Thursday, 6 December 2012

suffolk puffs meet crochet

I was on the hunt for a good tutorial for suffolk puffs, little circles that you make into flowers, when i saw this amazing idea for a bib necklace using them. I would never have used this idea this way, but have made jewelled necklace bibs similar to this design. You know the kinds with cabuchons and seed beads. Please visit her site to see her lovely crochet (this is not my thing but i think it wonderful she has taken a modern twist to an old craft).

Bib necklace embellished with fabric yo-yo puffs
Gold/brown bib necklace
Have a look at all the lovely styles she has created using many kinds of craft medium, read the comments for other great ways to make them that others have tried. The thrift/charity shop is a great option for bits to embellish with.
You will find the tutorial for the wheel shaped Dorset buttons here

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

lights, cameras, action

well, after finding my last camera with a shattered screen and managing to retrieve all the pics, i now have a lovely new camera.  i will have to take lots of lovely photos of all the interesting and crafty things that i

Monday, 15 October 2012

extreme upcycling

we all like to upcycle as much as we can but this moves it to extreme (and it does look pretty cool too)

starburst wrapper bracelet tutorial!

good thing i like starburst lol

vintage love

Ok, i love the idea of a knockoff and i really like those vintage jewellery finds and i really like all my fabric stash (new, old, retro, floral,  i love it all) so now i think i can get the best of both. My last anthro knockoff is this beauty from

i now know i am a happy blogger

original above, knockoff below

anthro knockoff

this has to be the easiest necklace to make a knockoff from, but really don't we all have a stash of old charms, earrings etc that we need to use somewhere. i made a bracelet years ago from all the little charms and necklace pieces i had as a teenager, some were just too cute or sentimental to throw. Now i can make a necklace to go with it.

please go here for the tutorial

anthro above, knockoff below

skippers necklace

Once before i showed you a twist on an anthologie dress. We do not hear much of this store over here but i have found a lovely necklace that you may like. The skippers refer to skipping stones on a pond. Please visit this site to find a very easy diy tutorial


anthropology above; and diy below

vintage brooches

I love finding lovely old vintage brooches and earrings, but sometimes they may be slightly not 100% perfect. I came across this idea for a beautiful bouquet using brooches that i think might be a way to use those lovely finds and have them on display rather than in a box.

Please go to this site for a very detailed tutorial to make your own:

this one is made with fresh flowers but i think you could also try good quality artificial or silk flowers. It uses large and small flowers, also leaves.

There are so many clever people

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Felt friends

Today i received a book from Amazon that i must show you. This is just too cute! I have since struggled to find really decent felt (i want the wool mix not the scrapbook type), so until i find the right kind i will just have to look at the cover and smile. The writer is japanese and was inspired to reproduce the retro toys of her youth in Japan. I must admit the cover deer was very similar to one i had as a child where you pushed the base and it made the deer fall down. It had string inside. Reminiscing

Felt Friends from Japan: 86 Super-cute Toys and Accessories to Make Yourself

author is Naomi Tabitha

Bags, bags and more bags

I really enjoy wandering around the fabric stores and also flea markets for fabric swatches. Sometimes i will find the most stunning piece of fabric but it is a skirt, shirt or pillowslip not enough for a big project but certainly enough for these lovely ideas, all using the equivalent of just one fat quarter...what do you think? They are so clever,  follow the links has suggested that you could increase the pattern on a photocopier by 125% to make a bigger bag. Or you could see their changes to add a zipper

this lovely clutch uses only a fat quarter


please also see the etsy site of this creative lady

Thursday, 6 September 2012

retro and vintage fair

I don't think i have been very good as i have not posted to this blog for a while. Ok, my camera got smashed so everything sort of went pear shaped for a while and knocked the wind out of everything i wanted to achieve, but now we are back and raring to go.
This sunday is the vintage and retro show which i've tried to get to for quite a while but always find out the day before (and i work sundays...don't ya luv retail), so as it's my last day of a two week break i am going.
I hope to get a few good pictures of some interesting things and post them later.
Will have to get my 14 year old to help me there, i think.

Monday, 23 April 2012

A talented lady

This lady is very talented and i would like to share a link to her page where she has seen an idea and made it her own

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Lisa Lam

This lady is so talented, just check out her free tutorials for her bags


these are just a few. Please check out her new book.

Please note at the bottom of the page she gives permission for you to make and sell on Etsy, Ebay, etc but not machine mass produced.

Here is a link to her Reversible Bucket bag (courtesy of Sew Mama Sew)

Retro knitting patterns

OMG i so like these womens hats. This site is a wonder to behold with so many original knitting patterns all available for you to make without any problems. These have not had the copyright renewed so go for it girls. All you Mad Men fans will love's a few to get you interested

Tuxedo Tube Coat Pattern

Make it yourself

I have noticed that there is an awful lot of tutorials on the net and sometimes we don't always have time to do them but want to make them at a later date, so i have decided to put up links to some really interesting things to make for yourself.
Now i spent a while today reading about copyright and authors permission etc on a blog where she really went to town on what she thought of a magazine reproducing her item, so without further ado.......please understand these are only for your use or as a gift or charity.
Please enjoy these links, however some do require signing in but are worth it........all are frrreeeee
This will be a continually updated post

Three layers of faux-baked goodness topped off with a mini cherry pompom make this one delectable Cupcake Tea Cozy! Each layer features a different stitch, so you won't get bored.

Easy-to-remember switches between knit and purl rows make this pattern simple to follow and rewarding to finish. Create a textured beehive and decorate it with little bee appliqués when you’re done!

They will look great on my anodised aluminium teapot that i bought at the church jumble sale two weeks ago

You can't go past this site if you want to make any kind of carry all, over 160 tutorials

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Retro style

The queen of retro fabric style with Cath Kidston has to be Amy Butler. Her fabrics are just so fun and retro which is why after having got two of her books i am putting up a link to her web page

and also a link to her page of free downloads

and this for a bag pattern by Amy Butler (from Sew Mama Sew site)

Hope you enjoy looking at the designs even if you don't make them

Tilda Finnanger

Tilda's books are my favourite at the moment, her style is so simple, Scandi and naive all at once
Visit her site for the cutest dolls, bears etc

I haven't seen her books in my part of the world but not much happens here these days, so maybe i'm slow to discover her

Dori Csengeri beautiful jewellery

I came upon this designer by chance and believe she has the most beautiful pieces ever created. Please visit her site to see eye candy of 10 out of 10

if i can only be a quarter as talented as she is, i will be a very happy person. these are all made from embroidery and beads

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Monday, 12 March 2012

the thrill of the chase

For all those who love finding something retro or vintage, this site might help Can't beleive the number of people who come to the Highlands just to go 'op shopping', we dont know how good we've got it

Thursday, 23 February 2012

needle and thread

The other day i tried to think of as many things in crafting i could do using a needle and thread. Here is my list :
embroidery - ribbon, wool, floss, shisha work, cross stitch. goldwork, stumpwork
hand sewing
beading - peyote, threadwork
jewellery making
hat making
bag making
rug making
book binding
lace making
slipper making
glove making
probably ten times as many more i'll think of as soon as i post this

Homemade dressmaking v handmade couture

Homemade dressmaking v handmade couture is a very ambiguous statement. When we sew with love and passion to create something that is a perfect fit and only one of a kind, that uses, for us, the best we can afford and which suits our body shape, age, skintones and lifestyle, then we are creating handmade couture. Yet those in the know would be sure to make us believe that it is just homemade dressmaking and nothing more.
Couture is something only the finest fashion house produce but is in essence just a very limited run of a made to measure gown. Isn't that all we are doing when we create our own clothes? This idea first came to my attention whilst watching one of those reality shows about weddings. First prize is the all expenses paid honeymoon. You know the kind....but wait, they're just started slinging off at the mums for making the gowns for not one but two of the four hopefuls.
The whole idea that someone could ever hope to create something as good as shop bought is astonishing to the other two contestants.
Yet, this is exactly what you are taught, that you are able to produce a good quality item of clothing.
I remember from high school being taught everything from pattern drafting, understanding the language of patterns, french seams (we had to make a cotton lawn half slip and a nightdress), working with luxury fabric (an evening gown), exquisite embroidery (a babies christening gown) to professional tailoring (a wool tailored blazer with sweetheart neckline and correctly matching check fabric - i had to finish it in a hurry so it could be marked as part of my exam and then we went on a family vacation - so i could wear it - i thought i was soooo cool for a 13 year old - yes 13).
I still have my exercise book full of little four inch squares of plain white fabric showing my mini creations of handmade bias binding, scalloped edging, perfect insertion lace (with cut away fabric), equal gathers, bodice darts, pintucks, curved rolled edges, pulled thread work, the list goes on.
The whole notion that someone could learn how to make a boned bodice, line luxurious fabric, make a dummy dress to assure perfect fit, hand bead thousands of beads and be able to understand the ins and outs of a dress pattern is so difficult for many to understand.
Really, though, its not that difficult to be able to produce quality work from the home.
Understanding the science of patterns, being prepared to start small and work your way up rather than jump in feet first, assures us that we can really do anything we put our mind to.....including our beloved daughters wedding dress.

Thursday, 12 January 2012

what comes around goes around

Just got the book 'sew' by Cath Kidston.  I have only just discovered her in the last few months (well, i do live in Australia and the only two registered sellers of her products are in WA or Vic and i'm in NSW, so you can see my problem). How cool to see the needle case on page 76 is the same as the one i made in 3rd grade in 1970. Only thing was mine didn't have a pretty floral cover but was made of pale pink headcloth with broder cotton running and chain stitch on the outside. It has the felt squares inside like Cath's and it was closed with a twisted thread on each side to tie in a bow. We also made a pinwheel. Just like the pinwheels you buy from the shop but made of two cardboard circles covered (again ) with headcloth and matching thread patterns (we did choose our own designs). Imagine two kingsize yo-yos stitched together, with a pretty twisted thread at the top to match. Will have to get them out of storage and upload the photos.
I also remember making a cotton bag, petticoat, tray cloth and apron. By sixth grade i was making a dress for my final subject before heading to high school for real sewing.  Teachers must have been told to 'dress us down' (sorry for the pun) in regards our abilities as i recall being told that making a tie back on the dress was too difficult for me to do ( had to recess it into the front seem as it was made into the darts at the waist for shaping).
A hhh the joys of childhood. I must have really loved my sewing as they never put me off my love affair with fabric, thread, pattern construction.......the whole lot.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

sea change, tree change, sew change

Some times things happen in our life for a reason , sometimes theres no reason, then there are times that you know are a sign to take a redirection in life and this is one of those times. So many things have been making me think of changing direction in my working life and know i've taken that big step to work less hours to give my all to something i have loved all my life and that is the joy of sewing. Its not about the cost, we all know that factory made fashions are cheaper and give us that instant gratification, but the satisfaction and passion that comes from some thing you have made is undeniable. Not only are you proud of your accomplishment and want to tell everyone ' Hey, I made this', but at the end of the day the skills and the confidence you have acheived are immeasurable.
I have been sewing since i was a little girl and can remember buying fabric remnants on a Saturday morning with friends, that early on Sunday morning when everyone was still asleep in bed became the latest fashion for Barbie or Chrissie. I made what suited the style of fabric (the fall), the pattern or the size of the remnant. I think my best achievement was a pair of summer beach slippers for Chrissie made from some waste vinyl, felt and lace. At the time i just wanted more clothes for my dolls ( hey, i was only 10 and in the 5th grade, cash was not something i had an abundance of). If i scored a doll dress pattern from a ladies magazine , i would make dozens of varieties of the pattern out of newspaper before getting the one i wanted to transform the fabric into just right.
It is a shame that todays school students are not encouraged to take on the subjects that we had 20 years ago. Home sciences as they were known gave us the basics for the world as we grew up. We all know people who can't sew a button or hem a pair of too-long trousers, yet in our modern world one size fits all. Thankfully we see the turn in cooking which has now become very trendy. I dont mean that in a bad way but the lack of learning at a young age (when it is fun) has left us obese, un healthy and not knowing how to cook an egg. Sewing is no different. Have you offered to teach at an Adult Education Centre only to be laughed at? Yet look at the magazines and books available to the novice sewer.
Maybe one day sewing will do an about face and it will not be seen as the domain of someone who has a boring life. Its not cool but we know it our best kept secret. xx