Getting crafty for Christmas

As I write this, there are only 8 more sleeps till Christmas, and only two more weekend days but as usual, I have only just begun the annual tradition of making a Christmas gift each for Miss Missy and the Young Lad.

Of course I left deciding what to make till the last minute. For the Young Lad, I finally settled on a Batman cape and cowl. And some gauntlets. And a utility belt too. But when I asked Uncle Google for patterns, I just wasn’t happy with any of the suggestions. They seemed to be either waaaaay too complex (how to’s for making a latex full-face Batman mask) or didn’t really look like Batman (why do so many people think that a Zorro-style mask will do the trick?) or waaaay too simple (I’m talking something that looked like a pillowcase with a couple of eyeholes).

This simply wouldn’t do.

What is a librarian to do? Why, look for a book, of course!

And this is what I found:

9781589239449Super Hero Sewing by Lane Huerta.  Although there isn’t an actual Batman costume, I felt like these ones could easily be adapted to what I had in mind. There are lots of really cool costumes and accessories, including pirates, butterfly wings, and cute animals.  And what do you know? the other day I came home to see the Young Lad wearing a Batman-T-shirt-Superman-cape combo, and Miss Missy told me he had said “I wish Mum could make me a Batman cape!”  That’s the way to melt your mother’s heart, Young Lad!

I also found How to Make a Onesie by Janelle Fischer.  I briefly considered switching from cape and cowl to a superhero onesie, but I think the Young Lad would rather look like real Batman, than like Batman-in-his-PJs.

9781440244476Now, if it wasn’t enough to make all those costume items, I then decided that of course Batman would also need his sidekick, and that a Robin soft toy was going to be essential. Last year, right in time for handmade gift madness, I discovered Happy Quilts! by Antonie Alexander, and used the robot quilt applique blocks to make a cushion for the Young Lad. At the time, I was torn between that, and one of the co-ordinating toys.

So, naturally, this year a bedtime superhero toy is a must. Giving the pattern a Robin look has actually been quite easy, and it’s coming along amazingly quickly! Just the cape and mask to go now! The book is really easy to follow, and all the patterns are included on a disc, so you can just print them out instead of having to trace them off a pattern sheet.

Robin toy at Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre
Nearly finished Robin toy with Happy quilts book

9781617454332Of course, I also have a gift for Miss Missy to make… maybe she’d like a little bag…?

… How many days did I say there are till Christmas?

Missbeecrafty’s latest crafty finds

I love me a good craft book. Sometimes I take them home just to drool over, and sometimes I actually make some of the things! In the last couple of months, I’ve found some really wonderful craft books, and I just had to share. Maybe you’ll find something to make too!

9781607058861First up, is Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor. This book is full of adorable little figurines, with the sweetest faces, little acorn cup hats, and beautiful felt clothes. I really wanted to make some fairies for the Christmas Tree, and a Nativity, and maybe a winter scene, too. I found it before Christmas, and I really would have made some if I hadn’t discovered book number two just a week later…

Book number two is Happy Quilts! by Antonie Alexander. This book looked so bright and fun I couldn’t resist bringing it home, and as I pored over the cute projects, I realised that here was the perfect inspiration for the Young Lad’s homemade Christmas present. Even though this is a book of quilts, I didn’t make him a quilt (remember I took this book out just before Christmas, even I wouldn’t contemplate making a whole quilt with just three weeks to do it. I may be good, but I’m not that good!)

9781440244476

I thought about one of the soft toys, but the Young Lad has just turned eight, and I wasn’t sure how well a rag-doll would go down, even if it was a superhero rag-doll.  So I decided to use one of the robot quilt blocks, and make him a cushion. I had a lot of fun choosing colourful fabrics from my stash, and was really pleased that the only things I ended up buying was background fabric and buttons. The huge grin on his face, and the bear hug he gave the cushion when he opened it told me I’d chosen just the right thing to make!

9781784943301The last book I want to tell you about is Wedding Jewelry by Sian Hamilton. I spied this book on the new books shelf and couldn’t stop myself from picking it up and flicking through. See, my little brother is getting married this year, and I want to make something for his fiancée. Even though the brides in the book all have rather pained expressions on their faces — according to Miss Missy, several of them look like they’ve just noticed bird poo on their shoulder — the instructions are really clear, and there are lots of interesting techniques. When I showed the book to my future SIL, we came up with a plan for me to make a beaded hair comb, and I’m really excited about getting started on it!

Have you discovered any great crafting books lately? If so, please tell me your finds!

Craft Space: a new place @ Shirley Library

When the community hall in Shirley Road was demolished, we didn’t just lose a hall, we lost a place to learn and practice handicraft. Many groups struggled to find a new location and many people, displaced from their homes, didn’t know where they could go. Some tried crafting alone at home, but it is a bit boring and you don’t learn from others.

Here at  Shirley library we have attempted to fill the void. We did have two craft clubs. Knitting for a Cause ran onCover: More Blankets and Throws Tuesdays and the ladies knitted and crocheted granny square rugs for the children in CHOC, the Children’s Haematology Oncology Centre at Christchurch Hospital. The Craft Club met on Mondays and worked on simple craft projects using donated materials. Knitting for a Cause made enough granny squares to make fifteen rugs for the children in CHOC, while the Craft Club made pincushions, scrapbook pages, cards and egg cozies. After much discussion, it was decided to combine the two groups and re-launch with a new time, new day and a new name.

EmbroideringCraft Space at the Shirley Library is held on the last Tuesday of the month, 1-3pm, for social crafting and featuring guest demonstrators. You can bring along your crochet, knitting, scrapbooking and more. We also provide a box of craft supplies to help you get creative.

On June 25th we welcomed Canterbury Embroiderers’ Guild. The ladies turned up at 1pm  and Michelle made them welcome.  By the time I arrived, everyone was working on their projects. One was doing cross stitch, another was hand quilting a blanket. Hexagonal patches were been carefully pieced together to create flowers. Approximately fifty more motifs will be needed to make the quilt. One lady showed me her up-cycled muff.  One was teaching another how to do blanket stitch.  Books on embroidery and ideas were happily shared by all. Talking and sharing was the theme for the day and no-one mentioned EQC or insurance.  I was amazed how quickly the time passed and too soon everyone started packing up. On Tuesday I learned one very important thing: handicraft isn’t just about the making; it is about the learning and sharing, friendship and company that goes with social activity.

If you need somewhere to craft, come down to the Shirley library on the last Tuesday of the month 1-3pm.  You might like to contact your local library to see if they have a craft group or check out CINCH for a craft group near you.Craft Space in actionCraft Space in action

Tasselled handcrafted bag

For more photos of the Craft Space in action, check our Flickr set.