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Category Archives: Re-purposing and Re-fashion

Play dress. Re-purpose project

I like giving things new lease of life. And that makes me a hoarder. Here’s my new little project.

It pains me to know that kids are going to play with something messy in some nice clothes that most likely will now wash off and will be covered in stains. But if I make something out of something else, especially if I hadn’t spent masses of time on it – I don’t really mind them getting messy in that. Most of the times however it becomes their favourite item and they wear it all the time 🙂

I saved this baby-grow because no-one really worn it for too long – they were out of nappies by the age shown on it, and I liked the colour. So I just cut the bottom off it, added a couple of bottom layers from my old t-shirts by just cutting bottoms of t-shirts straight and slightly pinching them together to sew up to the top layer. All in all – it took me just a couple of evenings.

 

 

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Crafts on AGA

We have a lot of candle wax lying around and multi-coloured crayons that we made from broken bits of crayons (which completely ruined my silicon moulds and did not captivate girl’s attention for long).

So, inspired by some Instagram videos, I suggested we make a candle.

First – we needed to pick a wick. We needed a tread that burned well and didn’t melt. I cut few lengths of thread from different materials and let Neva have a go burning each one to see which one suits our need better. We used a metal nut to attach the wick to and oiled the plastic pot we were going to use for the mould.

We chopped some crayons and wax from an old candle and put some in a metal measuring cup to melt and other bits in the candle mould for the colourful bits.

In our new house we have a range cooker which I am still figuring out how to use, but the hot plates on top seemed like an ideal temperature for this. So we poured the melted wax into the candle mould and left it to cool. Small person was very proud of her candle and took it with her to “listen and share” in nursery.

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Neva got experimentation bug going and she wanted to see how things melt, we put baking paper on the hot plate and started dropping bits of crayon and wax on it, then decided to draw on the next bit.

Neva discovered that once cooled – the wax comes off very easily, so she had fun peeling it off the paper.

For the picture to stay intact – try doing it on a plain paper – the wax soaks in and doesn’t fall off, making a nice picture to keep. If you like this craft but don’t have an AGA with big hot plate – I think a big frying pan will do, you’d just have to cut circle to fit to the bottom and check that the temperature is not too high, so that child doesn’t burn her hands accidentally.

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Workout for little fingers

This year we went to the PYO farm to get a pumpkin, but I was unorganised and we were too late – the ones on the fields were all rotten, but we were already there and kids wanted to PICK SOMETHING!

So, we found a lot of crops that were not being picked and were going to waste and we took a few things home. Our loot included few sunflower heads, some corn ears and some broad beans that were lying about in the field. Girls were particularly excited about these ones once they have discovered that under the dried out brown pods were very brightly coloured pinkish -purple beans.

We brought our treasure home and without delay they started peeling and shelling things. That was a good workout for their fingers!

We are going to throw in some conkers and some acorns and later on I’ll make them an autumn sensory bin. We haven’t had one for a while and girls love them! Hopefully the beans and corn wouldn’t start rotting. It’s quite peculiar thing happening in this neck of the woods – seeds tend to stat growing at the harvest time instead of saving their energy till next year.  I don’t quite understand it. Some of the corn that we picked started sprouting right on the cob, beans were sprouting inside their pods and acorns in our garden are rooting themselves to the ground! I need to look it up, I am pretty sure that’s not how plant’s self-preservation supposed to work…

After a while of shelling beans I matter-of-factly put some cocktail sticks out and engineering began! I started them off with building a square-based pyramid, hoping to go through some of the other 3D shapes, but they had their own plans, and I didn’t mind. (beans were very soft, freshly picked – this wouldn’t work with dried ones)

 

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Favourite activities. Bath mats and fine motor skills.

For quite a few of our favourite fine-motor skills activities we have been using ordinary bath mats. We started with small ones of different colours and used them for coloured bead sorting. The younger person started doing it with fingers, then progressed to measuring spoon/melon ball spoon, the older one first was using sugar tongs, then progressed to tweezers. Tweesers are not so easy with wooden Pony Beads, and we broke few plastic tweezers, then I started giving my older daughter smaller, plastic beads and this seems to work.

We also used coloured water and pipette to fill the suckers.

After a while I thought a challenge was in order, so I pulled out a big transparent bath mat and filled up some pots with food colouring, laid some pipets out (mine are re-purposed from some baby medicine) and quietly left it in the middle of the patio…

Smaller person wanted to have a go immediately, she was just experimenting with how much droplets can one sucker cup hold, then she tried mixing few different colours of droplets in one cup and so on.

Her sister came in from school and wanted to have a go too. She first was working on making colour patters, then decided to make a picture.

All in all – good concentration and maths (patterns) practice! And creativity of course!

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Arranging pony beads on bath mats

 

Chalks in the garden

If your kids like drawing with chalks but apart from a chalk board you have no space for them to go wild and your garden is covered in grass like ours – pick up a large cardboard from a recycling centre – this will do the trick!

 

Stained glass crafts

Here is an easy and fun craft you can do with bits of clear plastic and permanent markers.

I have collected clear plastic trays from fruit and other groceries and yoghurt pot covers for this craft and a massive set of Sharpies was going cheap at supermarket.

To do this you need to draw the outline of your drawing on one side of the plastic and let the child colour on the other side (otherwise the outline will be smudged by other markers).

 

If you are not good at drawing – you can trace over a picture in a colouring book like we did, or just let kids do their own design.

We drew butterflies and glued them to some thin bouncy grass-type sticks and kids were playing with them all day “flying them around”.

Additionally you can do some nature studies and print real butterfly designs to trace and decorate.

Girls couldn’t get enough of this, they’ve drawn on all the plastic bits I’ve collected.

Just make sure you protect your work place because they are permanent markers, and don’t let kids draw on themselves. Good luck!

 

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The brightest dress she owns!

Mya picked out of my Craft box these polo shirts and stated that she would like a dress from all of them…

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I have accepted the challenge.

 

I picked a Polo shirt with the smallest collar to use as my base for the dress. I planned to make the top out of it, then attach all the other bits to it – skirt, sleeves. I turned it inside-out and traced the outlines of my t-shirt template onto it (see my previous post on how to make easy template).

 

I cut it out but unfortunately the length of the top was finishing just where all the logo’s on the shirt were. The logos were embroidered so they wouldn’t have behaved well in a seam or with another applique over them – and I didn’t want any logo’s on the dress. So I cut the strip with the logos off on the front and back of the top, then traced the cut-off strip on the sleeves of the blue polo shirt and stitched it to the top of the dress – this is how it happened to be two coloured instead of one colour.

I wanted a long-sleeved dress, so I cut the sleeves of the orange shirt and used the whole length of it including the hem. Then I traced the rest of the sleeve on the blue polo shirt and stitched the blue bit of the sleeve to the seam of the orange sleeve on the inside using zig-zag seam on my machine.

I opened up the top of the dress and stitched the sleeves to it, then starting from the cuff of the sleeve pinned the sleeve and side together and stitched each side.

Then I measured the waist width and cut out a rectangle for underskirt from an orange Polo shirt – this is where all the ruffles would be attached. I had quite a few orange shirts – they were used for uniform, logos were cut-out, and fronts were heavily stained and unusable, but the backs were perfectly fine, so I used a few of these on this project.

To make ruffles a bit puffier I used 3 widths of a T-shirt for each colour. I used a straight stitch on my machine then gathered it by pulling one top side of the thread as I did here, but I divided the width in two and pulled from both sides to avoid putting too much stress on the thread, so it doesn’t break when gathering.

I then attached the first ruffle to the top of the skirt rectangle, and pinned the skirt to the top of the dress. I used zig-zag stitch to attach the skirt and also a straight stitch just to make sure. I was helping myself with a screwdriver to flatten the ruffles and move the material along because it was stalling sometimes and not moving along in the machine.

I wanted ruffles to gradually get longer so to each new tier I added 1cm in width. I then attached ruffles to the skirt to make sure that the top of each ruffle was about 1cm under the bottom of the top ruffle.AS you can see from the picture I was helping myself along with a screwdriver to flatten the material and help it move in the machine when doing ruffles, it was stalling a bit.

I only hemmed the ruffles with cars as it was not a knit so it was fraying at the bottom, the rest I left as they were – these knits don’t fray at all.

My daughter likes cars and trains a lot, so I bought a piece of fabric with cars which I used for the top ruffle. Then I found this nice applique of a camper van and I hand- stitched it to the top of the dress.

The dress was ready. One happy little girl wore it for a few days in a row after school!

 
 
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