Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Festive Paper Garland

Oh dear, I haven't been feeling too excited about our Christmas tree this year over the last few days.
We have beautiful decorations that I've been collecting for many years now and they are mostly silver, shiny, mirrored etc....but for some reason this year, the tree just looked lifeless and flat so I decided to spruce it up with some colour on the spur of the moment and I'm pleased to say it's now looking so much more vibrant!

Red and pink felt garland

I bought some really cheap sparkly and colourful decorations at the supermarket today (and mixed them with my more precious ones!) and then added a felt garland I made a few years ago that was hanging in my bedroom.  

Then I decided to make a paper garland combining the colours of the decorations.

The paper garland honestly took 15 mins to make and I used scraps of paper I had (I never throw away anything!)  I drew around a little tub of sequins, about 3-4cm diameter and then folded and cut about 4 circles at a time in various colours.  Then you just start sewing, leaving a little gap between the circles. 

Here it is!  How easy is that!

The tree is looking better, but it's still work in progress, I think maybe some paper pom poms will be next or I'll see if I can get some bargains in the sales.  Will I stick with colour or be back to classic silver next year?

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Baby Play Mat

This is what I made last year for little one when he was only 7 months old at Christmas and he just sat on top of it like a little Christmas pudding!

The mat evolved as I worked on it as I didn't really have a set plan of exactly what I wanted to make.  I knew I wanted a range of touchy-feely fabrics and bits of ribbon and to try to make different themes/scenes, so the outcome turned out to be flower shape with each scene looking a bit like a petal.

I used bits of fabric that I had lying around, the only thing I bought was a larger piece to back it and some squeakers for inside the sun and the bus.  I'm not sure why a sun might squeak but it's been lots of fun anyway!

weather scene
The weather scene has a felt rainbow, towelling cloud with shiny lame raindrops and ribbon rays coming from the sun.

bus scene
The double decker bus is made from mix of cotton and felt and has a squeaker behind the driver.  
The leaves have different patterns and textures and some have crinkly paper inside to make a nice scrunchy sound.

dinosaur scene
The dinosaur is made from fleece and has different ribbons stitched around its back, the 'smoke' from the volcano is a piece of netting and the sandy looking ground is a piece of rough linen.

moon scene

The space scene has a moon with craters which are stitched on top of wadding to give a padded look.  The stars are the shiny lame again and the rocket is made from felt.  It can fly around the moon but it's attached with a ribbon and can be secured on the moon with a piece of Velcro.

garden scene
The garden scene has a butterfly with wings that can be lifted up and a flower with crinkly leaves.  The grass is fringed for added texture.

I tried to use lots of colours, prints, textures and sounds to make the mat interesting for a baby, but didn't buy anything specifically for the mat, I just tried to use what I had (apart from the squeakers)

He has enjoyed using it and hopefully will continue to do so as he grows and develops, learning to use it in different ways.

I thought carefully about safety while making this as I know my little one put absolutely everything in his mouth at that stage.  It really goes without saying that if you want to make one, choose materials which you think are safe and suitable for your baby. Remember to ensure everything is securely attached to the mat and never leave your baby unsupervised when on the mat.  

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Messy Play - Shaving Foam

As an early years teacher I've used shaving foam loads of times, but this is the first time I've tried it with little one.  

He's 18 months now and still tasting anything I give him so I was keen to see how he might react with this!  

Needless to say he had a quick taste and then didn't bother again.

Shaving foam is so cheap - less than 30p a can if you buy the cheap supermarket stuff.

 I sprayed a bit of it in a tray and sat him in the high chair at the dining table, it can be messy but it's really easy to clean up.

At first he wasn't too sure but after a few little prods he had his hands in the foam and completely covered.

I gave him a couple of spoons and little cups to play with and we discovered that if you turn the cup upside down into the foam and try to pull it back up, it creates a vacuum, so it's hard to do but when you do manage to pull it up it makes a great noise!

Next time we'll maybe try some little polar bears and go for an arctic theme - a lovely experience for older toddlers too.

My children at school also love to write and draw in the foam and if you add a little glitter it gives it some Christmas sparkle!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Jingly Dancing Rings

 I saw this idea somewhere recently and thought how simple! 

I remember when I worked in Pre-5 education how much the children loved to dance with ribbons and watch the colours spin and twist in the air.

 Ideally I would have used lovely wooden rings but as I didn't have any to hand I used these plastic rings instead - actually intended for use as handles for bag making.  

I had lots of bright ribbon in my stash too so just  tied several lengths onto the rings, carefully securing a little bell onto each ring too, just too make them extra fun!

An easy idea for a homemade Christmas gift too.

Monty loves them!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas Felt Decorations

My exciting new plan a few weeks back was make 24 little felt decorations (one for each day leading to Christmas) that could be hung on a little Christmas tree and brought out year after year.  

But reality kicked in and so far I have managed only seven....oops....and they still need a couple of finishing touches and ribbons attached for hanging.

I'm not too worried though as I only started midweek and I'm sure I can play catch up over the next couple of weeks.  It's a great excuse for actually sitting down at night with my sewing box and watching a bit of TV.   Don't I sound like an old lady!         

So here's what I've done so far.....they're simple and colourful and hopefully not too tacky?

The main problem is I have only sketched ideas for 19 so I still have 5 to dream up.  Any ideas would be most welcome!

Just finished another two...a snowman and a bell!