Category Archives: crafts

A Safari Birthday Party

Both of my sons are born in the month of May. Since their birthdays are fairly close, we decided on a joint birthday party this year (my oldest one turned 4 and my youngest one turned 1). And of course, we always need a theme for a birthday party! We decided on a Safari animal theme since it was appropriate for both a baby and also a preschooler.

Below are some of the pictures from the party.

Birthday Banner

Safari Passports

Goodie Bags

Paper Banner

Balloons

Chocolate Cake

The Boys

Family Pic

It was fun but also a lot of effort to plan for this party. Mostly because I am an ambitious mother and had this grand vision of the kids doing all these fun activities, however during the course of the event the children just entertained themselves and I really should not have spent so much time thinking and planning activities for them (because little kids don’t follow rules you know?).

I had this vision of the kids coming into our house and they would be welcomed with a greeter which would take an instant picture of the kids (with my Fujifilm Instax camera that I purchased online) with the backdrop of our plants in our annex. Then the kids would pick out a Safari booklet that they could keep and place their instant picture inside – like a real passport. And then, the kids could fill out their info inside the booklets and also collect stamps by going around the stations that were set up. We had some games set up, but the kids weren’t really interested in them. We also had a craft area setup and luckily that was pretty popular with mostly the girls. The crafts were of course safari animal related. The instant pictures were kind of fun and I wish I had taken some pictures with the instant pictures installed inside the passport booklet (oh well!).

Here are some of my resources:

  • The animal scrapbooking decorations were custom made by Cute Cards (thanks Gloria!). That would be the paper birthday banner and the Safari Passport covers. I also had some cupcake toppers made, but I ended up not using them (we had small cupcakes which didn’t really work with the cupcake toppers – I’ll save them for something else).
  • Custom stamp for the passport booklets from Etsy.
  • I made the goodie bags with fabrics from the Alexander Henry 2D Zoo collection and I used this online tutorial.
  • Safari-themed balloons were purchased from Splash Toys.
  • Animal cake toppers are from Wilton.

Some of the items inside the goodie bags:

  • Animalz wooden toys
  • Safari animal temporary tattoos
  • Animal finger puppets (for the young kids)
  • Small Play-Doh tubs (for the bigger kids)
  • Candy!

Animalz

Safari Finger Puppets

Well, I hope you all enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading!

P.S. I am officially back at work now. My boys and I are slowly adjusting but I am glad to announce that it is good to be working again. Yay for mental stimulation and for more income! :)

P.P.S. Today is my 8 year wedding anniversary. Crazy how much has happened within the last 8 years. 1 dog, 2 kids, 1 house, 1 car… 3 jobs for the hubby and the same job for me!

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I’m Still Here

Well hello again. It looks like my resolution to blog more has not really made much progress since I haven’t posted yet in 2011 until now! Cannot believe that it is the last month of February and that tomorrow will be another new month. I officially have less than 3 months left of my maternity leave before I go back to work.

Speaking of work, I am kind of excited to go back and yet I am also kind of sad to be leaving my boys during the day. I hold my 9 month old these days thinking about how much I am going to miss holding my baby when I am at work. I think this time around, I might actually tear up more when I am back at work. I told the kidlet that mommy will be going back to work soon and he said, “Mommy, don’t go to work.” That made me a bit sad as I know he probably enjoys having me at home more often. I asked if he would miss me and of course he said yes. But also know the type of person that I am and that I am the type that needs to work to be content. I need the mental stimulation and also the social aspect of being with adults again. (I bet the next time I update I will be back at work already!)

So I do not know why I am so unmotivated to update this blog. Perhaps because I feel like nobody reads this (although I know from my Google Analytics data that there is some traffic here). But then again I also know that without any frequent updates then people don’t read it so perhaps I should just try to update more often. I also got an email this week about some guy who wants to advertise on my site. I wonder if he is for real or just some spammer. I think my dilemma sometimes is whether to write about my family or just keep this blog about my crafting/sewing activities. What do people what to read anyway?…

I have been sewing again lately. Made some dresses, a stuffed toy, and some baby stuff (for gifts). I also quickly made a lampshade cover for the kidlet. He seems to really enjoy the things that I make him. It is kind of sweet. I wonder how long until he thinks it is “uncool” to like homemade things from mom? Hopefully he will appreciate having a mom that can make things for him when he is older too!

My boys are going to be turning 4 and 1 soon. Wow, crazy how time flies. I am going to have to start planning their birthday parties soon. My oldest is constantly talking about birthdays and asking when is his birthday and if there is a birthday today, this week, etc. I think he shows me almost every day the calendar to point out when his birthday is going to be. On another note, his learning has really progressed in the last few months! He loves to draw and is able to write his own name now. He knows the days of the week and can understand how a calendar works now. Pretty impressive for a 3 year-old! I sometimes wonder if he is gifted, but then again doesn’t every mother think that their kids are smart? Well, anyhow it is just really amazing witnessing the growth of children. I cannot help but get a little weepy when I think about how fast my children are growing and how they are no longer going to be babies anymore…

Anyhow, I should go soon as I have to pick up the kidlet from preschool. Thanks for reading and hopefully I will update more often! I leave you with a picture of my boys taken during the morning last week. Bye!

Good morning boys!

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Sewing!

My sewing projects

That’s right, this post is about sewing with an exclamation mark at the end! Why? Because sewing gets me pretty excited.

Now that I am on maternity leave and am off work, I find that sewing is now my creative outlet (for those of you that do not know me, I am a type A personality and need to constantly be “busy” or working on “projects” to be happy). I have actually been fortunate enough to have some time to sew a few items since the baby has been born. You would think that he must be sleeping through the night in order for me to have so much time to sew again, but the fact is that I would rather sacrifice my sleep time and sew a bit when I get the chance. Yup, that’s me. And in case you were wondering, the babe is not quite sleeping through the night yet. I know I mentioned that he was sleeping 6-8 hours at one point, well somehow in the last month he’s regressed quite a bit and has been waking up every 2-3 hours for a feeding. Growth spurt maybe? Anyhow, back to the topic of sewing…

So yes, SEWING has been keeping me sane in terms of mental challenge. And somehow the sound of the sewing machine is soothing to my soul. I wonder if the boys feels the same way about the sewing machine noise since I did sew a lot when I was pregnant with both babies. I also think I inherited the sewing bug from my mom (she also likes to sew and taught me how to use the sewing machine at a young age, oh and she also happens to be the one who bought me my current sewing machine — thanks mom!).

Here is a summary of some items I managed to sew in the past 5 months:

  • 2 bunting flags
  • 2 girly dresses (yah, I know I don’t even have daughters and I still make dresses)
  • a gathered skirt for a little girl
  • a canvas bag (gift for mom’s friend)
  • burping cloths
  • bibs for the baby (he drools a lot!)
  • 2 pair of lounging/sleeping pants for my oldest son
  • a pair of upcycled pants for the baby (fabric from an old pair of PJs)
  • 2 pair of pants for my son’s stuffed toys (2 monkeys)
  • a stroller pad
  • a small quilt (panel to be placed in the baby’s room)
  • finished off a couple of uncompleted kidlet bags
  • another small blanket for the baby (just completed this one on the weekend)

I also have a few projects that I started but that are incomplete:

  • a wool caplet (I have had this for months–before the baby arrived–and have been too lazy to complete this!)
  • a couple of trick or treating bags for my boys (I need to complete this soon before Halloween)
  • small handbag
  • notebook cover

Wow, now that I have actually managed to list all the items I have worked on I am impressed that I have done so much. I really am a crazy workaholic. Even when I am away from work!

As I mentioned, sewing does get me fairly excited and it is definitely one of those things that make me happy when I complete a sewing project. I also get pretty excited reading new sewing books. I will sometimes buy them online (Amazon or Chapters), but one of my favourite things to do now is to borrow them from the public library. What I do is I check the library for new sewing books and I will request the book to be picked up at my local branch by placing a hold request. And if I really like the book then I may even end up purchasing the book myself for my own collection. I have saved a lot of money by borrowing sewing books instead of purchasing them.

I have also been buying a lot of fabric. Speaking of fabric I just got a bunch of fabric in the mail today! What a happy day :) . (Yup, I am obsessed with purchasing fabric.) I got a lot of Heather Ross fabrics and also a few Christmas prints. I will definitely be sewing some items for Christmas this year.

New Fabric!

I think I am going to be sewing some more bibs for the baby tomorrow. He’s been drooling a lot lately (teething?). I hope my boys enjoy my sewing. My oldest son seems to appreciate the items that I sew for him. He likes the pants I sew for him :) . He will also often ask me to make pants for all his stuffed animals. Last time he asked me to make pants for his stuffed cat, but I am not sure I want to make that cat pants or not… otherwise my son will just ask for more pants for his other stuffed friends!

Anyhow, I really should be getting ready for bed soon. Thanks for reading! Please feel free to ask me any questions about my sewing by leaving a comment on this post. Goodnight!

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Sewing Books & Baby Room Upate

Here are a few sewing books with projects that I cannot wait to start trying once I have more free time again for some sewing.

Sewing Books

Clockwise from top left: Doll Coordinate Recipe Volume 8 from Dolly*Dolly; Softies Only a Mother Could Love (borrowed from library); Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner; Built by Wendy, Dresses by Wendy Mullin.

Baby #2 has been really good so far. He sleeps and eats well and is generally good tempered. I think he is going to be a more mellow baby than my first born (thank God!). I have actually enjoyed being a mother the second round better this time. I remember struggling a lot with my first son (he was a pretty fussy baby and was – and still is – what I would call a high maintenance child). I guess I can understand why some mothers enjoy being stay at home moms now.

Moving the crib

Anyhow, I hope to start some sewing projects again soon. Still need to complete decorating baby’s room. Just a few more final touches and I would call it complete. We just moved the crib today from my oldest son’s room to the baby room. I am so glad that my oldest son is so thrilled about his new bed and about sharing his things with his baby brother. He is taking upon the role of older brother really well. I have a feeling that he is going to be a really great caring older brother!

I feel very blessed for my family.

IMG_3499_1

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Car Seat Cover Tutorial

Car Seat Cover Tutorial

I just added a tutorial on how to make a custom car seat cover in my Flickr set.

Click here to view the instructions.

Enjoy!

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Ottoman Cover

Look what I made! A cover for the ottoman that is eventually going to be in the baby room. It came in this blue denim fabric which I have always kind of disliked and has been used in my older son’s room since he was born. We’ll be passing on the chair to the baby when he arrives, but this time around I wanted to make sure that it would match the decor of the room that I am redesigning for the little guy. I decided to make a cover for the ottoman with the coordinating fabric used in the baby room (same as the curtains).

Before
Ottoman (Before)

After
Ottoman (After)

I am very pleased with the results! Now I just have to work on making a cover for the seat cushions of the matching rocking chair. That will be for another day to sew…

Rocking Chair & Ottoman

P.S. Here is a peek at how the baby room makeover is progressing. I will be sure to post the before and after pics once the room is ready. Stay tuned!

More Baby Room Progress

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Easter Fun

Easter Fun Mosaic

My son and I had a really fun time yesterday decorating eggs for Easter. He is at an age where he enjoys crafts and making things with mommy. I love it!

I bought a really cheap egg dyeing kit from the dollar store (yup, it only cost $1!) that turns dyed eggs into these decorated eggs on wheels. Hence called VehEGGles. What a clever little kit! I am definitely going to buy more of these if I can still find them for $1.

We also had some plain styrofoam eggs that I got from the craft store which my son just randomly placed stickers on top. This is also a cheap and easy way to have toddlers decorate eggs (my son loves peeling the stickers and placing them on the foam eggs).

We turned old tissue boxes into Easter baskets by just cutting the top off and adding a strap out of construction paper. One of the tissue boxes already had a bunny on it so I didn’t even bother covering it with construction paper. We stuffed some coloured straw into the baskets and added our decorated eggs in there. Ta-da! What a fun and easy way to craft with a 2 year old.

Anyhow, if you’d like to see the pictures click here to see the Flickr set.

Happy Easter everybody!

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Reversible Drink Cozy Tutorial

Drink Cozy in Action

Make a hot drink sleeve that you can use over and over again! (Of course it’s better if you could actually use a reusable mug, but sometimes you just cannot carry a spare mug around in your purse.)
Here is my 10 step tutorial below…

How to Make a Reversible Drink Cozy
Step 1

Step 1 – Find an exisiting hot drink sleeve to use as to make your pattern.

Step 2

Step 2 – Open and disassemble the cardboard sleeve, so that it looks like the picture above.

Step 3

Step 3 – Trim off any excess cardboard that you may not want as part of your pattern.

Step 4

Step 4 – Lay out the “modified” pattern. This modified cardboard sleeve will be used as your template.

Step 5

Step 5 – Place your choice of fabric for the drink sleeve and lay them right sides up together. Trace your template on the wrong side of one of your fabric pieces.

Step 6

Step 6 – Place a piece of felt at the back of your fabric pieces as additional insulation. (This extra piece of felt will really help to insulate your drink and keep your fingers safe from burns.)

Pin everything together and sew on the line that you drew with your template in the previous step. Don’t sew all the way around though, leave one of the side edges open for flipping!

Step 7

Step 7 - Trim off the excess fabric edges with pinking shears.

Step 8

Step 8 - Flip the drink cozy inside out. You may have to use something sharp (like a crochet needle) to get the tight corners flipped out properly.

Fold and tuck in the unsewn edges. Pin them down, and then topstitch around the edges.

Step 9

Step 9 – Sew some velcro along the edges of the drink cozy. I used some special velcro made for doll dresses which worked really well because it is not as bulky as the regular velcro. Make sure you align one strip on one side, and place the other strip on the other side or you won’t be able to seal your cozy together!

Step 10Back of Drink Cozy

Step 10 – Assemble the drink cozy together and you’re done!

Reversible Drink Cozy

You can reverse the look by using the other side of the fabric as the exterior. How versatile!

Don’t forget to enjoy your hot beverage carefully.

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Mary Jane Slippers Tutorial

Step 10

I found these patterns in a Japanese craft book on how to make some house slippers. I sort of modified them and did my own thing (I added my own straps) since I cannot read Japanese. I have not had the chance to scan in my version of the patterns, but hopefully I will have the chance to do that eventually.

Anyhow, below are my 10 steps tutorial on how I did this (it is more like 9 steps, but 10 just seems better).

How to Make Mary Jane Slippers

Step 1
Step 1 – Cut out patterns from the fabric of your choice for the outside of the slippers. You will need 2 x bottom, 2 x side panels in the outer fabric.

Step 2
Step 2 – Pin side panels to the bottom of the slipper.

Step 3
Step 3 – Sew around the outside of the bottom of the slipper (what you pinned in step 2).

Step 4
Step 4 – Where the back of the side panels meet, sew the back of the heel together. Trim excess.
If you flip the unfinished slipper inside out, you should have the results of the picture on the right.

Step 5
Step 5 – Repeat steps 1-4 for the lining fabric.

Step 6
Step 6 – Create the straps by placing one piece of the outer fabric and one piece of the lining fabric together. Sew around the sides, but make sure to leave an opening so that you can flip the strap inside out. Trim edges with pinking shears if you like.
You may want to use a chopstick of knitting needle to help “flip” the strap. (This was actually one of the hardest part of this project for me!)

Step 7
Step 7 – Flip your outer fabric slipper with the right sides out and then pin the strap in place. Make sure the outside fabric of the strap is facing the outside fabric of the slipper when you pin.

Step 8
Step 8 – Pin the lining of the slipper with the outside slipper. Make sure you have the right sides facing together when you pin. Then sew around the pin edges and leave an opening about 2 inches wide (don’t forget this or you won’t be able to flip your slipper inside out).
Flip your slipper inside out. Then tuck the unfinished edges and sew around edge to finish.

Step 9
Step 9 – Add some buttons and decorate your slippers if you like. If you want to make then “non-slip” you can put some puffy paint on the bottom or hand sew some leather patches. Don’t forget to try them on!

Step 10
Step 10 – Enjoy!

If any of you try this tutorial I would love to see some pictures. Thanks for reading!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine's Day

Lowly WormMy son has recently been reading a lot of Richard Scarry books. We bought some online and we also borrowed a few from the library. His favourite character is Lowly Worm (who doesn’t like him?). Then I saw this blog post that made me want to sew my own Lowly Worm doll and I was on the search for a Richard Scarry’s Best Make-It Book Ever! (apparently this is not that easy to find since it was printed in 1977). I finally found one on eBay and it’s the cutest thing ever. Lots of crafts and fun stuff to do, and all the pages are in colour.

Anyhow, I did end up making my son a Lowly Worm doll this week and when my hubby gave it to my son on Saturday morning, he’s been carrying his wormy friend around with him since then. So cute.

We also made some cupcakes this weekend. I think I added WAY too much confectioner’s sugar in the buttercream frosting so when I had out the cupcakes, people are totally going to have a sugar rush from eating them (whoops). Perhaps I should have tried to correct that by adding more butter… I made the cupcakes and frosting using the recipes from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book.

IMG_1388

♥ ♥ ♥

Well, it was 13 years ago that my hubby and I started dating. Wow, time flies. Now we have a son and are expecting our second child soon.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day and a Happy Chinese New Year everybody! :)

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