DIY Teepee Play Tent

This post was first published in March 2014.

I have done so many posts about the virtues of a tent, and I have even made a tent for my nephews before we had kids. But one morning I woke up and decided that today is the day that my kids will have a tent. And we’ll call it The Library {a quiet place for reading – which by now has also doubled as a hiding place, a nap-space and a space-ship}.

Here is a step-by-step tutorial for my DIY Teepee Play Tent.

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A traditional 5 sided teepee with a bamboo wigwam frame is more difficult to construct {and maintain constructed!} than a 4 sided suspended version, so I opted for the latter.

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I used 2.5m of striped fabric, folded in half, to cut the triangles out of. You will end up with 2 big triangles and 4 smaller ones. I used 35cm strips of a different fabric that will make up the lower part of the tent with a 2cm denim trim between the 2.

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The big triangles will form the sides. 2 of the small triangles are stitched together along the straight edges to form the back. The remaining 2 will remain separated to create the entrance {pulled back in the drawing above to show the back panel}.

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I double-stitched all the seams, both because it makes the seam stronger and also because it creates a nice detail on the outside of the tent.

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Just stitch the seam as you normally would, press the seam flat on the right side of the fabric and then make another stitch about 5-10mm from the edge on the right side of the fabric.

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I sewed a strip of denim along the vertical straight edges of the “door”. It ties in beautifully with the trim between the 2 main fabrics.

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The lower part of the tent is perfect to tuck under some floor cushions or a mattress.

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I threw in a couple of soft pillows just to make it extra comfortable.

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I opted for a pulley-system, secured to a beam through the ceiling board. That way, we can comfortably adjust it for washing or maintenance.

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The other end of the rope is secured to the door frame with a brass hook. It’ just high enough so that little hands cannot reach it!

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I little blackboard announces it’s intended function – in case it was missed! And of course, very few things in my house happens without bunting!

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The kids love it – both their dad and I were invited to the library last night for story-time. It was a bit crowded, but we managed!

Happy playing!

Germarie Signature Featherly

Christmas Tree Cookies

A couple of years ago I did this post about baking Christmas Tree Cookies with my little boy – then 2.5 years old. I remember how he loved getting his hands into the dough -and especially the licking-off bit! Even though we won’t hang cookies on the tree this year, it’s such a fun thing to bake with your kids – this is definitely on the agenda for the holidays! I am confident both my boys will love it.

 

Ouma Ellen’s Cookies

(Adapted from my good old trusty Cook & Enjoy)

8cups flour
1/2 tea spn salt
500g butter
1 1/2 table spn bicarb
1cup jam (I used marmalade – YUM)
2cups sugar
 
(Unless you want to decorate a few trees, it’s better to half the recipe).
 
Preheat the oven to 190° C.
Rub the butter into the flour. Mix the bicarb with a bit of the jam to get it going. Add the sugar to the rest of the jam and the bicarb mix, and add it to the flour mixture.
Knead until a soft dough forms. Roll out to about 6mm and use a cookie cutter of your choice.
Bake for 15mins.
Wait till cool before decorating with glaze (icing sugar and a drop of water), piped icing, silver balls or anything else you can think of. String up and hang up!

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Step 1: Mix the dough as described above.

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Step 2: Cut out the cookies using star shaped-cookie cutters.

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Step 3: Stop for a snack break!

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Step 4: make small holes in the cookies for the ribbons to go through.

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Step 5: Bake en let it cool

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Step 6: Decorate with ribbon, glaze and icing gel pens.

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Step 7: Hang!

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PS: don’t hang then too low, or their points may disappear into the mouths of hungry toddlers! 😉

Happy Baking!

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What to Washi?

So I am totally in love with Washi tape: the patterns and colours appeal to my {aspirational} wild side. But after I found my collection of 3 rolls again at the bottom of my ribbon box, I realized that, besides wrapping presents, I actually have no idea what to Washi! Here’s what other people are doing with their Washi tape.

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Wow, this is so amazing! Monster truck Washi cross-stitch by Crab+Fish.

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Love it! A whole Washi-city, ready to be invaded by toddlers everywhere! By Charlotte’s Fancy.

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These are  2 very cute playroom ideas from Nolo Magazine.

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Gorgeous washi tape bookmarks – this really is the simplest way to make something from nothing. By Tambouille

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Oh my goodness, this is just too cute! By Su Wolf on Hello Pretty.

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These could be especially useful if you have little picky eaters who are not specifically interested in the fruit bowl. By Bento Zen.

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Great way to mark those ever disappearing pencils. By Apple Jane.

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Perfect for little party favours or just to keep notes and things tidy. By Artsyville.

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This is a very sweet little mural by Nina in Vorm via Apartment Therapy.

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This is taking it to a whole new level: the Washi desk. Easier than painting and certainly less permanent too! By Elisa Blaha.

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And this is definitely my favourite: An amazing Washi photo tree via Heart Handmade UK.

Inspired, anyone?

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Keeping it loose

In my recent Living Room Make-over post, I showed you my “new” ottoman after I made a simple loose cover for it. I’ve decided that life is just too short for ugly, worn-out furniture but of course re-upholstering is quite the expensive endeavor. 20140218_094824 (600x450)My deep-buttoned leather ottoman has a lovely shape and a great size – perfect for extra seating – but the leather was starting to look horrible.

IMG_7744 (700x467)This cover took me about 4 hours to make and the results are amazing – it looks like it’s brand spanking new! At first I was going to try my hand at full re-upholstery, but after I unscrewed the legs I realized that I am completely mad: this is a white fabric in the most-used room in the house and I have two little boys who are going to want to climb on it! So I promptly screwed the legs back on and proceeded to figure out how to make a loose cover. IMG_7403To be honest, I haven’t done this before, but I always trust in my practical mind when it comes to things like this. I first carefully measured the top and 4 sides, keeping in mind that it is bulging slightly at the sides so I need to allow an extra 20mm or so on the width and height.

IMG_7405 (467x700)Then I cut the fabric according to the measurements, making sure that the pattern is positioned evenly (with one flower in the middle) of the ottoman.

IMG_7415 (700x467)Placing the fabric back on the piece of furniture I folded the excess fabric over on the line of the existing seam and cut my fabric 20mm away from that line.

IMG_7413 (467x700)I started pinning the sides on (fabric inside out) and then proceeded to sew it together. It’s easier keeping it on the ottoman when pinning to get a good fit!

IMG_7418 (700x467)After pinning, I used a clear acrylic straight edge to draw a pencil line along the pins for sewing.

IMG_7421 (700x467)Once all the seams are sewn, you can still tweak it if it doesn’t fit properly. Only after being absolutely happy with the fit, I cut away any excess fabric along the seams.

IMG_7425 (700x467)I didn’t trim any fabric along the bottom so that I could fold it over underneath. Next, I put on the cover (fabric right side out) and turned the ottoman over for working underneath.

IMG_7430 (700x467)IMG_7431 (700x467)I cut away any excess fabric around the legs and then pinched the corners so that it creates a nice snug fit around the base.

IMG_7435 (700x467) (2)A simple roll-seam along the entire hem works very well, at the same securing the pinched corners – it will be underneath so it doesn’t have to be perfect!

IMG_7668 (700x467)  I used the off-cuts to put together enough fabric so that I could pull the cover tight underneath and fix with Velcro.  Pin it in place, cut Velcro strips and sew them on.

IMG_7437 (700x467)Since I really like the buttoned effect of my ottoman, I wanted to keep it even with a loose cover. I made little fabric covered buttons, making sure that they more-or-less match the print where they will be placed (plain on plain and print on print). I marked their positions with a black marker and then sewed them into place on top of the fabric with industrial thread.

IMG_7439 (700x467) I used pants-hooks to keep them in place, with the hook-part sewn into the ottoman using a curved needle and the bar to the underside of the fabric underneath the button. I have to say that it felt a little bit like performing surgery, curved needle and all! I used pliers to close the hooks tightly so that the buttons won’t pop out accidentally.

IMG_7449 (700x467)Make sure that everything is hooked into place before you secure the cover underneath with the Velcro. before

After I absolutely love it and considering I paid R80 (USD8) for the 2 meters of fabric, it was the most cost-effective face-lift I could’ve dreamed of!

 

Popular Posts: Nursery Essentials

In an ideal world, we all have the small fortune to walk into our favourite designer baby furniture store and buy everything that our nesting hearts desire. But the reality is that very few of us are privileged enough to be able to do that. The baby industry – not unlike the wedding industry – is a very big and powerful machine that can be very daunting when you first encounter it. But if you stay sensible amidst those raging pregnancy hormones, you will come to realize that babies actually need very few (furniture!) things in those first few months.

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1) Cot. This could be new cot, old cot, camping cot, crib, whatever. Gumtree or your local used furniture store might have amazing finds. But make sure that you buy a new, special baby mattress for the cot to prevent SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) – one with holes in it so that baby doesn’t suffocate in case he rolls over onto his face. Good ones at Mr Price Home and Baby City.

Childrens Rooms eclectic kids
image courtesy of houzz

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2) Changing table with changing mat. Note, I don’t say compactum. I don’t believe you need an expensive compactum with built in bath and other fancy bits. In fact, most people don’t even know that you call those fancy contraptions with built-in baths a compactum. Your baby will be bathed in the nursery for a very short period of time and then you won’t use the built-in bath anymore. A simple dresser with lots of storage that can grow with your child works just as well. If the top of the dresser is too small, go your local hardware store and buy a piece of laminated wood (they will edge it for you as well) to put on top – move the dresser away from the wall so that front of the wood is flush with the front of the dresser. Also keep in mind that the plastic-covered changing mats definitely are a better option than the fabric-covered ones: buy a pack of toweling nappies and have them handy to throw over the mat for warmth and comfort. This way it can readily be replaced with a clean, dry one should an accident happen.

Modern Vintage Nursery modern kids
image courtest of nicole lanteri interior design

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3) Chair. Again, you will be spending LOTS of time in this chair, so make sure you’re comfortable with it. A rocker and matching ottoman is a very nice to have, but come at a price. I took my favourite armchair from the sitting room and  it worked beautifully. If your chosen chair doesn’t fit in with the room, make a simple loose cover of throw a pieces of matching fabric over it. In fact, unless it’s a wipe-able fabric, a loose cover is always a good idea so that spills can be cleaned up – it’s amazing how much fluid those little bodies are able to bring forth!

Marina Nursery modern kids
image courtesy of jute interior design

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4) Night light / dimmer switch. You don’t want to have bright lights on every time you have to feed or change a nappy, so have a small night light that gives you enough light to do what you need to but not enough to fully wake baby. If you have dimmer switches installed, perfect. If you don’t, call a local electrician and get a quote, it’s usually not a very expensive endeavor.

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5) Wardrobes. Even though they are very small, babies tend to have A LOT of stuff – nappies, clothes, blankets, meds, wipes, creams, the list is virtually endless. So if your dresser cannot take everything and you don’t have built-ins, you’ll need to invest in wardrobes to house said paraphernalia. Or sort out your own wardrobe to make space. Spring cleaning is always a great idea before baby comes!

The Upward Bound House by Vanessa De Vargas contemporary kids
image courtesy of vanessa de vargas
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And that’s it really. There are many other nice-to-haves: a bed for you and shelving and toy boxes and mobiles and rocking horses – it goes on. But from a practical point of view, the above items are all you really NEED.

Happy shopping, and remember, you can always add more things later when you understand your new little person’s needs a bit better!

 

Cabbage Patch Kid (and other veggies)

In a previous post I mused about the fantastic advantages to having a veggie garden for kids (Little Green Fingers), and so I decided that it is time to take the first step in having one of our own. Having a veggie patch for the kids was definitely a dream come true – certainly more so for me than for the kid involved, but I believe that given time, he will come to love it as much as I do.

I chose a far corner of the garden, mainly to be out of the way of the muts – although I have found our Sharpei cross nibbling on the spinach a couple of times now.

We first prepared the soil with some chicken manure from the neighbour (this helps of course if your neighbour farms fowl), and then lay down some paths with bricks left over from the renovation of our house.

Adding a sprinkler to the existing pipe was simple enough, and then we just started putting in seeds and some potted herbs that I bought from the mall.

The first sprouts have already started showing (excitement!) so now we are just waiting…