Bunny ear headbands: a tutorial

Orange dot and tan linen bunny ear headbands for Easter

I’m not a huge fan of the fluffy bunny ear headbands that abound at Easter but these, my loves, are an entirely different kettle of fish. These I love. These transcend festive timelines and should, nay SHALT, be worn at any time of year.

The beauty of this tutorial is in the simplicity of the wire insert. No need to sew casings, thread wire delicately through small spaces; the fabric alone and the coiled wire I use is enough to get your ears perky but malleable. Not a phrase I thought I would ever write.

What you need:

Supplies for Easter bunny ear headband

  • Fabric – 1/4 metre is plenty.
  • Plastic headband form (1.5cm wide, 38cm around the outside arc).
  • 45cm florist’s wire or other thin, malleable wire.

What to do:

1. Cut the following pieces from your fabric:

a) One rectangle 5cm x 39-40cm.

b) two rectangular pieces 5.5cm x 35cm that will end up looking like this:

Bunny ear headband pattern measurements_edited-1

2. But let’s make our headband cover first.  With right sides of your fabric together, sew the first piece of fabric into a tube using a 3mm seam. I just use the narrow part of my presser foot as a guide i.e. sew keeping the left hand side of the presser foot on the outside edge of your fabric.

3. Turn the tube so that the right side is now on the outside. Turning tubes this narrow can be a bit of a pain. If you’re struggling, this is a good method. I actually have a little device I bought that helps with this process. Any good sewing shop should have one.

Tube of fabric for bunny ear headband

4. Take your two rectangular pieces and lay them right side together. Measure and mark 6cm from one end, then measure and mark 23 cm on from that.

5. From the end of your 23cm long marking, freehand some curvy bunny ears to each end of your fabric rectangle. These don’t have to be perfect (and indeed better if they’re not in my view because you show me a perfect bunny and I’ll show you…well, never mind but I will show you if you want me to) so don’t be too concerned about getting it completely even.

Bunny ear pattern drawn onto fabric strip

6. Cut out 2 of your bunny ear pattern and sew (right side together) using the same 3mm seam allowance, leaving a 5cm gap to turn your fabric right side out.

7.  Once you’ve turned your ears right side out, you might like to gently press them. Or not, if you’re a rough nut like that.

8. At each end of your wire, make a rough coil like this:

Wire insert for bunny ear headbands

When you lay your wire on your turned out bunny ears, the coils should reach about 2/3 of the way towards each end.

9. Insert wire into your ears. You will need to bend it to get it in and then manipulate it straight again once it’s inside.

10. Sew your 5cm gap closed.

11. Slip your thin fabric tube over your headband form and either glue or sew ends closed.

12. Tie on your bunny ears wherever you like ’em. If you’re a lopsided bunny-lover, the world is your oyster at this point.

Fan of the droopy ear?

Tan linen bunny ears headband

I used slightly different measurements for the longer linen ears : 23 cm in the middle and 11cm at each end. Also, I had to wind two pieces of wire together so the insert was long enough.

If your headband form is a different size I think this works as a general rule for covering: measure the width, double it and then add 2cm extra which allows for wriggle room and a 3mm seam allowance.

Orange dot and tan linen bunny ear headbands

Obviously these would look a lot better if I had actual kids to model them but since these are Easter gifts for my girls,  and we are still 3 sleeps out, we will have to make do with these pics sans heads.

orange dot bunny ears headband 2

I’ll update the post after Easter to include photos of  them being worn. If they’re worn. I’m tipping they will be. But then I’ve been wrong in the past. That one time. Just that one time.

We are staying put this Easter and I am looking forward to a quiet long weekend. Does anyone have extra-exciting plans this chocolate-gilded weekend? Please someone tell me they are egg hunting in the gardens of Raffles in Singapore or attending mass at St Peters. Whatever your plans be they modest or grand, travel safely my darlings and, if you do celebrate, Happy Easter. If you don’t, just grab the chocolate anyway yeah?

 

Painted wooden serving boards: a tutorial

small aqua ended cheese board gold knife on angle

Last Christmas my brother gave me Jamie Oliver’s latest cookbook: ” Jamie’s 15 minute meals”.  It both inspired and perplexed me.

Blue cheese platter close up

I was  inspired by the painted serving boards in the book but perplexed by the notion that anyone could complete some of the recipes in there in 15 minutes.

Edge of red edge cheese platter

Achievability of the food within aforementioned time limit aside, I’m here to tell you these painted wooden boards (if not Jamie’s recipes) whip up in under 15 minutes. Well, the first coat, anyway. Okay, so maybe don’t start these at a quarter to I’ve-got-to-be-somewhere.  Twenty to should be plenty though!

Pile of 3 wooden cheese boards

Once again, I’ve employed my very favourite masking tape and paper punch stencil method…

Wooden cheese platter board painters tape stencil

with much success.

Painted wooden cheese board blue dots

I hesitated to call this a tutorial as (with so many of my thangs) it really is criminally simple but I’m going to go ahead and do that anyway because I’m badass like that.

Small aqua edged cheese platter gold knife below

What you need:

  • Wooden serving board, cheese board, platter. Whatever takes your fancy. Do ensure it is not treated ie, safe to serve food on.
  • Food safe paint.
  • Painter’s tape or good quality masking tape

I got my food safe paint from ecolour paints.  I highly recommend them. They were lovely to deal with on the phone and very helpful despite the fact I was only ordering sample-sized quantities of paint. You  only need a small amount for this project and 0.5 litre typically costs AUS$13. Pretty decent I think.

Eco colour paint pots

I’m sorry I can’t give you international suppliers but I’m sure a google search in your area would lead you to what you want.

Blue cheese platter with walnuts, olives, quince paste, brieThe other thing I truly LOVE about this company is they can mix up any colour at all. You just choose the paint swatch you want and let them know the brand and name of the colour.

Aqua stripe cheese platter

What to do:

1. Paint your wood.

You can use steel wool to rough it up for a distressed look once it’s dry. Or use painter’s masking tape to create stripes and perfect straight lines. And use your paper punch to make templates. Endless possibilities.

Painted wooden platter in progress masking tape

I am making some of these for Christmas gifts this year. I think a board along with a beautiful cheese knife or even a round of cheese and some quince paste makes a beautiful Christmas present.

Red edged cheese platter closer

I collected my boards from various spots including IKEA and the local supermarket. The olives, however, are our backyard 2013 crop. Salty little bastards but I love ’em. Quince paste is mine too. Satisfying to have two homemade comestibles on the one platter.

Homemade olives

And don’t feel limited to cheese. I had a party last night and served a pile of homemade brownies on some of these boards. If you can put it on a platter, you can put it on one of these.

Red-edged painted wooden cheese board

Acqua stripe cheese board close up

PS: I’ve updated the look of my blog. I struggled to let go of my twirling chick on horseback but I’m much happier with the cleaner feel of this new design. Also, for a long time I’ve wanted a theme that  showcases my photographs better. They’re now bigger (in the horizontal view) and, I hope, better for that fact. Whaddya think?

Decorating clothes with free motion sewing: a tutorial

Daisy top for Daisy

It’s been babypalooza around here. No, I have not been delivered of any more of my own (“delivered of” – love that phrase,  used most recently by Buck Palace to announce bonny Prince George’s arrival), but friends and family are popping them out all over the place.

Most recently, my darling brother-in-law and his bewdiful wife had a baby girl.

To celebrate I made her this little top using the free sewing technique I’ve talked about before when I made these napkins, and these personalised paper gift bags.

Now as you can see, this is not a neat and perfect art. By its very definition free motion sewing gives a sketchy, scribbly look which I adore but won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

Close-up free-motion Daisy

But if it is, then that is awesome on a stick and here’s a little how-to.

What you need:

  • Garment to sew onto (duh!)
  • Free motion sewing foot
  • Eraser pen for fabric
  • Your design.

What to do:

1. Print your design onto paper and trim it down so you can slip it under your garment.

2. Trace the design using your eraser pen. If the fabric is too thick to see the pattern underneath, you may wish to use another method for transferring your design like a transfer pencil and hot iron. However be aware that not all transfer pencils wash out so make sure you use one that does.

Flower pattern

3. Fit your free motion sewing foot to your sewing machine. I have a standard Brother foot that I modified using this really excellent tutorial. You don’t have to modify your foot – just makes life a bit easier. I’m all for easier.

Modifiedf free motion sewing foot

4. Sew over your design.  Free motion sewing can take a little bit of getting used too so you might want to practise on some scraps first. Here are some good tips and here’s a video of a guy doing a free motion sewing portrait. It’s amazing but his fingers seem to go so very close to the needle it makes me shudder. No blood on the fabric – that’s my rule.

T-shirt for Daisy

You’ll notice how the fabric has puckered – especially around the flowers. That’s what happens with stretchy material and, again, I like it because it gives texture. However, if you want a flatter result, simply iron some tear-out or wash-out stabiliser behind your design before you begin.

So can you guess my niece’s name?  And no, smart arse, it’s not Roughly-Sketched Indeterminate Flower.

And I’m worried you might think they called her Carnation.

Free motion Daisy with stem

It’s a daisy, people. And so is she.

PS: Alex and Jo own and run the fabulous  and beautiful St Isidore on the NSW South Coast. The restaurant is in both the 2013 Gourmet Traveller’s Restaurant Guide and the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide. Do go and give it a go if you’re in that part of the world and tell ’em I sent you. It’s a cracker.

Fabric (clip) magnets : a tutorial

Now that you know how to make my fabric clips, don’t feel constrained to use them just in your hair.

They make cute magnets too.

All you need are these things:

It appears I have a thing for making magnets. Oh well, better that than cocaine I suppose.

The photo at top is me as a little tacker with one of our succession of beloved labradors. Owners of dogs will be familiar with the “Flat-eared I’m not enjoying this and I will not deign to look at you” face that Alistair is sporting. Perhaps that’s where the expression “hang dog face” comes from?

And there’s nothing like some animal print to enliven your fridge front and pep up the display of your wedding photos.

Yep, that’s us almost 12 years ago on our wedding day in Bali.  Some of those flower petals went down my cleavage and the lining of that top is still stained pink and red in places. Not that I wear my wedding dress that often any more. Mainly just to pick up the kids from school these days really. Oh, and during the summer solstice of course. Same as everyone really.

In truth, these days one would struggle to fit oneself in that dress. Bloody child birthing. Yep, I’m blaming the whole thing on my kids.

twirling betty’s fabric clips : a tutorial

These little clips kicked off the whole shebang.

Back when I came up with these in 2007, twirling betty didn’t even exist. All that existed was my daughter’s crazy baby hair: a  mohawk at the top  and mullet at the back. I christened it (the hair, not the child) a momullet.

Sick to death of twee clips for little girls in predictable pinks, I decided to have a go at making my own. And these clips were born.

It wasn’t as simple as the following tutorial would have you believe. There were lots of trials and even more errors but I finally hit on the perfect prototype when I discovered tacky craft glue. Ahhh tacky craft glue – let me count the ways I love thee.

So here, my darlings, is a tutorial for the craft that pretty much started it all for me.

Look how little my model was back then. Now, after I burst into song (usually from the musical Annie) in front of her friends she puts questions to her friends along these lines (and this one is an actual quote): “My mum: cool or weird?”. For the record, her friend just shrugged.

And you know what I always say: it wouldn’t be twirling betty without polka dots now would it?

Happy weekend everyone!

EDITED TO ADD: In response to queries (sorry I didn’t include this originally): in the old days I had to search high and low for my supplies – especially the particular kind of clips I like. After a quick search I found them here (for Aussies) and here (for US and European readers).

I really don’t recommend alligator clips ie. the ones with ridges  along the bottom. They just don’t grip hair (especially fine hair) all that well. For great grip, simply line the inside of your clips with a strip of felt or thin craft foam. I use a silicone gel to line mine but, again, a pain to source and buy in small lots.

twirling betty bunting card tutorial on Giver’s Log

These bunting cards are such a simple and satisfying way to use up scraps and give you (I think, anyway) a spettacolare result for very little effort. Si, spettacolarissimmo.

I have posted a step-by-step tutorial with photos on how to make these cards and some other related ideas over on the fabulous Giver’s Log blog.

I’ve been a subscriber to Giver’s Log for about 6 months now and love it. My absolute favourite thing is Happy Mail. This is a series where Amber-Lee, the site’s main author, slaps a stamp or two on an object and rather than packaging it, sends it just as it is. She’s popped postage stamps on rubber balls, thongs, plastic bottles, buckets and spades and  then she just mails them off. It is SUCH a cute idea and can you imagine how very thrilled the recipients are? I would almost wet my pants I think. Then again, I have given birth to two children so that’s not the far-off possibility it once was.

Where was I?

Ah yes, Giver’s Log. You’ll also find sweet printables (including my most favourite Christmas tag EVER) to download, fab DIYand pretty packaging ideas, gift guides, recipes and a general plethora of loveliness. Not to mention a spectacolare tutorial on how to make fabric bunting cards!

You might think they’re paying me to say all this. But they’re not. In fact, it’s kinda the opposite. I am sponsoring the site for the next three months (which means I pay a fee to advertise on the side-bar there). I just wanted to make it really clear that that’s the only financial transaction between us. They posted my tutorial because they’re lovely and I’m talking them up now and sending you over there because I’d like you to see my tutorial but also because I genuinely think they rock.

Gawd, you can’t half tell I once spent my life making sure documents were unambiguous and watertight. One day I might get over my overwhelming need to insert fine print that covers off every possible objection to anything. Anywhere. Ever. It will take years of therapy though, I think.

Anyway, I just felt I should tell you. Sigh.

Go and check out Giver’s Log.  I think if you like some of the ideas you find here, you’ll like lots of what’s there.