Thursday, 27 August 2015

Flying Parrots made from an egg box

It’s been a long time since I shared any new Make Your Own Zoo projects here, but now the book's out, I really wanted to show you these - simple, colourful flying parrots. 

When you spend a silly amount of time looking at egg boxes, you start seeing things....  these birds are made from the piece between the egg cups - have a look: 

...there’s the moulded part in the middle for the body, and the curve of the egg cups either side for the wings.

And the best part is, if you turn it upside down, you have another flying bird shape - this time with wings down.

So, all you need is:
egg boxes
PVA craft glue
general purpose scissors
straight-edged nail scissors
(all cutting should be supervised)
paper clip
thread (about 50cm)
black felt tip pen

1. Start by drawing the bird shape in the box (see above), so you get the wings looking even, and make them as full as you can - draw right to the bottom of the egg cups. I’ve used a black marker to make the shape nice and clear - better though to use a pencil.

2. Cut out roughly first, then neaten up around the edges. Small scissors are great for this. 

wings up
wings down
Decide whether you want wings up or down.

wings up
wings down
3. We made two different tail feather shapes and cut them out of the egg box lid. 

The top of the tail feather piece needs to fill the groove, right up to the head, giving your bird a better body shape.

4. Before gluing in place, you might want to snip out some long zigzags, to make it look more feathery. You can do the same to the wings too.

5. Glue the tail feathers on top, if your bird has wings down, and underneath for wings up.
wings down
wings up
With the 'wings up' bird, push the tail feather piece into the groove where it joins the wings. If you need to, use a paper clip to hold in place while it dries. We couldn’t find a paper clip, so used a clothes peg... 

wings up
6. Painting time! Have fun with lots of bright colours.

Don’t forget to paint underneath too.

Paint the face a light colour so you will be able to see the eyes and beak.

7.  While the paint’s drying, make beaks. Cut a thin strip of cereal box card (about 5mm wide) and colour both sides black (a sharpie or something similar is good for this).

8. Round off one corner like so, for a hooked beak shape, and snip no more than 1cm from the strip. Make as many as you need.

9. When your parrots are dry, use the nail scissors to make a vertical slot for the beak (keep the scissors closed, press down and twist slightly from side to side - don’t push too hard!) 

Snip the slot to make it the right size for the beak. Brush a little glue on the end of the tab (or behind the head if there’s room) and push the beak into place. Dot on eyes with the black pen.

TIP: For a quicker, easier option, just draw on the beak and dot eyes either side. 

10. Thread a needle, tie a good knot in the end and push it up through the middle of your bird, from underneath (probably best done by an adult). Don’t worry if it tilts up or down (it most likely will) as this adds to the flying effect! 
Put a dab of glue on the knot, to help it hold.

One tip to get a 'wings up' bird flying straight, is to find a mid-point where it balances on the end of the needle - easier than it sounds, honest! Press the needle in, just a little, underneath - try different spots until the bird balances. 

You may notice some of our wings down parrots have their claws showing, as if they’re coming into land. To do this, keep an extra bit of the join with the middle cone when you’re cutting out the basic shape, like so. Trim and paint.

In the book there’s an Aviary you can make for your flying birds, but they also look good as hanging decorations - or what about a string of flying parrots? We’ve made enough for a mobile, so that’s the plan! I’ll let you know how we get on.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sky, High, Butterfly - Sunday photos

Most of my holiday photos seem to be of the sky or butterflies! Though the kids did manage to sneak into a few...

Linking up with My Sunday Photo at OneDad3Girls.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Happy, by Nature

A bumblebee just happened to land in the right place to bring out a smile!

Linking up with My Sunday Photo at OneDad3Girls

Best in Show: Pedigree knitting

...Well, not quite. It was all going swimmingly until I realised one of the hind legs was on back to front.

If it had been a sewing mistake that would have been a faff (though a manageable one), but it wasn't; for some reason I'd actually knitted the leg onto the body facing the wrong way.... so it stuck out at the back at a rather jaunty angle.

REALLY cross with myself, I'd spent such a long time on it by this stage. The patterns in 'Best in Show: 25 more dogs to knit' are fabulous but they're not for the faint hearted. If I hadn't been knitting the King Charles Spaniel for a friend, or had a bit of a deadline, it would have been slung into the lost world of half finished projects behind the sofa.

Luckily pipe cleaners came to the rescue... Most of the dogs in the book have pipe cleaners sewn into their legs to give them a bit of stability - mine were used to bend  the squiffy leg back into place. And it seemed to work - a critical eye would still spot the mistake, but I think it adds character!

It is a beautiful, clever and challenging book - frustrating at times, yes, for a make-do knitter like me, but well worth the effort. And I learnt how to do loopy stitch. My friend was really touched, it sort of looks a little like her dog... and was the best way I could think of to thank her for all her support and kindness. 

So, two down, just 23 to go...

Make Your Own Zoo Book Giveaway!

Not by me though, not yet anyway! Sure I've only just been sent my first copy.
SO lovely to see it for real... kind of blown away by how the book looks and how much is actually in it! Well worth all those long hours spent at the kitchen table surrounded by mountains of cardboard...

It's actually a Gransnet giveaway - 10 copies of Make Your Own Zoo - running until the 24th August, and if anyone's interested, the link is HERE.

I haven't put any new MYOZ projects on my blog for ages! Time to change that I think, so this flighty flock will be making an appearance very soon :)

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Book ta-dah time! My Sunday Photo

....a little sooner than expected! I'd been gearing up for a 13th of August book release, but apparently if Amazon get them early, they send them out early. So a few people I know have theirs already, which is great and sort of strange as I've not seen one yet...but we are away!

I've had some lovely messages and pictures about Make Your Own Zoo - this is my 6 year old god-daughter and her flamingo.

Linking up with My Sunday Picture at onedad3girls