Tag Archives: crafts

Embroidery With Kids

6 Feb


The last ten days have been a little rough around this household.  A few kids caught an evil virus and were laid up with high fever for over a week.  I don’t remember the last time any of my kids were so sick.   And I had forgotten what it’s like to be house-bound for OVER A WEEK.  But we survived.  And we had some lovely moments together over the past ten days.


At a certain point I was fed up of playing Connect Four, Phase 10 and Ingenious so I went and started rummaging through my sewing room for some ideas of something creative to do with sick kids.  I found an old box full of wooden embroidery rings, a roll of old burlap, large needles and some colourful yarn and thread.  A perfect activity for kids who don’t have the energy to get off the couch but are bored and in need of something to do with their hands.


Using burlap to teach kids embroidery is ideal because it’s so easy to get the needle and thread/yarn through the largely woven fabric and even possible to reverse if a mistake is made.  And the contrast of the earthy textured brown material with brightly coloured thread  is absolutely lovely.  One little piece of advice would be to always zigzag the edges of the burlap beforehand to reduce fraying.


I quickly showed the kids the basics of embroidery and then left them to create whatever pattern came to mind.  We all sat around the living room with the fire blazing and listening to classical music playing in the background.  So cozy and slightly Little House on the Prairie-ish.


After the designs were done we made them into little miniature pillows using different coloured velvets for the back.  The kids are so proud of their creations.  Their mama as well.




26 Nov

This past week-end I participated in a Swedish Christmas Market in Milan.  I’ve been busy sewing and crafting for the last few months getting ready for this famous market that happens every two years.  I may not be Swedish (although I apparently look it)  but I really loved being in the middle of this fantastic market filled with Scandinavians of every kind and interested locals.

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Photo source

The market was located in a beautiful old palazzo called Palazzina Liberty which is situated in the middle of a park not too far from the centre of the city. From what I hear a few thousand people made their way to the Julmarknad to take a look at the Swedish food stalls, crafts and watch some typical Swedish Christmas traditions.

I made children’s smocks, camera straps, felt garlands, button earrings, button hair elastics, button magnets, reversable head bands and Christmas balls (Jill style).  It was colourful to say the least.

Surprisingly enough the camera straps were a hit!  At first nobody understood what they were for because I had written the sign in English (anyone know how to say camera strap cover in Italian?).  By the end of the day I saw a few ladies proudly walking around wearing their new straps.  I was proud!

My new goal is to bring the smock back into fashion.   I know they are a little old-school but there is nothing cuter than a little girl in a pretty smock.  Join the movement to bring the smock back (I take personal orders!).

Overall a very fun day where I got to meet some great new people, buy some lovely Christmas gifts (more about those in a few days) and share my passion for colourful handmade goods with the people of Milan.  Can’t wait for the next one in 2014.

Oh and this extremely tall and talented accordion player is reason enough to visit.  This guy is amazing.  And he’s wearing knickerbockers.  What more could you want?


Spare time

17 Nov

What do I do in my spare time?  Ironing for my family of five?  Mopping floors?  Reading one of the classics?  Cleaning out the chicken coop?  The answer to all of these should be an obvious yes.  But this is what I’ve been doing lately. Somebody help me.

At least you see in this photo that I’m not exclusively spending all my time painting acorns.  Notice the homemade applesauce spice muffins, mini brownies and bagels!

Zipper victory

17 Nov

I have mastered the zipper!  Well not really but I did successfully make a few zipper pouches today.  It might have helped that I had a friend help me through it step by step.  And it also might have helped that she’s a clothing designer and ex-Missoni designer.  In any case I’m ecstatic with the results and will be sewing a lot of these pouches in the coming weeks (Christmas presents?).

Zipper Fear

1 Nov

I’ve been sewing for years.  I absolutely love it but have never really learned the basics.  Slowly over the years I’ve managed to teach myself some of the most important techniques you need to know to be able to sew the absolute basics.  But there’s one thing I’ve had a mental block about for years.  An irrational fear of.  Something that has held me back in my sewing adventures.  The zipper.  So this morning I decided that I would have to try to sew a simple lined zipper pouch.  I dug out my zipper box.  Over the years I’ve accumulated all sorts of different size and colour of zippers.  Waiting for this moment. 

Here are all the pieces I’ll need to make my lined zipper pouch.  Doesn’t look too intimidating yet.

Wish me luck.

{update: the zippered pouch didn’t turn out as well as I would have liked.  There were a few minor hitches along the way (how did one of the interior linings end up on the exterior?).  I’m going to try again today.  I WILL succeed at sewing a zipper!}

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