for the arms. I sewed them together directly on the doll. I only had two balls of wool at home; black and sparkly pink. It wasn't hard to decide which one to use!

My second bunny is wearing dungarees and boots. Putting this one together was a bit more complicated than my first one.

I used more of the denim-looking fabric to make the dungarees. The waist band was a later addition to cover up the tricky time I had connecting the trousers to the top!

Both bunnies have black boots made out of this leather-looking fabric. I really like having a mix of textures to replicate real life clothing, rather than making it all out of cotton.

A trick I got from one of the examples on Pinterest is to use lace as a layer on the ears for added texture, which I did for both of my bunnies. One of this bunny's ears got a little wonky during the sewing machine stage, but I think it just adds character.
I also made a headband from ribbon and felt and a flower embellishment. Cute!




I'm loving having time to try out new things and make things just for fun.
What other animal dolls should I make?

Monday, 15 June 2020

DIY Fabric Baskets



In another attempt to use some of my fabric stash I made these fabric storage baskets. Who can resist a storage basket!

I didn't take many photos of the process as the tutorial I followed does a much better job at showing how to do it. I used this tutorial by Fabric Mutt as a guide for making my baskets.

I altered the size of my baskets and did something different with the tops, but that tutorial is a great starting point. I also added a piece of card to the base of the basket, underneath the lining, so keep it square and add some strength.

I also tried out different things for the handles. For this one I made a strip of fabric and sewed the ends to the baskets with two buttons.

Shout out to my sister for this awesome unicorn fabric!
This fabric is a bit thinner than the navy florals so I added some interfacing behind it for some added support.

Now that I know how to make these baskets I'd love to go bigger and make a whole range of baskets.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

Handmade Bear

I'm continuing to work through my fabric stash and this project came about after pulling out my Grandad's old cardigan that I'd already cut up for this wooly hat. (I made that hat 10 years ago! Which shows how long I like to hold on to things.)
I'd seen some cute handmade bears on Instagram and thought the cardigan would be perfect to make my own.

I drew out a paper pattern and cut out two pieces from the cardigan for the body.


On one piece I sewed the face, and some markings using embroidery thread.

I sewed the body pieces together, right sides in, including the ears on the inside.

 After turning it right side out I stuffed the bear with polyester stuffing and sewed up the opening.

Then I made two arms which I stitched to the sides of the bear.

Cute right?
I really love the texture of the knitted cardigan, and it's a bit more forgiving than cotton.
I've still got some of the cardigan left so maybe I'll make a whole family of bears.


Thursday, 30 April 2020

Sewing Stuffed Animals

During this time at home I've been able to do some sewing projects that have been in the back of my mind for ages. I have a small selection of fleece fabrics and thought it would be cute to make some little stuffed animals. I say little because some of the fabric is in quite small pieces and I wanted to use up what I already have.


The first one I made was this dolphin. I used this pattern by Choly Knight. She has a lot of free patterns and when I just went on her site to get the link I found even more things I want to make!
I reduced the size of the dolphin pattern a lot as my white fleece is in very small pieces, so this dolphin comfortably fits in the palm of my hand. As it was so small I hand sewed it together which worked fine.

Next I made this crab using a pattern from While She Naps. As this one is a little bigger I was able to machine stitch the main body section together. Things got a little crowded under the sewing machine so a few bits shifted, resulting in the pincers and claws not being completely symmetrical on both sides, but it's cute nonetheless.

And finally, as I've made a start on Christmas stock, I made this little Rudolph by adapting this pattern found on Handsome and Pretty. It was a bit fiddly and the antlers are a bit wonky, but I like it, and am very pleased that I got it to stand up. I'm wondering whether to add some string or ribbon to make it into a hanging ornament.

Are there any projects that you've finally got round to during lockdown?

Monday, 6 April 2020

Easter Egg Hunt Quiz

During our current lockdown situation I wanted to come up with a fun little activity for my husband, because even 30 year old men need new things to break up the day and get them off the Playstation.
With Easter coming up I had an egg hunt in mind but wondered how I could make it more fun for an adult.
We've been doing a lot of quizzing so far with our friends over video chat, so I was inspired to combine a quiz with an egg hunt.  

First,  I cut out 12 egg shapes from coloured card and decorated one side of them.

Then I search for trivia questions with numerical answers, where each answer was between 1 and 12, and wrote them on the back of the eggs.

These are the questions I used:

1. How many terms did Jimmy Carter serve as US President?
2. How many landlocked countries are there in South America?
3. In English law what is the smallest number of people that can constitute a riot?
4. How many sculpted lions sit at the base of Trafalgar Square?
5. How many hundreds of miles would The Proclaimers walk?
6. On most phones, what number key also features the letters M, N, and O?
7. What was the MS Windows computer operating system version that succeeded Vista?
8. How many planets are in our solar system? 
9. How many rooms are on the Cluedo game board?
10. How many years did Tony Blair serve as Prime Minister of the UK?
11. What was the number of the first Apollo moon landing?
12. Total of the sides on a pentagon and a heptagon?

To set up the egg hunt I hung 12 pegs on our washing line and wrote the numbers 1 -12 on them using a white board pen.

Then I hid the eggs around our garden. We don't have a huge garden but it was big enough to hide the 12 eggs.

Then the hunt was on for Andrew! I sat back and enjoyed watching him go past one spot in particular where I'd hidden an egg very much in plain sight but he didn't spot it for a while.

When he found each egg he had to attach it to the peg with the correct number answer. A lot of the questions were quite tricky so there was a lot of switching round as he found more eggs.

This activity got his brain working, his body moving, and putting it together gave me something to do, so a success for all.

This game could easily be adapted for children with different questions, or for even younger children you could use coloured eggs to be put in corresponding coloured containers.
To make this game educational, for anyone currently home schooling, each egg could have a maths question with a numerical answer. If you were feeling really fancy you could laminate the eggs to use again and again with different sums or questions.

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