Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Craft Pumpkins

I love Halloween. My husband does not understand my excitement over lit pumpkins and Halloween decor.

I think I have made it clear that I don't like to throw things away - but when it comes to real pumpkins I kind of faint at the price. Each year I buy a few more new craft pumpkins from Michaels when they are on half price. Each year I carve a few more and add them to our little display.

This year we have a few more additions to our own little pumpkin patch. 

A big mummy spider has joined the icky nest of baby spiders. 

Some scary pumpkin bugs have landed on the box woods. 

My favorite still is the pumpkin snake we made last year - he curls his way down the steps.

Every pumpkin you see in this picture is fake. We bag them up into large bin liners every year and store them in the garden shed until the next Halloween. I used to feel ashamed about my love for craft pumpkins until we visited the Pumpkin Garden at the New York Botanical Gardens - all their pumpkins are fake too!!

You can see more of my pumpkins from a post I made back in 2011!

Have a fun & safe Halloween tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tie Dye Sharpie T-shirt

I first saw this at Fun at Home with Kids (if you have little ones visit Asia's blog - you will never be stuck for ideas with your littles again!). As soon as I saw this idea and the results I really wanted to make a kids art quilt with this method - but first we tried T-shirts to see if we liked the results.

You draw on the fabric with the sharpies and then drizzle rubbing alcohol over the drawings - it is nothing more complicated than that. 

We liked the results A LOT!

The bunnies had a surprisingly long amount of concentration for using Mummy's 'special pens' and being allowed to draw on clothes (something I would never ever allow normally.)

Here are their t-shirts after they had finished drawing on them.

(Bunny #2 - 2 years old)

 (Bunny #1 - 4 years old)

Then it was time to add the magic water (rubbing alcohol - again something I would never let them get their hands on!) The colors spread so prettily - and they kept spreading & changing.  

At this point my 1st little bunny lost it completely insisting that her sister's t-shirt was much prettier than hers. She finally recovered for the photo shoot. Though I have to say - for a 2 year old I think her t-shirt more than rocks!

The dried t-shirts really are so pretty - even my husband (who rarely comments on such projects) said how pretty he thought they were.

I used a packet of (Sharpie Fine-Tip 80's Glam - pack of 24 sharpies). I have many fabric projects lined up for these guys. The project was really fun and practically no mess - only a bit of sharpie on the fingers. I would recommend this to anyone of any age!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Paper Roll Halloween Tree

We were all quite sad to take down our Coffee Filter Butterfly Tree. But we have had fun decorating our Halloween tree with paper rolls and tissues.

Creep crawly spiders live in our Halloween tree.

Mice live in our Halloween tree. 

Painted paper roll owls live in our tree. 

Twirly Halloween icicles (made from painted paper rolls) hang in our tree in pumpkin golds, purple and black. 

Strips of tissue hang in our tree while bats loom over head. 

I hope you are decorating for Halloween too!

Take a look at the other projects we have done with our tree so far this year:
Swedish Easter Tree
Valentine Tree
Recycled Cherry Blossom Tree
Coffee Filter Butterfly Tree

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Two-tone Playsiks

Our coffee filter butterfly tree has gotten many a compliment (we sadly just took it down to make our Halloween tree.) If you remember we made many of our beautiful butterflies by simply dipping and hanging our coffee filters in liquid watercolors. I know I must seem mildly obsessed by dying silks but it did make me wonder if we could make play silks this way. Just dip the silk in two pots and let it sit there and soak up the colors.

In each container is filled with approx 16oz of hot water, 6oz of vinegar & a good squirt or more of food coloring. You can read more about dying play silks with kid friendly dyes here, here & here.

We left the silks to soak for 30mins or so.

The results were really quite pretty - I gave into the imperfections in the color and enjoyed the design that the process resulted in. 


Here is Bunny #1 running around the garden pretending to be a butterfly. 

They also make really pretty neck scarfs.

Other dyeing fun we have had:
Tissue Dyed Silk Pillows
Two Tone Play Silks
Teacher Appreciation Gift: Home Made Play Silks
Easy Silk Scarf Dyeing with Tissue Paper
Kid Friendly Dyeing - Making your own Play Silks

Friday, October 11, 2013

9/11 Firefighters Memorial Quilt

I don't think I have posted any photos of myself on this blog apart from this one. I'm pretty camera shy. But here is a photo of me presenting the 9/11 Firefighters Memorial Quilt at the New York City Fire Museum on 9/11 this year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Home Made Play Silks: Dyes from the Kitchen Cupboard

One of the really fun things we did this Summer was discover all the things we could dye play silks with (tissue paper & food dye.) We had so much fun dying them and then playing with them. Recently we have been playing a with red cabbage water experiments - which made me think what play silks would look like dyed with these mixtures.

And why limit it to cabbage water? In my cupboard we also decided to play with turmeric, paprika & beetroot.

Here is my little chemist ready to mix away to her hearts content with the cabbage water. The pink glasses are her safety goggles .....

  • Chop up red cabbage and add some bit water. Bring the the boil and simmer until cabbage is pale. Split the cabbage water into two pots. 
  • Add silk scarf and soak for 30mins to one pot. 
  • In the other pot add some vinegar - the mixture will turn dark pink - add silk scarf and soak for 30mins. 
  • Once your silk scarf has finished soaking in the first pot. Remove the scarf and add in baking soda (the mixture will turn greeny blue) - add silk scarf & soak for 30mins. 
Note: Cabbage water changes color depending on its PH. When they were washed & dried the colors became much less vibrant.

Silks soaked in with cabbage water before washing

  • Mix turmeric & water - bring to the boil - add silk scarf and soak for 30mins
  • Mix paprika & water - bring to the boil - add silk scarf and soak for 30mins.
  • Boiled 3 chopped up beetroot in some water for about 40mins- puree everything together - add silk scarf and soak for 30mins. 

Cabbage Water = Soft Purple
Cabbage Water + Vingear = Soft Pink/Purple
Cabbage Water + Baking Soda = Silver Blue
Paprika = Gold (honestly - it is a gorgeous gold hue)
Beetroot = Cream
Turmeric = Bright Bright Yellow (just look at that yellow!! See below.)

Note: After we had soaked the silks I dried them on their own on the hottest setting on our tumble dryer (sanitize) and then put them on their own through a 20mins cold wash (no detergent) and dried them again on the hottest setting.  

I'm not sure we have anymore space for playsilks in our dress up box. I am playing with the idea of making a quilt from these. 

Other dyeing fun we have had:
Tissue Dyed Silk Pillows
Two Tone Play Silks
Teacher Appreciation Gift: Home Made Play Silks
Easy Silk Scarf Dyeing with Tissue Paper
Kid Friendly Dyeing - Making your own Play Silks

Friday, October 4, 2013

Update: Charity I-Spy Quilt

To read about how this project came about go here. 

I just wanted to let you know that I have been blown away with the amount of fabric that has sent to me and I'm very excited to start sewing this project.

The huge amount of donations have come from:
Anita, MD
Mary-Etta, MD
Candice, OH
Anne from Bunny Hill Designs
Cathy from Blueberry Patch 
Corey from Little Miss Shabby
Pat, MD
Mike from The Amateur Quilter
Angela from Sewing with Squeak
Toni from Hoosier Toni 
Elke, ME

Thank you to everyone so far. Be quick if you haven't sent your donations in - I've done all my cutting and I'm about to start sewing.