Today I’ve got some really exciting news to share – I’ve been featured in Papercrafter magazine! A whole two-page spread has been dedicated to my tips, ideas and projects and I couldn’t be happier! I’ve taken some photos of the feature so that you can see what it looks like and maybe have a read of the pages. Continue reading “I’ve been featured in Papercrafter magazine!” »
What do you get for your niece and nephew when you’re the coolest aunt in the world? Why, handmade teddy bears, of course! It’s a project that has been six months in the making and now the bears are finally wrapped up and flying across the sea to reach the little ones in Ireland in time for Christmas. Now, I’m not saying that it took me six months to actually sew the bears – the making part is quite a simple process (thanks to the new teddy bear pattern I used) – it was all the planning that went into the project that took some time and I’ll tell you why.I wanted to make a keepsake teddy bear for each child, so I wanted them to be personalised in some way. When I first opened up the pattern I could see that it would be easy to make the pattern pieces fit into items of my niece and nephew’s clothing. What better way to make a personalised gift, and to upcycle old clothing at the same time, than to reuse their baby clothes to make them a teddy bear? I asked their parents if they had any of their tiny outfits left, and luckily they did. I asked for non-stretchy items (which are easier to sew) and it wasn’t long before a bag of baby clothes arrived. I got the newly launched Charlie teddy bear pattern from Amazing Craft and studied the instructions from front to back before getting started. There’s only a handful of pattern pieces and the construction seemed so much more straightforward than bear patterns I’ve used in the past. I was eager to get started and see just how the pattern worked. I’m pleased to report that this is the most simple-to-use set of instructions, and having fewer pattern pieces meant much less tacking, pinning and fiddling. I whizzed up the arms and legs in no time at all. The body is the only piece that has any darts in it, and even then there’s only two small darts so it’s really uncomplicated to construct. I guess the pattern does what it says on the cover – it truly is ‘bear making for beginners’ and it couldn’t be easier to follow. It’s available as printed instructions (which I got, at £6.99) or as a digital download to print at home for only £4.99. The little trousers were the perfect base to make the arms and legs of the teddies – the linen fabric wasn’t at all stretchy and I could make a feature out of the details on the trousers. I positioned the pattern pieces so that my niece’s bear would have the spotty trim from the trousers around the outside of the paws, and my nephew’s bear has tiny pockets on the legs. I could even reuse the lining of my nephew’s trousers to make a soft inner arm, and I added little monster designs from his tiny t-shirt to make contrasting paws and feet. I used a floral baby-grow to make the insides my of niece’s bear’s arms and even the bears’ ears have a patterned underside. I wanted the bears to be safe for the little ones to carry around, so I got some safety eyes and plastic safety joints from Amazing Craft. This means that the head, arms and legs are poseable and the eyes can’t be bitten off because they pop together and clamp into place. In fact, I couldn’t even get the joints apart again if I tried! My tip for using these is to get the position of the arms and legs right first time, because you won’t be able to take them off again if they’re in the wrong place, so double-check the position before pushing the joints together. Soaking the joints in hot water for a minute will make them a littler easier to pop together. The plastic joints are also safe to go in the washing machine, which is good news because we all know how mucky kid’s teddies get!
We’ve had another fantastic month of sunshine in July but the hot weather didn’t lure our regular inspiration challengers away from their projects. Here’s a catch up on what we made this month on the theme of Maneki Neko – Lucky Cats.
1. Andy Greenacre from art blog AndyGtheArtist tells me that he spotted this Kokeshi doll painting kit in a charity shop at the start of the month and immediately thought of the Inspiration Challenge. He snapped it up and set to work transforming the blank wooden doll into a lovely oriental friendship doll using the paints provided in the kit. He tells me it was a quick and easy project (thanks to quick drying paint and hot weather!) and he is pleased with the results, having never really painted 3D objects in the past.
2. Lucy from LucyLovesYa blog went the whole hog and got a tattoo! She was planning a new tattoo of this oriental Kokeshi Doll prior to the challenge being announced and realised that it would be the ideal contribution to the Inspiration Challenge this month. So while I don’t expect you all to rush out and get tattoos, this is a pretty funky creative project and one that I probably won’t ever be able to top (ouch!). I just hope it doesn’t hurt too much Lucy!
3. The lovely Will from Abakhan fabrics made his second-ever sewing project for the inspiration challenge – making an envelope clutch bag from oriental fabric. The bag isn’t quite finished yet, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Will finishes off his new project and I hope to be able to share a photo of it soon!
4. Katy from EllaBetsyBoo (check out her shop on Etsy) embroidered this Maneki Neko design one of her two-year-old’s t-shirts, based on a template she found on Pinterest; “I really enjoyed trawling Pinterest and Etsy for ideas, and it’s the first time I’ve stitched freehand without following a pattern. It was fun choosing threads and styling it a bit!”. I think this is a fantastic way to update a t-shirt and I have just got some new embroidery hoops from wholeport, so I think I’d like to give this technique a go soon!
5. Seeing as this month’s theme was a total self-indulgence of my favourite things, I had no trouble in deciding to make Maneki Neko t-shirt that I have not been able to stop wearing since! I found this cute cartoon drawing of a lucky cat holding a fish online (by Articubone) and printed it onto t-shirt transfer paper. This sounds like a much easier process than it actually was, due to my printer breaking half way through and the paper continually getting jammed in the machine. But once I’d used my in-laws’ printer to get it printed, it was a pretty simple process. I followed the instructions to cut the image down leaving a 5mm border and ironed it onto a plain t-shirt. After only a few minutes of ironing and cooling, I had a brand-new t-shirt with my favourite maneki neko (with a similar colouring to my cat Muffin) on it!
And I hope you haven’t forgotten that this month there was a prize to be won from JoaniesGifts.co.uk online gift shop. Joanie has very kindly donated a prize of one of these small ceramic lucky cats below (I have actually bought one of these from Joanie in the past and they are just lovely!) and a super-cute maneki-neko purse. The winner has been drawn by Random.org from all the projects received in July and the winner is number 4 – Katy 🙂 Congratulations!
And now it’s the summer break and what better excuse to join in with the Inspiration Challenge?! How about getting the children involved too while they are on their school holidays? Why not take your projects outside this month and enjoy the warm weather while it’s here – grab a picnic blanket, your crafting weapons of choice, and some SPF cream and get to work on this month’s new challenge theme: vintage wedding dress. Lucy has kindly sent in this photo (below) of her vintage wedding dress and bolero as the starting inspiration for August’s challenge – very appropriate seeing as we are at the height of wedding season and I’m celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary this month so I’m already feeling all wedding-y! So get thinking about what you might make around the theme of vintage wedding dresses and let me know how you’re getting on with your projects – tweet me all month at @CassiefairyTutu and send me your finished items at the end of August. This month we have been offered a lovely little prize from Abakhan – the amazing online haberdashery and fabric shop – check out their website now and I’ll share the prize details with you a littler later in the month!
I hope you have a lovely summer and happy creating! 🙂
- My beach hut cushion + the Inspiration Challenge (cassiefairy.com)
- A special prize from Joanie’s Gifts for July’s Inspiration Challenge (cassiefairy.com)
- A beach hut inspired story by author Amanda Addison (cassiefairy.com)
In truth, I hardly ever get time to read them. I was given a copy of Company magazine before it was released when I attended the blogger awards at the end of May but I still haven’t got round to reading it yet. My friends and family pass on the magazines they have finished with, so I have an optimistic little pile of things to look at, but I can’t seem to sit still for long enough to have a proper read.
So this month I have decided to make a little more time for myself and have invested in issue twenty-nine of Mollie Makes. As I flicked through it in the shop, I was actually about to put it back on the magazine rack (for the reasons above, no offence to the magazine intended at all) when a page caught my eye. It was this tutorial for an American quilt and I have been collecting scraps of fabric to make this exact type of quilt all year, so that sold it to me and I handed over my cash there and then.
I’m also pleased with the little giveaway project on the front of the magazine – something else that I will need to sit still and concentrate on this month! I’m suitably impressed that a needle and thread is even included in this little fishy keyring kit, so there really is no excuse for not doing it. I will let you know how I get on… and now I’ve promised that, I’ll actually have to do it!
So, tell me, what do like to read when you get a spare moment to yourself? Do you subscribe to any magazines? Any recommendations for me to try next month? Leave me a comment below or tweet me @CassiefairyTutu 😀
Other crafty articles
- June’s Inspiration Challenge update and new inspiration for July (cassiefairy.com)
- May’s Inspiration Challenge update and new inspiration for June (cassiefairy.com)
- Don’t forget May’s inspiration challenge – vintage sewing machines (cassiefairy.com)
- Inspiration Craft Challenge for May – get involved! (cassiefairy.com)