Category: Crafts & DIY

Things to make, Ideas and inspiration of things to make and upcycle projects

Bubble Quilt

bubble quilt

It’s no secret that I LOVE Pinterest! I am always scouring it for new ideas and inspiration and have so many boards on my personal profile it’s ridiculous! But my biggest board by far is definitely my DIY, crafts and things to make one.

I am so eager to make everything I have saved, and to be fair I have attempted a lot of things, but one project that stood out to me that I have been desperate to make since I saw it was a bubble quilt by Awaiting Ava.

This is the bubble quilt that I saw on Pinterest:


Picture from Awaiting Ava

I love the colours, the squishiness (there is no better word for this), everything about it as each little bubble is basically a little pillow, it’s so soft and padded. If you go to the website mentioned above (which I most definitely recommend) there are so many different variations of bubble quilts and in so many different colour schemes.

A quick background story as to why I made it: I went into early labour at 37 weeks with Dexter, but the little monkey didn’t make an appearance until 42 weeks! However, I was told by the midwife at my 36 week appointment that I needed to go on maternity leave ASAP as I was still working and was determined to right up until I gave birth. However, I took the advice of all the health professionals, and my family and took maternity leave. I felt lost as I need to keep busy, I don’t know how to relax.
I sorted out all my fabrics into colour order and knew I wanted to make something with them, then I remembered about the bubble quilt I found and knew what I was going to make.

The reason for this story? To show how quick it was to follow and make, I did it in no time at all, even with a 3 year old in tow and a huge bump between me and the sewing machine!

close up bubble quilt

There are 2 tutorials for this, the first one she did is here and the revised version can be found here. Once you know how to make each individual ‘bubble’ you can make your quilt as big or as small as you’d like. I didn’t copy her ruffle however, I made up my own which I can’t really explain how as I just winged it!

bubble quilt 2

As soon as I finished it my daughter grabbed a blanket, lay down on top of it and went to sleep! It’s so versatile, it can be used as a sleep mat or play mat and it’s great when your baby is learning to sit up because if they fall down it’s very soft like landing on a cushion.

bubble quilt back

I backed mine with this gorgeous turquoise cotton flanneling fabric, as it’s quite thick it should be quite durable on the back, and Lily-Rose likes to lie on the turquoise side so it’s nice and soft too.

I added different fabrics and textures to mine and both the kids love touching and feeling them. It’s been used everyday since I made it 10 months ago, hence why it’s looking a little flat compared to the ones on Awaiting Ava’s website. To say it was my practice piece it turned out rather well and I’m quite pleased with it.

fabricHere are just a few of the different fabrics I used, there is satin, cottton, silk, seersucker, shiny fabric, sequined fabric etc. It’s great to use up scraps of fabric or fabric you wouldn’t necessarily use for anything else.

I would love to make a huge one to cover our bed for winter, and one with waterproof backing to use outside. It’d be so comfy to sunbathe or picnic on and keep my little crawler off the grass!

bubble quilt in use

Even if you don’t have kids you can make one, I have seen a large monochrome one that’s used as a rug in a living room.

I recommend this to everyone to try whether you are a beginner or an experienced sewer, it really was easy.

Good luck,

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The Importance of Watermarking

Recently I have heard quite a few stories from talented people who make items to sell, stating that their photos are being used by someone else. Either claiming it’s theirs, or perhaps they took it innocently to show what they could make. There are a number of reasons that someone else could take your photos and pass them off as their own, and in this digital age that we live in any pictures that are put on the internet can be easily copied, saved, screenshot, etc.

There is no way you could ensure that your photos aren’t used, but there is a way of preventing it from happening for the wrong reasons, and that’s the simple art of watermarking (putting your own translucent mark/logo/text onto your pictures so you can still see through them). Like the ‘PROOF’ text that you used to get all over your school photos!

A watermark can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. It can be just plain text with your name or business name on the picture or it can be your logo. Whatever it is, try to put it on your picture somewhere where it can’t be cropped off easily. But at the same time, you don’t want it to obliterate your picture. A watermark can also advertise your business too if you use your logo or business name on it.

I have made up some examples of different watermarks here:

wedding peg dolls writing line

This one has my business name at the bottom in full opacity. I think this looks neat but it can be easily cropped out.

wedding peg dolls fade writingThis has my business name right through the picture but the text is translucent so you can still see through it. Personally I don’t think this looks as smart, but it can’t be cropped or taken out easily.

wedding peg dolls with watermarkIn this picture I created a watermark with my logo and added it onto my picture in an area where it can be seen but isn’t obliterating much of the detail in the picture.

If you want to create a watermark for free it’s incredibly easy to do (if I can do it then you can too!). There is a fantastic website that you can use online called picmonkey, it’s a very straightforward website and they have their own useful guides on how to use it. There are also many apps on your phone and tablets too, and the one I am enjoying using at the moment is ‘pixlr’ (I have just discovered they do a version for computers too!). If you’d like to make a logo watermark with text and don’t know how then I suggest using gimp. I had a play around on it and taught myself but if there was anything specific I wanted to know I’d youtube it. There are so many youtube videos on practically everything to do with the gimp software.

It is a shame that we should feel threatened by people taking our pictures but, you should be proud of your work and putting your watermark on is like putting your signature on. We should be flattered that someone thinks our work is so good they want to copy it. At the end of the day there will always be someone willing to undercut you and think they can produce the same items as you for a fraction of the cost, but if they have to steal your pictures instead of putting their own up, they clearly aren’t proud of their own work, and I dread to think about the materials they use, as there is a reason you charge what you do.

This leads me on to another topic about the cost of handmade but I shall save that for another day!!

For now, please ‘sign’ your work and be proud to show off what you have done! PLEASE watermark your own work.

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Dinosaur Fossils

DIY fossils

When my daughter got some dinosaurs for Christmas a couple of years ago from the local children’s centre, when the other girls got ballet outfits, she was less than impressed! (she was almost 2 and most definitely a girly girl). I was determined to show her they were a great present and just as good as the gift her peers received. IT WASN’T EASY!! However I was intent on making them fun and exciting.

I made her a sensory bin with sand and shells but it still didn’t captivate her. I thought if I found some fossils we could get some brushes and ‘excavate’ them and talk about the dinosaurs, however deciding you want fossils, and actually obtaining some at short notice is another thing. So, why not make some?

That way she can get involved in making them then have a use for them after, and we can use the toy dinosaurs to make the fossils. The recipe I used calls for used coffee grounds and I love reusing things that would otherwise be thrown away. Here is the recipe I used:

1 cup used coffee grounds
1/2 cup cold coffee
1/2 cup salt
1 cup flour

[It’s a great recipe to have little ones helping with as I find using cup measurements easier than scales for little people under 2 but I do like to use scales with older kids to help their maths and number skills.]

1. Mix everything together in a mixing bowl.

2. Take the mixture and put it on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment so it’s easy to take off later. Take pieces of the mixture and flatten them to about 1/2 inch thick. (We made various sized ones, some small and a large one). Place these around the baking sheet until all the mixture is used.

3. Use the dinosaurs to make footprints and impressions in the mixture. We also used the shells to make patterns, but you could also use leaves and twigs (use your imagination, go wild!)

4. Once all the impressions are made, put the baking sheet into the oven about 150ºC for approx 30 mins, obviously our bigger ones took longer, but this is just a rough guide.

5. Once they are hard, remove from the oven and take off the baking sheet with a spatula and allow to cool. Once they have cooled, turn them over and allow the bottom to dry out over night.

Close up fossils

We added them into our sensory bin, and they have been a hit with not only my daughter but every child who has played with them. They’re great buried in the sand as you can use some brushes to ‘excavate’ them to discover and explore and it gives you a great opportunity to talk to kids about fossils and where they some from and dinosaurs. It’d be great to go to a museum and explore them in more detail and see some real fossils.

dino sensory bin

 

They would be brilliant in the sandpit too so long as they don’t get wet. You can use them in a tuff-spot, a cat litter tray (one only for kids, NOT one previously used by a cat!), a washing up bowl, a tray, a shoe box, a storage box etc. Sensory bins can be made from almost anything so everyone can have a go at making one whatever the space available.

I hope you enjoy making and playing with these as much as we did!

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Upcycling: Baby Harem Pants

upcycle

I love a bit of upcycling, giving new life to something you’ve fallen out of love with gives you a feeling of accomplishment.

My son is 8 months old and wears cloth nappies, this in itself presents difficulties as finding trousers to fit over a big bottom isn’t very easy without them being far too long in the leg or tight on the waist (trousers are a problem for him anyway since he is a dinky baby and he’s very long and thin). He’s also crawling and his trousers can ride up exposing his socks for him to instantly whip off, and they show his bare legs which can’t be very nice on the cold hard floors we have in our house.

The reason the top 2 paragraphs are connected??
Because the other half had given me his old ‘lounge pants’ (or PJ bottoms) that he no longer wore and I just loved the print so much I didn’t want to throw them out. I had been trying to think of a project to do with them since we found out we were having a boy (although I would happily put them on my daughter too).
I decided to turn the adult trousers into cloth bum friendly baby harem pants.

They were so quick and easy to make that I have since made more from some fabric I purchased with cute and quirky prints. They fit brilliantly over his big squishy bum, he can move around so easily in them and I put some cuffs on the bottom to keep socks on and prevent them from riding up.

dinosaur harem star harem

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will of course be making more of these in different sizes and prints as they fit him so well.

If you want to make some there are various patterns online both for sale and free, if you scour Pinterest there are a few designs there. I made my own pattern by drawing round some trousers that he already had but tweaked them to fit his cloth nappies.

I’m off to find some more trousers to cut up!

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