Monday, February 27, 2012

My little girl first sewing project

Sniff and I am fast asleep

My daughter Ning began asking me this question since she was four -" Can I learn to sew?" My answers has always been -" Not yet. Your fingers are not strong enough to hold the needle firmly." Her next question would often be-"At how many years old can I start sewing?" I answered- "Perhaps in a year or two when you are almost six." She would then walk away disappointedly.

Two weeks ago, when I was working on a sewing project, Ning came close to me and pleaded for a sewing lesson. My answer was positive this time. She suggested for her to begin with a simple project by learning to sew in straight line. She rejoiced with a cry and wanted to start immediately. I was too engrossed with my own sewing and asked for sometime to plan for her a project rather than just sewing straight line on a piece of fabric.

Few days later, I came up with the idea to teach Ning to sew a lavender cushions sachet. She loves lavender and would often inhale its sweet and soothing scent from my little old jam bottle that I store my lavender. Felt would be a great material to use for kids sewing project. Wool felt is too expensive and difficult to get locally, but synthetic felt material is readily available in most sewing supplies shops. So, a felt lavender sachet was the plan.

Lavender sachet
Great work for a  5 & 1/2 year old beginner
Ning was so excited from the very beginning when we chose the color for the felt and embroidery thread. I marked the sewing lines and demonstrated to her before she started. I was worried about her getting hurt but Ning learnt very well and didn't even get poked by needle. She stuffed some poly fiber and inserted a tiny lavender pillow which I made into the sachet before closing up the seam on one of the side. I helped her to knot the thread. Mission accomplished in one sewing session in the afternoon. She proclaimed she loves sewing and wanted the next project right away! I was surprised and happy with her enthusiasm for sewing. I foresee they would be many great moments we could cherish in the future.

She hugged the small lavender sachet into sleep that night. Her satisfaction and happiness warmed me up.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Hand dyed Indigo batik placemats

Right after I finished making the dove appliqué placemats, I decided to make a set of placemats for daily use at home. My present set of placemats was made more than 4 years ago using an old wrap around skirt. They are really worn out from regular used.

It took me very long time to decide on which fabric to use and the theme for this new set of placemats. I got confused with a full cupboard of beautiful materials I collected over the years. Many of them were acquired on various travelling trips abroad. Finally, I went for my favourite fabric -the indigo dyed batik. These few pieces of fabrics used here were produced by the infamous water town of Wuzhen, which also regarded as the Venice of the east in the north of Zhejiang Province, China. For the info of my American readers, Wuzhen was the destination for the World of Quilts Travel from United States that was organized last year.

Set of six placemats with three different prints

Front and back view of placemat with Wuzhen batik and linen.

Unlike batiks in other regions of China and around the world who usually use bee wax and wax for the dye resist process, the indigo hand-dyed batiks in Wuzhen are unique with its used of bean flour paste for the dye resist process.   The artisans in Wuzhen still use the technique and natural plant dye like it was done centuries ago.

I love to utilize the selvages of fabric as part of design. The selvage of burlap linen that I used for this project added a rustic charm to this handmade project. 

Ready for dinner

I am going to cook a good meal for my family this evening and decorate the table with these new placements and pretty blue & white crockery. I know some of you may be considering on the cleaning part... but you could just be a little cautious when you eat and get the chance to practice a good table manner :) I would lay a bigger plate under my younger daughter's plate of food to prevent staining onto the mat. I am lucky if she can use the mat thrice.

For tutorial and template, click here. (Sorry this is not ready yet. Please check again in few days time and I will have the link connected to Yann's tutorial from the highlighted words)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Placemat with dove applique

The dove that escaped the placemat?

I still haven't got through with my 'bird flu'.  I made 6 place mats with the dove design after I completed the fabric birds and duo sided festive table runner projects.

The placemat making processes included steps like painting, appliqué, embroidery and sewing. The place mat is padded with interfacing material and it sits firmly on the table.  It turned out so sweet and pretty that I decided to use them only on special occasions, most likely during Christmas.

Christmas tea time
My daughter asked if I was going to sell those mats and how much would I sell them for. I guess I would have to make another set before I am willing to sell the first set away. I would consider selling on Etsy for $12 each or a set of 6 for $66 when I eventually set up a seller account. (Etsy is a social commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items as well as art and craft supplies) As for now, I have very little things to start my shop in Etsy.

Click here for tutorial on how to make this lovely placemat. Change the colour, tag and you can modify the design to fit any occasion.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fun time making mixed media art

It was an artsy fartsy Sunday for us last week. I decided to spend time to guide my girls to do mixed media artworks. This is  something that I had been wanted to do with them since  Ning inspired me with one of her many creations,  see image on the right. I love how she upcycled the harden play dough which I told her to throw away.

The girls welcomed the idea of an art project with excitements.  They were especially excited when they see me bringing out my stamps and ink pads to share with them.  It is a big treat for them to get to play with the “forbidden” tools at home.

I thought collage would be a fun project.   I got this idea some time ago when I saw Ning doodling on my outdated business cards. I found these little artworks fun and interesting and had kept them up for an art project. We had been saving embellishments from broken hair clips, old shoes and Christmas ornaments; reserving used gift ribbons and wrappers, fabric scraps, pretty brochures and catalogues..... and even corrugated boxes for upcycling projects.  All these materials came in handy for  a project like this one.

Zen came up with the idea of wrapping news paper on the  corrugated board and then layered it with paints all over the newspaper. She created a beautiful half translucent effect on the prints and images of the newspaper by surprise. Then, she went searching on my treasure box for pom poms fringes..... I went on to guide her on layering by using stamps and marker. With very little guidance, Zen created a lovely piece of artwork.

As for Ning,  she decided to paste  the pieces that she created on my outdated business cards onto the corrugated board and she decided to add on other items she found in our collection of elements. I showed Ning how she can linked all the elements in her artwork with strokes and lines, and that she can create a stylish piece of work even when it looks kind of messy. She went on to create images with free hand drawings, stamps, and doodling words onto the cardboard.  She uses various materials like poster colors, ink and crayons for those images.   She went bold with her strokes and achieved a wonderful piece of artwork.

The above artwork created by Zen is lovely and sweet. It looked like a real nice handbag :)
Looking at her art piece, I realized how much she has grown. She is more of a teenager than a kid even when she is only 10.

Ning's work is charming. I like the phrase ' Ning's Happy'. Indeed, she is happy when she does art.