Saturday, 15 June 2019

Sometimes it's easy...

... to get caught up with what you're doing!

Although it's been almost a month since my last post I have by no means been sitting here doing nothing... in fact I have completed Miss Doodlebug's Quiet Book... and I'm THRILLED with how it turned out.

So far I've shared the Horse and Apple page HERE:

And who could forget the Umbrella page that caused me so many issues HERE:

So today I thought I'd share a few more of the internal pages of the book.  Each book has it's own special things for Miss Chloe to interact with so she will be learning while she's having fun... yeah I know... I'm such a teacher! LOL  I can't help it... it's just the way I think I guess :)

The next page I made was 'Ella the Elephant'. Ella takes the prize for the page which took me the longest to create.  Officially this page took 12 HOURS from start to finish... but there was a lunch break and two trips to the craft store for supplies within that time frame too!

There's lots of interactivity on this page:
  • Ella's nose has elastic inside so it's super stretchy.
  • The watermelon, carrot and apple go into Ella's mouth and can stay inside.
  • Ella's ear has a 'squeaker' inside it.
  • The zip allows the watermelon, carrot and apple to come out on their elastic cords.
Of course Miss Ella needed some adornments too so she's got a sparkly headdress as well as a jewel ankle bracelet.

My favourite part on this page was actually making the watermelon... totally LOVE how it turned out!

By comparison, the next two pages were pretty quick and easy... they almost sewed themselves together.

Doodlebug LOVES music... she's always dancing around and one of the first things she does when she comes to Nana's house is turn on the radio... she knows EXACTLY how to work the remote too!  Since she loves music so much it was a no-brainer to put something music related in her book and I found a cute pic for a guitar and turned it into a pattern.

Here's how it turned out:

Mikayla chose the huge beads for this guitar and they are so BEAUTIFUL.  They have a glossy finish but look almost metallic... very cool!  Originally I had hoped the interactivity would come from the beads going up and down the guitar string but they were so big there was no room for that so instead they simply spin around on the guitar thread.

My favourite part??  The sun in the corner... I love his super smiley face and it was the very first time I've ever been able to make French Knots work right!

Then I made a fun paint palette.  You might notice (and of course now that I've pointed it out you will definitely notice) that there is no orange snap on the orange paint... but not to worry because the orange snaps arrived a few days later and the orange matched PERFECTLY!

Of course this one is all about colour... and colour matching because each paint splodge has colour coded snaps on them.  There are also two colour coded beads on the ribbons so that Doodlebug can move them up and down the ribbons.

My favourite part... Miss Doodlebug uses the paint brush (which also snaps onto the palette) to 'dip' into the colours and then she pretends to be putting on eye shadow... it's super cute to watch!

I've been sharing each page as I finish it with Miss Doodlebug to see how she like them but she hasn't seen the finished book... that will have to wait for her birthday in late July.

So what do you think so far??

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Well that was fun!

Today was the day of the Screen-printing workshop... and it was AWESOME!  Krystal and I did the workshop together and we have had a great time meeting new people and learning a new skill.  Turns out that screenprinting is FUN!

I didn't take lots of photos during the workshop itself because I was so busy DOING... but I did get a few of Krystal while she was busy.  Don't panic... I asked her if I could share :)

Our tutor today was Sophie and she was lovely... very relaxed and extremely knowledgeable.  She made sure we all experienced lots of success and was more than willing to go the extra mile.

We started off the day using three of Sophie's photo emulsion screen printing trays.  We had three different designs to try and a few different colours.  We printed the designs onto paper to get the idea of HOW it all worked... how much pressure we had to put on the squeegee and how to get different results. Here's what I produced... Design 1 - Sophie uses this one to make Christmas envelopes:

Design 2... have to admit that this pattern didn't particularly inspire me... and orange isn't my favourite colour:

Design 3... totally loved this one! I especially like it on the brown paper... so much nicer in real life than in the photos.

By now we'd had a taste of what screenprinting was all about so Sophie moved us onto making our own stencils to turn into screen prints.

I started off doing a Google hunt... Oh No!!!  How many tangents can a person go on when they start looking at Pinterest!!!  In the end Krystal kindly suggested that I might like to just 'pick something' so that I didn't waste the whole workshop looking at ideas!

I decided on a bird on a branch with some flowers and leaves.  We had to draw our designs out and then go over them with vivid:

Next we transferred our designs to Yupo paper... Esther will be thrilled to hear that I've finally found a use for all the Yupo paper she gave me ages ago!!!

The next step was to cut out the designs.  We actually wanted the negative of the designs so it was much easier to use a craft knife and make our stencils this way.  I spent ages cutting along all my lines and I was super careful to make sure I went slowly and patiently... not easy I can tell you! Patience is not a virtue I possess in any great quantity... sometimes I don't even have it in a tiny quantity! But I persevered and eventually I had something that looked pretty good.

Then we had to tape our cut out stencil onto the screens... again this took patience... a lot of care... and a HEAP of packing tape!!!

I finally had my design ready... I was so excited... I put my paper under the screen... I got my paint ready.... I used the squeegee to spread the paint over my design....  

are you getting as excited as I did???

I lifted the screen... and this is what greeted me:

Nope... nope... nope... are you KIDDING me???  Hmmm... I don't think I like screenprinting after all :(

It turns out that first prints are often like this... so I went ahead and did my second print.... ahhh.. that's better:

Hmmm... maybe screenprinting IS cool... let me try again:

My confidence was returning... so let's try putting my design onto some fabric:

I know the lower part of the branch didn't completely print... but wow!  I MADE that... I'm liking this screenprinting lark!

Let's try a different type of fabric:

I got an even better print with the finer weave fabric!  The possibilities started spinning around in my head!  Sophie provided everyone with a well made cavas tote bag to print our designs on... how could I refuse???

End result... I have about a dozen paper prints of my design and another half dozen on fabric.  I've learnt a new skill and had heaps of fun along the way!  I have to say a BIG thank you to Krystal and Mikayla for such an awesome Mother's Day gift... this really was a fabulous present... thanks girls xxx

Before I go I'll share a couple of Krystal's photos and the design she created.  Krystal taping down the stencil she cut out... and that's our tutor Sophie in the background:

Using the squeegee to spread out the paint:

You can almost see the design on this one:

And here it is... look at all the detail on her design... she clearly has FAR more patience than her mother... and she didn't inherit patience from her father either LOL

So there you have it... a new adventure has begun!

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Some days are diamonds...

... and some days are stone.  Do you remember that John Denver song?  Today I'm going to share one of each.

I had a stone day a couple of weeks ago... I was working on a new page for Doodlebug's Quiet Book and everything I did turned out to be a mistake.  One day I'm going to listen to the little voice in my head when it says... today's not a day for sewing... but on this day I was DETERMINED that I was going to make a particular page... a colourful umbrella complete with raindrops on a rainy day background.

I'd seen a YouTube tutorial... complete with a template...  so I figured I couldn't get much wrong... that was my FIRST mistake folks!

So I got busy cutting felt and making the colourful umbrella... that part actually went really well.

The next step was to sew the umbrella top and handle onto the background page... yep that went smoothly too.

Then I had to make the 'strings' for the beads... and this is the part where things started to go horribly wrong.

My first attempt at this page... don't even ask! I sewed some elastic onto the background for the beads to go on... and when I tested the strings 7 out of 10 pulled right out!  So... I TRIED to shorten my stitch length which resulted in the machine having a MAJOR hissy fit!  The feed dogs disappeared under the presser plate and wouldn't come up... the machine would only sew up and down without moving backwards and forwards AND... the stitch length control moved around aimlessly and clearly wasn't connecting anymore!  End result... my machine is going in for a full service and I bought a simple sewing machine on sale for making my book pages.  As a side note... it turns out that you should get your sewing machine serviced every two years... I bought mine about 14 years ago and have NEVER had it serviced!

So... new machine set up and ready to sew... I decided that I was going to make the strings using silver elastic so there was a bit of sparkle on the page... so I bought 1 meter of silver elastic thinking this would be plenty.  BEFORE I lined the strings up on my page I CUT the elastic into 10 pieces... and then I laid them on my background... ummmm the strings were way too SHORT!

But I persevered... I was thinking "I can work around this"... so I went ahead and sewed the umbrella in place using invisible thread... urgg this stuff is FIDDLY!  Being a new machine I of course didn't know all it's settings and it wasn't until I was half way through that I thought... hmmm those zig zag stitches should be a little closer together... but it's okay... I can work around this!

I sewed on the raindrops... yep that worked totally fine... maybe things will be okay after all.  Ha ha ha... they should turn that into a TUI ad:

So...  I popped the beads onto the strings... just in case you didn't notice... there is ONE bead on the first string... TWO beads on the second string etc etc until you get to TEN beads on the last string.  And then I sewed down the ends... yep it's still looking way to short to me!

And then I tested the page and made a sudden realisation... elastic STRETCHES folks!  It REALLY stretches... as in it stretches out of shape!!!  I was heartbroken... I took a little video to show Mum what had happened because I just couldn't believe it... take a look at this:

It was at this point that I realised that NOTHING was going to make this page look right.  But I'd put so much time and effort into the page... and my umbrella was COOL... those colours really POP against the grey, watery background!

So... I did a quick internet search and found out Spotlight was open for another 30 minutes... Toby and I rushed down in the car and I was able to buy TWO meters of cord that would NOT stretch but would be perfect for the page.

Please indulge me while I share the re-making of this little 20 x 20 cm page of TORTURE!!  One thing that worked in my favour... since I'd already made the page before... I knew EXACTLY what I had to do for each step.

Step 1 and 2: Sew the umbrella top and handle onto the background and then attach the 10 cords and sew in place... see how LONG those cords are!!:

Step 3: Sew the umbrella in place and shorten the zig zag stitch so it's a bit closer together:

Step 4: Sew the raindrops in place:

Step 6: Take the beads off the previous page... put them on the cords and stitch them in place:

By this stage it was late... well after dinner... and I had school the next day... and to be honest I was DONE!  Part of it was that I didn't 100% love the puddles at the bottom of the page I was using as a tutorial... they just weren't what I was wanting... BUT I didn't actually know what I DID want... so best to stop... take a break and figure it out.

Two weeks passed and all of a sudden I knew EXACTLY how I was going to finish my page!  Best of all... it worked perfectly the FIRST time... so here's my finished Umbrella page:

Yay for perseverance!!!

Just before I go I wanted to share a little DIAMOND moment in my life.  Of course today is Mother's Day... and my girls decided they were coming home to make me brunch... Yay!  Krystal made me a beautiful card on behalf of both of them:

PLUS... they got together and bought me a Screenprinting workshop class for next weekend!!  So excited!!

And of course there was the actual brunch... complete with sparkling grape juice:

Before I go I thought I'd share this quick little video of Miss Doodlebug having a taste of sparkling grape juice... this beautiful girl melts my heart every time I see her: 


Happy Mother's Day to all the Mum's out there...  I hope you had a wonderful day full of love and laughter xx

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Houston... we have a problem!

Apple... snap... bugger... blast and bother!  Yep that's pretty much how it went when I was proudly showing a couple of friends the Horse and Apple page I'd made for Doodlebug's book.

As we were snapping the apples on and off... and on and off... and maybe just one more time... on and off the trees... cause grown ups can be kids too you know :) and then snap the snap didn't come back up with the apple... let me show you what I mean:

Yep... that pesky little snap back was still on the snap on the page instead of being on the back of the apple so:

I knew I'd done an order on Ali Express... as you do... for a snap tool and plastic snaps especially for making Doodlebug these pages but I didn't know how long it was going to take... and then it arrived TODAY!!  Soooo happy!

I decided that I was going to try and work out how to fix the apples with minimal damage... and minimal unpicking and re-sewing... and this is where I struck GOLD people! Pure GOLD... the really good stuff... 24-karat GOLD!

But I digress... so it turned out that the solution was SOOOO easy... and the page is now fixed and I'm ecstatically happy with how it's turned out.  Its even BETTER than the original!

Here's what happened... I carefully took the top of the snap off the apple... turns out that it wasn't hard to do... which is a bit of a worry really:

Then I made a hole using my new screw punch... also from Ali Express:

Then I popped the shank of the snap through the hole... placed the snap back in place and PRESS with the snap tool... very easy on my hands and totally SILENT!

Well that was easy... so I carried on doing the other apples.  One of the great things with these plastic snaps is that the back of the snap is the same colour as the front so there's no SILVER on the RED apples anymore... you have NO IDEA how happy that makes me... it's the simple things folks :)

Then it was time to tackle the tree... and the snap back that had gotten stuck.  Again these were SIMPLE and EASY to remove... so I'm pleased this apple snap came apart BEFORE I made Doodlebug's book!  I will definitely not be using metal snaps in anything for my wee cherub :)

I followed the same procedure as I had with the apples... remove snap... make hole with screw punch:

And then I had a BRAIN WAVE... I have a LOT of plastic snaps... in LOTS of colours... so why not use a green snap on the tree???  Me oh my... Brilliant!

The front and back of the snaps are exactly the same... just like on kids clothing... so the back of the page looks good... and it's a nice smooth surface too! p.s. since I made this page I've learnt that lots of people use only WHITE cotton on their bobbins when making Quiet Books so they don't have to change both threads when they stitch different colours... GAME CHANGER!!!  That little tip has save me so much time... and makes the back of the page much neater... it might be an OCD thing but it makes me HAPPY! 

So now I have RED apples and a GREEN tree and the page is back to being finished again:

Want to see my new snap tool and all the little snaps that arrived in the mail???  Of course you do... so here you go:

There's so many colours and I'll be able to match them up with all my felt and fabrics... I can't wait to get 'snapping'!

Oh yes... before I go I thought I'd share with you how good the snaps 'sound'... after all that's part of the fun isn't it... just like popping bubble wrap and having bubble wrap popping races... it's a THING you know!!

I have almost finished another page for Doodlebug's book... can't wait to show you :)

Sunday, 5 May 2019

It's all red carpets... crystal bowls... and tiara's around here!

Ok... there aren't actually any tiara's... but there is definitely a red carpet and a crystal bowl :)

On Thursday night I went to another Syd Workshop in Tauranga... this one was for making bath bombs, bath salts and face masks.

When Toby and I got up on Thursday morning it suddenly hit me that he was going to be at home... by himself... until I got back from Tauranga... which wouldn't be until around 9pm.  For those of you who know my boy... he just wouldn't cope with that at all.

So WE phoned Grandma and the call went something like this:

Toby: Hello Grandma... it's ME... Toby
Grandma: Oh Hello Toby
Toby: Do you like being COLD Grandma?
Grandma: No Toby, I do not like being cold
Toby: Do you like the DARK Grandma?
Grandma: Only if I have a torch Toby
Toby: But what if you DON'T have a torch Grandma?
Grandma: No Toby, I do not like the dark without a torch
Toby: Do you like having dinner LATE Grandma?
Grandma: No Toby, I do not like having dinner late
Toby: Great... so can I come to your house tonight while Mumma goes to her night class?
Lots of laughing
Grandma: Yes Toby, you can come to Grandma's house tonight

So after work I came home... picked up His Royal Highness and headed over to Grandma's house... only to find Grandma had laid out a red carpet for him:

He also had a crystal bowl supplied for his water:

Not to mention a Bird's Eye View of his Mumma heading off to class:

He is one spoiled young man!  Just as well we all love him to pieces :)

So now for the class... I headed down to 'Our Place' for my class and was greeted with a brown paper bag of goodies.  During the class I decided to see if I could get a bit of an arty shot of my jar and pencil... not too bad:

This was my first class on my own but I met some lovely people and ended up working with Georgia and Jackie (mother and daughter).  We had some real laughs during the evening.

Check out these amazing goodies I made during class. I wish you could SMELL through the computer because these bath products smell divine! 

First up we have the bath salts which contain dried flowers (camomile... cornflowers... and rose petals) as well as essential oils (Frankincense and Myrrh):

Next up is the face mask which you mix into a paste when you're ready to use it.  No flowers in this one but it does contain a little Geranium essential oil:

I saved the best for last... this is my bath bomb which contains dried flowers (rose buds, calendula and blue cornflowers) and essential oils (vanilla and frangipani):

I bet you're wondering what that glass beside the bath bomb is all about... right???  Well I decided that if you couldn't SMELL the bath bomb then I would SHOW you how well it fizzes!  So I made a tiny video... nothing fancy... just the video this time:

How cool is that???  I'm dying to let Doodlebug have a little bath bomb in her bath on Monday night when she comes for Family Dinner Night... she will LOVE it!

Speaking of Doodlebug... she came to visit Nana at school on Friday... which just happened to be sausage sizzle day... actually she usually comes to visit at lunchtime... she probably thinks school is all about eating and playing!

Have a great Sunday xx