Hand carved baby spoon

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I love to trawl crafting and craft related blogs, and was going through the archives of Apartment Therapy last week and came across this post about hand carved wooden baby spoons and so totally fell in love with the idea that I started trying to find out where I can get some non-pine wood from.

Baby spoon

My finished hand carved wooden baby spoon

Lucky for me, this weekend just gone, I found a post on freecycle.org advertising Jacaranda firewood for asap pickup, so I went and picked it up, and purchased a sharpening stone from Mitre 10 (hardware store) on the way home and started in.

Sharpening stone and pocket knife

Sharpening my pocket knife

Once home I got started with a newly sharpened pocket knife, and a large branch, after a bit of carving I decided that the branch was too large and that I should make a soup ladle out of that branch and use a much smaller branch to make a baby spoon. I also learned at this point that my multi-tool pocket knife was far too awkward and uncomfortable to do much carving with, so traded it for my small kitchen knife, which got a good sharpening as well.

Spoon end shaved off

Spoon end shaved off

Chiselled out spoon bowl

Chiselled out spoon bowl

I started with a much smaller branch, shaved off the spoon end and then scraped all of the top layer of bark off.

From there I shaped the spoon end and then area between the spoon and the handle, and then carefully cut a criss-cross pattern into the spoon bowl and chiselled it out with my knife. I then went around the whole spoon head and refined the shape so that it was more pleasing to the eye.
I decided to leave the handle of the spoon as the original size of the branch as it makes it easier for Emmaly to get her hand around it. Little spoon handles always look so difficult for her to use.

Spoon neck shaping

Spoon neck shaping

Side profile of the spoon

Side profile of the spoon

Once that was completed, I shaved off the extra end of wood until the spoon and handle came away and then sanded the spoon. So far I’ve used 100 and 120, and need to go to the hardware store this week and pick up some finer gradings of sandpaper and some flaxseed oil to oil the spoon with. Some carvers wet sand as well, but I thought I would let Emmaly use the spoon as a test as to how much wet sanding is really required and what maintenance is needed to keep it looking nice and so that it is usable.

I’ve already finished my second wooden spoon but I shaved the handle back to half sized so that it was better for the intended recipient who is much smaller than Emmaly, and that too is waiting for finer sandpaper to finish it, and so I started on making some humungous knitting needles! Yay for me and wood-carving-ness. – Kayleigh

Roughly sanded

Roughly sanded

Shaped bowl

Shaped bowl

Carving spoon from branch

Carving from branch

Baby spoon

Finish hand carved wooden baby spoon

Whistle Case

I am getting into learning to play the Irish Whistle. I have a whistle in the key of D and the plastic box it came in was not going to be the best for transporting it around, especially once I started collecting the other five or so whistles I will end up with.

I have a brush case like this for my paintbrushes and thought it would work just as well for whistles. I dug through my collection of fabric and found some upholstery fabric I had intended to make a corset out of and some lining. I jumped onto the sewing machine and made this:

whistlecase1

The open case. There are 6 slots for whistles and one larger area for paper.

Rolling the case up towards the ribbons.

Rolling the case up towards the ribbons.

 

The finished case. The ribbons may need trimming.

The finished case. The ribbons may need trimming.

Sleeping like a baby…

Or should that be, like a child?

Emmaly using the bunk bed

Emmaly using the bunk bed

A few months ago, I moved from the main house on the property I live in, into a small caravan/unit (think 1.5 bedroom apartment). At that time, I used the whole place, but then my housemates friend was desperate for somewhere to stay, and the housemates were contemplating offering him a room that was barely big enough for a single bed, desk and a dresser, let alone a grown man who has a queen sized bed, a large computer desk and set up etc. So I offered him the use of the large bedroom in my unit and moved into the living room to live studio apartment-like (he shares laundry and kitchen facilities with the main house).

Bunk and desk frame up

Bunk and desk framed up

My living room is 4.8m x 4.8m with a 1.2 x .7m cupboard for the laundry and also a 2.1 x 1.6m kitchen, which still leaves a lot of room for living/sleeping area. I have a king single bed, 2 x two seater and a single seat sofa, a sewing/computer desk as well as a need for clothing space for myself and my daughter.

Emmaly using the stairs

Emmaly using the stairs

After rearranging the room several times, I came to the conclusion that while it was “okay” I needed a better solution, and so I started looking at bunk beds with desks underneath, therefore utilizing more space and freeing up living space.

Bunk frame

Bunk frame

I spent a few days drafting my plans, and then went down the road and came back with several arm loads of timber.
(I happen to be quite lucky that my landlord has collected a lot of free wood in the size of 2 x 7cm wood in varying lengths.)

Miriam cutting a wave

Miriam cutting a wave

I built the end pieces, and then filled it in, lay the slats for the bunk and made a landing, some stairs and a small ladder for Emmaly to use, as although the landing is a perfect height for me to stand on and then climb onto the bed, it is well over her height to get to the bed from the landing.

Once it was completed, I roped Miriam into helping with the painting, and she decided that my bad attempt at cutting the railings to match the angled ceiling needed to be turned into a wave instead.

We then slapped a coat of paint on it, and I’ve declared it mostly done! At least for the moment.
Over the next few days I plan on making the desk, shelves, and cupboard doors. I almost had one of the cupboard doors done today – I even triple measured and they were cut exactly the same length, same angle, I even had the holes drilled for the dowelling… until I realised that the saw must have been pushed the tiniest bit further than 45 degrees, and the pieces, when matched, didn’t create a 90 degree angle. Ho hum. Check back in a few weeks and I will do a completed blog post 🙂

The (almost) finished bunk

The (almost) finished bunk

Painted landing and ladder

Painted landing and ladder

EDIT: Please note that in New Zealand, it is illegal to have open railings as babies/toddlers and children can get their clothing caught on it and accidentally hang themselves. I am now looking at options to put a small cap along the top of the wavy railing so that it is safer for Emmaly 🙂

Origami Star Bracelet

I have been really distracted by so much digital painting recently, that I’ve been neglecting my other crafty stuff. I do have some flowers that are being pressed right now, and I intended to do something with them this week, but then I remembered that the thing I really wanted to do with them required actual preparation (shredding paper, soaking it overnight etc), and it was already Friday… (Yes, I know, this post is being done on Sunday…)

Things you need!

Things you need!

So I raided my craft drawers to find something I could do in an afternoon!

Lo and behold, I found a whole lot of strips of paper and some pre-made stars (amongst many other things which will be projects for the future). I couldn’t be bothered looking up how to make the stars again so I just went from memory. Luckily it worked! But for those who don’t know how to make the stars, here are the instructions.

List of ‘ingredients’ for making a fun star necklace, bracelet, earrings… whatever!

  • Strips of paper (you can either cut these yourself, or you can find big packs of these at most local $2 Shops)
  • Elastic string (I use elastic beading string, which can be bought from The Warehouse and often also $2 Shops)
  • Needle
  • Patience (this is supposedly free, but I never seem to be able to find any…)
Stab those stars!

Stab those stars!

It’s really very easy. Fold stars until you’re seeing stars. String the elastic thread through the needle, then use the needle to ruthlessly stab the stars… Once you have enough stars to fit around your wrist / neck, tie off elastic string. This makes a fun, bright accessory for any kid (or adult who is a kid at heart!).

The finished bracelet.

The finished bracelet.

– Miriam

Spinning yarn

Flyer and bobbin

The flyer and bobbin on my spinning wheel

I love to dabble in most crafts and felt an urge to do some knitting, which I normally “earn” by spinning yarn first. This way I don’t end up mid-project and find that I am short by 100 metres or so of yarn, which produces an endless amount of frustration, often to the point of abandoning the project until my annoyance has simmered to a reasonable level.

The project that I’m working on at the moment is socks for my daughter Emmaly to wear once the winter season has hit and her mean and dastardly mother has dragged her to the ski slopes to shiver her feet off, and a receiving blanket for each of my *soon-to-be* nephews.

Wool for spinning

Tally Ho Fibre

The socks are going to be knitted out of a random mixture of merino/possum and merino/silk which I happen to have on hand in 1.5kgs of fibre and 500 gms of fibre respectively that I am trying to spin fine but still durable, and the yarn for the receiving blankets is being done completely out of the merino/silk. The feeling of the merino and silk as it runs through my fingers is almost sumptuous, and sometimes a little too soft as it can catch on little bits of dried skin or any damp patches on my fingers (like when you take a sip of cold water and moisture has beaded on your fingers).

I purchased my fibre both in store and online/email from a company called Tally Ho, and it is an amazingly affordable compared to prices that you normally find in wool stores.  I first came across this company at the Creative Fibre Festivai in Timaru several years ago and loved their affordable prices and lovely range of  fibres.

Once I’ve spun my yarn, I wind it using my wool winder into cute little cakes. — Please note, that if you are learning to spin yarn/wool, the correct procedure is spin, wind into a skein, wash, lay flat or hang to dry, and THEN wind into a cute little cake.

Well, I’d better go and deal with my toddler who is screaming baby obscenities at me – Kayleigh.

Cakes of yarn

Little cakes of yarn all wound up

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