Saturday, November 5, 2011

Felt Christmas Decorations

Last post I showed you a star Christmas decoration that was inspired from a keyring project from one of my japanese craft books.  Well I had so much fun making the star that I have made a few more decorations along the same style... I can see a new look for our Christmas tree this year!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Japanese craft book - keyring project

Here is another recent project from one of my japanese craft books.  I am really falling for japanese felt craft projects!   I had trouble sourcing wooden beads and quality string - I'm still working on that.  I'm not sure how well this keyring would hold up to going in and out of my handbag countless times... but it would be a lovely detail on a key that you leave in a door... or for keys you have hanging on a pretty key rack.

I enjoyed this project so much that I was inspired to create some Christmas decorations in the same style. I found this more 'rustic' string in the garden section of the hardware - it is some simple jute twine.

This project is from this book (ISBN 978-4-07-257064-7) again apologies I can't translate the author or title of the book.

The project is on page 16 and this is a picture of their keyring from the backcover

Saturday, October 22, 2011

When someone gives you lemons...

A gorgeous friend of mine gave me a bag full of fresh limes from her back garden today.

When someone gives you lemons make lemonade?  Or when someone gives you limes - make lime cordial.

Cordials are very simple & quick to make - put it in a pretty bottle and you have a lovely, simple gift - straight from your (or someone else's!) back garden.

Generally strong flavoured, tart, fruits such as citrus and berries - make great cordials.  Frozen berries are perfect for this.  Why not experiment with different fruits or combine flavours such as lime and raspberry.

For the lime cordial you need ...

130g fruit (including the rind of 3 limes) - crushed or cut into small pieces
(When using citrus include the rind (the coloured layer on the skin) - but remove as much of the white pith as possible)
300g water
Sugar (for weight see below) *

  • Bring the fruit (& rind) and water to a low boil - stir to break up the fruit.  Let simmer for a few minutes then remove from the heat. 
  • Strain the water and fruit mix through a fine sieve into a clean measuring jug - making a note of how many ml -  Or weigh the strained liquid.
  • Return the strained liquid to a clean saucepan. 
  • *Calculate 2/3 of the weight of the strained liquid and add this amount of sugar.  If you want a sweeter cordial you can add up to equal amounts of sugar to strained liquid.
  • Return the sugar and liquid to the heat and bring to a low boil, stirring to dissolve all the sugar.   (If you think you may want a sweeter cordial - taste at this point and then add the sugar accordingly.)
  • Once the sugar is dissolved let simmer for a couple of minutes
  • Pour the cordial into a clean bottle and let cool.  Keep refrigerated
If you are making a berry cordial - or other non citrus fruit - add a squeeze of lemon (to taste) to the cordial before bottling - it gives a nice 'lift' to the flavours.

Serve with ice, diluted with water to the desired strength.

This recipe is an adaptation from the 'Thermomix - everyday cooking for every family' cookbook

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My next craft book project...

This is my current craft book project.  I still have a bit more work to do on it to finish off.  I have used a 3mm wool cream felt (the same felt I used in the Scandinavian Needle work project) with 1mm wool felt embellishments.  I had never made the four petal flowers before - but they are surprisingly simple.

I hope to have some more detailed pictures when it is finished.

The title of the book *I think* translates to 'Felt de Komono' - but I am unsure of the translation for the author or publisher.  The ISBN is 978-4-07-257064-7.  The project I am working on is from page 40.

Below is a picture of the project from the book on page 40.

I have two japanese craft books that focus on felt - although they are printed in japanese (which I don't speak or read) - between the patterns and the photos they are quite easy to follow - well at least I think they are... I may well be missing some of the finer points to this craft!!  There are some really beautiful projects - quite unlike anything I have seen in other books.  I would highly recommend having a thumb through some Japanese craft books if you can get your hands on them.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Scandinavian needlecraft bag - finished.

I found some cotton lining and have finished the bag from the Scandinavian Needlecraft book by Clare Youngs. I used some cream 3mm thick pure wool felt for the bag, some wool felt scraps (1mm thick) for the embellishments and pearl cotton for the stitching. The fabric in the cut outs is a light denim from some 'too small' children's clothing. I really enjoy stitching in felt - because it is easy to bring the needle up anywhere through the felt and you don't have to worry about the weave of the fabric.

Sewing the bag together and pulling the needle through 6mm of felt can be difficult - especially where I was criss-crossing back over stitches - so I used some small pliers to pull the needle through - it is a lot easier on your fingers!

I am am so pleased to have finished this project - it has been on my 'want to make' list for a very long time! Now... I'm not exactly sure what I will do with this bag. It's not really a going out bag - but would be lovely have on display, or keep craft projects in.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Felt Garlands

I have become rather intrigued with felt garlands. Last Christmas I sewed together a string of circles from double sided scrapbooking papers to make a lovely twirly Christmas garland - but I have never made them from felt... until now

This is my first one (and I have a few more in the planning stages)
The colours and the design are fairly unimaginative, next time I will create something a little more interesting! - however it has been a good learning experience.

I have never sewn with nylon thread before. It is very slippery - I need to check my machine settings and manual.
The spacing of each flower is a little too close - I could have spaced them out more to get a 'floatier' look.
I need to work out the best way to space them - if I run my machine a few stitches with no material to sew the nylon thread twists and catches easily - maybe if I arrange the flowers on tissue paper and use the tissue to sew through in between the felt pieces?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Jellyfish in a bottle!

I saw this great tutorial for a jellyfish in a bottle over on Bhoomplay's blog. It is made very simply using a plastic bag. Cutting the plastic bag and getting it in the bottle is a little fiddly - but it is a great project.

We have all heard how turtles, dolphins and other sea animals can choke on plastic bags when they mistake them for jellyfish - this is such a fantastic visual to explain the concept to children and adults alike.

Needless to say our 'jellyfish in a bottle' went along to school for show and tell today... I hope the other children enjoy it too

Jellyfish tutorial here

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Current WIP.

Here is a sneak peak of what I am currently working on - if you have the same craft book you will know it - as it is on the front cover. I hope to finish it shortly - just need some co-ordinating fabric to finish the inside. I had some I thought would do ... but realised it is actually a poly cotton and won't iron well!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Kids Crafternoon - Sewing Project

I am on a mission to actually do some of the lovely projects from my stash of craft books. Craft books are lovely to browse through, pondering which materials I would use, thinking how lovely that would look on my bedside table/ in the kids bedroom / beside the fireplace, how much so and so would like that as a gift... but I very seldom make (and complete) the projects. So over the next few weeks... months.... maybe even years (I have quite a few craft books!!) I hope you will see more and more finished projects from my craft books.

I am in the process of completing my second project (more of that to come shortly) and I have already learnt a lot. By following the instructions as closely as possible (given in the Japanese craft book I was copying the picture rather than the written instructions!) - it has challenged me to do things differently - whether it is a different embroidery stitch or putting together colours I wouldn't put together. I thought that following the projects exactly in a craft book was not 'creative' - that unless I added my own twist to the project I was being productive rather than creative. However with the few projects I have completed I can see that they already have added to my repertoire of skills and possibilities.

Not long ago I bought the Kids Crafternoon, Sewing book (Hardie Grant Books, ISBN 9781742700403) Edited by Kathreen Ricketson. I thought the school holidays - especially with the weather we have been having - would be the perfect time to do some more sewing with the kids. My daughter chose the scarf project (page 46) - a series of rectangles and squares sewn together. She has used a sewing machine before - but I had to help her out quite a bit to keep the seams straight (one side of the scarf ended up a bit more like a 'J') - it was a fun project to do together.

We used some of her old 'too small' clothes (the florals and denims) mixed with some scraps from my stash. The beauty of using old clothes is that they are already soft, and loved, and the colours already go with what she has! Admittedly the scheme is a bit 'wild' for me - but she has worn it everywhere since it was finished!!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Grandmother's Advent Calendar

I grew up with this. In my memory we always had it and every late November we would start to pester mum about buying some sweets so it would be ready to put up on the 1st of December. To me it is as synonymous with Christmas as turkey and ham.

It was made by my grandmother from a cross stitch kit I believe she bought whilst on holiday in Scandinavia. It has seen a lot of Christmases and when on display has had a lot of little hands touching and marveling at its stitches and treats, counting the days till Christmas. I adore this calendar because it has so many happy memories and because my grandmother made it. I can remember the different houses and different places it hung in, the intricate schedules made up with my siblings about who would take the sweetie bags off each day, how some years we ate the sweets after dinner and some years we ate them in the morning, some days we would put in extra sweets because friends were coming to stay.

Now it is my children who get to marvel at this beautiful piece of work and touch the sweetie bags, counting the days till Christmas. I feel so lucky to have this piece of family heritage

I don't know if you can see from the photos - but there are a couple of rings that need re-stitching, the fabric has been stretched in places where it has been laden with sweets! So I am about to embark on repairing this embroidery piece. To be honest I am very nervous - I don't want to damage it in any way and I don't want to change anything about it. I need to google some information about caring and repairing embroidery pieces (any tips appreciated) But hopefully come December it will be ready and refreshed - I hope to show you a photo then.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Japanese Craft book project

I bought this Japanese craft book (ISBN 9784579111152) sometime ago and have spent a lot of time looking at all the gorgeous felt projects. I am afraid I do not know the english translation for the title or author - but if anyone out there does I'd love to find out?
I copied the project (page 24), including felt colours, as best I could from my supplies. I really enjoyed making this decorative bag garland - although the cutting out is quite laborious - sewing the details together is very satisfying and it is amazing how much the embroidery 'adds' to the design. There are also some lovely floral and bird motif garlands I am going to try. This style of work is something I think I could really get hooked on!!

My project... (above)

and here is the one from the book (page 24)

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dala Horse Craftalong

I am a little late with this one... but I so enjoyed seeing everyone's work in the Dala Horse Craftalong (see here on Flickr) I decided to add my belated work to the Flickr page anyway.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Recent projects finished

Here are a couple of pictures of recent items finished.
1. Some reversible headbands

2. Some 'window' bags for my son's ever growing collection of little things.

Sheena Chapman workshop - Branching Out

I recently had the pleasure of attending a workshop run by Sheena Chapman, called 'Branching out and Hang ups', at Calico & Ivy in Balmain. It is still in my WIP (work in progress) pile - but slowly I am getting it done.

The technique was quite new to me - involved taking a rotary cutter to your fabric with no pattern - shocking but also quite liberating!! Then cutting out the pictures in fabric to create butterflys, leaves & flowers. I am in the process now of embroidering the details and hope to turn it into a cushion cover.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Easter Crafting at Calico & Ivy

Sunday week ago - (yes it has taken me that long to blog about it :0) - I went to an Easter crafting high tea at Calico & Ivy in Balmain. You may have read in previous posts how much I love that store... love it so much I would happily pay to sit in a comfy couch in the corner and just soak it all in. Anyway...

The gorgeous Kelly Doust of the crafty minx fame was there to host the afternoon with some lovely ideas for Easter crafts we could achieve in the afternoon. We each chose three felt pieces from the Heather Bailey range and some thread... decisions decisions. Then set to work whilst being plied with tea and delicious home baked treats... definitely the nicest way to craft!

Click here to see Kelly's blog post about the afternoon (I couldn't believe that my egg cosy made it to her site!! so exciting) and click here to see Amy of Badskirt's blog post about the afternoon.

Finally here is my afternoon's work.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Three little bunnies

I found this great tutorial on craft passion for these lovely 'Easter bunny sachets'. I made three and filled them with lavender for the kids to give their teachers. The packaging is a simple cello bag and fold over card stapled to the top for the kids to write a message. A great alternative to chocolate.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Sew it Together

On Saturday I went to the Sew it Together event in Sydney. I only found out about this event recently and was so glad I went. So much fun to be in a room full of other people who like to craft and sew and talk about fabrics!

I started making a door stop at the Sew it Together (SIT) workshop and am pleased to say I finished it!! As I was leaving Leah said - put it on your blog - so I credit her with the inspiration to finish my doorstop house - thank you Leah.

Whilst I am pleased to have it finished there are a couple of issues - firstly I think it is a little overstuffed! Secondly it is not quite heavy enough to be a truly effective doorstop. However having just finished it I think I will enjoy that for a while before renovating!

Also just wanted to put a really big Thank you out there to Sheridan of chaletgirl for organising the weekend - no doubt it was a lot of work - but a truly awesome event!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Buttons Buttons Buttons

I found a huge bag of buttons very cheaply in one of the bargain bins at a craft store. I sorted through them and found some pretty blues, greens, grey, white and clear ones that looked nice together. I strung them all on a string - does not seem to matter if some have four holes and some have two... here is my very simple button necklace.

Not the best photo - but you'd be surprised how difficult it is to take a picture of yourself in the mirror with one hand and keep your shirt and the necklace looking OK!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Children's notice boards

I had some old magnetic boards lying around that were in desperate need of a face lift!

One I decoupaged in some fun paper from Kikki K to match these transport magnets.

The other one is covered in fabric. I made the magnets from fabric covered buttons. So easy and so much more interesting than plain white boards!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Applique Name Towel

I recently appliqued this towel for my daughter and it was surprisingly simple.

I chose a font from 'Word' (this one is Cooper Standard Black, of course, you could choose any font from any application). Then I sized it for the towel and printed it (in black outline to save ink!).

I cut out the paper letters and traced them onto my chosen fabrics, ironed some double sided fusible webbing onto the back of the fabric and then cut out the letters.

I ironed the letters onto the towel and then stitched around the outside of the letters in a small tight zig-zag stitch. This was probably the most difficult or fiddly part and would also depend a lot on the font you chose.

I have not done much machine applique work before - but the fusible webbing makes the process so simple. With all the beautiful fabrics around - as they say - the only limit is your imagination.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Singlet / Tank top tote bag

I finally finished my 'upcycled' tote bag. It has been in my craft room for some time and my daughter has needed a bag for her dancing things for some time - but now all finished!

I started with an old singlet or tank top and some matching ribbon. The stripe pattern proved to be quite handy when sewing and cutting this bag!

Cut the top arm holes and neck away from the body.

Pinned the ribbon (both sides) to make the handles, being careful to match the placement of the ribbon on both sides.

As you can see I cheated quite a bit - the thin stripe on the ribbon provides the perfect stitching guide! After sewing on the ribbon handles I decided that the bag had too much of a 'waist' in it - so I re-stitched the sides and made the bag a bit narrower and straighter than the original tank top. Then stitched the bottom closed being careful to match up the ribbons at the bottom.

Using the left over material from around the sleeve and neck holes - I cut some strips of fabric. Then I gathered the strips of fabric and some left over ribbon to make three rosettes.

I hand stitched the gathered strips in a circular fashion to make the rosettes and sewed to the bag with a red button.

My daughter is very happy with her 'upcycled' bag for tap dancing! She even recognised it as my old top.