Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Where did 2011 go?!

Hello there,

I hope you had a fantastic Christmas, Boxing Day and After-Boxing Day :) surrounded by loved ones, laughter and not to forget Christmas presents. I've been a bit hectic lately at work and at home. How about you?

So here are some of the things that have been occupying my brain space for a while (other than shopping for Christmas, Christmas day arrangements and boring old work, of course)

I've been waiting with anticipation for my copy of The Colette Sewing Handbook. I ordered the book and 2 patterns as a fantastic bundle deal at the end of last month from the Colette Patterns website I've been keeping an eye out for it to be delivered at work, but alas it has yet to arrive :(
Oh well, c'est la vie - first world problem

I've been reading The Handmade Marketplace by Kari Chapin; which I borrowed from my local library. So far I've found it incredibly insightful and very revealing of what goes into starting your own handmade business. I don't have any intention of starting my own creative business ...yet. But I think this would be a great resource for those who are thinking about doing that...now or in the near future.

My sister gave me The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook for Christmas so I've been absorbing that for the last couple of days. Mainly just looking at the pretty pictures until this afternoon when I started reading. So. great.

See a trend with the books that are heading my way? Sewing books. I've become a little obsessed lately with the idea of sewing my own clothes. Although I haven't make any great plunges into the world of garment sewing just yet it is something that has been taking up some of my brain power. In anticipation I've been thinking about the types of things I'd sew. Ultimately I'd like to sew items of clothing in the style and colours that would suit me best.

I recently bought Colour Me Beautiful by Veronique Hendersen & Pat Henshaw and found it to be pretty informative about colours for me, but also about the types of garments that would suit me and also what style I am. I also have The Body Shape Bible by  Trinny & Susannah which is very helpful when looking at what styles of clothing will flatter my figure.

So that's what's filling my brain space at the moment. What's filling yours? New Years resolutions? Are you bring crafty? Leave a comment, I'd love to know.

In case, I don't post beforehand...
Here's to a fantastic 2012 full of new opportunities and good luck!

Do something that makes you sing on the inside.
V xo

Monday, 12 December 2011

How-to: Button Brooches

How are ya? How are you faring so far this silly season?
I'm doing well. I have a few gifts sorted out, but there are a definitely a few more that I need to find.

Today I'm going to show you how I made myself a simple and sturdy button brooch.
(I would like to apologise in advance for the horrible photos. I made my brooch at night. I'm most creative at night I, think I need to sort out a better lighting system for night photography. Anyway, I digress.)

At the beginning of the year I bought a big packet of Beutron buttons. They have been sitting in my stash for aaages. About a month ago I dusted off the packet . Because I'm a little crazy, I sorted them into their colour groups. 

While I was playing I found three that fit in each other and looked nice.
So I decided to make a brooch with them.

Here, I'll show you how I did it. Firstly here are the three buttons I found.

I grabbed a bottle of gem bond. But you can use any sort of permanent glue you have lying around. Just as long as it dries clear.

I dabbed a spot of glue into the middle of the blue button and placed the green one on top, making sure to line up the sewing holes as best I could.  I did the same with the heart button
(I took photos of these steps, but they came out sooo hideously blurry and I didn't realise until too late!)

Once the buttons are glued together I grabbed some thread and a needle and sewed a cross through the sewing holes. Next time I do it I'm going to wait until the glue dries, my needle got all sticky and yuk! To speed up the process I would probably use thicker embroidery thread.

This is what the front looked like when I was done sewing.

Onto the back, where all the pinning happens.
So on my first attempt I thought I'd just glue the brooch pin directly onto the button. FAIL! It just wouldn't stay in place.
So I glued a circle of felt onto the back of the button.

I then glued the brooch pin onto the felt. BTW these are very small brooch pin backs.

And then glued a small rectangle of felt over the brooch pin to give it a nicer look.

And that's it. Ta-da! Button Brooch complete.

I've since made a whole bunch of two-button brooches for stocking stuffers this Christmas.

What do you think? Would you wear one of these puppies?

I'm interested to know. When are you most creative? Why is that?

Friday, 9 December 2011

Felt like a change...

Hi there,

If you're looking at the blog website you'll notice that I've changed things about  a bit.
I don't know how to explain it except that I felt like a change. Hope you don't mind. :)

Do you ever get like that? Just feeling the need for a change?
Does it cause you to do crazy things like rearrange furniture only to put it back the way it was? Or get a haircut you instantly regret?

Just wondering.

Have a great day :)

Monday, 5 December 2011

Do we need to be more selfish with our time?

Do we need to be a bit more selfish and mindful of our time?

I was thinking about this on the way home from work today, because I was thinking about all the things that I wanted to do but I didn’t get to do on the weekend because I was busy doing other things that I felt I ‘had’ to do.

I don’t know about you, but on the weekend I lurve my sleep and when I have down time I lurve my down time. I’m the kind of soul that needs time to meander a little on the weekend; I need time to go with the flow.

Anyway, I was thinking about the weekend just gone and how I did things not really for myself, but because I probably should. Are you like that? Do you do things you’re not so keen about just because they are things that you probably ‘should’ do?

I also pondered the idea of how much time I have on the weekends. If you think about it you really only have about 32 hours (less if you love a good sleep in) in a weekend. That sounds like heaps right? Well it is heaps if you are hanging out in your house all day all weekend long. Do you do that often? I’d love to know. I haven’t done that in quite some time. I don’t think I do that often enough. Of that time you have to fit in house chores somewhere, unless you’re super organised and motivated to do that stuff during the week, which I’m not.

Yes it is fun having a weekend chockers full of great things to do, but very often I find myself on Sunday evening thinking, “Its Monday tomorrow? Really? Where did the weekend go?”
There are usually so many other things that I wanted to do for me. The sorts of things that I love to do and feed my soul. Do you ever feel that way?

Maybe I need to change my go-with-the-flow ways and have a game plan for the weekends. Maybe I need to start rethinking about whether I ‘need’ to go somewhere. Do I really need to go or do I feel guilty about not going for any apparent reason? Hmmm. I think I’m on to something here. Do you ever feel that way?

I think I need to start looking at where ‘my time’ goes. Look into a little more planning on the weekend. Not too much though. How about you?

Anyway, that’s my brain dump this week. It’s been a while since I had a rambling kinda post.
I hope I’ve given you something to think about. Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Until next time, do some pondering
V xoxo

Monday, 28 November 2011

5 Christmassy Crafts

G'day everyone,

My weekend was absolutely fantastically chockers, so I didn't find a great deal of time to craft. However, I did make some fantastic gingerbread biscuits and quickly whipped up a couple of early Christmas presents for a couple of lovely mates of mine before we crafternooned on Saturday.

However, with Christmas fast approaching the blogasphere is awash with amazingly fantastic Christmas ideas. Here are a few of my favourites that I've been collecting...

Actually these are what I whipped up for my mates! Sew great!
(Found via Sew, Mama, Sew)

These fantastic Vintagey style felt baubles

How cute is this button mistletoe! Kisses all round!
Found here on one of my new fave blogs

These fabric pinecones are beautiful and so simple. A great idea for a table centrepiece.
(Found via Sew, Mama, Sew)

I really adore this origami wreath. You can recycle if after Christmas if you want.

I hope that imparts some lovely Christmas inspiration for you. 

I want to be back with another tutorial next week, but I'll see how I go. It is moving into crazy Christmas season and my weekends are booked out with social events from here into the new year. So I don't want to put any additional pressure on myself. Plus Brisbane is starting to get pretty summery hot.

Have a great week and do something nice for yourself.
V xoxo

Monday, 21 November 2011

Kanzashi Brooch

Hello there!
How are you doing? I'm doing well, but I kinda feel like this is the calm before the chaos that is the festive season.

I mentioned in my last post that I was getting all laissez-faire about housework and got all crafty up in my own grillz. I showed you this puppy in my a couple of weeks ago.

I thought it was about time I showed you how and what I made.
This is the back. Very profesh! 

First and foremost I got the idea from Kanzashi in Bloom (book website here) by Dianne Gilleland of CraftyPod fame. I really love this book; it's full of fantastic projects, that are pretty and I would actually make.

On to the brooch...I started by folding 6 rounded Kanzashi petals (I could show you how, but there are so many tutes online on how to do them, just Google 'Kanzashi rounded petal') and then trimmed them too.

Taking a loooong piece of knotted thread and a needle I sewed the petals with the needle catching all the foldey layer bits at the bottom.

I like to stack them on to the needle in lots of three. I don't know why, I just do. :)

Pulling the needle through I left a long tail at the beginning

If I only sew one row I find the flower goes a bit flopsy, so I like to sew through the petals again at the top to catch all the top foldy bits. Making sure to leave a lot of loose thread between the bottom and top row of sewing. You don't have to if you don't want to. I'm just a bit insecure about having a flopsy flower :)

Then I snipped the thread between the top and bottom rows.

Taking the long loose tails of thread from each row of sewing; I tied them using a surgeons knot. Making sure not to tie it too tight, just tight enough to bring the bottom of the outside two petals together, but not so tight they squish together (I forgot to take a picture when I had tied the thread...Oops).

I played with the petals to make sure they sat nicely when the petals were folded and when they were spread out like they will be when the brooch is finished.

The next bit you don't have to do at all. I just did it because I found that with the first Kanzashi brooch I made the fabric I used wasn't stiff enough and petals just collapsed back into their folds. So with this brooch I thought that gluing the petals together a bit might stop that from happening.

I dabbed a spot of fabric glue between the petals and hold two petals together for about a minute and a half. Then I did the next petal.

I glued three petals together and then glued the other three together. I held the petals together for a bit and then put them aside to dry.

While the glue was drying I took a deodorant cap and used it to trace a circle on some felt.

This was to be the backing of the flower. So I had to make sure the circle wasn't too big and then I cut it out.

I needed a rectangle of felt to cover the back of the brooch pin back. So I just sized up how wide and how long a piece a needed then snip-snipped the piece I wanted.

I glued the brooch back to the felt circle using some gem glue. Gem glue is the best kind of glue to stick something hard and non-porous to fabric. I put it aside to dry and went back to gluing my flower.

I put a dab of glue between the last two unglued petals and held the petals together for a bit.

While I set the flower aside for a bit for the glue to cure, it's time to finish the brooch back.

Open the brooch back, take the rectangle of felt, glue it over the brooch pin back using fabric glue and set aside.

Once the glue is dry it's time to try on a few buttons! Yippee! It's really interesting how much difference the button makes to the flower.

Too phafy!

Too small and black!

Just right! 

With the button chosen I was just a matter of putting all the bits together.
I started by gluing the felt circle to the back of the flower using a 'generous' amount of fabric glue.

I set the flower aside to give the glue time to dry.

I tried to sew the button on, but I pulled too hard on the thread and it pulled the thread through the fabric of the flower. I didn't want to risk the fabric fraying so I abandoned that idea.

To stop the fabric from fraying I put some fray stopping glue in the centre of the flower and set it aside to dry.

To make it look like the button is sewn on I sewed some thread onto the button.
I put some gem glue on the button and pressed  and held it onto the flower.

And there you have it. A lovely Kanzashi Brooch.

And here is the back.

I gifted this one to my mum. Bit I think they're a great idea for stocking fillers.

And in other news on Friday I drove to my favourite craft store. Here is a pic of my haul.
Loving the bright fat quarters!

That's all folks! Until next time, do something creative that makes you smile.
V xoxo

Monday, 14 November 2011

House-warming Quilted Coasters

Hello there,
How are you? I'm doing well.

This past weekend I got all inspired and decided to get my craft on. I decided to make some coasters and a Kanzashi flower brooch (I'll show and tell that next week).

I have a friend (Miss B) who recently moved to her very own house with her partner and I wanted to make something I could give to her on my inaugural visit to her new house. So, while I was on my craft stint I decided to make some coasters for her house-warming gift.

Now I am someone who strongly believes in referencing where I get inspiration; giving credit where it is due. I got the idea for these coasters from a book I have, Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson (she is the owner of Purl; I really enjoy their blog, Purl Bee, it is sooo incredibly inspiring and varied!)
This is such a great book. It is filled with fantastic and quick projects and they are so lovely to go to for inspiration. There are other Last-Minute Gifts books out there, I've read most of them and I recommend them.

I had been thinking about making these coasters for aaages, but didn't get around to it until last Saturday morning and my visit was in the afternoon! But as promised in the book they were quick and simple to put together.

So first steps first, I cut out the fabric and batting I needed.

I folded the fabric so the narrow ends were together then chain-pieced the squares I had to close one of the sides. When sewing I started from the folded edge. Then I clipped the thread in between the pieces.

I then did the same to close the opposite side.

This created a rectangle with one open side.

The next part was to turn it right side out and put the batting inside.

 Here are all my pretty outsides sewn and turned right side out.

I found the easiest way to put the batting into the pouches was to do it the same way I insert a doona into it's cover. The farthest corners from the opening first and then work the rest of it in. (I think that makes sense).

When I did my first one I found that the pieces of batting were a little bit too wide. So I trimmed one of the edges a little.

Here's my attempt at showing you how I put the batting into the outsides (it's very hard showing a two-handed move when you have to hold the camera!)
Once I put the batting in a still had to smoosh (yes smoosh, it's the technical word for it) it around a bit to make sure it was in all the corners and everything. Here is what it looked like with the batting on the inside.
I folded one side of the top opening down into the pouch so that it was between the batting and the outside...
...then I folded the other side down so that it was between the part that I just folded down and the outside.
(I think I made it sound over complicated. Essentially, I just turned the raw edges in so the folds were flush with the edge of the batting.)

Here are all my lovely coasters, filled with batting and ready to be sewn shut and quilted.

To prep for the quilting I installed my sewing machine walking foot (It looks a bit scary, doesn't it) and did a test run.
To sew and quilt the coasters I started by sewing the open end shut. I sewed it right to the end, but when I got there I reverse stitched a few times and while the needle was still in the fabric I turned the coaster and started quilting. Before I got to the end (about 3 stitches from it) I left the needle in the fabric and turned it again.
I just continued on doing that until I got pretty darn close to the centre. To finish of I stitched until I was about 1 stitch away from  the row of stitching in front of the needle. I then made sure that the last stitch would be right on the row of stitching and then cut my threads. I then pulled the threads to the back, tied them off and snipped my loose threads. Voila! Quilted coaster!

Here is my bundle of coasters all done, tied up and ready to be gifted.

I'm one of those people who gets really hung up on perfection (read: anal retentive) and usually takes so long to make something intended for someone else I become a Scrooge and decide to keep it because it takes so long to make. Silly really. But these coasters are such a quick, simple and practical project that I am sooo happy that I could give them to someone. An instant shot of accomplishment and gift giving.

This is such a versatile project because you can make them any size you want, so you could make a matching placemat. There is also the option of making it out of any kind of fabric you want. You could even cut out someone's initial in felt and stitch it on instead of quilting. Hmmm. That's not a bad idea. I think they would make a really great stocking filler.

Thanks for reading my post. I hope it inspires you to make something to gift to others.

Until next time, do something that makes your heart sing.
V xoxo