With my renewed enthusiasm for creating it is probably time to start sharing some of the useful things I find on the internet with you all too. This week it is free patterns for crocheted baskets. I love working with thick repurposed t-shirt yarn – it works up so quickly so you get almost instant satisfaction for your efforts. I have to admit that so far my attempts at making my own yarn haven’t been great, but I will keep persevering, and in the meantime have found some great commercially produced yarn to practise with. I made these two baskets (without a pattern) to hold all the wool that was accumulating around my lounge room! I also have crocheted baskets that hang in the mudroom to hold hats and gloves, in bedrooms to hold assorted things on desks, and have a small basket made of left over pieces of yarn that I use to collect eggs in each morning! These baskets are really versatile!
I also have crocheted baskets that hang in the mudroom to hold hats and gloves, in bedrooms to hold assorted things on desks, and have a small basket made of left over pieces of yarn that I use to collect eggs in each morning! These baskets are really versatile!
Here are links to a great range of patterns I found in my searching on the internet for inspiration:
Your calendar is not wrong. Today is not Friday. However….my submission to the Handmade Holiday series on Sew Mama Sew – Eco-friendly Gifts– is on their site today, so I thought it would be useful to have a complementary list to celebrate this event!
Looking after the environment, reducing waste, re-purposing and re-cycling, being aware of our eco-system and, as my boy says, looking after nature, are all things that are important in this nest. In fact, for most of my friends and family, these things are automatic these days, and form part of our everyday life. We have a water-tank, raise chickens, compost, grow vegies (with variable success), recycle, etc. Being able to make gifts that incorporate these principles is great – both from an ethical point of view, but also from a budgetary one! In my search for eco-friendly gift ideas for my submission to Sew Mama Sew I found wonderful ideas. Not all of them could be published on their site, so today I provide you with the supplementary list of ideas – and hopefully some inspiration for other ways of making eco-friendly gifts, decorations and having a cleaner, greener Christmas!
Lacy at Every Day is a New Day has a tutorial for making Resuable-washable paper towel. I love this concept. One step past having a pile of cloths to use for spills – making a roll that is convenient to ‘tear off’ and use instead of paper towel is a great gift for the eco-friendly domestic goddess in your life!
Vicky Meyers has a blog full of wonderful ideas about how to make recycled bags, however it was the idea of a Recycled denim Foot Muff that caught my attention. A great gift for the hipster in your life!
Of course denim can be used to make many wonderful re-purposed gifts. This denim bag from Art Bar is another great idea.
Fabrics from favourite clothes, or sheets can also be re-purposed into pillow covers. The Creative Place has a great tutorial for making a Repurposed Clothes College Pillow.
The tutorial from Happy Hour Projects – Resuable lined snack baggies is a great present for children and parents alike. It shows you how to use plastic shopping bags to make a plastic liner for a snack bag, so it is doubly eco in my books – reducing plastic bag waste in landfill, and providing an alternative to using more plastic bags and wrap! Gifting it with some homemade treats inside would be a great eco-gift!!
Another way of using up plastic shopping bags is to re-purpose them into ‘plarn’ – plastic yarn – and then crochet something new from them! At Sustainable Baby Steps there is a great tutorial on how to do this!
The number of tutorials for re-using old woollen jumpers (sweaters) is large. Here is one with a bit of a difference – just great for an eco-baby – Felt Block Rattle – My Poppet
On the same site there is a great tutorial for making your own Dress Up Girl.
Excess CD’s can be used to make very pretty coasters, using this tutorial from Crafts by Amanda
Other gift ideas that are eco-friendly, are a bit like the non-paper paper towel at the top of this list. Making things that replace disposable objects is always good for the environment. One of my favourite things to make for use around the home is crocheted dish cloths. I use bamboo yarn as it is super absorbant. When you have used a cloth for the day, its just goes in the wash and comes up fresh again. One of my wise friends has 7 in 7 different colours – one for each day of the week. A gift like that would be a beautiful thing to make for an eco-conscious friend or family member. I have used this tutorial from Bubblegirl – dishcloth pattern with great success but there are a plethora of patterns out there to use (maybe I will put my collection into another list one day!).
In addition to the market bag tutorial linked on my Sew Mama Sew post, there are, of course, a list of tutorials for market bags here on this site that I prepared a few months ago! Where I live the shops charge you for providing a shopping bag, so we carry our own fabric bags instead. It has reduced landfill and makes us all think twice about using plastic bags. They make great presents!
When it comes to wrapping gifts, the possibilities for being eco-friendly are endless! I was reminded recently of different ways of wrapping presents that I had employed for gifts about 20 years ago. The fact that one of the recipients still remembered and treasured the effort I had gone to in making her gifts so special gave me great joy. Some of the ideas I used included brown paper with hand drawn and painted decorations, calico fabric parcels tied with string, handpainted or stamped paper, etc. If I had access to these links back then, who knows what else I would have done!
In a few weeks time the boy will be turning 7. Oh my! My baby is really not a baby anymore. And then it is a month until Christmas. (Now I need to lie down!) So it is time to start thinking about gifts. Again! I do love handmade gifts for my kids. Last Christmas the boy was very upset when he opened his Christmas Eve present and found a pair of pjs I had made him. “A fabric present?” he spat in horror. Once I had him calmed down I explained that I had made the pyjamas for him with my love, so that when he slept in them he was surrounded by my love. He has embraced the concept with relish and joy and is so excited to wear or use things that I have made him now, and reminds me that it means that he is carrying my love with him. But…… there is a limit to the number of gifts that you can sew for a boy, even one as gorgeous as mine, as they get older. And to be honest, for a girl too! But I am determined to find special things to make for my special boy, to complement the Lego I will no doubt give in and purchase for him……again.
This list is designed to work in the same way that the one for 9 year old girls worked – to help me filter through ideas and distill some of my own to suit my boy. (With the girls list I took the concept of a reading nook and adapted it to make curtains for the middle chick’s top bunk to give her a space of her own.) And hopefully it will help some of you with the holiday season creeping rushing up on us!
My boy may be extra energetic (truly hyperactive!) but I think that all boys this age need the ability to run around and make noise, and burn off energy. So I have been thinking of gifts that will enable that.
I also think that a satchel, with an adjustable strap to be worn across the body, with lots of external pockets would be great for carrying Nerf guns and bullets, or going on an adventure, or a variety of other outdoor activities. There are a number of patterns you could adapt to this by just adding pockets, but here are a couple of suggestions.
Of course if they are going to be outside, then a hat is a must. Being able to personalise it will help. (I am thinking that a Star Wars hat might be just the thing to encourage my boy to keep his hat on!)
Some games for indoors are required too. I need to accept the reality that my chicks are going to play with their electronic games, in the mix of all the things that they do. So a cover for a DS, and/or an iPod touch are always useful.
to try and emulate this picture (which despite much searching I cannot find the originator of to give credit to.)
If I ask my boy what his favourite games or Lego are at the moment he will answer with one of the following – Star Wars, Ninjago, Chima, Spiderman, or Minecraft . So this pillowcase might go down well!
I also found this great idea on Pinterest – but cannot find the source. Under the photo it says
“Science Experiment Tool Box! Made an 8 year old boy birthday gift with ingredients, supplies (all from the dollar store), & instructions for 4 experiments: make a lava lamp, balloon inflator, foam fountain, & gak (dragon slime). I had some 7 year old help with the labels ☺. Thank you Science Bob!”
In addition to the links that I provided in my post on the Science Party, the site referred to, Science Bob has a great list of experiments!
Ideas that have already been successful for him, but might be useful for you to consider:
I have also previously made him a Jedi Knight cloak – and it is the source of much envy by his friends who visit. I didn’t do this from a link, but used a pattern that I had already purchased and used to make Harry Potter robes (of course!). Oh – that is another idea, as he does love his HP robe. The pattern I use for these and other costumes is Simplicity 1583 – I just adjust the sleeve width depending on the character!
And finally, many of the ideas that I used for his sister in this List, would also work for him – just with different colours or fabric.
So – I hope that you can find some ideas in here for the young men in your life. Now to narrow down the options for my boy, in time for his birthday!!
Oh dear. The middle chick turns 9 next week and I am drawing a blank about what to make for her (let alone buy for her!) Last year I made her bunting with her name on it, and a creativity suitcase. This year? I am just not sure! So I decided to prepare a list of the links I find and share them with you in an effort to find inspiration for myself! Let’s hope it works!
These days my nearly 9 year old is very fashion conscious. She puts together her own outfits with more style than many adults – layering colours, textures and different fabrics to create her own ‘look’. I think that some hair accessories to assist in her styling wouldn’t be out of order!
Part of developing her own style means that my nearly-nine year old is a ‘tween’. So it is time to update the bedroom décor and let her have her own space to express herself. Some of these accessories might just do it!
Hmmmm….. perhaps making her some things that fit her ‘style’ might work! With summer coming on she definitely needs a new hat – and is very picky about what she will and won’t wear. Perhaps if I make one with funky fabric that might work!
Like so many young people my tween has an embarrassment of electronic gadgets. A cover to assist in protecting them would be just the ticket (and in fact now that I remember, something that she has been asking for! Yes, yes – insert the embarrassed face of a forgetful mother here!) Kindle Cover – Diary of a Young Teacher
My middle chick loves to have her ‘own’ things now rather than sharing in the communal household things. She also loves to ‘borrow’ her mother’s heat pack for all sorts of imagined ills….. so maybe she needs her own!
Edited to remove links to the site WhipUp.net which has been closed.
The good news is that after spending the last hour or so preparing this list, I DO know what I am planning to make for my middle chick! Now to see if I can pull it off before she returns from her holiday! I hope that the list helped you a bit too!
Although we are a few days away from the official beginning of Spring, the weather has decided to anticipate the change a few days early, and it is beautiful!! The sort of weather where you want to be outside, pottering in the garden, going for walks and being energetic. I love it! Here’s hoping that it will last and not revert to the gloomy winter conditions again!
Today’s list of finds are well and truly for me to make as gifts, not for personal use! When I had my chicks I had a fabulous nappy bag (diaper bag for some) that my sister gave me – a black, quilted, backpack, lined in plastic lined materials, with great pockets. I found that having my hands free was wonderful. And it didn’t look like a nappy bag. I have written before that I think that diaper bags can be sophisticated, with no little duckies or teddy bears etc. Having this cool black bag meant that I felt a bit groovy instead of completely lost in motherhood. So it is with this in mind that I have collected these patterns for diaper bags. The ‘cool’ factor is defined by the fabric that you choose, and therefore only limited by your imagination!
Well, the suspense is over. I have prepared a list of Friday finds after all. The collection this week is a list of tutorials for making skirts. For grown ups! While many of the patterns and theories and lessons can be used to make skirts for little people, the aim of these are skirts for big people. Like me! I am so over this winter and it’s dreariness. I keep looking at my cotton wrap skirts with longing. Waiting for the day I can wear them with bare legs and sandals. A list of patterns might keep me going until the season is right to wear them again. Or I might find one for a winter skirt! Let’s see.
I think that Fridays are my favourite day of the week. Work is over, the weekend is stretching out in front of me, full of possibility, and there is nothing that ‘has’ to be done other than self imposed things like posting a blog post! When looking through my collection of ideas that I go to when I need inspiration I realised that I have collected a large number of links to crochet market bags. I have yet to make one, but love the concept, and, once I have finished the ripple afghan (soon, I promise, soon!) I intend to make a couple. I have made a crochet beach bag as a gift for my sister, and loved the process, so think that market bags would be similarly delightful.
On a cold and blustery day, curling up on the couch and crocheting away is so appealing… To assist, here is my list!
I don’t know about you, but I seem to have an endless collection of scraps of fabric, pieces of yarn, pattern pieces, cotton threads, pencils and tape measures that I ‘must’ keep, but that seem to take over my work space. I have tried various methods of keeping them organised, tidy and under control, with varying degrees of success. I think that my next attempt will be to make myself some lovely bright fabric baskets or buckets, so that the odds and ends look lovely, rather than chaotic! I have gathered up a collection of links to free tutorials to do just that, so thought I would share them with you as I sort through them and identify which ones I will make to address my current state of disorder!
Some of you might recall that some time ago a friend asked me to make a frilly apron for her to give to her sister-in-law. At the time I couldn’t find exactly what I wanted in a pattern, so took bits and pieces from other patterns to make the apron look how I thought it should look. It is my intention to prepare a tutorial for that apron soon (any excuse to make another one!) but in the meantime thought I could share some of the links that I found that others have shared for patterns for aprons.
I quite like the resurgence of the apron as a fashion statement of sorts! I haven’t worn one for years, but lately have started pulling my old, dated, aprons out of the drawer when I am preparing the evening meal. I have also discovered that they are quite handy when sewing, to protect my clothes from layers of thread and fabric dust. My chicks all love to wear aprons when they are cooking. The two girls have great ones that my sister made them last Christmas, but the boy doesn’t have one of his own at the moment. (He is very big into doing things that ‘men’ do, in this house where he is surrounded by females, so it will have to be a ‘man apron’ I think!)
The collection that follows provides free patterns for a wide variety of styles – sure to be something for everyone in here! As usual, at the end of the list I have included links to lists that other bloggers have prepared on the same topic!
I am really enjoying finding my various collections of online tutorials to share with you. After a fairly consistent theme of bags, bags and more bags over the last few weeks I thought it might be time for a change! Before I became hooked on bags I started on patchworking quilts. I am yet to develop the bravery to tackle actually quilting one myself (I have outsourced that so far) but am working up to it! The quilts I have made so far have all been made through using various online free resources. The tips and hints I have picked up that way have been amazing!
The four quilt tops that I have made so far are:
Today I thought it might be useful to share my collection of links to the tutorials that I have used, and others that I have read, or pinned, to use in the future!