Sunday, 29 March 2015

Easter Bunny Egg Cosies

It's Easter this week! Well one Easter. Being a half Greek family, we celebrate Easter twice if Greek Easter happens to be on a different date. I managed to be organised enough this year to have made a few Easter Bunny Egg Cosies for 1st Easter, and even knocked off Item #4 on my Handmade Challenge list!

These little critters were quite easy once I got the knack, it's always a bit tricky picking up double pointed needles if you haven't used them for a little while. If you've never used DPN's and are a little afraid of them, don't be. Take a look at this little video that helped me get on the right track.

The pattern calls for worsted weight yarn. As I live in Australia, I don't have ready access to that particular size. So I delved into my 8ply stash and used 3.25mm needles. This made for a smaller cosy (not fit for a Cadbury Creme Egg I'm afraid), but thankfully Lindt make an egg that is eggsactly the right size!

Hippity Hoppity Easter's on it's way!

That's now 5 items off my challenge list! Almost halfway there. I really really should sew something next... not likely. I have a feeling we'll get to December, and there will be my sewing projects, glaring at me, unfinished, in the corner.

If you fancy a crack at an egg cosy yourself, there's plenty of time to get a couple made before the Easter Bunny comes a calling. Have you got any handmade gifts ready or in the works for Easter?

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

A Handmade Birthday

A couple of weeks ago I celebrated my 30-somethingth birthday. I'm not being vague about my age for reasons of vanity or mystery. My bad memory is merely a result of three children and the current focus on Sophie, hospitals and surgery.

Sophie our little trooper
Yesterday was a horrible day, we were told that there was a very high chance that they could perform the operation. We waited the entire day, and Sophie fasted for eight hours, before we were told that there wasn't a bed for her in ICU and we could take her home. We now have to wait again for another surgery date, which shouldn't be too far off.

Stupidly we felt like we'd won the lottery, took her and ran. Possibly because the first open heart surgery she had, was followed by a multitude of complications and we really aren't looking forward to seeing her go through it all again. See my husband's post about her first operation.

Earrings from Pip and the Sea
I digress, in order to celebrate my birthday, I had planned to go on a handmade shopping spree! It turns out, the majority of handmade things I pin on Pinterest or favourite on Etsy or Madeit are for the kids.

I did manage to make one handmade purchase, some extremely cute eco-resin earrings from Pip and the Sea.

My Birthday Books!
My family came to the rescue, and I was given a swag of crafty books which is sure to keep my 'to do list' in good stead. My husband also surprised me by taking me and the kids out for High Tea at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms in Melbourne. He even had to book 7 months in advance! It was fantastic, I recommend you book now!

So that was my birthday. I think I'll start making a list of handmade goodies for myself for next year. 

What handmade goodies do you love to treat yourself to?

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Jemima Puddle Duck Baby Blanket

As well as ticking things off my Handmade Challenge List, I have been working on my first ever knitting pattern, the Jemima Puddle Duck Baby Blanket. (Stay tuned, Peter Rabbit is also currently in the works.)

I don't think I have done so much maths since I was at school, however it was all worth it in the end. I was so pleased with how she turned out and from all reports, her new owner is enjoying plenty of snuggles under her little blanket.

By now you're probably thinking I am kicking back and relaxing. 4 Items ticked off My Handmade Challenge list and March isn't even over yet.

Egg Cosy Image from Ravelry
I'm far from relaxed, at the moment I'm coughing and hacking and getting over some awful flu thing, but still thinking about item #4 Easter Bunny Eggs Cosy, Easter is just around the corner.

Have you ever made your own pattern or design for something crafty?

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Handmade Challenge March Update

Another party done and dusted, and two more items ticked off my Handmade Challenge List for 2015!! Phew.

I'll start with item #2, the Love Heart Pinata. This was a HUGE success with the kids! I was actually very surprised. Although I shouldn't be, the party was made up of mainly boys from 1-4 years, who were happily lining up to bash something pretty with a stick! In the end, hubby (with Sophie's help) split it straight down the middle.

The finished Pinata

It was pretty easy to make, I ended up using an amalgamation of ideas rather than copying the original post I found.

1. I gaffer taped two balloons together to form a heart shape.

2. We then covered the balloons with strips of paper 
using homemade paper mache glue. All three kids helped (Sophie ripped the paper). I left a gap at the bottom, so I could later pop both balloons, remove and then fill.

Arthur giving it a good crack!
3. For the filling, I chose a whole lot of bright, sparkly and light things! Mainly stickers, some ribbons and cardboard hearts. I didn't want a large lolly falling out and clonking a toddler in the head. 

4. After the glue had dried, I punched two holes in either side of the top of the heart and threaded fishing line through to hang it from. Popped in the filling, patched up the hole, then covered the whole thing in post-it notes. I thought this step would be easy, but the post-it's wouldn't stick. So I ended up using good old clag glue.

I did all the stages over a number of days... weeks, so it wasn't too taxing, and being able to get the kids involved was good, so I'd probably do it again, mainly because the kids loved it so much on the day.

Cookies the night before!
The next item I can tick off is #10 Heart Cookies. I won't be bothered making these again in a hurry. The cookies themselves were very yummy. I was super excited when I was icing them as they were turning out so great, okay I wasn't going to win any awards, but I thought they looked pretty cool. Then, as it was about 11:30 at night, I boxed them all up to photograph the next day.

The next day... low and behold, the icing had bled and they looked nothing like they had the night before. I am quite sure that I didn't do enough research into royal icing and perhaps the recipe I used wasn't the right one or I should have used different colouring or more icing sugar. If I ever attempt again, I will look into it further.

Cookies the following day
However, the rules of the Handmade Challenge are clear, chose 12 items and make them. They don't have to be perfect, or even close to perfect! So please remember, that as long as you attempt, even if your stuffed cow ends up looking more like a stuffed goose, you've made it and you can cross it off!

How are you going with your Handmade Challenge? Have you had any disasters yet? Or perhaps triumphs?! Don't forget to share.

Monday, 9 March 2015

A Handmade Resolution - Thanks Handmade Cards

As you may or may not remember, at the beginning of the year I made a Handmade Resolution to include a handmade item in every gift I gave. I am currently keeping this resolution, and that is mainly thanks to handmade cards!
Felix's Dinosaur Birthday Card

A little while ago, I went to the Creators Market in Malvern and came across some gorgeous cards by Maggie at MyLittlePerfect. The dinosaur card I gave Felix for his 4th birthday was by Maggie.

Maggie does all the lino printing for each and every card, tag and print! Here is her Handmade Adventure;

MyLittlePerfect was born shortly after I had my little boy, Will. I was on Maternity Leave from my position as an Art teacher. Over my teaching career I taught students from Prep through to Year 11, which I loved. The junior students were so imaginative and excited by the freedom that the art room offered and allowed. The senior students were more refined in the approach to their artwork and establishing their own individual styles. Having studied Fine Arts, majoring in Painting and Printmaking, I had the opportunity to start practicing my own art again when I was on leave, in-between naps and feeds!

So Adorable!

I started to combine my two artistic loves, painting and printmaking and turning them into gift tags and greeting cards and eventually some larger prints and paintings. I like to think that the images and designs I create are familiar in their subject matter and appropriate for people of all ages. I love it when I'm at a market and people stand in front of my stall and just smile. It makes me feel so happy that people can enjoy the childlike imagery that I use and that the warmth of the subject matter and the crafting of them translates across to people with such ease and familiarity.

Mmm Pineapple
I kind of think my work is somewhat like the modern version of Pop Art, a cultivation and expression of our popular culture. I also love that people buy my cards to identify with its recipient. People will say things like, 'omg my girlfriend is pineapple mad, I'll get her that one' or 'my little girl loves ballet, so I'll get her the ballet slippers.' It's like the imagery is part of that person's identity and I love that my work provides a connection between people, its' not just another birthday card, it's more than that. 

Much of my inspiration is from our contemporary culture as well as subjects that I like, and generally animals that Will likes. My drawings are all my own and I would describe them as childlike, bold, 2-dimensional and bright. I feel that its a bit ironic, that the images seem so flat yet the fact that they are completely handmade, individually printed and then painted, each one its very own original, gives it its three-dimensionality.

Eye catching cards for every occasion

I studied Painting, Printmaking, Drawing, Sculpture and Photography.  I then went on to complete by Bachelor of Arts majoring in Art History and Archaeology. Upon completion of my BA I was asked to complete Honours in Art History and in Archaeology, but I could only choose one, so I chose Art History. With my Honours completed, I decided to do an extra 12 months and complete my DipEd in Secondary Teaching, which I did and then went on to teach.

Champion Girl & Boy
My favourite prints are Lorenzo the Lion and Champion Boy (which is what my husband and I call Will). Moving forward, I hope that MyLittlePerfect continues to grow and I will be sourcing boutiques to start stocking my works. I hope to include a variety of items including fabrics and some larger scale pieces. I'm intending to open my studio as a retail and gallery space, called the MyLittlePerfect Studio Shop, which should be ready to launch with the new website around Easter time this year.

You can get in touch with Maggie and check out the MyLittlePerfect range on Facebook and via the Website.

Lorenzo the Lion

Monday, 2 March 2015

Getting a little ahead of myself - Handmade Challenge 2016?!!

It is the first week of March, and no I am not crossing another item off my Handmade Challenge List, I am starting a whole new list for 2016?! 

I should really prove to myself that I can get the original 12 made first, but I just can't help myself. So what's on my list so far? 

Tree Change Dollls by Sonia Singh

You may have heard of Tasmanian Mum and artist Sonia Singh who has started something amazing called;
Tree change dolls. Sonia has been 'rescuing' dolls from op shops and giving them a 'make-under', making them look like actual normal people and dressing them in the most adorable outfits that her mum makes! She's encouraging others to give it a go too. I cannot paint, I did terribly in art at high school, however I'm not going to let that stop me from trying. I've been keeping an eye out at my local op shop, but haven't come across a doll that needs rescuing yet.

Resin Bracelets from Pip and the Sea
Another item I'd like to have a go at making is Resin Jewellery. Nicola from Pip and the Sea makes lovely eco-resin pieces, and while there is no way I could make anything as adorable as she does, I have discovered that there are classes where you can learn to make your own, so why not give it a shot, and when someone says to me, 'my that's an... interesting ring you are wearing' I can say 'I made it myself!'

I do have to complete 2 more items on my list very very soon for Sophie's party. The kids have actually helped to make the base for item number 2, the Heart Shaped Pinata. It's the decorating that's not quite going according to plan.

Pinata in Progress; many hands make messy work!

You may have noticed that so far, I have totally avoided any items on my list that require sewing. I am so scared of the sewing, and there are 4 items that need sewing. Oh me oh my... It's only March, but we've arrived here very quickly. How are you going with your list?

Don't forget to share your handmade creations. If you're having trouble sharing via the blog, email me so that I can share for you, or if you're on Facebook, you can share there.

I have to get back to knitting, a baby arrived today and I haven't finished her present yet (not on the list). The baby beat me!