Thursday, December 1, 2011

Chalk cloth placemats

Christmas project No.2!

It's my turn to host the Christmas dinner this year and I know I'll be running late with the cooking as usual so I thought what better way to keep the kids happy and amused at the dinner table than some chalk cloth place mats. I was amazed by how simple they were to make, all you need to know is how to sew.

What you need:
Chalk cloth
Oil cloth or some other material of choice
bias tape
sewing machine

First of all you will need to decide on the size of your mats, then cut out a piece each of chalk cloth and your other material, I chose to use oil cloth so if any food gets spilt, it can easily be wiped up. Next you will need to prep your chalk cloth before you use it, luckily this step is super simple! Just grab a stick of chalk, turn it on it's side and run it over the whole piece of cloth, wipe the chalk off with a damp cloth and you are done! Now place the two pieces of material back to back, place your bias tape around the edges and pin it , just be warned that any holes that are made in the material will be there permanently so when you pin it make sure to do it very close to the edge. Next you want to place your ribbon in the middle of one of the short sides of the mat. First cut your ribbon to a good length, you want to be able to roll your mats up and tie a bow around them with the ribbon, mine ended up being about 30 cm long. Fold your piece of ribbon in half and pin the folded edge in under the bias tape. Sew the bias tape to the mats. If you don't know how to sew bias tape there are a lot of great online tutorials that can take you through it step by step. I decided to machine sew in one side, then hand sew the other for a neater look but doing this is time consuming and hard work on the fingers! I think I need to buy a thimble!!! Now you're almost done! Here is how mine look, excuse the wrinkles, they have been rolled up for a few days now but the wrinkles do drop out again. Now all that's left to do is to roll the mats up, throw in a box of chalk and a duster and tie up the ribbon.You can always throw in a pretty little Christmas tag as well if you want :)

All I want for Christmas is a felt board and lots of felt!

I can't believe how busy I have been this week, not that I'm complaining because it's all involved Christmas projects :) Seriously fun ones to! It all started when thought I'd do a pre Christmas toy cull in the girls bedroom and it suddenly dawned on me just how many toys they actually have. Lets just say it's a ridiculous amount and most of them don't even get played with. So instead of spending a small fortune on overpriced toys that will no doubt be played with for a week before being dragged to the depths of a dark toy box, I thought I'd make the girls a few gifts, ones that I think they will use over and over again and that will encourage a bit more learning that the usual whizz bang, flashing light, noisy toys they get.
So idea number one on my to do list was a felt board. I'd been looking for one for a few months but the only ones I have found have been rather small and came with very limited pieces and only had one theme, like a farm yard or ballerinas. I wanted something that had lots of themes and lots of pieces so my kids wouldn't get bored. That's when I decided I would have a go at making my own and boy am I glad I did! I will admit this has been a very time consuming project but it will be so worth the time and effort spent in making it. The easy part is finding a sturdy piece of board and gluing a piece of felt to it. Place the felt under the board, cut the felt so it's around 3cm longer around the edges than the board, snip the corners of the felt so there isn't so much bulk in the material when you fold the sides over, then glue the edges down...simple :) Now it's time to decide on a few themes and start cutting and gluing! I cheated a bit and googled a bunch of images to use as templates, unfortunately my drawing skills leave a lot to be desired! Anyway, here's what I've done so far...
On the Farm.

Under The Sea!

The Alphabet { I plan to add some lower case letters and numbers soon and even some math symbols }


I've also started making a Mr and Mrs Potato head with accessories and some simple shapes. If you have older kids you could even give them a bunch of felt and some glue to make their own scenes. And the best's never ending fun, as long as you have felt, you can always make new bits to play with, the only limit is your imagination :)

Project No.2 coming soon......


Christmas banner

I had so much fun making the Christmas placemats so I decided to make a matching Christmas banner. I love how it turned out! Basically I cut out a bunch of triangles from the hessian that I had left over, stenciled them the same way I did the placemats and linked them together with some binding. Super easy, just how Christmas should be :)