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