Make Your Own Toddler Bird Costume

toddler bird costume 2

 It was Little Button’s nursery’s summer fair recently. Children were asked to come in animal costumes to fit with this theme. This was the perfect opportunity to try out my first dressing-up costume and take inspiration from a pin I pinned ages ago on Pinterest.

You can find the full pattern on this blog. I’ve adapted the way you attach the costume to suit younger toddlers.

For this project you will need:

  • 3/4 metre of fabric for wing base
  • Strips of 10 different fabrics for feather rows
  • 80 cm of bias binding
  • 80cm of ribbon
  • Safety pin
  • Thread to match base fabric

bird costume DIY

Cut two pieces of fabric measuring 13 inches across and down for the base of the wings.  Cut them to a rounded shape, as shown above.

Bird cotume diy

 For the rows of feathers, draw a template on paper. This should be 10 inches wide, with five semicircles, each measuring 2 inches deep, as above.

bird costume diy

I used 10 different fabrics. Bright and sparkly fabric worked really well as they caught the sun. I worked out which order I wanted my coloured fabric to go in and started cutting around my template – this is the time-consuming bit!

Bird costume diy bird costume DIY

To sew the rows of feathers onto the wing base, start at the bottom of your base fabric and pin the first row of feathers to the wing. The bottom row wants to be poking out slightly over the edge of the fabric, to give a scalloped effect. Sew in place. Then pin the next row of feathers above the first so there is again a slight overlap and sew in place. Repeat until the wings are full.

   Bird costume DIY bird costume DIY

 With pinking shears, trim the vertical edges of the wings so they are even.

To attach the wings together, use bias binding. Pin the binding along the top of the wings. You want to leave a gap of a few inches between the wings, to allow for healthy flapping! Sew in place and trim any excess binding from the ends.

bird costume diy #craft bird costume diy #craft

To attach the wings to your toddler, add some ribbon at the end of each wing to form two wrist ties – alternatively you can use safety pins to attach the wings to a long-sleeved top. I also put a safety pin in the middle of the wings at neck level to stop the wings sagging.

toddler bird costume

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~ Laura xx ~

 

A Baby Sunhat Tutorial

baby sunhat tutorial

Oh dear me…I’m ashamed to say that my little one got a bit of a burnt head the other day! It was only a tiny bit… but I feel very guilty. So to make up for it, I decided to make her a nice new sunhat. I find the ones in the shops are all a bit samey and boring. This one is bright, reversible and SO easy to make (so easy in fact that I made two). I found a really lovely tutorial and template here on www.purlbee.com.

This hat is to fit a baby aged 0-3 months.

You will need:
2 contrasting pieces of fabric (about a fat 1/4 of each)
Iron on interfacing
Bias binding
Ribbon
Sewing machine

1) begin by printing out Purlbee’s brilliant template (available here). Cut 4 dome pieces from the outer fabric and 4 from the lining. Then cut the rim pieces – two of each from the outer fabric, lining and interfacing, as shown below.

sun hat 1 sun hat 2

2) Put the outer pieces together in pairs, right sides together. Pin and sew along one side with a 1/4 inch seam allowance (which will be the allowance for the whole project). Open out and press with the iron. Pin the sewn pieces right sides together and sew all the way round the curved edge to create the basic hat shape. NB its a good idea to test this out on your child at this point, bearing in mind that the finished hat will be smaller still. But if it doesn’t fit now… you want to know NOW!

sun hat 5 sun hat 4

3) repeat the above process with the lining pieces, so that you have two domes.

sun hat 7

4) Attach the interfacing by pressing with the iron onto the outer rim pieces. Then pin these, right sides together, along the flat edges and sew. Press flat.

sun hat 8

5) Attach to the hat by pinning the inside of the rim to the edge of the dome, right sides together (bit confusing… see the pic below!). Sew in place. Repeat the process with the lining BUT this time, attach the ribbons along the seam before sewing, as below.

sun hat 9 sun hat 10

6) Now to attach the inner and outer pieces. Place each piece wrong side together and sew a small stitch at the very top centre of the hat to hold in place. Now, lining the seams up, pin the rim pieces together. Sew along the inside of the rim.

sun hat 11  sun hat 12

7) Finally, attach the bias binding by pinning all the way along the rim as  below. Sew, fold over and sew once more. If you haven’t used binding before there are some great Youtube tutorials that can explain the process way more clearly than my brain is capable!

sun hat 13 sun hat 14

sun hat 15 sun hat 17

All finished! Whoop di doo, no more burning. And it looks more complicated to make than it actually IS, which is always a bonus.

sunhat tutorial b sunhat tutorial asunhat a
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Ginger Button Cookies

Two of our favourite things are baking and buttons (particularly our little buttons) so when we were sent these delightful cookie stamps from Emma Jane’s Bakery we were thrilled. Emma Jane’s Bakery is an online store specialising in cookie stamps and design-led cakes. All products are designed and hand finished by Emma Jane herself.

button biscuits 5 button biscuits 6

Along with the stamps, Emma Jane sent along two recipes and care instructions for the stamps. We love the  styling of her range, the attention to detail and the wooden finish of her products. There are eight designs to choose from and personalised stamps are available too.

We decided to test out the stamps using Emma Jane’s deliciously spiced ginger biscuits.

To make approximately 50 biscuits you will need:

  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g butter
  • 2tsp ground ginger
  • 2tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 3 medium egg yolks
  • 3tbs golden syrup

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C, line and lightly oil three baking trays.

2. Rub the butter into flour, cinnamon and ginger to create a breadcrumb-like texture.

 button biscuits 2

3. Stir in the caster sugar, add the egg yolks and golden syrup and mix into a firm dough.

4. Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll the dough to a thickness of approximately 4-5mm.

5. To help prevent sticking, dust the stamp with flour and tap the excess off. Stamp the dough, then cut out the biscuits and arrange them evenly spaced on the baking trays (they won’t spread much so they can be near to one another).

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6. Transfer the baking trays to the fridge to chill for 15-20 minutes.

7. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

button biscuits 11 button biscuits 9

Alongside her online shop, Emma Jane writes an inspirational baking blog called Cakes and Catwalks and we’re very happy that she will be doing a guest post for us very soon.

For more information and to see the full range of products Emma Jane’s stocks you can:

Visit her website
Like her on Facebook
Or follow her on Twitter

~ Laura & Tia xx ~

30 Any Weather Activities for Toddlers

30 toddler activities

Whether the sun has got his hat on or the rain is pouring down, entertaining a toddler can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. Not everyone (us!) has the imagination to come up with engaging activities all the time, so, with a bit of googling, we set about creating a little list of things we could do with our tots.

activities 6We came up with the idea of putting all the activities into a jar, blue paper for rainy day activities and yellow for the sunny ones! When you’re feeling stuck for ideas, simply reach for the jar and ask your child to pull out a colour depending on the weather. Our activities are listed below – we picked ones suited to our 1 and 2 year old children.

 activities 3  activities 2

Sunny Day Activities:

1. Rainbow bubble foam
Simply put 2 tbsp washing up liquid, 1/4 cup water and some drops of food colouring into a mixer (or you could whisk them) and collect the colourful bubbles as they’re created! Pile into a box or bucket and play away (NB remember food colouring stains clothes so this is a good nappy/nuddy activity!)

2. Balloons with water
Who doesn’t love a water balloon? Fill with water, tie up and roll or bounce around the garden until they pop.

3. Toy treasure hunt
Hide toys around the garden – we found trains worked really well – and ask your toddler if they can find them.

4. Moon sand
Create this wonderfully textural “sand” by mixing 4 cups of flour with 1/2 cup of (any) oil. We added glitter for extra sparkles.

5. Nature picture
Go on a hunt round the garden or park and pick up leaves, sticks and flowers. You can then use them to create a beautiful picture when you get home.

6. Coloured ice cubes
mix food colouring with water and freeze. Let your toddler make a painting with the ice or just enjoy the sensation of melting them and mixing them up. Again, remember that food colouring stains clothes!

7. Bug hunt
Get outside and find lots of creepy crawlies to play with. Kids are fascinated by bugs, you’ll just find you say “ooh, don’t squash him!” a lot…

8.Mud pie kitchen
Not one for those who don’t like mess, but a great way for children to explore their love of muck in a more controlled way. Ish. Strip them down to their nappies and give them some compost, containers and water.

9. Teddy bears picnic
If you go down to the woods today…

10. Washing line play
Set up a mini washing line and give your little one some pegs, socks, pants and anything else little enough for them to hang up on the line. Cute.

11. Water tray
Use a large plastic container (preferably without too high a side) and fill it with warm water. Kids will love playing with buckets, cups, balls and so on. Ours spent a lot of time simply emptying the water!

12. Paint with water
Simple yet effective! Give your child a bucket of water, a paint brush and let them paint the pavement. They can paint round their hands and feet too.

13. Frozen toys
This takes a little advance preparation, but is a great sensory experience for kids. Freeze small toys in ice cube trays and let your child pour warm water onto them to defrost. This one isn’t suitable for small tots, due to the choking risk.

Rainy Day Activities:

14. Fruit and Veg stamps
Use up nearly old potatoes by carving shapes into them. Then let your toddler loose with the stamp and paint and use it to create interesting patterns. Other fruit and veggies work well for stamping, such as cauliflower, apple and aubergine.

apple printing

15. Zip lock bag painting
This mess-free activity is a great way to explore paint without the clearing up. Squeeze paint into a zip lock bag and tape this to a window. Let your child move the paint around and create patterns against the glass. You could even try putting a few colours in one bag and see what happens.

activities 7

16. Cardboard tube and pom poms
Make a maze of connecting tubes on your wall by attaching cardboard tubes with Washi tape (it doesn’t mark the wall). Toddlers will love feeding pom poms into the top and catching them at the bottom.

17. Baby doll bath times
Give dolly a rub a dub in an old baby bath or big plastic container. This is a great activity, particularly if your child is a bit bath averse! You can snip a small sponge from a new kitchen scrubber and add bubble bath too.

18. Painting with shaving foam
Spray some shaving foam on a tray and use different instruments (or fingers) to draw shapes into it. Once you’ve finished your pictures you can start again by wiping the shaving foam off.

little button diaries painting

19. Masking tape painting
Before you give your little one the paintbrush, use masking tape to mark off lines, write words or create shapes on your paper. Then once all the painting is done and dry, peel off the masking tape for a cool effect.

20. Make your own crayons
A great way to use up all those broken crayons that might end up in the bin. Place your broken crayons into a silicon baking mould and cook for 10 minutes on 225c (or until they have melted). Once cooked, remove from mould and leave to cool.

21. Play doh
Its a staple, but it still keeps kids occupied for ages, which makes it a winner! Its so easy to make from scratch – check out this great recipe from the imagination tree.

play-dough 2

 

 

 

 

 

 


22. Cornstarch, water and colouring
When you add small amounts of water to cornflour, wonderful things happen. It goes all sort of…wet and dry at the same time. Add a blob of food colouring and you’ve got yourself a great sensory activity.

23. Build a den
Who doesn’t love a good den-making session. Pull out as many sheets and blankets as possible and get constructing. It’s a great place for reading, storytelling and cuddling.

24. Make biscuits
Get your toddler to be your little helper in the kitchen while you make some yummy treats (to eat in your den). They can get involved with mixing and adding ingredients in.

little button diaries baking activity

25. Colour hunt round the house
Pick a colour, give your child a basket and ask them to find as many small objects as he or she can in that colour. A really great way to get them to learn colours.

26. Play cooking or shops
Pretend play is brilliant for toddlers, they just want to be little adults! Get the pretend food out or even just cereal boxes and let their (and your) imagination take over.

27. Make toilet roll monsters
Use an empty toilet/kitchen roll and your imagination to create monsters to play with. You’ll need a few craft supplies such as pipe cleaners, glitter, glue, feathers and tissue paper for your child to stick on, or simply use colouring pens if you don’t have these things to hand. If your child is old enough you can get creative cutting bits out to stick on.

28. Make a crown
Measure your child’s head. Draw a crown template onto card to the same size. Lay the template flat out and let your child decorate it. You could use glitter, colouring pens, pom poms, stickers, felt or coloured card. Once they’ve finished, sellotape the crown together and let the pretend play commence.

29. Pasta Jewellery
To turn your pasta into rainbow colours you need food colouring, a resealable food bag, and hand sanitiser (with alcohol in). Put the pasta, hand sanitiser (3 squirts) and food colouring (enough to cover the pasta) into the bag and gently massage the colour into the pasta. Leave the pasta in the bag for half an hour then remove and place on a baking tray to dry. You can then use the pasta to thread onto string and make colourful jewellery.

30. Make your own band
Get the saucepans, wooden spoons, tins and anything Little Button can safety bang on, or with, and let the music begin. You can also put rice or pasta into an empty plastic bottle to create a shaker.

~~~

What are your favourite sunny and rainy-day activities to do with your toddlers? Please share in the comments… we need all the inspiration we can get!

Laura & Tia x

Our Latest Post for Hobbycraft: A floral centrepiece

fabric flower centerpiece

Our latest post for Hobbycraft is now live. We decided to use some different products from their store which we hadn’t tried before. We used this floral number centrepiece we made at our little blog birthday party. It was simple to make and looks great as the table decoration. For the full tutorial click here.

one year 4one year 1

For our previous Hobbycraft projects click on the pictures below:

bunny 4 tassel necklace 13 seahorse 27

~ Laura & Tia xx ~

How to Make Your Own Bagels

bagels recipe

We love having Simon from Spade, Fork, Spoon contribute to our blog. He always comes up with drool-worthy recipes and this month he’s done it again. After completing a course with the Lewes Bread Club recently, Simon certainly knows his dough. Here he is with how to make your own bagels.

bagel recipe

One of my favourite lunches is a pastrami bagel. I love the peppery pastrami and acidic dill pickle within the dense white bread. I’m planning to try to make some cucumber pickle using the mini cucumbers planted a month or so ago, and I’m not quite ready to make my own pastrami, but I enjoy making bagels. These breads with Jewish heritage are slightly more complicated than a basic bread, being poached before baking, but they’re in no way difficult. In fact, when I first tried them I was surprised at how easy they were. The poaching process adds a certain element of alchemy to the process, and gives them the classic dense texture of a bagel. It also helps give the bread the gloss which is synonymous with these ring-shaped breads.

To make 9 bagels you will need:

  • 500g strong white flour
  • 10g salt
  • 20g sugar
  • 3g dried yeast
  • 25g softened butter
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 240ml warm water

For the brining solution:

  • 2l water
  • 50g salt
  • 50g sugar

bagel recipe

Mix the dry ingredients, and then add the butter, mixing into the flour with your fingertips to make a breadcrumb-like texture. Combine the beaten egg and the warm water, before adding to the dry mix to form a dough. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, allow to rest for a few minutes, then knead for a further 5 minutes.

Allow the dough to ferment for an hour, until the dough has doubled in size. Divide equally into 9 pieces (approximately 90g per piece) and shape into rounds. Take a dough ball, and press it gently against the work surface moving your hand and the ball in a circular motion pulling the dough into itself while reducing the pressure on top of the dough slightly until a perfect dough ball forms. Repeat with the rest of the dough rounds.

Roll a ball into a long sausage shape, then wrap the sausage around your hand to form a ring around your fingers, rolling the ring with the palm of your hands to seal in place. Place the bagel shape on a baking parchment lined tray and repeat the procedure for each remaining dough ball. Allow the shaped pieces to prove for a further 10 mins.

bagel recipe

Meanwhile, heat the 2 litres of water and dissolve the sugar and salt to form a brining solution. Poach the bagels for a couple of minutes on either side. They will puff up a bit as you do this, so poach in batches to give them enough space to cook evenly. Once ready, take them out of the poaching liquid and drain.

At this point you can roll them in a beaten egg to give a shine and also add a coating of sesame or, my personal favourite, poppy seeds. Just roll your bagel in the chosen seeds after you’ve rolled them in the egg. Place your coated bagels on a lined baking tray and place in an oven (220°C) for 15 minutes, until nicely browned on top and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool before eating. 

We tend to have them with cream cheese and tomatoes, or pastrami, gherkins and mustard mayonnaise. 

bagel recipe

How do you like your bagels? Are you a sesame, poppy seed or plain bagel kind of person?

For more recipes you can visit Simon’s blog, Spade Fork Spoon and follow him on twitter.

If you like Simon’s recipe you might also like our version of cheese and chives soft pretzels. Click on the picture below for the recipe.

salted pretzel recipe

An Easy Lined Zip Purse Tutorial.

zip purse tutorial

I’ve always been a bit of a guess worker when it comes to sewing. I don’t really follow patterns, I cut corners and I skip things like lining and finishing seams. But recently I’ve been wanting to do things ‘properly’ so I’ve been trying to teach myself the correct way to make things! I started with a little make-up purse, I love it! If you want to make one too…

(To make a bag measuring 8×5”)
…You will need:

2 pieces of fabric measuring 8.5”x 5.5” (plus extra strips for the zip ends)
2 pieces of lining fabric the same length
8” zip
sewing machine with zipper foot

Make the zip end covers: Cut 2 scraps of fabric measuring 3”x1.5”. Press them each in half and then fold the ends back 1/4” and press again. Place the fabric over the ends of the zip and pin in place.
Sew along the pin with 2 lines of neat stitching.

purse 3  purse 4

Pin the first side of the purse: To assemble the purse, place your outer fabric in front of you face up. Then place the zip along the top edge of the fabric, face down (the top of the zip and the top of the fabric should line up). Finally, place the lining fabric on top face down. Pin in place.

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Sew the first side of the purse: Open the zip half way. Put the zipper foot onto your sewing machine and, feeling the edge of the zip with your finger, sew along the length of the zip making sure the zipper foot presses alongside it. When you get halfway, lift the foot and gently move it back to a part that has already been sewn and continue.

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Sew the second side of the purse: To make the other side of the purse, follow the same pattern. Take the other piece of outer fabric, place it face up. Take the fabric with the sewn on zip and place it on top with the zip face down (lining the zip edge with the fabric edge just as before). Finally place the lining fabric on top face down. Pin and sew along the zip as before.

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Top Stitch along the zip: Turn the fabric the right way round and top stitch along the length of the zip, holding the fabric taut as you do so.

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Sew the purse edges: Open your zip halfway. This is important! It creates the hole to be able to turn the purse the right way round… So if you forget you’ll be unpicking. I hate unpicking. Pin the outer fabric together, right sides facing. Do the same with the lining fabric, with the zip ends pointing downwards into the lining (see the photo below on the right). Sew with a 1/2” seam allowance around the purse, leaving a 2” gap at the bottom to turn out.

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Snip the excess: Carefully snip the excess fabric from the zip ends so that the fabric does not bulge at the edges. Do the same around the corners of the purse.

Turn out twice: Now for the really satisfying but also slightly confusing bit. Turn the bag out through the gap in the lining, so you have an inside out purse. Use a pencil to poke the corners out. Then turn again, through the open zip so that your bag is the right way round. Hoorah! How quickly it goes from messy mass of fabric and thread to a proper purse.

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Close up the lining: Pull out the lining, and sew the hole shut. You could do this by hand if you want it to be neat (I couldn’t be bothered… Machine is way quicker!).

And your lovely purse is finished!

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purse 21

Tia xx