Be blown away with paint!

The school holidays seem to be particularly dreary this year. The toddler seems to have fallen slightly out of love with painting so I decided to come up with a new method to renew her passion. 


This was a super-simple, fun and VERY messy project and one we both enjoyed. Seriously though, if you decide to try it, paint goes EVERYWHERE so make sure you put lots of paper down.


Those who know me, know I’m terrible at drawing (I once drew a stick an with three knees….) but luckily ‘Moon’ from the toddlers new favourite show (Sarah & Duck) is easy enough for even my cack-handedness to draw. I also did a few other simple outlines, including a tree, Spidergirl and a hedgehog.


Next, it was time to pour the paint. I bit of trial and error taught us that small drops, fairly close together worked better.


Then it was time to blow!


It was fun trying different lengths of straw and different ‘blowing’ techniques from short, sharp puffs, to longer blows while moving the straw around. They created surprisingly different results.


The tree is a little abstract.


Spider girl turned into a Deadpool/Venom hybrid. We used slightly too much paint on this one….


And here’s Moon, waving on his way to work.

Have you tried blow-painting? How did you get on? Let me know in the comments below! 

Make it Monday: Greetings! 

I love receiving cards, don’t you? But even more than receiving, I love MAKING cards! Here’s some of my recent makes. 

Make it Monday: Shark Week


We live every week like it’s Shark Week here at Beagle HQ but having a dedicated week is always fun to try some new crafts.

Seeing the Lamb playing with a toilet roll inspired the ‘shark fin cuff’. It was incredibly simple but turned out better than we expected and the toddler loves ‘swimming’ around the house with her cuff. We cut a fin shape, painted it grey, while the toilet roll was painted blue. Then it was a simple case of gluing the fin to the toilet roll and cutting an opening! I added some tissue paper to cover the flaps at the base of the fin and the cuff was ready!


Just in case the Lamb didn’t want to wear a cuff, we also made this fun hat/hairband. Another simple construction, with a band of paper to fit the Lamb’s head, and an extra one to go over the top. The Lamb painted both and again I added some tissue paper to hide the join, and to add a bit of texture. If I’m honest, I think hubby and I are a little jealous we don’t have a fun hat like this. Perhaps next week….

How are you celebrating Shark Week?

Make it Monday: Room On The Broom inspired Quiet Book


We’re HUGE fans of Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler’s books here at Beagle HQ. So much so that the toddler’s last birthday was themed around some of their more famous books, but that’s a post for another day.

A zipper for a mouth

What’s inside? Some other characters!


I wanted to make the toddler something a bit different, so I combined some of her favourite characters with different openers and fasteners to help her improve her dexterity and coordination. The product was ‘Evie’s Quiet Book’.

Bird’s wing has a magnetic which helps it move. There’s also plenty of ribbon to practice tying bows


Quiet books seem to be hugely popular and it’s easy to see why: soft to touch for little hands, they are only limited by your imagination and can keep little people occupied for ages. 

Help Dog count bones


I created a page for each of the main characters: Witch, Cat, Dog, Bird, Frog, Dragon plus all of them on the broom.

What’s in Cat’s cauldron?

All the ingredients fro a witches brew! Each item is sewn onto a popper so can be removed for an endless mix of spells


I tried to use a mix of fabrics and materials to make it interesting to touch as well as various colours. Some worked better than others, with some of the coarser fabric fraying, however I think this adds to the characters. 

The Dragon isn’t too gruff here – he has a squeaker for a voice


There are also different fasteners including zips, poppers, buttons and clips, all of which encourage to toddler to explore and learn how to use them. They’ve helped her improve her manual dexterity while also teaching her some key skills for getting dressed. 

Help the Witch button her cardigan and plait her hair, but be careful not to lose her ribbon!


I think the Witch is my favourite page. Her long ginger hair is a mix of different wools, from very soft, to slightly more coarse and even a few strands from my rag doll I had as a baby! Perfect for learning how to plait, and to tie a ribbon! Her cardigan also needs buttoning. This was the only page where I used my sewing machine (for the cardigan), all the rest was sewn by hand.

And out flew, a magnificent broom!


The last page is the broom with all the characters sat safely in their seats. I made the finger puppets as a fun accompaniment when reading the book, but they can be used for reenactment while out and about, or for creating new adventures!

Endless fun with the finger puppets


Have you made a quiet book? Do you like the characters from the Gruffalo and Room on the Broom? Let me know in the comments below. 

Make it Monday: Gone fishing!

fishing game.JPG

Over Christmas I bought the toddler some candy canes which we put in a cup and ‘fished’ for using a keyring hoop on some string. They were cheap canes and really not tasty (even the pup refused to munch them!) which is one of the reasons they have lasted so long but they finally all broke.

The toddler was rather disappointed as she loved her ‘fishing’ game so I was really thankful to find this tutorial from Handmade Gifts Made Easy! It’s a fairly simple pattern and I decided to reuse the fabric from one of my first ever sewing projects (a simple A-line dress I sewed for the toddler to wear to swim classes. Looking back, there’s wonky lines, unpressed and incorrectly sewn seams BUT she loved it and seemed happy I was going to use some of her favourite fabric). Given it’s covered in some of her favourite ocean life, it seemed fitting for a fishing game.

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One of the first items I ever sewed! Sadly the toddler has outgrown it so I’m reusing the fabric

The tutorial comes with a pattern for the fish but due to some printer issues, I decided to make my own. As you can see, it was very high-tech and properly measured.

pattern for fish.JPG

I used a coaster to create my fish

The toddler was already excited when I started cutting the fish out and was determined to help me sew them together. For this reason I didn’t pin them as they do in the tutorial. (Before anyone comments, when the toddler ‘helps’ me sew, she sits under the table and works the foot paddle with me, however, I don’t like to use pins if I know little fingers are around!). I also didn’t want to create a ‘worm’ on the hook because my magnet was very small and I was worried it might not have the strength to pick up the fish so used some of the fabric offcuts.

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With my helper at the paddle, the fish were quickly sewn and before I had a chance to stuff and close them the toddler had ‘caught’ a few and was off! She had a fun half an hour or so until bed time, catching them, showing us what fish she’d caught.

Once little fingers were safely in bed I got my sewing needles out and finished off the fish, putting a little stuffing in each before I sewed them up. My sewing is in no way as neat as the ‘Gifts Made Easy’ team but they do provide a helpful video if you want to do a neater job than I did.

The next morning the toddler headed straight for her fishing kit and all through breakfast kept ‘fishing’. It’s proven to be one of her favourite toys (as her homemade gifts often are) and as it’s so neat and small, it’s one I can pop in my bag to keep her entertained while we’re out and about. Hopefully it last longer than the candy canes!

Have you made any games for your youngsters? Feel free to share photos or links in the comments.

 

Make it Monday: the Bag Challenge

Not gonna lie, I’m a bag girl. Always have been. From quirky prints to unusual designs I love them all! Since starting to sew, I’ve made myself a few, mostly simple tote bags, which was a good way to cut my teeth (or cut my needle? I think we need a new phrase for learner sewists, but as always I digress…..) as they’re easy to make, lots of straight lines, gave me a feel for different fabrics and were pretty forgiving of the odd wonky seam while I was learning how sew.


However, there are only so many totes a girl can have (I mean, the toddler already has four! Yup, along with my cheekiness, she’s already got the bag bug! See my post from yesterday with her Easter bags) so I started designing my own! 


The first was the ‘Evie’ and evolved due to my need to be able to carry my essentials while either out walking the dog or out and about with the toddler. The catalyst was when she’d started walking (well, running. The toddler does EVERYTHING at a hundred miles an hour!) and we were having tea with friends in an outdoor cafe. I’d just put my tray with our treats, my purse and phone down on the table, turned around and saw the toddler belting off! Of course I went charging after her and as we got back to the table I realised I’d left my valuables on display (luckily under the watchful gaze of my friend!). However, it was a scene which was repeated frequently and so the ‘Evie’ was born. Influenced by medieval belt pouches it’s big enough to hold my purse, phone and lip balm (and of course spare dog poop bags on our walks with the pup). It’s become a must have on our outings and a few mums friends have asked me to make one too.


My next challenge was the ‘Japanese knot bag’. I’d seen them on Pintrest and thought they looked pretty cool and unique. With assorted birthdays coming up, I pulled out the tracing paper and pencil and got designing again. The ‘Anna’ was created! I made two as presents (though annoyingly forgot to take photos before gifting them!) and had plans to make one for myself, which went on the back burner due to assorted skirts, toys and other things I was sewing for the toddler, me and presents.

Which brings me to my current bag challenge. I’ve long admired this mandala fabric and a friend gave me just under half a metre. I knew immediately I wanted to make as many bags from it as I could! 


My plan was to make an ‘Evie’ and ‘Anna’ bag, with a more complex pattern I found on Pintrest. However, it quickly became apparent that I wouldn’t have enough fabric for the more complex pattern. Given that I’ve a friends wedding coming up, I decided to try and make a clutch bag, something I don’t have already in my collection. As you can see the fabric has different colours but the background is a pale beige, a perfect match for my calico which I decided to use as the liner and backing to my bags.


Using my patterns, it was fairly quick to sew all the pieces together. 


As always there was something new to learn, such as putting in a twist clasp, but I was happy with how it turned out.

And these are the finished bags! I was able to make an ‘Evie’ bag, an ‘Anna’ and the clutch that I’ve called the ‘Pippa’. There was a small piece of fabric left which I managed to turn into a small purse and there’s another small panel which I’ll use to make a drawstring bag. 


What do you think? Are you a bag fan too?

 If you’d like a bag made, please send me an email on bluebeaglebaby[at]gmail.com, comment below or on my Facebook page. 

Meet the Maker: Time to Relax

I had to chuckle when I saw this theme for today’s ‘Meet the Maker’ on Instagram. I was recently asked what I do for a living. ‘Writer and crafter,’ I replied. ‘And what are your hobbies? What do you do to relax?’ they asked. ‘Um, writing and crafting…..’ was my answer. Yup, I’m very blessed that for the most part what I do is also very relaxing for me. However, I suppose my knitting is my ‘hobby’ as I’m such a slow knitter, I don’t sell any of my creations and what I do to ‘relax’ (I have a beagle and a toddler, what’s ‘relax’ mean??). Also, a good brew is ESSENTIAL! IMG_0031.JPG