Saturday, July 28, 2012

Crystal Love Hearts

I love Pinterest. I find it such a great source of inspiration and idea. Sometimes I struggle to stop pinning and start doing, but I love it none the less.

I pinned this a while back but thought of waiting until Christmas to make one was just too much for this Koala to bear. One night I put Em to bed and let Ava stay up. I told her we were doing a science experiment. 

The preparation

I laid out all the ingredients and we had fun while she tried to guess what we were going to make. I decided to use pink glittery pipe cleaners in the hope it would add to the sparkle!

Shaping the Pipe Cleaner

Seeing as it wasn't Christmas we couldn't really make a snowflake so unsurprisingly we settled on a love heart. Ava is 7, love hearts are all the rage with everything!

Making the mix

Basically you mix 1/3 cup borax with 500ml boiling water. I don't think my water was quite hot enough because the borax didn't mix in very well. As this stage I started to get a bit worried and thought I'd better prep Ava for possible failure.

Clearly unnecessary as she comes back with "Don't worry Mum, there are no guarantees in Science". Whilst I don't completely agree (after all why else would we have Constants), it was nice that she was learning about realistic expectations at school. I decided close to bed time was not the right time to start a debate and we left it at that!

15 minutes later

We left it over night with strict instructions not to touch if she got up before me. 15 minutes later she was in bed and I started to worry. It wasn't quite looking the same as the original.

Hanging in the Sun

We needn't have worried though, it worked really well! I don't think the photos do it justice. Hanging in the Sun it looks really special. We are already looking forward to making a whole bunch of them to hang outside at Christmas time.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Learning to Sew

Ava turned 7 in June. I really wanted to get her an American Girl for her birthday. Unfortunately not living in America, this proved to be a little expensive. In the end I settled on a Madame Alexander doll which had virtually the same dimensions for half the price.

Ava loved her and promptly named her Ava.

At the store getting her birth certificate

Then like so many other birthday presents she got tossed aside and forgotten about. It was until we were watching Project Runway last week (because what 7 year old doesn't love that show) that suddenly I noticed Ava was sitting next to Ava and she was chattering about sewing her outfits. I thought now seemed like a good as a time as any to teach her to sew.

Her first ideas were shoes and pants. I suggested a skirt and set her to sketching.

We settled on view 3 a skirt with fruit

I said I would take her to the store to pick some fabric but that we should first have a look at what we had at home. I got out a small selection of my large stash of cottons. As soon as she saw the Barbie fabric all notions of fruit were gone.

Ava helping to choose

Originally I drafted an A-line skirt pattern but then decided it needed to be as simple as possible. I didn't want to overwhelm her and have her give up. I drew a rectangle. The width was 1.5 x waist. The length was the length I wanted the skirt to be, around 10cm. I then added 1.5cm seam allowances and 1.5 cm hem and casing allowance. Cut it out and voila - a pattern!

A pattern is born! (It was actually square in real life)

My motto for the day was "Simple, simple, simple". I just went with the flow and what we had on hand. We've only moved recently and I didn't want to have to keep stopping and starting to find things. So first things first she traced the pattern onto the fabric (with biro). The pattern was held down with batteries.

They weren't perfect but that didn't matter

Concentrating on cutting

Next it was time to pin and sew the side seams. I got her to run some practice fabric through the machine first. I thought we would have to do this several times but she got the hang of using the fabric guide, pedal and reverse button really quickly!


Sewing the hem

There are no more photos of the sewing process because we were too busy concentrating. Basically she  sewed the side seams and then I pressed them open. I then pressed the hem and she sewed it. I pressed the casing then she sewed, leaving a gap for the elastic. I then threaded the elastic and she sewed it shut!

The finished product!

This was by no means a perfect exercise but it was fast, simple and a great introduction to sewing. I honestly don't believe you have to do everything perfectly when you're learning. Getting caught up in perfect technique can be really limiting. It took a lot of patience for me to hold back on doing it the "right" way. In the end though she is so proud of what she achieved that she wants to do more. That is success in my eyes!

Throughout the process we talked about the way we were doing things vs. correct technique. Some things that we will try as we go along
  • Not using biro to trace!
  • ZigZagging the seams
  • Letting Ava do some pressing
  • Folding under the hem and casing
She's already talking about what we are going to sew this weekend :o)

Meet our family!

Meet our family!

There is me (Jenny)
(I have no photos I like)


And Emily

This blog will be our collective thought dump. I wouldn't expect any themes or consistency, just whatever we're doing now