Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

This would probably only take a weekend to make, but it took me about 2 months. So long actually that I can’t find the first lot of pics I took when I had a brain fart to modge podge (or mod podge, depends where you live 😛 ) the entire thing.

I saw someone making a kitchen play set from an old side table – Very cool idea if you actually HAVE an unused side table. (some might call it minimalist, I call it frugal) I hunted the local second-hand shop; they had one for R500. That’s what a brand new, plastic, maybe not quite Fisher Price, kitchen set will cost me from Toys R Us. So I googled home made kitchen sets to get a feel for what they should look like. This one is by far my favourite.

Right, on with how I made one my toddler!

Christmas came early at the lab and the IT department showed up with some new PC’s to replace our abacuses (abaci? more than one abacus). The boxes they came in are super sturdy, so I claimed them. I used a narrow short box that was almost the exact length on of one the PC boxes; turned PC box on its side so the flaps can act like an oven door… kinda. I cut off the bottom flap and used it as a shelf inside the box. Handy Hubby had to help with this bit to reinforce the shelf so it will last more than a week. My plan for the second PC box was to turn it to a washing up area, again placing the box on its side so that the flaps become cupboard doors.

Then I had a brain fart about modge podge. I had a lot of leftover unprinted newspaper, so I thought the best way to cover the logos printed on the boxes is to cover them in said paper.. and podge them! I failed horribly at this and the box ended up with a lot of wrinkles and now I own the biggest pot of podge in town.

Spray paint is easiest

Lili chose the shade of yellow. Granted she chose it about 2 months ago, if she had to choose a colour now it would undoubtedly be pink. As per the instructions on the can, use in a well-ventilated area (like outside). We had a mishap the first time we spray painted the fridge. Also learned that with a little elbow grease and some good old sunlight soap you can remove anything from the kitchen floor, wall and door – including post office red spray paint.

Safer to do it outside

I’ve had that shirt since I was 14. And I’ve been using it as a painter’s jacket since I was 15.

Cut a hole for the bowl/basin

Handy Hubby cut the hole for me. I got a metal bowl from Crazy Store for cheap-cheap. Also got some dish cloths, sponge and a plastic basket from Pep, some wooden spoons and a play pot set.

Modge Podge the doors

I podged wrapping paper on the doors. It didn’t quite fit, tried my best to make a seamless fix.

Is there a term for this picking/tearing at paper?

I set the play kitchen up and did something else for a bit. Enough time for Lili so start picking at a few rough paper edges and tearing lots more off. *sigh*. She picks at EVERYTHING. Page corners of cardboard books, decorative stickers on toys, peeling paint, noses (yes plural – mine isn’t safe either). Nothing is safe.

The many uses for empty toilet paper rolls

I realised that the kitchen needed some lift. I cut a few toilet paper rolls in half (I have half a gazillion of them) and glued 6 each to the underside of the boxes with a glue gun. I also fixed the torn paper from the cupboard doors, this time I couldn’t match the pattern as well as I had run out of paper. Last step was to paint a black circle with poster paints so it will look like a stove plate.

Easy, cheap kitchen

Lili loves playing with it. I got her some play food that is halved and joined with velcro so she can cut it with a play knife. So come cooking time she helps out in the kitchen at her own station. Although before the play food she got creative with the cat food.

Parties I link to


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I found instructions to make similar rings in issue 24 of The Bead Book.

I’ll share with you how I made mine.

I used:

  • Memory Wire ring size from The Bead Shop
  • ± 70 3mm seed beads in charcoal
  • 25mm Silver Rose button
  • round nose pliers, needle nose pliers and side cutter


  • Start by making a small loop at one end of wire. (I was caught off guard at how hard this wire is – be careful with slipping your pliers)
  • Thread half your beads onto the wire; about 1 and a half loops if you want it symmetrical and not too tight.
  • Next thread on your button (I love the rose buttons I got from our haberdashery!)
  • Thread on the rest of your beads. If using the memory wire rings that I used, then you will have about a whole loop of wire left over: Trim leaving enough wire to make a closing loop.

I have kind of thick fingers when compared to the rest of the ring wearing population. (Think my wedding ring measured S or T) So after making one I pulled the loops apart and stretched the loops a bit so that the ring fits comfortably. This means that one size will basically fit all!

The other three I made in the same style are for sale on my bid-or-buy page.


Parties I link to


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So chuffed with myself; I made Lili a felt kabouter hat. I couldn’t find a pattern I liked on the internet. Also, the only felt I could get in town was pre-cut squares. Of course, I use the term square very loosely; none of the sides were the same length and none of the squares matched – basically had to use the smallest for the common denominator.
No matter how I placed the pieces, I knew I had to use 2 squares and sew them together. I wanted a tall pointy hat that will flop down, but the squares were too short. I made another plan. The design itself will have a curly point… with a bell on. And the brim will be in a different fabric, folded back and be all zig-zaggy like a real elf/pixie/kabouter hat.

Here’s how I made it:

You Need:

  • Enough felt (I used 2 x pieces, roughly 22cm x 25cm) in colour of your choice
  • Extra piece of fabric for the brim
  • Silver bell
  • Needle and thread in matching colour
  • Pins
  • Paper and pencil for design
  • Scissors for paper and for cloth


I played around with some shapes and settled on one I liked. Then cut out the shape.

Pin your pattern to the felt and cut out 2 shapes.

With right sides facing *snicker* sew all along the edges of the hat, but not the brim (where the head goes). I used double thread and sewed by hand; so I managed to sew relatively close to the edge, and I think the curl would have been too tricky for my sewing machine (at least for the monkey working it).

Carefully turn it out and check for holes. Use a pencil to gently shape the curly bit.

Here’s where I hit a snag and nearly RUINED the hat. I couldn’t figure out how I was going to attach the brim. Sewing isn’t my forte. But I figured it out.
Turning the hat back inside out (but I left the curl as it was, just don’t crease it too hard) measure and pin the brim to the hat – you’re going to have to look at the image above to see how I mean what I’m going to explain next: Place the cut edge (that’s not going to be the zig-zag part ) of the brim fabric along the edge of the hat that is still open – right sides facing – all around the hat.
Sew this edge together (Might be common sense to some, but I’m new to this – I aligned the seam of the brim fabric and the back seam of the hat)

Turn the hat right side out, fold the brim up, and press lightly using a damp cloth.

Sew the bell on the tip of the hat.

I thought the metallic fabric might fray if I cut it too soon, so I waited until the night before to cut the zig-zag shapes. I was too lazy didn’t want to go through all the effort pressed for time to hem the zig-zag pattern, but the fabric held it’s shape and didn’t fray at all!

Parties I link to

Alternate title:

#34 –  Sew 3 items for Amelia (3/3) Completed!

Huzzah! Another goal achived. I really enjoyed sewing things for Amelia. It’s not THAT hard. And with a whole wide web full of a gazillion ideas – I can’t help not being inspired to get busy.

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A few weeks ago I started making {another} a list with some crafts I want to attempt. These washer necklaces are one of the items.

Follow the complete tutorial from Not So Idle Hands.

Amelia loves wearing her washer necklace.

While visiting on the farm about a month ago, I mentioned that I want to get some of these letter stamp sets – Father-in-law said that he still has his old set that they used to ID the sheep. Henk tried to convince me that they actually stamped the sheep’s ears {I’m not THAT gullible} – Dad used to stamp little metal tags which were attached to the sheep’s ears.

The letters are a bit bigger that the size mentioned in the tutorial, but free is free right! Henk brought me some washers from work and I set off hammering. The hammer I got was obviously too small {Henk snickering at it didn’t help much}, so my first attempt was for Amelia and as you can see in the image, the letters aren’t very deep so the ink doesn’t stick in the groove.

Next stop was at Henk’s work where he gave me a some space at a workbench, a 4 pound hammer, and a practice bit of sheet metal. {darling} I found their stash of washers too – wish my kitchen was as organised as their stores.

I struggled a bit holding the letter and hitting it with one hard, swift blow and NOT hitting my fingers; so Henk lent me a shifting spanner as well to hold the letters with. Having the right tools worked a lot better, even though  it came out upside down 😉

I made some for Amelia’s friends and cousins, as well as a few non-personal ones.

Click here for parties I link to

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We have this patch of river stones in the garden. After watching Lili take a shortcut across them, only to slip and fall on her bum for the umpteenth time I decided to make her some pet rocks. Hopefully she’ll ignore the garden ones now 😉


A quick tutorial on how to make your own pet rock

You will need:

  • smooth river stones/pebbles
  • craft paints
  • sealer, like modge podge {It goes by many names – Love this site for ideas}
  • cartoon bubble eyes
  • craft glue that dries clear {or a hot glue gun}

Get some smooth river stones

I chose 3 smooth differently shaped stones with relatively flat surfaces: An obvious face side. Give them a good scrub in warm soapy water and leave to dry.

White primer

Paint the rocks with a basecoat – I used white.

All the pretty colours

Then paint them in whatever colours you like. I used the same colours Lili’s door letters.

It gets messy

I used a few coats of modge podge to seal the rocks; lightly sanding between coats and painting every coat in a different direction

I see you!

Finally glue eyes onto the stones and allow to dry completely – I left them overnight. Now you have pet rocks!

!! Pet Rocks !!

Link Parties!

Get your craft on Thurs. PonyTails and FishScales Photobucket

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{full title should be}

#34  Sew 3 items for Amelia (2/3) – Completed! Crayon Roll!

A few weeks ago I stumbled onto Skip to My Lou, I surfed around and found this pattern for a crayon roll. I thought it would be a perfect item for Amelia!

When I finally found some material I tried looking for the site again – I don’t do bookmarks cause previous experience proved that I hardly go back to them. THEN I found this site… and a whole bunch of others with similar patterns. I liked the instructions from Chocolate on my Cranium more, since all the fabric is cut the same size.

What you need

This is where my problem started. I converted inches to cm – even my measuring tape only has centimeter marks; I remember my mom’s one being inches on the reverse.

{This is not a tutorial, as there are loads better ones; I’m just sharing the experience with bad-lighting pics}

I found some bright, fun prints at Naald in ‘n Hooimied and matching ribbon and thread.

My fav part - loading the bobbin

Now, I’m no seamstress. I can barely shorten my jeans with a decent hem – I’ve given up and just cut the cuffs off straight. But I LOVE loading  the bobbin, especially if the final colours don’t match. *squee* {lookie-loo Lili is hiding behind the thread}

Tester lappie

I always make a little practice lappie (cloth) so that I can get the tension right. I seriously suck at gauging the right tension on my sewing machine – hence the stuff-up first stitch.

sew it goes

So I measured everything in centimeters… but I changed it as well. Lili has these big fat crayons, so I changed the pocket size. And since she only has 9 ofthese big crayons, I shortened the roll a bit too.  In hindsight I probably shouldn’t have muddled at all.

It is sew ready

Had some trouble with the top stitching; so I sewed really slowly. This is where you can see what went wrong. It’s not an illusion, the roll is a bit on the small side. Just how small?

Giant crayons from Giant Land

Looks like I someone forgot to add seam allowance at one stage.

At least I have more material left so I can try again. But not this weekend. Maybe next month sometime. It was a good thing that the material shop has a 1/4 meter minimum policy.

Crayon Roll Version 1.0

Crayon Roll Version 1.2 coming soon

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ETA: 30 April 2010

I’m recycling this post {pun intended} for Someday Crafts Categorically Crafting linky party. The theme is TP Rolls!

 It’s called the Silly Season for a reason. Expenses just seem to mount up.
If you are like me and leave everything to the last minute, you will find that all the good stuff is already sold out. And you don’t even get decent discount on the cracked Xmas balls.

So in the spirit of being frugal and going green I will show you how to customise your Christmas Table with these DIY Napkin rings. You can recycle old ribbon if you have any. I bought mine as it was cheap; Wide ribbon was R1.85 pm, and sequin R2 pm.

You will need:

What you need

What you need

  • Empty toilet paper tube
  • Ribbon in your choice of colour at least 10mm wide.
  • Thinner ribbon or sequin strand in your choice of colour
  • Double-sided tape (I used the thin one cause the shop didn’t have the regular sellotape sized one)
  • Scissors

Optional extra:

Optional extras
Optional extras
  • Paint to match the main ribbon. I used poster paints from previous projects. It’s not worth buying new just for this project.
  • Craft knife or scalpel blade

Tip: For a standard tube you need about 13cm of ribbon per layer per ring. Calculate how much you need so you don’t over spend.


Cut empty tube in rings slightly narrower than your wide base ribbon e.g. my ribbon is about 10mm, I cut the rings 6-7mm. When using scissors try not to bend the tube too much as to warp it. This tube forms the support for the whole napkin ring. I used a craft knife.

Optional: Mix some paint to match your main base ribbon colour, paint the rings paying close attention to the inside and edges. Leave to dry.

Sticking the ribbon

Sticking the ribbon

Stick double-sided tape along the outside of the (painted) ring. Remove the paper covering the tape. Stick the edge of the base ribbon in the centre of the ring and carefully wrap around the ring, sticking to the tape. Ensure the edges align. You can quickly move the ribbon if you went skew. Cut the end of ribbon. I left a slight overlap and secured it with a little bit of double-sided tape, just to give it a neater finish. Press ribbon all along the ring to make sure it sticks.

Using Double-sided tape

Using Double-sided tape

Wrap another round of double-sided tape around the ring with ribbon. Be careful to wrap in a straight line and ensure the edges align. Remove the cover of the tape.

Stick the sequin layer

Stick the sequin layer

Carefully stick the sequin string around the ribbon ring, keeping a straight line and aligning the beginning and end.





Continue for all your rings. Voila! Home made customised napkin rings. Perfect for Christmas dinner, or even as a gift!

Ready for the table

Ready for the table

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