EASY PAPER CHRISTMAS DECOS (& a handy tree hanging tip)

While making some paper garlands for last week’s fundraising Christmas market, I experimented a little using the same concept and came up with a fun & simple way to make this paper bauble Christmas decoration.

To make these cute garlands you need a large circle hole punch* (or some scissors & a shot glass), some old sheet music and a sewing machine.  Place 2 paper circles on top of each other and thread through the machine and repeat until you have a garland of your desired length.  

To make the single bauble decoration you use the same concept.  This time you pile 5 paper circles on top of each other (depending on the thickness of your paper & what your machine will cope with) and thread it through the machine, leaving a long thread at one end to use as the string to attach to the tree.  Both the garland and the bauble really work best with double sided paper.

While we are on the topic of Christmas decos, I thought I’d share a little cheats way of hanging Christmas decorations that my mother taught me…Twisting open a wire paperclip (as pictured below) makes decorating the Christmas tree so much easier for little hands!

To be honest, you don’t really need a sewing machine to make the paper bauble Christmas decoration.  I have seen it made many times using glue.  Just slightly more time consuming.  With a gluestick and some more paper circles, you could also have fun making a larger paper bauble like this one made by my clever friend Heather.




I have also seen the same concept work really well on Christmas cards here.

This garland that I saw on the Creative Place last week is what I want to try next…after I purchase some different sized hole punches… a whole new league of garland!  


For some more paper decorations made from old sheet music check these out.

My circle punches are both 2″ in size.  One plain circle and one with a scalloped edge.  Mine were purchased on ebay, but I have seen them at art supply shops in various shapes and sizes.

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part fourteen

Last Monday night a few friends and I had a little stall at a fundraising market at their children’s school.  So much fun! I sold all of my little birdies, along with some Christmas cardschai tea sachets, reindeer food, reindeer noses & paper garlands.  The other ladies had some gorgeous stuff, along with these super cute and super simple hair clips that I just had to share with you this week in my simple handmade gifts for girls series. 
RIBBON COVERED ALLIGATOR CLIP

To save myself some time explaining in detail, I did a quick google search and found this simple tutorial for you to follow if you’d like to make some yourself.  All you need is a hot glue gun, some grosgrain ribbon, an alligator clip & just a few minutes of your time.
To add to the cuteness of the gift, she had made simple clip holders with a piece of ribbon and some more hot glue! (Or of course, they’d fit very well onto one of these also!)
I can see these as great stocking stuffers and birthday gifts for Frog & Goose’s friends for quite some time!  As we have moved around quite a lot and have friends all over, I also love a gift that fits into an envelope and can be mailed interstate or overseas.
Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas*, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you! 

THIS SATURDAY I’M GRATEFUL…

Thanks to my amazing Mum and to my equally amazing husband, Mr FGB & I have just returned from a kid-free weekend!  Two whole days and two whole nights in Daylesford to celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary.  To say that I am grateful may just be the understatement of the century!

What are you grateful for this weekend?

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part thirteen {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas…
This week one of my favourite bloggers, the beautiful Sarah from Oesch & Doots, is sharing with us a gorgeous & simple handmade gift for a girl.  I love a gift that involves a bit of upcycling too!  If you do not know Sarah I’d highly recommend a visit!  Sarah has a knack of finding enormous beauty in the everyday and with her gorgeous photography, gentleness & warmth, I know you’ll become a regular like me!

Gifts for Girls: make a dolly quilt + pillow from an old pillowcase

Hello! I’m so excited to be guest posting on Emma’s wonderful blog today.  Visiting Frog, Goose and Bear always inspires me, so I feel very lucky to have a little tutorial (my first ever!) featured right here. And the theme – handmade gifts for girls – well, making gifts for little girls is one of my very favourite things in the world to do. 

Today, I’ve got a great idea for the little girls in your life. A pretty, vintage style dolly quilt and matching pillow. I think this makes the perfect handmade gift for little girls (aged 2-6) who love their dollies. I made a bunch for our mothers group friends when they all turned 3. Even the boys got a set (you know, even dinosaurs need to sleep). 


Although sewing is involved, it’s a quick, easy and fun project, and I’m upcycling old bed linen and some fabric scraps, so it’s virtually cost-free too. 


You’ll need:


*1 old pillowcase – I found a pretty floral pillowcase at the op shop (shown in the middle, above). A pastel solid would also work well.

*Assorted strips of pretty coordinating fabric. I used a thrifted cot sheet (top) and an old cot sheet of my daughter’s that never quite fit her mattress (bottom). You could of course use new fabric. Those pretty fat quarters you’ve been wondering what to do with would be perfect.

*Something to fill the quilt. You could of course use quilt batting, and this is what I’ve done in the past, using offcuts from bigger quilts. But I don’t have any offcuts lying around at the moment so I have used an old flannelette nappy. Perfect upcycling!

*Some hobby fill or wool rovings to stuff the pillow.

Make the quilt:

1. Decide how big you want your quilt to be. This will be determined by the size of doll (if known). A good general size (and the size I’ve made here) is about 40 x 50 cms.

2. Take to your pillowcase with your scissors – cut your quilt backing piece, 1-2cm bigger in both directions than your eventual quilt size. My pillowcase had a very worn patch in the middle of one side, so I discarded that section and chose the rectangle from the other side to be my quilt back. From the other (worn) side, I was able to salvage two smaller rectangles for the pillow, and from the flap I made some strips to use on the pieced quilt top.

3. Using your backing piece as a size guide, cut strips from your coordinating fabrics and arrange them in a design you like, laying them on top of your quilt back. (see below) Make sure you overlap your strips to allow for seams. You could make your strips very precisely using a rotary cutter, but I quite like an imperfect look, so I just used scissors and eyeballed it, and didn’t worry too much about straight edges :) 


4. When you’re happy with the arrangement, pin and sew the strips together (right sides facing). Keep adding the strips until you have a pieced quilt top. (see below) Press all your seams.



5. Now, to assemble your quilt, make a sandwich with your pieces. Batting (for me, that old nappy) first, then quilt top (right side up), then quilt back (right side down). (see below) 


6. Ensure the layers are all nice and flat, and trim any overhanging edges around the quilt back. So, I was cutting the nappy and the pieced quilt top to fit the quilt back (see below). You could do this on a cutting mat with a straight edge and rotary cutter. I do it on my outdoor table which has gaps between the timber slats – perfect for guiding my scissors! 


7. Pin all around, and sew around your rectangle, leaving a 10cm gap on one edge, for turning. 

8. Clip corners and turn right side out. 

9. Press the seams and edge stitch (sewing close to the edge on top of the quilt) all around. The edge stitch will give it a lovely finished look, and also close the gap.

10. Admire! And embellish as you wish. I added a length of lace to the top, and wove ribbon through just for extra prettiness. But it would still look great without the lace. Also, you could add lace (or applique, embroidery, etc.) before you assemble the quilt.


Make pillow:

1. With right sides together, pin, and sew all around your two pillow pieces, leaving a 5cm gap for turning. 

2. Clip corners, turn right side out and press.

3. Stuff with hobby fill, wool rovings, etc. 

4. You can either hand sew the gap, or (my preference) edge stitch in the same manner as the quilt. You just need to ensure you don’t overfill the pillow – you need to be able to push it to the middle when you’re sewing. 

That’s it! Grab a dolly and tuck her in tight!

Oh, and if you make one – I’d LOVE to see it! 


x Sarah
Thanks Sarah – too cute!  Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you! 

MY CREATIVE SPACE…clay decorations


Completely inspired by clay christmas decorations that I have come across online via pinterest - here, here & here & here, just to name a few.


Goose and I tried our hand at making clay Christmas decorations on the weekend.


Using cookie cutters, some rubber stamps, some pine leaves & some doilies.


I was really happy with how they turned out!



We used oven bake clay and it was so beautiful to work with.  
It was so much fun, we just kept going and going. 


A friend and I are having a little stall at a fundraising market at her children’s school on Monday night next week, so I think that I might add a few to our stall. 



I think I’ll also use them as tags on Christmas presents that can then double as Christmas tree decorations as part of the gift.


What Christmas creativity have you been getting up to?
Time to put up the tree and start the advent calendar.

For more creative spaces head over here.



SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part twelve {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas…

If you haven’t met Jane from Life on Planet Baby, then you really, really must!  She is one of the loveliest ladies in blogland.  She is kind, creative, passionate and brave and I love reading her blog for her genuine honesty and warmth.  She is sharing with us such a simple and fun idea.  Goose and I have already made one using a piece of her art.  

Hello you gorgeous readers of Emma’s fabulous blog! Isn’t it just full of bubbly life, inspiration, fun and love? That’s why her little haven in Blogland is always one of my ‘must-reads’ and especially because we’re both the busy mums of three littlies who keep us on our toes – we have a lot in common! I was really flattered when she invited me to contribute to her brilliant series, Simple handmade gifts for girls. Only in the past year or so since I started blogging have I discovered my creative side and now I never have enough time to make all the brilliant ideas I find in Blogland and on Pinterest. Anyway, today I thought I’d share an easy-peasy, inexpensive gift that any little girl would love. 
So, are you ready? Great – let’s get cracking!

This is what we’re going to make –

an erasable whiteboard.


The supplies

Here’s what you need to make it:


-  A picture frame with glass (this was from Typo costing $15 – you can buy them online here);
 Some complementary coloured scrapbook paper;
-   A pencil; and
-  A paper trimmer.

The instructions

1.              Remove the backing from the frame, together with the paper inserts.

2.              Place the glass onto the scrapbooking paper, lining it up to fit in at the corner and trace around the glass with a pencil (it’s tricky to photograph whilst in action, hence the reflection of me!).


3.              Place the glass aside and cut out the rectangle you have traced, using your paper trimmer.


4.              After making sure your glass is clean, place it into the frame, then the paper (the side you’re using should be face down) and finish with the backing.

5.              Flip it over and your masterpiece is complete (yes, that’s my reflection again ☺)!

6.              Gift it with an erasable marker (I’m fond of Sharpies) and your little friend will be ready to get writing. Here’s an example of how to use it.

7.              When you need to erase the message, the glass can simply be wiped clean with a tissue, a damp cloth or a spray of Windex.

8.              This gift can be changed so easily as tastes change – all you need to do is replace the paper and/or paint the frame.

Here’s one I use in our kitchen. 
Our pixies take great delight in crossing off tasks or adding their own, now they’re learning to write.

Thanks, Emma, for letting me share this idea with your readers. I’d love to know if any of you make one – you can contact me at my blog, Life on Planet Baby. I’d really enjoy seeing what you come up with!

Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you! 

SIMPLE HANDMADE GIFTS FOR GIRLS… part eleven {guest post}

There are so many fabulous and simple handmade gifts for girls out there that I thought I’d ask a few of my clever & creative blogging friends to share with you some of their ideas…

This week my friend Susannah is sharing with us a very simple & clever gift idea that I’m sure you’ll love.  I am lucky enough to count Susannah as one of my real life friends.  I first met her earlier this year when she & her daughter joined our playgroup and then she started coming along to my monthly craft nights.  I have enjoyed her friendship ever since.  To meet my friend Susannah, head on over to her blog, ‘Inside the Snuggery’.

I’ve been very inspired by Emma’s handmade gifts for girls. Although my blog doesn’t have very many handmade things on it, she knows that I am a bit of a closet crafter, and I was thrilled when she asked me to guest post. 

This project is super simple, and I was pretty happy about how the end product turned out. My Simple Handmade Gift for Girls is an Organiser for Hair Things and Necklaces/Bracelets. It is pretty versatile, and you could hang almost anything on it.

What you will need:

* Blank Canvas (can be bought from art/craft supply shops, sometimes $2 shops, I bought mine online at Micador)
* Fabric of your choice, I think I used cotton, but I can’t see why you couldn’t use other fabrics. It just needs to be about 5-10cm larger than your canvas.
* Ribbon
* Felt if you want to do a letter or other picture to personalise it
* Staple Gun
* Fabric Glue or Glue Gun if you want to attach a letter or other picture
* Screw in Hooks

So, start with a blank canvas…

Iron your fabric to remove any creases. Spread out on a large sturdy surface with the right side of the fabric facing down. Place your canvas on top facing down also. Chop some of the excess fabric off, allowing enough overhang to be able to fold around and staple easily (see above). Then start stapling!  I found this bit fun, and a little scary, as the staple gun is pretty loud. They seem pretty safe, but I make sure I only do it when the kiddies are asleep just in case. 


I imagine there is a technique to stapling, but I just started in the middle of one side, then the middle of the opposite side, then the other two middles, and then filling in the gaps, doing the corners last. The way I did it was to start off by making sure the first couple were pulled firmly, but not too tight, and then gradually making sure the other ones were very tight. The aim is to get it nice and tight without warping the pattern of the fabric. If your fabric has a horizontal or vertical pattern you will probably want to check reasonably frequently on the front that it is lined up nice and straight. The corners are just a matter of a bit of folding and pulling to try and get it tight and flat. Obviously it doesn’t matter too much what the back looks like, just that the front looks good. 


Then add a ribbon to the side. I used grosgrain ribbon because it is nice and strong. Line it up where you want it, then staple with the staple gun onto the back of your organiser then trim off excess. 


Then you add some hooks which can be found at lots of places, including hardware stores and usually supermarkets. You can sometimes get them in other colours as well. 
All you need to do is line them up on the edge where there is definitely wood and then twist them in. I decided on using two, but you could do lots more if you wanted.


You can also personalise it. I decided to do the letter A, which I cut out from felt and then used fabric glue to stick in place. I imagine a glue gun would work well for this as well. 


And this is what the final product should look like! 

You can put hair clips on the ribbon, and then hang necklaces, headbands, bracelets, etc on the bottom hooks.  

I had lots of fun making this. It was easy and really quick! As well as this one, I have made two others using very different fabric that looked great as well. Even my boys have asked if I will make them one!

Thanks Emma for letting me guest post, and giving me an incentive for indulging my crafty side!  If anyone has a go at making one of these, I’d love you to let me know how you go!


Susannah.


Come back next Monday for another simple handmade gift for girls.  I’m planning on posting an idea every Monday until Christmas, so if you have an idea to share and would like to guest post – send me an email.  I’d LOVE to hear from you! 


MY CREATIVE SPACE…

Last week at MOPS* we made brooches. 
Here’s my attempt.  Still not sure if I like mine or not.
Very simple though when made with a hot glue gun (my new favourite crafting tool!) Being fun and easy made it the perfect activity for MOPS.  Roughly cut felt and fabric circles, add a button and a brooch pin and stick them all together with a hot glue gun.  You could also add them to a headband instead of a brooch if you were feeling inclined.
I have been collecting ideas for quick and simple crafts to make with the MOPS Mums one day over here on Pinterest.**  Any ideas to add?

For more crafting inspiration head over here to the ever inspirational collective of creative types over at our creative space.

*MOPS – Mothers Of Pre Schoolers – a lovely nurturing group who meet once a fortnight at our church giving time out and bit of rejuvenation to worn out Mums like me!
** I LOVE pinterest.  Could spend all day there!  Are you on Pinterest?  Let me know in the comments and I’ll check out your space.