Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Handmade birthday presents

It was my littlest girl's 4th birthday last week and I managed to make a lot of her birthday presents this year which was great in itself and is great now because it means I have a few things to share with you on here!

For her 3rd birthday last year, I found a lovely picnic basket in my Charity Shop wanderings, I added a few teddy bears (secondhand of course!), a pretend cake and a few other child friendly pots and it turned out to be her favourite present.

She has had countless Teddy Bears' picnics, sung Happy Birthday to them all and dished out
the cake between them again and again.

This year I found an old, vintage book of the Teddy Bear's picnic,

and I also wanted to make her a patchwork picnic rug that had a flavour of the lovely bright illustrations in the book. Especially as her favourite colours are bright reds and then yellows. This is what I came up with:

(Since deciding I was going to start a blog I've been putting a bit of thought into where I photograph my quilts. Previously, if it happened at all then it would either be on the washing line or on a bed. But clearly the blogs I look at with quilts featuring in them have beautifully staged quilt photos. Take a look at http://filminthefridge.com/  for a start, she makes some amazing quilts and photographs them beautifully. Photography is not my strong point but I'm working on it. I went into the woods next to us to take this photo, with my older daughter. Unfortunately, despite being officially the first day of Summer it was incredibly cold and windy, so much so that my daughter was shivering away without a coat and ended up wrapping the quilt around her as we walked back!

But it was lovely to be reminded of what quilts are actually best at after all - keeping us warm!)
Anyway, as you can see I decided on a strippy quilt style and used a method I'd seen described in one of my favourite blogs - Soulemama, find her post explaining how she did it here - http://www.soulemama.com/soulemama/2013/03/
It's sort of a quilt as you go method, each square is quilted individually and then you just sew them all together and back it without having to do major quilting on the whole thing altogether. And it did make a nice change to not have to cram a whole quilt in my little sewing machine to do the quilting.

I only intended on having the very central section match up - with the red fabric I was using. I wanted the rest of the strips to look very random in both size and colour, but you can probably see that, mainly coincidentally, there are quite a few areas that actually do look a bit like they match up so I feel like I didn't quite get the randomness I wanted. And in hindsight I think I would have been better to plan each square so that all the strips did match up properly in size and fabric. I'm sure I'll make something along the same lines at some point so I'll try a matching up version of it then.

And, as a present, it was definitely a success and has been put to good use several times already.

It was also perfect timing to make this because another blog I love to follow, No Big Dill, has just been running with a theme of sewing and crafts inspired by children's books. Katy, from No Big Dill, calls this "Once Upon a Thread" and it's something she's done for a few years. There have been some lovely projects made so have a look, http://www.nobigdill.com/ , and it's something I've been tempted to join in with before but have never got round to, so this year I posted my photos on her Flickr group page too.

And coincidentally, one of the only 2 "new" presents my 4 year old received was as a result of seeing it featured on No Big Dill's "Once Upon a Thread" last year, http://www.nobigdill.com/2012/06/out-chapter-3-scribbling-book.html  - "The Scribble Book" by Herve Tullet,

One of the few things that has to be given "new" really since this is a book that's set up ready for your child's scribbles! It looked great last year and I haven't been disappointed now we've got it.

This post seems to have been full of links, hope you've found them interesting, and if you've made any good birthday presents recently please share them with us.

Back with more quilts and more presents soon, Sally.

PS Did you spot the Teddy Bear on the picnic blanket with the matching dress in my leftover scraps?

Cute, huh?

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