Guest blog series2 2011

Maggie is the momma behind the blog, Smashed Peas and Carrots.  On her blog she shares sewing and craft DIY tutorials, crafty projects for your little ones, delicious family friendly recipes and amazing birthday parties too.  She also sells her unique and beautifully handmade children’s clothing and momma’s accessories at her Smashed Peas and Carrots shop on her Etsy shop.

I love shower caps and use one a few days a week. Totally not gross, did you know that you aren’t supposed to wash your hair everyday? Yup, by doing so you can strip your hair of oils that you naturally produce to keep it healthy and shiny. You can also fade the color faster if you are one who likes to color your hair. Your best bet is to wash you hair every other day or every two days and sprinkle baking soda or use one of those dry shampoos in-between washings to keep the oil in control.

Today I am going to share with you how I make my shower caps! By using iron-on vinyl you can make a cute shower cap out of any pretty fabric you see… no more boring shower caps for us ladies!

Waterproof Fabric Shower Cap
  • 2/3 yard of your favorite cotton fabric
  • 2/3 yard of Iron-On Vinyl
  • 1 package extra-wide bias tape
  • 18-20 inches of 1/4 inch wide elastic
  • coordinating thread
  • sewing machine
  • rotary cutter and mat
  • pen, pencil, string and dowel
  • safety pins

  1. Apply your vinyl to the right side of your fabric and follow the insert directions to heat set it.
  2. Next grab a pen or pencil, string or twine and a dowel. I used a disappearing ink pen. Measure your twine to be a little over 9 inches and then tie each end to the pen and the dowel. This is going to be your compass for making an 18 inch circle. If you have really long hair you may want to make a 20 inch circle which would mean you would need a little over 10 inches of string. Place the dowel in the middle of your fabric and use the pen to mark a circle all the way around.
  3. Cut out the circle using your rotary cutter or a pair of scissors.
  4. Grab your package of bias tape, make sure it is Extra-Wide.
  5. Open up the bias tape and sandwich the edge of the circle in-between. Sew as close as you can get to the inner edge of the bias tape all the while making sure you catch both front and back. Now mind you, this is not the proper way to apply bias tape but this is an easy and pretty way to make a casing for the elastic.
  6. Stop sewing and backstitch when you get 1-2 inches from where you started sewing on the bias tape. You will need to make an entry for the elastic to be pulled through. With the remaining bias tape, leave enough hanging so that you can overlap the bias tape by about an inch.
  7. Take a small safety pin and pin it to one end of the elastic and use another larger safety pin and attach it to the other end. This will stop you from pulling the elastic completely through the casing and having to start the process all over again, that is just no fun!
  8. Once you have pulled the elastic all the way through, try on your shower cap to make sure it is snug enough. Then, overlap the two ends of elastic by about 1 inch and zig-zag stitch them together. Place the free end of the bias tape over top and sew into place… all done!

Now you can make a shower cap to please anyone’s personality!  Know a momma who is getting ready to deliver at the hospital?  This would be a great gift for her to have so she doesn’t have to mess up her pretty ‘do while she showers!

You can also use laminated fabrics to get the waterproof part of the cap, but they cost a bit more and the choices aren’t as varied.  The cap on the left is actually made using the same method above but using Amy Butler’s laminated fabric instead of Iron-On vinyl and cotton fabric.

I hope you all enjoy making a few of these and if you do I’d love it if you would add them to my Smashed Peas and Carrots Flickr group I just started up so we can all ooh and ahh over them!


Joanie Gorman is from Northern California but has lived in the UK for 14 years; she lives in Hampshire with her two children and their dog. She writes for The Green Parent magazine and teaches art part time. You can find her most mornings in the woods nearby hill walking with her funny border terrier, Pippi. Her family call her Nini, she blogs at Nini Makes.

Twig Hairpins

Thanks Kathreen for the invitation, it’s a real treat to guest post on

I love making objects that serve a purpose and even better, objects made with found or recycled supplies. I also love trees and take daily walks through woods so fallen branches and twigs are one material that I return to time and again. I came upon the idea to make hairpins after finding small, straight twigs that had fallen from fir trees after a windy night. I took a few home, whittled some hairpins and wondered why on earth it never occurred to me to make them before.

Here’s what you need:

  • Twigs or tiny branches (should be fairly straight)
  • Garden clippers or tiny saw
  • A small knife or carving tool for whittling
  • Medium and fine sand paper
  • Optional decorating supplies: wood stain, paint, beads, buttons & clear thread, embroidery thread
  • Wood wax, olive oil or nut oil to nourish the wood

To get started collect a small bundle of twigs that are roughly the diameter of a pencil or chopstick; the length should be a little longer than a pencil or chopstick (about 9inch or 23cm). Give each one a gentle bend to make sure they aren’t too brittle and breakable. Look out for twigs that are fairly straight and not too knobbly. Even if you only want to make one hairpin it’s good to have at least a few sticks to choose from in case the whittling goes awry. If your twigs are wet, leave them indoors in a warm area for a couple of days to dry.

Choose a stick and use a small sharp knife to whittle a point at one end.

After you’ve made the point cut off any knobbly, bumpy parts down the length of the stick then carefully strip off the bark. I used a flat, straight-edged wood engravers tool that worked well but gentle stripping with a knife works too.

When you finish de-knobbling and stripping the stick use garden clippers or a small saw to trim the non-pointed end of your twig to the final length you want your hairpin to be (you may want to try it in your hair first). Next use medium sandpaper to smooth out the rough, trimmed end and any ridges and remaining bumps along the length of the stick, then follow up with the fine sandpaper. If your point is sharp be sure to smooth it out a little so you don’t pierce your head.

As a final step, decorate your twiggy hairpin any way you like. The simplest way is to rub oil in to nourish the wood and bring out the grain. You can even use nut oil by simply rubbing a large nut over the hairpin. Or try painting, staining or wrapping it in embroidery thread, the way you might decorate a walking staff. Beads or buttons are also easy to attach using clear jewelry cord or embroidery thread.

Some wood loving links.

One of my favourite books is Shel Silverstein’s,  The Giving Tree. Though some people dislike it for the selfish child character, I still remember hearing this simple story for the first time when I was very young and feeling an overwhelming love appreciation for trees.

I also enjoy visiting the following artists regularly to see what new and wonderful creations they make with wood: Nanou, aka Les Fabulations on Flickr and Lisa of lil fish studios. Nanou makes curious creatures from fallen branches. She crochets clothes for them, gives them accessories and spins stories for each one too. Lisa is well known for her brilliant, needle-felted objects but I also adore her woodwork. Reading Lisa’s blog about her life and home in the woods reminds me of reading Laura Ingalls Wilder’s, Little House books with my daughter.

Lastly, if you go out and collect more twigs here’s a flowerpot project that’s easy to make.



Maya Kuzman is the creative mind behind Little Treasures, she is elbow deep in craft projects, mostly crochet lately, although she loves to jump into other fulfilling crafty activities to satisfy the everlasting urge to capture the beauty in the nature and the world and bring it home.

Currently, I am having an exciting, inspiring and rewarding crochet lifestyle and I love every single minute of it! So when lovely Kathreen invited me to guest a post I knew right away it is going to be crochet as the main topic.

I grew up in a family where traditions were deeply rooted and respected and handwork was highly appreciated and praised. Both my grandmothers were proficient in what I like to call handmade art – one was a professional seamstress, the other masterful crocheter and knitter. I readily accepted the love they shared for sewing and crocheting and started paving the way of my handmade life.

When it comes to crochet I think of it as the means for beautifying my home, clothes and most of all as a tool to create wonderful, eye-catching accessories through which I strive to express my love for the beautiful world, to show the rainbow of my soul and the whims of my imagination.

Having been surrounded by wonderful crochet creations that leapt into life through the magical hands of my grandmother I became deeply entranced by the world that could be created with the simple ‘twist and turn’ dance of the yarn with the hook. And I was truly hooked. To be honest I find it quite rewarding. Thus for example, when I get tired of (the plainness) my clothes I settle this by adding a crochet detail or a trim and voila! My garments shine with a new sparkle.

Then I plunge into creating amazing, eye-catching accessories. The palette can be immensely varied:  headbands and lariats, scarves and chokers, necklaces and rings; or if I happen to come across old bangles I give them a facelift immediately. These make my style unique, distinctive and sometimes whimsical.

For me crocheting is not simply a hobby or a recreational activity. It is the tool for preserving tradition, making my own clothes and accessories, embellishing my home. It also contributes to my pledge to live an environmentally conscious life. The yarn I use is mostly organic and when something loses its attractiveness or I just get bored with it I can unstitch it and re-use the yarn to make another lovely thing. In a word – it makes my world richer and more meaningful.

I do hope you get inspired by the boards I’ve prepared for you and crochet yourself a fine stitch.

Here are some tickles for you:

  • If you want to make a necklace yourself with some crocheted beads – I have a tute for that here
  • How about a sweet home project? Here is a free pattern for a blanket you would certainly love to make!
  • Or a rug maybe?
  • You can surprise your kids with wonderful crochet toys. You can make a pony, a dragon, or an octopus.

Thank you for letting me be part of your fabulous guest series!!


Nicole Mallalieu is a designer-patternmaker and a rather obsessed crafty type. She designs sewing patterns and her business specialises in the patterns and supplies to make purses, handbags and hats. Nicole is dedicated to teaching people to become better and more confident with their sewing skills, while they make fun, fashionable things they’ll want to wear and use. Her book You Sew, Girl! (ABC Books/HarperCollins) is dedicated to the same cause.

Quite a few new babies have arrived in my circle of friends and family in the last month or so, and I’ve been trying to think of gifts that are not my usual hats and bibs. I think my friends and family have seen enough bibs and hats from me. So…. it’s time to expand the repertoire a bit ….although I struggle to get away from using a bias tape maker, quilt basting spray and a tailors awl, it seems. (I find them to be my most-used baby-gift-making tools).

Casting my mind back to the early months of motherhood, I remembered all the weird and wonderful places I was caught without a place to change baby’s nappy (diaper). It’s always good to have a ready-made soft surface to lay baby on, and even better if it can carry spare nappies and wipes, and be machine washable, to boot. I wish I’d been organised enough at the time, to have made something like this for myself!

I made this one using a quilting fabric (Candy Shop by Michael Miller fabrics) and some chenille fabric, simply because they toned in nicely together. You could equally use a towel instead of chenille and/or oilcloth instead of the quilting fabric. You could also carefully measure the pocket divisions to fit specific sized objects (like lotion, a box of wipes, a folded cloth nappy or change-mat liner etc).

I plan to give this one to a new family member, complete with the basic ‘kit’ for a few nappy-changes… with possibly a bib… and a hat.

Download the detailed 4 page PDF with instructions right here.



Guest blogger: Kelle Boyd from Ann Kelle

I’m Kelle Boyd, the girl behind Ann Kelle. I did this craft for the children at my church. The kids, especially the toddlers, loved playing with these drums.  The best part of this project is that you use things that you already have around your home. What makes this craft so fun is the colored duct tape. Have you seen all the beautiful colored duct tape out there? Eeek!!

Here’s what I did. 

  • colored duck tape
  • old cans
  • rice (optional)
  • glue (super glue or fabric glue)
  • fabric scraps
  • felt
  • ribbon
  • chop sticks
Striped Drum
  • 1. clean out can
  • 2. wrap tape around can horizontally
  • 3. repeat using additional colors until can is covered
  • 4. trace/cut out small circle from felt and apply to bottom of can (the bottom of the can becomes the top of the drum)
Polka Dot Drum
  • 1. clean out can
  • 2. cover can with tape
  • 3. using stencil (or shape puncher) make dots
  • 4. apply dots to drum
  • 5. trace/cut out small circle from felt and apply to bottom of can (the bottom of the can is the top)
“Shaker” Drum
  • 1. clean out can
  • 2. put 12-15 grains of rice into can
  • 3. tape the top with duct tape (overlap onto can) . . . do NOT try to hot glue, the little ones will be able to pry it open . . . trust me:)
  • 4. Measure can’s width and height
  • 5. Using can measurements, cut out fabric
  • 6. Iron fabric to get out any wrinkles
  • 7. Glue fabric on to can
Drum Sticks
  • 1. Make tape ball
  • 2. Secure tape ball to top of chop sticks (on the pointed end) using tape
  • 3. wrap ribbon around the stick


For more kids craft, creative ideas and activities go to the Action Pack website