Style Me Up

One of my and my sisters, favourite toys whilst growing up in the early 1980’s was Fashion Plates. Check out that hat!

fashion plates

We used to sit for hours, changing the outfits, carefully colouring them in and designing our own little fashion collections. The plates were clunky and plastic, it took quite a bit of practice to keep the plates still whilst placing paper over them before rubbing furiously with a crayon to create the outline.

My little girl also loves fashion and creating, designing and colouring new outfits so when I saw the 2010’s version of Fashion Plates I had to get it. Style Me Up is, essentially, a colouring book with stencils, stickers and pages and pages of models waiting to be dressed.

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I’m not sure who likes it more… safe to say we have spent hours colouring and stencilling to our hearts content! I’m very tempted to get my own book so I don’t have to share…

PicMonkey Collage

 

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Handmade Shepherd Costume

So here it is! One Ikea red single bed sheet, one Ikea taupe pillowcase, one old red checked tea towel, a lot of ironing, one temperamental sewing machine and a couple of hours work have created a pretty respectable shepherds costume…. What do you think?

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Making this costume brought back great memories of my childhood nativity plays. I was always the narrator. I think once Angel Gabriel – who was also the narrator. Never, ever Mary which was gutting every year! As per my last post my sisters were angels in their first ever nativity play at pre-school but after that Sister number 2 was cast as the Donkey for three or four years in a row!

Missy’s play is in a few weeks time, so I can’t wait for us to start building family memories of our own.

Making a nativity costume

I love Christmas (haven’t you guessed that yet?!). As well as the making of cards, wreaths and cakes there is the fun of children’s nativity costumes to tackle. Ever the glutton for punishment, I have decided again this year to make Missy’s nativity costume for the school play. I’ve only recently started attempting to sew/make costumes and have zero dress making skills. My approach is ‘make it up as you go along’ and ‘hope for the best’.

Here’s a quick photo gallery of my previous attempts;

alice costume

Alice in Wonderland using a Disney Cinderella dress as the base

angel costume

My daughter on the right…apologies for the white blobs!!

So this year, Missy is a shepherd. Bit of a weird one – we assumed she’d be an angel (not that we’re stereotyping our blond, blue-eyed girly girl!)  but she is a narrator so all the narrators have to dress as shepherds. We had a look in Asda and Sainsbury’s at the ready to wear options but these were met with a resounding no. “They are brown, Mummy” “My favourite colours are pink, red and purple” (said with a strong little Somerset accent…).

So I’ve decided to attempt a tunic dress, long waistcoat and headdress using a couple of red cotton single sheets and camel pillowcases from Ikea. I’ve been sourcing ideas from YouTube and using Google so am thinking I’ll make this kind of outfit – long-sleeved, long tunic with the red sheet and a shorter waistcoat type top with the pillowcase. Just need to source some rope to belt the tunic together.

Shepherd (Standard) - Kids Costume

Whatever happens, at least she’ll stand out from the crowd of Asda shepherds, angels and kings. And can’t be any worse than my sisters who were made to do their nativity as angel’s with ‘L’ plates on their backs… gotta love my mum’s sense of humour! (Hi Mum *waves*).

Glue Review…

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A a newbie blogger I was thrilled to receive my first request to review product from Mark at Creative Distribution. Although not something I would usually purchase – probably more because I’m yet to really understand the uses of different types of glue for fabric – I was really impressed with the huge variety of products available for use with all different types of fabric, ceramics, jewellery and more.

The team at Creative Distribution were VERY generous and I was delighted to get a whole box of product delivered to work. Once opened, I was amazed to see the different adhesives on offer, no longer will I be using Pritt or UHU for everything and hoping for the best!

The products which immediately caught my eye were ‘Stiffen Stuff’, ‘Craft Foam Glue’ and ‘Fabri-Tac’. Missy and I set to work on Saturday afternoon setting our kitchen table up as craft central – me with sewing machine, card blanks, fabric and embroidery thread and her with paper, paint, pom poms, felt and foam shapes. You get the picture! Note: crucial ingredient on a late Saturday afternoon is a glass of white when crafting with a four year old…

We started together using the Craft Foam Glue. I was a little concerned about using glue together as my track record with glue isn’t great. One Easter, I actually stuck my thumb and finger together with some crafty super glue whilst making an Easter bonnet. Only nail varnish remover and very hot water managed to prise my skin apart! Eeek!

Anyway, none of these problems with this product. It was very neat to apply and safe and easy for Missy to add foam shapes, lolly sticks and all sorts to her creations. It dried clear and fast. Perfect.

Onto the Fabri-Tac and Stiffen Stuff. As part of my commitment to #imapiece, I have been making a puzzle piece and wondering how to make the flimsy cotton a little bit more substantial. Using Stiffen Stuff I sprayed the fabric puzzle piece, left it for an hour, and came back to a stiffer piece of fabric, perfect for stitching. I was unsure what to expect – I didn’t want a cardboard like piece of fabric, but this was really good. Sturdy enough to stitch on but still flexible, with a cotton feel to the touch. According to the instructions, Stiffen Stuff adds layers of plastic coating to the fabric, so you could keep spraying and drying in stages to get the desired effect. I can see loads of uses for this in my crafty work with textiles.

Stiffened fabric using Stiffen Stuff

Finally, I used Fabri-Tac to add a smaller piece of fabric onto the front of my puzzle piece instead of stitching it. As per my previous posts, my stitching isn’t great, so having the option to stick the fabric in place was fab! The glue comes out clear and is slightly stringy in texture. Again, no worries about the glue being too sticky or grabbing on too quickly, I was able to position the piece and manouvere as I needed. It dried clear and without any marking on the fabric.

This project really has opened my eyes to the world of glue – I won’t look at a Pritt in the same way again! To buy any of these products visit www.craftsuppliesdirect.biz. Prices start at around £5.35. Enjoy!

Teaching Kids to Knit

On Monday I had my first knitting lesson at the local primary school. Wow. It was so inspiring to see a group of young children (I think they were about 7 or 8…I was too busy to ask!) so engaged with knitting and wanting to learn more.

I went into school at 12.30, registered as a visitor at reception (hiding myself from view as I could hear Missy’s voice booming out of the lunch hall) and waited. After a while my little class of knitters straggled into the music room and so we began. After expecting to simply be a helper, I was slightly overwhelmed to be given a bag of wool and needles, along with the register and told to ‘have fun’ but hey, I like a challenge. I introduced myself as Mrs Cash (weird) and then we got started.

The group of six children (1 boy and 5 girls) were of mixed knitting ability, with some never having picked up a pair of needles and others with their knitting bag and projects in hand. There was no structure other than come and knit, so I spent the half hour helping newbies cast on, old hands change colours and pick up stitches and even got taught how to finger knit by the only boy in the class. I do think the lack of a communal project meant that children weren’t able to get a clear grasp on what they were doing or why they were learning it.

As we knitted and chatted, it became clear that the children were hungry for more. I did a bit of show and tell with my bridesmaid shrugs which they loved. They were amazed that a simple rectangle knitted with chunky needles and wool could turn into a piece of clothing. With that, the scraps of wool on their needles instantly turned into shrugs for dolls and teddies. Brilliant.

We chatted about what else could be made from a square or rectangle ofknitting and got back to the topic of finger knitting which I hadn’t come across before. One of the girls pulled out the most enormous length of Christmas green finger knitting which she didn’t know what to do with, but was very proud of. Our solution? Christmas tree decorations! Taking that thought, we decided that next week we will start knitting decorations for the school tree – obviously just long thin rectangles or tubes of finger knitting but what a great idea to get the rest of the school to see what we’re up to and to encourage others to get involved. I’m going to raid my own stash of wool to see what Christmassy colours I can bring in next week to get the project started.

I left the class feeling great. I’d helped some children learn a hobby they love, helped the school by providing a service they aren’t able to and generally felt like I’d given something back to my community. Not usually something I get from my day job in PR!  My mind is now buzzing with ideas for projects to give the club a little structure and help the kids feel like they’ve achieved something to be proud of. Any ideas what we can make that involve simple squares or rectangles? Could this take off as an after school or holiday club idea for other schools? Crafty hen parties even? I can feel the cogs whirring as I type!

I’m thinking patchwork blankets and scarves, phone or DS covers, seasonal things for Christmas and Easter…I can’t wait until next Monday!

Kids Knitting Club

I have always had an ambition to be a teacher, well of sorts. The thought of re-training now is too much after nearly 15 years in PR so it’s something I think about occasionally when work is stressful and I wish I could hop off the PR merry-go-round!

I’ve recently been thinking that my crafty hobby will be able to take me off into a different direction at some point and it seems like I’m about to take the first step on that road!
Last week I had a newsletter from my daughter’s school with a little paragraph about a knitting club they were hoping to set up. One e-mail later and I am hoping to go in on a few Monday’s to teach a group of 6 children to knit! Hopefully, this will be the start of things to come…a kids knitstitchsew club maybe??

New look Hobbycraft

I love a trip to Hobbycraft on a Saturday. I know, I know – I am so rock and roll it’s scary. I like to live on the edge me. But hear me out. Our local store is up at Cribbs Causeway in Bristol and has recently had a bit of a facelift with some new look branded, revised store layout and it seems, so new lines from more contemporary craft brands.

The best thing by far, is the free kids activities they lay on – it seems – almost every Saturday. So whilst I visit to browse the wools, embroidery threads, fabrics, books etc, Missy Moo can have her face painted, indulge in some cutting and pasting or perhaps just colour in a picture. FOR FREE. Amazing! The staff who do the face paints are lovely and really great with the kids, this weekend we had Joan who was fantastic at face painting (Missy Moo was a butterfly with added sparkle) and also engaging with little Miss about all things important to little girls – animals, pink, best friends…

Anyway, onto the new stock. I had to keep my hands firmly in my pockets otherwise would have spent a fortune but here are some of the things which caught my eye and may tempt me into trying yet another craft (not sure my basket can take anymore unfinished things though!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry for the blurry photo, this is a felt making kit by a new company to me Gillian Gladrag http://www.gilliangladrag.co.uk/categories/products/felt-making-kits.html . I love the bright packaging and the projects available. They would make a great gift for a girlfriend or teenage relative and aren’t too expensive. I’ve never tried feltmaking but I might start with one of these.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This one is from a familiar company Dimensions but i’ve never seen these kits before. Lovely!

The Hobbycraft Cribbs Causeway store has a grand opening party with loads of activities for adults and kids happening on Saturday 29th September so perhaps we’ll see you there! http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/Pages/Stores/Store.aspx?storeid=10

Sunday Crafternoon

Our latest crafternoon exploits involve buttons and beads. This Sunday, being a typical Mum, I was trying to amuse Missy Moo whilst ironing and preparing dinner… oh I love Sundays!

She had been playing with my button jar so we decided to make some jewellery using the buttons from my stash and beads from her bead box.  She’s just starting to get the patience to sit and thread beads (and this time buttons) to make a bracelet or necklace. Its lovely to watch her methodically choosing the right colours and shapes for her masterpiece.

It also leaves me free to catch up on my crafty projects. Must pick up the iphone cover and try to get it finished sometime soon. Its proving quite tricky as the stiff plastic combined with teeny tiny holes make it a very sloooow process. Will post pics of my progress soon!

Having a crafternoon

The best thing about having a little girl is the hope that one day we will be able to craft together. At the moment Missy Moo loves anything arts and crafty – in the loosest sense of the phrase – colouring, painting, beads, ribbons, glitter…

Our latest adventures in craft have been given a helping hand by the Welsh Museum of Life and a very hot Friday afternoon. In addition to the usual colouring sheets, the museum had laid on a multitude of traditional crafts for children to try including weaving. So simple and clever! This captured both mine and Missy Moo’s imagination so we were off, practicing our weaving in a slow methodical ‘under, over, under, over’ motion.

Here’s our work in progress;

I’ve had a few questions as to how to make this, so here’s my attempt at a kind of a pattern for paper plate weaving.

You will need 1 x paper plate, with 19 spokes (I assume you can have any number of uneven spokes here), one colour wool for your spokes and lots of other contrasting colours of wool to weave with.

Once you have cut the spokes, lace your spoke wool diagonally between each of the spokes and join them together, tightly at the back.

Next choose the wool you want to begin with, and begin weaving. Tie the weaving wool onto the first wool spoke and begin weaving it under and over alternately. Then its over to you. Change colour whenever your design needs it and simply cut and knot the wool onto the spokes as you go. Have fun!