Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Operation Christmas Child.. oh dear

We have been filling shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child for a number of years.

I have always been aware that it was a christian organisation, but thought that since you aren't allowed to include religious material in the shoe boxes that the religious ideals of the organisation were not actively involved in the giving of the boxes.. only to stumble across this website last night

This website expresses concern about:

* the evangelical activities of "Operation Christmas Child" as run by "Samaritan's Purse"

After reading the pdf of the book that they hand out to kids when they give them the boxes I am a little alarmed that I have most likely been inadvertently evangelising for the last few years!

The booklet is not a "simple booklet of Bible stories" but is designed specifically for converting young children into Christians and comes complete with a "sinner's prayer" of conversion and a pledge card

We fill a shoe box because we want to give some nice things to a disadvantaged child, not because we want them to find Jesus!

Since the site I found was a UK one I thought maybe the Australian branch of OCC might do things a bit differently, but after looking through the photos on their site, I can clearly see the cover of that book in a number of them.

I have also found a Canadian site that expresses the same concerns.
I don't oppose christianity. I think people should be allowed to believe what they want to believe. But I don't think it necessary for everyone to believe the same thing. And I do not like when people take their beliefs and go out and actively try to convert poorly educated people to their religion. And I certainly don't want them using MY gifts as a means to do it.

We've filled almost 10 boxes over the years.. the thought that those boxes might have been used to trick children into fundamentalist beliefs makes me feel a little dirty.

I think I will find a different charity to support next year.

And I was so proud of this years box too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Box is Stuffed

The Christmas Child box is now all packed and ready to go and I must say I had a lot of fun making things to go in it this year.

I think I did pretty well covering all the "somethings"
  • Something to Love - The doll (plus her clothes).
  • Something for School - The pencil case full of lead pencils, a sharpener and erasers plus a note pad to write in.
  • Something to Wear - The dress.
  • Something to Play With - A wind up torch, a yoyo, a box of chalk (plus the doll!).
  • Something for Personal Hygiene - A face washer, a toothbrush and a comb.
  • Something Special - The drawing bag with a drawing pad and wind ups, and hair clips.

I used my many years of intensive Tetris training to get everything stuffed into the box.

And then I had to find some rubber bands to hold the lid closed, because it wasn't going to stay shut on its own.

Now I just need to make my donation and drop it off.  The best part is that this year if you donate online you get a tracking code so we'll know which country it goes to!  I think the kids are really going to get a kick out of that part :)

Hair Clips

Here are the clips I made to go in the christmas child box.  I don't love the felt one, but it'll do.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Rag Doll + Clothes

I have made a little rag doll and some clothes to go into my Christmas child box.

I found patterns for a basic doll and some clothes to print out here.  The dolls body, the little green dress, the white shirt and the white shorts are all from her patterns.  Everything else I made up as I went along.  I'm especially proud of the little undies.
 If I were to make it again I think I'd make the head a bit bigger, she's a bit of a pin head.  Also I don't love the felt mouth I gave her.  She looks a bit like a gingerbread man.

I have also made this dress to go into the box.  Using the Little Dresses for Africa pattern.

I just love the fabric.  It's one that my Mum found in her sewing boxes and gave to me a while ago.  She spent $2.87 on it at Coles.. probably about 25 years ago :P

Luckily I still have over a metre left.  Expect to see one of my children wearing something made from this fabric at some point :P

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Matching Zippered Pencil Case

I just finished the matching pencil case!

I started with this pencil pouch tutorial by Noodlehead, but I didn't bother using two fabrics for the outer, and I added a strap with a clip on it so that it can either be hung on the strap of the bag, or around someones wrist.
I made the strap with my 1/2" bias tape maker.  Luckily I had a D ring and a clip in my bits and bobs box too.
 Here it is all finished!  Plastic googly eyes and all.
 And here is a bit of a peep at the lining.

Now what shall I make?

Another Drawing Bag!

Each year the girls and I fill a shoe box for Operation Christmas Child.  This year I thought I'd make a drawing bag to put in our box.

So last night I made a cat face.  I couldn't find the pattern I made for the other drawing bags so I had to make it up as I went along again.  I sewed the facial features on with my machine this time instead of hand stitching them.
Here it is pinned to the bag front.   We always fill a box for a girl because my kids are all girls, hence the pink. 
I decided to make this bag a bit smaller than the other two since it needs to be stuffed into a shoe box with a bunch of other things and I can't fit an A4 sized colouring book in the box anyway.  It will definitely hold a few exercise books.  And I have decided to make a matching pencil case to fill with lead pencils, a sharpener and eraser etc.
You might notice that the cat face is slightly to the left on the bag front.  That's because I didn't measure like I should have when I pinned the face on.  Silly me :P

Friday, October 01, 2010

Up to date!

I just spent far too long hunting out photos of things I've made so I could put them on here, I suspect I've missed some things, but for the purposes of being able to say that this blog is up to date with all the things I've been making in the last couple of years.. that's everything! :P

No wait, I just remembered this birthday outfit that I made for Geni and then failed to get in a single decent photo (because her Daddy was supposed to be taking photos while I was doing party food and junk).
I used fusible webbing to put a big number 2 and a couple of cupcakes on a plain bonds tshirt.  And I made that skirt with cupcake fabric and spotty dotty fabric.  The photo below was when I was testing the size on her, before I put pink ric rac around the top tier.

Okay.. now I think that's everything :P

Baby Quilts

The first quilt I ever made was a baby quilt that my Mum and I made together a couple of years ago for Lilly's pregnant pre-primary teacher.  

We cut out a bunch of squares of cotton, taped them all to bits of card and snuck them in to the classroom on a day we knew Mrs Stent wasn't going to be there.  Each child in the class was given a square to draw a picture for her and the baby using fabric markers (the kind you iron to set). 

I must say it turned out rather well considering Mum and I had never made a quilt before.  I quilted it by stitching in the ditch, and backed with some lovely bright rainbow fabric.

We naturally couldn't give it to her without some quality control testing, so here is Gen giving it her seal of approval.

I have also made a rag quilt for Geni's bed, made completely from stuff that I had already.  Although technically some of it was fabric that my Mum had already, but she let me steal it :P
It's two layers of flannel with a square of bamboo batting sandwiched in the middle.  The back of the quilt is all red.  For some reason I had 5m of red flannel... I honestly can't remember why I bought that much of it, undoubtedly it was going to be something good though! :P 

This is how it looked when I put it on her bed, almost like I planned the colours.  I love when that happens!

And this is the quilt I just finished the other day for my brand new baby niece Sophia.

It's a stacked coins baby quilt, I used a jelly roll that I got from Spotlight and supplemented it with a couple of other fabrics I had in my stash.  I now know that it is a stupid idea to prewash precut fabric.  It all shrank to different widths and I didn't want to trim them all so I just went with it and ended up with stacks that didn't line up perfectly.  But it turned out okay in the end!
The back is pink/brown/white stripes with a pieced strip.

I quilted it with wonky line stitching that is between 1/4" and 1/2" apart.  I was going to teach myself to free motion quilt for it, but I didn't get around to practising so I went with lines :P
Next time I'll get rid of peg marks before I take photos!
 My sewing machine was being naughty while I was quilting.  I changed the needle and fiddled with the tension to no avail, so there are quite a few skipped stitches in the quilting.. I'm hoping nobody looks close enough to notice :P

Bags and Things

I've really been able to sew a lot more since we bought a bigger house last year.  I now have a designated sewing area so instead of having to drag the machine out to the kitchen table and have it all packed up again before dinner it's always there, ready to go, so as a result, there have been many hand made gifts from me this year!

This is a drawing bag I made for a little boy who was turning 2.  It was inspired by a monster art tote I saw on Craftster.   The inspiration was a square bag, but I decided I wanted it to be big enough for standard colouring books, so I used to extra space to add his name with felt.

Geni modelling the bag before we gave it to Dukey
Gen was rather taken with Duke's bag so I decided to make one for her too.  She's not much of a monster kind of girl, so I put a teddy on hers.

It was my first time using fusible webbing to applique the name on.

Next up is a paperback book cover I made for my cousin.  I read a few of tutorials and then made up my own pattern after measuring a bunch of my own books.
One of these days I'll get around to making one for myself too!

I also made a liner for my stroller, with the intention of making a few different ones, but haven't gotten around to that yet (she'll probably be too big for a stroller by the time I do).  I found a stroller liner tutorial on the net, but instead of following their instructions exactly I made my own pattern by tracing around the liner that came with the pram.

I also made some fabric gift baskets for the girls teachers for Christmas last year using a tutorial I found on the net somewhere.  The first two were for their ballet teachers
There is a little organza bag full of choccies in there, and a facewasher reindeer, and a porcelain christmas ornament that they decorated using my porcelaine pens.

The next two were for their class room teachers.
They had pretty much the same thing in them, with a candy cane reindeer instead of a facewasher.

Next up are the laptop bags I made for the girls.  We gave them little netbooks for Christmas so I read a bunch of tutorials and then combined elements from a few different ones to make these little bags. They are made from heavy weight Ikea fabric and lined with red cotton, with bamboo quilt batting sandwiched in between for a bit of protective padding.
Caitie's Bag
Oops apparently I forgot to rotate this image file.. ah well.. do me a favour and just turn your head to the side a bit :P
Lilly's Bag

Then we come to Easter.  I made each girl a fabric basket with their initial on the front.  They've all used their basket for different purposes since Easter.  Caitie keeps her DS and MP3 player etc in hers.  Gen's one holds all of her cloth food from Ikea, and Lilly uses hers as a teddy bed.

I didn't have a lot of luck finding dairy free easter eggs for Lilly this year so to minimise the amount of chocolate she was getting I made these little egg pouches out of felt (you can probably find which tutorial I followed if you google it).  In them I put a few bits and bobs in there.. like a little stamp and some stickers and a pencil etc.
 They were so easy I ended up making a few more for other kids that we were going to see on the day.

 This bag was a birthday gift for a 9 year old girls birthday.  I made a buttercup bag, and a zippered pouch (that I put a couple of dollars in) and we bought her some sunglasses, so I made a pouch for those.  And I also made a rainbow headband and some ribbon hair clips.
The buttercup bag is so cute and easy, I plan on making myself a slightly larger one at some point.

Geeky things that I have made

First up is a Companion Cube that I made for my husbands 30th birthday last year.

I pondered how I wanted to construct it for a while, and then decided it would be easiest to just cover an existing cube with nerdiness.  So I went out and bought a Feet Seat, and then set to work.

I used polar fleece because it's stretchy and doesn't fray.  There are 6 panels, each heart and corner piece are lightly padded with hobby fill.
The following photo was taken before it had a base or rear panel.  I was finishing it the night before his birthday and ran out of the cotton so had to give it to him as it was.
 I couldn't find a long enough zip, so I ended up using two zips that meet in one corner on the base so I can take the cover off to wash it.  One of these days I will take a photo of the finished cube.  We've only been putting our feet on it for over a year!

Next up is this question mark cushion I made for a friend of ours for his 30th birthday.. lots of little 1.5" squares sewn together.  And then quilted by stitching in the ditch around the main elements.

And I also made a Zelda cushion for another friends 30th birthday


Nothing says 30 years old like a nerdy cushion right?

And then there were my Lemmings, made from Ikea melty beads.  I had to improvise some colours in the chute and their home because there wasn't enough variety in the jar, (I had to use purple for grey etc.)  but you can't really tell from a distance!

They're never going to make it :P
And this is the Hearthstone cushion I made for my hubby for his birthday this year.  My youngest no longer naps during the day so the criteria was quick, easy and suitably nerdy.

I think that covers all the nerdy things I have made in the last couple of years!