Lazing on a Sunday Crafternoon: Little Projects for People with Just a Little Time and Little Skill

Lazing on a Sunday Crafternoon: Little Projects for People with Just a Little Time and Little Skill

by Eliza Muldoon

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A year's worth of really simple Sunday afternoon craft projects for parents to undertake with their kids—great fun and easy to make for even the most artistically challenged

A collection of 52 blissfully simple craft ideas to make with a child helper, this beautiful book will have you creating delightful things out of everyday household


A year's worth of really simple Sunday afternoon craft projects for parents to undertake with their kids—great fun and easy to make for even the most artistically challenged

A collection of 52 blissfully simple craft ideas to make with a child helper, this beautiful book will have you creating delightful things out of everyday household items using nothing more than your own time and ingenuity. An adult and child can while away hours of crafting fun with Eliza Muldoon as she explains how to make these easy projects—a child's headband or apron, peg dolls, skirts and shoe adornments, practical bags, tool belts, felt food or felt folk finger puppets, elegant envelopes, and unique artworks to adorn the home.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Australian author Muldoon gathers a selection of 52 crafts, one for each Sunday of the year. Explaining the origins of her family’s crafting tradition, Muldoon explains, “The projects needed to be short enough to keep a toddler’s attention... and simple enough so the day remained a joy rather than became a chore.” The book covers basic stitches and other techniques, then shows readers how to create felt food items (like a fried egg), a denim shoulder bag, and clothespin dolls, among many more. Instructions are aimed at adults, but Muldoon explains how she involved her daughter, Lotte, who appears in several of the accompanying photos. All ages. (May)

Product Details

Allen & Unwin Pty., Limited
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.20(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Read an Excerpt

Lazing on a Sunday Crafternoon

Little Projects for People with Just a Little Time and a Little Skill

By Eliza Muldoon

Allen & Unwin

Copyright © 2013 Eliza Muldoon
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-74269-562-4


Colour-coded collage card

Idea and inspiration

Colour-coding, collage and handmade gift cards are three of my favourite craft activities. Bringing them together is an absolute delight.

It's actually quite hard to calculate the total time taken because I can spend hours browsing through magazines! However, these images were all from two magazines so it didn't take too long for this project. It was also difficult to limit this to just one afternoon. Even now I'm tempted to start flicking through magazines.

Time taken Less than 10 minutes for each card

What we used

* Magazine pictures

* Scissors

* A4 white cardboard

* Glue stick for each person

What I did

First the preparation

* Lotte and I sat down on the floor with magazines and looked for lovely pictures. For me, the keys to a good picture are: it doesn't have any type on it, it is front on, I can see the whole object, and it is the right size for the card. Home decor is my preferred genre and my choices tend to be furniture; Lotte's tend to be animals.

* Once we made our selection, I loosely cut out everything we liked from the magazines and sorted the pictures into colour categories as we went. Little thought was given to the construction and card design at this stage.

Now for the construction

* I folded a sheet of cardboard in half (top to bottom) then half again. If you are using thick cardboard, cutting the A4 page in half and folding once would be better.

* Then I trimmed the chosen images as closely as I could and started arranging the images for each card. I tried not to overthink it, relying on the common colour to make it look cohesive, and just moved things around until I was happy with it. I would often try quite a few combinations before settling on my final image.

* I put the glue on the back of the images and carefully stuck them onto the front of the card. The glue should be dry by the time you finish your next card.

* Repeat to create as many cards as time allows — I could do this all day!


* There are so many picture possibilities — I'm itching to make more right now!

* Smaller versions also make gorgeous gift tags.

* Sometimes I wrap gifts in plain or brown paper and stick the collage directly onto the package wrapping.


Basic ring bling

Idea and inspiration

I have seen many button rings over the years. I have bought some, and lost some as well. I wanted to make a nice big black button ring for myself to wear to work, but I didn't have any of the metal ring backs that they're typically glued onto. I tried a few things and then found some hat elastic. Brilliant. It works a treat and is quite a comfortable fit too.

Time taken 10 minutes

What we used

* Button

* Cotton spool, to help with threading

* Black hat elastic

What I did

First the preparation

* Obviously, I chose the button — it had to have holes big enough for the hat elastic. I quite like large rings so the bigger the button, the better. I also prefer buttons with four holes but two-holed buttons also work.

* I found something about the same width as my finger (I used a little cotton spool — a stick would work as well).

Now for the construction

* I threaded the elastic through two diagonal holes in the button and wrapped it around the spool.

* Then I threaded it back through the other diagonal holes and made another loop of elastic.

* Finally I tied a tight and discreet little knot under the button. I cut the elastic close to the knot and my ring was done.


A similar method could be used to make hair elastics. I would just use a two-holed button and thread the hat elastic through the holes, then tie a knot.

You could also, of course, buy the metal ring backs — this will hugely expand the range of buttons and things you can make into rings. Old earrings, tiny flowers and little plastic animals all come to mind.


This was made quite quickly — I spent most of the ten minutes working out how to tie it — so Lotte simply asked what I was doing, watched a little and that was it. I thought she wasn't paying much attention until later when she made one by herself and brought it over to me to tie the knot. So proud!


Board of corks

Idea and inspiration

I can't explain how excited I was when I saw a bucketload of wine corks for sale at my much-loved re-use centre. When I was a kid, I saw a board made of corks in a magazine and I wondered how anyone would ever collect enough corks to make one (my mum was a non-drinker and my dad was more of a beer or rum man). I actually started asking people to save them for me but I never managed to get enough. So, when I saw the glorious bucketful, I knew exactly what I would use them for. I went straight upstairs to the timber offcut section and chose a bit of wood that wouldn't need any cutting, 26 cm × 30 cm × 8 mm. Then I floated home.

If you don't collect or stumble across a pile of wine corks, you might find them online (I have since bought them on eBay too). Choosing timber that matches the length and width of the corks saves time and effort; if you can't find a suitable offcut, you can get a board cut to size at hardware stores (or look through their offcuts). They can also advise you on the best glues — you need one that's quite thick so you can apply a layer to work the cork into.

I love this board so much that I only stick one thing on it at a time — usually sweet thank you cards from students (like this one).

Time taken 30 minutes — because I didn't have to cut the timber

What we used

* About 100 wine corks

* Piece of plywood 8-mm thick

* Newspaper — it's messy!

* All-purpose glue

* Picture-hanging strips — the removable, double-sided adhesive kind

What I did

First the preparation

I worked out how many corks I needed by lining them up across the top and then down the side. I made sure they covered the edges so I couldn't see the backing board once the corks were glued on. I had six corks across and fourteen down, so 84 corks were needed in total.

Now for the construction

* I spread out newspaper and put the board on top.

* I put a line of glue across the board, enough to squish the corks into. Next I very carefully glued the cork onto the board, arranging them one at a time so I could see the images. I also thought about ensuring the ends were even so I would start to consider both the images and the size of the corks as I near the edges. It took quite a bit of focus but I got more efficient as I went on.

Note: I can't be too rough with it, I realised after I knocked a cork off while clumsily carrying the board. The cork was easily glued back on though.


Lotte was just lovely and helpful throughout this project. She had a great time playing with the corks and made them into little people who were having a good chat. I put some in a bowl of water to show her how they floated and of course they became boats. She also helped by passing me the corks one by one, which made me work a bit faster than I would have otherwise!


Felt food — The egg

Idea and inspiration

I first saw these in a magazine photo where a little girl was playing with them. Not being very familiar then with the modern world of craft, I hadn't seen them before. Felt food — genius! So I did an internet search for 'felt food'. Oh my goodness! My life shifted a little that day. There are some incredible and inspirational items out there. I chose the really easy ideas. I have never actually looked up how to make them (though I probably should). So this is the way I made one of our favourites — the egg. It was also the first toy I made for my daughter.

Time taken 15 minutes — some foods take less time, some more

What we used

* A4 white and yellow felt sheets

* Pencil

* Scissors

* Sewing machine — easily hand-stitched though

* Stuffing

What I did

First the preparation

* On a piece of white felt, I drew an eggwhite shape. I put another piece of white felt behind that one and cut out both pieces inside the pencil line (so the pencil marks were cut off). Cutting out both pieces together ensured they were the same.

* Then I drew a little yolk shape on the yellow felt and cut that out.

Now for the construction

* I placed the yolk somewhere egg-like on one of the eggwhite pieces and straight-stitched the yolk on, with a seam close to the edge and most of the way around. I put a little stuffing in the open section while still at the machine, before finishing the seam. I trimmed the threads as I finished each stage.

* Then I put the two white pieces together, with the yolk visible on the top, and sewed a seam quite close to the edge, most of the way around. I filled the egg with more stuffing — not too much though — and finished the seam.


* You are only limited by your imagination — and skills. We have made toast, biscuits (with little embroidered choc chips), and lettuce (which was just a wobbly cut-out of green felt). Some of these were made on a crafternoon with my talented friends Lee and Stella, who way outclassed me — all while monitoring four children in the background!

* When starting your felt food collection, try giving your children simple cut-out felt pieces to play with while you sew.


Lotte is always eager to make suggestions for food types. Now I just get out the box of felt food and she plays with those while she waits for the new arrival. The egg continues to be a favourite though. We bought a little old frying pan and she has now mastered the art of flipping it in the pan.


Good-hair-day headband

Idea and inspiration

I have been making these since I was about ten, maybe younger. When Liberty print was cool in the 80s, I made one out of Liberty print. When paisley had a comeback in the 90s, I made one out of paisley fabric. When retro prints were cool in the & well, you get the idea. These headbands are my way of indulging the trend du jour without spending more than a few dollars. Oh so miserly. Another reason I love them so much is because they can work wonders on a bad hair day. And I have many, many bad hair days.

I am very happy with this one — it is such a gorgeous print! This was a beautiful Japanese fabric square from a craft fair: I bought it after convincing myself I would make a patchwork quilt (as if) and it had been lying around unused for two years. I also think this headband is the best fit so far — thanks to the elastic, either of us can wear it.

Time taken 30 minutes, or less once you have the hang of it

What we used

* Measuring tape

* Fabric piece — 60 × 20 cm is plenty

* Scissors

* Sewing machine — could be hand-sewn too

* An iron

* Spray starch (optional)

* Piece of elastic about 3–4 cm long

* Needle and thread

What I did

First the preparation

* To work out the fabric length, I measured around my head where the headband would go (53 cm).

* After deciding how wide I wanted my headband to be (5 cm), I doubled the width and added a 1 cm seam allowance for each side (total width 12 cm).

* I cut my fabric to size (53 × 12 cm). I didn't need a seam allowance on the ends (for reasons that will become clear).

Now for the construction

* I folded the fabric in half lengthways with the right sides together, and did a basic straight stitch along the open side. (Hand-sewing with a basic straight stitch would work too.)

* After turning the fabric right side out — it looked like a tube of fabric — I ironed it flat with the seam down the middle of one side. You can starch it at this point, if you like.

* At the ironing board, I also folded each of the ends into a triangle and ironed them, before tucking the ends of the triangle (about 1 cm) inside the tube.

* Then I inserted the piece of elastic between the ends so about 2 cm of elastic was visible, and hand-stitched (rather badly) the elastic and fabric ends together. (With hindsight I realised that a sewing machine may have made more sense here.) I neatly trimmed all threads.

* The headband was now finished and ready to wear.

Note: If the headband doesn't fit properly, just unstitch one end and increase or decrease the length of the elastic — not a big deal (I'm quite used to undoing and redoing now).


These headbands can be thinner, wider, adorned with flowers, embroidered — whatever you like! You can also create a more 50s look by making another little rectangle of fabric and tying a knot around the top of the headband.


I had a lot of fabric out for this project, so Lotte simply played one of her favourite games — 'stepping stones'. Fabric pieces were spread around the room and she had to stay on them so the 'water monster' didn't get her. We have found this game works much better on floors that aren't too slippery!


Loving letters

Idea and inspiration

This was inspired by the purchase of a roll of self-adhesive magnetic tape at a stationery store. My thought process went something like this:

Magnetic tape! Genius! I need this!

Hmmm. What can I make with magnetic tape?

Pretty much limited to stuff that will stick on the fridge.

What would I want on the fridge?

Letters to make words! Maybe I can use them to teach the little one too.

Magnetic tape is genius. I did need it.

Time taken About an hour

What we used

* Magnetic tape

* Ruler

* Pencil

* White cardboard — 20 × 21 cm

* Black marker — width of choice

* Eraser

* Quick laminate sheets

* Paper cutter or scissors

What I did

First the preparation

* To determine the width of my letters, I measured the width of the magnetic tape (2 cm). Then I drew a 2 cm × 3 cm grid in pencil on the sheet of cardboard.

* I looked up Scrabble tile letter allocation to help me decide how many I should have of each letter. I decided to have three of each vowel and two of each consonant.

* Using pencil first, I wrote a letter in each rectangle of the grid. I went over them in black marker pen, before erasing any sign of my pencilled letters (I love erasing).

Now for the construction

* To help the letters last longer, I stuck a sheet of laminate on the front of each cardboard sheet. This is done by placing the adhesive side onto the lettered side of the cardboard.

* I cut the sheets into 2-cm wide strips of letters — this made it easy to stick the magnetic tape on the back.

* Finally I cut out each letter.


* Instead of writing them, you could type and print out the letters.

* I think these would be even cuter in children's handwriting (mine can't write yet though).

* You could make the vowels a different colour, or make all the letters various colours. Try using coloured paper, or even white letters on black paper. (Oh, I wish I'd done that now!)

* If you can't get the tape, you can use A4 magnetic sheets and then trim them to size — these are also available from stationery stores.


This was when my daughter first discovered the joy of ruling lines. She didn't stick it out for the whole process, but was happy for me to continue uninterrupted, except for cuddles and chats. The letters have been used to make lots of little phrases, like 'we love you' and 'welcome' for guests. I really look forward to the day when Lotte starts making her own words with them.


Oh-so-simple skirt

Idea and inspiration

My friend Deb's mum made me a hot-pink tube skirt in the 80s and I wore it until it fell apart. While tripping down memory lane one day, it occurred to me that I now have the straight-stitch skills I need to make such skirts (well, very basic imitations of them). Woohoo!

These are fantastic preschool skirts. My daughter now has five of them.

Time taken 30 minutes is plenty of time

What we used

* Measuring tape

* Fabric — bought at a re-use centre

* Thick elastic — I just used elastic I found at home (it was from post–knee surgery stockings!)

* Sewing machine

* Big safety pin

What I did

First the preparation

* I measured around Lotte's waist and added 20 cm (it seemed like a reasonable amount — enough for seam allowance, a nice gather as well as a little room for growth. I would add about 30–50 cm for me though).

* Then I measured the desired length and to that I added 10 cm to allow for elastic and seams.

* My fabric ended up about 70 cm × 35 cm. The width was double the length. (I'm going to use that ratio from now on.)


Excerpted from Lazing on a Sunday Crafternoon by Eliza Muldoon. Copyright © 2013 Eliza Muldoon. Excerpted by permission of Allen & Unwin.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Eliza Muldoon is a university professor. 

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