The other day I had to do one of my bi-yearly trips to IKEA to pick up a lot of stuff I don’t actually need (besides tealights and napkins of course). While there I came across 3-packs of round cork board heat-pads for the kitchen. As soon as I saw them I knew I had to make miniature fabric covered bulletin boards for my daughter’s room. They are turning 11 in a few weeks and I’m planning a surprise bedroom make-over and thought this would be perfect to decorate their walls with something useful.
So as soon as I got home I plugged in my hot glue gun (I’m so scared of that thing) and started cutting out circles in various fabrics. I cut the circles out slightly larger than the heat-pads in order to be able to fold them over the back edge and attach with glue. And yes, it is very dangerous for burning your fingertips. I’m pretty sure I don’t have any fingerprints left.
In the end I made six boards using different materials. When I have painted the girl’s room I will arrange them all above their desks for them to pin up various photos, letters and keepsakes (please no boyfriend photos for a while though!). For the photos above I attached a few to the art corner cupboard in our living room. I think I’ll be making many more of these in the coming weeks.
Now I just have to figure out the best way to hang them up. For the cupboard I used 2 sided adhesive pads found in the local fai-da-te (DIY shop). But for attaching them to walls I’ll need something a little sturdier. And advice out there?
This year I haven’t had so much time to make lots of new Christmas decorations but I have made some of these little fabric-scrap Christmas balls for our tree (I also sold some at the Swedish Christmas Market). They are super easy to do and a perfect holiday craft for kids. And they’re beautiful! Mine might not be in the traditional Christmas colours but they do brighten up any tree or room. And what a great way to use up all those fabric scraps you’ve been saving for years (or is that just me who does that?).
First of all you need to get your hands on some Styrofoam balls (of any size). Take a long wooden skewer and gently make a hole that goes all the way through the ball from the top to the bottom. It might take a few stabs to get it through.
Now take a piece of ribbon and gently push it through the hole with the help of the wooden skewer so that it comes out the other end. Tie a knot so that it doesn’t slip back through the hole (I also added some wooden beads on both sides of the ball).
Combine white glue in a bowl with some water (it should be quite liquid-y) and grab a small paintbrush.
Go through your material scraps and pick out a selection of your favorite materials. Cut them into small pieces of different shapes.
Now you just have to glue the tiny fabric scraps on the ball. I brush a bit of the watered down glue directly on the ball then as well on top of the material. You can overlap the scraps so that no white shows from the ball. Be a bit careful not to get too much glue on the ribbon (or else it will turn stiff). Let hang to dry overnight.
We’ve made over a dozen so far and they look really lovely on our tree.
One day last week my little guy Nico approached me and asked if we could do some wood work. Always game to crack out my handy jigsaw I jumped at the chance.
We found some old pieces of wood from a previous project and Nico decided he wanted to draw a simple shape on the board to cut out with the saw. He opted for a fish.
We put on our protective gloves and goggles and started sawing away. It’s possible we even got a little carried away and sawed right into our outdoor wooden table (oops). Oh and due to some reckless sawing the fish became more of an eye (that fish tail kept getting in the way anyway).
After he had his desired shape (sort of) he decided to paint it. We got out some thick masking tape so that the lines would be well defined and got busy painting the different rings of colour. Due to the 40 degree heat it took less than a minute for each colour to dry so we could continue with the painting without having to wait around too much.
We loved ripping off the masking tape to find beautiful crisp clear lines on our wood. We continued the project off and on over the following days. The sisters decided to get involved as well so we have a beautiful collection of painted wooden pieces at the moment.
I loved watching the thought process that went into the colour combinations and their concentration while painting.
After they had finished painting their lines they sprayed their wooden pieces with special varnish. That way if we leave them hanging outside the paint will be more protected against harsh weather.
Nico’s tail-less fish. Or eye. Or whatever he wants it to be.
Being Canadian with a Belgian husband and living in Italy has made it so that I never know when Mother’s or Father’s Day is. I know that it is in different months and on different days for each of the countries and I’ve pretty much mentally blocked all those dates from my mind. I had a feeling father’s Day was coming up so I spent hours with the kids making these origami dress shirt garlands. Then my son proudly announced that he was making me a Mother’s Day gift at school which must mean Father’s Day isn’t for a while (but we’re prepared and ready well in advance!).
These origami garlands are so sweet and my kids were the ones who actually folded the shirts (even my little guy). Origami has become very popular in our home and I’m so glad I brought back that suitcase FULL of origami paper from Japan (despite comments such as “are you sure we need 30 packages of origami paper?”).I sewed the little shirts together before glueing on the ties and bow ties. You can make these shirts any size you want. My kids have made tiny tiny versions and almost life size versions. When we’re in restaurants they even fold the cloth napkins into these little shirts. It takes under a minute to fold one so you can make loads in a short amount of time.
The kids can hang them up on a doorframe or to put them into an envelope to open on Father’s Day (whenever that may be). You can leave them loose or sew them together like I did. Last year my kids included a pocket and put in really nice messages and poems.
Here’s how to do it yourself! There is one step that will make you want to crumple up the paper, run out of the room and never try origami again but please believe me that once you ‘get” it everything will run smoothly. Hopefully my instructions will help you a little (original pattern idea comes from Martha Stewart Living June 2004). Continue to read for the step-by-step…
Last week-end some friends and I organised a felting morning for all of our children. We’ve done various felting workshops in the past with our kids and they’ve always really enjoyed it. They’ve tried needle felting (a few painful stabs were felt) and the hot water with soap method (the room was SOAKED). Either way the kids loved doing it and always finish feeling very proud of their work.
This time the kids were asked beforehand to make a relatively simple drawing of something they love or find beautiful.
They then had to cut out pieces of different coloured felt to re-create the drawing. We put the drawing on the table with bubble wrap over top so it was easy to see. They then placed all the pieces of felt on top of their design.
Then they placed a piece of cream coloured felt on top of their “felted drawing” and slowly poured hot soapy water over top. They gently patted it with their fingers to start the actual felting process.Slowly the kids can start to see their designs coming through. The fun part…patting, rubbing, rolling and throwing the felt around.Checking to see if it’s the desired size (the more you work the felt the smaller it gets).
A Japanese inspired temple gate and a lighthouse of her dreams.
A sunny sunflower and a winged princess (5 year old artist).A cherry blossom branch and a clown with umbrella.
I seem to be passing a lot of time in front of the sewing machine lately. I go for ages without sewing a thing then suddenly I’ll have a month where I pass hours daily in my little sewing room. Bits of thread are to be found all over the house, stuck to my clothes and in my hair.
Here’s another recent sewing project made in our sewing class. Our zipper skills are slowly getting better. Slowly being the key word here. They are both essentially the same bag but we lined the second one. Which was not an easy task. There seems to be a lot of “sewing logic” that I’m still lacking.
As much as I love that yellow material I’m officially sick of seeing it. I’ve been sewing things with it for months. So I guess that means it’s time to go to a beautiful Japanese material shop to buy some new fabrics. (The Japanese characters in the post title mean sew…I hope)
This year one of my daughters had the idea to do a sort of Secret Santa with the family. We all drew names out of a hat and were told we had to make something for that person (without telling anyone who we have). Some people’s gifts were done five minutes later. Some were put under the tree exactly 5 minutes ago (on Christmas Eve!). I was a bit behind schedule with all the homemade gifts for friends this year so I finished mine yesterday afternoon (in between parties and cleaning the house). Here’s the result…
In the end I couldn’t resist making a camera strap for myself as well. This time I used a beautiful cotton on one side and jean on the other. I’m thinking this one is a little more unisex than the pink floral (not that my husband would care about hanging a camera with a pink and turquoise strap around his neck).
Now I’m off to a photoshop course. Here’s hoping there’s a feature to sharpen up all my out of focus photos (if not I’m off to the eye doctor to see about maybe getting some glasses).
Another one of my week-end sewing projects was to make some camera straps. I thought a few photo taking friends would find it a fun gift to receive. Who knows if they’ll ever use it but I had fun making them. And what an easy and quick gift to make! In 1/2 an hour it’s cut, sewn, ironed and wrapped.
Looks as though it’s time to clean that mirror…