Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tutorial: Grocery Bag Dispenser 2

As promised here is the second grocery bag dispenser tutorial. This version is a little more refined with no raw edges. I used a home dec fabric for this but I think it would work equally well with quilting cotton but you may want to add a lining to give it more structure (simply baste 2 pieces of fabric wrong sides together before starting).

- 1 fat quarter
- 2 6 inch pieces of 9 mm wide elastic
- coordinating thread

Cut your fabric into an 18" x 18" square and a strip measuring 10" x 2".

We're going to start by making the handle (refer back to tutorial 1 for photos).

Take your piece of fabric that measures 10" x 2" and fold it in half lengthwise, press. Unfold and fold each raw edge into the center line you just created. Press again.

Fold in half again. Press and pin. 

Sew down both sides of your handle close to the edge.

Set aside. 

Take your main piece of fabric and fold it in half wrong sides together and pin. Sew down that side using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Turn wrong side out and press your seam.

Sew down that seam again with a 1/2" seam allowance.

Turn right side out and press the seam being careful not to crease the sides of your bag bag. You should now have a long tube with all the raw edges nicely enclosed in the french seam.

Now we're going to create the casings for our elastic. Starting at the bottom end, fold over the raw edge about 1/4" and press. Fold over a further 1/2" and press again - pin it down as you go. Repeat for other end.

Starting with the bottom, sew around close to the edge, leaving an opening at the back for inserting the elastic.

Take one of your 6" pieces of elastic. Attach a safety pin to one end and begin threading it through your casing. The elastic is short so try not to twist it and be very careful not to lose the other end inside the casing. Once you've pulled the elastic through, sew the ends together and sew your opening shut.

Before sewing the top casing, lay your bag bag flat and center the seam at the back. Place a pin to mark each side (equal distance from the seam). Taking the handle that you made earlier, find the center and match it up with the pin on one side (the right side of your handle should be facing outwards). Slide it under your casing and pin in place. Repeat for other side of handle. Sew casing as before leaving an opening for your elastic.

Press the handle upwards.

Sew in place at the very edge of the bag bag.

Thread through your elastic like you did for the bottom. Sew the ends together and sew opening closed.

You're done!

If you make a Grocery Bag Dispenser using this tutorial, I'd love for you to share some photos in the Monkey Makes Three Flickr group or leave me a link in the comments.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Book Review: Anton and the Battle by Ole Könnecke

Anton is strong.
And so is Luke.
But who's the strongest?

This is a book that every little boy should have in their collection. It's a war of imagination and perfectly captures their natural competitiveness, exploring the boundries of rivalry and friendship.

The book is filled with lots of laugh out loud moments as the competition gets wilder and wilder.

The illustrations are simple, with Anton in red and Luke in blue. The book also has it's sweet moments as well, when the boy's get scared off by a dog and take refuge up a tree. Even so they can't keep their natural competitiveness and rivalry suppressed for long.

R loves this book. It has him in fits of laughter every time we read it (and it has been read a lot).

R is the type of boy that likes listening to books but not reading them himself so I was very excited when he sat down and read this book through from beginning to end all by himself with no encouragement needed - he did a good job of it too, definitely a winner.

Get your copy here.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tutorial: Grocery Bag Dispenser 1

Anyone thinking about Christmas yet?! I have a good gift idea to share with you today. This is a great beginner project - quick and easy to make with very little wastage from 2 fat quarters. Over the next couple of weeks I'll show you how to make two slightly different versions.

Grocery bag dispensers are not only practical but with all the fabric options out there, make a funky addition to any kitchen.

- 1 fat quarter for main fabric
- 1 coordinating fat quarter for lining
- 2 6 inch pieces of 9mm wide elastic
- coordinating thread

Take your main fabric and cut it into an 18" x 18" square. Set aside the large strip of leftover fabric as we will use this later to make the handle.

Place your main fabric on top of your coordinating fat quarter wrong sides together. Iron both pieces and pin all around the edge of your main fabric.

Using your presser foot as a guide sew right around the edge of your main fabric.

Trim your lining fabric so that it is the same size as your main fabric. Using a zigzag stitch, sew right around the edges of your square. Press.

Decide which ends are going to be the top and the bottom. This will all depend on whether your main fabric has a directional print or not.

Fold over bottom edge about 1/4" and press. Use your original line of stitching as a guide. 

Fold over a further 1/2" and press again. Pin in place. Sew down close to the fold. Repeat for the top end.  This will form the casing for your elastic.

Take one of your 6inch pieces of elastic. Attach a safety pin to one end and begin threading it through your casing. Sew each end of the elastic securely to the opening of each end of the casing. I usually sew over it a couple of times. Repeat for other side. Distribute the fabric equally along the elastic.

Fold in half right sides together and match up the raw edges. Pin. Sew together using a 3/8" seam allowance.

Turn right side out.

Making the handle:

Take the piece of your main fabric that you set aside earlier. Cut it so it measures 10" x 2". Press.

Fold in short ends 1/4" and press. Sew to secure. 

Take your strip and fold in half lengthwise. Press. Unfold and fold each raw edge into the center line you just created. Press again. 

Fold in half again. Press and pin. 

Sew down both sides of your handle about 1/8" from the outer edge.

Attaching handle to bag:

Pin your handle in place at the top of your bag centering it on either side using the seam at the back as a guide. Sew in place. I try and stitch over my original stitching from when I sewed the casing so it’s not so visible from the other side. Sew another line across the top of the casing just catching the edge of the bag. 

Stuff with plastic bags and you're done!

Next week I'll show you how to make a more refined version (think french seams).

If you make a Grocery Bag Dispenser using this tutorial, I'd love for you to share some photos in the Monkey Makes Three Flickr group or leave me a link in the comments.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Book Review: 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

It's time to start playing hide-and-seek! Are you ready? Find the pirates, the kings, the schoolchildren and more.

Hide-and-seek books always seem to be a big hit with kids and this book is no exception. Riley loves the challenge of finding everything on each page.

Each double page spread has a theme and in addition to the 10 people that you are looking for there are other optional things to find as well.

The illustrations are large, bright and fun - a perfect match to the chaos on each page. The book is very engaging and it's amazing the amount of time you can spend just looking at a couple of pages. It's a book that I don't think we'll ever get tired of - there's always something new to see each time we come back to it.

At the very back it shows you that there are even more things to find. Riley loves searching each page to find these optional extras.

Get your copy here.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dining Chair Revamp

My dining chairs have been on my 'to do' list for the longest time, (the seats were just so dirty and faded from a certain grubby boy and repeated attempts at cleaning them), but I kept being put off by the price of fabric. Turns out I'm glad that I waited because in my most recent Spotlight shopping trip, I managed to get the fabric that I'd been wanting for just $6.50 a meter - total bargain!

Here are the before and after shots:

I love them! It's amazing what a huge difference a good polish and some pretty fabric can make.

Joining in with Show & Tell.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

At 5 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 6 days old


- You love drawing mazes on our chalk wall.

- You are enjoying school and all the opportunities that you get to try new things. You have also started making some friends.

- You love building with your blocks and playing pretend Angry Birds.

- You're a great little helper when you want to be.

- You have started telling jokes but your punch lines still need some work ....
"There were two peanuts crossing the road .... squish".

- We have just introduced you to chapter books and you can't get enough of them.

- You love watching Angry Birds cartoons.

- You're a fast learner.

- You still love your cars and have quite a collection.

- You can now put on your own jacket and school bag.

- You love scootering to and from school.

- I still get kisses and cuddles when I drop you off at school and you always wave goodbye to me from your classroom window.

- You refuse to have swimming lessons so it's up to mummy and daddy to teach you for now.

- You look forward to getting new homework each week because it means you have new spelling and reading words.

- You have a great imagination.

- You love visiting Grandma and playing with Uncle Ben.

- Your favourite picture book at the moment is Anton and the Battle (all boys should have this book in their collection).

- You're still scared of the dark and sleep with the hall light on.

- You are very stubborn and once you've made up your mind about something it's hard to change it.

- You love singing and dancing.

- You still don't like colouring in and it's something that we need to work on.

- You are always staging pretend battles in our living room.

- You hate shopping.

- You're a great talker and always have been but sometimes mumma needs quiet in order for her brain to work.

It's good to take a step back and remember some of the little things.
Love you my sweet boy xx

Friday, October 11, 2013

Listening to ....

Goodbyes by 3 Doors Down
Such a moving song - I'm sure many of you can relate to it.

Have a good weekend x

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Muffin Splits/ English Muffins

Muffin splits have been on my 'to make' list for ages after I saw how much they cost to buy from the supermarket. We sometimes get them when they're on special - Riley likes them and they make a nice change from toast for breakfast.

They were really easy to make. They're a bit denser than the ones that you can buy and very plain but with a little jam (or other topping) taste pretty good. Riley certainly likes them.

Recipe here.
Joining in here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Coffee Cup Hoop Art

I love hoop art! So easy and so cute.
I made this one for a friend as part of a craft swap.

Joining in with Show & Tell and Made By Hand.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Mini Donuts

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Mini Donuts.
Recipe here.

I'd been wanting to have a go at making donuts for some time now but wasn't having any luck finding a donut pan. Then just the other day Phil was looking through one of our cupboards and he found a mini donut pan, what a nice surprise that was.

These baked mini donuts are really easy to make and taste just like the ones that you buy at the supermarket.

Mmmm melt in your mouth goodness. We'll definitely be making them again.

Joining in here.