February 28, 2011
My husband and I are both bookworms. To instil the same love of reading into our kids, we have a growing collection of kids books. When decorating my son’s room, I wanted some bookends to go with the transport theme, but really couldn’t find anything I liked. So what is a craft blogger to do, but make her own.
I seem to have decided on making his room matchy-matchy. I used the same templates and fabric as the appliques on his quilt cover and wall art.
There’s rice in the base to help them stand-up and rubbery drawer liner is used to keep them in place.
You could use the same techniques to make a bookend or toy out of almost any picture!
Click here for the full step-by-step photo-tutorial:
Hope you’re enjoying all the boy projects in the craft-blogosphere at the moment. I know I am!
February 21, 2011
Our little man turned 2 last month. We didn’t have a party, for a number of reasons, but I was still determined to make him a cool cake. When my Mother-In-Law visited us last year, she bought an Australian Women’s Weekly magazine that had a little cookbook on the front with a selection of recipes from various AWW cookbooks. It included a Choo Choo Train from the Kids’ Party Cakes cookbook. I remember spending hours flicking through this cookbook as a kid, picking out my perfect birthday cake (which I never got …). The Choo Choo Train cake was just perfect for my transport-obsessed boy.
The original had 4 wagons, but this cake only needed to serve 3 people, so I only made one. It was made from two log cakes (I copped out and used a packet) and a store-bought jam roll for the engine. The “steam” is popcorn threaded on a pipe cleaner (chenille stick).
Putting it together and decorating it took longer than I planned, although the day got a bit mixed up with a not as much napping as expected. I had to keep the inner dialogue going that I was making this for a 2 year old, and it didn’t have to be perfect. There were stray chocolate sprinkles, the icing was nowhere near smooth, the liquorice strips went on a bit wonky…
…but when my son came down the stairs and said “Oh WOW! Choo Choo Train, pretty”, it was all forgotten.
I’m a little worried I’ve set the bar too high too early with birthday cakes. I’ve now purchased the full cookbook, and I better start studying for the years to come!
February 20, 2011
Who can we find behind the doors and windows of this little red house?
Open it up…
…and what do we see…
…and a whole little world awaits:
Complete with all our favourite places:
Swimming Pool, Construction site, Zoo, Houses (including ours – the maroon one!), Car park, Fire station, Petrol Station, Farm, Playground, Train Station, Hospital (with Helipad), Police station, Shops (Grocery and Hardware for the non-Aussies!), Garden – it’s all there. And of course, there are plenty of roads for the cars to drive around on.
And when it’s time to hit the road, let’s fold it back up and take our little house world and cars with us:
Yes, I’ve joined the world of the car play mat, but I had to add my own touch, with it folding up into a house to carry around. And the little man loves it: when I was making it, he kept grabbing it and saying “want it” in his cutest 2 year old voice.
It’s a handy take-anywhere bag with plenty of space to carry cars and other toys. As an added bonus, the play mat is big enough to hold all my son’s cars, making a cute storage box in the playroom!
I cut everything out my hand – no fancy cutting machine here (although if anyone wants to send me one, my contact details are here). It took forever and was a labour of love, but well worth it to see my son playing with it!
Click for the full Felt Car Play Mat House tutorial:
February 15, 2011
It's celebrate the boy month over at MADE and Made By Rae. This event last year led me down the rabbit hole to the world of craft blogs, and somehow I started blogging myself.
I'm looking forward to seeing what projects are going to be shared, and I'll be sharing a few boy projects this month too (riding on the coat-tails - no official involvement here!). Let me know if you're joining in too!
February 14, 2011
I don’t have any Valentine’s Day special treats to share with you today, but still feel the urge to spread the love. Here’s a bit of link love: recipes from around the web that I’ve been hoarding.
Note: I haven’t yet cooked any of these, but I want to! Motivation and kid-free time, why don’t you align?
February 11, 2011
So once again, I've failed to get a craft tutorial together (but to be fair, I've actually been on holidays this week and scheduled posts before I left). Here's a sneak preview of a tutorial-in-waiting:
I made these fabric bookends to match the quilt cover and wall art that I've blogged about previously. I didn’t take step-by-step photos as I wasn’t sure how they were going to turn out. BUT I love them, so I’m going to make a boat and give put together a detailed tutorial.
I’ve completed one other project for my son’s big boy bedroom, but I’m not going to say what it is. Here’s a sneak peek:
Can you guess what it is?
February 9, 2011
Do you ever wipe your grubby hands on your clothes thinking “well, it’s me who has to clean them anyway”?
Do you ever leave bits of food in the sink thinking “it’s me who’ll scoop them out later”?
Are there eyes watching you and seeing the result (or noticing the result later)?
Not only are you creating more work for yourself, but you’ll soon find people around you copying your behaviour (whether that’s your kids, your significant other, maybe even guests…). You’ll create resentment if you try to correct that behaviour in others (and rightly so!).
You may not even realise you are doing some of these things. So the challenge for today is to be conscious of what undesirable, less-than-cleanly behaviour you are modelling, and try to call yourself out on it.
Do you have “dirty little habits” like this? Let me know in the comments!
February 7, 2011
This is new recipe #1 for my 2011 goals. Click for the full recipe:
February 6, 2011
52 New Recipes: I’ve cooked a grand total of 1 (yes, one)! Bit of catch up required there…
Make my own bread: I’ve bought 2 loaves of supermarket bread, and 2 packets of cheese and bacon buns (one of my toddler’s favourite lunches). I’ve baked 4 or 5 loaves in the bread machine, using pre-mixes from the supermarket. It takes a couple of minutes to chuck the pre-mix, yeast and water in the bread machine – why wasn’t I doing this more before? I’d like to get more traditional in my bread-making, but this has been a great way to get into the bread-making habit.
Learn to use DSLR in manual: I’ve tried a couple of times in Av mode, but really don’t have a clue what I’m doing…lot more work required here!
More sewing: I haven’t had much of a chance to get to the sewing machine, but I’ve been working on another (time-consuming) craft project, so I’m not too concerned…
Crochet cardigan: I’m steadily chipping away at this one, doing a row or two a few nights a week. It’s a top down project and I’ve got to just below the bust, so it’s starting to take shape. As an added bonus, it looks wearable too!
Crochet toys and felt food: still to come!
I’m also happy that my blog posts are a bit more regular. Still a few holes, but I’m getting into a bit of a routine.
Speaking of which: routine is my theme for the year, and January was a disaster in that regard. 2.5 weeks away (hastily organised a few days before Christmas) has thrown me totally off track. I need to spend a bit of time putting together a broad weekly plan and set some weekly goals. Hopefully you’ll see that soon…
How are you doing with your goals/resolutions/theme for the year?
February 4, 2011
Have I always been crafty? I remember watching Fat Cat and Friends on TV as a kid and loving the crafts segments. They were typical kiddie projects, using egg cartons, cardboard boxes, milk cartons, lids, pipe cleaners etc, making animals, cars and such. I have this recollection that they told you what items you needed right before an ad break so you could collect everything and craft along. I always wanted to do this, but Mum wanted to (now I’m a parent, I’m guessing this was her time to get things done around the house and not time for kiddie craft-mess). I think this is why I have amassed an enormous collection of cardboard boxes and lids (that hubby thinks is a big, ugly mess. Hmmm, he may be right!)
I also have fond childhood memories at my grandparents house. Pa made wooden toys for charity in his retirement, and us grandkids were allowed to make our own creations from the wood scraps. We’d nut out a creation, and explain what it was going to be, and Pa would issue us with the required number of nails and away we’d hammer. I wish I had photos and explanations of our creations – I’m sure they’d be hilarious now!
When I was back at my parents’ place last month, I took some photos of a couple of my crafty creations that Mum still has on display:
So the answer is yes, I’ve always enjoyed making stuff and being crafty. I still struggle with the term creative though…but that is a post for another day…
Do you have crafty memories from your childhood? Let me know in the comments!
February 2, 2011
“perfectionists like to do things the Right Way. We know how things should be done. We know that we should scrub the grout with a toothbrush and bleach whenever we clean the shower. We know that the insides of garbage cans should be disinfected. We know the blinds need to be dusted slat by slat. We see the filth and the grime and the clutter....and feel powerless to do anything about it because it would take 10 lifetimes to take care of things the Right Way. So we get bogged down in inertia instead, and spend a lot of time thinking "I should be better than this. Why can't I get it together??" ”Click here to read the full article. I’ve been in a bit of a funk lately, feeling overwhelmed with things to do and just how out of control I feel. As with anything, just doing something is the important thing, and then try not to get bogged down in the detail. It doesn’t just happen with cleaning for me– check out this post of mine on perfection-induced craft paralysis!
Have you been in a rut? Do you suffer from messy perfectionism?
P.S. Home Sanctuary is a lovely blog, sharing a daily Small Thing to do to make your house a sanctuary. Each activity takes just a few minutes, but can have big impact on your home. Rachel Anne shares her experiences in the blog and there are fun prizes each month for completing the tasks.