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This is a project I had been meaning to do for a while. I found these cute cross-stitched bibs in a charity shop last year – clearly made for a little one and never used. I really loved the cute retro mouse, but the little birdys were lovely too. I thought they would make a nice embellishment for a holiday t shirt so I carefully cut out the designs (as they had been stitched onto cotton aida fabric it made it super easy to cut out). I used bondaweb to iron on/stick each in place onto plain colour t shirts bought from H&M then sewed round them with a complimentary colour cotton thread.

My girls love them and they got a few compliments while we are on holiday over the half term as did the t-shirts!

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Red Riding Hood

March 12, 2013

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It was ‘World Book Day’ last week. Martha has been planning her costume since last year, and all the characters she has wanted to ‘be’ have all been a bit tricky. I suggested Red Riding Hood, as really there is only one important piece of costume (the red hooded cape). I used a pattern from ‘Oliver + S Little Things to Sew’ book by Liesl Gibson. (I used her pattern for the tutus I made the girls for their birthday outfits) Its a beautiful and very clever book, this was the first time I have used the patterns provided in the back of the book which you have to trace onto paper to cut the fabric. The red fabric is (of course) a single flat sheet from ASDA, Liesl’s pattern uses a very cute print as a lining but I lined this one in the same red sheet fabric. It came together really easily. Martha picked the button from a small selection of vintage buttons as the local charity shop.

She wore a pretty blue floral pattern dress underneath (eBay) with cream tights and blue ballet flat shoes (Tesco). Her props were a bunch of flowers for Grandma (Poundland) and a basket with pink gingham cloth (left over from the patchwork quilts) with a box of gingerbread men for all her classmates. We bought the gingerbread men from tesco but mixed up some water icing and decorated them with leftover cake decorations.

Alice went to Nursery in her Max from ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ outfit I made her for Halloween but I added the oversize cream buttons to the front of it. In the illustations of the book Max seems to have 5 buttons but the haberdashers only had 3 left of these.

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Girls’ Bedroom

February 28, 2013

Just after Christmas Mr Peacock and I decided it was time to get the girls their bunk bed. These things always seem so simple!
We found a bed we liked (eventually) as most didn’t seem too solid for climbing up and down (repeatedly most nights) so it took a while to find one that didn’t look like it would collapse/tip over that fitted with the rest of the (antique pine coloured) furniture and didn’t require a remortgage! However it would only fit in the room with a complete refrigeration which meant that the enormous calpol stain on the carpet would not continue to be hidden under the bed. So a new carpet was ordered. So then we thought ok a lick of paint would be best before the new carpet was laid, and of course the girls wanted pink.
I hate pink. But I compromised (its not my bedroom) but we settled on a pale milkshake pink (Dulux ‘Sorbet’), it still makes me feel a bit queasy but at least you don’t feel it should be Barbie branded.
After that I thought I should make new bedroom curtains, but as none of this was in the budget I decided to re-use the old curtains lining and header tape and used a pale blue flat single sheet (£4.50 from ASDA), cut in half, so it was already hemmed, then sewed the sides to the lining, turned over the top and hid the raw edges with the tape. I did add a panel of patchwork towards the bottom to tie them into the patchwork quilts I promised the girls.
The quilts/patchwork fabric all came from my collection of vintage fabrics I have been lining the loft with for years, picked up at boot sales and charity shops they were once, curtains, bed sheets, duvet covers and the odd dress once. I cut nice big squares, 20cm square (plus seam allowance) I like the look of oversized patchwork particularly on kids beds the scale makes the beds and kids seem smaller! So each quilt was 7 squares wide by 10 squares long. I backed them with plain dye flat sheets (again) with a white sheet sandwiched in the middle so the thinner cotton fabrics in the patchwork didn’t show the underneath colour through. All sealed in with a strip of 1″ bias binding turned over the edge.
The other room dressings are a new painting (by me) of the ‘Owl and the Pussy Cat’ with Martha’s favourite toy cat in the pea green boat. A new white ‘lotus’ flower shape lampshade (Argos). And vintage blue ‘Antler’ suitcases for storage on top of the wardrobe.
It is a proper little girls room, they love it, but it still amazes me how a little bed upgrade snowballs into a major project!

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Cupcake and Tea Party

January 10, 2013

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We had a small party for Martha’s 6th birthday this year, as she had a big party for her 5th, and with her birthday so close to Christmas I felt we had enough to do.
So with numbers limited to six of her closest school friends, we made a plan to amuse them in our house. So I came up with the idea of a cupcake/afternoon tea party. I made them a quick half apron each (out of a charity shop double duvet set) and they each had a little rolling pin (90p each from Wilkos) laid out on the dining table, so that we would all decorate a pre-made cupcake (or two) with pre-made buttercream, smarties, jelly tots and I showed them how to make simple roses with moulding icing. A liberal sprinkling of cake glitter and their cakes were done, one for the tea party and one to take home. I was surprised how much of the icing and sweets actually made if onto the cakes and were left over!
Then the girls played the required game of pass the parcel, while I cleaned up a bit and set the table for kid friendly afternoon tea. I made cheese staws and tomato pesto wheels, with half z pack off ready made puff pastry, and cheese, ham and tuna finger sandwiches, scones with homemade stawberry jam and clotted cream and arranged them all, along with the wonderful cupcakes on a cake stand.
I dipped into my collection of vintage (charity shop) tea sets for some floral patterned cups and saucers and cake plates and filled the teapots with pink milk and pink lemonade.
We put candles in Martha’s cupcake to sing ‘happy birthday’ to. A few more games of musical cushions and statues, and it was hometime.
In the party bags were the girls’ aprons and rolling pins and a couple of cookie cutters (big box from Wilkos) some sweets and their cupcake creation (cupcake boxes came from poundland!)
I think it was very successful, the girls all seemed to enjoy themselves, the whole think didn’t break the bank and they made some fabulous cakes!

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As promised, here is Martha’s Wednesday Addams costume prop, Pubert Addams. The freaky, moustachioed baby brother of Wednesday, who saves the day in ‘Addams Family Values’ the second Addams Family film.
I took a normal baby doll from the charity shop, he had blue eyes originally but I coloured these in with a brown sharpie, gave him a greyish skin tone, by lightly spraying him with a car spray primer, I painted on his hair with black acrylic paint and drew on his eyebrows and ‘tache, with a black sharpie. I added some eyelashes and a pinkish pva glaze to his mouth after a google image search of Pubert revealed a much prettier baby then I had remembered!
I made him a baby gro, out of a grey tshirt, I roughly drew round the dolls body, drew a spider on it and stitched it together on the doll.

Halloween Costumes

October 23, 2012

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I was going to call this post ‘Wednesday and the Wild Thing’ as I think it would make a great title for a kids book, but Halloween costumes is what they are.
I have wanted to make a Max from the Wild Things outfit for one of my kids ever since I can remember, the wild things was my favourite book when I was little, and fortunately Alice agreed to be a Wild Thing for Halloween this year. I used a butterick kids costume pattern, (I had used for Martha’s Halloween Pink Cat costume a few years ago). I started with the jumpsuit with a fluffy wolf tail made from cheap furry leg warmers from eBay. The fabric I used was brushed cotton or winciette in off white /cream, to give it more of a vintage feel. I made the hood part plain (no ears) and made and stuffed two triangles which I hand stitched into place.
Martha decided she wanted to be Wednesday Addams this year, from the Addams Family films she has recently become obsessed with. So watched it a few times to get a good idea of Wednesday’s outfits. I decided on the classic dark grey floral shirt dress with bright white collar. I managed to find a man’s shirt in the charity shop with a suitable size floral pattern and then dyed it black with a Dylon black hand dye, just dipping it quickly (not for the full 20 mins) before rinsing it out. When it was dry, I cut the collar and the sides of the shirt and sleeves down to the width of a 5 year old, and cut 2 new sleeves out of the old sleeves, then sewed up the sides, attached the sleeves and hemed them. I cut the white collar off and old one of my husband’s and sewed it onto the dress. Easy Peasy!
I am painting a charity shop bought baby doll as the moustached baby Pubert Addams, from Addams Family Values, as a prop for Martha and might make Alice a big fork, from the illustration where Max is chasing the Westie Dog.
Trick or Treat?

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It been 2 months since Alice’s birthday party, so it’s with a fair amount of shame that I am finally getting round to posting about it. 

It had an ‘Enchanted Garden Party’ theme, based on the fact that Alice wanted to be a bee, and her sister wanted to be a butterfly and I guessed that most of her little friends would have a fairy dress/animal costume or flowery party dress to hand. 

At the last moment it nearly didn’t happen, Alice’s big sister brought chicken pox home with her at the end of the school year and Alice got it 10 days before her birthday and really struggled with it, we sent a warning a few days before that although probably un-infectious we didn’t want to be responsible for a chicken pox outbreak, but fortunately most of her friends had had it before, but she was still pretty poorly on the day of the party, poor thing. 

I made the invite with images from graphics fairy. Alice’s bee costume consisted of a birthday tutu, which I made with a pattern/guide from ‘oliver + s little things to sew’ by Liesl Gibson. A stripy ‘queen bee’ t shirt she already had, yellow leggings, some sparkly gold party shoes she already had and a pair of homemade bee’s wings. I made these out of four lengths of about 1m each of galvanized garden wire (from Poundland) a pair of pale turquoise tights (H&M), some similar colour satin ribbon, some iridescent glitter glue (Hobbycraft) and some elastic. I made 4 bee shaped wings out of the wire and stretched the tights over them but cutting each leg into 2 and tying a knot in the open end then pulling them over the wire and stitching them ‘closed’ over the twisted wire ends of the wing shapes. Then getting the 4 wings roughly into position (2 on each side) then wrapped the overlapped twisted wire ends with the satin ribbon. The glitter glue was used to make the pattern on the wings to make it look like the structure of a bee’s wing. The elastic was measured around Alice’s shoulders to her centre back and stitched onto the ribbon.

The garden was decorated with a gazebo (to offer some shade/shelter from the british weather, some colourful blankets, some artificial flowers (Poundland again) cut into individual flowers with the wire stems just stuck into the lawn in bundles and toadstool cushions. I made out of red/beige coloured flat sheets cut into large circles. on the red ones pieces I cut out various sized circles from some iron on t shirt transfer paper (the kind you usually print on first) using coins and lids of jars to make the circles. Then ironed them onto the red toadstool tops. I sewed them together (inside out) on my sewing machine leaving a gap to stuff them with the filling from ‘tesco value’ pillows, then stitched the gap with the raw edges turned in, these we planned to use for ‘musical mushrooms’ but the heavens opened a hour into the festivities and the party was moved inside where we didn’t have the space!

I made her cake with 3 layers of sponge filled with buttercream and strawberry jam, using red and white moulding icing to cover the top to make it another toadstool and then I made 3 small bees to decorate it, with some green spikey ‘grass’ cut out of green moulding icing to cover the bottom. I bought some ready made writing icing to pipe her name which was a bit too transparent, I will make water icing next time, but when it was all covered in cake glitter I think it looked ok, and most importantly it tasted pretty good. I made some pink cupcakes for the birthday tea too, also covered in cake glitter!

It was a shame she was a bit off colour for the party and that the rain put a stop to the fun in the garden, but I think all her friends had a good time nevertheless, and I did get around to posting about it before her  4th birthday!