Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Building a Castle Cubby House

I saw a castle fort in a backyard of a guest house we stayed in once, and since then I had been dreaming of designing and building our own cubby castle. I love outdoor spaces that let kids use their imagination and have fun.

I drew a picture of new design and then we had a couple of days of building. We enjoyed making something together, the kids learnt a few things about building and it was more satisfying than buying one. Here's some pictures to show how we did it. 

the planning stage

measuring and cutting the main frame 

building the main frame

the door being attached with strong hinges so it can swing open

then decking 

outline, cut and drilling some hardiflex sheeting to the pine beams

the fun part, painting time

every castle needs a ladder

and a touch of gold and colour, using paint and a black sharpie texta!

some astro turf laid on the ground for easy play 
the door unlatches and swings open to let light in
and the inside panels double as a chalk board

we've enjoyed some sunny picnics from the top of our castle 

and some town meetings and card matches from below

we've had knightly celebrations with friends

and a chat with neighbours over the fence

Our castle, with it's shiny turrets at dusk, has only been standing for 7 months, but it has already created some great childhood memories.

Get creative, have imagination, and don't forget to play with your kids!

Little Ladybird

Friday, July 03, 2015

Circus Baby Fabric Book

Earlier, with the help of Threading My Way we made a fabric book gift for a newborn baby girl, which was pretty and pink with ice-creams, cakes and strawberries. Now we've made a different design for a boy's Christening gift, with a circus theme. It's bright and bold. Here's how you can make your own soft book.

- 1/2 yard or so of batting
- pieces of plain cotton material (we used 6 rectangles 44cm x 22cm in size)
- material pictures to applique

How to Make
1) Cut pieces of material to 44cm x 22cm in size. We cut 6 pieces to make 12 pages in total.
2) Applique the pictures to each page. Make sure there is enough room in the middle for stitching down the center.
3) Decide the order of the pages and which piece is to be the front/back cover.
4) Cut 3 pieces of batting to the same size (maybe a tiny bit smaller) as the rectangle pieces (44cm x 22cm).
5) Place the batting to the wrong side (inside/no pictures) of the front/back cover.
6) Pin together the inside front cover/inside back cover to the front/back cover already against the batting. Make sure that this is done with the picture sides facing each other/together.
7) Sew all the way around the edge, leaving an opening at the bottom edge for turning.
8) Clip corners and turn right side out and stitch opening closed.
9) Repeat steps 5) 6) 7) for the other pages. (sew pages 1/8 to 2/7) (sew pages 3/6 to 4/5).
10) Stack pages together to make the book, then center pages making sure pages are in the correct order of how you want them to be.
11) Pin along the center to secure the stack. Then sew along the center.

Little Ladybird

Friday, May 15, 2015

DIY Vintage Wall Hanger

A simple and easy way to keep jewellery is on a hanger. Here's how to make your own.

Cut a piece of wood to the desired length. This hanger was made using a piece of left over decking wood and measures 44cm long by 9cm wide by 2cm deep.

Pick up some knobs, hooks or drawer handles from a hardware or similar type of shop. Six bits and bobs were chosen for this hanger. Space them out and arrange them in the order you think looks best and check that they fit on the wood with even spaces between.

Paint the wood in any colour or leave it without paint for the plain natural look. Here, a bit of left over ceiling undercoat paint was used and applied easily with a big thick brush. The two drawer knobs that were unpainted were transformed using two colours of left over paint -  a gorgeous aqua and a bright lemon colour.

Use sandpaper to rub and scratch back some of the paint on the wood to give a worn rustic look. Using the screws that come with each of the drawer knobs, handles and hooks, attach each of them to the piece of wood. Pencil dot markers were put on the wood first, to make sure they were spaced out evenly.

Once attached to the wall, the hanger is then ready to hang jewellery from. This hanger was attached with some very strong double sided tape. 

Other accessories such as bracelets or scarves could be hung from the hanger too!

Little Ladybird