DIY books and notepads: Reuse leftover notebook paper

What is it that’s so appealing about a nice, new and never-before-touched blank book or notebook? I suppose it’s the anticipation and excitement about all the things that it can become. You can write a book in it. Draw pictures. Study plants or animals or anything else that you love and keep your notes in […]

New pattern! Field of Flowers costume for kids & adults

I’m super excited to announce that my first costume pattern is ready for the world! Come meet the Field of Flowers costume for both kids AND adults! Back in 2008, when my daughter was two years old, my husband had the idea to dress her up for Carnival as a bunch of flowers or some […]

Free Pattern! Valentine’s Day bag tutorial

The day that some people absolutely love and others absolutely despise is coming up. Yep. I’m talking about Valentine’s Day! I’ve always fallen into the second category because I am ideologically against the consumerism of this day and I don’t like the idea of being told when I need to celebrate my love for the […]

Rotten Banana: a fun early reading game

My little boy just turned six and is in first grade this year, which means that he’s learning to read and write. While my daughter had no problems learning written Italian in school and didn’t really need any outside help to pick up written English on her own, it hasn’t been quite as easy for […]

Make homemade pick up sticks (with carry bag)

Toys are too complicated these days. I sometimes hear parents saying that their kids get bored if their toys don’t make sounds or light up, or aren’t animated or interactive games. And of course all these electronic toys and games cost more and break really easily. I sometimes feel like an old fogey, but seriously, […]

Free Pattern! Pencil-shaped pencil case tutorial

Well, it’s fall again. Back to school. Back to work. Back to the gazillion activities each family member has. To celebrate this exciting time of year of beginnings, I’ve decided to offer my readers another FREE sewing pattern! Hooray! And even better, it’s part of my Learn to Machine Sew series, as the practice tutorial […]

Tutorial: Crochet Carry Bags from Fruit Nets

It all started with this. My son found some fruit nets in my collection of recycling-for-crafting and decided to use one to hang up his toys. Total genius right? And so, I came up with these: Oh yes! I took those fruit and onion nets and crocheted around their edges, creating a comfy shoulder strap […]

Glove animal tutorial: Upcycled Glovosaurs

Today I’m so happy to back with my Cucicucicoo’s Eco Crafters and Sewing series with the one and only Allison from Sweater Doll! Allison is a US expat, like me, living in Australia and creates the best fabric dolls and softies ever. Seriously, next time you’re considering buying a Barbie or other doll, check out […]

Refreshing summer activities for kids in the house

Hello, all! I just got back home a few days ago from a 3-week trip to the States to visit family and friends. We had a great time, which is why- despite my best intentions- I didn’t do ANY of the blogging or pattern or shop work that I’d planned on. Whoops! But I really […]

Practice tutorial: How to sew a zippered pouch

A few days ago I published the latest lesson for the Learn to Machine Sew series on how to sew a simple exposed zipper. A lot of people are afraid of sewing zippers, but they’re actually really easy to insert once you know how to do it properly! Nobody likes to waste a zipper, so […]

Tutorial: Make Easy Recycled Crowns for Kids

Happy Easter Monday! Hope you had a lovely day yesterday! And if you have children, I’m sure you now have insane amounts of candy and chocolate in your home. Here in Italy there’s no Easter Bunny, but kids get these huge chocolate eggs with a little gift inside. The eggs are wrapped in big squares […]

DIY felt bowtie pasta tutorial…WITH BOX!

A couple of months ago, I wrote on my Facebook page that I was working on a project that just made me laugh… over and over again, the whole time I was making it. I’m certainly not the first person to make felt bowtie pasta (farfalle, in Italian), but throw in an authentic-looking pasta box, […]

How to keep playing at the beach… away from the beach

Well, we’re now in September, it keeps raining, everything around is about back to school. The summer’s officially over. This is always one of the most depressing times of the year for me. But even if you can’t stay on vacation forever and have to eventually leave the beach (or wherever else you’ve been on […]

Tutorial: How to make easy letter magnets with kids

My kids, like pretty much every other kid I know, just love drawing and coloring. We just got back the other day from a fantastic visit with family and friends in the United States. Before we left, a friend of mine requested some of my children’s artwork to hang on her refrigerator as a gift. […]

DIY Mesh Drawstring Bags for the beach from old shirts

One thing I love about upcycling and refashioning is the challenge of figuring out what to do with, well… trash. I mean, just look at this horrifyingly ugly mesh shirt I found in a pile of used clothing at a market last year. But that awful thing just lit me up because as soon as […]

Despicable Me costumes: make a DIY Stuart Minion costume

A few days have gone by since Carnival and I’m only now publishing the tutorial for Nicky’s costume going along with this year’s theme of Despicable Me 2: the Minion Stuart. Sofia and I thought that he should be Dave because of his fantasy with the agent Lucy Wilde (Sofia’s costume), but he had his […]

Despicable Me costumes: Lucy Wilde’s scarf and coat

Back to our Carnival costumes! To recap, my kids are dressing up as Despicable Me characters and I’ve already written about the wig and accessories of Agent Lucy Wilde. But the costume is just not complete without her scarf and, even more importantly, her turquoise coat. What do you say? Is there a resemblance? (Ok, […]

Despicable Me costumes: Lucy Wilde’s wig and accessories

Oh yes, my kids just love Despicable Me. (Evidence of this can be seen here, here and here.) And yes, this year my kids are dressing up as Despicable Me characters for Carnival. And yes, I’m making the costumes. Sofia decided to be AVL agent Lucy Wilde. Want to know how to make a fantastic […]

How to make super simple sticker magnets

It all started with this Minion sticker. My daughter has a Despicable Me album with stickers that you collect and trade, then she plays with any extras that she has. Her little brother stuck this Stuart sticker onto a cabinet. While we allow the kids to write on the walls (want to see some of […]

How to make a crinkle taggie baby toy

It’s become a bit of a tradition that when one of my friends has a first baby, I make a couple of these crinkly taggie baby toys. It’s a known fact that babies frequently prefer playing with non-playthings, so you’ll find them having fun with the toy’s packaging instead of the toy or the tag […]

How to make a hat and scarf set from a hooded towel

Kids just love hooded towels, especially when they’re shaped like some fun animal or creature. So my mother thought that a couple of adorable hooded towels would make a great gift for my kids. But I had a little surprise when I opened up the package. They were 100% polyester. Ummm, what?! I know that […]

Tutorial: How to make your own Play Doh picture mats

Remember how my kids had the chicken pox last October, one right after another? Having them home for such a long time without being able to go out got old pretty quickly. Thank goodness for homemade Play Doh! To pizzazz up the usual Play Doh experience, I decided to make some picture mats for the […]

Woven Hopi Eye Yarn Christmas Ornaments – for kids!

Did you see the project I did with my daughter’s 2nd grade class the other day? They just loved weaving these Hopi Eye yarn Christmas ornaments, even when they didn’t come out exactly as planned. But who cares? They were all beautiful in their own way and the kids were so satisfied with themselves. This […]

Make DIY Minions from Upcycled Materials: Tutorial

Today the movie Despicable Me 2 is coming out in the theaters in Italy. (Yes, considerably later than in the States.) My daughter and her cousin are besides themselves with joy. They’ve been waiting and waiting to see the Minions on the big screen. From what little I’ve seen of them, I honestly find them […]

Add a name tag to a backpack (or other bag)

Yesterday my little 2 year, 8 month old boy had his first day of public nursery school. And two days before that, I suddenly remembered that he needed a little backpack for school. I didn’t want to buy another because we already have gazillions of little bags and backpacks at home, except it turns out […]

homemade upcycled peppa pig magnets

my kids just love peppa pig. so they were pretty lucky to have gotten the joy of 3 peppa pig mega easter eggs this year. it seemed a shame to throw out the outer papers with their favorite characters (as well as the crayon container from inside one of the eggs), so i decided to […]

Anti-Ikea

ok, so i’m not really against ikea, but sometimes i just can’t stand buying something, no matter how inexpensive it may be, if i can make it myself (like my cat neck pillow). it happened one day about a year ago (yes, i am a bit behind with some posts…) with this little stuffed snake […]

Super easy witch cape

if you’re anything like me, you might’ve procratinated a bit for halloween. my daughter was invited to a halloween party for the first time this year (where we live it’s not really celebrated). she already had a witch hat, but it really needed something more. so i decided to make her a witch cape. it’s […]

Upcycled bottle cap dog tags

remember these metal bottle caps (left over from our glass water bottles) and t-shirt sleeves (left over from various projects, such as my bathroom rug)? i also posted a photo of a bunch of cardboard boxes. this stuff was all for a children’s “green art” project that i participated in last week, during which the […]

Catty neck pillow

i’d considered calling this post “anti-ikea” because it is a result of my refusing to buy a cheap object for my little girl just out of pure stubborness. and why? because it was something i could make myself the way i wanted to. and i did make it my way, putting in way more time […]

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