Monday, July 23, 2012

kids crafty suitcase activity ideas: sewing cards

Hi all and thank you so much for all the comments about my kids crafty suitcases- much appreciated! I said I'd share some ideas for things to do with the suitcases and the first thing I thought of was some practice sewing/stitching cards. I was going to make up some of these to put in Amelie's suitcase but ran out of time for her birthday.  They are a great way to get younger children into a bit of (relatively independent) stitching practice, and they would look so cute as part of a suitcase gift. I have a very happy memory of making a picture by stitching it on a piece of hessian for an art lesson at primary school so maybe that's why I'm keen on these too. The first lot of cards in my post are free printables so you'll just need a printer and some card- at least 250gsm card which you can get from Warehouse Stationery, or you could print these out and glue them to even heavier card like the card from a cereal box or even thicker if you can find some. Something else handy to have would be a single hole punch- does anyone know where you can get these from?
Vintage sewing cards from Belladia

Animal sewing cards from Skip to my Lou
printable sewing cards
I can imagine these cards from Handmade Charlotte would look fantastic as a classroom display- older children could even draw or paint their own profiles before stitching on their hair.

DIY sewing cards using a button as an 'anchor' from Cat Taylor
Printable sewing cards from Mini-eco
And there are also commercial lacing cards sets you can buy - these would also be a lovely addition to a kids crafty suitcase, especially for younger crafters.
Eric Carle Animal Lacing Cards: Ten Cards and Laces

Eric Carle lacing card set
Dr. Seuss Lacing Cards: The Cat in the Hat
Dr Suess 'The Cat in the Hat' lacing cards
Djeco Animal Lace-up Cards
And these animal lace up cards from Djeco at Small Acorns are gorgeous and would be great for older children.

And another other idea for stitching practice would be to buy some hessian, felt or cross stitch fabric such as aida (with nice big holes!), sketch a picture on the fabric for your child and let them stitch along your drawing lines to make the picture. If they are a bit older they could draw the picture themselves first and if they are a bit younger you could just let them practice making stitches on the fabric. You could use an embroidery hoop so it's easier for them to hold the fabric as they stitch.

Happy sewing and if you haven't already don't forget to enter my giveaway for some crafty suitcase treats!
Megan x

Monday, July 16, 2012

vege soup with a touch of magic

I am obsessed with making vege soup lately, especially after discovering Ray McVinnie's recipe for a yoghurt and mint topping that takes vege soup from yum to absolutely delicious!!! It is so good on a winter's night with copious amounts of cheese on toast. This recipe makes heaps- if you are making some for you and some to share then about 3 soup ladles full is enough for 1 adult. You should get enough out of this recipe for about 6-8 adult servings.

Vege soup
4 carrots peeled and chopped
few sticks of celery chopped
2 onions finely chopped
4 cups chicken stock
4 large potatoes peeled and chopped
4 frozen spinach portions (I buy Talleys from the supermarket)

Ray McVinnie's yoghurt and mint soup topping recipe (enough for 4 soup servings)

100ml olive oil
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped
zest of one lemon
quarter cup coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
3 tablespoons chopped mint
salt and pepper

150 ml plain unsweetened yoghurt

1. Pour a couple of tablespoons of olive oil into the bottom of a large pot. Chop up the onions, celery and carrots and cook in the pot for about 5 minutes or until onion is clear.
2. Pour in your chicken stock and bring to the boil.
3. Add your chopped potatoes and frozen spinach. Bring back to the boil and simmer for about 30-40 minutes until veges are well cooked. You may need to add a little water if your stock doesn't quite cover your veges.
4. When cooked, lightly mash your veges.

To make the olive oil topping - mix the olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, parsley and mint in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Serve the soup with a large dollop of plain unsweetened yoghurt and plenty of the oil mixture on top.
Megan x

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Mousehouse Kids Crafty Suitcase Tutorial and Giveaway

Hello all, well I've finally got a chance to share my latest project- these little crafty suitcases I made back in April - it takes a while to write a long post like this nowadays! The pink one was for my daughters 5th birthday which she has absolutely loved.  I had the idea to make one after seeing these beautiful Moulin Roty ones in a magazine a few years ago- however they were pretty expensive and only had knitting supplies really so I thought I'd make one that had a bit of everything- knitting, beginner stitching, and lots of other kids crafty stuff. (Funnily enough I looked on pinterest last night to see if there were any other DIY kids craft kits and came across this gorgeous one made back in 2010 inspired by the same Moulin Roty suitcases!)
Some of it such as the knitting needles and the knitting spool are a bit too tricky to use for now but will be great in a few years time. It was so much fun collecting up the bits and pieces for the suitcase- some of it I've had for over a year as whenever I saw something cute such as the knitting needles or the animal measuring tape I'd just buy it and pop it away until I got the chance to get the suitcase done. And I also thought of some things I could make for the suitcase as well- a drawstring bag for her fabric stash, a needle book and pin cushion, a pencil case and a crayon roll. 
So I thought I'd share how I made the suitcase and what I put in it in case you would like to make your own version one day. 

Kids Crafty Suitcase Tutorial
1. Find a kids sized suitcase (mine is approx L29cm x W20cm x H9.5cm).  I bought mine from Bubbalooz- a NZ based website that has heaps of cute suitcases.  Or try searching online for mini suitcases, nesting suitcases or kids cardboard suitcases. You could also search ebay or trademe for a vintage suitcase!
2. Choose a piece of scrapbooking card for the inside lid of the suitcase- Spotlight has a good range.
3. Lie the suitcase upside down on your card, trace around it and cut it out. Then cut about 1 cm in again so it fits inside your lid (bit of trial and error here!) I then glued the card to a piece of black card to make it stronger.  
4. Decide what you would like to put on the inside lid part. I chose some embroidery thread bobbin cards printed from this fab blog here, a knitting mushroom (also called a knitting spool or knitting nancy), some kids knitting needles and some scissors. I got the knitting mushroom from here as part of a seedling kit or you could search Etsy as I saw a few on there too). The scissors were from Bernina here in Tauranga and the kids knitting needles were from the Tauranga Knitting Centre.
Place the items you want on your card and mark with a pencil where you need to make the holes for the elastic to go through to hold the items in place. Now place the card on a piece of wood and use a large nail and hammer to make the holes (see pic 1.) Thread hat elastic (tight but not too tight) through the holes and knot on the back (see pic 2.) Check that your items fit well. Use craft glue or PVA to glue the back of the card to the inside lid of the suitcase.
5. Fill up your suitcase with whatever crafty things take your fancy- here's my list of ideas- I didn't use all of them as mine ended up being more of a sewing/stitching suitcase than an arts and crafts one. I did include beads, pins, buttons etc so you'll have to decide whether they are appropriate for your kids (Amelie's pin cushion was put away very soon after she got her suitcase!!)

  • Childrens knitting needles 
  • Knitting mushroom 
  • crochet hook
  • 2 x ball of yarn
  • 4 x embroidery threads
  • hessian and Aida cloth (cross stitch fabric) for stitching practice - cut to fit into your suitcase
  • Felt rectangles for stitching practice - cut to fit into your suitcase + scraps of felt for projects
  •  Plastic needle for hessian for young stitchers
  • Large stitching needles for Aida cloth and felt for older children
  • embroidery hoop
  • Small sharp scissors - sharp enough to be able to cut fabric and felt
  • ‘Practice stitching’ cards- buy or make your own
  • Small plastic compartment container for beads, buttons etc
  • fabric scraps
  • Pins
  • Novelty tape measure
  •  2 x rolls of ribbon
  •  buttons
  •  ric rac/other trims
  • elastic
  • safety pins for needle book
  • brooch backs
Art and craft
6. If you're a crafter you could make some things to go in the suitcase as well-as mentioned above I made a small drawstring bag, a needle book and pin cushion, a crayon roll and a pencil case. 
Right, that's it I think! Feel free to ask any questions- I'll write a post soon with some ideas for getting your kids into some beginner sewing and some simple things for them to make using the supplies in the suitcase.

And if you would love to get started on making your own crafty suitcase or would just like some crafty treats I've made up a few things to giveaway- a drawstring bag, needle book, pin cushion, notebook, crayon roll and a little container of craft supplies.

...Edit 27 July Giveaway is now closed...

Just leave a comment here to enter...unfortunately I don't think you can enter by leaving a comment on my Facebook page as Facebook have tightened up the rules about running promotions (comments or questions are welcome though!) so to enter you'll need to leave a comment on this blog post - if you don't have a blogger account. just sign in as 'anonymous' and be sure to write your email address in the comment.  For extra entries let me know whether you are a Facebook 'liker', a blog follower or you could share this giveaway on Facebook or on your blog- just leave a separate comment for each one (I've taken off the word verification for comments so it'll be a little easier to comment now.)
International entries are welcome and the giveaway will close in 2 weeks time Friday the 27th July 7pm NZ time.
Happy crafting and thanks for reading!
 Megan x
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