Another one crossed off the list

Remember this?

Fleece pieces for monster soft toy

Unfinished: Monster soft toy ready to be sewn.

Well. I FINALLY got around to finishing it. Nothing to do with the fact that we will be seeing the little boy that we need to give this to tomorrow. No, not at all. But the point is, it’s done. And he’s pretty awesome I think.

Green Monster SoftieDoesn’t he just make you wanna pick him up and give him a big squeeze? Squish sure thinks so. As soon as she saw him she was giving him huge cuddles and carting him around the house. Not sure how she is going to go tomorrow when she has to give him to her friend. I think I’m going to have to make her one of her own, might be a tutorial involved if you’re lucky.

He is made from leftover pieces of microfleece from Squish’s nappies and stuffed with polyfill. The teeth are only sewn on by the stitching around the edge of the mouth. I know they will eventually get pretty ragetty and probably rip off but small, thin pieces of microfleece are hard to sew with and I couldn’t be bothered I think that will just add to his charm over time. He has nice long arms and legs which will be excellent for giving the biggest hugs ever.

Green Monster Softie closeupAw, doesn’t he look all cute there with with his legs crossed…

Anyway since he is a gift, I need to wrap him up along with the pencil case for some lovely little boys we know (who’s birthdays were in January… hey, we haven’t seen them since late last year!)

So, to continue on with the vow, I didn’t buy any wrapping paper or anything, just used what I had lying around. Luckily for me I had some kid-friendly wrapping paper leftover from last year anyway. Not cheating, isn’t it better that I use it up instead of throwing it in the rubbish? Yes, yes it is.

Not sure what I’m on about?

But anyway, here’s them both wrapped up in some wrapping paper I bought for my husband’s birthday about 3yrs ago and have been reusing it for little kids ever since:

Along with some gift tags cut from a colourful cardboard box and tied on with some random ribbon. Done.

Nicola x

I heart buttons.

I heart buttons. A lot. Almost as much as fabric. Almost.

A while ago, button heart wall art was all over Pinterest. I was in love. And this was actually something I wanted to have a go at straight away.

I actually made this a few months ago when I first saw the millions of pins, but thought I would share it with you anyway. The frame was another freecycle find, it was originally gold but with a bit of spray paint it had a new life. I painted the backing board the same colour (or as close as I could get it) as my bathroom wall, then just got happy with the glue gun and some buttons! I was pretty happy to find out that the buttons fit behind the glass too.

Cool huh? It now sits proudly in my bathroom.

The sad thing is that hardly even made a dent in my button collection…

Nic

Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese centres

Someone recently pinned this idea on Pinterest, and as soon as I saw it, I couldn’t believe I’d never tried this before!

I have an awesome (in my opinion) Carrot Cake recipe, and I’ve made muffins with cream cheese filling before, but never put the two ideas together. Silly.

So the other day I experimented with our family’s favourite Carrot Cake recipe and had a go. This is what happened:

Oh yea. They were amazing. Just looking at that photo again makes me want to eat about 10 more of them. Mmmmmm……

Want to make some too? You won’t regret it, I promise.

Notes before you start: This recipe will JUST make 12 muffins so when you’re spooning the mixture into the tins I suggest you spoon cautiously or make less. You want about half of the mixture under the cream cheese, half over. I also take no responsibility for you eating the whole batch before anyone else gets a chance.

Carrot Muffins with Cream Cheese Centres

Ingredients:

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c soya oil
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 c grated carrot
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 125g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 190°C. Prepare muffin tins.
  2. In a small bowl mix together cream cheese and icing sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a larger bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir to combine.
  4. Add vanilla, oil, eggs, carrot and walnuts (if using) to dry ingredients. Mix until just combined. Do not overmix.
  5. Spoon a small amount of mixture into each muffin tin (see note above). Divide the cream cheese mixture into the 12 tins using two teaspoons, one for scooping and one for scraping the mixture into the tin. Try to drop the mixture into the centre. Spoon the remaining carrot mixture on top of the cream cheese, taking care to not leave any cream cheese exposed.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 mins, or until risen and muffins spring back when touched.

What to do when your toddler is driving you nuts

 

Cloud doughHead to Pinterest!

Seriously. I have a whole board full of ideas of things to do with kids. Some for older kids that I’m keeping in mind for later, some suitable for toddlers. If you have any more awesome ideas, leave me a comment below. I could always use more!

A while ago I pinned this awesome idea for Cloud Dough:

Cloud Dough by Juggling With Kids - click picture for link to pin.

It’s just flour and baby oil. The original recipe is 8 cups flour to 1 cup baby oil, but I halved the amounts since I didn’t have that much flour to spare and wanted to store it in an icecream container. I also only had the scented aloe vera and vitamin E baby oil, but that just made our activity smell really nice!

This child of mine isn’t really into mess (which I’ll admit comes from me) but lately she has been a little more adventurous with things like this and has actually tolerated getting her hands dirty. Right after we started she asked for the cloth to wipe her hands but I distracted and encouraged her to keep playing which she did, for 45 minutes! I’m incredibly proud.

Check out her pants. They were just clean on. It was a struggle for me but I keep my mouth shut and we kept playing. Towards the end it was of course all over the floor too. I’m also incredibly proud of myself.

Back to the dough. It’s soft like flour, but squishes together like wet sand at the beach. After these photos were taken I went and grabbed her mini beach bucket and spade and we made little sand castles!

We had so much fun. It turned our bad ‘horrible weather outside and Miss Squish not having her usual nap therefore me not getting a break’ day into a great afternoon with a new experience.

Suddenly I’m reminded that these days are numbered. Soon she will be all grown up and won’t want to play with flour and baby oil on the kitchen floor with me… Must do things like this with her more often.

Nicola xx

Some new hairclips and a little how to

I’m on a roll with completing projects at the moment. The other day I finally glued the alligator clips to the felt shapes to finish up the new hairclips for Squishy. Why didn’t I do that sooner? It took no time at all!

A nice pile of new hairclips for Miss Squish.

Wanna know how they were made? I’ll do my best to explain the steps.

We'll start with the big circles. These look complicated but they really aren't. They are made from a whole lot of circles in different sizes. For the one on the left, the circles are folded in quarters and stitched to a base circle. The one on the right is made in the same way, except the circles are folded in half, then into 3. You can experiment a lot with different fabrics with these, have a play and see what you can come up with.

For this navy clip I cut 3 sets of 3 circles from felt, and stitched them together with embroidery floss and added a knot at the top of each stitch to make it stand out. I then glued each set of circles to the alligator clip, slightly overlapping each other.

This yellow flower clip is made with felt and repurposed denim. Made in the same way as the navy circle sets above, these yellow circles are stitched together tightly to create the slight ruffle in the felt. All of the pieces are glued to a base piece of felt before being glued to the clip.

These ones are made with the same circles that I used in the first clips except this time they are just folded in half and stacked on top of each other using hot glue to hold them all together. The smallest circle is folded and glued around the whole stack to tidy up the edge. Again, be creative with the fabrics. Who knows what you might come up with!

This one is pretty simple, I'm sure you've probably seen the technique before. One wide strip with the ends glued together. One smaller strip wrapped around the center to bunch it together like a bow. Easy.

I love making hair accessories. They are so quick and easy and there are so many different options.

Next time I’ll take photos and do a proper tutorial for you :)

Nicola

How not to make muffins

I’ve managed to butcher my favourite muffin recipe. The last two times I’ve made them, they have turned out horrible. Everything seems ok until they go into the oven, but they just don’t cook properly. See?

The failed muffins.

They look cooked, except for the fact that they haven’t risen and are still wet on the inside.

I know the problem has occured somewhere between me using the original recipe straight from the website, and me using my handwritten version in my recipe book. Did I miss something out when I wrote it down? Maybe. When I find the original recipe I might be able to figure it out!

I’ll keep you posted, and if I’m successful I’ll share the recipe!

Nic.

Repurpose: A bag for the crafting

Each week on a Tuesday, I go along to a local craft group. We take turns at each other’s houses and just sit around doing whatever craft project we are working on at the time and chatting. It’s great! A chance to get out of the house by myself and hang out with some lovely ladies.

I realised after the first couple of weeks that I needed something to carry all of my STUFF in. I was going to sew a bag, but then realised I had this really good, sturdy bag hanging around in the cupboard:

Sturdy hessian bagIt’s a hessian bag with a plasticy coating on the inside that my Nana got when she bought some Barker’s products. Nice and strong, and quite big too. Perfect for carrying crafting bits and pieces.

But a bag with a big ugly logo on the side? Not my style. So of course I had to add fabric. Yep, fabric is the answer to yet another of life’s questions. Love it.

I wish I was one of those people that have all different kinds of mod podge lined up ready for their individual uses. But I’m not, so I used paper Mod Podge instead, cos that’s all I’ve got. Yep, I did it. Paper glue on fabric. Hey, it worked!

Oh and this just happened to use up a few of my lovely scraps again! I’d even go so far as to say it’s another Scrap-Buster project!

So this is what I did:

After cutting out my petals and deciding on the layout, I glued them down with LOTS of Mod Podge underneath and over top.

Here's all of the petals glued down. I know you can see through the pale pink one on the left, but it became less noticable as it dried so I'm ok with that.

 

With the help of a little hot glue, I added buttons and a little lace to pretty it up just a bit more.

And then of course I had to do something about the other side because of the giant ugly logo there too. A little blue and white floweryness.

And that’s it! A crafty bag for crafty evenings with crafty ladies. Awesome.

Nicola xx

The problem with t-shirt scarves

See it? No? Here’s a better look:

FLUFF! Maybe it was the t-shirt I used, but it left little fluffy bits EVERYWHERE. I’m a little put off making these now, which is annoying because there are a million cute versions all over Pinterest. I think maybe I will try again, with a bigger tshirt too so that it makes a more full-looking scarf.

I’ve been super productive today. Not only have I attempted the t-shirt scarf, but I’ve also finished off some wool-wrapped bottles that I started the other day and a braided bracelet that I started about 4 or 5 months ago! Loving this lovely tidy craft room, makes me feel happy.

My version of wool-wrapped bottles

5 strand braided bracelet with zip flower

As well as all that, I’ve also been working on a few things that will be posted with tutorials when I’m done.

Hooray for productiveness!

Nicola

Me and the lady at the shoe store

The lady at my local shoe store is my new best friend. And not because she supplies me with large amounts of gorgeous shoes (I wish!) but because she saves shoeboxes for me.

You see, I like to organise. Probably too much, but when one hoards craft things or even non-craft things that may be incorporated into craft things, one needs a sensible way to sort these things.

I’ve been spending the day sorting out my craft room. At Christmas time we took my cutting table out and have been using it as a makeshift outdoor table which messed with the order of my room. Well, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t tidy before but at least I knew where everything was! While it has been gone I’ve hoarded a whole bunch of new stuff and it all just got shoved in there. It’s time, it needed a good sort out.

Here’s where the shoeboxes come into it. They are good for storing all kinds of craft things. This is what I’ve got so far:

box for storing things I haven't finished yet

The work-in-progress pile. I'm hoping that the limitations of the shoebox will help to keep this pile under control.

Shelf storage

Storage on my shelf: Painting stuff, drawing stuff, wrapping stuff, cards/tags, anything really.

Smaller fabric scraps sorted into types.

More storage in the wardrobe. Plus a whole pile of shoebox lids to be dealt to at a later date.

And then there are the other places that shoeboxes have snuck into:

My wardrobe shelves: socks etc

Stockings,

and my scarf collection.

And lastly, cleaning products. We have a big laundry cupboard where I keep all kinds of stuff hidden away from little toddler hands. But the shelves are really deep and dark so having everything sorted into shoeboxes makes it really easy to just pull out what I need.

Sorted into types and easily accessible.

I picked up a whole pile of shoeboxes yesterday and they are all being used already. I think I’m going to have to visit my friend at the shoe store again soon. And decide what to do with all of those stray lids!

I love shoeboxes. And I love everything having a proper place to go. One day I’ll get around to covering the fronts of them in pretty fabrics with clear labels. The vivid isn’t quite cutting it.

N xx

A little something

The first no wrapping paper gift to head out the door is this:

Gift bag

First one out the door.

Featuring a brown paper bag which was given to us at Christmas time with some lovely handmade goodies inside, pink tissue paper from a present someone gave me, pink ribbons that were tied around an easter egg last year, a little blue with pink polka dots card which was cut from a larger card I received for my birthday, and an embellished blue felt flower I was given in a little kit a while ago. FREE. All stuff I had stashed away thinking it would be useful some day. I feel better already.

Sorry I can’t tell you what’s inside. I’m not sure whether the person receiving this reads my blog or not. But it’s pretty cute so I can see another version being made sometime in the near future :)

Apologies for the shocking lighting. It was 9:30pm when I took that.

Nicola