Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Books for Bunting for Babies

My friend Liz has had to endure the pain of losing 2 babies during complicated pregnancies this past year and to acknowledge all the fantastic treatment she received throughout the ordeal she is raising money for "SANDS" (the stillbirth and neonatal death support charity). 
I decided to help in a small way by making bunting from secondhand books, new books and fabric. 
This blog post was not supposed to exist, I'd been holding back writing about making these items as my plan was to send Liz bunting at Christmas time for her nursery. Liz (and her partner Ross) have had a really tough few months but feel immense gratitude for all the help they have received in Scotland and want to help others in the same situation. So, here's my book bunting project if you'd like to give it a go too:-

(made from a "Where's Wally?" book)

To make this bunting you need to:-

*Find a book that has fairly good quality pages and cute images on both sides of the page.

*Make an appropriately sized cardboard isosceles or equilateral triangle template. 

*Hold the triangle up to the light and check the image looks as good on the other side of the page.

*Draw around the triangle with a pencil.

*Carefully cut out the triangle with a paper-cutter, shaving off all the pencil lines.

*Arrange an odd number of triangles (minimum 7) with the most interesting images as the first, last and middle "flags".

*Select a coordinating colour of bias binding and cotton, then sew the triangles with small consistent spaces between them using a sewing machine.

*Turn over the edges to create a loop ready to hang the bunting.

I had to make some "Gruffalo" bunting;
 I reckon the lime green was a good choice of binding!

Then I realised it looked better with zig-zag stitching, 
but that was quite tricky for it not to pucker!
I reverted back to straight stitching!

And, as the author of The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson) is the children's laureate this year, it was perfect to make for Lidia's school library. I cut much larger triangles, as it's a large room and I wanted the text to feature with the pictures for this one. 

And here is the Gruffalo's child on purple, which is probably my favourite!

In the frantic run up the Christmas I sold most of what I made so I don't have the bunting to photograph, but a few others I was pleased with were:-

"Vintage Sesame street" - this was from a book I got given when I taught in New York. I couldn't think of a better way to "upcycle it".

And nor could Nik S, so she kindly gave me a vintage Dandy and Beano to use for my project. Half-way through making this I was watching the news and they said The Dandy will no longer exist in paper form as it is all online now - maybe the value of this increased overnight....! I think Owen is having this and a few others for his school library.

And another old book that I found sorting out my school library was this little gem! You might remember reading 1,2,3 & Away as a child with Rodger Red Hat and Jennifer Yellow Hat....! Such cute illustrations!

And Billy Blue Hat is lurking in the background if you look closely.

Then, I found some bargain books that enabled me to make sets of Elmer, Maisy and Peppa Pig as well as Where's Wally and Meg & Mog. 

So I've taken my bunting (and a few cakes - of course!) to local(ish) craft fairs and have been selling them. Thank you Nik for the Cube stall, thank you Nia for a free stall and thank you everyone for swinging by or buying the bunting. Here was my Cube stall... where I managed to sell a few of the Beanies from my vast selection of Sesame street beanies that I'd clung onto for way too long...!

I also plonked the box of bunting on the table during my staff training afternoon and made £46 in the coffee break. I quickly learnt that craft fairs and homemade goods are a very unpredictable means of making money and I've new found respect for people who make their living by making stuff. 

And finally, I'll tell you about the one and only "commission" I had from Meg at my staff training. She asked if I could make some bunting for her 8-day old Grandson and said she wanted it made from books named after him. I reached for my iphone, called up Amazon and looked to see if transforming a book into bunting with be worth the time and money. And his name was... Alfie! (of course) the same name Liz called the little boy she lost - I was quite spooked (and emotional making that bunting) and took about 3 times longer over arranging it than I had done with any of the others.

So that is about it for my blog post and my bunting that I am dedicating to 
SANDS and Alfie Armstrong.

(Alfie's handprints)

Apart from my final job, which is to make a facebook album/"shop" with the remaining bunting that can be paid for on Alfie's page:-

Happy new year!

Jo :)