Thursday, December 31, 2009

Personalised alphabet board book for Lily

Lily is the 18 month old (as at Christmas 2009) daughter of friends, Alphonse and Michelle, in London. Using photos of Lily posted online by her adoring parents, a blank board book, adhesive photographic paper and Photoshop, I (secretly) created this personalised alphabet book. (I have pixelated faces for privacy.)

When unwrapped on Christmas day, Alphonse wrote: "Lily’s gift from you is exceptional and drew gasps of admiration from us all. Perfect time for her to receive it too, as she is, of course, massively interested in herself and her immediate world and is becoming interested in letters. Would love to know how you did it." All I can say is thank goodness they had a cat named Viola!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas cards a five year old can make (with a bit of help)

Thomas wanted to make Christmas cards for some of his classmates and teachers, so we decided to make them together.

We've marbled paper before using the shaving foam and food dye method, so we decided to make marbled Christmas tree shapes on cards. This is how:

1. Marble your paper. Obviously for a Christmas tree, greens are going to dominate. This one had yellow swirls in the green, but red swirls were more seasonal (you just have to be careful not to swirl too much and end up with murk).

2. Grab a stencil - or a cookie cutter - in the appropriate shape, and trace around it.

3. Here's the cutter and the tree shape cut from the paper. Depending on how simple your shape and how dextrous your child, get them involved in cutting out.

4. Lots of Christmas trees.

5. Stick them to blank cards. We added a gold star at the top for a finishing touch.

6. Other uses for marbled paper, cookie cutters and blank cards. The dinosaur shapes are very useful for using up "murky" coloured marbelling, and make great boys' birthday cards.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A prize winning cake

For Austin's second birthday I made a Gromit doghouse cake, and, as you do, uploaded it to the Wallace and Gromit website ( I then received this email:

Subject: Wallace & Gromit Creation of the Month Top Bun Winner!

Hi there,

Congratulations on your cracking creation! You are the winner of the ‘Top Bun’ award in September's 'Creation of the Month' competition! Please send me your name and address and I will arrange for your Baking Kits to be sent out.

Kind regards,

Kirsten Williams
Web Production Assistant
T: +44 (0)117 984 8994

Cakes for Kim's Baby Shower

At last the $10 cup cake stand got a workout!

Less sewing, more baking

This cake was made for a parent at Greenwich Public school who successfully bid ($40!) for my cake making skills at the annual fundraising silent auction.

Frog Cakes

These were made for the final Kindermusik class of term 2. We'd been doing a frog song ("There once was a frog who lived in a bog who played a fiddle in the middle of a puddle...") so it seemed like the thing to do.

Friday, September 25, 2009

A witch's cape for Thomas

Thomas was invited to a fairy party by Sophie Allen, in his class. Surprisingly, he didn't want to go as a fairy, but wanted to go as a witch. Here's how it turned out:

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Greenwich Public School's Art Auction

Every second year the school has parents work with children so that each class creates an artwork to be auctioned to raise money for the school's Parents' and Citizens' Association.  I put my hand up to work with Thomas' class, KLM.  At the end of second term (July) a bunch of other Mothers and I helped the children marble paper. We achieved some remarkable pages of colour:
(I wasn't just looking for pink, but when more than half the class is girls, that's what predominates!)

I then scanned the marbled pages and reproduced the marbling on thicker card stock, and, inspired by Catherine Swan's work and emboldened by my earlier attempts at something similar, spent the July school holidays hand cutting butterfly shapes, until I had over 50!

Another Mum and I arranged them, mounting them on rice paper, before framing in a shadow box.

The finished picture was over 1m (3 feet) high by 50cm (one and a half feet wide).

This is the children's reaction when they saw it!

At the auction, it sold for $500!

The most amazing art was produced by other classes, too. These are the artworks from the other two Kindergarten classes:

A collage of wrapping paper torn into small pieces or cut into the shape of children's hands.

A colour blindness test made of painted wooden circles, some of them with children's hand drawings on them.
Greeting cards were also produced of the artworks.
This is the butterfly image from the card:

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Purple Missoni cropped cardigan

And here's the cardigan, with the leftover Missoni fabric. Fully lined in purple. Seen here at Christine's 70th birthday party. Obviously the sleeves weren't well matched to the stripes on the body, but then again I'd already had to lengthen a a bit of fabric to cut the second sleeve (hence the binding on the sleeve shown in the photo), so it wasn't too bad an effort.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Purple Jersey Dress

Here's something I made earlier this year. The fabric was a clearance item at Spotlight, at $4 a metre. This is half of it (ie $5 worth) (plus about three times that in trim!), and the rest became a skirt. It was really just an experiment in sewing jersey for the first time.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Purple Missoni Skirt

Tessuti were selling this Missoni knit for about $80 a metre. From it I made this skirt, and (photo to come) a cropped jacket. I bought about 1.3m, so 2 garments for just over $100 isn't bad. I finished the elastic in the waist in the car on the way to Justene's farm in April 2009.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Our first school holidays

Inspired by the art of Catherine Swan, and after a trip to IKEA to spend a $10 voucher on a white shadow frame, Thomas and I marbled paper using the shaving foam and food dye method, then cut and mounted butterflies. The cutting and mounting was more my department than Thomas', I have to admit!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The cake for the mothers' group birthday party

It has become traditional for me to make the mothers' group birthday picnic cake. Here they are in order:
The first year was a cupcake tower (2005):

The second year (2006) was a number 2 cake with animal candles:

Then a number 3 with smarties (2007):

A number 4 with racecars driving through fields of flowers (2008):
And this year (2009), a number 5 with a rainbow:

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Thomas' 5th birthday cake

Thomas asked for a pink cake with butterflies, but not a butterfly cake. This is what he got. He seemed pleased.