Monday, November 26, 2007

Post 97 - the weekend went where?

The weekend was filled with painting again.
This room has been a bit of a struggle - the wallpaper was a cow to remove and of course then we had the "great wait" for the plasterer. The walls are the same colour as Jem's but the difference in the light made it look very yellowy. I had to keep lightening it until I got something I was happy with. The fireplace is not finished , and the window isn't started but we are getting there. The picture rail is the same grey as the mantle and the carpet (when it gets here) is a dark charcoal grey. I am thinking of red curtains.

The rest of the weekend passed like this !

These are some of the pics we are using in the snapfish book I am making for Mr Ric-Rac's grandmother for Christmas , she's a very sprightly 99 who has everything (as you would by the time you are 99 I guess).
This was hysterically funny to do and I could easily make another book of all the blooper shots. Connor's moustache changes design every few photos because he kept smudging it. Jemma's dress is held together with bull-dog clips . There are lots of shots of the dog's bum or a pushbike, or pieces of garden junk in the background.
This took two days over two weekends but I think she'll love it. Even though I am not actually manually making the book - maybe this can squeeze in as handmade Christmas?????

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Its really number 96-thankyou

Have you ever received a gift that is just perfectly "you". Like someone really gets you and gave you the ultimate perfect thing?

Well that has happened to me twice lately.

Firstly Lara of thornberry sent me the most amazing scarf - a work of art. This is me - perfectly. red - my favourite colour and kind of unusual-just like me!!!

The most amazing thing about this is that Lara doesn't even "know" me in the traditional sense. We read each others blogs and share a love of chenille but we have never met.

Lara , for no reason, sent me this beautiful scarf and it is my most favourite all time ever scarf (I own about 20 so I know what I talk about when we speak scarf.)

I want to say a thousand thank yous to you Miss Lara -pop over and see it in all its glory here.

That's me about 2 seconds after I unwrapped it -school bags in the background - junk on the bench. What great styling !!!

More recently I was a winner on the Lino Forest blog. If you have not visited you must go there right now and have a look. Betty Jo has the most unique creations - I know that word is bandied around in blog land quite a lot but it is true. I received this most exquisite brooch.

It is quirky and vintage and is just so cheerful and beautifully crafted - please go and take a look.

I adore it !!! Seriously. Just like my scarf , I wore this to work to rave reviews!!!! So a thousand thank you also. With gifts like these people at work are going to start raising their fashion-expectations of me.

With my 100th post coming up I am looking forward to being able to pay some of this great feeling and gratitude forward, so four posts to go!
Have you ever received a perfect gift ?

Monday, November 19, 2007

Post 94 and a half

Well, three days with no computer certainly affects the craft output I must say !

Lottie and Lester dressed and off to Mirabel

A bag that has been awaiting its finish for far too long - Done !!! (bad photo-sorry)

Two frilly aprons as part of the handmade Christmas for my little ex-neighbours. I will give these along with chef's hats and a cook book!

My owl that was inspired by the gorgeous owls over at moonstitches. Mine are a bit rougher around the edges but have their own hairy eye-browed charm.

A parliament !!!! These are going to be pre-prepared last minute gifts - well they were. I had five this morning and am now down to two after showing them off at work - Luckily they are super quick to make.

and finally a doll quilt for my niece, to go with her dolly and accessories - just needs the binding

I am running behind on some important thank you's but they deserve their own post tomorrow- 94 and 3/4 maybe ????

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Post 94 - tagged

I was tagged a little while ago by the lovely Linda of two pink possums with the crafting meme.
here goes:

1. When did you start to create and make craft?
I grew up on a farm so I think there is an essential sort of resourcefulness that comes from that kind of childhood –a sense of making-do. When I went to university to study welfare I really envied the art students. I loved the way they carried those big portfolio folders on the bus and all the exciting stuff in the art building. I lived with an art student and she was always drawing funny little pictures. One day for no real reason I made a softie of one of her characters and she loved it.

2. Why did you start creating?
I guess I started to craft during that university time because I had no money to buy gifts. I made rag dolls for my nieces out of chopped up clothes. I remember writing stories about each doll. They were called Pavlova and Asparagus! I developed a deep and binding love of the spotlight remnant bin, which I now extended to include all remnant bins.

3. Why do you create?
Wow ! What a question. Without being melodramatic I know that I need to create. It is a bit like having a secret identity , On the surface I do all the normal things, go to work, hang out with the kids but all the while some part of me is thinking of the project (or projects) that I have on the go or am constructing in my brain. Crafting slows me down and cheers me up.

4. What do you create?
These days I mostly sew and I joke with my friends that I am a novelty sewer, I have a lot of different projects on the go at a time. I have done so many things, paper making, dyeing, wire work, mosaic, raffia -hat making.............Right at this moment I get the most enjoyment from softies and dolls but that can change week to week or month to month. I often start something like the dolls and then get stuck on one element so I go back to bags or something else until I get an idea of how to proceed.

5. Has this changed since you began crafting?
The biggest change for me has probably been in my attitude to my craft. I know how important it is to me so I schedule it in as a priority. I have a sewing room that I love (way too small and always messy) and I no longer apologise for spending time in there. I am out and proud !!!!The change to my actual craft is that I don’t tend to feel I have to make useful things – even though my kids are big I love to make toys so I just make them and give them away.

Thanks Linda - this was really interesting, well for me at least. I guess I have never really stopped and thought about why I do this stuff, it is just so much a part of who I am. I really enjoyed this and will tag Annie of course - even if she has been dobbing on me lately !!!!!
and anyone else who would like to join in - I'm not very good at tagging am I?

Now I am about to take my not quite very well computer in to the computer doctor so it may be a very quiet weekend for me. Hope you all have a great weekend ........hmmmm no computer for a whole weekend, no blogs to read....................ok, I can cope -just don't do anything exciting till I get back !!!!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Post 93 - Bragging !!!

Maybe I should just post about all the craft I had planned to do over the weekend- it would certainly be a longer list than the one of craft ACTUALLY done……

During the last week I have been working on my little monkeys for Mirabel and Connor (Master 12) has been helping me with the stuffing. He was keen to hear all about Mirabel and why all those "weird crafty Nanna's" would send toys to people they didn't know.
He has really enjoyed the stuffing (and it is a much safer craft than his recent attempts a needle felting which saw me get all five prongs in the arm while gesticulating wildly on the couch).

Anyway, Connor decided completely out of the blue to make his very own softie to send to Mirabel……so he drew a few pictures and picked the one he liked best. He lined it up and folded it down the middle so the sides would match and cut it out.

We dashed off to Spotlight for some polar fleece and he sewed it up. (That was an exercise in self control I can tell you – If my go ! stop ! turn ! No! Stop! Shrieking instructions were anything to go by I’d say Miss 16 will be having driving lessons with Mr Ric-Rac- not me) .

Ta Dah !!!! So I am bragging because, as the mother of an almost teenage boy , you know not every day is a bragging day , so when I get one by golly I'm going to enjoy it !

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Post 92 - pencil case tutorial

For what it's worth here is the pencil case tute. I had this all ready to go on Wednesday night - clicked publish and poof!!!!! It all disappeared into no-man's land.

I used two kinds of vinyl. One is zephyr vinyl from spotlight -usually lives down with the plastic tablecloths etc. It is the black in this tute. The red vinyl is much thinner, it came from lincraft and would be used for dress-ups I think - very soft and drapable - sorry I don't know the name.

Step 1

Start with the decorative bit - simply cut it out with very sharp scissors and stitch it on (or like the skipping girl pencil case in the last post you can cut it out of the pencil case and sew some vinyl in behind.) Lay it out and sew as much of it together as possible so that you don't have too many layers when you sew it to the pencil case. I sewed the small grey bit to the white dial and then the dial to the telephone. Pull your threads to the back and trim / tie.

To sew I use a Teflon foot and to get a nice sewing line I line up the outside of the design with the inner edge of the foot and then I move my needle position over to the left a little . So as long as I stay on the edge my sewing is in the right spot ! (see pic above)

Step 2

This case is two pieces of black measuring 7 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches. You might want to make them longer - just make sure your zipper is as long as your vinyl squares (or way too long like me ) .

Sew your design onto one piece of the vinyl leaving at least an inch from the sides top or bottom.

Step 3 - the zip (stay calm)

This is what we want to achieve with the next step.

I like to sew the zipper and vinyl right sides together and then open it out and top stitch it but you can simply sew it together as laid out in the previous photo if you want to as the vinyl won't fray.

Top stitch as before by lining up your edge and moving your needle position over.

Yippee - That is about as hard as it gets - I hope I haven't lost anyone yet -

Step 4

Now you need 2 inch strips of vinyl for the ends - I use the thinner vinyl here. I found that if I used the zephyr vinyl for the whole pencil case (like the monkey one in the previous post) it is just too thick. The length of these will be determined by the width of your zip. I tend to just cut them long and then trim them to fit.

With right sides together, sew them to your case- aha I hear you cry - that makes sense!!!!

On the zipper tail side I like to sew up the side as close to the zip as possible then back stitch a bit to secure your thread before jumping over the zipper and continuing on your merry way . (if you bought the right size zip this may not be a problem). I used big chunky zips and they prove disastrous if you accidentally sew over them. guessed it finger press those seams out and top stitch , avoiding the zipper tail again if you need to.(maybe I was a country and western singer in a past life- I sure do love my top stitchin').

You may need to stitch the tail of your zipper closed and chop off the excess if you happened to get the wrong size. I mean I have heard that people sometimes do things like that !

Step 5 - getting it all together

Now you have to OPEN the zipper - I repeat OPEN the zipper before folding your pencil case in half along the zip .

Yes i do realise that the zip is closed in the photo- the resulting swear words meant I was sure to include the OPEN the zipper instruction once or twice in the tutorial.

With the zipper OPEN sew around the remaining sides and turn the pencil case right side out through the OPEN zipper.

Optional step

You don't have to do - the pencil case is just fine if you leave out this step. I call it paper bagging the corners. That was how it was once explained to me so I just go along with it.

To do this you fold your side seam of the pencil case against the top seam (yes it is an imaginary seam-just along the line of the zip). to form a triangle. Stitch across about 1/2 inch from the edge or wherever you like - just make sure it is the same for all four corners.

Make a few - fill them with hair ties, pencils, matchbox cars and give a bit of handmade this holiday season !!!!!! I am off for a cuppa - sheesh that took a while !

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Post 91- like a woman possessed

Hiya, This post may give rise to the thought that I have been lazing about with my week off work doing nothing but sewing...... Actually I slept most of the week and am about to fill the repeat prescription on the anitbiotics...GRRRR.....but have lots to show from the week before as well - so strap yourselves in .

These are the finished Murphy cushions that I made for Annie's Girls night in which was last night - it was a great night with lots of fun and prizes.

This is Winnie

She's a very tidy little monkey - I told her to pack up so we could go to Annie's

and off we went - Winnie and her accoutrement's were won by one of Annie's craft friends and I'm told will be well loved a by a little girl.

This is something new I have been fiddling with- pencil cases / cosmetic bags ???

This one was initially for the nephew but have been told it is waaaayyyyy to babyish so I think it will become part of my 100th post giveaway (see title). This one is made with quite thin vinyl stuff.

So then I got some thicker vinyl stuff (zephyr vinyl from Spotlight) and broke 3 needles on this one.

I decide on a mix of the thick and thin and also to make one with a purpose - this one is for 12yr old neice.

Then came the miracle pencil case.

With legs like that its miracle this kid can walk, let alone skip -

anyone in the market for a wonky legged pencil case? or a tutorial on these? They are seriously easy and I am making more so I can tute them if you want.