Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Outdoor Christmas decoration

I combined two days for 12 days of Christmas DIY challenges. Day #5 was to make something you find from your shed and day #7 was to use something from your garden.

First something from the shed:

Plastic flower pot from the summer and piece of chicken wire. 

Cut the wire to desired size, preferably something a bit bigger than the pot.

Fold the wire so that it fits inside the pot. It is supposed to stand in the pot and come close to the top edge of the pot. I left couple centimetres from the the top edge.

Then something from the garden:

Different twigs and some cones. If you are working with the twigs inside, be fast especially if the temparature is low outside. If the twigs are frozen and they melt, they will drop all they needles much faster than if they stay cold through the process.

Start adding the twigs and cones to the pot, add the cones and you are done!

Superfast to make, you can use any pot you happen to find and make easily many different variations. And if you like, you can add some decorations too. I just happen to like "plain" style. 

Maybe I will add some outdoor lights on it before hanging it to our front door though. Otherwise no one will be seeing it much as we have sunshine only about 7 hours at this moment and it keeps getting darker for a while.

Good thing I saved the hanging flower pot, now I have my own hanging outdoor Christmas decoration!

Monday, 7 November 2016

Gift bags out of fabric scraps

Have you ever thought of making gift wrapping out of fabric instead of the paper? I hadn't so the challenge #6 in #12DaysofChristmasDIYChallenges was very welcome! I have fabric more than enough, plenty of material to use!

The challenge is set up by the following bloggers:

Jill @ Creating my way to Success
Vicky @ Vicky Myers Creations
Anna @ Tea and a Sewing Machine
Pam @ Threading My Way
Anne @ Domesblissity

I like to use gift bags when wrapping the presents, especially for grown up gifts. The shape of the present doesn't matter, just find suitable gift bag and you are done. Also, they are re-usable unlike the gift paper. The only person I know who has saved the gift papers was my grandma. She collected all the bigger pieces on Christmas eves and took them to the attic. I don't remember if she used them later on though. Anyway, I keep all the gift bags that come to our household, I have a nice pile of them and I don't remember when I last time actually bought a gift bag!

Of course they aren't always suitable so I have made some gift bags out of gift paper too and I also have couple rolls of tapestry (for the doll house but it might not need all of it...) that I have used. For example I made one for the baby gifts recently.

It is only natural that my answer to this challenge is gift bags out of scrap fabrics!

You need just some fabrics and thread, ribbon or something like it.

The red one is from my dad, it is very thick, probably meant for furniture some 20 years ago, green was left over from making advent calendars couple years back and the grey is from making a dress to my friend over 5 years ago. Some ribbon and woollen yarn.

And I just realised that I actually remember where my scrap fabric is from, should I be worried...?

Sewing is simple and nothing new there but here is a short tutorial just in case.

Cut rectangular parts on fold (becomes the bottom), longer than what they are wide. The longer they are, the deeper is the bag, naturally. Sew the sides, box the corners (optional).

Sew the thread/yarn/ribbon on the wrong side of the bag top. I used narrow zig zag so they would actually stay on. I folded the yarn double to prevent it from getting loose.

Sew the top. Leave the handles under the seam, fold over it and stitch over.

Done! So easy that there really is no excuse to buy any if you have suitable fabric on hand. Then you can just hope that the bag is actually saved and re-used. Maybe add a small tag asking to re-use the bag wouldn't be a bad idea?

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Christmas cookies out of play dough

Day 3 in 12 Days of Christmas DIY Challenges was to bake something you have in your house already. I usually have basic ingredients in my kitchen but now I seemed to be missing all the key ingredients so this challenge really needed some thinking.

On Friday I was at home with my son, my daughter was in her pre-school and he was feeling a bit bored when his playmate wasn't at home. I thought that baking would be good thing to do but what to make when there is almost nothing in the kitchen?

Play dough of course! Or salty dough, magic dough whatever you call it. That definetely needs only the basic ingredients.

Here are the ingredients you need; flour, salt, some oil. Also you need water and can add any colouring you wish. If you have food colours, that's fine but also blueberry and cocoa work fine. Only note that those come with the smell and if baking with small kids they might eat the products. Though usually not twice, the dough has so much salt that it doesn't exactly encourage eating. Also, there is nothing poisonous in it so no harm done anyway.

The recipe is simple:

1 part of water
1 part of salt
2 parts of flour

Mix water salt and flour, add colours. If you use food colours, it is easier to add in the water but the cocoa goes well with the flour. I had some food colours and used those. For a while I was a bit afraid that it wouldn't work as I had to mix the brown and the dough was first green,then violet but then I found the right amounts and made perfect brown. The "problem" was that there wasn't enough salt to make more and I actually wanted brown cookies for the challenge.

The dough can be worked with any kitchen tools you have as it is made with completely edible things.

Doesn't it look just like christmas cookie dough?

Of course you can make anything out of the dough; beads, baskets, play food etc. We made the cookies:

The dough can be used again if you don't let it to dry but we wanted to harden them. I was heating the house with our wood stove in the kitchen, I left them there to dry but the dough also drys and hardens in just room temperature, it just takes couple days depending on the thickness of your products. You can also harden them in the oven; 125 degrees Celsius, an hour or more.

Even on hot stove they took time to dry and even on the next morning they looked like this:

It seems that they didn't dry properly but they are hard enough to play with. I should have just used the oven... Now that they are dry and hard they can be painted with usual kids' paints, water colours aren't perfect, the water gets suck in the dough and tends to make it soft again. Anything else goes.

Not edible Christmas bakeries but perfect for kids' own play parties!

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Whale plushie out of upcycled denim

I like challenges. If someone gives an impossible sort of task and asks "you probably don't have any idea how to solve this?", I usually reply that let's see, I might figure something out. Usually I do. That's part of the reason why I like upcycling old clothes, there is always the challenge how you can make your plans work when you aren't working with virgin fabric that you have bought just the amount needed from fabric store.

But, before I start rambling about that again, let's get to the point... There are five bloggers who have started a 12 days of Christmas DIY challenges. The challenge also includes link up party. I didn't have any sewing time yesterday which is shame as the topic was to make Christmas decoration out of old clothes. So many ideas! I will make them anyway later though.

The point of the challenge is that the Christmas shouldn't cost the earth, I fully agree and I try to participate as much as I can.

Today's challenge was by Vicky; Take an old pair of jeans and turn them into a Christmas Gift.

 Here we get to the challenge. I'm not a friend of denim/jeans when it comes to upcycling (even though they are the only pants I usually wear...) and this challenge wasn't as easy as yesterday's would have been. First I thought I would make some oven gloves as I had planned already earlier but the problem is that I didn't have jeans that were 100% cotton. The ones I was going to use had only 77% cotton! Not very safe to handle hot things with oven mittens that are in the danger of melting, if only partly. Had to think something else.

Then I remembered a whale that used to jump on the front page of my Pinterest some months back whenever I opened it. I didn't save it back then, it was made out of denim and thus not something I would probably make. Oh well, you can be wrong sometime.

We have had self filled advent calendars for the kids as long as they have known how to open them. Last year I switched it from calendar with 24 small pockets to a bigger bag that could hold some better surprises than just small figures, candies and some small scrap. Bigger bag doesn't mean more expensive surprises though, it's quite the opposite. For example you can print out new colouring picture, roll it and put in a bag. Cheap and very much appreciated by the kids!

So, how about start making the surprises already when there is almost full month before we can start opening the calenders? I looked up the whale, found tutorial, even though not a pattern and made these:

Not the prettiest things when it comes to sewing but I don't think my kids will mind... These are much smaller than the original (here) and I only draw the patterns from the screen from the pieces she had cut. If I made more, I would fix my "patterns" quite a deal, the fins are oddly proportioned and I don't think whales have snouts... It's not a fault of the original model, the original looks great! It is also much bigger. These are about 15cm long.

The snout... is it a whale? Flying fish? Bird? Mix-breed of bird, whale and dog? No idea, but I know my kids and they are usually crazy about new plushies and they will probably think it as some new specie - or then it is just a whale. I used beads as eyes and the fins and the tails I stitched with the kids' favourite colours; pink and green so you can tell them apart.

Thank you for the challenge for the hosts:

Jill @ Creating my way to Success
Vicky @ Vicky Myers Creations
Anna @ Tea and a Sewing Machine
Pam @ Threading My Way
Anne @ Domesblissity 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Upcycled gifts

Christmas is coming with all the presents to make but first couple other presents. Upcycled paper flower for my mum and my first zip it up pencil case for my daughter's friend. 

I actually remember my mother's birthday when asked but when it actually is - I don't remember it. I realised it on saturday when she was talking about making a cake and the birthday was on sunday when we were also going for a visit. I was going to spend few days with my kids in my home village so the visit didn't have anything to do with the birthday and I simply had forgotten. That needed some quick thinking. 

She likes orchids and I remembered seeing pattern for making own paper orchids in Pinterest. Upcycled paper was perfect for this, I have saved some magazines that have big pictures and nice, glossy pages. Then I needed a branch and a pot for the flower. I had saved yogurt cup and that seemed to fit, just had to figure out a way to make it heavy enough to stand with the flower. So I went "shopping" outside, found branch out of pine and took some sand from the kids' sand box. The problem was that all of these were quite wet so I took them inside, lit up the fire on fire place and put my treasures there to dry. Try and imagine the reaction of my kids when I was doing the exact thing I have forbidden them to do! No bringing sand and branches inside, right?

After making the flowers, I attached them to the branch with hot glue.

The whole thing turned out pretty nice if I may say so. And my mother liked it too. :)

After making it I can only admire the work she has done for making the tutorial. Definitely not the  easiest thing to sew, must not have been easy to figure it out in the first place! Thank you very much, I will be making more of these in the future! Already my kids said that they too absolutely need these, so...

I used quite thin fabrics so it was doable to sew, no broken needles for this one. For the lining I used usual cotton fabric but added one extra layer from similar fabric inside to make it sturdier. The pencil case something to make it stand and the tutorial mentions using some plastic, plastic sheet for example, I used coffee bag. I have saved couple just in case I would need them and now I did. For the hardener it is important that it is rather light, soft and bends. Coffee bag filled all the requirements and worked just fine. The outer fabric is from a skirt from recycling center.

My little old home village with a population under 2000 has own recycling center! People can bring there their clothes, toys, dishes, shoes, books and everything is free. I found bag full of clothes (will be shown later with more detail) and new leather shoes - all for free! The recycling center has been in great use and why wouldn't it? People are recycling more and more and why not to take your old things there when it is easy instead of throwing it away?

I made a suggestion about having recycling center here in my current home village. I got written reply with all the actions that were taken based on my suggestion and I'm glad they had taken it seriously. Someone had actually visited the mentioned recycling center but the decision was that there is no need for it. I may disagree and I tried to press the point in my suggestion but didn't work this time. To tell the truth, I didn't expect anything more this fast but I hope that someone will remember the idea. Who knows, maybe someday we have a place like that too? 

Monday, 3 October 2016

Old hood turned to mittens + free pattern!

*This article includes some Finnish as I took part in a finnish challenge by Villa Nanna*

Villa Nanna haastoi minut tekemään roskista tai jämistä jotain. Suostuin toki, haastehan on ihan kuin minulle tehty! Minä osallistun tekemällä vanhasta hupusta hanskat lapselle (ohje oli, että kotiin tai itselle, käykö tämä kuitenkin? :D) Vaatteet on jo myyty, mutta huput jäivät pyörimään kun en poiskaan niitä osannut niiden löydyttyä heittää.

I started a project to make autumn clothes for our kids out of soft shell. I got as far as cut parts for an overall and pants for our son and used scraps for two pairs of mittens. Then I wanted to try out the pattern for gloves and also try out how the soft shell is to work with. So before getting any further I had made these:

Not water proof but resistant to make playing outside a bit more comfortable when it is just wet instead of real raining. Funny thing is that making the mittens doesn't feel like upcycling

Then one thing left to another and I had made also these (the overall and pants are still cut in pieces):

I happened to lay my eyes on hoods that were left out when selling/passing away old outdoor clothes. Our kids don't like the hoods and whenever they are attached to the clothes with buttons or snaps, they take them away. So when I took the clothes to second hand store, the hoods were nowhere to be seen and I found them only when it was too late. I couldn't throw them away, all that good fabric and so on. So I saved them for future use.

I decided to try out if I could make mittens out of them with the pattern I had just made. They turned out pretty ok and that useless old hood turned into a pair of usable, warm gloves. I used just one hood so plenty left.

And here is how. I have also created new page with header "free printables". This pattern can be now found there with instructions but here is with pictures.

Näihin löytyy kaava ja suomenkieliset työohjeet blogin "free printables" sivulta! Tässä ohjeen tueksi kuvat.

First let's take a look how much fabric one hood contains:

The hood was out of winter overall so it had rather warm lining. It was thin enough to use with this pattern so I used that too.

When working with small pieces it is best to draw the patterns onto the fabric rather than cutting the fabric half like usually. Just remember to flip the pattern before cutting the other part or you have two gloves for one hand...

Have you ever played Tetris? Fitting the patterns to a fabric that looks almost too small is quite close to playing Tetris. Half of the lining was cut like this:

The other half was used almost as well and this was left:

If you get tired of attaching the pattern to fabric with needles, use pattern weights. I have mine taken out of old pennants from my grandpa.

Now you can start sewing. First the hand part:

Snip notches and trim seam allowances if needed, don't turn yet.

Sew the hand part together with top part, match the seams with the marks in top part of the mitten glove.

Pay extra attention when crossing the seams or you get nice wrinkles on right side. It is best to open the seams if you have Wonderclips for example.

It's best to stretch the fabric slightly while sewing:

Snip notches, tream seam allowances and turn the gloves/mittens. If you have lining, sew it the same way, just don't turn. Put the lining inside the gloves.

Sew the wrist bands:

Fold the wrist band half width-wise and attach over the glove with couple of needles/wonderclips:

It's best to use only couple as you don't have that much working space and more than that would be just on way. By the way, if you are going to make lined gloves for a two year old, please think twice! These were for a six year old and I could just sew them, anything smaller would have been near impossible.

Make sure that the wrist band doesn't escape, it slips away easily:

I used extra Wonderclip in front of the pressing foot to prevent it slipping. Not easy so be careful, go slow.

I know, I know, the thread doesn't match. I like to save my time in stages that aren't necessary. There is time and place to change all the serger threads, the gloves for (own) kids out of old hood isn't one of them.The kids will use them so that I strongly suspect they will be whole when the spring comes. They are gloves made for playing, not a piece of art. :D

Something scrap turned into gloves, I'm very happy!

The rest is the challenge instructions so thank you for my English spoken readers for reading. The pattern is free to use of course but it would be nice to see what kind of gloves/mittens you make with it.

Haasteen ohjeet:

Haasteen tarkoituksena on haastaa kolme blogia tekemään jostakin tietystä aiheesta jotakin kotiin tai itselle päälle. Aiheen valitsee haastaja. Jokainen toteuttaa haasteen haluamallaan tavalla, esittelee sen omassa blogissaan, Voit myös muualla somessa käyttää tagia #diyhaaste2016. Kun haastettu on tehnyt postauksen, laittaa hän linkin haastajan kommenttiboksiin, näin saadaan näkyvyyttä töille. Haastaja voi laittaa halutessaan omaan blogiinsa linkkilistan haastettujen töistä. Voit tehdä myös ohjeen työhösi, mutta se ei ole pakollista.

Minä haastan mukaan Miman ja Madam B.C.:n. Aiheena vanhat neuleet; sukat, lapaset pipot, puserot. Haastakaa rohkeasti mukaan seuraavat!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Some beautiful landscape

We had quite a drive last weekend - four hours drive, twice of course. Dry erase books were in good use again!

On Sunday the trip back seemed quite long, we only stopped to have ice creams and coffee and then were almost at home when it was apparent that the kids just couldn't sit still for the last half an hour. We were in middle of nowhere, definitely no play ground for the kids or coffee for the adults on fancy service station.

But what you have in middle of nowhere is sometimes better, much better than those service stations that look the same all over the country. No surprises when you stop on one near home or after driving that four hours.

There is one great looking bridge that half an hour from our home and close to that bridge we spotted sign for parking place. Those parking places usually look like big bus stops but every now and then there is something more. This was one of those. First we had to turn right and had to drive some hundreds of meters back.

There was nothing fancy just broken, decayed table. But the place! You could see the cars going over the bridge but they didn't see us. We could even let our dog out without leash, something he definitely liked.

Juice boxes for the kids, viewing the landscape for adults. What else do you need for a short stop? Maybe the coffee though...

After that the last half an hour was much easier than without the stop. It was well worth it. :)