Tuesday, 29 June 2010

a hoard of beach treasures

beach treasures

It’s been a very busy week, one way and another.. I did find time to wash and sort our stash of treasures which have been collected over several days out to various local beaches so far this year. The creamy/white ones on the left above my Mum collected from a Spanish beach on her holidays, some with perfect round holes! They all looked so pretty laid out to dry in the beautiful sunshine.

Some of these were collected when we went to the Pirate weekend at Mount Edgcumbe recently, most of these have come from Mount Edgcumbe, which has a couple of little pebbly beaches which are full of shells and sea glass. My kids have inherited (or learnt?!) my love (obsession!) of beach combing, every time we visit a beach we come back with another load of treasure!


Some of these treasures (heart shaped stones, large sea glass pieces) I have specific purposes in mind for (look out for future projects coming soon), the tiny shells will go into my tiny shell collection jars, and I have promised the kids a jar each to fill with their favourite treasures to keep in their rooms. The rest will get organised into more jars (part of my new getting organised craftiness!) and sit around looking pretty until I have a purpose for them!


Do you love finding treasure from the sea too?


Tuesday, 22 June 2010

bubble skirt for my little english rose

Tomorrow is an important match (apparently) for England in the World Cup, and Cyan’s preschool asked if all the kids could wear red and white tomorrow to show support! Well I have absolutely no interest in football myself, but hey – it’s a bit of fun for the kids to dress up and be patriotic!

I decided to make Cyan a red and white skirt; she has red leggings but it’s too hot at the moment, plus I really struggle to get her to wear any outfit that doesn’t involve a skirt or dress! She’s such a girl! When I saw The Ruffled Bubble Skirt over at A Lemon Squeezy Home I was immediately inspired to make Cyan a bubble skirt! There is now a tutorial for The Ruffled Bubble Skirt, however I decided to add a ruffle at the top of Cyan’s skirt, instead of at the bottom. I found this Bubble Skirt Tutorial at Sew Hip Mama which had the bubble skirt look I was after, and it was pretty easy to follow too. It really is a very simple skirt to make, I made Cyan’s in one evening! The only change I made was to add 3" to the interior fabric measurement – this made the ruffle at the top of Cyan’s skirt.

My little English rose ..

“Only one more photo mummy!”

I had a scrap piece of the red and white hearts fabric I used for the skirt, so I thought I’d make some fabric roses, I keep seeing fabric flowers everywhere, but I wanted to make roses for my little English rose! I sewed 3 pieces of different fabric together, then gathered them and wrapped them round into a rose shape .. they are then sewed onto some red polka dot ribbon I already had, the ribbons are tied onto some hair elastics then tied in a bow – the bow also looks like leaves I think!

The beauty of this is that if we want we can simply untie the ribbons and re-tie onto a pin – ready to pin on clothes, bag etc.. I did think we could leave one on a hair elastic for her ponytail and put the other on a pin to go on her top .. not so practical for preschool though, which is why they’re both going in her hair tomorrow!

Photobucket Life in my PJs NightOwlCrafting

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at Anthony House

Inspecting the white roses

Yesterday we had (to quote my kids) “the most fun we ever had!” We went to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, part of the Alice in Wonderland Experience at Anthony House, the location where Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland movie was filmed!

I visited Anthony years ago (when I was a child) and it is still a grand English house set in beautiful gardens .. with some new elements added, like the statue of the Caterpillar sitting on the mushroom as you go through the main gates, and a play area with colourful mushrooms and a rabbit-hole slide!

The Tea Party involved about 30 kids taking part in an hour of chasing characters from Alice in Wonderland around the gardens of Anthony House, finding the Cheshire Cat’s smiles, the Mad Hatter’s lost hats and the Queen of Heart’s lost crown, joining in on a dance to entertain the Red Queen, and culminating in a Tea Party in a marquee with tea (juice) and jam tarts, and more games on an Alice theme .. pass the teapot .. Flamingo (picture bingo) .. design a hat for the Queen of Hearts ..

The highlight moment of the day for me was at the Tea Party, Alice asked the Hatter “So how do you actually make a hat then?” The Hatter replied “Well I start by measuring their head”, Oliver, sat nearby, looked up and said quite seriously “Yes, that’s what I usually do.” The hatter then said “Oh yes, you’re a fellow hatter so you would know..” I had to try very hard not to laugh too loudly!

The Caterpillar

Alice and the Hatter go exploring


Alice and the white rabbit at the clock-tower

Alice, the Hatter and the white rabbit at the clock-tower

Following Alice

Meeting the Mad Hatter

A dance for the Queen of Hearts

Alice and the Hatter on the steps at Anthony House

There were photo ops galore with my two in all their finery in such a beautiful setting .. I've included some favourites here, and have added even more to my flickr set ..
View slideshow of all images ..

The kids (and us!) are very keen to do a return visit to Anthony over the summer (the kids both wanted to go back the very next day!) .. we still have more exploring to do .. I really want to find all the key locations from the movie ..

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

dinosaur party hats and alice in wonderland featured

I am so happy and proud – I got featured! Three times this week!
Big thank yous go to Melissa from those northern skies who featured the Mad Hatter and Alice in Wonderland costumes I made for my kids in her friday creative high party, and to Ela from life in my pjs who also featured them from her 1st wednesday pajama party! These are two new and fabulous link parties, I love their blogs too ..

Etsy Finds: Craft Party

I recently signed up to all the email newsletters from Etsy .. then this evening I was reading the latest Etsy Finds email which I got today, titled Etsy Finds: Craft Party .. so I’m scrolling down looking at all the fantastic crafty party goodies .. I literally leapt off the sofa in amazement when I saw my dinosaur party hats in there!!

dinosaur party hats

I haven’t blogged about these hats yet .. I will soon .. I invented them for Oliver’s dinosaur themed 5th birthday party ..

You can find the dinosaur hats in my Etsy shop as PDF templates or as a crafty pre-cut kit with stickers and colouring sheets all included!

Here are Oliver and Cyan modeling two of the dinosaur hats:

Oliver wears green T-Rex dinosaur party hat Cyan wears orange Stegosaurus dinosaur party hat

Saturday, 5 June 2010

the mad hatter and alice in wonderland

Mad Hatter and Alice in Wonderland

“Would you care for some tea?”

Cyan as Alice in Wonderland

The right Alice?

Oliver as Mad Hatter

Mad as a Hatter!

Cyan as Alice in Wonderland

Curiouser and curiouser ..

View the slideshow on flickr with more photos ..

See how I made Cyan’s Alice pinny apron ..

See how I made Oliver’s Mad Hatter accessories ..

mad as a hatter? all the best people are!

Mad Hatter top hat, In this style 10/6

Here are Oliver’s Mad Hatter accessories. So, have I gone completely mad? bonkers? off my head? Probably, but I’ll let you into a secret – all the best people are! Well – we are going to a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, at Anthony House, the location where Tim Burton’s new Alice in Wonderland movie was filmed!

1. the hat
I managed to get hold of the official Disney hat (not available in UK but I got it off ebay). It is adult size – massive on Oli but if you look at the original Tenniel illustrations his Hatter has a massive hat – so I don’t mind, and Oli finds the size amusing! It had a strange printed vinyl price tag and feather though so they had to go – replaced with a real peacock feather and a ‘proper’ hand-written (by me) price tag with the ‘proper’ legend: In this style 10/6 (Johnny Depp just has 10/6 in the film).

Mad Hatter top hat with peacock feather Mad Hatter top hat, In this style 10/6

2. the cotton reel ammo belt and other trimmings
When we saw the new Alice in Wonderland movie I could not get over Johnny Depp’s Mad attire! Especially the ‘ammo belt’ made from cotton reels! When we decided Oli was going to be the Hatter I knew I'd have to replicate this. I bought some vintage wooden cotton reels off ebay, and strung them together with some black & white waxed cotton cord to make the ammo belt, I think it looks awesome! Johnny Depp also has this cascade of ribbons and trims in his jacket pocket, so I made one with a choice selection of ribbons and trims knotted on a nappy pin. A spotty silk scarf bow-tie completes Oli’s Mad Hatter accessories.

Mad Hatter costume accessories

Mad Hatter accessories Mad Hatter accessories
Mad Hatter accessories Mad Hatter accessories

Notice Oli’s dalek badges which I bought from DAMEcreations on Etsy, they reference an episode in the new series of Doctor Who when a dalek actually says “Would you care for some tea?”! Oliver is obsessed with Doctor Who and daleks so I thought it would be cool to add his badges here which go nicely with the whole Mad Tea Party thing!

Just look at all these lovely ribbons and trims!

Mad Hatter ribbons

Oliver as the Mad HatterI will post photos of Cyan in her Alice dress and pinny and Oli as the Mad Hatter tomorrow – the kids will be getting dressed up for a friend’s Alice themed birthday party tomorrow. We will probably go to the Tea Party at Anthony House in a couple of weekend’s time.

Edit: see the photos here ..

My creative high continues ..


Alice pinny apron un-tutorial

Alice pinny apron

I’m slightly nervous about calling this a ‘tutorial’ so it’s an ‘un-tutorial’ instead! It’s how I made an Alice style pinny or apron for my daughter Cyan. She has this blue dress – it is her Alice dress, has been for a while, whenever she wants to be Alice this is the dress she wears. But she was always lamenting her lack of pinny. So I said I’d make her one. I just kinda made it up as I went along.

For this project I used almost 1m of basic white cotton fabric and about .5m of wide broderie anglais trim.

This can be broken down into 3 main stages. I took quite a few photos (maybe too many?!) so I've linked small images here, you can click them through to flickr to see them bigger.

1. bib and skirt
First I measured on the dress the sizes I wanted for the bib and skirt parts, then added 4" to the width of each and 3" to the depth of each. I cut the pieces so the selvedge edge is on the bottom of the bib and the top of the skirt. Then I made 1" doubled hems on the sides, top of bib and skirt bottom, pressed then pinned ready to sew. I sewed all the way around the outer 3 hems on each piece, right close to the edge; then sewed all the way around the inner line of the hem. This 1" doubled hem really gives the effect I wanted (see John Tenniel’s original illustrations for Alice in Wonderland).

making pinny apron making pinny apron
making pinny apron making pinny apron
making pinny apron making pinny apron

2. pocket and belt
Making the little pocket was the hardest part! It should really have two pockets but I decided to just have one because a) I don’t think I could make two the same; and b) Cyan and the pinny are quite dinky and two pockets would have swamped it, probably, anyway – see a). So I made the pocket somehow, trimmed the top with broderie anglais (a bit posh for an Alice pinny really but it just looks so cute!) and sewed it onto the skirt. Next I cut a 4" strip of the longest width of my white fabric for the belt, this was folded and pressed inwards so it ended up 1" wide and quadruple thickness.

making pinny apron making pinny apron

I then unfolded the belt and sewed the bottom of the bib to the back of the belt, with the open edge of the belt to the bottom – ready for the skirt to be inserted (some lateral thinking required here!).

making pinny apron making pinny apron

Before I pinned the skirt into the belt I pinned some tucks in the skirt top. Then I sewed up the belt, starting right at one end, all the way around, sewing in the skirt in the middle, and then all the way to the other end.

making pinny apron making pinny apron
making pinny apron making pinny apron

Almost done!

3. shoulder straps
With the pinny pinned onto the dress I worked out how long and wide (about 1.75") I wanted the shoulder straps, cut them 4x wider, folded and pressed inwards same as for the belt. Then I worked out how long I needed the broderie anglais trim for the little cap sleevey bits. Cut, pin tucks, pin into straps – checking position on dress/pinny. Sew up straps, sewing in the broderie trim.

making pinny apron making pinny apron
making pinny apron making pinny apron

Next I carefully sewed the front strap ends to the top of the bib, hand sewing the ends on the back for neatness. I zig-zag stitched the ends first – no serger here!
Then I pinned the straps to the back of the belt, and then – for the first time – I had Cyan try it on so I could adjust where the straps join for a perfect fit!
Sew straps along top edge of belt, trim excess strap length, zig-zag stitch ends, sew straps along bottom edge of belt, done!

making pinny apron making pinny apron
making pinny apron making pinny apron

Cyan as Alice in WonderlandWait to see what I made for Oliver to be the Mad Hatter! I'm on a real creative high here!

Edit: see the photos here ..

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