Friday, September 20, 2013

Handmade Princess and the Pea Play Set

Just For Daisy:: Handmade Princess & The Pea Play Set

Today while I should've been packing for our camping trip. I quickly threw this play set together!!
Well, not entirely from scratch - if you follow my instafeed you might remember I posted these pics with the caption 'I'm making something' a while back...and this is it!

So my lint stuffed felt dolly was already sewn with her vintage fabric dress. I'd also already cut the fabric and wadding for all of the 20 mattresses from some new and thrifted fabrics!
Just For Daisy:: Handmade Princess & The Pea Play Set
Today with Miss Daisy by my side I sewed it all together! We added a piece of the thrifted scarf we cut up for our farm play mat as a blanket. The pillow we found one day while op shopping! The pea is a felt ball from our craft box!

Just For Daisy:: Handmade Princess & The Pea Play Set

Just For Daisy:: Handmade Princess & The Pea Play Set

Isn't she just so cute! I cut the whole project out freehand in an hour or so. I used the great instructions from here to help me make the doll. I used felt for all but her dress and only stuffed her dress but basically the same! It's a great pattern to make a 'real doll' too!

And of course it had to have its own bag! Miss Daisy loves this one which I whipped up quickly (10 minutes maybe!) using this pattern and this one to box the corners at the bottom. (Maybe I'll write a bag tutorial combining the two!)
Just For Daisy:: Handmade Princess & The Pea Play Set
Just For Daisy:: Handmade Princess & The Pea Play Set
And there you have it. The sweetest little play set that even the most beginners of sewers can sew!! Would your little one love a set like this? We're already planning to add some other felt characters!

Here's a quick tutorial on how to make the mattresses. Easy - I promise!

1. Raid your scraps. For each mattress you need two pieces of fabric the same size and one piece of batting. 
Just For Daisy:: Handmade Princess & The Pea Play Set
2. Put the two fabric pieces right side together, edges lined up. 
3. Place batting on top. Pin if desired. 
4. Sew around the outside edge leaving about a 2" gap for turning. 
5. Turn right side out and top stitch around border closing the 2" gap as you go. 

I quilted patterns on some and left others plain. What do you think?
I'm pretty happy with how she turned out!

Just For Daisy:: Handmade Princess & The Pea Play Set

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Handmade Farm Play Mat

Last Wednesday morning I explained to Miss Daisy that later that day we were meeting her Auntie and cousins at the op shop and we would be able to choose some toys or books to buy!
As usual she was quite excited and on this particular morning declared, "I'm going to buy some farm animals..." I was quite happy with her idea but a little unsure that she'd find her specific items but nonetheless we set out in search of farm animals!!

And amazingly we came across these six creatures for just $5. I've seen similar figurines in the shops for almost this amount per animal. They're a great size for toddler hands and look very realistic. These were perfect! We were both happy!

When we got home Miss Daisy took her farm animals around the house with her. Stopping to give them a ride to the tune of Row Row Row your Boat in the washing basket... and also giving them a wash with some antibacterial wipes (something she's grown accustomed to helping me do when we buy op shop toys/books!)

We both agreed that these animals needed a farmyard and a big red barn... so we set about looking in our books for what farms looked like and we also did some google searching for farmyard play sets.

It was then I remembered this fabulous knitted farm made by Kelly of Happy Whimsical Hearts. I loved this at first sight but not being a knitter I thought that this was out of my reach.

A little googling of fabric farm play sets came up with this cute barn which I thought was too fiddly for a one night project! So I decided to pull out some fabric scraps and let Miss Daisy decide on a layout for her farm!

Just For Daisy: Handmade Farm MatJust For Daisy: Handmade Farm Mat

We laid out the fabrics the way she wanted them... with a little guidance from our pictures. I then cut out a backing piece from a cute denim I had lots of... then I sewed them together haphazardly and made a patch worked front... the off shapes were a little tricky to piece/sew... all rectangles might be easier next time - but that's how Miss Daisy wanted it!! So it all stayed!

We had picked up the woolen scarf from the op shop too and I chopped it to create some textured interest around the farm. Yellow hay bales, some mud, flower gardens, vege beds, a pond and a grassy area. I love the way the look against the fabric!

I put some cotton batting in between the quilt top and the denim back and at this stage all I've done is use my overlocker to finish the edge. I'm hoping to do some binding like I would if I made a regular quilt but that will come with time!
Just For Daisy: Handmade Farm Mat

It's provided so much fun for both girls and it's interesting to see each of their interpretations of both the animals and the farm. I love watching and listening to them play!

Definitely one to try at home with some of your scraps! :) A fairly simple project and one that your child will love no matter the quality of your stitching!

Here's how I found it last night. Abandoned for the night but still being played with each day by both girls with their own additions to 'the farm' constantly growing!

Just For Daisy: Handmade Farm Mat

Monday, September 16, 2013

Recipe:: Strawberry and Apple Crumble Cake

I'm terrible with birthdays. Gifts are usually late and I can list so many times late had actually been months rather than years!

This week though I sat down for about an hour and did my mums cute gift from start to finish. A sewing success. And a gift she'll receive today - on her birthday! 

I'm also making her cake and I couldn't go past this one! We made it a week or so ago for one of our neighbours birthdays and it was a huge hit. It still tasted great 4 days later when some relatives came for afternoon tea! That's a success!

What you'll need::
200g butter, chopped, room temperature
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature 
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup plain flour
3/4 cup milk

200g strawberries
1 apple, sliced thinly
1/2 cup plain flour
60g butter
1/4 cup brown sugar

What you'll do::
1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla in good processor or with electric beaters until creamy and pale. Lots!
2. Add eggs one at a time and process 'til smooth. 
3. In a separate bowl combine flours. Fold in butter mixture and milk. 
4. Spoon batter into a greased/lined springform pan. Smooth the top. 
5. Arrange apple slices on top. Then strawberries. I like to push some strawberries into the batter so you'll see them when the cake is cut! :)
6. In a small bowl crumble the butter into flour with your hands until fine. Add brown sugar and stir well. 
7. Sprinkle the sugar mix evenly over cake. 
8. Bake in preheated 180'C oven for 1 hour or until a skewer comes our clean. Cool in pan then transfer to a wire rack or plate!
Seriously. This one should go on your to do list. Then I'm sure like me you'll do it again and again! You could change up the fruit on top to your own taste preference!

Here's my little helper. She was super patient awaiting the bowls readiness for licking! I love her genuine interest in baking - she's amazing!

And here are some proud mama shots! My little peekaboo and Miss Daisy painting Nanna's wrapping paper. Then writing (tracing solo) a birthday message. Her letter formation is really improving and I love how she verbalises how to 'draw' each one. 

Happy Birthday Nanna!! xox 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Handmade: Fabric Hanging Hand Towels

It's my mum's birthday on Monday... I've had these in mind for her for awhile since I pinned them way back! Mum has used the pretty Granny made market stall crocheted hand towels for sooo long. She's got some that are very loved and most are made with tea towels so aren't super absorbent for drying hands.

I decided to make these for her birthday gift... but I can't crochet! Thankfully this pattern is perfect because the hanging component is sewn not crocheted! Yay - fabric hanging hand towels! And for extra absorbency I decided that I would use bathroom hand towels instead... something my Mr's Nanna has done for us and is great!

The pattern comes from Kleios Belly . If you read here often you'd know in cases like this and this that I don't have a printer that works! Well, I couldn't print this pattern off either... but decided to just sketch it out myself. I sketched it all as one piece, so it looked a funny shape like this knot hat pattern here! It was easy to freehand so if you can't print still go ahead with this great project!

I followed the instructions over there too and they were great, the only thing I didn't do was gather the top of the towel. Instead I folded it in thirds so that it would slip into the bottom of the casing I'd made! :) Easy peasy! (I also machine stitched the buttons on! I love it!! What a time saver!!)

A quick and simple gift but one that's useful and I hope is well received! :)

Here they are hanging happily on my oven... with bad 10pm light! :) 
But seriously, they're cute and they're now on the handmade gift in an hour list!
Great for using up fabric off cuts!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On my heart: Poppy and Pot plants

So when you're a blogger. You might just find yourself kneeling on the bathroom floor at 10:30 to take a shot of your bathroom sink. Yes. That.  Here it is. Almost fully reno'd. We always leave a little trim for a year or so later!! Watch the wolf Miss Daisy added to the blackboard door... And I'm pretty sure the glass needs cleaning!

Don't worry. While I was down there I zoomed in a little. 
You might find it hard to decide if I'm going to blog about the tap or the plant. Shame on you if you've not read my title! 

It's the pot plant that had me down on one knee. You see it didn't always look this green. It didn't always live inside. And it didn't always have a pot. 

And now I'm laying in bed typing in a dark room on my iPhone... Listening to my hubby breathing as he sleeps next to me and tears are rolling down my cheeks. 

This plant is special. Miss Daisy broke it off at Nanna and Poppy's (Hubby's grand's) house some months back and of course in true Pop fashion he made some gruff joke and ruffled Miss Daisy on the head and left her questioning his reaction. Followed quickly by another trademark 'come here you' and a cuddle proving he was joking after all!
Then he told her how if she planted this one it would grow. She was amazed!

Me? Well I wasn't very hopeful because we aren't particularly green thumbed. 
But she insisted it would grow. So she carefully nursed it home, falling asleep and dropping it somewhere along the way, it spent the night on the car floor. 
The following day she recalled Pop's instructions and we retrieved it and stuck it in the veggie patch. Literally. 

It stayed this way for a number of weeks. Getting pulled in and out a few times by Li'l Peppa. Over and under watered by Miss Daisy. And generally speaking, forgotten by me. 

Until Poppy got sick. Real sick. Real fast. 
We had 11 days I think, before he passed away, in his home, with his family. 

I had 10 years with him as my Pop. Almost the same as I had with my own Grandad except one was as a child. One an adult. I remember both dearly but differently. And I'm so pleased one had the joy of loving my children.  

Did I mention tears?

So you can imagine the plant took on more significance to me in those 11 days. For me. For Miss Daisy. For what I would tell Miss Daisy in the future. So I grabbed this pot I'd thrifted a year or so ago. Planted the 'cutting' lovingly and willed it to grow. It spent its first little while in the yard. However, we all agree that it's been a beautiful addition to our bathroom. And I don't think it'll ever go back outside. We love it too much!

It started as a little broken piece. Snapped off by a careless act of a child. 

It has become so much more.

Monday, September 9, 2013

On my heart:: Whining and Weaning

I think my precious baby might be weaning herself!

The last week or so she's been having a very quick nursing session at bedtime and then popping off and very keenly jumping into bed. She's still been waking once (sometimes twice!) and feeding in the night up until last night where she refused to settle (at 4am) and refused to feed. I managed to feed her and put her into bed again by 6:30! Too early!

Tonight she threw another amazing tantrum as I offered her the breast... a big tantrum... so when I was warming up Miss Daisy's milk I thought I'd offer Li'l Peppa a bottle of cow's milk too. Well she cuddled up on my knee, downed the lot and then happily jumped into bed.

I'm certain she'll wake tonight. Her eye teeth are all coming through and they're terribly sore...particularly at night. I'm wondering if she'll accept the comfort of nursing or if she'll once again refuse.

Breastfeeding has been a big part of the last 3 years of my life. Miss Daisy was still nursing at bedtime up until she was 19-20 months old... just before Li'l Peppa was born. I've felt mixed feelings with both girls. On the most part enjoying the connection and convenience of breastfeeding but at other times feeling 'stuck' and unable to do things with ease sometimes because of that connection.

However, tonight has made me consider once again how fleeting these early stages are and how quickly my first baby girl has changed into a kind, beautiful and articulate young girl... and Li'l Peppa is quickly coming into her own too!

What age were your babies when they weaned off the breast or bottle?

PS. It would appear I'll be going to bed looking a little like Pamela Anderson tonight... and waking up even bigger!

Note: I wrote this on Saturday night and thought it had published... it hadn't.. so I've added a picture from today and published! :) She's feeding better the last two nights so hopefully this is old news! ;)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

On my heart: camping with kids

We are long time campers... We've camped in many places in Australia in a variety of tents and a variety of sites. Powered sites, unpowered sites, ensuite sites, remote bush sites, really remote bush sites and really really remote bush sites!

Our girls have both camped since they were 5 months old and have endured some Winter camping as well as glorious Summer experiences. 

This past weekend we took off to the coast and enjoyed two nights of relax along with friends and enjoying our beautiful 'Spring' weekend! 

I find the packing part can be a bit tedious and Friday was hard because the girls did not nap and my efforts at packing were constantly quashed!

We've generally always been able to bring the cloth nappies with us except for when we head out bush for extended periods. This weekend was a breeze and we brought back a small wash bag filled with nappies that are now clean and back in the drawer. So much better than convincing myself disposables would be easier - they wouldn't and that was 8 less nappies in landfill!

We recently upgraded to a camper trailer so we were happy to give that a test run on the weekend too! I'm hoping this makes our packing even easier as we'll now store much of our gear in there ready to roll! Bring on the organisation!
I'd love to know your camping with kids tips if you've got any?!?

Here's my top ten! (It got long!)

1. Do it. Don't let kids stop you from heading away camping. Start where you're comfortable and get more adventurous as you go! Glamping with power and toilets is perfectly acceptable!

2. Bring glow sticks - we pop them on our girls at night (necklace or bracelets) and they're easy to keep track of. Colour code your kids if you wish!

3. Accumulate gear slowly. It can be pricey to buy all the gear at once. Start with the basics and add to your collection as you go. Store gear well so they don't get damaged when not in use. eBay and gumtree (Oz sites) are great because you can pick up good gear from people who are no longer camping! 

4. Bring some of home with you. We took Miss Daisy's bed this time! Not the whole bed - her mattress and bedding (toddler size) and she was so happy! (We have the car to do this!) but also packed toys, bikes and books from home. 

5. Include kids. We love giving our girls opportunity to be involved actively in our time away. Collecting sticks for the fire, preparing food, washing up. All is fun while you're away!
6. Have good systems. We use plastic tubs to categorise our gear. Now we have the camper we'll fine tune this even more. Food prep box, ropes/pegs/poles, etc. Very easy when you know quickly where to find things!

7. Keep a list. We started to keep a list (in iPhone notes) of what we felt like we needed while we were away. This helped us to make our wish list and needs list for future trips! :)

8. Take good friends. We have such wonderful friends and family who we head away with regularly. Our best camping buddies love our kids and our kids love them! We're blessed to have two extra pairs of hands! xx

9. Do it! It's cheap (sometimes) and a great way to meet people! We've seen many remote places with our tent and 4WD. 

10. Not a tip but more a bit of anecdotal fun!! If you've read this far you're tops!
Do you think that setting up a tent is a significant marriage tester/builder?!? We've had some interesting tent pitching discussions!! How about you???

Tell me your best camping experiences. Or your worst??

And those great friends can take great photos. This beautiful Roo had a bulging pouch and a curiosity to my baby girl bounding around the beach. Very friendly! Thanks to PM for this great pic! Perfect day!