23 January 2015

Felt Finger Puppet Gang

Come and meet the gang.... Percy the Polar Bear, Henry the Hedgehog, Leo the Lion, Mr Fox, Kitty Mew Mew and Mr Dinosaur. I don't know why but all my soft toys have always been male, I'm not sure what this says about me? Do your soft toys (I would say did, but come on you know you still own some) have a gender? I would love to know I'm not the only odd one out there.

So anyway, it's been a while since I have played with finger puppets, but how cute are these little felt guys? You might be wondering then why I made them? Well now that Master Fox is 6 weeks with every day he is getting more awake and more inquisitive. To help him learn about his new world I have been looking for activities to do with him to stimulate and help his mental development. There are lots of great ideas from simply showing him things around the house to smells but of course my favourite activity was the one which featured finger puppets! I probably could have gone with a theme, say woodland or zoo animals or something but he doesn't know the difference. I just made up my favourite animals ;)

Little Felt finger puppets are so easy to make. All you need is some felt, scissors, needle and thread. Draw roughly around your finger onto a piece of paper but add about 1cm all the way around. Once you have done this cut it out and this is your finger template. From that you just need to cut shapes from felt to make little faces and features and sew them on with co-ordinating thread. Once you have finished with the features you then sew around the edge and top of the puppet leaving the bottom open. You can of course use glue if you don't want to sew them.

They took about 15 minutes per puppet which makes this another awesome project for making during baby naps. It took me about 3 naps to make these 6 little guys, not bad at all.

Have you ever made any toys for your little newborns? I am continuously hunting for ideas for playtime so would love to hear about them.

16 January 2015

We are Knitters North Snood

I said quick and easy didn't I? Well it doesn't get much quicker and easier than a massive chunky knit snood does it.

I have a confession to make though that I really didn't need any more scarves/snoods. I probably have about 30 already, but well I don't have a chunky pink snood do I so that's a perfect justification right there.

This pattern was a free download from the lovely people at Love Knitting which is where I get most of my wool from online. They provide a super service, deliver quickly, do great offers and also give away free patters all the time. I would definitely recommend taking a look at their website if you are in the UK and after some knitting supplies.

The pattern itself comes from designers We are Knitters and is made using their 100% Peruvian chunky wool. The snood only takes one ball, so whilst it's not the cheapest wool to buy the project won't break the bank. I choose this fabulous pink colour which is pretty similar to my hair yes, but I don't ever wear clothes this pink so it nicely brightens up an outfit without clashing too much. 

The pattern was not complex, made in a simple basket weave, but it comes out a lovely texture which is also reversible, something I find very important in a scarf or snood. It is also perfect for my sleep deprived baby brain as a bit of mindless knitting which I could pick up and put down in the 10 minutes between feeding, sleeping and changing nappies. 

I am really pleased with how the snood came out. As the wool is 100% it's incredibly soft and so snugly warm which is perfectly timed for this time of year, it's also not in the slightest bit itchy. It's also great as I currently can't actually button up my coats so need something  whilst out for a walk that won't blow away in the wind, I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this in the next few weeks. 

If anyone has any ideas for quick and easy craft projects I can take on please let me know!! 

9 January 2015

Jersey Baby Trousers

Introducing... Master Fox. This handsome little man really has changed my whole world but he is totally worth it. So to celebrate his arrival my first make of 2015 is this dapper little pair of Jersey trousers which I made from an old tshirt.

Baby's end up with lots of legless body baby grows, which are great, but in winter you need to keep those chubby little legs warm. However you don't get multipacks of trousers like you do babygrows and as any parent knows you need a million pairs of everything due to the amount of washing a baby generates!

To get the pattern for these trousers I just drew round a folded pair he already owned and added a seem allowance. I then cut the pieces from an old tshirt and whipped them together on the overlocker. They really were incredibly easy to make. I mad these as a prototype before cutting up some nicer fabric so I will do a quick tutorial for you when I make up the next pair. 

I hope you like this quick little make, and the picture of our new little cutie. He was a little bit jaundice at birth so he looks super tanned in this piccie. He is all fine now though :) I can't wait to think up all the other little things to make for the monkey. Watch this space! 

3 January 2015

Happy New Years

Wow, well that's 2014 over and we had one hell of a year in the Fox household. Trips to Greece, Norfolk and Denmark. Many days out with friends and family and most importantly we made a mini Mr Fox! That's right, Master Fox was born on 10th December and how our life has changed since then, ignoring the sleep deprivation, for the better of course. He is by far the most awesome thing I have ever made and in the true meaning of a yearly round up I would say he is definitely the best thing I made last year. I know making a baby doesn't count as 'craft' but well I still made him from nothing so in my books this is totally acceptable.

So I suppose I should do a round up of 2014. A year a go I wrote this post about what I aimed to achieve in 2014. In the most part I think I managed to achieve most of this so lets have a look at the key points:

1. Set up a regular blogging schedule. There is no doubt about the fact that this is a bit of a failure. I did, for the most part, manage to run a bi weekly posting schedule which I was very good at sticking too. However late pregnancy, and the recent arrival of our little monkey has completely shot this out the window. I think my best aim now is just to try and blog as much as possible. I think I should aim for once weekly, even if there is no craft, as I think it will help me and you lot know what to expect a bit more. It all got a bit sporadic at the end of the year.

2. Improve my dressmaking skills. I definitely achieved this. There is still much room for improvement but I learnt about Full Bust Adjustments, started using an overlocker and experimented with some more difficult fabrics.


3. Make 5 items I will actually wear. When I set this goal I thought it might be a bit of a tall order, but do you know what I actually achieved this really easily. Check out my top 5 wearable makes of 2014 above (Just in case you wanted to know AVA makes a really good maternity dress).

4. Knit a Jumper. The aim of this goal was to knit a jumper for myself. Something I completely didn't do. But on the bright side I knitted a jumper for Master Fox so I say that's a tick for this box!

5. Think about Christmas early. I definitely did this this year, and good job with Master Fox being 10 days early! I don't think there would have been a Christmas this year if it hadn't been for me starting in November.

6. Be a good wife. Well obviously I aced this, but truthfully, apart from Mr Fox having to do a lot due to me being pregnant I think we managed to strike a pretty good harmony in 2014, long may it continue.

So what goals am I setting for 2015? Well I want to keep it pretty simple this year as my time will be pretty taken up with the boy but there are a couple of things on my mind. Firstly is to obviously be as good a mum as I can be. Second is to get my figure back and get back to sewing clothes again. I just need to get all the chocolate out the house first!! I think the key for 2015 is to accept that small projects are best, and that larger ones may take some time to complete.

How did you find 2014, and do you have any crafty resolutions for 2015? Please do feel free to share, we would all love to hear about your goals as well as mine.

20 December 2014

Christmas wreath from your garden

A very quick post from me to show you how you can make your own inexpensive Christmas wreath from your very own garden (or the local park if you don't have a garden).

I think I got this idea handed down to me from my mum who I always remember doing this every Christmas. Ever since having my own home I have just always done the same thing and never really thought about doing anything different. She even had to send me pictures of hers this year in order to make me get round to this! Baby has not really given me much time to think about anything for the last 10 days.

The only thing you really need to make this wreath is a wreath form of some sort. Now you can use an oasis wreath which will keep your foliage fresh, but I have always found that it stays fresh for long enough without, and if you use an oasis one you will need to replace every year. My alternative is to use this fake berry wreath which I bought many years ago. The advantage here is I don't have any berries in my garden so it adds some colour, but you can also use willow wreaths or anything else you find in the sales after Christmas which you can re-use year after year.

Now all you need to do is go out into your garden with a pair of snippers or scissors and find yourself some appropriate Christmas foliage. My personal favourites are conifer (like real Christmas trees), ivy (especially if you can get some white and green variegated) and holly, though of course be careful with the holly as it will be sharp, you may need gloves to handle. Essentially you are looking for anything that is still green at this time of year.

Once you have gathered lots of this luscious greenery bring it into the house and start to feed it into your wreath following a directional pattern. I find that this stays in without having to be tied at all as long as you push it into the form far enough. Keep going until your wreath looks lovely and full and there are no gaps.

If you have managed to find something with berries then great, if not you might want to think about tying a couple of baubles on by wrapping wire around the section which you hang on the tree and tying it to the wreath. If you wish, you can add some battery powered fairy lights to the wreath by wrapping them around. You will need to secure the battery pack to the back, but you can do this with wire, or tuck it behind the ribbon used for stringing.

Finally loop a piece of ribbon around your wreath and hang it from your door so everyone can marvel in your festive cheer. 

15 December 2014

Felt Christmas Wreath

Christmas is definitely my most favourite time of the year and I love it when its time to decorate the house. I am one of these people who has to have the Christmas tree near the telly, and often find myself staring at it instead of whatever I am supposed to be watching. I am one of those people who gets excited early and its never too early to start making mince pies or watch Christmas movies.I think the build up to it is just as much fun, if not more than the day itself. I think its just all the family, friends, warmth, nice food etc. I love it all!

Most of our decorations are purchased (some handcrafted though) but one thing I do like to do is make a wreath. If you have had a nose around the blog you might have come across my wedding bouquets which I made using felt. I really loved these and its so nice to still have it to keep. Ever since making them I had an idea to try and make a wreath for Christmas in a similar way but using more Christmas themed colours.

The wreath itself is a polystyrene mold which you can get from anywhere on the net, I think mine was from amazon. And the flowers are made using this technique (youtube link). I hope you like it. I think it is a great little adaptation of the bouquets. Now I just need to think about what other applications I can apply it too!

I hope you are all ready and prepared for Christmas. Do you have any DIY traditions which you would like to share?

12 December 2014

Make your own gift tags using left over wrapping paper

As I said in my previous post, gift tags are expensive! Well here is my very quick tutorial on how to make your own using left over bits of your very own wrapping paper.

Scraps of wrapping paper
Card (plain white is best but feel free to use a cereal box etc)
Glue - spray mount glue works best, but PVA/Modge Podge will suffice
Hole Punch
String/ribbon/yarn etc

Take your piece of card and put your left over wrapping paper over the top. If you are using one piece of paper to cover the whole piece of card then perfect, if not then just lay the scraps down onto the card as neatly as possible to cover as much of the card as possible. For information I have used some of the free papers from one of the Christmas issues of Mollie Makes. They make perfect paper for this little project.

Glue the paper to the card using glue.

Once it has dried using your scissors cut out some nice tag shaped labels out of the card. You can think about using the pattern on the paper to make shapes if you fancy.

Using the hole punch make a hole in one end of the tag and thread through your ribbon.

Ta Da! Gift tags without the extra price tag!

Enjoy, and never feel like you need to be ripped off to have matching gift tags ever again!