Woodland Art for Kids [Photo Tutorial]

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A late summer morning spend at Brandon Country Park led to some surprising results for the Munkie household. MoonMunkie had taken a trip there with her Reception class teachers before the holidays began. She’d been talking about mud splat tree art ever since.

 

We had no plans today, so we packed a seaside bucket and a full water bottle and headed for the forest. It was a glorious morning, warm and dry with a gentle breeze through the sun-dappled trees. Absolutely the type of day where the best memories are made. And then … then MoonMunkie showed us how to do mud splat tree art and we were hooked. I thought it was funny to make a sunflower out of last year’s beechnut pods and golden brown leaves. The photo tutorial below shows you how to make your own mud splat tree art!

 

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Clear the detritus from the surface of the forest floor and dig up some soil. Put it into a bucket. fill up the bucket until its about 2/3 full. Be sure to pick out any large pieces of bark, sticks or pebbles that get in there or it will be too lumpy.

 

 

 

11870934_10153445550375491_1270252316865435729_nAdd water to the soil. We took our own because we knew we wouldn’t find any there. But if there’s a river or stream nearby then you could get some fresh. Insert requisite warnings about water safety and Weil’s disease here. Mix the soil and water together with a handy stick until the mud comes together. It should be the consistency of a wet cookie dough, or a heavy porridge. “Claggy” is the word I’d use to describe it, but I suspect that’s a rather localised term, specific to the north Midlands of the UK. But my Granny would know what I mean.

11892208_10153445550935491_223441749195443816_nNext comes the really cool bit. Take a large handful of the mud and sling it at a nearby tree trunk. Make sure it’s a wide enough tree to catch the splat. And that there are no unprepared by-standers. It gets messy. The mud should stick to the tree in a clump which you can then flatten down to a thick pancake with hands and fingers. It it was too runny or too dry to stick, alter your bucket mix accordingly and try again.

 

11855801_10153445660225491_8875838516305530365_nThen it’s time to decorate. Use a stick to draw a face or push little bits of forest treasure into the mud to make a pattern. This was the point where MamaMunkie got really interested. It’s amazing what colours are available on the forest floor when you’re looking for them. Moon and Mini really wanted to splat more mud at the trees, so MisterMunkie was kept busy mixing. But Mama tracked down pretty coloured leaves and stones to brighten up her splat.

 

11902498_10153445551280491_5628156239489920261_nThis one reminded me of a dreamcatcher or a mandala pattern. A simple one, but those reds of the Mahonia leaves (and man are they PRICKLY!) just light up my autumnal heart.

If you’ve enjoyed this, why not follow me on fb, like or share it with others who might enjoy. It will help me to get a bit more “out there” and share my work with more people. You can also find more tutorials from MoonMunkie on the tutorials page.

If you’re here from Handmade Monday – HELLO! How are you? If you’re not, why not pop over there and bathe yourself in all the lovely pretties?

 

 

 

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The Book of Books by Mahe Zehra Husein [Free tutorial and printable]

I made a paper-bead tutorial a year ago during a sleepless season. It was so popular, I couldn’t believe it. I ran a class at my studio and also gave a talk and workshop at the local women’s group about it. And then to my total surprise, I was approached by the wonderful Mahe Zehra Husein of AlteredUpcycling.com and asked if I’d put together an upcycled project for her publication The Book of Books. Obviously, I was ridiculously excited to be included and got to work straight away, adapting the paper beaded bracelet by making it from pages from a book. It’s one of my quickest but favourite makes to date. And oh so stylish. My primary photograph was even featured on the front page! There I am in the bottom left hand corner!paper bead necklace

 

 

I’ve included the tutorial again below, with the free printable patterns. But it’s definitely worth popping over to see what Mahe is up to at the moment, too!

Materials:

  • Printed pattern x1 for a bracelet or more for a necklace, depending on length.
  • PVA glue
  • cocktail sticks or skewers
  • shellac / varnish /Mod Podge (optional but recommended for longevity)
  • beading thread or elastic
  • seed beads (optional)

DSC02310

1. Print your pattern and cut out the skinny triangles.

 

 

 

 

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2. Choose a triangle and start to roll it on to the cocktail stick, wide end first. DO NOT USE GLUE YET as it will stick your bead to the stick. (Ask me how I know!) Once you’ve done half an inch or so, you can add a spot of glue. It doesn’t matter too much if it oozes a little, because you can smooth it over the bead with your fingers. But don’t go wild.

 

 

DSC02316I actually prefer to switch to roll with my thumb at this point – I seem to be able to keep the bead tighter this way. I turn the stick with my right hand and use my thumb to press the paper down. As you get towards the end of the strip add another little dot of glue to secure the tail.

 

 

DSC023193.Your bead is now complete. Poke the end of the cocktail stick into something soft to hold it upright while the glue finishes drying. Take up your next skinny triangle and a new cocktail stick and repeat from step 1 until you have sufficient beads.

 

 

DSC023224. Once all the beads are made and dried, cover them with a coat of lacquer or mod-podge or varnish. This is optional but it will mean that you can wear your bracelet out in the rain. The beads are made of paper, so they’re never going to survive a bath! But you can keep them looking smart for a long time by giving them a coating of something. You could also make them lovely and shiny, if that’s your thing. Me, I prefer a matte finish, so I used a good quality gel matte medium to coat mine. (Don’t use a cheap one or they’ll end up sticky for ever!)

DSC023235. Again, once the drying time is done, you’re ready to string them up. Use anything that takes your fancy. Beading thread, ribbon, elastic, leather thong, embroidery thread even dental floss (not dental tape – it breaks too easily- and probably better to choose the non-minty type!) will all work. I alternated my paper beads with tiny glass seed beads for a bit of extra pretty.

To finish off: if you’re using elastic then just tie a knot. You can see mine there on the left – it will slip under a bead and become invisible once I’ve finished. If you’re using a non-stretchy type of thread, then you’ll need to engineer yourself a clasp of some sort. An extra bead through a loop works well. Or a button and loop. Or just a pretty bow if it’s a ribbon. There are some other ideas for fastenings right here.

DSC02329Voila!

If you’re here from Handmade Monday over at Lucy Blossom Crafts, HELLO THERE! Do drop me a lime to say hi! (And if you’d be interested in doing a guest blogging exchange with me, email jemmafifield@gmail.com)

First Sewing Projects for Little Ones [Free tutorial and pattern]

MoonMunkie made Yellow-Stitch Fifield a week or so ago. It was her first sewing project and she was so thrilled with herself. Stitch came on holiday to Yorkshire with us and he been given a veritable palace to live in.

It was so successful that I’m going to put together a book of first sewing projects for little ones. And to give you a taste of that, here is a pattern and tutorial for Stitch. It uses the smallest amount of fabric and stuffing, so you can probably make it without needing to buy anything. However, I would definitely recommend purchasing a set of doll-making needles. They are large enough to allow more independence for small people learning to sew, but are still sharp enough to sew with. See my previous post for more tips on teaching small people to sew.

Materials11794312_10153419749700491_5740603297487370971_o

Wool felt off-cuts

Stuffing (wool roving or polyester filler)

Anchor embroidery thread I like Anchor, as I’ve said before!

Doll-making needle

30cm wool in contrasting colour

Pattern (Free PDF download)

 

 

Instructions

Body

  1. Cut 2 body pieces from felt and place them together, right sides out.
  2. Thread a doll-making needle with embroidery thread, tying a knot at the end.
  3. Show your little person how to push the needle through from the front to the back, carefully drawing the thread all the way through to the knot.
  4. Bring the needle back to the front, the yarn trailing over the top of the work. Move the needle along about 0.5cm (1/4 inch) to the left and push it in from front to back again. [TIP: if they need help keeping stitches even, make dots on the fabric to show them where to put the needle in.]
  5. Continue this whipstitch all the way around, leaving about an inch open.
  6. Stuff the mouse with wool roving or polyester toy filler.
  7. Stitch up the gap using the same stitch.

Ears

  1. Cut two ears from felt. We used a contrasting colour.
  2. [Optional] Fold the ear in half. Mark the dart line in pencil. Use a small running stitch to stitch the dart. This will give the ear more shape, but is not essential if it’s too fiddly for little fingers or they are in a hurry. Repeat for second ear.
  3. Help your little person to attach the ears to the body, about a third of the way down from the pointy end of the mouse. Sew straight through from side to side, through the flat edge of both ears.

Tail

  1. Cut three lengths of wool against using the line as a measure.
  2. Leave 5 cm (1.5 inches) at the top, tie a knot to secure the 3 strands together.
  3. Plait the strands and tie a knot near the end leaving a cute fluffy end.
  4. Use the 5cm at the top, to tie the tail through a stitch at the blunt end of the mouse body.

Eyes

[Option 1] Draw ‘em on with a felt tip pen. Cute and quick.

[Option 2] Stitch back and forth on the spot, from side to side through the entire body in a contrasting colour.

[Option 3] Buttons look cute, but can be fiddly for tiny fingers.

 

Happy Stitching!

Really Easy Felt Cupcakes [ Free Tutorial with PDF pattern]

I’m hoping to take part in Handmade Monday, over at lucyblossomcrafts next Monday. This is going to be the first time that I’ve joined in a link party, but I hope I’ve understood how it works!

 

We’ve been at the cupcakes again! Although this time they’re felt and completely calorie free. We had such a great time that I put together a PDF pattern with instructions to share at Handmade Monday. I hope it goes ok! Do drop me a line in the comments below and say hi!

I’m just putting the finishing touches to 2 more tutorials which will be uploaded before the end of August, so drop back in soon!

037Materials*

Wool blend felt offcuts

Anchor embroidery thread in matching or contrasting colour

Needle

Pattern (Free downloadable pattern and instructions PDF)

Silicon cupcake cases (optional)

6 cup baking pan (optional)

* contains Amazon affiliate to a product I recommend. See disclosure  for more info.

Instructions

  1. Use the pattern to cut out the various pieces of the cup cake – don’t feel constrained by the colours. Go wild!
  2. Using blanket stitch, attach the base to the smaller curve of the cupcake side. Ease the curved edge around the base. It’s a bit tricky, but felt is very forgiving, so don’t worry too much. (I like Anchor 100% cotton thread – much longer-lasting and less tangly than the cheaper multi-buy brands.)
  3. Stitch the 2 short edges of the cupcake side together.
  4. You could turn the inside out now, but I rather like the stitching effect on the edge.
  5. Attach the icing top, centrally, to the cake top. You could use a contrasting colour for a fancy icing effect. Use running stitch or any decorative stitch.
  6. Attach the cake top (with recently stitched icing) on to the cake base you completed in step 2.  Again, use blanket stitch and don’t forget to leave an inch empty to stuff!
  7. Stuff with wool roving for a nice weight or with polyester stuffing if you prefer.
  8. Continue with the blanket stitch to close up the hole.
  9. At this point, if your cupcakes are going to be a toy, it’s worth considering over-stitching the top and bottom seams for sturdiness. For a pincushion or decoration, this step probably isn’t necessary.
  10. To make the icing swirl, tie a knot in a long piece of matching embroidery thread. Along one long edge, make a fairly loose running stitch along the edge. Don’t tie it off when you get to the end. Slowly
  11. Pull the thread to gather up the fabric. As it begins to wrinkle, encourage it to twirl. Don’t go too quickly. It will eventually curl in on itself, in a spiral.
  12. When it is swirly enough, use the tail of the thread to firmly stitch the bottom of the spiral so that it won’t untwist.
  13. Using blindstitch, attach the swirl to the centre of the icing on top of the cake. Again, if it’s going to be a toy, take some time over this so that it won’t come off during play.
  14. For authenticity, you can place each cake you make into a silicon cake case. For play purposes, a cheap bun tin also adds an extra element of fun.

Et voila – cupcakes. Make some for your little chef today!

 

Preview of Christmas tutorial

I’m so excited to be having a second tutorial published! This time my work will feature in the superb Bury and West Suffolk Magazine. It’s going to be part of their Christmas issue, coming out in November. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but here’s a little glimpse of what’s coming. A  simple but beautiful craft that will add a festive feel to any home. The kids can get on board. They’ll even make lovely gifts.   But you’ll have to get the magazine to get the full scoop!

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MoonMunkie is published in the Book of Books

A tutorial I wrote on how to make a rolled paper-bead bracelet was picked up to be adapted for publishing! It’s in an ebook called The Book of Books by Mahe Zehra Hussein. And my photo made it to the front cover! I’m so excited. You could have a look at it here if you wanted to. I took the original tutorial and adapted it to make a really pretty little necklace from upcycled pages of a vintage book.

There is a bracelet in the same design available to purchase now in my online whimsical makery emporium.  The paper pearls are hand rolled and sealed and then alternated with multicoloured glass seed beads on a stretchy but strong beading thread.  It’s a really sweet little bracelet that would make a lovely treat for a special friend, or just a a pick-me-up for yourself. It looks great on and goes with everything. It’s a lovely gift for a friend for Christmas or birthday or just a little treat for you. Go ahead, you know you want to!

Paper bead freebie.

My Munkies have not been sleeping well the last few weeks. Which means Mama and Papa Munkie have also not been getting a lot of shut eye. This is the part of parenting that the books don’t mention. When there’s really nothing wrong but they just won’t can’t nod off at night. Or they’re waking up through the night in need of something that neither they nor we can identify. The books also don’t mention how 4 years after having a baby you will be required to maintain a long and detailed conversation about climbing frames, their construction, engineering processes and locations. With a detailed SWOT analysis of the different types ranked according to height from ground, distance from our home and proximity to ice cream vans. All this before 7.30am whilst in the shower. #ShouldHaveGotADog.

But I digress…

Not much sleep in the Munkie household. Meaning that evenings have been spent slumped in a heap rather than engaging in Makery. However, as much as I love to watch TV (Nashville… who knew?!) my fingers get itchy if they’re not doing something. So this is where the rolled paper paper beads come in. It’s so soothing to cut a strip, roll it around a cocktail stick, add a dab of glue and watch your bead stash grow. I began with some vintage pages to make tiny pearl-size spheres. So pretty. I think I’m going to make myself a double strand.

There are records of Victorians in England having rolled long strips of paper to make beads which they then linked together to make bead curtains. It was popular around the turn of the century in the USA. And more recently the crafting of rolled paper beads has proven to give a sustainable income to women in Uganda.

DSC02323I’ve enjoyed it so much that I thought I’d make a printable so you can make yourself a bracelet. Or perhaps a little gift for a friend. It won’t take long, but it looks really rather special.

You will need:

  • Printed pattern x1 for a bracelet or more for a necklace, depending on length.
  • PVA glue
  • cocktail sticks or skewers
  • shellac / varnish /Mod Podge (optional but recommended for longevity)
  • beading thread or elastic
  • seed beads (optional)

DSC02310

1. Print your pattern and cut out the skinny triangles.

 

 

 

 

DSC02313

2. Choose a triangle and start to roll it on to the cocktail stick, wide end first. DO NOT USE GLUE YET as it will stick your bead to the stick. (Ask me how I know!) Once you’ve done half an inch or so, you can add a spot of glue. It doesn’t matter too much if it oozes a little, because you can smooth it over the bead with your fingers. But don’t go wild.

 

DSC02316I actually prefer to switch to roll with my thumb at this point – I seem to be able to keep the bead tighter this way. I turn the stick with my right hand and use my thumb to press the paper down. As you get towards the end of the strip add another little dot of glue to secure the tail.

 

 

DSC023193. Your bead is now complete. Poke the end of the cocktail stick into something soft to hold it upright while the glue finishes drying. Take up your next skinny triangle and a new cocktail stick and repeat from step 1 until you have sufficient beads.

 

 

DSC023224. Once all the beads are made and dried, cover them with a coat of lacquer or mod-podge or varnish. This is optional but it will mean that you can wear your bracelet out in the rain. The beads are made of paper, so they’re never going to survive a bath! But you can keep them looking smart for a long time by giving them a coating of something. You could also make them lovely and shiny, if that’s your thing. Me, I prefer a matte finish, so I used a good quality gel matte medium to coat mine. (Don’t use a cheap one or they’ll end up sticky for ever!)

DSC023235. Again, once the drying time is done, you’re ready to string them up. Use anything that takes your fancy. Beading thread, ribbon, elastic, leather thong, embroidery thread even dental floss (not dental tape – it breaks too easily- and probably better to choose the non-minty type!) will all work. I alternated my paper beads with tiny glass seed beads for a bit of extra pretty.

To finish off: if you’re using elastic then just tie a knot. You can see mine there on the left – it will slip under a bead and become invisible once I’ve finished. If you’re using a non-stretchy type of thread, then you’ll need to engineer yourself a clasp of some sort. An extra bead through a loop works well. Or a button and loop. Or just a pretty bow if it’s a ribbon. There are some other ideas for fastenings right here.

DSC02329Voila!

Nappies for Baby dolly

 

Today Moon Munkie was playing with Baby. She wanted to change her nappy but the disposables I have were WAY too big for the 14″ dolly. She was having the best time, but the big girl nappies were less than satisfactory. When it was time for Moon Munkie to go to bed, we convinced her that Baby needed to stay downstairs tonight. And I spent a pleasurable hour stitching up 3 little reusables. They are so sweet and I managed to design the pattern, cut, stitch and finish off in about an hour and a half. So if your little one’s little one needs a clean bott, as we say in the Munkie Household, then grab the Reusable nappies for baby dollies template and photo tutorial.

This is my first photo tutorial, so I’d be really grateful to hear what you think. If it’s not useful, how could I do better? If you decide to try, don’t forget to send me a picture and let me know how you get on!

Cutie cupcakes

Moon Munkie loves baking, but there are days when there’s no time, it’s not practical or when further sugar consumption is A Very Bad Idea. Hey presto, felt fairy cakes were formed. I have had no end of people ask for some. They’re so quick and easy to make: from cutting the felt to completed cupcake is less than an hour. And here’s how:

You’ll need :

  • a piece of mid brown felt for the cake (1 A4 sheet made 5 cakes)
  • a piece of pastel felt for the icing (I used pink and white)
  • handful of polyester stuffing
  • corresponding thread
  • a needle
  • cupcake pattern

Instructions:

  1. Use the templates to cut the cake top, bottom and sides from the mid-brown felt.
  2. Use a blanket stitch to attach the bottom od the cake to the shorter edge of the cake side. Just ease the cake side around as you stitch. Felt is very forgiving. It stretches a bit and you can trim it at the end if the edges overlap. You should end up with a cup shape.
  3. Stitch the edges of the cake side together on the inside of the cup, again using blanket stitch.
  4. Now attach the cake top to the top of the cup, again with blanket stitch. Remember to leave a little gap to put the stuffing in.
  5. Fill up the cake with polyester stuffing. It should be firm, but not hard.
  6. Stitch up the hole. Cup cake is finished. Now to ice!
  7. Use the templates to draw and cut out the icing top and the icing swirl from the pastel felt.
  8. Using blanket stitch, attach the icing top to the centre of the top of the cake.
  9. Do a loose running stitch along one long edge of the swirly icing strip. Oversew a few times at the beginning so that the thread won’t pull out.
  10. Slowly pull the thread from the end which is not fastened. Shuffle the felt down the thread until it begins to ripple and then curl around on itself. You need to decide how swirly you want the icing to be.
  11. Curl the icing swirl around on itself and stitch through the centre of the swirl a few times to hold it in shape.
  12. Attach the swirl to the top of the icing circle, I used blind stitch but you could just do it like you’re sewing on a button.
  13. Ta da.

I bought a set of 6 silicon muffin cases and a 6 hole yorkshire pudding tray for £1 each from Poundland. Moon Munkie loves serving them up to us with a cup of tea. And as she would say, “Be careful. Hot.”