Traditions – nine patch wall hanging

During my fabulous Mother’s latest visit we started and finished a project. Yes! This relates to the granny squares blanket which remains incomplete in my cupboard (skeleton closet of undone things).

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In between me working three days a week (couldn’t get time off because of bigger trip coming up in May), children, beach trips and early nights, she and I embroidered nine-patches of neutral coloured fabric with the little things that happened on her trip here. It was for a wall hanging, so I knew we had to keep it quite small.

We chose, a sun chair and a rain umbrella, a fluffy (a children’s fluffy milk drink with marshmallow eyes), a bucket & spade, a beautiful sunset, a kite, playdoh heart moon star, a steam train, and dinosaur paint-stampers. I think the things we chose are very reflective of my Mum’s trip!  The kite flying was amazing and is my favourite square. Perfect blue day with little white clouds flying fast. I like that doing a craft with my Mother on her visits is becoming a tradition and the kite flying was notable in my childhood – she and my brother flying a kite.

We knew ahead of her trip we were going to do some sewing (my forte, rather than knitting, which is k-not) so my Mum brought with her some primary coloured embroidery threads. I had neutral fabrics, red and blue buttons and speedy sewing skills so we were set from day one to get started on a project that we could finish before my Mum went home.We split the squares each, and I machine-sewed it all together. Hand sewed the buttons and loops.

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Because it’s a wall hanging I didn’t quilt it, just backed it with white cotton. As soon as I hung it above the bench on the porch, I just love it!

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My Mum took it home, alas, so I’d have to make a new one, or be like the Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants and she gets it for one year and I’ll have it the next year! Perfectionists will note it’s dimensions are just short of a mathematical square, haha. Here we 4 are, on the bench that is in quite a few photos year on year too. But that’s another blog.

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Pressed Flower Heart

Yes, for early day readers, you may remember I’ve been hinting at a wonderful crafty surprise for my Mother’s birthday – on behalf of her first born grandchild – today’s the day I get to show it off. It took some preparation, but it was worth it!

The original pressed flower heart arrived by Royal Mail at Nanny England’s house just in time for her birthday. Happiest of Birthdays!

Flowers My Grandson Picked for Me

I got the idea when Marsh and I were walking in Springtime and he’d pick flowers – usually daisies or dandelions. Sometimes he’d get the flower on a stalk, and sometimes just a fistful of petals.

I thought, if we lived closer, he’d pick flowers for my Mother all the time. He always gives precious things – flowers – rocks – dead flies – to his favourite person at the time. And that would always be Nanny England.

So, everytime we were out, I’d encourage him to pick a flower for his Nanny England. And he did.

We picked lavender from the Botanic Gardens, sweetpeas from our picket fence, a dandelion from Pahurehure, daisies from Totara Park cow meadows, a tiny silver fern (windfall) from 309 Road in Coromandel and freesias from Nanny Kiwi’s garden.

So, Happy Birthday Nanny England! Here is the keepsake entitled, ‘Flowers my Grandson Picked for Me’.  

 Pressed Flower Heart

Isn’t it gorgeous!

Tips on Pressing Flowers without any fancy equipment

I used:

  1. Heavy plants, heavy books, heavy DVD box-set
  2. Toilet Paper and regular paper to sandwich the flowers
  3. Flowers to press
  4. Cardstock in a colour and size of your choosing
  5. Paintbrush to apply glue
  6. Tweezers if your flowers are really fragile (I was ok with fingers, just one casualty)
  7. PVA glue or mod podge (I used PVA)
  8. Patience

Place flowers in tissue-paper sandwich. If you’re using a book, also use regular paper on either side of the tissue paper to protect the book-leaves.

It can take as long as six or eight weeks for thick flowers and stems to dry when pressed, so be patient. Ferns by the way need to be pressed as soon as possible after collecting, as they curl and crisp very quickly.

Loose pressed flowers

I used a full English dictionary,  a sketchbook underneath a plantpot, and a box-set of the Gilmore Girls as my ‘weights’. I used double toilet paper as the press-paper.

Freesias retain their colour.  Sweetpeas do not. Daisies and dandelions will lose petals in the kid handling process, but that’s all part of its charm!

Pressed Flower after first glue

How to do it:

Lay out your flowers as you want them and take a photo as a blueprint – so you can refer to it when you’re gluing them down.

Take your time laying them out, the petals are tissue paper thin (sweetpeas), like butterfly wings (freesias).

Using your paintbrush glue one side of the flower, then once it’s on the paper, give it a layer of glue on top. I glued the outside design flowers first, then the inside flowers and ferns.

Wait for it to dry.  Voila. Beauty!

I’m going to make myself a toddler-picked art-piece soon too, as we were out and about yesterday and Marshmallow plucked a bright green oak leaf (a Red oak, with a green leaf), but I will post all about it and the subsequent art!

Valentine’s Wreath

How fun that Valentine’s Day is nearly here again! Before that, of course, we are going to be celebrating Groundhog Day by watching Bill Murray at his finest. But that doesn’t need any crafting. So, skipping to Valentine’s Day. I made a wreath.

Valentines Wreath

Because I’m cheap, I used the the easy wreath I made for Christmas with an embroidery hoop you can read about that here, and gussied it up with berries from last year’s winter wreath, feathers from Marshmallow’s craft stash, felt-hearts from a project I still haven’t finished yet (filling a goldfish bowl with felt hearts, best not to ask) and I used red furry pipe-cleaners from the craft stash to tie the bits and pieces to the hoop.  For fullness, the Christmas embroidery hoop was wrapped with red crepe paper and a slither of ribbon to tie it to the wall.

It was very straight-forward to do, but does requires tweaking to make it just so. The tweaking takes the longest!

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No matter what colours I see throughout the day – year – my life  – east, west, red is best! I love this. The red and white square quilt is one I made earlier and you can read about it here.

I’ve found lots of inspiration on the internet about Valentines gifts to make. Some involve chocolate, so I can’t be making them too soon, otherwise I’ll eat them in advance too, ha ha. Can’t wait and can’t wait to share the project with you!

Snowman Mug Rug

Merry Christmas! Here’s a mug rug I made for my Mother. She loves Robins. I love Snowmen. Her favourite colour is blue, mine is red and we both love tea! It’s the perfect combination.

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It’s upcycled denim (leg of a pair of jeans). I thought I’d give a mini tutorial.

Materials

  • Denim jeans material
  • 1″ Black square x 10
  • 1″ Blue Squares x 10
  • 1″ White squares x 10
  • Brown felt
  • White felt
  • Yellow felt
  • Black scraps for eyes
  • Red scrap for Robin’s red breast
  • White embroidery thread
  • Red backing fabric of your choice
  • Button for the bird’s eye
  1. Sew the squares together, the top strip, the bottom strip and the two side strips.
  2. Sew the snowman’s eyes and nose on before you attach him to the denim.
  3. Sew the robin’s red-breast, beak and button-eye on before you attach him to the denim.
  4. Cut the  snowman’s head out of white felt and position him on the fabric so his neck will be underneath the border ‘scarf’.
  5. Attach the side strips to the denim
  6. Attach the top and bottom strips
  7. Attach the Robin now, before you add the backing.
  8. Embroider the snowflakes and the French Knot snow
  9. Attach the backing with your preferred method. I tried a few folding methods before deciding on folding the hem in and invisible stitching, because I really liked the peep of red.

Although it’s already Boxing Day here in NZ, wishing everyone Happy Holidays! Hope your season is Merry & Bright!

Easy Christmas Mini-Wreath

I’ve been wanting to have little Christmas vignettes around the house, nothing too tinselly (much as I love tinsel!).

The mini-wreath is assemblage, more than crafting.

It is an embroidery hoop, wrapped in red crepe paper, with one of my favourite Christmas Tree decorations hung on the loop. A thread of ribbon, and it looks just gorgeous (to my eyes). I like that I get to show off a favourite decoration. I could easily have used any of my favourites (all of them), but this one just happens to go nicely with my lounge’s current aqua accesorising and red.

Easy Christmas Wreath

I was given a hardwood box of cutlery recently, and when I finally got around to throwing out the old and in with the new today, I thought I could use the hardwood box.

Here’s what I made with the cutlery box. I painted it white and then re-used (for the third time) the dollar stencil I bought last January with ‘Happy Holidays’ and put those cheeky little snowmen in there too.

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The happy holiday stencil has been around as red and white from last year (one visible here in the second pic down as ‘Happy Ho’, ha ha) and black and orange from the Halloween before.

I’m a little teapot, short and stout

My toddler boy loves the teapot rhyme.

I’m a little teapot, short and stout

here’s my handle, here’s my spout

When I get all all steamed up hear me shout

Tip me up and pour me out.

I was browsing Pinterest for felted food, I came across this cute teapot tutorial. So I decided to make one for Marshmallow for his Christmas stocking.

My tips on the teapot:

1. To make the circular base, I found a glass that was just the right size (top-end) and made a template. But also, when I was attaching the base to the teapot, I used the glass as a stabiliser.

2. I sewed three panels together x 2, and then pinned the handle & spout into position. Rather than as the tutorial suggests, sewing the panels together 2 by 2.

3. I didn’t have any felt pieces I wanted to use,  so I used the palest baby blue fleece. I really like it. And, like felt, it doesn’t fray.  The fleece I had was leftover material from a baby blanket I made.

4. Hand sewing, this took less than two hours to do. My scissors are awful and blunt, so if you had the right equipment, even quicker I reckon.

I will be making two teacups to match. But I’ve yet to find a tutorial for that… Even if my cups turn out bad, I’ll share, I promise!

Mad Hatters Tea Party

As you can see, my teapot is shorter, stouter and less embroidered. Also, it’s really hard to take a decent photo of a pale blue fleecey teapot!

But this is for a little boy, who may have tea parties with our little sock monkey family (I still don’t know what I’m doing with all those mad little primates I made). Marsh loves the monkeys. They’re currently on my bedside table shelf and he comes in and says ‘sock!’ sock!’ and then grabs them all in a bear hug and walks around the house like a zoological Hansel, leaving monkey breadcrumbs!

Snowmen Rock!

Today was stormy here, the house quite dark, so the Christmas Tree lights glowed as if it really were December in the northern hemisphere…

As ever, I’ve been pinning snowmen (all year) like crazy and I came across this lady’s snowmen rocks for sale. Her’s I suspect are fancy, painted on both sides and may last more than a season.

Mine are poster paint, sharpie and watered down orange paint to get the nose lines straight. When I put the rocks back at the base of the olive tree in the garden after Christmas, the paint will run off.

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I just like their little stony smiles and coal-chip eyes. One of Marsh’s favourite YouTube videos is the Snowflake song, where the snowman meets a pretty pink snowlady and they ice-skate.  Ahhh. We shall have a house of snowmen before Summer’s over, bwa ha ha ha!

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