Slippers for my sweets

Earlier this week I noticed that the boys’ feet were getting rather chilly. A root through the hosiery drawer turned out one pair of slippers, but not a second. After a few minutes trawling through ebay I realised that even to buy a pair second hand, with the extortionate P&P costs involved these days, would cost me around a fiver, which seems daft when I haven’t really a fiver to spare. So I set to work trawling the interwebs for some simple slipper tutorials.

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My first pair of slippers, and the pair which wee Hal is currently sporting, were based on this tutorial. Simple, quick and effective, these were made from a felted baby cardigan that I bought off ebay without realising that the seller had already shrunk it down in the wash – and so it was too small for my boys. I repurposed some elastic cut from a jersey fitted sheet  which gave a pleasing finished effect as well as putting an existing scrap to use. I’m reasonably pleased with the results.

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However, whilst searching for slipper patterns, I also found these little beauties. I was all ready to buy this pattern, when I realised that it was sold out! So, I’ve been devising my own pattern loosely based on the design. The first pair came out a little wonky, but the second pair are shaping up well – and proving an excellent use for scraps of felted wool too!

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Project: repurposed broken clothes horse book sling

I’ve been struggling to find an accessible display option for our picture books for some time. I had tried book ends, but they looked so messy. I tried a rectangular basket, but it took up a LOT of space. I found a lot of potential ideas online, but they mostly required the use of wall space, and whilst we do have a little empty wall space, our delightfully ancient walls are solid as iron and rock (after several hundred years both wooden beams and bricks seem to repel even electric drills!), so wall-mounted solutions are not really an option. I was fast running out of ideas.

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After a failed attempt at a table-top bookstand made out of cereal boxes (not sturdy enough, but will be great for my sewing patterns and PDFs!) I was busily about the bedtime nappy change last week when I spotted one half of a broken clothes airer which I have mounted on over-door hooks on the wardrobe to provide some extra hanging space for baby clothes and towels. Inspiration hit – the other half of the same airer was in the shed, and would make a great frame for a book sling.

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All I needed for this was the frame and some fabric. To make things extra difficult, I decided I wanted to use some lovely Michael Miller dinosaur-print fabric I bought from Plush Addict last year for the front panels– it had been sitting in my stash awaiting a project that would do the gorgeous pattern justice. Just using the star-printed sheet I used for backing would have made the whole thing far quicker and easier to assemble.

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Then it was just a matter of measuring (twice, of course) and cutting my fabric strips, backing them, and sewing the whole lot together. I didn’t take photos of the process, but essentially*:

  1. Measure the length of the frame from the top rung to the floor, then back up to the bottom rung  x the width of the inside of the frame. Add seam allowance on all sides PLUS 2 inches for fold-over at bottom edge. Cut this twice, hem 3 sides right sides together, turn and top-stitch the top edge, inserting ties/ribbons into either corner.
  2. Measure the drop from each rung to the rung below x width, add seam allowance and 2 inches for fold-over at the top edge, and cut two panels this size for each of the upper rungs (remember, the bottom run will already be accounted for). Again, hem three sides right sides facing, turn the right way, and top-stitch the top. It makes sense to top-stitch the top of the panel as this will be stitched over the bar.CIMG8695
  3. Assuming a 4-rung airer like mine, you now have one very long piece of fabric and three short panels. Taking the very long piece with ties at the top, pin the bottom hem over the bottom rung, fold an inch above the floor, and bring the backing up to the top rung, and tie at corners. Lie the whole thing flat, and use to position the bottom edge of each panel onto the backing, hanging down. Pin, remove ties and pins from bottom rung, then machine two rows of straight stitch ¼ inch apart to attach each panel.
  4. Tie top and fold and pin bottom once more, and fold each panel up over the above rung. Hand-stitch securely in place.

 *instructions assume only one fabric without a right way up – so no dinosaurs.

Ideally, you’ll want to mount this on a wall with hooks to secure each rung, allowing for even distribution of weight. As I said, this isn’t really an option in our house, but I am looking for a hinged wooden stand I can mount it on using pins to offer a sturdier base as the boys get older and more “hands-on”!

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And speaking of repurposed kids’ storage, I will DEFINITELY be copying this idea!

Getting handy with sock toys

At the Vintage and Handmade fair last week I was amazed to find that my sock toys once again sold out. This has inspired me to concentrate on making Toesles for the next fair, and I duly went shopping on Wednesday and blew a lump sum on kiddy socks…

Last time I stocked up my sock stash, I also bought a couple of pairs of boys’ gloves, which I was drawn to because of their colourful stripes. I had in mind a dinosaur toy of some description. The above is the result of a couple of hours fiddling last night. I’ll be putting a tutorial on sew make believe sometime soon, if you fancy having a go for yourselves!

(P.S. If you haven’t already, please nip over to the shiny new sew make believe website and have a squizz – it’s just lovely. And there’s a fab relaunch giveaway going on too!)

 

Oh dear…

I’ve fallen off the blog wagon again, hey? I’ve just had rather a hectic week or so, and not much that would actually interest you… This weekend, for example, I went home because my Step-Dad was in hospital having a hip replacement. Ben, my Mum and I had a delicious Chinese takeaway on Friday night, and Ben and I had a glorious walk on Saturday before visiting Pete in the hopsital on Saturday afternoon… But none of that really justifies outfit shots! The above, in fact, is from LAST Saturday, a grocery shopping trip in the rain I’ve not even had time to tell y’all about!

I do, however, have some lovely pics of Cannock Chase bathed in golden spring sunshine to post for you tomorrow, and an outfit shot from last Wednesday for the usual slot later this week. And if you’ve been suffering withdrawal symproms there is always the sew make believe blog to peek at. Recently I’ve blogged projects including:

How was your weekend?

Mine looked like this:

Feeding the ducks

Dress: sent over by Kelsey as part of our swap (details below…); cardi: Dotty P’s; black long-sleeved t-shirt, navy microfleece-lined tights & black knee-high socks: all Primark; pink wellies: can’t remember!

Sunday sewing: pouf tutorial via Design*Sponge

Shooter’s Sandwich (modified with beetroot relish)

You may or may not be aware of the marvelous blogger that is Kelsey of Charming Pumpkin. She began to comment on my blog last summer, and hers quickly became one of my daily hits. I love her quirky style, her cutesy poses and her gorgeous smile!

When she mentioned how much she loves Dotty P’s clothes but hates the price of P&P to America, I had to leave a comment to the effect that I felt the same about Modcloth, and their P&P charges to the UK. I offered to buy a few pieces from Dotty P’s and send over more cheaply, if she’d like to do the same for Modcloth. We started emailing one another, and a beautiful friendship was born!

Before Christmas we decided to do our first over-the-pond swap. Rather than request particular items, we agreed to set a spend limit and buy things we thought the other would like up to that value. We also agreed to include at least one handmade item. We exchange measurements and got to shopping!

My box arrived on Friday morning and it was like Christmas had come all over again! I should have taken some snaps for you of the beautifully wrapped parcels, but to be honest, I couldn’t wait to rip off that packaging and see what was inside! I scored three DIVINE dresses and a whole host of gorgeous jewellery:

Beautiful vintage rose brooch, two pairs of Kelsey-made sweater clips and a delightfully steampunk Kelsey-made necklace.

I’m keeping the remaining two dresses under wraps until I wear them, but I have some great outfits lined up to show them off!