Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Button on Canvas Name Plaque

I've taken a hiatus from the Quiet Book at present, to do a quick project for my little man. We had been planning on having our two kidlets share a bedroom, so I had not spent any time preparing a nursery, as it was already set up.

However...things do not always go to plan. My poor darling daughter happens to take after me, and apparently just cannot sleep with Mr T in her room, even when he is happily (albeit noisily) asleep. We discovered this after a night of madam lying awake crying out 'Mumma, Mumma, Mumma, baby squeaking a little bit!' OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN, until I finally gave in and moved him into the bassinet in the loungeroom!

So...we have moved the little man into a tiny room of his own, which just happened to already have pale blue walls and blue curtains - appropriate for a little boy, right? But of course, I just had to do some decorating! There is not a lot of wall space in there, but I wanted to brighten things up a bit. When our daughter was born, my hubby did a lovely painting for her with her name spelled out in stars in the night sky. I wanted to do a name piece for our boy.

 I've always loved buttons, and have quite a collection. I have been eying off some button art on Pinterest for a while, so it was the logical choice for a name plaque for Mr T.  I printed out some letters in a font I liked, covered a canvas in white fabric, and set up the buttons as I liked, before carefully gluing them in place.

 It was a little fiddly, and I was totally paranoid that Miss E would bump the canvas when the buttons were placed correctly, but before they were glued...but thankfully we managed to avert any such disaster (though there were a few close calls!). Finished product hanging on the wall within 24 hours :)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Quiet Book - Part II

Clothes! Little tiny vintage-style clothes!! YIPPEE!!!

Ummm...can you tell that I am excited about this project??

 Okay, so the dress-up doll was always going to be on the first pages of this quiet book. But my initial (very bad) sketches have turned out to be quite different from the end product. I am ashamed to show them, but here are my initial sketches (sorry they are so faint).

The problem was, I just could not get inspired to create that in felt. After a quick Google search for 'felt dolls', I found this blog post, that referenced this Flickr photo by Olivia Mew, shown below. WOW! I wanted to do that, but with little girls' clothes!

I have always loved paper dolls and their cute little outfits, so I decided to draw inspiration from the paper doll concept. I did some research online and found this awesome site featuring the Betsy McCall doll from several decades of McCalls magazines. JUST WHAT I WAS LOOKING FOR!  I have used the shape of one of the Betsy McCall paper dolls and used the basic shapes of several of the dresses and other little outfits.

The dress on the bottom right is the inspiration for the teal dress shown at the top of the post. I have cut the outfits out of felt and then added detail in embroidery and embellished with beads, ribbons, and so on.

I am really, really, really, REALLY enjoying this phase of the quiet book project!! It brings out the little girl in me...probably a little too much. My husband suggested that I would enjoy playing with it as much as our daughter would, and that I would probably cry if our she loses or damages any of these little clothes - that's a bit too close to the truth for comfort! But I really want it to be something that she loves and gets use from for years to come.

We had a quiet book growing up, which my mother still has. We always loved it, and now my daughter and niece and nephew love to play with it when they visit Grandma. There is something special about handmade toys that are loved over generations. Maybe I am being too ambitious, but that is what I hope to create.

My hubby arrived home as I was working on this the other night...while simultaneously breastfeeding. He thought it was too funny and actually went to the trouble of locating the camera and snapping a pic to document the moment - this is rather out of character for him!

The process of making these little clothes is rather time-consuming, but OH-SO-FUN! It feels even more drawn out, as I start it, then get called away to help Miss E on the potty, then return to do a few more stitches, then have to tend to Mr T who is squawking for food and so on. So why not keep sewing while he feeds, hey?

Now my big dilemma is WHERE DO I STOP?? Ah, the age-old question - how many clothes does a girl need? Or probably, in this case, how can I force myself to stop making these adorable and addictive little bits of craftiness??

This particular girl's wardrobe currently contains the following completed items:

 And I already have another eleven items cut out and ready to sew...

Quiet Book - Part I

Hurray! I have made a start on the quiet book that I wanted to make for my daughter's Christmas present. Although it is far more realistic that it will be an Easter present, or even next year's birthday present (she's an August girl). I told myself I was going to do a simple book, that the activities would not be too involved, that I would only spend a couple hours on each page...HA!

That idea has gone out the window, but that's okay. I am having far too much fun on it so far. I really enjoy hand stitching and embroidery - I am certainly no expert, but I enjoy it, especially doing tiny detailed stitches. I just hope I will keep up the momentum and manage to complete it to this level of detail.

 I decided to start on the shoe-tying page, and to be honest, this page only took a few hours to do. My hubby told me it was too involved, but I laughed that off. To the left is my original sketch of this page. As you can see, it is not going to be the first page in the book. It just seemed like a simple place to start.

I used a pair of shoes that currently fit my daughter, and traced around those - they were just a perfect size for an A4 sized book. I used felt, some fabric scraps, some yarn and ribbon scraps, cute purple eyelets and embroidery thread to create the pair of shoes. You can see the finished product below.

They apparently got the approval of the two-year-old - "Wear it? Wear it now, Mummy?" She then proceeded to attempt to do just that.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

New Arrivals, Decorations and Gift Ideas

Well, it's been a month and a half since my last post. A busy month and a half, mind you, with such happenings as a baby being born and what-not. He is a very lovely little person and tends to make my heart melt at least ten times a day. However, he did not come gentle into this good world...and I am still feeling the effects of his rugged journey. The slow recovery is tiring and if I am not careful, I can end up feeling rather frustrated at being stuck at home for so long. I do try to see the positives in this, having a nice long time to get to know our little man, and plenty of time for our girl to adjust (she needs it, her world has changed in a big way). However, I feel that I am muchly in need of a project to focus on.

In the weeks before baby was born, I was nesting like crazy. I wanted to keep myself busy, and thus started and completed several craft projects, such as some Christmas decorations I was wanting to make (see pics to the right). In the weeks since baby was born, I have often wished I still had some projects on the go that did not require too much thinking, such as the above-mentioned Christmas decorations. Hmmm. I have slowly managed to get my head back into craft mode, with the motivation of making presents for my kids (that's plural now! ha!), and my niece and nephews. I think the projects I have in mind are probably a bit ambitious for the time and energy I have left before Christmas, but we'll see.

I plan to start with a project for my 2-year-old girl, as we are not buying presents for the kids this year. We have just spent too much money renovating their playroom, meaning we can't afford much else, so I guess we are considering that their main gift. But I can't not have something for her to unwrap on Christmas morning! So after much thought, the project I have in mind is a personalised quiet book to help keep her occupied when we are out and about, on car trips, in doctors' waiting rooms, and so on.

I have drawn inspiration from Pinterest once again - or rather, from blogs I have found through Pinterest. This is one I particularly liked. What a gorgeous quiet book, and I love the philosophy behind the blog as well ('How to live in poverty and still have it all').

So at first I was going to make a very similar quiet book to the one mentioned above, but then I had another idea...to do a personalised story-format quiet book for Eliza, about Eliza. I have chosen a morning routine theme, with activities based around things she does each morning (or things I want her to learn to do!). I'll keep you posted as to the progress of this rather involved and fiddly project. Hopefully now that I've got a clear idea in mind, and have done some sketches, I'll get some momentum going and tackle this project with all the angst of a stuck-at-home-because-I'm-too-sore-to-go-out-mother-of-new-baby!!


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