Friday, 20 December 2013

Fineliner and home-made watercolours

If you're looking for a children's art activity that's absorbing and yields beautiful, frameable results, I have just the one: fineliner drawings painted over with liquid watercolours. R came home the other day desperate to do 'water paintings' like the ones they had been doing at kinder, and luckily I had some liquid watercolours ready to go (I made my 'watercolours' from old markers - see this post for details of how I make them; it's very easy). R sat down at the table with fineliners, paper and paints and didn't stop drawing and painting for the next couple of hours. Her brother soon joined her and spent a long time drawing a highly detailed picture of our garden and shed, which inspired R to go outside to scout around for trees and flowers she could draw.

I am so in love with the results of the watercolour session that I've already bought frames for a few of the paintings. The combination of detailed fineliner drawings with glorious colours melting into each other is just beautiful.

Artist at work
Mexican paper flowers hanging in the loungeroom
Some of R's paintings laid out to dry
Silver birch tree and house, by K

Bottlebrush tree

In a moment of inspiration, I persuaded R to do a few tiny pictures to use for making cards. When they were dry I glued them into pre-cut 'frame' cards and put them aside to accompany our end-of-year teacher gifts  - you may have seen them next to the lavender bags we made in this post.

This watercolour session provided literally hours of enjoyment for K and R, and I can't wait to frame some of their work and put it up for us all to enjoy.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Chevron dress

My first garment from 'The Sewing of Children's Clothes Lesson Book': Dress H-2 in size 110, narrowed a little for a better fit.  This book is fantastic because although it's in Japanese, many of the instructions include extensive photographs of the sewing process - like mini sewing lessons. Although this particular dress has limited instructions, the blouse version of the same pattern is amply illustrated, enabling me to figure out how to put the dress together reasonably easily (assuming I got it right, that is). And to further simplify matters I omitted the side pockets.

The fabric is a very light cotton (voile perhaps?) found on the discount table at Darn Cheap. It's a border print, but the area where the border met the main fabric has been all messed up in the printing - presumably why it was selling for $2 a metre. Still, I knew I could work around the badly-printed section and use the border and main fabric together in some way, so I bought a few metres. I was a bit concerned that pintucks might look bizarre on the chevron fabric but as it turned out, all the zigzags seemed to match up nicely.

I love this pattern and adore the sweet little details on the ribbon ties at the back. It's a great fit on R, too. Just don't stare at the chevrons for too long or your eyes will start to swim...

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Little lavender bags

Every year I try to come up with ideas for small gifts the children can make (or help make) for teachers and friends. My 9-year-old likes to use the sewing machine, my 5-year-old loves things that smell nice, and I like things that use up scraps of fabric - so I decided that lavender bags were the way to go.

I used this tutorial with one alteration - I ironed one edge of each square in to the wrong side about 1cm, to make sewing the sachets closed a little easier.

In order to avoid having children rifle through my fabrics I first cut out several sets of two squares, 5" x 5" (my ruler uses inches - but that's about 12.5cm in metric), and ironed one side in as mentioned earlier. Once the children had selected the fabrics they liked I pinned each set of squares right sides together, adding a little ribbon 'tag' as suggested in the tutorial, and K sewed them around three sides, leaving the ironed-in side open. We turned the squares the right way and filled them with a mixture of dried lavender flowers and rice before sewing the open sides closed. R is very enthused about end-of-year/Christmas gift-giving (and, of course, receiving!) and made some beautiful water-colour cards to go with her bags:

These are so quick and easy - an ideal project for little ones wanting to have a go on the machine. The lavender bags smell absolutely divine and I will definitely be making a few for myself if there's any lavender left. And if you're in Australia and are wondering where to get lavender, I found mine in the craft section of Spotlight.