Home of The Small Art Company and a bit of British all sorts about my family, kids, home, art, mixed media, craft, photography, illustration, travel, cooking, organisation, teaching... Good to see you:)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Kids' Travel Activity Pack

I meant to make these last year for our trip to the Lake District, but, well, life got in the way I guess. This summer holiday, I really wanted to make sure I did them for our trip to Cornwall. Almost exactly the same amount of time in the car, but in a different direction...

These travel packs had to be made as cheaply as possible, so I found two cushion covers that I'd never used. They were a set of four from IKEA that we bought years ago. We use the other two, but the colours of these didn't really go with our living room. Perfect!

I folded them in half, so the zip is along the top:

Then I sewed up the sides and the middle, making sure I didn't go too high so the zip will still open. This has made four pockets - 2 with a zip and 2 open.

I cut a bit of material from old T-shirts and sewed some velcro on, which was then stitched to the back in the middle like so:

And the other bit was sewn on the front, along with my kids' initials (I made sure I only sewed through the top layer of the cushion):

The bit I had most trouble with were the inside pockets. I wanted clear page-like pockets. I was thinking clear pencil cases, but they were too thick. I'd thought of ringbinder pencil cases, but they were way too expensive, so I did some research and found people had made similar things using food bags. Off I went to Tesco! These were only £1 something for a pack of 25 I think.

I used six altogether, three on each side. I alternated each side, left, then right, pinned them and then sewed them in place:

And there you have it! I've filled it with various bits and pieces. In the zipped compartments are eye-spy bags (from Etsy), wipe-clean travel cards I bought in a book shop and Michelin eye-spy books.

In the open section are colouring books (now for sale!) and dot-to-dots.

Then in the plastic wallets are:
  • Pipecleaners
  • Plasticine
  • Handmade fuzzy felt
  • Handmade magnetic photo boards
  • Handmade laminated games like eye-spy, bingo, maps, boxes etc.
  • Crayons and whiteboard pens

I'll let you know how successful they are!

Edit - since I wrote this, we've now been and come back from our trip! As something to keep the kids occupied, they were brilliant! Not sure the style was so good for in the car though, as things kept falling out onto the floor. They'd be better for an aeroplane or restaurant I think. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

1000 Homes of Happiness Project

A little while ago I stumbled across a blog called 1000 Homes of Happiness. It's an idea thought up by a lady called Kellie in Australia. She and her children are making 1000 little origami homes, each with a special word written on.

Each home is then released somewhere in the world for a lucky someone to find.

I love projects like this, so knew I had to ask Kellie for a home to release. I chose the word 'Aspiration' and had the perfect idea of the place to release it...

Here's the cute little house:

 I had to photograph it in the car due to the extremely high winds!

And I decided to release it here:

We have just got back from a camping trip to Cornwall and I thought Land's End would be a great place to release the house. It was left on this rock in the End to End exhibition. You can see the other rock for John O'Groats here:

I couldn't get a close-up of the house on the actual rock as I didn't want anyone to see me put it there and had to hurry!

Outside of the building:

This is the famous signpost:

And this is another view:

So why 'aspiration' and why Land's End? Well, aspiration is something that is important to my family and I. I believe dreams are vital to happiness and that everyone should aspire to be someone or do something with their lives. I don't mean huge things, or lifesaving things or becoming famous. Just things that make you happy or something to improve others' lives in some small way. It's just important to have that goal or ambition.

When I travel I always feel inspired. It's on my travels that I've always come up with my next life plan or idea. I decided to become a teacher in Sri Lanka and again in Iceland! I've thought up many ideas in many different places! Amazing scenery always inspires me. There's something about the beginning/end of the country that is pretty special. Looking out over windy headlands to the ocean can't fail to guide you towards your aspirations...

Let me know if you find the little house, won't you?!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Handmade Washi Tape

I heard about washi tape a while ago and wondered what I could do with it. It's so pretty, I just had to find a use for it! I love pretty papers and anything Japanese, so what's not to like about washi tape??

Washi tape, by the way, is basically a Japanese decorative masking tape.

Anyway, I'm about to launch my new range of personalised photos and colouring books and thought that washi tape would make the perfect finish to the books. So yesterday I finally got around to making some and here is the result:

Cute eh?!

To make your own, simply stick some double-sided tape onto your paper and trim along the edge. Wind it up and hold it in place with a miniature peg or similar. That's it - ready to use!

I found that slightly heavier paper worked better than tissue paper (found tissue paper wrinkled a bit), but you can use anything you like, even fabric. And for a wider tape, I just stuck two strips of tape side by side.

Although it's not masking tape and doesn't have that transparency, it still works for what I want to use it for.

I'll hopefully show you the finished colouring books very soon... They will make ideal Christmas gifts (sorry, I know summer hols have only just started!) and are also perfect for long journeys. I was hoping to get them on sale before the holidays started, but never mind!