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.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Top 5 ... sock animal tutorials

There's something about sock animals that I really love. I think it's got to do with the need I have to not waste even the smallest scrap of fabric. All of these sock animals use every last piece of the sock or pair of socks.

1. My all time favourite is the sock monkey. I used the tutorial at to make my first every sock monkey and it was so easy to follow, with clear instructions and lots of pictures.

2. Sock bunny. I made these two bunnies for my kiddies for Easter this year. The idea came from

3. and 4. Sock elephant and giraffe from

5. This gorgeous sock pig that is next on my list to make:

Have you got a favourite sock animal tutorial? Please post a link in the comments below and share!

Lesley :)

Works in progress: newborn baby hats, baby in a pouch, dinosaur softie, quiet books

As always, I've got a bunch of projects on the go at the moment. I've been busy adding to my stock of newborn baby hats as these have been selling really well as the warmer weather starts to arrive on the east coast of Australia. I added this dinosaur design to my hat range this week - cute no?

I'm also working on this baby in a pouch. I found the idea here: and thought it was just too cute. Since her little brother came along at the end of 2012, Miss almost 3 loves wrapping her babies and I thought this would be a cute and portable little surprise for her when she goes into hospital for surgery in a couple of weeks.

The dinosaur softie is still not finished for Mr 9 months. I'm still at the feet and have been struggling to sew these tiny little circles to the base so that it can stand up. I'd been very tempted to just sew straight across the feet to close them until my mother (to whom I owe all of my sewing ability) suggested running a gathering stitch around the circles and pulling them in to fit.

I've now put together all the designs for all four quiet book versions that I'm planning to make. I'm waiting for some supplies to arrive so got a bit carried away and planned them all out. I'm waiting for a few things to arrive, but the biggie is the Heat n Bond iron on transfer paper - it's central to the whole process as it's what I use to attach the layers of felt onto each page. I still always sew around each piece just to be sure that it won't budge (can't be too careful with kids' stuff), but it really helps finish things off nicely.

Lesley :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Felt crafts

I really love working with felt for kids' toys. I made these felt foods for my daughter almost a year ago. They get played with almost every day and are still in the same condition they were a year ago. They are also so much more pleasant to play with than all the cheap plastic play food that is available in the shops.

You can find tutorials for how to make some of this food here on my blog (here and here).

I've also used a lot of felt for making Quiet Books. It's so easy to sew as it doesn't fray and the good quality stuff doesn't stretch out of shape either.

My next felt project is felt money for my daughter :)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Quilts 1700 - 1945, at Queensland Art Gallery

I wasn't sure what to expect from the Quilts 1700 - 1945 exhibition at the Queensland Art Gallery, so I didn't rush into going along to check it out. It's almost finished now (it ends on 22 September), but if you have any interest in crafts at all I'd recommend going along.

There are some beautiful pieces on show there, and all are completely hand sewn - which is amazing - but what really blew me away was the sense of history that I felt reading the stories behind each piece in the exhibition.

Cot covers made for babies and small pin cushions made for their mothers with messages of good luck and good health in times when a lot of babies didn't survive.

Quilts made as wedding gifts and family heirlooms, others made for expensive hotels.

Another quilt was made by soldiers at war. Tiny little hexagons joined together to make a decorative and colourful pattern. Soldiers were encouraged into handicrafts to deter them from drinking and womanising and other unsavoury pastimes.

A quilt sent from Canada to the UK by the Red Cross to keep families warm during World War Two. Others made from pyjamas, or blackout curtains during the same period when fabric was scarce.

There was a small quilt made by young girls in Changi prison while housed there during Japanese occupation, but they never finished it.

My favourite piece was a beautiful quilt made by female convicts on the convict ship Rajah on their journey from Britain to Australia all those years ago.

Gorgeous quilts, but it was the stories behind them that really left me satisfied.

Kids' craft: cardboard cash register

This is a very simple attempt at making a cash register from cardboard:

We (Miss almost 3 and I) were playing shops and needed something to help our imaginations along, so we dug out some cardboard we'd kept from a purchase a while back and found some heavy duty tape. We ended up with a cash register, eftpos machine and a scanner.

Of course we discovered that we now need some money, so I'll be working on some felt money next :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sewing tutorial: baby boy shorts (size 1: 12-18 months)

My eldest child is a girl and I love sewing clothes for her. Making baby clothes was fun - there are so many gorgeous dress, skirt and outfit patterns available for girls. But what I found challenging was finding the right fabrics.

Now that I also have a boy, I suddenly find the perfect fabrics everywhere. With cute fabrics, the simplest of shorts or pants look great. I made these in a size 1 (12-18 months) for my little guy for this spring/summer.

To make, you will need:

0.5 m fabric (I used a light cotton for one pair, and light quilting cotton for the others)
elastic for the waist (I used 2cm wide)
cotton thread

1. Print off the pattern and cut two along the fold.

2. If you'd like to add a pocket, cut a piece from contrasting fabric, fold right side together and sewing around, leaving a 2cm gap for turning out the right way. Turn out the right way and sew onto the middle of the leg pieces.

3. Place the leg pieces right sides together and sew from the top to the centre. Iron the seams flat and open out, so that seams are on top of each other.
4. Sew from the centre leg down to the bottom of each leg. Iron seams flat.
5. Fold over 1cm at the top, press. Then fold over another 2.5cm and press. Sew around, leaving a gap near the back to feed the elastic through.
6. Measure elastic to fit your baby's waist and cut a length 2cm shorter. Attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic and feed through the waist casing. Overlap slightly and sew over to connect it. Enclose the elastic in the casing by now sewing over the opening.

7. Fold the bottom of the legs over 1cm, press and then fold over another 1cm and press again. Sew around.

And done! 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Works in progress: quiet books, hats

This week I started on the new Quiet Books. The idea is to make four different kinds, each following a different theme.

I'm starting out on the colours and alphabet books, and will later add a numbers book and a shape book.

The colours book is turning out as also an animal book, as it will feature a yellow baby chicken, orange goldfish, green frog, red crab, pink pig and a blue whale. I'm planning on making each page interactive with either zippers, magnets, buttons, velcro, finger puppets or some kind of movement.

The alphabet book will go from A to F: Apple, Balloon, Cat, Dog, Egg and Fish, and in a similar way will also have interactive pages with velcro, buttons, bow tying, buckles, zippers and magnets.

So many little pieces go into making these books that the first thing I've had to do is order a few more supplies (such as magnets and buckles). I've also cut out all of the pages in cotton calico, using a cute three little pigs fabric for the front and back covers.

I'm in the process of drawing up the pattern pages at the moment and will make some of these available here soon.

With the weather warming up here on the east coast of Australia, my newborn baby hats have been selling quickly from my etsy and madeit shops, so I'll also be cutting out and making up some more of these in the next few days.

Lesley :)

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What I made: baby boy shorts

A few weeks ago there was a sudden change in the weather here in Brisbane. The nights were still cool, but the days were full of sunshine and blue skies.

And it became warm! Spring had arrived!

So I began to sew again. First I made a bunch of clothes for Miss almost 3, then some dresses and tops for myself, and finally some shorts for Mr 9 months. 

I made them from these gorgeous bright quilting cotton and checked cotton fabrics that I picked up a while ago and although the style is so simple, the fabric designs make them look great.

These are size 1 (12 - 18 months) and I'll be posting a pattern and tutorial for them in the next few weeks.

Lesley :)

Kids' craft: homemade paint and hand print painting

It was Father's Day here on Sunday and we've started a tradition in our house of including at least one handmade gift for daddy. I found this great idea for making a tree out of the hand prints of two children, so we gave it a go.

We made our own paint from edible ingredients, see this post for instructions:

Lesley :)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tuesday Tutorial: toddler girl skirt and top from men's business shirt

This post is about the second upcycle that I've done for Mia from one of her daddy's business shirts. The first upcycle was this dress:

Cute, right?

But today we're focussing on making a skirt and top:

The first thing I did was to remove the pocket and the collar by unpicking the seams around them. Next I cut out all of pieces, trying to keep the original seams as much as possible. This is a different shirt and a very rough picture, but it gives you some idea of how to cut the pieces from the shirt.

You'll need to take lots of measurements.

 For the top:

  • Check that the neck width suits the size of the child. Sew along the seam where the collar was removed.
  • Measure from the neck to the edge of the shoulder where you want the armhole to begin.
  • Measure the length of the armhole you require.
  • Allow an extra 1.5cm for armhole hemming.
  • Measure the child's chest and waist and allow 4cm on each side.
  • Measure the length required from shoulder down and add 2cm for hem.
Hem the armholes, by turning over twice and ironing down. Turn right sides together and sew down the sides. Hem along the bottom.

    For the skirt:
    • Measure the waist and hips - cut a rectangle that is 1.5 times the largest of these measurements.
    • Measure the length required and add hem allowance.
    • Cut a strip for the waistband. I wanted 2.5cm wide, so I cut a 10cm strip that was the same length as my daughter's waist measurement. Fold in half and iron, fold the edges to the centre and iron again.
    Run two gathering stitches along the top of the rectangle. Pull in to match the length of the waistband. Insert the gathered skirt between the layers of the waistband and sew along. Topstitch around the top and sides of the waistband. Hem the skirt. Sew a button on the waistband and add a buttonhole.


    Sunday, September 1, 2013

    Works in progress: soft toys and quiet books

    How I love Pinterest - I am so addicted!

    I've been slowly collecting ideas for making kids' toys and after spending the last few weeks making some additions to my kids' spring wardrobes, I'm all set to start working on these:

    1. Dinosaur soft toy. I found this free pattern and have cut out my dinosaur in a blue quilting fabric with red and white striped scales. It's turned out quite small, so next time I would adjust it to make it a bit bigger.

    2. Dinosaur/dragon tails. Sensing a dinosaur theme? These are cute! And my almost 3 year-old will love running around the house with this strapped to her.

    3. Matryoshka doll. Very sweet. Another one for my almost 3 year-old.

    I'm also putting together some ideas for new quiet books. My quiet books have by far been the most popular items in my Etsy and madeit shops and they are something I really enjoy making. I'm looking at making them around a theme, and have started out with four possible themes: numbers, colors, shapes, and alphabet. Stay tuned!

    Here's a link to post I did about the first ever Quiet Book that I made:

    And here's a link to my boards on Pinterest:

    Lesley :)