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CARDBOARD SUPERBIKES ARE GO!

By ARCHIVE

I’m capitalising on that cliché that comes with a children’s gift that they (the kid) are often more interested in the box. Cardboard is king. It’s versatile, readily available and recyclable.

I made a cardboard motorbike at Christmas in about three minutes flat (no word of a lie). There was an urgency; we needed a distraction. There were two pieces: a profile silhouette of a bike and a set of handlebars slotted in to it at a right angle.

For my son’s birthday at the start of the week, I upgraded the now rather too floppy first bike for a more developed version. It was sturdier, but too fussy round the back. While he went a bit Basquiat with the decoration, I worked on a third prototype – ironing out the telemetry and so on…

Version 3 won’t take long to make and will last for more than a few hours. Then, when your junior Evel Knievel is done and has abandoned the bike like a delinquent joyrider and moved on to poking sticks in your plant pots/teasing Polly Pocket into her rubber flip flops or whatever, you can (very nearly) recycle all of it.

By all means deviate from the classic superbike shape: try a laid-back Chopper (think Jack Nicholson in Easy Rider), or show some ultra cool credentials with a sneaky Google for ‘Café Racer’ – I didn’t know either, but it’s definitely the one I would get (?!). Before you know it, you’ll have a garage full.

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  • Cardboard – quite a bit. Think between 60-100cm x 70cm for the bike (depending on the size of your child) and you need this twice so you can sandwich the wheel in place.
  • For the seat: a piece of cardboard about the size of an iPad.
  • For the handlebars: a piece about the size of two iPads side by side (on the long side).
  • For the wheels: I had some foam board knocking about, which is really sturdy. You need two disks, each the size of a dinner plate. Or, if you just have cardboard, cut four disks – double up and glue together for strength. Use a dinner plate as a template for drawing a wheel-sized circle.
  • Glue
  • Tape (masking/elephant/brown)
  • A pen/pencil
  • Strong scissors/scalpel. A cutting mat.
  • Felt tips, paint, washi tape, electrical tape, stickers for decoration.

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1. Follow our step-by-step animation above, or read on for a recap.

2. Collect your materials up.

3. Draw a silhouette of a motorbike minus the wheels (keep it simple) on your large piece of cardboard.

4. Cut it out and use as a template for another piece exactly the same. Cut the other side out.

5. Draw your wheel outlines on foam or cardboard. Cut these out using a scalpel or good heavy duty scissors.

6. On a smaller piece of cardboard, draw an outline of the bike’s handlebars and include a small notch at the base of the bars that will allow you to slot them onto the bike. Cut this out.

7. On another small piece of cardboard, draw the outline of a bike seat (like a pear shape) and include one notch at the thin end and one at the thick end, to fix it into the seat space. When cutting, don’t go mad on neatness – the bike will get bashed about. Better to go mad on glueing it well!

8. Sandwich the wheel inbetween the two sides of the bike and tape well and/or glue. Allow to dry.

9. Slot in your handlebars and seat and… BOOM! Let’s go! Obviously you can paint and decorate at your leisure…

Photography & styling: Ruth Howes

 

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9 CRAFTY BOREDOM BUSTERS FOR KIDS

By KID WRANGLING

How are the school holidays going for you? After visiting Kidzania London yesterday aka Capitalism The Theme Park!, I am yearning for the sweet release of the school bell on Tuesday morning. So if you’ve run out of ideas to keep the kids entertained try these easy, crafty projects that use everyday bits and pieces that you can find at home or at the supermarket.

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THE 5 MINUTE PIRATE HOOK

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You just need a paper cup, a piece of tin foil and some scissors. You’ll be swashbuckling before you know it. See the full post here.

LL_2WITH THE 5 MINUTE PIRATE SWORD

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You’re not a pirate without a sword right? you just need some newspaper (or wrapping paper), some tape and a piece of card to complete your piratey look. See the full post and DIY video here.

LL_3HOLIDAY MEMORY JARS

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If you’ve sailed the seven seas… or taken a trip to the coast you might want to keep your treasure in a holiday jar complete with a picture of your trip. See the full post here.

LL_4A HELMET FOR YOUR TEDDY

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If your teddy is going to explore outer space, or join Daft Punk, he’s going to need a space helmet. All you need is a small cardboard box, some foil and a pipe cleaner. 5 minutes to blast off….

LL_5CRAZY PAPER MONSTERS

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These guys are super easy, you can make them from scraps and they will entertain little monsters for ages. See the full post here.

LL_6CHUNKY BEADED KEYRINGS

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These are great for older kids to make themselves. I originally posted it as a Mother’s Day activity, but if you’ve got some wool, some chunky beads and an old key ring, you’ve got a fun activity and a cool thing to hang on your school bag for the new term. See the full post here.

LL_7MAKE SOME GIANT PAPER FLOWERS

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Brighten up a kids room with these giant poppies. They look impressive and they are only made of tissue paper and pipe cleaners. See how you do it here.

LL_8GLITTER BUNTING

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Another way to brighten up a bedroom using only cardboard, string and a sprinkle of glitter.  See the full post here.

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A MAGICAL SPARKLE CAVE

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If you’ve got fairly lights and a cardboard box, you’ve got a magical sparkle cave. Then sit down and have a cup of tea while they drag every item they own into the box with them. See the full post here.

Photography & styling; Emma Scott-Child

 

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10 CHRISTMAS HACKS TO GET YOU THROUGH DECEMBER

By HACKY MONDAYS

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MINIMISE WRAP RAGE

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There’s going to be a lot of wrap-rage in the next few weeks as we all try to tame rolls of paper. Minimise the grumbles by putting cardboard toilet roll tubes around the roll to stop it from unraveling. If the paper roll is too wide, cut a slit along the cardboard tube and slide it on. The stiffness of the card will still hold it together.

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LET SANTA DO THE TALKING

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Parents have been using the Santa method for hundreds of years to scare their little darlings into submission, but now we have extra technology to help with the ‘magic’.

On my phone I have changed my husband’s name and picture to ‘Father Christmas’. He gives us a call at about 7.30pm if bedtime starts to go awry. So far it’s working a treat!

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EASY PRECISION ICING

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If you’re doing some delicate decorating, don’t faff about with a piping bag for a tiny cookie. Use a plastic syringe. The kind you get with a bottle of kids’ paracetamol. It works a treat and you use much less icing.

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BACK-TO-FRONT ADVENT CALENDAR

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I’ve been meaning to do for ages is clear out some of the kids’ toys before a fresh batch of clutter arrives but this Christmas hack is a way of sorting that our without lifting a finger. Get your kids to choose one thing each day that they don’t need anymore and add it to the back-to-front advent calendar. It can be something small, or something they’ve grown out of. On Christmas Eve Santa will come and take the toys away to give to some other children who aren’t fortunate enough to have so many nice things.

Hulk doesn’t look impressed with the situation.

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WRAP WEIRD SHAPED THINGS

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It doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s anything other than a standard box shape, it’s a bitch to wrap. So here’s some advice.
1. Get loads of tissue paper and some string.
2. Wrap it up like a giant bon-bon.
3. Done.

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STRAY GLITTER BE GONE

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Pick up stray glitter by rolling playdough over it and it will come right off. You’ll be left with a clean surface and some festive play dough. That’s a win win.

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MAKE YOUR HOUSE SMELL LIKE CHRISTMAS

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If you’re lucky enough to have a working fireplace, make you house smell like Christmas with a gift for the fire.

Gather some herb twigs like rosemary, bay and cinnamon, some cloves, a small branch off your christmas tree and a couple of dried pine cones if you have some. Wrap them up in newspaper like a giant candy and tie the ends with the raffia or string. Store it upwards next to the fireplace so it will dry nicely then throw it onto the fire for a bit of seasonal aromatherapy. See the full post here.

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FREEZE LEFT OVER WINE

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On the unlikely occasion that you have some leftover wine, freeze it in an ice cube tray and use it the next time you’re cooking with a recipe that requires a bit of booze (like our rabbit braised in wine, mustard and cream).

Which is also great because you don’t need to share your next bottle of wine with your bolognese.

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DON’T GET IN A TANGLE

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When you do take down your tree, wrap your lights around a coat hanger and hang them in a cupboard to avoid getting in a tangle next year.

As a side note – you should obviously unplug them before you do this, I just switched them back on for the photo because I thought it would look cool …but I may have also just invented some cheap interior wardrobe lighting.

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MAKE A SPARKLE CAVE

Before the fairy lights get wound up and put away for another year, perhaps they could make a pit-stop as a pretty sparkle cave?

Put the box on its side. Make holes with a pencil in the side that forms the ceiling. Then poke the lights through the holes from the top. Obviously this involves electricity, so use low voltage LED lighting, make sure the kids are supervised, and don’t let them take any drinks or liquids into their cave. See the full tutorial here. 

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Photography and styling: Emma Scott-Child

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WHAT TO PACK FOR A FESTIVAL WITH KIDS

By KID WRANGLING, TRAVEL

LADYLAND X MOTHER OF ALL LISTS:
HOW TO SURVIVE A FESTIVAL WITH KIDS

We’re going to Camp Bestival! Can’t wait, a festival specifically designed for families, with an awesome line-up. And the perfect excuse to wear glitter as an adult, eat food from trucks and let the kids get bit feral for the weekend.

We’ve teamed up with Clemmie from Mother of All Lists who has all the tips for surviving a festival with kids. Head over to her site to see her definitive list, and keep reading here to find out what to pack.

Gone are the days when my luggage was basically: cut-off jeans, 50 cans of cider and pop-up tent… I now have two kids and a husband in tow, and as much as I love getting back to nature, there are some things I really can’t live without. My kids are 3 and 5, so they are out of nappies, if you’re taking a baby, there will obviously be a mountain of nappies to add to this list (you can never have too many – keep some in the car too where it’s dry). I also haven’t included clothes because, that’s obvious. So here goes…

 

DAY BAG

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Each adult needs a backpack with everything you’ll need for the whole day without having to schlep back to the tent because someone forgot their jumper.  The Camp Bestival theme this year is Space, so this Tiba+Marl silver changing backpack is pretty perfect. These are the bits you’ll need for the day.

  • Raincoats, for everyone
  • A small umbrella
  • Toilet paper – keep it in a plastic bag
  • Sunscreen
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Plasters
  • Beanies for everyone – it gets COLD! More cold than you’d think. Also bring tights or leggings for little legs. Lots of little layers are good.
  • A hip flask – or a thermos for your booze of choice.
  • Wipes – for literally everything.
  • Ear defenders for the littlies if the music is too loud.
  • Bottle of water, plus this flavoured Robinson’s squash stuff to make it more interesting for kids, you just need a few drops to flavour it.
  • Kid snacks – Ella’s pouches, even for older kids (it’s better than carting around an actual squashed banana in your bag), rice cakes, muesli bars, anything that will stave off a tantrum.
  • Vaseline and glitter! – There will be a moment when you’re queuing for beer and the kids start to drive you nuts. That’s when you crack out the glitter and give everyone a tribal disco make over.
  • Glow sticks – useful for two reasons. They transform tired kids into delighted kids, plus it’s easy to identify them in the dark after a few drinks… Clemmie has some good tips on how not to lose your kids too!
  • A baby carrier – not just for babies – my husband carried a sleeping 4 year old in our Ergo Baby last year!

CAMPING EQUIPMENT

  • A tent – the bigger the better. Make sure it has a porch section that is separate to the inside so you can sit and drink wine in shelter after the kids go to sleep.
  • Spare tent pegs – you cannot have too many.
  • A mallet – always useful, everyone forgets to bring one (they will want to borrow yours, write your name on it so you get it back.)
  • A lantern that hangs up – you need to be able to light up the tent hands-free to deal with ‘incidents’ in the night – kids, nappies, accidents.
  • Spare batteries for the lantern.
  • A headlamp.
  • A wind break – this is for safety more than privacy, so kids don’t run off between tents and garotte themselves on a guy rope.
  • A fold up bath – good for washing kids and dishes, also doubles as a small pool if it’s hot.
  • A water canister – one with a tap on it is good.
  • Elastic straps with hooks – good for attaching things to other things, which you will need to do at some point.
  • A wagon, or a buggy that’s good off road (ie: not a Bugaboo Bee) – we bought our red wagon last year and it is fabulous for carting kids around the festival as well as stuff to and from the car. It has a cover for the rain and can fit two kids in sitting up, but only one lying down. If you want a bigger one, there are some great folding ones on Amazon which will fit two sleeping kids, but they aren’t as cute. You can always jazz it up though.
  • Bunting – or decorations for your campsite, tinsel, flags, ribbons, make it fun!
  • Wellies – ESSENTIAL.
  • Air mattress – don’t get a cheap one, and get one with a battery operated pump
  • ReadyBeds for the kids – they double as a blow up mattress and a sleeping bag
  • A duvet – not a sleeping bag, an actual soft, fluffy duvet. Bring it in a vacuum packed bag to make it take up less room.
  • Real pillows – your back and neck will thank you on day 3.
  • Blankets – keep them in a bin bag so they don’t get wet, bring spares.
  • Towels – not for showering (ha! showering, that’s cute). For drying stuff like chairs, hair, hands.

SEATING

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You need to make sure everyone has something to sit on if the ground is a giant mud pie. Especially toddlers. There is nothing worse than having a kid on your lap for 4 days.

  • Ikea highchair – best highchair ever. The legs come off so it’s easy to transport. It also keeps toddlers contained while you put up the tent etc.
  • Fold-up chairs – adult and kids size
  • A fold-up table – these roll-up ones are great, they are the easiest to transport. Don’t get one where the chairs are connected. They are uncomfortable to sit on and a bit of a faff.
  • A plastic coated picnic rug – This one that rolls up is ideal. Great for babies to roll around on, take it with you for the day if it fits in the buggy/wagon.

ENTERTAINMENT

Bring toys and games for things to do in down-time. Aside from a few bedtime books and the regular favourite teddies, here are a few other ideas:

  • Nothing made of cardboard or fabric which will get wrecked in the rain.
  • Inflatable things are great for the campsite – a beach ball or a blow up dinosaur is always fun.
  • Crafty things – last year we all made plaited wool headbands for our crew. The kids loved making them, which kept them occupied while we sorted stuff out and when they were all wearing them it was easy to spot them in the crowd. Double whammy!

TOILETRIES

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Unless you are actually covered in vomit (yours or someone else’s) you have no reason to shower for four days – just go with it. Everything can be cleaned with some sort of wipe and disposed of in some sort of bag.

  • Baby wipes – for bodies, babies, adults, everyone. Get 5 packets.
  • Waterwipes – for wiping spoons, cups, plates if you can’t be bothered doing actually washing up
  • Anti-bacterial wipes – for pottys, surfaces, highchairs, things toddlers will lick.
  • Toilet paper – keep it in a plastic bag.
  • Potty & potty bags – this folding one is genius. Not just for kids too, for the whole family when the port-a-loos are hideous.
  • Dry shampoo and a tangle teaser – figure out a hairstyle that looks good 4 days in, I go for the topknot.
  • Toiletries and make-up, maybe some glitter too?!
  • Ear plugs – ESSENTIAL
  • Bin bags – all of the bin bags.
  • Resealable plastic bags – great for snacks, wet clothes, things that are gross, muddy stuff and pooey nappies in your day pack.

A “SICK BAG”

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I have one of these in the car all the time, but it’s particularly good for camping to have everything in one place if someone spews on themselves, or suddenly gets ill. It includes:

  • Anti-bacterial wipes and hand sanitizer.
  • A plastic bag – for sick clothes.
  • A spare top, pair of pants and nappies (even for older kids, if they have the runs).
  • Thermometer, Calpol sachets and spoon.
  • Any other regular medication, asthma puffers etc.
  • Antiseptic gel for cuts and grazes.
  • A small bottle of water – for drinking or cleaning

FOOD & COOKING

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I really love festival food, but when you’re with kids you need to make sure you’ve got things they actually like (turns out not every three-year-old is a fan of Goan fish curry). Plus, you want things that are easy to grab in the face of a hangry tantrum.

  • Chilly bin / coolbox / Eski – Use frozen peas as an ice pack and an ingredient. Handy!
  • Camping stove – most festivals won’t let you use a gas BBQ unless you’re in the campervan area.
  • Oven mit
  • Lighter – no one smokes anymore, they are hard to find!
  • Washing up bowl, cloths, detergent
  • Chopping board
  • A big knife
  • Cutlery
  • Plates, cups bowl
  • Small tupperware to keep leftovers.
  • Saucepan and wooden spoon.
  • A stove-top teapot – water boils faster in one of these than in a saucepan, so when you wake up in that no-one-look-at-me-until-I’ve-had-some-tea kind of mood, it will be 3 minutes quicker.
  • Mugs for tea
  • Teabags & mini long-life milk – in a plastic container so they don’t get soggy – ESSENTIAL!
  • Booze of choice and a thermos to chill it in.
  • Bottle opener & corkscrew
  • Condiments, salt, pepper etc – don’t forget oil to cook with.
  • Ikea clippy clips – to re-seal bags of kid snacks.

Some food ideas – these are our go-to middle-class camping meals.

  • Avocado on toast with a fried egg …I did say “middle-class”.
  • Pre-made shackshuka with a fried egg – make the sauce at home, bring it frozen.
  • The Loch Ness Sandwich (invented while camping on the shores of Loch Ness). Consists of a pitta pocket (they don’t go stale if you keep them sealed) with a sausage (the monster) in a lake of mushy peas and ketchup… you don’t need plates for this!
  • Halloumi and veggie kebabs
  • Veggie tacos – use a butternut squash instead of meat. Check out Hungermama’s recipe.
  • Pasta – kids effing love pasta

 

ONE MORE THING…

There is one hugely important thing to pack, which isn’t pictured here for good reason – IT NEVER LEAVES THE CAR…

  • A bag with a new outfit including socks, underwear and shoes for every family member. There is nothing more lovely than knowing your ride home will be in dry socks, mud-free. And the inside of your car will be saved from looking like an outtake from Saving Private Ryan …on the inside at least. Do not use it until you leave, no matter how tempting it is three days in when you’re covered in mud. 

And don’t fret if the forecast looks like rain. Last year we went to the Green Man festival and it rained the whole time but we still had loads of fun. In fact I think it was more fun because we had the kids with us and rather than huddling in a beer tent waiting for the rain to stop, we were out there jumping in puddles in our wellies as a family. Some of my favourite memories. 

Don’t forget to check out Clemmie’s tips too!

Good luck, hopefully we’ll see you there!

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Photography and styling: Emma Scott-Child

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MY WINTER DUVET IS GOING UNDERCOVER AS A POUF THIS SUMMER

By CRAFT

I’m sure there are a lot of other people in the same predicament as me right now. You live in a flat with hardly any storage space, it’s summer, you no longer need a bulky winter duvet* but you have nowhere to put it if it’s not on your bed. Sure you can stuff it in a bag and shove it in your wardrobe (with the other bags of stuff that sit in the bottom of the wardrobe crumpling your maxi dresses) or you could use one of those vacuum bags that last for about 10 minutes before sneaking up on you again like a big creepy marshmallow.

Folks, I have the answer – and it includes neon edging and cute dangly pompoms (obvs!) – the duvet pouf. Make an easy pouf-shaped cushion-cover and stuff the bastard duvet in there. It brightens up your lounge all summer, hides the creepy marshmallow and acts as the perfect foot stool/cat bed/toddler gym all at the same time.
Here’s how I did it: it’s a very simple pattern, basically a cylinder shape, and you could create it in any style depending on the fabric. I’ve gone, rather predictably, for a boho-mexican-raver style, but you could make one more subtle. You can stuff all sorts of things in there that you don’t need in summer, sleeping bags, parkas, Frozen DVDs. You get the picture.
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2m of strong lining fabric that doesn’t have any stretch – I used calico
2m of decorative outer fabric
Some chalk to mark out the shapes
Some cardboard to help draw the circles
A thumb tack
Scissors
Sewing pins
Any trimmings you want to add. I got mine from VV Rouleaux. They are the shiz.
A button
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1. First decide on the size of your pouf. I like a large pouf (ooh-er) so mine is 50cm in diameter and 40cm tall. I can fit a king-size down duvet and a sleeping bag in it. For a regular double duvet, 40cm diameter and 30cm would be big enough.
Now, cast your mind back to your 7th grade maths homework and figure out the circumference of your circle. I’ll help you because I had to look it up too!
C = π d **  (huh?)
Basically, multiply the diameter of your circle by 3.14
For a 40cm wide pouf, you need 125.6cm of fabric around the side.
For a 50cm wide pouf, you need 157cm.image
2. Mark out your pieces in both the lining and the outer fabric with chalk.
1 full circle for the top
1 long rectangular piece. Mine was 157cm x 40cm
2 circles that have a 1/4 missing off the side. These will form the bottom. They need to overlap to form one full circle so they each need to cover more than half of the circle base.To draw a perfect circle, cut a piece of card (part of an old box will do) which is the length of your radius and about 1 inch thick with a V cut out of the end (see pic below). Using a thumbtack, pin it to the centre of your circle (do it on the floor or somewhere you can stick a pin into) then nestle the chalk into the V and spin it around like a compass to trace the circle.image

3. Cut out your pieces about an inch from the chalk line so your fabric is slightly larger than you need it to be.

4. Iron your lining fabric and your outer fabric on top of each other so the corresponding pieces are sitting flat and smoothly together.5. If you are going to add trimming around the top, now is the time to do it. Pin your trimming along the top edge of the long rectangle leaving at least an inch above it to sew it to the top circle. Sew along the trimmings.

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6. Pin the long top edge of the rectangle around the edge of the top circle. Remember to do this inside-out and be careful to take note of the edge of the trimmings if you’ve done them. Sew around this edge to form a cylinder shape.

7. Now sew down the side seam to close off the walls of the pouf.

8. To make the bottom panel: Fold the straight edge of each part-circle to form a hem and sew.

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9. Overlap the part-circle pieces to form one full circle and pin them together.

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10. Pin the edge to the edge of the bottom of the pouf walls and sew around it. Now you can unpin the part circles and turn it inside out and your pouf is almost complete.

11. To finish it off, make a loop of fabric and sew it to the middle of the outer flap. Sew a button to the other flap so the duvet doesn’t try to bust out of the gap and the pouf will hold it’s shape.

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12. Stuff in the duvet and put your feet up!

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* Doona, to folks reading this in my native tongue

** Just a side note to Mrs Lee, my high school maths teacher: I hate to say it, but you were right, this is useful, but it’s also the first time I have had to use this since high school.

Photography & styling: Emma Scott-Child

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