21 November 2014

Lino Printed Baby Grows

Bears..... aaahhhhh! Run for the hills!

Seriously though, I have a real thing for bears at the moment, Polar bears of course being the hands down winner ever since seeing the handsome fella below in Copenhagen, but grizzlies are just as cute as well. I don't know if its becoming a trend, or if its the influence of having my own grizzly little bear on the way, but either way anything bears is win for me at the moment.

So I wanted to have a dabble at making a lino print for printing on some baby grows. I have had a small experiment into lino printing before, and actually have some good supplies (seriously not an expensive hobby unless you want to buy a lot of inks). So I drew up a handsome bear and transferred the drawing onto a lino cutting block. Then, using the lino cutting tools, I carved him out into this fabulous looking block.

Here comes my warning about lino print carving... keep your fingers out the way! Yes I did slip and push the blade full force into my thumb, not so great when you are using blades which were found at a car boot... so be wary of this.

Once you have cut out your print you use printing inks and a roller to cover the image and pop it only your printing surface. After applying a little bit of pressure to the back of the block you can carefully lift it off and you should be left with a lovely relief image. There are a couple of really simple tutorials on youtube for this so I seriously suggest you go check out how easy this is.

I do think I could do with a bit more practice though! I managed to get a bit too much ink on my roller and it has gone into all the grooves of the print. Because I was printing onto jersey the fabric has gone into the grooves and picked up all the paint which was there, giving me the kind of opposite effect to what I was after, but this really doesn't matter, I think this version worked out great and I am really happy with his little smiley grizzly face :)

I hope you liked this little idea into decorating your own baby grows/onesies. If you want to give this a go yourself then don't stop there... you can use block printing on cards, invitations, t-shirts, bags anything so give it a go yourself. 

Edit: I have just booked onto a short lino printing class with a friend as well so hopefully I will be able to hone in my skills and make some even better prints, I will let you know what we make on the night! 

14 November 2014

Fox Cub Hoodie

Well... if you are going to have a little fox cub you might as well dress him like one!

I am very pleased to show off this adorable little fox hoodie which I have knitting for the little man. I found the pattern on Ravelry and I just couldn't pass it up!  Its knitted in really chunky wool so it made up really quickly (unlike these darned 4ply baby knits I keep picking up!). 

The pattern was easy enough in the most part, but I had a lot of trouble with the ribbing cuffs etc. The pattern is translated into English so although it probably makes sense to the more seasoned knitter, as a bit of a novice I struggled with some of the sections. I still dont think I have the ribbing correct... I mean look at those sleeve cuffs, what are they all about? But I dont think it matters, it came out ok in the end and it should fit a little boy brilliantly. 

I made it for a 1 year old as the pattern was only for ages 1,2 &3 but at least he will have time to grow into it, hopefully by next winter when he starts needing new outerwear again. 

The wool is some very cheap Wendy Serenity 100% superwash which I purchased from what is fast becoming my favourite online wool shop www.loveknitting.co.uk. They are always doing 10-15% off something, email you free patterns and they send out your parcels in gorgeous little bags which arrive very quickly. You couldn't ask for better service. I just need to stop buying wool for projects before I am near to finishing the last one... oops!

I really have discovered I love a baby knit because they are so small, quicker than an adult knit, and easier to port about. I just hope I still find a little bit of time to do some more when he arrives as it would be a real shame to have to stop!

One thing I will say though it that I am really missing sewing my own clothes. I know I really should have done a bit more maternity sewing, but I had one of those bad experiences with some elastic (which seems to be in all maternity sewing patterns) and I just couldn't face picking it back up again. I have however already started shopping patterns and fabrics etc for when I do finally (fingers crossed) return to my old shape so I really can't wait to get back into that again. I really hope I can find some time (and energy) for it! I will just have to get Mr Fox looking after baby whenever I can!

But for now... on to the next knitting project! I don't like to blog about a project though as I feel like I get a curse and they never end up finished, so you will just have to wait and see on that front.

Have you got any projects on the go at the minute you want to share? Or do you have any baby sewing/knitting kawaii/fancy dress ideas you want to give me? You know I am always on the look out for more! Do feel free to comment and share away.

9 November 2014

Hand Printed Festive Wrapping

I don't know about you, but there is something very personal about being able to give your Christmas presents in some hand made wrapping paper. All that thought about the perfect gift is somehow much better presented wrapped up in something which was handmade with love and enjoyment. 

The most simple way to do this, which we have all done before, is of course with some brown paper and a potato! Potato printing is great fun and if you haven't ever had a go at making your own paper this way then I would seriously recommend it, especially if you have kids, what a fun way to get them in the festive spirit as well as keep them entertained. 

With all this in mind, myself and Ellen decided to make some paper in time for Project craft (which is tomorrow! Eek!) and I have to credit Ellen with the ideas for this.

So we did try to be a bit more sophisticated than using a potato. Instead we cut out stencils from acetate and used some really gorgeous wooden Christmas cutouts for relief and stamping (now you know what Mr Stag was being cut out for!) 

The painting and printing was then done using a variety of methods. We spray painted gold and silver, used sponges and poster paint and even some glitter gel to give the paper a really festive feel. 

We came up with 4 designs in the end, all of which you can see here and managed to get all the work done in the office surprisingly, though it was a bit messy it was lots of fun! I think we are both really pleased with how they came out. None of them had a distinct repeting pattern, it was all a bit freestyle, but that gives them a lot more interest. 

I really would urge you to have a go at printing some of your own paper. I am secretly hoping these don't sell out so I can repurchase a couple for wrapping my own Christmas gifts in! 

I would love to hear which is your favourite design, or see paper you have printed for Christmas, so please feel free to leave a comment. 

31 October 2014

Scented Hand Warmers

Happy Halloween! This weekend I will mostly be dressed as a pumpkin (check it out on instagram...)

It feels a bit fraudulent to be writing a post on Halloween which has no relevance to Halloween whatsoever. Especially as its one of my favourite holidays. That's just the way the cookie crumbles I guess, I have Christmas crafting to prioritise this week instead in time for Christmas project craft (which is only 9 days away).

So what do we have here? It's getting colder outside, well I say that, its really not, its pretty warm today and I am roasting pretty much all the time now (tropical moment anyone?) but in theory its getting colder, and the nights are most definitely drawing in. So on that thought we have made some scented heated hand warmers. These little things are great when heated up as they keep your hands toasty warm, but not only that they can be put inside your mitts or socks to keep your extremities warm. Then when its not cold outside anymore they can be popped in your dresser drawer and you will have sweet smelling unmentionables for the rest of the year! Brilliant.

The insides are very simply stuffed with some dry rice which was very expertly scented for me by Ellen with some essential oils.

You simply cut out 4 rectangles, about 3 inch x 4 inch and placing 2 pieces wrong sides together (right sides facing out) sew around three edges in a U shape using a 3/8 seam allowance. Repeat with the other 2 pieces so you have two hand warmer socks. The seams will be on the outside but thats perfectly ok.

Stuff the little bags about 2/3 full with some of your smelly rice

Then stitch the final open seams together making sure the rice is pushed out the way of the machine needle. Ensure that the stitching meets the original seams as we don't want those little riceicles escaping now do we!

The final step is to trim those big seams with a pair of pinking sheers to make them look all neat and pretty and decorative. The great thing about pinking sheers is that they also stop the fabric from fraying all over the place.

In order to make your hand warmers toasty warm you just need to pop them in the microwave for no more than 15 seconds and them take them out. Be careful though as they could be quiet hot to touch as soon as they are done. I don't want to hear of any of you burning yourselves!

And that's it. This was a very quick tutorial but it was so easy it was silly not to show you all how to have a go!

I hope you all have exciting plans for Halloween. We likely won't be doing anything, I am shattered now after a morning at the machine. Its also sad to think this time last year we were in Mexico for Day of the Dead, I would definitely like to go back there one day. But here's looking forward to many future Halloweens with little people in them to make costumes for and take out trick or treating.

28 October 2014

DIY Custom Baby Grow Series: Fabric Printing Part 2

Here's what I am sure you have all been waiting for! Part 2 of my DIY custom baby grow series where I am looking at fabric printing.

In the last post we looked at how to stamp patterns on to baby grows using mostly rubbers and shapes cut out of rubbers (the white and yellow versions above). Today I am going to show you how I made the lovely green and blue striped version.

This baby grow started life as a plain white sleepsuit as part of a supermarket multipack. I started off by dying a few of them green using a packet of dye and then printed the pattern on the top. I have been specifically instructed by Mr Fox that one of these sleepsuits has to stay plain green so he can have hulk baby (boys!).

How to make it:

You will need:
  • Plain white baby grow
  • Dylon fabric dye (I used the small packet as I only dyed 3 small suits but you can use the machine version if you wanted to dye more)/ 
  • Fabric paint
  • Masking tape
  • Old clean sponge

Start off by carefully masking off areas of the onesie which you don't want to dye, you might want to mask off the neckline so you don't get dye on it by mistake. You will end up painting the area between the masking tape strips so you can make these as wide or as thin as you like. If you are using a button down onesie like me make sure you get your stripes across matching and you will need to undo it to get all the way to the edge of the button band.

Once you have done this get your sponge, dip it in your fabric paint and dab it onto the onesie between the masking tape. Make sure you get a good coverage and go all the way to the edges of the tape.

Once the paint has dried fully you can remove the strips of tape and seal the fabric paint as per the instructions on the packet. 

As you can see from the picture above I only did stripes on the front body, and a bit down the legs. I had intended to do the whole lot, if you want to do this make sure you allow the body to dry before masking the arms or turning to do the back so that you don't smudge your lovely perfect lines. I actually decided the stripes on the body were striking enough that I didn't need to do any more.

I am really pleased with this one as well. I thought while it was drying it was going to look a bit naff, but actually its really cool. I can definitely see our little boy in this.

I hope you enjoyed these two little posts on jazzing up some store bought plain baby grows. I hope you do give this a go, or that it inspires you to create some designs of your very own. Again I would love to see them so please leave me a link below, or just email me a piccie. Bear in mind as well these techniques can be applied to any item of clothing; t-shirts, pants, hats etc you name it. It would be a great rainy day activity for little kids as well. Let your creativity run wild.

24 October 2014

DIY Custom Baby Grow Series: Fabric Printing Part 1

I had so much fun today! I love crafty Fridays, look what I have been up to (and I have even tidied up before Mr Fox comes home). I have had a bit of a dodgy ankle the last couple of days so getting to the sewing machine was a bit problematic, especially when you struggle to pivot your ankle. So instead I decided to crack on with one of the nice, sitting with your feet up, baby makes I have had in my little brain. You remember my sneaky peaky post from last week? Well now you know what I was dying don't you. 

This post is actually going to end up being so pic heavy that I am going to break it up into two. You will have to check back on Tuesday for part 2. 

There are so many amazingly cute baby grows on the market that any new parent, relative, friend, general acquaintance etc must find it hard not to purchase every cute little outfit they see for a newborn. The problem is they don't come cheaply. So when you consider you have no idea how big baby is going to be and you don't know what you are going to get gifted its very difficult to get yourselves the basics for when baby arrives. They say that you need to take to the hospital at least 5 baby vests and sleepsuits but again, when you might buy something they only wear for 3 weeks how can you justify spending a lit of money. 

That's where plain multipack baby grows come in handy. They are cheap, they wash well, you can pick them up from the supermarket and they are kind to the purse strings. They are however incredibly dull and whats the point of having a baby if you can't make it look cute?

So when I considered that I could buy 3 cute baby sleepsuits for £16, or I could buy 3 plain ones for £6, a packet of fabric dye for £2.50 and then DIY them cute it was a no brainer really. I also already had some fabric paint in the house so there was very little effort required. Craft, entertainment and something handmade at the end of it all to make my little boy look cute as anything.

The first baby grow I did was plain white with printed stars in various colours of fabric dye.

How to do it:
Large Star: This is a cookie cutter which I just dipped into the dye which was on a plate and stamped it on.
Medium Star: This is cut out of a standard sized rubber (just the normal school type) using a craft knife. It is then printed on the baby grow like you would a potato print
Small Star: This one I find quiet ingenious, the star shape is cut out of a rubber on the end of a pencil, so you can use the pencil to hold. Again I used a craft knife to cut the shape away and just stamped away. They are so dainty I love them.

I love how this came out, I think its my favourite one. It works much better in a mix of colours, though you wouldn't need to, you could use just one. Its just randomly printed, there is no pattern to it. Its was so simple and it worked so well. You could make so many of these really quick and easily.

The second version is a dotty print on a hand dyed baby grow.

How to do it:
Dye your baby grow: To do this you will need some Dylon fabric dye, any type will do but if you are only dying a small number of baby grows its much cheaper to buy the small packet rather than the machine version.
Stamp your baby grow in as many coloured fabric paints as you like: This is done very very simply with the rubber on the end of a pencil. There is no special technique, and no special equipment (apart from the fabric dye) it really is that simple.

In hindsight the red was maybe not the best choice, hence my adding the green. It does look a bit like a baby with the measles! Oh well, never mind, at least I made this mistake so you don't have to. You could again do this on plain white and there are so many options for colour matching the possibilities are endless.

So there you have it, part 1 of the fabric printing DIY baby grow series. These were so easy, honestly, anyone who buys plain baby grows should give this a go, not only is it incredibly fun but its also a great way to dress your little baby with love, or to give as a gift to someone you know who will be having a baby, something you know no other baby will be wearing.

I would love to see pics if anyone does give this a go, please do share them with me below.

As I mentioned above, Part 2 will come on Tuesday and I will go over how to make the striped baby grow in the first picture.

17 October 2014

Sneaky Peaky...

Happy Friday! I'm hoping to bring a bit of intrigue this week whilst I give you a few sneak peaks at what I have in the pipeline. Before you think it, this honestly isn't me admitting I have started lots of projects but not finished any, who would do that? I do however have lots of little projects on the go and nothing concrete to show and tell yet so I will give you a little bit of an insight into whats going on around here. Can I also say, that I no longer work Fridays! Woo Hoo! I am so pleased, I think for at least the next 8 weeks it will give me a day a week to myself, which really means a day in which to make stuff, Yay.

First up the picture above is me starting a lino cut project. I got some lino cutting stuff given to my by a friend which I  really like to use, but just sometimes lack the inspiration. I have however come up with a design I want to print now so started to cut it out. Yes, that is an ear you can see ;). This is literally as far as I got the other night before I brutally stabbed the tool into my finger, bled everywhere and decided I should probably wait until I had a bit more time and patience to complete it.

Next up, its a dull picture, sorry, but I have cast on ANOTHER knitting project. I don't think I have mentioned it, but since the Norton sweater I have nearly finished another baby knitting project (I ran out of wool right near the end so I just need to order another ball to finish it off before I show you). So this is now the third in the last few months.

I'm not sure if its my motherly instinct, the cold weather, or the fact that I have discovered baby knits are pretty quick and easy (prob all 3 to be honest) but I am loving a bit of knitting at the moment. I do often find I get the urge when it starts to get cold though. Hopefully I can get this one finished in the not too distant future but its a little knit so it might be a while. Do you get the urge to knit once it gets colder as well? I'm sure I can't be the only one.

Some of you might have spied my instagram picture the other day when I posted about cutting out this little fella on my lunch break at work. This is for a craft project I am working on with my boss at work for our project craft event. I am pretty excited about this one so look forward to cracking on with it next week. Hopefully it will all work out as planned.

I did have to play some Christmas tunes while I was doing it... I know, I know, its far too early but it just felt so appropriate, plus it made me happy. 

Linking in from the deer we are also working on another project which is some scented hand warmers. Ellen soaked some rice in some fantastic essences which we will use to pack the bags and I am going to be sewing them up. I prototyped these little guys this afternoon so there should be many more to follow. I just want to make sure they don't fray before I go make up hundreds of them, here's hoping, and I get to keep my hands nice and toasty while I test them!

Finally... I am currently soaking some stuff in some lovely summery 'Sunshine Yellow' Dylon fabric dye. I also have a packet of green to do another batch tomorrow. I am not sure how well my plans here are going to turn out but I am looking on the positive side. Hopefully you will get to see the fruits of my labour in the not too distant future. My worry when using Dylon (especially the sink type, the washing machine stuff is normally pretty good) is that you are going to end up with an icky pastel type shade instead of brights which I much prefer. The batch is in the machine doing a cycle now though so time will tell.

That's about it. We haven't got many weekend plans, but we have a man coming to fit a carpet in the baby's room tomorrow. Once that's done it will be all finished bar some furniture and some new curtains which I am hoping my mum will make up for us. I can't wait to see what it will be like when its an actual little space for our new little man, it's going to make it feel very real! Rest assured you will get to see it in all its glory once its done.

Have a great and productive weekend everyone