Summer overalls

I have just finished these absolutely gorgeous little overalls for Clementine. They are so cute!

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I used this pattern from Tadah Patterns: Vintie Overalls.

The overalls were really easy to make, as the comments suggested it would be. The snap panel was the most confusing part for me, but after stopping for lunch I realised that it wasn’t that hard (I was probably just hungry!).

Instead of buttons on the shoulder straps I used snaps so that I could have two different sizes. Can’t wait until she is big enough to wear them!!

I will make some for Mae next. (This might be my new summer sewing obsession!)


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DIY fairy wings

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The day before Halloween I realised that Mae needed to dress up for child care the next day. When I asked her what she wanted to go as, she said “Tinkerbell”. That was great in theory, however, we didn’t have any fairy wings and Clementine had just gone down for a nap. Doesn’t matter, I thought. When Clementine wakes up we will wander down to the shops before dinner. After 1.5 hours, we were running out of time. So I decided to make some with things from around the house.

A couple of coat hangers and an old pair of stockings later and voila – fairy wings. Mae desperately wanted to paint them purple (her favourite colour) so I mixed together some red and blue finger paint. After about 30 minutes of painting, we left them to dry in the sun. We were bitterly disappointed when we came back to find that after drying – they just looked like beige tights! So, with dinner fast approaching, I grabbed the left over spray paint (from the upcycled pot plants) out of the shed and sprayed the wings and finished them off with some glitter glue we found in her art box. Not very child friendly but they looked good! Mae is well past eating her wings anyway.

So if you find yourself in need of a quick costume – here is a very quick how to.

What you need…

  • 2 wire coat hangers
  • 1 pair of old stockings
  • paint (not weak finger paint!)
  • glitter glue (optional)
  • elastic
  • needle and thread
  • ribbon
  • tape of some description
  • pliers

The how to…

1) Bend the handles of your coat hangers straight(ish) and the body of each hanger into a wing shape._MG_4563 _MG_4565

2) Bend the handles of each coat hanger over the top of each other to join the wings together. You might need to use a pair of pliers to help you with this (and lots of brute force). Squish them together relatively tightly and then wrap in your tape. Don’t worry too much about what it looks like as you will be covering this join of the wings later on._MG_4568

3) Cut each leg off your stockings and then thread one leg onto each wing and tie off in the centre. I also tied the legs together to ensure they didn’t come off._MG_4569

4) Paint each wing in your desired pattern. I used spray paint for a base coat and glitter glue for highlights. Mae loved playing with the glitter glue!_MG_4571 _MG_4573

5) Measure a figure eight of elastic with one circle over each shoulder of your child. Cut to an appropriate length and then stitch into place._MG_4574

6) Join your elastic to the centre of your wings by tying it with a piece of ribbon. Make sure it is nice and tight so that the wings stay in place when over the shoulders._MG_4581 _MG_4583

7) Have fun with your 2 year old teaching you to fly like Tinkerbell!_MG_4584 _MG_4591

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Step 1 of our new bathroom – demolition!

When we moved into our house, we knew that it had one of the smallest main bathrooms ever seen. It was smaller than many ensuites and could barely fit two people in at a time. It was ugly, plus, it didn’t have a bath. We definitely knew it was time for a bath when Mae went to her grandparents for the day and the main thing she requested for the day was to have a bath!

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After finally finding a builder (long, long story – but we learnt lots of lessons for next time), this weekend we have taken the first step towards our new bathroom. We demolished our old bathroom and one wall of Mae’s bedroom.

Now, when I say we, I really mean Pete and my brother Daz (with a little help from me, my dad and my brother Liam). It turns out that demolishing bathrooms and feeding a cranky 3 month old baby are not that compatible, much to my frustration!

Anyway, the demolition was not that neat and tidy – our lathe and plaster walls were very messy to knock down. But Pete and Daz did an amazing job. Then, like always there were the fiddly bits to complete. In this case, removing screws and nails and chipping away the old plaster glue. Why does the last 5-10 percent of any house project seem to take up an extraordinary amount of time?

BEFORE

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AFTER

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AFTERIMG_4623-2

So, our renovation starts on Wednesday. Can’t wait for a new bathroom… and to have a shower back in the house!

PS. Lesson for beginners – when you are demolishing a bathroom wall – don’t accidentally bang the lathe and knock a giant hole in a wall that is meant to be left standing…_MG_4619

PPS. When you knock down walls in an old house, it does almost make you wonder how it stands so well and looks so nice when the plaster is on!

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DIY wallpaper – it is surprisingly easy!

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When we moved into our new house I had a million different ideas about how I wanted to decorate. After hours spent on Pinterest and Houzz I knew that I didn’t just want painted walls. Plus, as we are not planning on moving for a long time I don’t have to make the house palatable to future buyers. After much debating, I decided on wallpaper for our bedroom.

It then took quite a while for Pete and I to find a wallpaper that wasn’t too “girlie” and we finally decided on the tree design wallpaper. There are different types of wallpaper available. We chose a non-woven textile wallpaper which is easy to hang and to remove. The instructions below are for this type of wallpaper.

Then we had to figure out how to get it up. After chatting to the very helpful people in our local wallpaper store and much googling we found out that putting up wallpaper is surprisingly easy. But the one thing we couldn’t find advice on was wallpapering around the picture rail. In the end we decided to start at the ceiling and to cut the paper at the picture rail line and then begin again immediately under the picture rail. That is, we didn’t cut out an amount of paper corresponding to the size of the picture rail. If you have a different style of pattern, this may not work for you but in our case we decided it was the easiest option and it looked good.

My brother helped Pete to hang the wallpaper and they were both cursing me when the got to the small grate and realised that they had to cut out a small box from that particular piece of paper. In doing this, I can’t reiterate enough how important it is to measure twice (or three times) and cut once!

So, don’t be nervous and go forth and wallpaper. We loved our wallpaper so much we used some of the leftover paper to wallpaper a section of wall in our living room!

What you need…

  • wallpaper
  • wallpaper glue (get this at your local wallpaper store or hardware)
  • bucket with lid
  • whisk
  • paint roller
  • paint tray
  • wallpaper brush
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • Stanley knife

The how to…

  1. Before you start wallpapering make sure that you have filled any cracks and sealed porous surfaces and finished your painting. Also make sure that your walls are clean and dry._MG_3534
  2. Mix your glue with water in your bucket according to the directions on your packet. Use your whisk to really mix it well and remove any powdery lumps. Put the lid on your bucket and walk away for at least 4 hours but if you can leave it for 24 hours do, as it gets more sticky over time. (As a side note, we used the left over glue from our bedroom on our living room wall 3 weeks later and it was still good. Not sure of the protocols on this but it worked for us)._MG_3548 _MG_3550
  3. Use a plumb line (or tie a weight to a string) and mark a straight line in the middle of the wall with your pencil. On advice from our wallpaper store we started in the middle of the wall and worked towards either side. This ensures that the uneven wall joints do not skew your wallpaper and that the pattern remains straight.
  4. Measure the height of your walls and cut an appropriate length of wallpaper using a very sharp Stanley knife. REMEMBER to check the pattern repeat on your wallpaper and allow both this and an additional 10 centimetres to each length. It is much better to waste a little bit on each length than to cut a length that is too short to hang. Note: you will need to change the blade on your Stanley knife on a regular basis to ensure it doesn’t tear your wallpaper._MG_3551 _MG_3556
  5. Pour your glue into a paint tray and using your paint roller roll your glue onto your wall next to your plumb line. Ensure that there are no big lumps.
  6. Line the edge of your wallpaper up with your plumb line. We then found it easiest to begin at the ceiling and to smooth your wallpaper onto the glue._MG_3557
  7. Using your wallpaper brush, brush your wallpaper in an X pattern to remove any air bubbles. Also check the edges of your wallpaper to make sure they are stuck down.
  8. Trim the wallpaper at the ceiling and floor (or skirting board) using a ruler and Stanley knife._MG_3559
  9. Repeat 4-8 above working your way towards the edge. Make sure that for each piece of wallpaper you hang you line up the pattern appropriately and that you line the edges up perfectly. Spending a few extra seconds doing this will ensure a better end product.
  10. When we got to the outer pieces of wallpaper, we found it easiest to trim the width of the paper, while still allowing for plenty of overhang (about 10 centimetres). You then use a sharp Stanley knife (and a very steady hand) to cut down the wall joins.
  11. If you have a grate, like we did, measure (at least twice) the height and width of the grate and the distance from the ceiling and edge of previous piece of wallpaper. Then mark a box on your cut piece of wallpaper at the appropriate spot. Remember to check where the pattern lines up and consider this in your measurement. Then cut an X shape through the box starting in each corner. When you hang your wallpaper the grate will pop through this opening. You will then need to use a Stanley knife and ruler to trim the overhanging triangles of wallpaper (see photos)._MG_3563 _MG_3564 _MG_3573
  12. Sit back and gaze admiringly at your wallpaper with a beer or glass of wine! Job well done._MG_3586 _MG_3966

PS – Quite obviously we still need to change our carpets and curtains. This house is a work in progress!!

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Propagating succulents – by accident

A while ago, I posted about upcycling some hanging pots that we found in our garden – see here. The original pots were filled with succulents that I emptied out and replanted. I was a little rough in the process and a few bits and pieces broke off my succulents. I ignored them.

Then, a few weeks ago, Mae was playing in the garden with me, and being an observant two year old she noticed something that I hadn’t. “What are these little plants?” she asked me.

Lo and behold – I had accidentally propagated some succulents!

I have now planted them up in some little pots. I will let you know if they grow. I am kind of following this advice from Elise Blaha Cripe.

I hope they do grow as I have grand plans for a vertical garden to hang around our spa…

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Making fabric button earrings

Last week, after living in our new place since April, I finally cleaned up and sorted out my jewellery boxes (yes, there are more than one!). In doing this, I found that I had quite a few pairs of earrings where one was missing, that is, it really wasn’t a “pair” of earrings and needed to be tossed out. But then I felt like I needed more – I have a weird need for a lot of jewellery!_MG_3972

Rather than buy anything new, I decided to make some fabric button earrings. It was so fun, I ended up making 9 pairs and then 5 pairs of fabric covered hair ties for Mae and it only took a couple of hours.

Last Christmas, I made a heap of these to give out as gifts to Mae’s child care educators and for christmas presents. Such a fun, easy and mesmerising activity to do.

To make fabric button earrings/hair ties you need to buy a self-cover button tool which you can easily get online or at your local craft shop. I bought three – two different sizes for earrings and a larger one for the hair ties.

What you need:

  • self-cover button tool
  • fabric
  • buttons (they come in two parts – the round front and the back which is either flat or has a little hook on it depending on what you want to use it for – also easily available online)
  • glue (I used a brand called E6000)
  • scissors
  • something round you can trace around in the different sizes you want
  • Hair ties or earring poles and backs_MG_3969

The how to…

  1. Cut a circle of fabric that is slightly larger than the biggest piece of your button tool (normally the white or clear part). Cut a second circle, the same size and with the same fabric pattern._MG_3983
  2. Lay your fabric in the bottom part of your button tool (the clear part), you may need to push it into place with the front part of the tool (normally blue or red). Then push in the round part of your silver button in the same way._MG_3984
  3. Pull the edges of your fabric over the button, then add the button backing and using the top part of your button tool (the blue part) push the button backing into place._MG_3974
  4. Remove your button and ensure that all fabric is neatly caught between the two layers of your button.
  5. Either tie on an elastic hair tie, or add a dob of glue and stick your earring pole to the flat silver side of the button and leave to dry._MG_3970 _MG_3981
  6. Repeat, repeat, repeat!
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Cheat’s tutu

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Mae is obsessed with dress ups at the moment. She is always asking if we want to play dress ups with her. And I know at child care she loves to try on the range of dress ups – and in particular loves the purple tutu that they have. So last week, I found myself at the fabric shop asking for help in choosing tulle for a tutu. Given I am not a girly girl, this is the last thing I could ever imagine myself making!

As the tutu was just for Mae to play with, I went with the EASIEST possible tutu making process, based on the advice of the lovely ladies at the fabric shop.

Even better – the tutu involved two items – tulle and elastic and NO sewing. I put the whole thing together in about 15 minutes… whoop whoop.

Mae loved it – and that is the most important thing.

What you need…

  • Tulle – I made mine 30 cm long so I bought 120cm of 150cm cm wide light purple and 60 cm of 150 cm wide dark purple tulle.
  • Elastic – I bought the one with holes in it – see pictures below._MG_3925

The how to…

  1. Fold your tulle so that it is 30 cm wide (i.e. the light purple tulle above will be folded in half, then in half again).
  2. Cut your tulle so that one end is open (the other end is “closed” – that is, it remains folded).
  3. Cut your tulle into 10cm wide strips (each strip will be 10cm x 60 cm).
  4. Cut your elastic so that it is 5 cm longer than your child’s waist.
  5. Starting about 5 cm in from one end, take each strip and thread it through a hole in your elastic, tying the piece of tulle in half. I did mine with one colour on each of three rows. When you get 5 cm from the other end, fold the elastic ends over each other with an overlap of about 2.5cm. Use the tulle through the holes in the elastic to join the two ends together._MG_3931 _MG_3938 _MG_3940
  6. That’s it! _MG_3941

 

 

 

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