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!
Celebrate your little girl’s love of fairies and all things magical by turning her bedroom into a beautiful fairy cove, no matter what size the room is or your pocket. Here are a few simple ways you can add a touch of fairy dust and sparkle to your girl’s bedroom that she will love and cherish.
Drape, Drape, Drape
There’s no easier way to create a dreamy, soft atmosphere than to drape billowy, light fabrics around the room. Use cream or white coloured sheer fabric that you can buy cheaply to create curtains for windows or attach to the ceiling with simple hooks and string to drape over the bed. Your little one will love entering into her luxury little chamber at night with a simple draped covering.
Speaking of beds, the sleeping space in a small room can often take over it completely. You can find plenty of affordable mid-sleeper beds for kids with perfect fairy themes that are often multi-purpose as they feature a desk, storage drawers or play spaces to boost the functionality of the room.
One advantage of your little girl being into fairies is that there are endless amounts of cheap and fun craft activities that they can do. Spend some playtime getting creative and making fairy-themed decorations for her room like fairy drawings with real flowers that you can frame and hang. Make simple hanging vines out of green string and tissue paper leaves or cut symmetrical butterfly wing paper shapes that your kids can paint or colour with their own designs (don’t forget the glitter!). You can either hang their crafted ornaments around the room or place them carefully on windowsills or surfaces. Another clever idea is constructing a toadstool seat out of reclaimed wood and an up-turned salad bowl!
Wall of Lights
No fairy bedroom is complete without soft, twinkling fairy lights. These can be bought cheaply, especially after Christmas time and why not create a fairy light wall by hanging the lights across in a zig-zag pattern with a couple of nails. You can even add tiny wooden pegs that they can use to hang their favourite pictures or some of their crafts up on the wall too.
Your little one is bound to love all of these additions to their room. Not only do they add to the enjoyment of their own space but it also shows how much you care about what interests them. It’s easy to go out and spend loads of money on expensive decorations and interior designs but by creating your own you can get your kids more involved in the process, adding that personal, heartfelt touch to your family home.