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