I would like to wish you all an early Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I am taking a little blog holiday due to family bereavement but I hope to be back soon, in the new year.

May you all be happy and safe.

Big Purple Dragon. x


Paper chains and card trees

I don’t know a child who doesn’t like to make those paper chains that you see. It’s quite addictive really. Christmas music, laughing, joking, sticking…well you get the picture. We do it every year. Big and little children join in!

Buy the strips with a little peel off tab at the end or the lick and stick type. If you can’t find them in the shops, cut coloured paper into strips and glue the ends.

paper chains

Most children like to colour in too. Little man has made this tree. How cute is that?

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Christmas tree09 006

Easy peasy….

It begins with a basic tree shape. Cut two the same. You could print them off pre coloured if you wanted but we quite enjoyed the colouring in.

Then cut a slit down the middle from the top of one. Also a slit from the bottom to the middle of the other one.

Slot them together. Make a star for the top, slit and slot it in place.

You can make little baubles from circles too, cut a slit in each one then place on the branches of the tree.

None of this is our own idea I will add. It was on the back of a selection box that my little man had last year. It was a bit too late to be putting up christmas decorations by the time we got to it,  so we saved it in the box of decs for this year. This is so easy that you could make your own though;-)

Hot water bottle cover how to…

We aren’t on a Christmas theme today. More snuggly winter, I suppose.

Anyhow. Little fella’s room has been chilly some nights, even if the heating is turned up.

I thought of a very English, winter thing to do would be use a hot water bottle.

Off to the shop to find one. All of them had covers with ladies frilly things on them-not what we want at all! We visited the charity shop which was having a sale on a few things. For 50p I bought this bed jacket (well that’s what I think it is).

old bed jacket/hot water bottle cover

Let’s design our own cover then…here’s how we did it…

Take one small eager pair of hands, pen and paper. Have your little one dream up some kind of design whilst you cut away at all the seams to make the fabric lie flat…

Ok, children still drawing? Good….Tape a couple of pieces of paper together.

Then draw around the bottle, adding about 1cm all the way around. You will want to leave a little more than that around the neck as it is a bit chunkier. Perhaps 1.5cm. Add a flap at the top for tucking in or buttoning closed later.

hot water bottle cover

You will want to fold the paper pattern in half just to make sure both sides are the same.

hot water bottle cover here you can see the line of the bottle, the extra bit that I added to allow for the neck, then the seam allowance. 

hot water bottle cover

Cut out that shape from fabric now so that your little person can draw whatever they want their design to look like, on it. When they know exactly what it is they want to draw, let them at it with the soluble pen, this will be the front.

hot water bottle cover (Oh yes, far more important things to do than to get dressed! We are on a bedtime theme you know;-) )

You can cut out the other pieces now;-) This is where I forgot to take a picture as we were talking too much!

Draw a line across about 10cm down from the shoulder, or you can just fold it. Lay it on your fabric then cut out the shape from the bottom to that line. You can see by the dotted lines in the  photo where ours were. Click flickr for a close up.

hot tottie 003

Fold again about 2.5cm below that line. Now draw out the top of the bottle shape (without the flap) down to the second line. Put them together against the pattern and they should overlap.

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By now you should be clearing away all the bits and pieces until later. Your little one will be about finished with the drawing and you can let them watch whilst you sew the shapes on the machine. Zig zag or straight, whatever you and your little one want. Play with the machine’s patterns if it pleases you both.

My little man likes to sit on my knee when i’m doing a project like this. There is one golden rule though. He puts his hands under the table on his knee and doesn’t move them! Some children may do this, to others it will be plain dangerous. You decide. You could sit them on a chair next to you or just leave it until they are away from the machine. My little man takes part in many of my projects but I do choose when he can do this by the mood he is in on that particular day.

Now you can see that I have used safety pins to keep my fabric together. I have used two layers to keep the bottle warmer. You could either use one layer or two. Then again you could quilt it or use felt. The object of your desire…or whatever you have in your stash!

hot water bottle coverdrawn on…
hot water bottle cover sewn on…

So…I dropped the feed dogs and used an embroidery foot for most of ours. You don’t have to if you don’t want to. Don’t be too tidy, remember it’s a child’s drawing. Keep to their lines as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if it looks a bit sketchy.

You can see we have a rather nice little train going on.  Don’t forget to damp the fabric to get rid of the soluble pen lines when you are done. Clip and tidy. You are ready to assemble!

For the top bottle piece, attach a piece of bias tape to the top. Let it overhang at the sides, you will trim this later. You can do the same at the bottom. I used a double layer of the fabric and laid it on a fold so that all I had to do was to run a row of stitches along the edge. You can also do this on the bottom one as I have or just bias tape the edge again.

Put your nicely patterned front, face down on the table and your bottom piece, face up. Place the bottle top piece on, again face up. Pin. You should have a flap where the bottle will go inside. Open up the bias tape then pin all the way around. Raw edge to raw edge. Sew. Trim to tidy up the edges. You could use google to search for bias tutorials if you aren’t sure. If you are using felt you don’t need to of course, you can just sew it.

Fold the bias tape over then hand-sew to the other side. If you are clever you will use the machine but I think it always looks nicer if you take that extra bit of time to handsew it(because mine always turns out untidy!). You will want to add a snap fastener or maybe a button. This one is just a flap to tuck in. You decide, it’s your design!

hot water bottle cover
hot water bottle cover

Slip the bottle inside and there you have it! One warm bottle and a happy snuggly child!

If you got this far and understood what I was talking about, that’s great! If not please let me know how I could make this easier to understand.

I’d love to see any pictures of the ones that you have made.

Wreaths with pine cones

I finished these wreaths recently. All ready to be put in place.

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I had pine cones left over. After wondering what to do with them I gathered them into a dish with a couple of drops of pure essential clove oil for a simple pot pourrie. There they will stay until I decide what to do with them.

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It smells like Christmas here. Does it at your house?

Paper snowflakes and children’s Christmas craft ideas.

The decorations are up and the tree twinkles in the corner. We feel really Christmassy, yey!

We have lots planned for today, paper snowflakes being the first of all. Did you make these when you were little? I most certainly did…

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It all starts with a piece of paper,

that you fold in half,

paper snowflakes

and again,

paper snowflakes

but do make sure that when you fold these, that you keep all the open ends together or it won’t work 😉

paper snowflakes

fold again,

 paper snowflakes

and again,

paper snowflakes

Snip. Snip. Snippety snip! Mind your fingers!

 paper snowflakes
paper snowflakes

TA DAAA! One snowflake.
Make many like we have, and have yourself a little snowstorm!

paper snowflakes

christmas decs. 008 Here is one that we opened out after little fella cut it. Eeeek! Totally unexpected! That looks like a reindeer on a rough day! A late Hallowe’en decoration?

…On to something else, we found last years Christmas cards in the box of decs. I had in fact thought we had recycled them but here they are, so let’s do something with those….

There are always the traditional gift tags, but how about a Children’s jigsaw puzzle? Cut up a couple of cards into the size pieces you think your child can manage. Mix them up and off they go!

Or a christmas mobile? This is such a simple idea. Great for when there may not be quite enough decorations on the tree or if you are keeping little fingers happy they are  a good option. You could tie lots onto a hanger, in the tree as mentioned or pin a ribbon up and tie them on. 

Sandwich a couple of pretty pictures together with glue, adding a loop of ribbon or something to tie it on with, in between. If you forget the ribbon…never fear-that’s where hole punches come in handy!

Talking of tree decorations we made a few of these for the tree too…

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Simple but effective 😉
Doves are a symbol of peace. We all need a bit of that around Christmas. Fingers crossed anyway!

Cut out your bird shape on white card or paper. Draw an eye on each side.

Take a long rectangle of paper then fold into a fan shape.

Christmas tree dove 09 021 I’m sure that train ticket wasn’t  supposed to be in the picture! Oh well.

Cut a slit into the body and pass it through. Glue at the top. Take a needle and pass some thread through so that you can hang it. You could use that handy hole punch if you fancied tying ribbon through.
I once saw some of these doves made with fan-shaped tails as well as wings, they looked rather nice too.

Apologies for my poor picture-taking, they all look much nicer in real life.

Every home should have a little handmade! Go dec the halls! Leave some space, there’s more to come…