Friday, 16 December 2011

recycled paper & fabric alternative Christmas tree

So, I don't have a Christmas tree. I am ok with that, my one year old would love one though just so he can pull it to pieces! Anyway, I was given some maps yesterday so I wanted to make something out of them, which led me to this tutorial by Everyday Mom Ideas for a paper tree centrepiece. I made one this afternoon after collecting some sticks on our walk, but I used black and white magazine pages instead of scrapbook paper, and I also  made some  feature leaves out of scrap fabric (which I have way too much of). I think it turned out ok, and will do for an alternative Christmas tree - no plastic, completely recycled materials, and free!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Easy project: upcycling magnets using fabric scraps

This little project was so quick and easy. I got to use some of my scrappy bits of fabric, plus make some ugly fridge magnets covered with advertising look so much better. I also recycled magnets which were stuck to the back of some calendars which had appeared in my letterbox (have since stuck a 'no junk mail' sign on it, so I probably won't get any more now).

First thing I did was remove the magnets from the back of the calendars, and peeled the top layer of paper off the advertising magnets. Next, I covered the top of the magnet with PVA wood glue, attached a fabric scrap and trimmed it to fit with a pair of scissors. Then I just applied more glue to the top of the fabric, spread it around evenly then let it dry. That's it! Used some scraps, recycled some unwanted magnets, and now my fridge looks so much brighter. 

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Learning the hard way

I am finding out the hard way how to be organised. I had planned to list a new range of softies on my store, so after lots of thinking and comparing supplies, I ordered all the bits I needed online, drew up some patterns, and spent hours sewing. This was all a few weeks ago, I had planned to have the toys all finished off ready for the Christmas shopping weeks. What I hadn't taken into account was the possibility that the suppliers had a pre-Christmas rush (probably due to people being more organised than I), and my bits not arriving on time. As it is, my bits are still not here, with only 21 days left until the big day. That's only a week or two shopping time, taking into account the extra time people allow for postage when shopping online. Oh dear. Hoping a nice big package of crafty stuff arrives for me tomorrow, I have lots of things to finish off, photograph, list online, then hopefully, to tag, wrap and bundle up, and off to the post office..   

Saturday, 3 December 2011

My new banner using GIMP, and how I did it

Yesterday I spent some time creating a new banner for my shop using GIMP. It was quite simple, I used a photo of my fabric and added text to create a very simple but colourful header for my store. It's a bit 'fresher' than the one I had previously, so I've added it to my blog as well. GIMP is a free photo processing software which can be downloaded here

I usually have trouble getting the sizing right, but with this software it was so easy. Here is how I did it (I use windows):

Open GIMP, Click 'File', then 'New', and there you can select your image size. Click OK

Next, open your Pictures folder which contains the image you want to use. Drag this image into GIMP.

Select the 'move' tool in the GIMP toolbox (a cross with four arrows). This will allow you to drag the image around, so that the preferred section of your image is shown.

Then it's time to add your text. Click the 'A' in the GIMP toolbox, then click on the image where you would like the text to go, and type your text. You can select your font, size, colour etc in the bottom section of the toolbox.

When you have your text in the right place, and you are happy with the way your banner looks, click 'file', then 'save as' and give it a name. Also you may have to change the file type to a jpeg before clicking save.

I hope that makes sense! Here is mine. Next thing I need to work out is how to give my text a shadow so that it stands out a little better against the pale section of my pic. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


I have been so busy since I've returned from Africa, and to get it all done I have set a new rule for myself: no computer until after dinner time, preferably after my little one goes to sleep.

So with all the time I am saving by not getting lost in the internet I have been making lots of new things, like phone and camera pouches, patchwork balls and nappy covers. My shop is a mix of so many different things at the moment, proof that I get bored very easily and don't make more than a few of each item.  Today I created two flat elephants, out of some of my African kitenge. Will I make more? Who knows. I have no plans, just to create whatever I am in the mood to make! 

Monday, 14 November 2011

We are back!

My baby helps me pack... making sure I don't leave him behind!

So after leaving Tanzania on Thursday at lunchtime, I arrived home to South Australia this evening, Monday. It was a huge trip with a one night stopover in Dubai then two nights at my sisters house in Perth to recover a little, but we finally made it! I have to say though that I really wouldn't recommend travelling that far alone with a one year old in tow, it was quite exhausting really. I have to say though, the 3am flights, terrible connections, long hours stuck in a plane seat trying to keep a very active toddler happy, and the seemingly endless hours wandering foreign aiports trying to get bub to sleep, not to mention the terrible food, was all worth it. I had such a memorable time, and am already planning my next trip back to Afirca.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Baby wearing in Tanzania

I was asked a question this morning about something I had mentioned about baby wearing being one of the positive differences I have noticed between Tanzanian mamas and mothers in Australia. The question, more of a comment really, was that African mamas probably wear their babies because footpaths are not really up to pram traffic etc.

Babies being worn as mamas go about their day in town
Wearing or carrying babies is the way humans have evolved really. When you think about it, how did a relatively recent invention (the pram), that was so dangerous in the beginning become so popular, and the ‘normal’ thing to have? They are bulky, cumbersome, restrict where you can walk, separate babies from their mamas, and make you take far too much ‘stuff’ with you. Our bodies are made for babies.. making them, growing them, giving birth to them, feeding them and carrying them until they grow independent enough to walk on their own, just like every other mammal on this earth. Try going out one day with your baby on your back. You will be amazed at what you didn’t realise you couldn’t do before, you can walk wherever you like (cross roads wherever,  go down narrow shop aisles, negotiate steps or doorways easily, walk on bumpy nature trails, the list could go on forever.) I know this may sound silly, but it really does make you feel free.

Another thing that will become obvious is the increase in interaction. When your baby is at adult level, they get spoken to a lot more than if they were at knee level hidden away in a pram, and they become part of the conversation. They can also see the world at a different perspective, they see where all the sounds are coming from, and they see how you normally interact with the world around you. This is an excellent video demonstrating this point.

My baby sleeps as I work

You’ll also be amazed at how little ‘stuff’ you need to take. Usually I have just a small handbag, and to be honest I don’t know what people pile the underneath of their prams with. An Australian friend of mine was converted to an Ergo carrier after she seen me with mine all the time, and one of her early concerns was “How will I carry all my stuff?” Her husbands reply was “well how did you carry it before you had a baby?” And also, you may be surprised at how comfortable it is, and how, with a supportive carrier (like an Ergo or Boba Wrap or similar, something that holds babies legs and hips in the 'M' position) you could wear them for hours. 
Baby wearing starts young here! 

I have noticed a huge difference in baby behaviour here in Tanzania, I don’t think I have even seen one baby cry in public here, they are just so happy and content. My baby has never once cried in a shop, or anywhere else while he has been worn. Babies fall asleep happily, quietly, and peacefully along with the gentle movements made by the mother going about her day. There are a lot of well researched books and articles out there which explain the reasons for this, well worth a read. I highly recommend The Continuum Concept by Jean Liedloff as a good place to start.

Wearing your baby is also safer. Your baby will never roll in front of a train, or into a river, or into traffic while they are safely attached to you. These may seem extreme examples, but I have heard all of these events happening in the news in the last few years. They also cannot be stolen, as crazy and scary as that idea may be.

A mama and baby on their way to the market
The reason I think prams have become so popular; marketing and money. Seems every new mother in the western world has been made to think they ‘need’ one, just like they ‘need’ a bouncer, a rocker, a special chair to make your baby ‘sit up’ before they are really ready, and all of the other ‘must have’ big brand stuff in the shops, and the more expensive the better it is, apparently! Baby goods companies are big business. Even I have a home based business making blankets for prams, ironic I know. I must say though I have used my pram occasionally in the last few months for taking my baby to swimming lessons, so that I can put him somewhere while I shower, but then on the way home I have worn him and used the pram as a shopping trolley.

So it could be that African mamas carry their out of necessity, but given the choice, I think mamas here would think prams are strange devices which promote mama/baby detachment, and see them as an expensive unnecessary accessory. All babies really need when they are small are clothes, shelter, and their mamas boobs and arms.. and lots of love! Oh and a great baby carrier of course!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Ester M

I don’t really know what to say as it is still a shock, so this will be short.

Ester with Bibi Frank, meeting my son for the first time two weeks ago.

Tragically we have lost a beautiful soul from this world this week. Ester Mbaga, one of the Kesho Leo house mamas passed away on Tuesday after a very short illness. I feel so very sad for her three children, who will grow up without their dear mama.  I will miss you very much Ester, as I am certain you will be missed by many.. you have touched so many hearts xx

Ester with her youngest daughter, Sharoni

Monday, 31 October 2011

Explaining baby sleep training to an African mama of 8.

I had an interesting conversation today. Somehow I ended up explaining the concept of baby ‘sleep training’ with an African mama of eight, who is also my sons grandmother (Bibi in Swahili). It went something like this:

Bibi and I were sitting in my living room, watching my son (almost 13 months) play with his older cousin, when the conversation turned to sleep.

Me: He doesn’t sleep a lot, he wakes a few times at night, and only has one short nap during the day. Did your babies all sleep well?

Bibi: Oh, all babies, they differ. Some sleep a lot, some do not. Every baby, they are different. They will all sleep in their own time.

Me: In Australia, some people train their babies to sleep at night.

Bibi: (looks confused)

My boy with his Bibi
Me: They put their babies to bed in a cot in a separate room,

Bibi: They don’t sleep with them?

Me: No, they usually put them in their own room, sometimes from only six months old. I don’t do that, my baby sleeps with me because it is easy for me to feed him back to sleep when he is just lying there next to me.

Bibi: Yes, sometimes they wake and just want to suck. And having them in your bed, that is where they feel the love.

Me: Yes, I think he feels comforted when he is snuggling next to me. So anyway, what some people do to train their babies to sleep is to put them in a cot in their own room, and when the baby wakes they don’t pick them up or feed them.

Bibi: (looks confused and a little shocked)

Me: They figure this way the baby will learn not to wake up because they won’t have their needs met. Some mothers might go in to the babies room for a few minutes, patting the baby to settle them, then leave again. If the baby cries they just wait outside the room and go in some minutes later, but still don’t pick them up. They continue this until the baby goes back to sleep.

Bibi: They do not pick up their babies?

Me: No.

Bibi (looks a bit disgusted by this thought)

Me: I have even heard about a doctor who tells mothers to put their baby to bed at a certain time, close the door and don’t go in if the baby cries and to not go in until the morning, unless the baby is asleep so they don’t know their mama came in.

Bibi: (Looking absolutely horrified by now) Why do they not attend to their baby?

Me: I don’t know, maybe they prefer to sleep. Don’t worry, I would never do that to my baby!

I hope I haven’t given Bibi nightmares now by sharing this information with her. We discussed more on the topic, and also the stark difference in the way babies are treated in our countries, which I noticed when I returned to Australia the first time after being in Tanzania for about a year. To come from a country where babies are content, normally being held or carried on someones back, having their needs met promptly, to then arriving in Australia to see babies crying in prams, not able to even see their mothers and their cries being ignored was quite a shock. I think it’s safe to say that ‘baby training’ is a relatively modern western concept that will never catch on in Africa.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Craft workshops at Kesho Leo

Thanks to the generosity of friends and family for donating the supplies needed and/or cash for craft stuff, I have recently been lucky enough to host three craft workshop afternoons at Kesho Leo, an eco-friendly children’s village run by, just outside Arusha, Tanzania. I volunteered with fws for the year 2009, and it was so wonderful to be back to see the mamas and kids again. The mamas have learned to sew since being employed as live-in house mamas at Kesho Leo, and have been making bags and purses for the past couple of years which they sell in town. I decided to give them something a bit different to do, something which I was hoping would spark some creative interest and make use of otherwise wasted materials. Before I left I got googling, and found a lot of different things to make with recycled magazine paper. I felt this would fit in well with fws values, as there is no paper recycling facility available in the area so this paper would otherwise go to the local dump and be burned. Why not make something beautiful with it instead?

Tiring work for some! My baby enjoys a nap while I get crafty

We started with paper beads, a tutorial I found here. These are quite simple to make, and you would never know they are made from paper.. and they make gorgeous unique necklaces!

Next thing we did was make some beautiful gift bows. One brightly coloured magazine page makes one bow, and I thought they would be a hit at the Arusha Christmas fair this year. Another Christmas themed project we made were tiny origami “lucky stars”, which can be strung together to make a garland.

Oliva's beautiful bow

Lastly we used scraps of fabric and spare buttons to make some fabric yoyos. Some fabric scraps are too small to use for anything, and a project like this is a great way to use them, and also for developing fiddly hand-sewing skills.

As with everything in Africa, these projects took a lot longer to teach than I expected so unfortunately I didn’t get to the other craft projects I wanted to show the mamas. On my list were paper bowls and coaster sets, patchwork (for bags, cushions and purses), baby bibs and nappy covers. Oh well, there’s always next time I guess!

Monday, 19 September 2011

A Hungry Child Can't Wait: Ask 5 for 5

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5

Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Kanga Creative and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to
help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support,
healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!
I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at if you're interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Putting the call out for craft supplies!

While volunteering in Tanzania, East Africa, in 2009-10 I learnt the value of giving a hand up rather than a hand out. In a developing country like this one, there is no such thing as government assistance, free health care or free education, so having some kind of potentially money earning skills is incredibly important.
I have since returned to settle in Renmark, South Australia. I am enjoying living here and have met some wonderful people, but Africa is calling me again so I am returning for a very short trip in October with my one year old baby, with a longer trip planned for next year.
While I am there next month I have organised to hold craft workshops in the village of Sinon, just outside the busy, dusty, sometimes crazy town of Arusha, Tanzania. I will be putting into practise the theory of giving a hand up, by teaching disadvantaged mamas from food water shelter some new eco-friendly skills such as using old magazines to create unique bowls and beads, and using small otherwise useless fabric scraps to create vibrantly coloured patchwork bags and cushions, with the intent of then selling their creations at the local tourist market.

With access to the supplies needed, these mamas will be able to potentially generate an income from otherwise wasted resources. This is were I need your help! I am looking for donations of craft supplies, new or used, such as small scissors (for cutting paper), clear plastic rulers, pens (any colour), toothpicks, small paintbrushes, velcro, pins, pincushions, and small bottles of PVA glue (unopened). Any donations of these supplies (or even cash for me to buy them when I get there to save me carrying it all) will be very much appreciated, so if you have anything lying around that you can spare, please contact me at . Asante sana! (that's swahili for thank you very much!)

Monday, 12 September 2011

I am going to Africa, so I need to have a sale!

Next month I will be heading off to Tanzania for a short trip with my baby (not such a little baby anymore though, the pic is an old one - he will be one soon!). I am very excited about it, but now that it is booked and I am starting to get organised, I am also starting to panic a little! My credit card needs to be paid, and I haven't budgeted for accommodation yet. So I am having a sale, I would really love to clear out all of my stock before I go, and then start fresh when I get back. I am hoping to bring some gorgeous fabrics back with me, so they will provide me with inspiration for new things for my madeit shop.  

Friday, 9 September 2011

upcycling old magazines...

I've been given a pile of old magazines, so I'm getting crafty! After going through them to cut out pictures to stick in a little book for my bub, I began experimenting. First up I made some beads. I first seen this type of bead in Africa, and they are surprisingly easy to make. I have found that one magazine page makes about 24 beads, quite a lot really!

Next I tried a magazine paper bowl which I have seen in a couple of different places. This obviously used a lot more paper, and was very messy! It is surprisingly strong and hard wearing though, and the best thing is it won't break when dropped. Perfect for having around at the moment, my babies latest thing is to swipe everything off tables onto the ground with his arm! I think I need to keep practising with the bowls to see if I can make them neater, and also to try and make a wider, flatter baby proof dish for my coffee table.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Prams in the news..

The first time my baby sat in his pram seat,
I think he is about 3 months old here

Last week there was a controversial news article published quoting Professor Cathrine Fowler from the University of Technology Sydney as saying "Outward-facing baby carriers and prams give babies a bombardment of stimulus, creating a very stressful situation. In not considering our baby's perspective we are inadvertently quite cruel to children." Even though there were far more important issues in the news that day it raised a lot of discussion about prams.

Personally, my pram can be faced either way. It never actually occured to me to face it away from me. I like to be able to see my baby, and I do not obstruct his view at all so he can still see the world around him, so I talk to him as we walk and tell him the names of the things we see. 

To be totally honest though,  pram rides are a complete novelty for him. This might surprise some of you who know my main selling item is a Pram Snuggle pram blanket, but I am a dedicated "baby wearer" and my baby can more often be found on my back in his Ergo, where he has a fantastic view of the world, people talk to him a lot as he is up where they can see him, and he has the option of resting his head and snuggling into my back for a sleep whenever it all gets too much for him. This was something else the researcher in the article was referring to, I believe she was also talking about babies being worn in forward facing carriers on the front of an adults body, a great article by 'babes in arms' about why this position is not recommended can be found here.   

So what to you think? Do you have a forward facing or backward facing pram? Do you even use one at all?

My bub and I in Thailand recently in his favourite form of
transportation, our Ergo carrier

Friday, 26 August 2011

Snap Press!

Meet my new favourite craft tool! This is my new snap press, and it is making my life a whole lot easier. I was using velcro on my Pram Snuggles and bibs and anything else that needed fastening, and it was a step of the creative process I dreaded as it was so fiddly and time consuming. Now though it only takes a few seconds, and now my things have a little professional touch. I have mountains of scrap fabric so now I can't wait to get creative and see what I can come up with!

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

New find - Badge Bliss!

I was lucky enough to receive a gift in the mail today, a prize of two fridge magnets and a badge from Badge Bliss, a fellow seller. The badges feature very timely advice for our London friends, "Keep Calm and Carry On". They are so well made, the magnet is enclosed so there are no parts that may fall off in little hands. Speaking of little hands, my 10 month old thought it was the most hilarious thing that they stick to the fridge! It was so nice to hear him laugh after he has been so miserable with his very first cold. Thanks Kate from Badge Bliss for the prize, and for making my baby laugh. Check out her blog, and madeit store to see all the other awesome things she has created, pocket mirrors, pocket watch pendants, keyrings, magnets and of course badges. The breastfeeding badges are a personal fave :)

Monday, 23 May 2011

DSLR pouch

I love photography, and on the first day of 2011 I began the 365 Project. The challenge is to take a photo every day for an entire year, although with all the sewing I have been doing lately I have become very slack with it. I do still take my DSLR most places with me so as not to be caught out without a camera if a photo opportunity arises, and I have developed a bad habit of just throwing my beloved camera into my handbag with nothing more protecting it than a plastic bag. So last night with some time on my hands I finally got around to another project I have been meaning to do, a little padded bag for my Nikon, small enough to put into my big handbag, but nice enough to use on its own with space for a phone and purse if I am just popping out quickly. I didn't want it to look obviously like a camera bag, or as chunky and boring as one of the conventional black camera bags either.

I made it out of African kitenge with chocolate minky lining. For protective padding I used a layer of thick polar fleece in between the layers. I added a small pocket inside to hold spare SD cards, which is large enough to hold the lens cap while I am shooting. I had been thinking about all sorts of ways to enclose the bag, from using a zip, or a large flap with velcro, but I decided the handiest way was to make a drawstring which when pulled closed would form an ideal strap for carrying. I am thinking now though that I could have made the strap longer with a padded section in the centre for shoulder comfort, as I prefer to wear bags across my body rather than just hanging off my shoulder, but this one I made with the intention of putting inside my large tote bag so it's perfect for that.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

New Design - Large Pram Snuggle

I have had lots of people asking if I make Pram Snuggles for older babies. I have had a design in mind for a while now but just not enough time to sit down and do it. But today after replying to an email and having to say that no, my Pram Snuggles probably won't fit an 18 month old, I found some motivation, and put aside the housework to find the time to make one up and see if my idea would work.

The main problem I found was the length. For it to fit an older baby or toddler the bottom would have to be quite a bit longer than normal. The problem with that is it would touch the ground when open, and could get caught up in the pram wheels. So what I did was made it longer, but I folded the bottom up and joined the front and back together forming a pocket, kind of like a sleeping bag bottom. The pocket doesn't go all the way up, just enough for it to stop it from touching the ground when it is opened up (you can see what I mean in the photo to the right). I have made it the same length as my foot muff/cosy toes attachment on my stroller which leaves a lot of growing room for my seven month old. 

Even with the bottom sewn up it still functions as a blanket, not a sleeping bag. They are easy to use: First, place the pram snuggle into the pram, then pull the harness straps through the holes and secure the Velcro tabs. Then sit baby in pram as normal, making sure their feet are inside the pocket (if their legs are long enough, that is!). The side flaps then fold over in front of baby. Bring the bottom section up, wrap around their lap and tuck in so that they are sitting on the wings of the bottom section, securing it with their weight. Being a blanket, it can easily be loosened if baby gets too warm.

I will be making these to order, in a limited fabric selection. I still need to work out a price for these - I will be able to do this once I decide on which fabrics will be best to use. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Easy peasy fabric yoyo tutorial

I have been seeing cute little fabric yoyos everywhere lately, from hairclips and hats to t-shirt embellishments. I have heard that people used to make whole quilts out of them! I learnt to make them about ten years ago, and thought I'd share. They are so easy you don't even know how to sew, and you don't need a sewing machine. 

1. You need: a piece of fabric, something round (I used a tea cup which gives a pretty small yoyo), a pen, a pair of scissors, and needle and thread.

2. Trace around your round thing with a pen

3. Cut out your circle

4. Take your threaded needle, and tie a knot in one end. With the fabric the wrong side up, turn the edge over and straight stitch, turning the fabric edge down as you go. Try not to make the stitches too small, and it's ok if they aren't exactly even.


5. When you have stitched all the way around, take the thread and gently pull so that the fabric gathers and the hole closes. 

6. Tie both ends of thread together, then flatten out your yoyo.

And you're done! You can do different sized yoyos and stack them (just stitch through the middle to keep them together), or stitch a button to the top to make a little flower like I did with this one.