Friday, April 17, 2015

Inch by Inch, Row by Row

Oh I know I said there was going to be a tutorial today...

However, there was a little problem with the photos (operator error I'm afraid). 

And it's an absolutely gorgeous day outside and I ended up at the garden store and these little beauties came home with me. Time to plant!

Tutorial will follow at some other date, indeed it will!

Happy Weekend all!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

No Pattern, No Problem: The making of a T-shirt

I have a frightful confession. I don't sew with knits. Oh I do hope you didn't bump your noggin when you fainted from the shock of it. Now that you've recovered I can tell you that I can happily revise that confession to: For years I did not sew with knits. 

It was not always so. When I was a teen I sewed knits with impunity, I had no fear and I couldn't for the life of me understand why people were hesitant to sew with knit fabrics. Ok, I do admit a slight aversion to pure polyester knits, but that's a story for another day.

Somewhere along the way I stopped sewing with knits, and with this lack of knit sewing I too began to have doubts, fears even. Silly me.

On the practical side, one of my excuses was that good quality knit fabrics are expensive. Well, the other day I was taking a long overdue peruse through my local thrift shop, and though I did not find the perfect v neck sweater I was searching for, I did find a few very large men's T-shirts in white. The perfect lead in to playing around with knits without breaking the bank while at the same time upcycling some formerly unloved clothing.

I didn't have a pattern so I made one. This is true of some knits, they can be forgiving of the hastily self drafted pattern. I created a Dolman sleeve t-shirt, one of the easiest things to sew, really! I then went about making a couple with various sleeve lengths. In the photos above I used some gorgeous knit that my friend Nancy sent me ages ago and added the contrasting bands from another shirt that happened to be the perfect shade of green.

This one was made using one of the white thrift store t-shirts, dyed black and stenciled with a horse of course.

There are some tricky things about sewing with knits, but honestly it's just like anything else... it takes practice and there is no reason to fear sewing with knits. Not that you're afraid, of course not, you are very brave and have no idea what I'm talking about. It was probably just me. Silly me.

I also whipped up a pair of yoga pants made from t-shirts that suffered from an unfortunate dye job. (Note to self: Order some good quality fiber reactive dyes!)

Well, I'm so glad I now sew with knits. 

Oh! And coming up on Friday I will be posting a quick tutorial on how to make a Dolman Sleeve T-Shirt of your very own! Hooray!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Dye and Stitch

Tobacco, Tea, Coffee Grounds, Rusty Nail

I like to experiment with dyeing and "aging" fabric with simple processes and household mediums. I've been playing with it for a few years now and I'm hoping to teach myself how to use plant dyes and even plant myself a small dyers garden. Some day.

I was messing around with some of my dye sample pieces and there was some watercolor paper 3 x 5 cards I had cut up for whatever reason and then... well things just sort of happened.

My machine has many stitch options, but the truth is I only use a very small portion of the stitches on a regular basis. I thought I might dare to use some of the fancy cross stitch options. Taking one of my bits of dyed fabric I stitched it directly onto the paper card. I was so enamored of the result I did a tiny series of them.

On the back of the cards I wrote down the fabric, dye, and stitch information.

I may just be playing with these little pieces and tiny series for a while.

Happy weekend everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

DIY Paper Party Chandelier - Tutorial

Let's go back a bit, oh say a couple of weeks... it was a Friday and I was busy to-doing, getting things together for a party in BLUE. I was fluffing blue paper pom-poms (not my favorite task it turns out), hanging blue paper lanterns, draping blue beaded curtains, and dangling sparkling silver stars. My girl had asked for blue, but had not specified which hue of blue she preferred. There are rather a lot of shades of blue you know?  So, I just got as many shades as I could find.

At the bottom of my bag of tricks there was one little roll of $1.50 blue crepe paper. At the moment I could not for the life of me remember what my intentions had been regarding this roll of crepe paper when I purchased it. I looked around and noticed the large pendant light hanging from the center of the ceiling and it irked me, as it often does, but it was particularly clashing with the blue extravaganza I had in play. 

I decided right then and there that something must be done, some remedy must be found! So with my one roll of blue crepe paper in hand and about an hour or so left on my timeline, I set about upon a path of easy peasy cheesy DIY righteousness! 

I was not certain how this was all going to end up, but took some photos just in case I might stumble upon a kind of clever idea. In the end I was well enough pleased with my super thrifty endeavor and thought I'd share it with you here in brief. Perfect for parties and festivities of all sorts.

The DIY Crepe Paper Chandelier:

One roll of crepe paper
Piece of cardboard about 12"x 12"
Marker Pen
Masking Tape
Paint (optional)
Roll of curling ribbon or other ribbon
Push pins
(I had all of the materials at home already but for the crepe paper, chances are you will have most of these items too. Which makes this a very cheap project)

To Start:
click on the pictures to enlarge if needed

I traced around a large dinner plate onto my cardboard, I then centered a smaller salad plate inside the larger circle and traced around that to create two circles. Using scissors, cut out the large circle, then cut out the center circle. (It's ok to cut through the outer circle to get to the center, in fact, for me it was necessary to be able to open it up to get it to fit around my wide pendant light shade.) I then applied a quick coat of blue paint to one side of the circle just to make sure the cardboard wouldn't show through, but it isn't critical to the project. Let dry. 

Side Note: If the base of your light (the part attached to the ceiling) is larger than 8" you may need a larger piece of cardboard and then trace a large enough circle to fit around it.

 Next, cut even lengths of crepe paper: how long you cut them depends on how far you want them to hang down below the light (my lengths were about 34"). begin taping your strips around the wrong side of the cardboard circle as shown in the upper left photo above. Continue all the way around (upper right photo). Cut a second set of strips from the crepe paper a bit shorter than the first and tape each one between/overlapping the the first strips all the way around the circle as before. Next, cut lengths of curling ribbon (the kind used for wrapping presents) and tape them in even spacing around the circle. You can use more crepe paper and ribbon if you like. I used the entire roll of crepe paper I had and what was left of a roll of curling ribbon so that was my gauge of how much to use.

Next I used my scissors to curl the ends of the ribbon. I carefully centered my finished chandelier around the base of the light at the ceiling and used a couple of push pins pressed through the cardboard into the ceiling to keep it in place. Ta Da! 

Now that was seriously easy right? And thrifty! For all that last minute throw it together and hope for the best business, it was a big hit at the party and has me thinking of making some fancy ones with sheer fabrics and silk ribbons and... oh you know how I like to say: possibilities are endless!

Important Note: Make sure that your crepe paper is not touching a bare light bulb, you want to make sure you have a few inches between the paper and a hot bulb as this could possibly be a fire hazard. You wouldn't even have to use these with a light, they would make a pretty decoration on their own. Or use a safe LED light inside instead if you are worried. The glow does make it extra special.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, it's not my usual sort of thing, but it is great fun and would be a perfect project to do with kids. And who can resist a chandelier? If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I will do my best to respond to them there.

Happy crafting!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Promises, Promises

Best laid plans and good intentions are subject to complete obliteration from time to time. So it was last week and well into the weekend. I am just now returning to the routine on wobbly legs and hoping to do what I had set out to do last week. By that, I mean spending some quality time here and in my studio. I am however, not making any promises. Because, well you know, life happens.

I do hope that you are all well and happy this Monday and hope to see more of you soon!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Hello Monday - Bloom

Goodness, time does fly when you're having fun. I wont bore you with the details of our school holiday mayhem. Now to get back into the swing of rambling on in this happy place.

Everything is blooming around here with our crazy mild winter and beautiful days. Time to get cracking in the garden!

I'm hoping to have a fun and easy peasy DIY tutorial this week, for now I leave you with some pictures from the garden.

Happy week all!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015


Happy birthday my sweet girl! You are brilliant, brave, kind, amazing, funny, and so creative. You are my heart, my light, my love. You are a rock star!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


I've come down with a bit of cold, so yesterday in my disoriented state I decided Pony Girl needed a 70's style Boho dress, so I made one, as you do. I just grabbed an old curtain panel and a bit of leftover shot cotton and whipped it up quick sticks. 

I've also decided that she should wear it with a vintage apron à la The Sound of Music. We'll see if she agrees to this.

And this wrinkled mess is a design in progress; the bodice for a dress. While I liked my original design, as you can see from my slap dash markings that many changes are coming.

Oh now this is getting tricky. I might wait until my head is clear again before tackling this further!

What are you up to?