Saturday, 24 May 2014

Frozen Ice Ribbons/Force Lightning Gloves

 It's birthday time again... I've been party planning (searching Pinterest) for the little miss's upcoming birthday, she wants a Frozen party, and came across these Frozen inspired icy snow gloves. I thought they'd be fun for the girls to dance around to the songs from the movie with icy ribbons swirling all around them. I've been crocheting a lot lately, and figured instead of buying cheap gloves and sewing ribbons to them as per the link above, I thought it would be nice to crochet some fun finger-less gloves and make the ribbons detachable so that the gloves would actually be useful after the party was over. I altered a basic adult finger-less glove pattern I already had in my library and the little miss helped me to pick out some 'icy' colours from my yarn stash. We found enough colours that were suitable so that every party guest will get a totally unique set of gloves.

All of the gloves were crocheted a while ago, but I had yet to sort out any ribbons for them. Today was a pretty miserable day and we ended up putting the Frozen blue ray on and I was convinced by the little miss to attach some ribbons to her pair so that she could dance around with them to the songs in the movie. They were a hit! (Now I just have to attach ribbons to the other 6 pairs...)

While dancing around, the little miss came up with a genius idea - a black pair for her Star Wars obsessed brother so he could use them for force lightening. So I got my crochet hook, some black yarn, and some ribbons (the little guy insisted on black and blue) and within an hour a pair of force lightning gloves were on the little Sith Lord's hands and forcing pretty much everything in sight!

Note: It's nearly impossible to get a photo of how cool these actually look when the ribbons are flying around!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Green Dress

 As mentioned in The Next Irish Dancing Dress post, I've now completed the little miss's second Irish dancing dress... I was absolutely thrilled that she wanted something more traditional and green! We went to the fabric store together and decided on twinkle satin in white and "Irish" green (as described by the little miss). She really wanted this dress to be decorated with something traditional and Irish, and I really wanted it to be embroidered, but since I don't have an embroidery machine I stated looking at embroidered patches with Celtic designs. I didn't find any that were quite right, and started thinking up a design that we could commission someone to embroider onto a patch for us... and then I got the crazy idea to do all the embroidering myself - by hand!

We decided on a Celtic knotted style cross for a decoration high on the front of the bodice which I replicated on the front bottom of the skirt and again as a patch on the back. The little miss chose to use orange and gold along with green and white for the embroidery, to make it even a little more Irish. I then added a knot-work pattern as a sort of belt around the patch on the bodice and again at the bottom of the skirt. Again, these were done by hand. And then as if that wasn't enough of a work-load, I decided to do a lattice stitch in green across the white fabric at the top of the bodice (done on the machine this time!) I really love the look of the lattice stitching and the green really works to liven up the white and brighten up the little miss's complexion.

I used the same basic pattern I drafted when making the first dress, but I dropped the waist a bit, separated the bodice to make the chest and tummy different fabrics, pleated the skirt slightly differently, added some stiffening under the skirt, attached a high collar, and added a little room for growth. But still, basically the same pattern - lol. The stiffening took a little bit of work to get it to lay flat in the front, but in the end a fold in each side (between the centre front and side seams) fixed it. 

I was thrilled with how well the lattice stitching matched up at the back seam, but the fact that I couldn't get the knotting to line up drives me crazy! I was hoping the back patch would take my attention away from the crookedness, but nope, I still see it.

We topped it all off with a little bit of Swarovski sparkle in each of the crosses, around the knotting, in each lattice diamond, and on the collar. As the little miss likes to tell people "Mum likes a little bit of sparkle on the dresses, but not too much."

The little miss is absolutely in love with her new dress. I think the colours suit her perfectly and I can't imagine ever getting tired of watching her dance in this one. Now, does anyone know of a way to stop kids from growing?... Oh, who am I kidding, I'll be itching to make another Irish dancing dress in no time. ;)

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Hard Shoe Practice Board

I never would have thought that my little miss would ever need to be told to make more noise! But when it comes to dancing in her hard shoes she turns into a delicate little flower and needs encouragement to really bang the floor and to put it simply, make more noise.

The only floor in our house that she can practice her hard shoe on is the kitchen floor. Unfortunately it's very thick lino which really muffles the sound. You may wonder why she doesn't just dance on the deck outside - well... The first thing she did when she got her brand new (not cheap!) hard shoes was go out on the deck to play around with them and got a nice chip out of the toe from one of the nails in the deck. So no more dancing on the deck!!!!

We had a builder doing some work on our fence and as he was packing up I noticed that he had a plywood board that he used to catch any debris from falling down the bank. I asked what he was going to do with it and he said it was just scrap and that I was welcome to it if I liked. I happily took it off his hands, sanded down a few rough spots, covered the edges with duct tape, and voila we have a hard shoe practice board! The board is only about 80cm x 120cm so the little miss can't practice whole dances on it, but it's perfect for practicing skip bangs etc and making noise. :)

The Next Irish Dancing Dress...

Well, it's that time again - Irish dancing dress making time! The little miss still hasn't grown out of her first dancing dress, but she's had it for a year now and I've outgrown it. I'm ready to watch her in something new, and I've also been itching to turn the dress in my head into something real.

I really enjoy making Irish dancing dresses. I like thinking up new designs and then working out how to make them into real dresses. I've made a few for sale in between the little miss' first and new dresses. These have given me to opportunity to try out new styles and work on sizing a bit. It's also given a few of the beginner dancers the opportunity to have a brand new, up to date dress at an affordable price.

In our house, green is the new pink. I can't tell you how happy I am about this!!! The little miss is slightly obsessed with all things Irish at the moment, and green has now bumped pink right off the top of the favourite colours list. I was thrilled to be able to make her a green dress and it will look beautiful on her with her gorgeous ginger hair. She is also very much into the more traditional style Irish dancing dresses (which I love), and I've noticed lately that more of the high end Irish dancing dress designers are starting to make more dresses incorporating old school elements into new style dresses. I've always loved the celtic embroidery on the old dresses, but figured I'd never be able to have any on the dresses I make because I don't have an embroidery machine. I started looking at ready made celtic embroidery patches that I could sew onto a dress and found a few that I liked (and even planned imaginary dresses around) but there was always something not quite right... So I came up with the crazy idea of hand embroidering the next dress. Crazy, I know.

The little miss and I picked out some twinkle satin in green and white and I started by cutting all of the dress pieces out of it. I then did a lattice satin stitch over all of the white top pieces - because I love the look of the lattice stitched tops and I thought the addition of green on the white would brighten it up and help to stop the little miss looking like a ghost in her new dress... I then took my front skirt piece and started on the embroidery.

So far, so good...

Disclaimer: I actually wrote this post ages ago, but I'm a terrible blogger and forgot to actually publish it. The green dress is now done, and absolutely gorgeous if I do say so myself! I promise I will try to get a post up about it soon. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Coloured Keys

I'm always quite pleased with myself when I actually get off the computer and make something I've pinned to my Pinterest boards. The fact that this one was super easy doesn't change that, possibly it makes it even better!

Pinterest is great at pointing out the obvious - like these nail polish painted keys. I only have 3 keys on my key-chain, but with 2 young kids in tow, and usually an armful or two of stuff when I need to unlock doors, I'll take all the help I can get. I love that I'm able to tell which key is which with just a quick glance, and using nail polish that I've already got in the house - genius!

I put one coat of polish on each key and they looked cute, but not quite cute enough for my liking so on went some sparkly top coat.

I wanted to see how well the colour would last on the keys before posting about it to my blog. I painted these over 6 months ago (ok, so I waited a bit longer than I had planned) and I'm happy to say that the colour has lasted very well. I suspect that a good quality top-coat had something to do with it's durability. The colour has mostly rubbed off the edges, but they are still very clearly pink and blue, and are still serving their purpose well.

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Flying Comet - Tutorial

Flying comets are easy & inexpensive to make and super fun to play with. My kids love to swing them around by their ribbons and then watch them fly as they let go! I've seen several variations of this flying toy, but a tutorial for mine is below.

Supplies needed:

  • 2 scraps of fabric cut into rectangles of approx 12 x 15 cm (you can use any durable, non stretch fabric scraps that are not too stiff - i.e. cotton, cotton-poly blend, cotton drill)
  • ribbon - 3 to 6 strands each measuring approx 70 to 80 cm long
  • thread to match
  • approx 1/3 cup popcorn kernels*
  • scissors
  • pins
  • lighter or matches
  • sewing machine.
*You can substitute the popcorn kernels with plastic beads or something similar if you prefer. I like to use popcorn kernels as they move well in the comet; they're inexpensive; they last well; and they're weighty enough to fly nicely, but not too hard if the comet accidentally flies into your face!


1.  Place the fabric pieces right sides together and cut the corners on both pieces on one of the short ends so they're rounded.

2.  Singe/melt all ends of the ribbons with your lighter or matches to stop them from fraying.

3.  Pin the ribbons to the right side of one of the fabric pieces along the short straight edge with the ribbon ends running the length of the comet and over.

4.  Stitch along the short edge to keep the ribbons in place.

5.  Place both pieces of fabric right sides together and pin around the long and rounded edges and sew the fabric together on all three edges - make sure not to catch any of the ribbons in your stitching.

6.  Cut small slits in the curved edge to make it turn out nicely. Make sure your cuts don't go as far as the seam!

7.  Turn your comet right way around. Your ribbons should fall freely from the open end.

8.  Fill the comet with popcorn kernels (or your chosen substitute).

9.  Fold your raw edges into the comet with the ribbons hanging out and pin. Make sure the stitching holding your ribbons in place is in the fold.

10. Sew the comet closed and top stitch around all edges.

Your comet is now ready to be played with!!!!!

 Note: Taking action shots of these is not the easiest thing to do (and I was too impatient to wait for the sun to move to a better angle)! But these photos should give you an indication of how the comets fly. ;)

The Bad Blogger

Hi there, remember me? Yeah I forgot about this blog too...

Actually, I didn't really forget. I think about it every once in a while and say to myself "I really should post to my blog..." but then I think "or I could crochet, or sew, or play on the rainbow loom, or look at Pinterest."

I very clearly enjoy doing crafts more than documenting them, but a craft group I belong to has monthly craft challenges and this month's challenge is to do a craft tutorial. And I do like a good challenge! I instantly thought that sharing my tutorial here would be a good way to make a blogging comeback. I'm not promising regular posts, but I may just be motivated to do more in the near future.

So stay tuned and I'll have a new tutorial here soon...