Sunday, January 31, 2010


I'll be sharing a stall with Vicky from Te Pono (gorgeous brightly coloured resin tikis) at the Auckland Anniversary Day Art and Craft Market on Selwyn Reserve in Misson Bay. Keeping my fingers crossed for some fine weather! It's going to be a lot of fun whatever the weather.

I have some lovely new kids appliqued tees (sharks for the boys and fairy wands for the girls) which I'm really pleased with. Of course, I haven't managed to take any photos so will take some tomorrow on the stall. Here are a few pics of the market from previous years (courtesy of Chris Sutton, the organiser of the event).

Friday, January 29, 2010

Kiddy Art Love

I love kid's drawings. I wish I could replicate the way my 6 year old draws but I don't think any adult can draw like a child. They have a different way of viewing the world. The colours and shapes are different. We have a wall in our kitchen which is dedicated to my childrens' art creations and an entire cupboard-full of drawings and paintings done by the extremely prolific 6 year old. I adore this way of displaying and using the art of younger children from Sarah Jane Studios. What a great way to decorate the nursery of a younger sibling!

Click on the link to get the templates and instructions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

All a-flutter

Is it just me or do some of you other crafters out there experience the excited fluttery feeling when you find a new craft blog full of great ideas and inspiration?
I think if I admitted to my non-crafty friends (not to mention my long suffering partner) just how excited I got on finding this blog full of the cutest free vintage embroidery transfers, they might run for the hills!
But just look at how gorgeous these are! I can feel a whole pile of tea towels, pillowcases and aprons coming on!:

Go and visit the Vintage Transfer Finds blog for loads more.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bed valance with pockets tutorial

My youngest moved into her big girl's bed this week. It was very exciting for her (and pretty sad for us to see our baby growing up!). It's a beautiful white wood bed, handmade by a lovely man who we found on Trade Me. The bed maker built it for her right there in her bedroom and clever Richard swiftly converted the change table chest of drawers he had built her into a big girl's chest of drawers. Her room was all ready for our little princess. 

We were very kindly given a trundler bed by a neighbour so the girls can use it for their friends to sleep on when they come for a sleepover. It peeks out from under Eloise's bed and doesn't look very pretty so I had to do something about it. I decided to make a valance with some little storage pockets. I've seen them before in kid's decorating books and they really aren't that hard.

Here's a very rough guide to what I did to make a pocket valance for Eloise's bed:

1 single bed flat sheet or 1.5m x 2.1m plain fabric.  I used white calico from Ikes Emporium in Devonport which sells for about $5 a metre.
0.5m patterned fabric for pockets. All the same colour or different colours for each pocket.
Matching thread
Sewing machine
Scissors or rotary cutter and ruler
Tape Measure
Tailors chalk, pencil or water soluble marker (my favourite)
Iron and ironing board
self adhesive velcro dots

1.Measure the length of your bed and add 5cm seam allowance. The bit that tucks under the mattress is the shorter length. Cut it out and hem all edges. Press. Try it on your bed to check it fits. You can just lay it over the top of the mattress and check that your hemmed fabric is long enough. If it isn't I'm afraid you've got a date with a seam ripper and a narrower hem! While it is on there mark roughly where you want your pockets to be and how many you want.

2. Take the valance off the bed and lay it out flat on a table with the bit where you want the pockets facing you. You will come back to it shortly.

3. Now make your pockets. I made 4. You want them big enough to be useful but not too big that they will gape. Longer is better than wider. Mine measured 22cm (top) x 26cm (side). My pockets are big enough to hold golden books and pyjamas but make yours whatever size/s you want. Cut your pockets out. You can use a book to make sure your corners are straight if you don't have a rotary cutter and cutting board etc.

4. Now it's time to mitre your corners. Now don't panic. This really is easy once you know how. First, turn all four edges in 1cm and press. Turn in again 2cm. You can just fold over once if you like but I didn't want any raw edges inside my pockets so I folded over twice.

5.Press really well so that the creases hold. Now open out one corner and turn the corner in towards the middle like this:

6. Fold in the two sides towards the middle so they meet in a neat little triangle (a bit like you do when making a paper airplane). You will have to look at the first picture below quite closely. The fold line is blue against the red. Sorry, it's hard to see with the patterened fabric! Don't worry if the folds overlap slightly. As long as your corner is flat and pointy, that's all that matters! Press again and toodle off to your sewing machine.

7. Make sure that your pockets are all the same size (or the sizes you want if you are making different sized pockets for your valance). Top stitch across the top. Do this with all four pockets,

8. Mark where your pockets will go on your valance. Mine are 15cm apart and 12cm up from the bottom edge. Pin them in place and stitch in place. Stitch again close to the first stitching. Don't stitch across the top of the pocket . The picture below is upside down! Press everything so it all looks neat.

9. Grab a friend/spouse/neighbour and get them to lift the mattress up. Tuck your valance under the mattress and make sure the bottom edge of your valance is even. Grab some tape and stick the under mattress bit of the valance down to whatever you can to keep it place when the mattress is dropped down. Get the kind soul who is holding up the mattress to let it down gently.  Stick the velcro dots onto the legs of your bed and on to the sides of the valance. Fix them together to keep the edges straight and tidy (I did this after I took the picture up at the top and it looks a lot better!) Fill up your pockets and you are done!

Let me know if something doesn't make sense or didn't work for you.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 21, 2010

New Friends

I am a very happy girl. I got to spend most of the day sewing yesterday. My girls were great at playing together all day (I discovered after a short but scarey period of quietness that they had painted themselves with felt tip pen but aside from that they were GREAT and let me sew!).

I'm thrilled to introduce you to my new little friends. These gorgeous creatures, designed by Bit of Whimsy Dolls, will be appearing on my stall at the next Devonport Craft Market.

I love them. They are beautifully designed and I loved picking gorgeous fabrics for their bodys. They are all totally baby friendly so look out for them on 14th Feb.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A little cuteness

School holidays and blazing sunshine are not the ideal mix for crafting. I've been trying to squeeze in a little sewing time but its pretty impossible with two very busy little girls in the house. Yesterday the girls went out for the day so I had a few hours to myself to do some sewing. I'm really pleased with how it all turned out. I almost wish I still had a baby to put the new bibs on! The skirt and hair tie went to one of Maddy's friends (who put it on straight away so I think it was a hit!). The baby things and another similar skirt (size 4-6) will be for sale shortly on Felt (as soon as I get another spare moment!). The cosmetic bag is a birthday present for our lovely friend Melanie. We're off for a picnic at this lovely winery today. Can't wait!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Memories that make me smile

I am finally getting around to sorting through my second daughter's baby photos to make her a baby album. She is 3 so I have been rather slack. Her big sister got her album out recently and poor Eloise was quite sad that she didn't have one to look through. I've loved going through her baby pics to pick the best. She is such a little character and I thought I'd share some of the photos that made me smile the most.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Garden goodies

I am not a gardener. There. I've said it. It's hard to admit to it because so many people love to garden, particularly crafty people, but I don't.

I don't mind getting dirty and I really enjoy seeing things grow but what I can't stand is the weeds. No sooner have you done the work, you have to start all over again because nature has an annoying habit of taking over. I like things that stay as they are when you have worked hard to finish them. What I do like however, is cooking with beautiful fresh vegetables straight out of the garden and of course the wonderful flavours and smells that you get with freshly picked produce.

Luckily my other half is a very keen gardener (I've even caught him sneaking in to the garden to have a look at his veggies before he comes in to say hello to us) and most of the time I'm very happy to make something yummy from them (the exceptions are the feijoas which I whinge incessantly about for a month when they ripen and the silverbeet and spinach which are currently occupying the entire bottom drawer of our freezer).

My favourite time of year for veggies is of course Summer and this year Richard has planted the most incredibly sweet and beautiful little cherry tomatos. We had them tonight on pizza. They are a perfect summer dinner. Just throw them onto a ready made pizza base with lots of fresh basil and fetta and some crushed garlic. Add salt and pepper and put in the oven for about 12 minutes. Heaven!

I did help out in the garden over the weekend by trimming our flax which has gone a little crazy. I love the colour of this flax. It's a beautiful greeny black and attracts a multitude of native birds. I couldn't bear to throw out all the leaves and seed pods so some came inside with me. I tucked the ends of the leaves in to the top of the vase to create a rough woven effect. Who needs gerberas or roses?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Birdie Sling

One of my very bad habits which I'm sure drives my other half crazy is my compulsive need to make things the night before I travel away on holiday. I think it stems from a need to stock up on some crafting before I go away and have nothing to do and no access to a sewing machine. This time, I was up until after midnight making myself a new handbag. It's from the Amy Butler Birdie Sling pattern and was ideal to take on holiday. It is HUGE and I have to say that I have to tip it out on the bed every other day to find what I have in there. I think I would scale down the pattern dramatically next time I make one as it's really not doing my back any good having all that space to carry things in!

It provoked some lovely conversations with complete strangers which is something I love about handmade things. A conversation in the Target check out queue with one lady revealed her as an artist. She loved the colours in my bag and wondered where I had bought it (don't you love it when that happens?). We had a great chat in the five minutes we were in the queue about her art and my sewing. I'd love to hear any stories you might have about people you've met when you've been out and about with your own handmade creations.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Welcome to the world little man

The embroidery I did the other night is going to a very good new home. It has been transformed into a Plunket book cover for a brand new little man. Congratulations Stephanie, Johnny, Olivia and Flynn! Can't wait to meet him.

To make a book cover like mine, you can follow the following instructions. I always allow a little extra for seam allowances when making book covers as it's always good to have some extra to play with. If you are a very accurate sewer, adjust the measurements to make the seam allowances smaller. Okay, so to make your book cover:
  • Open out your book and measure the length and width of it.
  • Add a 3cm seam allowance to either end of your width measurement so if your book is 10cm wide, then your fabric needs to be 16cm wide.
  • Now add the 3cm seam allowance plus 6cm fold over allowance to each side of your length measurement. So if your long side is 15cm long, the total length would be 15cm + 3cm + 6cm + 3cm + 6cm = 33cm.

  • Cut two pieces of fabric in your measurements eg 16cm x33cm. Embroider your outside piece at least 9cm in from the right hand edge.
  • When your embroidery is finished, place the two pieces right sides together and stitch a 1.5cm seam allowance all the way around, remembering to leave a 4cm opening for turning.
  • Clip the corners and neaten the seams.
  • Turn right sides out and making sure that all the corners are sharp (use a pin or needle to tease them out if they aren't), press your cover. Fold in half to find the centre and tuck your book inside.
  • Open the book out and fold the edges in about 6cm. Pin them in place and close the book to check that it fits. If its too loose or two tight, adjust the flaps and test again. When you are happy with it, adjust your machine to a longer stitch length and stitch along the top and bottom edges, close to the edge and closing the turning opening as you go.
Voila. Nice and simple and a great gift for a Kiwi baby. You can also do this with a baby book or a photo album.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stitching fun

All the Christmas decorations were taken down and put away in record time last night. I was really keen to get stuck in to some embroidery. I had a browse on various blogs and Etsy but didn't see anything that grabbed me as a design but I decided to go and get the supplies together anyway, just in case something came to me. On the way down the stairs I spotted my vintage and very bedraggled Lucie Attwell Annual and found some wonderful inspiration in there.

I freehand drew the images I wanted onto the linen using a water soluble pen and then used split stitch to do the outlines. There is a great tutorial on how to do split stitch (and other stitches) here on the Sublime Stitching blog.

It was unbelievably easy and the whole thing took me three hours to do including drawing the design and finding all my colours. It would have taken me about half that time with a needle threader so I will have to invest in one. I was really pleased with the finished result. The colours don't look so great on the computer but they look lovely in reality!

And while we are on the subject of embroidery, I'd really like to send a huge thank you to Heleen at Ruby in the Dust who sent me these wonderful goodies after I won her giveaway over the Christmas break.
I adore the hand embroidered buttons and am planning to use them on a baby cardigan I'm knitting for a friend in America. The stickers are rather lovely too and may well travel to America with the cardigan for the big sister to be. The mirror isn't going anywhere. I love it and it's going straight in my handbag!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sublime stitching

I've come to the conclusion that Summer crafting needs to be mobile. I haven't quite reached the stage where I'm stitching on the beach yet (book me in for major therapy when that happens) and I've been banned from knitting in the car (too distracting I'm told) but with the kids at home for their Summer break and no chance to escape to my studio, I'm feeling the need for a little portable something to restore my craft nerves. (Really, I'm that addicted. Maybe I should book in for the therapy now).

I love to knit but my wrists just can't take it so I've decided that embroidery is the ideal 'pocket craft' for that crafting on the move. The lovely sublime stitching blog has proven to be very inspiring and confidence building. How can you argue with:
I already have a substantial stash of threads and plenty of calico to play with so time to get stuck in! (Maybe I should take the Christmas decorations down first or they will be up for at least another week).

I've been scanning the wonderful sublime stitching flickr group and I think something small and simple is the place to start.

I'll just take the decorations down first.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Better late than never

Well I never got round to posting those photos of Mum's Christmas table and I had some very good reasons.

1. The sun was shining and there was a pool outside.
2. My Mum is a pretty amazing cook and I was unable to move for substantial periods of time after her wonderful meals.
3. It was Christmas and we were having fun.
4. I was on holiday.
Okay. Excuses over. You are probably completely over anything to do with Christmas by now but I am going to share anyway.

The gold plates are 'chargers' which go under the normal plates and make the whole table look rather gorgeous.

I loved the gold tassles Mum used as napkin rings.

Here's one of my gifts. The fantail was one of my practise pieces from my screen printing course which I couldn't bear to throw away.

Another one of my gifts. The hearts were made by Stephanie of Liberty Lane. She is due to have a baby tomorrow (good luck Steph!) but she will be back with us at the Devonport Craft Market later in the year.

This is what I made my Mum for Christmas. The words around the edge read "I am your Christmas Angel at this special time of year. I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year". I used some beautiful red raw silk to back the cushion. I adapted the pattern from one in an old issue of Handmade. If any of you are interested in knowing which issue so that you can track it down, let me know and I will look it up.
I'm back home now and ready to get stuck into some serious crafting so watch this space!


Related Posts with Thumbnails