Sunday, November 10, 2013

Works in progress: baby boy shirt, a pretty top for me, birthday party favours...

How cute is this new top of mine?

I used the pattern from here: and was so happy with how it turned out. It's such a lovely flattering fit! If I make another (which I no doubt will), I'll add a little to the length though as it's a little short for me.

And how cute is the birthday boy's new shirt?

I used the pattern and super easy to follow instructions from here: He looks SO grown up in it, that it almost makes me a little sad to see him wearing it ;) If you use the same patterns just note that they're a smaller fit than I expected, and if you've got a tall little boy you might like to add some extra inches in the length.

Miss 3 had a lovely birthday last week and loved her birthday bunting so much that it's still hanging in the living room. We had a great little party at the weekend with her other friends who turn 3 this month, and this weekend we have a joint birthday party for her and Mr 1 at home with other friends, where this cute little shirt will be worn (perhaps my new top too) and the bunting will hang as decoration. I'm also working on some crayon roll party favours which I'll share on here next week, a dress for myself and some little pre-walker sandals for Mr 1.


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Works in progress: Richie's new doll, birthday bunting, dinosaur shirt, clothes for me at last!

Meet Richie's new doll:

My baby boy is about to turn one, so I've made this gorgeous little doll to add to his birthday presents. The pattern came from:, where there are also pattern for some girl dolls and clothing. I'm sure I'll be making one of those for his big sister soon :)

The more pressing birthday though is Miss Almost 3 tomorrow. Eeek. We've decided on a joint birthday party as the two children have their birthdays about a month apart. So tomorrow there'll be balloons, presents and a simple birthday cake at home with just the four of us. And this pretty bunting which we can reuse for the party in two weeks:

I found the free pattern and tutorial for this little shirt online last week:, which I've just cut out (beware the pattern does not include seam allowance - I found this out the hard way of course... must read instructions before cutting into my fabric!). I'm making one for Mr Almost 1 for the birthday party out of the dinosaur fabric below (top left):

I picked up all these fabrics for 40% off at a sale a week ago - some great finds there! It was so hard to limit them as I didn't want to spend too much money all at once. Already I've started cutting into most of them :-) The blue green one on the top right will become a top for me and the navy/orange fabric with cherries will become a simple dress for me. Not sure yet what to make out of the underwater fabric, or the bugs....

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Part IV: Finished quiet book - Colours/Colors

By coincidence this book turned out to also be an animals book: a blue whale, green frogs, yellow chick, orange fish (goldfish), pink pig and red crab.

The blue page has a whale that unbuttons from the book. It can be removed, and also swiveled around on the button to flip up its tail.

The orange fish can be caught with the magnetic fishing rod and the pink pig finger puppet attaches at the back with velcro.

The green frogs are attached with snap fasteners and are an activity in size matching. The yellow chick lives in an egg that can be opened with a zipper.

The red crab is a velcro matching puzzle of sorts.

See more here:

And see my other books here:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Part III - Shapes Quiet Book

Here is the third kind of Quiet Book that I finished over the last week. It's the Shapes activity book.

The Triangle page has a cute little tent which opens with a zipper to a little sleeping bag, also opening with a zipper.

Next is the Rectangle page which uses velcro to match colours and sizes. Next time I might do a sky background and make it look like a cityscape.

The Square page has the pieces of a house that stick on with velcro. Just the square pieces can be taken off.

The Circle page has a bus with wheels that come off (velcro again, but next time I'll use buttons to add some variety). The Oval page is the cute little chicken in a egg page that I've used in a couple of my other books.

The Diamond page is a little puzzle.

You can find my other two books here:

And a closer look at the Shapes book in my Etsy shop:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Part II - Alphabet Quiet Book

This is another of the Quiet Books that I finished at the weekend. I'm really happy with the variety of activities to do on the different pages.

A is for Apple...
The colours on this page came up really nicely. The apples are fastened on with velcro. Beneath each apple is the same shape to make it easy to match the sizes. 

B is for Balloon...
I've used velcro again here to fasten on the balloons in a colour matching activity. In the past I've also used coloured buttons and metal snap fasteners.

C is for Cat...
This is a simple page, but nice for practicing tying knots or bows.

D is for Dog...
My daughter has one of these pages in her quiet book and she loves opening and closing the buckle. Great for fine motor skills.

E is for Egg...
I love zipper pages. I think it's because my daughter has always enjoyed playing with the zipper page in her quiet book. Such a simple idea to us, but for little ones, they love opening the zipper and finding a little surprise inside to take out and put back in.

F is for Fish...
Magnetic fishing is always so much fun.

Stay tuned for some "How to" posts in the near future :)

See more at

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Finished - four new sets of quiet books! Instalment one: Counting

Last night I felt like I had accomplished something big. It's taken several weeks of half an hour per evening to get these eight quiet books (two in each of the four new designs - counting, alphabet, colours and shapes) finished. 

Miss almost 3 loves counting. Almost to the point of obsession at the moment. We're a bilingual family and she now manages to get to 13 in both English and German. Most numbers beyond 13 come out something that sounds a lot like sixteen. Anyway, the point of that is that her bead counter is her favourite page in the Quiet Book that I made her more than a year ago. I wanted to find a way to include one in this counting book, so I decided to just go up to five.

One shoe... two people...

And my two favourite pages: three animal finger puppets and four balloons.

And finally, five fish!

Check it out in more detail in my etsy shop: and stay tuned for some patterns and instructions in the coming months.

Lesley :)

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Upcycle: Toddler girl's top and skirt from a business shirt

When my husband cleaned out some of his old work shirts, I picked a few that I thought would make cute girls' clothes. This one stood out the most. 

I decided to make a dress for my daughter, so I measured her chest and waist and added in a little to get my width. I also measured from the top of her shoulder down to where I wanted the length and added in enough for hems and seams to get my length. 

This was my first go and I was a bit quick to cut the collar out, making the neck hole too large for my daughter. In the most recent upcycle I just unpicked the collar and removed it, sewing the casing back together.

I also cut out two belt loops and a long strip to make a tie belt from. 

After hemming all openings, I discovered that the neck was too large, so I gathered through the neckline and as well as solving that problem, it pulled the top of the dress into an altogether better shape - win win!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Works in progress: Quiet books, toddler sun hat

The quiet books are coming along slowly. Miss almost three has had a few stays in hospital over the last few weeks after having her tonsils and adenoids removed and Mr 10 months has dropped back to two naps per day now so it also seems those quiet little snippets of time during the day when I could work on sewing have passed as there's always one child awake.

These are the bead counters that will go into the counting book. My daughter loves the bead counter page in her quiet book. It's so simple but looks so effective.

Also for the counting book is this shoe page, where little ones can practice tying a bow. My daughter is still at the stage where all she wants to do is try to put her foot into the open shoe, but I'm sure she'll catch on soon.

I love this dog page, which will go into the alphabet book. It's another simple idea that looks really effective. 

Three complete pages out of twenty four... there's still a long way to go! 

Although it's sun hat weather all year round here in Brisbane, after cleaning out my kids' clothes cupboards recently and noticing how much they've both grown in these last few months, I realised that Miss almost 3 needed a new hat.

I bought some of the yellow beach hut fabric last year and used it up in no time making baby hats, pants and shorts. Recently it was all on sale again and I bought some more, as well as the cute hot air balloons design above. My daughter loved it and chose it for her new summer hat. I used this Oliver + S free pattern I found that it's a bit on the small side, so I'd go a size up next time. We'll try it out at the park tomorrow :)

Monday, September 30, 2013

Works in progress: Quiet Books (Alphabet, Counting, Colours, Shapes)

So much cutting out....

It's taken me a bunch of evenings in front of the television to get all of these little shapes cut out, and my scissor hand is very tired.

I started out by drawing each picture (in mirror image) onto the heat and bond lite paper and then ironed it onto the felt sheets. The following pieces will all go into my counting book.

Here are the pieces for the shapes book:

And these will all go into the alphabet book...

Finally, we have the pieces for the colours book!

Next I'll arrange the pages, peel off the paper and iron the pieces onto the pages.

I can't wait :)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kids' craft: Toddler Sewing Kit

My earliest memories of sewing are of using scraps of fabric from my mother's sewing to wrap my dolls in new clothes. I feel very lucky to have been taught this useful skill, mostly just through watching and learning, and I would really love if I could pass it on to my own daughter, who is now almost 3 years old. So I started her a sewing kit...

A lot of pieces were bought on Ebay, like these large plastic needles and wooden beads. I used non slip drawer lining from the $2 shop and a quilting frame for sewing practice. Miss almost three loves threading the beads on and has really caught on quickly to how to sew with the needle. The next thing I need to teach her is how to thread the needle :)

I threw in a few miscellaneous items like some velcro, ribbon, zippers and ric rac.

I made these dinosaurs for threading out of craft foam and a hole punch. She loves sewing these.

I was sent this colour chart from an Etsy seller when I made a purchase a while back and picked up the paper tape measure at an Ikea store.

I also included some plastic cotton reels for threading and colour sorting.

Finally, a bulk bag of buttons from the fabric shop. We spend hours sorting these into colour groups :)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Selling on Etsy: Starting out

My first Etsy store was a Japanese inspired baby clothing and accessory store called Utsukushiiya. A few people bought baby kimono sets and dolls, but it wasn't until I started listing my Toddler Quiet Books (totally not Japanese related) that I started to make more regular sales. So then I needed a new store name. I played around with the first and middle names of my two children until I settled on Riches and Roses, which I really like.

And so that's how my store came about. Now the Toddler Quiet Books and newborn baby hats make up most of my sales on Etsy and MadeIt. For a while I also made some sales at a child-friendly cafe near my house and I do a few through friends and by word of mouth. Sometimes I think I'd like the shop to grow and provide a proper income. Other times I'm happy for the sales to come and go and for it to remain a hobby. I know that to grow it, I need to take bigger risks - sell at markets, advertise, commit more time and money - and I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Works in progress: Quiet books (ironing and felt everywhere), finished projects (dinosaur softie and baby in a pouch)

This week I finished the dinosaur softie (thanks mum for the tip on how to get those little feet in using gathering) and the baby in a pouch. 

Cute! See my previous post on where I found the details for these.

I've also been busy cutting out felt shapes in preparation for putting together the new quiet books. All my designs are done, the heat and bond lite arrived in the post and the ironing done. I'm hoping to get the first pages completed this week :)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Kids' craft: play dough

We were all set to do some baking. Until I looked in the fridge that is - no eggs, and only a tiny bit of milk - and so we decided on the next best thing... home made paint and some of this home made play dough.

Check out my earlier post where I link to the recipe that we use:

It lasts forever and everything is edible, just in case it makes it to your toddler's mouth.

For our tools, we just picked up a kids cooking set in one of the big chain stores for a few dollars.