Dinosaur Play Mat

My 4-year-old grandson is into dinosaurs, a pretty common love of this age group. He’s got dinosaurs and he’s got books about dinosaurs.  So I decided to make a play mat for him.

Play mats should be simple affairs, although I see an awful lot of people making them more detailed than they need to be. You see, kids have tremendous imaginations that don’t need much stimulation… mainly just the dinosaurs!

Here’s my playmat.dinosaur-mat-02-web

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I’m Back! With the New splashofcolour.com!

It’s been 9 months. ‘Nuff said. But I’m back in action with a new focus – more laid back, more varied, less detailed perhaps. Still lots of tutorials and lots of photos but more for personal pleasure than an attempt to get stuff ready for sale.

You’ll discover a brand new website as I include projects over and above painting and refinishing. More sewing. More papercrafts. I may still put things up for sale – I’ll surely let you know – but the core will be tutorials for creations and techniques that I’d like to share.

What have I been up to? Enjoying the company of my extended family dispersed hither and yon. Creating stuff for them. Five grandchildren now! And they all touch my soul.


Aaaah. The stockings. For grandkids.

I’ve always liked knitting. The  demand for patience and concentration is neverending with those ridiculous abbreviations and that strange, traditional way in which instructions are given.

These tested my limits.  I made patterned stockings for my own kids… but I notched up the detailing here and it was hard. Really hard. But they’re finished and I’m excited with the colourful results.!

I used patterns from Mary Maxim, adapted some online photos of cross-stitch patterns, and added a few ideas of my own. But I must say, I’m thankful they’re essentially a “once-only-my-darlins'” kind of project!

The Jewel Box Project: Now They’re Dressers!

I’ve been eyeing old jewel boxes at Value Village. Cheap, scratched, missing the odd knob or two – just waiting for a makeover. I picked up a few and got hooked!

Group of Single Photosweb

There are always a fair number of them at the stores. They were made in the 1980s and have gone out of vogue.

The first task was to get rid of the insides – the tacky velveteen liners in the drawers, the foam-filled sections for rings, and the rotating hooks for necklaces. Each of the spaces behind the doors was lined with rough-cut mirrors, not the safest for small hands. Clearing this stuff out was a pain – the glue was top notch!

Removing the surface finishes was much faster. It was a matter of some stripper and sandpaper to smooth the surfaces, removing the doors to work on them separately. I ended up with 5 ready-to-finish frames and a bunch of doors and drawers!

Even though it takes a while to get these little wooden pieces paint-ready, I am always impressed by the workmanship. The components fit perfectly and the detailing is precise.

At any rate, on to the most fun! The colours!

I had a mess of jewel box parts on my painting table for weeks, all in various states of completion, drying and waiting while I did other things at the same time.


In the end, 5 wonderful doll dressers emerged.

frames-finishedweb finishedweb finishedweb


(Minor detail… I had to REPAINT the purple door and the green door because I had them on the WRONG frames! Oh well – a momentary lapse of attention created another couple of hours of work… sigh).


I can hardly wait to do some more!


Child’s Book Shelf

I bought this wobbly little shelf for $10, standing 30 inches high and 18 inches wide. Probably not worth it but I always like a challenge!

It’s small and narrow. The black paint covered red paint which covered green, and the wood was very rough; it took a lot of stripper and effort to get to the base. It’s a great example of used, rough-hewn wood repurposed into something “new”. It was probably once an old packing crate.

When I got to this point I just sat back and pondered. After minor repairs and priming, I knew it needed a back for interest and for stabilization. I decided upon a fabric rear wall and paints to match. Like so.18webAs always, painting was the fun part. Then I cut backboard and set about attaching the fabric (see this post for how-to’s) on an angle to match the line of those small inside shelf stabilizers.

The colours worked out beautifully and the little shelf now sits in my granddaughter’s bedroom!

Barbie 2-Tiered Skirt/Pants with Top

Simplicity 8281

A sewing background definitely helps when taking on Barbie clothes. I found a lovely site that addressed some of the issues when sewing these wee things. I was glad to read her recommendations and will add some of my own as I go along.

I made three outfits from this pattern. It’s a vintage pattern – you don’t find many new Barbie patterns in the stores these days. Instead many kind-hearted seamstresses have taken the time to lay the pieces out and photograph them, often with a ruler alongside so that you know how to size them when printing, and then upload them free of charge for anyone to use.

I sewed the pants and top with cotton broadcloth, always easy to work with.

The Top

Join band to bodice. Clip curves. Press.02-band-to-bodice-web

Hem top and bottom, followed by sides.

I used Heat’n’Bond bought by the roll, and cut it lengthwise into quarters. The small thin pieces allow you to fold the hems over and iron them in place as you move along. It also greatly reduces fraying on an unfinished edge (and I rapidly discovered that a finished edge adds WAY too much bulk). The Heat’n’Bond holds extremely well but I still ran a line of topstitching along each edge.03-heatnbond-pieces webMake straps using Heat’n’Bond. If you lightly spray the fabric with water, the first hem will finger-press quite easily; the Heat’n’Bond fuses the two turned edges.

Attach the straps and add velcro to the centre back.

The Pants

Hem the bottoms and the waistline edges. If you try to do this at the end, there will be no room for your fingers or your sewing machine to work!12-pant-hems-top-and-bottom web

Sew the outer side seams. Press. To reduce bulk and minimize fraying, sew a second stitching line close to the first and cut excess fabric away.16-pants-outer-seams-web

Sew the crotch seams, leaving an opening at the centre back. Hem centre back opening and add velcro.

Two More Outfits with Same Top plus Skirt

I chose fussier fabric for these two and found it best to line the skirts with ultra-light fusible interfacing to stabilize them a bit. They were so slippery!

Every stage was a bit of a learning one, and I’m looking forward to the next batch of wee clothes!

New Directions!

Hokey smokey. So busy. Can’t find time to post. I’m changing direction to work on other stuff. Particularly “grandmother” stuff.  There are little people to build things for and only a certain-sized time window to complete them in. The old saying “they grow up too fast” now applies to the next generation!

“Other stuff” involves sewing, where my artsy hobbies all started such a long, long time ago.

You’ll see some sewing and paper projects. Which means this site just gets busier.

So. I’m making Barbie clothes – I’d ‘a never thought! The request has come in so here I go. These are for you, Miss Abby!



Doll Box/Photo Chest

 7 x 4.5 x 4 in/18 x 11.5 x 10.5 cm

I found this little box in a second-hand shop, finished a dull black. The lid slid open only with difficulty. It’s a perfect example of why I strip pieces down to the bare wood and apply a new finish with a small paintbrush in order to reduce bulk. When completed, the lid slid easily back and forth.

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