There’s an octopus on your babies head!

I am the first to admit that sometimes my ideas can be a little bit out there, a little bit strange, a little bit kooky! Well my inner odd voice certainly took control when I decided to make my next baby hat and somehow I came up with the idea of a hat with a little octopus sitting on it. I think I may have been slightly influenced by this Mitsubishi advert in which an octopus takes up residence on a boys head and stays there until he sees a much more attractive prospect, the Mitsubishi.

I am getting a bit of a pro at making my basic bonnet now and another quick search on the internet came up with the perfect Octopus pattern which I could adapt. The octopus was nice and quick to make up and I think he looks rather nice in his two tone red (yes I ran out of wool and had to change but I can pretend it was deliberate!). I added a red and yellow border to the hat, my usual plaited ties and a little yellow starfish on one of the ear flaps and Bob’s your uncle one rather … umm … interesting hat had been created!

The hat is being added to my Felt shop so fingers crossed someone out there shares my love on the slightly unusual! Although saying that I have already had a request from a friend for an adult sized one!

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The continuing tale of the toy box

The toy box is continuing to take shape thanks to another afternoon nap. The front panel is done with the detail added and I have now painted one of the side panels too with a little robot. I just have to decide what is going to go onto the other panel and then it will be all ready for varnish. Fingers crossed the little one will let me get the last panel done in the next couple of days so I can varnish at the weekend. You’ve got to admit that it looks quite different to when we bought it! Keep an eye out for further updates.

Christmas crafting

Obviously Christmas is going to be that little bit more special for us this year, our first Christmas with the little one. With this in mind I decided that he needed his own special stocking. Now actually designing one was a little beyond my brain at the moment so I decided to go down the kit route and so purchased a Dimensions Felt Works kit called “Toboggan Trio”.

The kit

The kit

The kit has everything you need in it except some softie guts and a piece of tissue paper (I was glad of the excuse to go out and buy a massive bag of softie guts). It is a lot like sewing by numbers, each piece has a number and you have step by step instructions about how to sew them together provided. You need to have a pretty steady hand to cut the pieces out, especially as some of them are pretty small. The in depth instructions mean that even a beginner could easily manage this project.

I am about a third of the way through at the moment and I am pleased with how it is looking so far. It is time consuming but a lovely way to unwind at the end of the day when the little one is in bed. I love to create my own designs but sometimes it is nice to turn the brain off a little and let someone else do that hard work and know that you are going to get a lovely item at the end of it. I will keep you updated on progress.

Finally some crafting

New funky bibs.

New funky bibs.

So after weeks of struggling to find time to make anything I have been on a bit of a roll the last few days. I managed to make some more bibs (we seem to use them so quickly I’m struggling to keep up with washing them!) and I made some bandana style ones too for when the teething dribbling starts. I’m pleased with how they turned out and love the way they let me use up odds and ends from my fabric stash, suddenly I feel justified in having all that fabric!

Then yesterday I was set the challenge of making another hat for the boy, an Asterix style hat. Hubby has a Viking helmet (complete with horns, although actually the Vikings didn’t have horns on their helmets but we won’t go into that here!) and his sister thought it would be cool for the boy to have a winged version just like Asterix. A quick hunt on the internet and a wings pattern was located off Ravelry and I already had the Viking helmet pattern which I knew would work too.

The wings pattern was pretty easy to follow although somehow I ended up down the wrong end at one point so had to finish off and start again! The wings are built in two pieces, one slightly smaller than the other and then sewn together.

The crazy new hat.

The crazy new hat.

I made them a little smaller than in the pattern as I thought they would be far too big otherwise. The Viking helmet pattern is nice and easy to follow and includes a really cool stitch called the popcorn stitch which basically makes a little bump of wool (it looks like rivets on the helmet). With the two pieces made all that remained was to sew the wings onto the helmet and “Bob’s your uncle” it was done! Saying that I might try and line it later to make it really nice and snuggly to wear.

I love to be challenged to create things like this and hats are among my favourite things to crochet. I can’t wait to try it on him and show it off on our next cold day outing. He’s grown out of his aviator hat already so it’s good to know he has a new slightly crazy hat to wear instead!

It’s so nice to have finally made something again as some of the things I want to get done (like the toy box) are difficult to find time for which I find frustrating. It is great to have a bit of me time as well after the little one has gone to bed, it helps to keep me sane. I already know what I’m going to make next as well, I feel like I’m on a roll!

A New Project

The toy box to be

The toy box to be

I’m excited. I have a new project and new projects always excite me! Finding the time to actually complete the project may be tricky but the idea and the will is there so I am sure we will manage somehow.

My inspiration

My inspiration

The project is a toy box for the little one. For someone who is only seven weeks old he has a pretty impressive amount of toys already, we figured that unless we provide a place for them to live they will end up populating the floor (which will become a major problem when he gets into Lego and starts leaving those evil ‘one’ blocks lying about…anyone who has ever trodden on one of those will understand where I am coming from!). Five minutes on Trade Me (the New Zealand version of EBay) led to a blanket box being purchased and the toy box project was conceived.

Maybe I'll paint a robot like this

Maybe I’ll paint a robot like this

The plan is to paint it up a nice colour and decorate it with space themed pictures (I’m not sure why space, it just seemed the thing to do). I have spent the afternoon on the Internet, pinned some pictures to Pinterest and am ready to go. I love to jazz up old items and give them a new purpose in life, it is much more fun than going out and buying the item ready made, not to mention cheaper. Generally speaking you can pick up good quality items that were built to last (something a lot of today’s products are not). This way we can get something that has been personalised for the little one and prevented a perfectly good blanket box from going to the dump. Mummy also gets to have fun completing the project and Daddy gets to play with the electric sander, it’s a win all round situation!

Somehow I now need to find the time to sand, prime, paint and varnish the box…this is the tricky bit. Obviously at only seven weeks old the little one is rather demanding time wise, I’m hoping that with hubby’s help we will manage to complete the project before he’s old enough to actually use it. I think this one will be a case of watch this space.

Crazy Crochet hats

A crochet Tuatara

A crochet Tuatara

One of my greatest crafting passions is crochet, I love it! I particularly like crocheting funny little creatures (known as Amigurumi) and have made dragons, hippos, octopus and tuatara (a New Zealand lizard) to name a few. I’m not quite at the designing my own stage, instead relying on the many very clever people out there that do the hard work of putting an awesome design together to do that part for me. I also like to make hats and have been eagerly looking forward to creating one for the little one.

One of my favourite crochet designers is a lady called Kat Goldin who blogs at Slugs on the Refrigerator. Originally from America she now lives in Scotland with her husband and three children. I love her designs because they are quirky, well written and achievable. Who can resist a little dinosaur hat, a lion hat or an aviator hat? Well I couldn’t and so last Monday set about making the latter for our little one to wear home from hospital (that’s the plan anyway).

Excuse the model!

Excuse the model!

I had made one of these before for a friends baby so I knew what to expect. The start of the hat is worked on the round and then in rows to achieve the built up back and ear flaps. The goggles are made separately and then carefully sewn on at the end. The whole hat took me about 3 hours to make (whilst watching TV) and successfully prevented me disturbing the hubby who was asleep after a night shift! As I said before the pattern is very well written and so easy to follow. The eyes for the goggles are probably the trickest bit as you are required to work one row in the front loop of the previous row and one in the back. Providing you concentrate though it’s not really that hard.

The pattern comes in several sizes so my next job is to make an adult sized one so the hubby can wear one with the little one, won’t they look cute together!

Making new friends

I had so much fun making the little monster (now named Blob) yesterday that today I decided to make him a friend (as yet unnamed). He’s made in the same way but obviously he is a little different. I decided on ears instead of antenna this time and thought a different body shape would be in order. He has a lovely big heart to show how much love he has to share too! This will have to be my last cuddly for a while though as I am back in work for two weeks tomorrow (boo!) and I have run out of softie guts (double boo!).

I should probably stop procrastinating anyway and concentrate on the jobs that actually need to be done, like packing my hospital bag. I just have to work out what I should be putting in there…any suggestions will be gratefully received.

Crafting away a hot sunny afternoon

Being 8 months pregnant means that hot sunny afternoons are not as pleasant as they might be … finding a bit of a breeze and trying to get comfy are my big priorities at the moment. So with the windows and doors wide open I decided a bit of crafting in the afternoon was required. If I’m going to hide away inside I just as well do something productive!

planning the monster

planning the monster

The husband wanted me to make a robot for our little one but I wanted to try something different so decided a cuddly monster was in order this time. A few minutes on the internet to research and a plan started to form, a few more minutes with a sketch book and the plan was finalised. Next I dove into the fabric box again and selected what I was going to use, part of an old red towel, some of one of hubby’s old t-shirts (again!) and a few scraps of patterned fabric.

I created a pattern using pieces of newspaper and cut out all the pieces needed. Next I appliqued the face and tummy parts onto the towel piece as I had decided I wanted my monster to have a textured front. I added a bit of stuffing behind the face and tummy pieces to give them a little extra “puff” when the monster was finished. The arms, legs and antenna then needed to be sewn and stuffed. It is helpful to use a chop stick (or something similar) to turn these pieces the right way out as their narrow ends can make this tricky.

The pieces ready to sew together

The pieces ready to sew together

Next, just like with the robot, I pinned all the pieces together making sure that the arms, legs and antenna were pointing to the inside so that when I turned him the right way they popped out. The extra stuffing and all the appendages meant he was quite bulky and so I had to be extra careful when sewing around the edge to make sure everything was caught in and in the right place. Again don’t forget that you need to leave a hole to turn your cuddly friend the right way round, I normally leave this between the legs.

The final step is to stuff your new friend, being careful to work the stuffing into all the nooks and crannies. I always take my time to ensure that I am going to be happy with the finished shape. I then carefully pinned the hole shut and used a ladder stitch to close the hole (I sew this twice to make double sure that it’s not going to pop open again).

The completed monster

The completed monster

I’m really happy with how he has turned out and absolutely love his little face with its wonky smile and odd sized eyes. I love the way these handmade cuddlies have there own personality and that even if I tried to make another one it would look different with a slightly different character. It was a great excuse to repurpose a few old bits and pieces again as well, this time a towel and two of hubby’s t-shirts (don’t worry dear these were both in the approved pile!). I love recycling old bits and pieces, giving them a new life. By making it myself I can make sure there are no little bits and pieces to be pulled off as well making a little more baby friendly and of course it costs a fraction of going out and buying a new cuddly (plus I think he is better than a boring one-a-dozen shop bought one). Above all else though it is a great excuse to let your imagination run wild on a hot, sunny afternoon!

Making new from old

My husband loves t-shirts. He has lots of them and so every few months I have to force him to cull them otherwise we will quickly find that all the clothes drawers are full of them! In an effort to lessen the pain of one said t-shirt cull I promised to make something cool with them. Originally this was going to be some cushion covers for his study but with the little one on the way and the nesting instinct kicking in badly I decided I wanted to make something baby related…the t-shirt bib was the answer.

Monster and slodge t-shirt bibs.

Monster and splodge t-shirt bibsbib was the answer.

A couple of years ago hubby bought me the book “One Metre Wonders” by Rebecca Yaker. It is full of fun little projects that can be made with a metre of fabric (or less) and in it is the pattern to make a baby bib. I located the pattern,
cut it out and then grabbed two of hubby’s t-shirts (pre-approved ones!) and an old but still fluffy towel.

First I pinned the pattern out on the t-shirt, making sure to line the design on the t-shirt up with the design on the t-shirt so it became the focus of the bib. Then I carefully cut the bib out before cutting another bib shape out of the old towel. Sewing the bib up is pretty easy, with correct sides together I used my machine to stitch the two pieces together but remembering to leave a small hole large enough to allow you to turn the bib correct way out. When it was turned out I carefully pressed it (watch the print on the t-shirt as this might ruin if you use a hot iron directly on it) and then stitched a running stitch all around the edge, being especially carefully to catch the ends of the turning hole so that it becomes closed. The final step was to add a snap or some velcro to allow the bib to be attached around bub.

Applique bibs

Applique bibs

My husband does have cool t-shirts so I love the designs that have ended up on the front of two of the bibs, especially the monster! I decided to make some more as well as so employed a bit of applique to decorate two more made with other parts of the t-shirt (I’m sure you can never have too many bibs!). An awesome charity called CanTeen has an annual bandana day each year selling a number of cotton bandanas with cool designs on them. I hacked into a couple of old ones of these and so now we have a rather cool boom box bib and one with hand prints on too.

Fingers crossed they are going to look pretty cool on the little one when he is here and at least hubby is happy that his old t-shirt has become something funky for his son. Now to work out what else to do with the left over t-shirt fabric!

Cuddly Robots

One of my favourite things to make are soft toys (or cuddlies as I like to call them). I make them from crochet, socks and fabric. In fact we have quite a few crazy creations in the house already that have sat on shelves waiting for someone to give them a purpose other than decoration (after all toys are made to be played with, aren’t they?).

After a trip to New Plymouth to visit some friends and their little boy I decided a cuddly thank you was needed as they have very kindly lent us a lot of clothes and baby bits and pieces. Two fabric friends I had bought a while ago were my inspiration and I set about making a robot. Again the fabric box was raided for scraps that would stand up to the task of being played with, I choose a piece of stripy upholstery fabric and a piece of denim type fabric with stars on it. These would form the basis of the robot with a few other scraps to be used for arms, legs, antenna, and decorations. A quick sketch to visualise what I wanted to achieve and then off with the sewing.

A robot ready for a cuddle.

A robot ready for a cuddle.

The first thing I did was cut out and then sew the decoration onto the face of the robot. I used the denim fabric for this part and a selection of rectangles, circles and cog designs came together to create a face and some buttons. On the back of the robot I used the lettering feature o my sewing machine to write “this robot belongs to …” just to add a personalised touch. When the decoration was complete I sewed the arms, legs and antenne together (right side together) before turning them right way and stuffing them with fluff (known as softie guts in our house!).

The last step was to pin the front and back of the robot together with the arms and legs in place (make sure they are pointing towards the inside of the robot so that when you turn him right side out they pop into view!) and then sew all the way round leaving a gap to allow you to turn him out. I stuffed the robot to be quite firm and then, using a ladder stitch, closed up the gap.

Obviously because he is intended for a little boy (not quite 1 year old) I didn’t use toy eyes etc but if you were making this for an older child you could use these things too. Fingers crossed the little man will like his new friend and maybe I will have to sit down and make one for our little one too!

(the inspiration for this little guy came from two cuddly robots I bought from a lady called Paisley Jade. She is an awesome cuddly creator and blog writer based in Whangarei, New Zealand. You can check out her blog here.)