Saturday, 27 February 2016

My New Favourite Website/Community


Today I just wanted to give a quick word about a great website everyone should know about!
For a very long time my husband used to tell me about this website called "Instructables"... and I was very passive on the idea. That changed when he told me about a contest called "Sew Warm", where you post instructions on a project for something warm. I have so many quilts but writing instructions for them is a different story. I decided to try it, and now, 4 instructables later, I am a
little obsessed.

My profile :

I love instructables for the home-made 'real life' feel of the website. Everyday new projects are featured so there is always something new. It isn't one of those fluffy blogs with amazing professional photography for every project, it is real life people making real life projects who want to share. I have referenced many different instructions from this website and got great inspiration for other projects.

The Sew Warm contest was great, I was a runner up and got an AWESOME Tshirt! I love Instructables, I like the commenting, the communities and the overall friendliness of the staff and community. I highly suggest next time you want to make some awesome recipes, a homemade shelf, a knitted sweater or even a cool dog toy, check it out!

I now post all my tutorials on both the blog and instructables!

Heres the link to the website - have fun and share your own projects - the staff are great and it is very user friendly. Follow my profile to get the latest free tutorials.


Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Re-writable Flashcards/Clue Cards/Memory Game

 Re-writable Flashcards/Clue Cards/Memory Game

Flash cards are great for kids to learn their letters, their numbers and 'sight words'. Unfortunately, flash cards get bent, ripped and dirty very quickly. I created a flash card holder that I could wash, that is re-writable and has many more uses than traditional flash cards! My flash card holders are a great size for small photos, for filling with this weeks spelling words, or to hide pirate clues in around the house. They are made with inexpensive vinyl to keep the cards free from damage, and scrap novelty fabrics to make them fun! You can make them in less than an afternoon and they will last from baby hands to school age quizzes! Have fun and customize your own flash card holders with this 5 easy step

  • White Cotton Fabric - 20 rectangles - 3.5" x 5.5"
  • Clear Vinyl (Purchased at Walmart in the craft section for less than 10$Canadian) -20 rectangles - 3.5"x 5.5"
  • Printed Novelty Fabrics- 20 rectangles - 6" x 4"
  • 20 Cue Cards
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Sewing Pins
  • Topstitch Sewing Machine Needle Size 90/14
  • Sewing Machine
  • Iron and Ironing Board
  • Colourful Thread

Step 1 - Cut out all of your materials - cut rectangles according to materials list. (as shown in picture)

Step 2 Place your white fabric rectangle on top of your printed fabric rectangle - right sides together. Align your together rectangles along the top and place the white rectangle in the middle (as much as possible -refer to picture).
You can place a few pins if you need.
Stitch 1/4" from the top aligned edge

Step 3Turn over your rectangles so that your stitching is hidden inside and the right side of your fabric is facing out. Press with your iron to set that seem and make it flat.
Take the excess fabric of the printed fabric and fold them toward the white fabric - creating a lip - all the way around the 3 unsewn sides.
Insert vinyl rectable into the folded in lip. Pin in place if you need.

Step 4- Using a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine will secure all the layers together and will prevent fabrics from fraying.

Zig zag stitch in a colour thread that you like all the way around the 3 raw edges. Make sure the zig zag catches all three layers. (Printed fabric lip, the white fabric and edge of the vinyl rectangles)

Step 5 - 
  • Now is the creative part! My original use for this project was for my daughters reading - I would write 2 of each words on my 20 cue cards (so ten different words). I would then flip over the cards so the words are hidden, now we take turns flipping them over, reading the word and trying to find a match.
It does not end there though!!

I have 10 different uses for these cards, feel free to try them or create your own uses for these protected flash cards
  • Memory Game
  • Hide pirate clues around the house for a party game
  • Put pictures of family who live far away and let baby play with the cards - the fabric and plastic protect your photo
  • Recipe Cards - no spills will ruin your favourite recipe
  • Bilingual Game - Lay cards face side up and match words Example. Match Hello matches to Bonjour!
  • Colour and shape recognition for toddlers - lay face side up and request the red triangle shape!
  • Seek the house game - draw pictures of household items, flip the card and see who can find it! ex. a paperclip
  • This weeks spelling words! Use them as traditional flashcards
  • Math flashcards
  • Eye-spy restaurant game - bring blank cards to restaurant - everyone write down something they see who can find
These flashcards are easily washed in a sink with warm soapy water - then let sit in the drying rack to dry!

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Sewing with Kids

Sewing with your kids or children in your life can be daunting. We are talking about sharp needles, electrical machines, expensive materials .. all these things can put us off sewing with our kids. I have met many obstacles while teaching my little one to sew (as well as others) and I thought it might be helpful to shed some of my hard earned knowledge on the subject.

First, never push your kids to sew, instead, try showing them an awesome (but simple) project. This could be a little bag to put toys in for the car, a pillowcase dress or even a little quilt. It is important that they feel this is something they want to do, otherwise they will look for ways out and this can be frustrating.

Second, do not start too young. My daughter is now five and is really enjoying sewing this year. Keep in mind, she sees me sew everyday so she already understands the safety aspect to sewing. When you start too young, it may not turn out and could discourage them for a long time following.

Third, sew in short intervals - do not try to finish the whole project in one sitting. I learned this when my daughter learned to read. At first, we were always "sound it out, sound it out'..that didn't work. What did work was reading extremely simple books, once a day, fly through it, and build confidence. Over time the books increased in difficulty, but very very gradually. Now my five year old reads confidently and doesn't mind having to stop, sound it out, struggle a bit and then keep going. Sewing is the same, her first sewing experience was maybe 5 minutes, then it moved up over time. Now she can sew for a couple hours without getting bored.

Fourth, show off the finished project to as many people as possible. My daughters first very simple small quilt was brought to the local quilt shop, where they 'oooed and awwwed', really making my daughter feel special. Another tip that goes along with this step is only purchase the materials you need for each step, then as its completed, go shopping for the next few supplies you will need. Kids loving picking out things and it is a great way to turn a simple project into a meaningful one.

Fifth and most important tip... DO NOT BUY A CHILDS SEWING MACHINE. I have bought a couple and I can honestly say they are wastes of money. I would highly suggest you skip the toy/child sewing machine and buy a low level Brother or Singer from Wal-Mart. The last thing your kids need is to be frustrated at broken threads, tension problems ect. It is so much better to teach on your machine first, then once they can sew alone, invest in a starter machine for them.

My daughter Chloe recently made 2 quilts - all by herself. I started with a pile of 6inch squares of
many different fabrics, Chloe selected 16 she wanted to use, then she arranged her pattern of patches. I then took the patches,pinned them together and drew a pencil line ont he 1/4inch seam mark. This way Chloe only had to follow the pencil line to know her stitches were good. It was a great teaching technique because when her stitches did stray, she could see that, and we would take those stitches and she would fix it.

Chloe made one quilt for her little sister, and one quilt for our baby quilt charity here in Ottawa. I quilted the one for the hospital and Chloe quilted the one for her sister. Chloe loved using all my decorative stitches, doing an envelope style binding, and picking super contrasting bright thread. She even selected fabrics of her sisters favourite character - Elmo.

I feel  I have taught my daughter the value of homemade, living a less commercial life, and the value of giving and sharing. For now though, she just thinks we are playing with fabric!

I hope this is helpful for you and your little sewists!