Wednesday, April 20, 2016

My five favourite gifts to make for Mother's Day: part one

Just thought I would share a few of my favourite Mother's Day gifts if you are going to make something. There are so many things you could make but I'm just limiting to a couple of my favourites.

Lil Pip Clutch


Last year I wrote tutorials for metal frames supplied with the Sew Box monthly subscription. Every frame is different and it is fairly easy to work out the pattern (I say that but you should see all my test versions!). 

This one was one of my favourites - a quilt as you go version. You might prefer the little coin purseplain clutchglam version with lace and beading detail, glasses case (I'm not responsible for damage to glasses!) or add a little hand stitching (surprise, surprise mine has an owl!).

Cushion cover
My mum is moving into a new house in May. I'm sure she will spend some time in deciding how to decorate, perfect colours and so on but I know she would love a little handmade cushion by me. I have a few quilt blocks that I made last year for the Quilt Block Boot Camp that I didn't finish but I'm just as likely to go back to the drawing board and find something that suits her perfectly. 

I love Ros' aka Sew Delicious version of the Economy Block Cushion, Raspberry Kiss Cushion with all that low volume or the striking London Calling cushion

My Economy Block cushion top - I'm not sure mum would love this!
Emma Clutch Tote
My friend Amy's (of Ladybug and Daisychain fame) first pattern was the Emma Clutch Tote. I was lucky to be one of the original testers but challenged myself a little too much with my fabric choices. I need to circle back and make another with some pretty cotton fabric (rather than the heavy drill I used the first time!). 

Here is Amy's example. Love how you can hold the handle or flip it over to be a clutch. 




Mug Rug
I think I could do an entire post about mug rugs but will limit to my favuorite that I found online by Mack and Mabel who guest posted on Simply Solids. My mum drinks a lot of coffee and I could actually see her using this. Will have to see what I can come up with. 




Commuter cowl / scarf 
I don't think I ever see my mum without some type of scarf. Maybe it is just because when she visits us from Brisbane to Melbourne, she is freezing!

I made this commuter cowl last year - was so quick and easy to put together. I also have this Make it Perfect Scarves and Cowls pattern (seriously $3 - bargain!) so I might try one of those too.  


Lots of options to make, hope this inspired you a little? What are you making this Mother's Day?

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

FriXion Pen - a 'scientific' test on fabric

I've been using the Pilot Frixion pens for a while but with my recent foray into the land of quilting (am I a quilter now?), I thought I would conduct a very rigorous scientific experiment to see how they shape up (you can detect the sarcasm there right?). 

The Hypothesis 

"The erased lines reappear in low temperatures"

I've read other reviews - Freshly Pieced for example - but as soon as they start talking about snow, I kinda wonder if it is relevant in our Australian climate ie hot!!

Now I'll preface all this by saying that Pilot (makers of the FriXion pens) are designed for paper. The are not designed for fabric or tested while developing them. 
"perfect for everyday use at work, home or school. With no damage to the paper, you can erase and instantly re-write over your mistakes."
Information online does state that the ink will reappear in temperatures below -20 degrees.
"The friction-generated heat caused when rubbing the paper with the special tip turns the ink invisible (put the document in the freezer and the ink re-appears)."

The Test

"Test the fabric in temperatures below -18 and between 0-4 and a control of approximately 28-30 degrees"

Method and Materials

I used two styles of FriXion erasable pens: the Gel Pen in Black and Blue and Marker in Violet.    

Here is before photo. I ruled three lines onto three 5" charm squares. One to be placed in the freezer, one in the fridge and one was my 'control'.




I gave them all a quick press with steam. Not talking long here people and I possibly could have ironed longer, with starch, sprayed water or something (maybe a later test!). You can see where the heat has removed the words I wrote at the top and I didn't even go over the top, that's just from the iron close to it.




I then popped the 'freezer' one into the freezer. Flat on a pull out drawer for one hour. The 'fridge' went into the top shelf .... on top of a box of choccies... mmmm I should find them again... and finally the 'control' was left right on my kitchen table. Now I will say that there was a good chance the fridge and freezer were opened a few times during that hour so possibly some changes in temperature! 

As an indication, I found this temperature guide from Choice. Fridge temperatures should be between 0-4 degrees and freezers should be -18 degrees. Now depending on where you live in Australia, you might get fridge type temperatures but I don't know of any where (unless you live in the snowy mountains areas!) that gets below -18 degrees. 


Analyse and Results


"Lines have returned at the lower freezer temperatures and faint lines at the fridge temperatures"

After one hour I removed the fabric charms and here is what I found. The lines had certainly reappeared on the freezer fabric and faint lines on the fabric from the fridge. The control fabric was exactly the same. 


If you ironed it again the lines would disappear. The freezer temperature fabric is much more prominent than the fridge fabric. I even had to draw these amazing little arrows on the photo as I didn't think you would see where they were! The line was only from the marker rather than the pen at this temperature.




Theorize and Apply


"I wouldn't recommend that you use the pens to mark quilting lines"

But for use in seams say marking notches in a pattern or tracing around a pattern that you will then cut on the line it would be totally fine. If you are anything like me and perhaps more carefree (and not entering quilts into competitions for example!), then go ahead knowing that you can just give it another blast of steam from the iron and they will be gone. 

Besides ... I'm not going for any sleigh rides in the snow with my quilts any time soon....

If you want to read more - try this awesome one by Quilt Skipper who spoke to reps at Pilot!


Monday, December 14, 2015

My New Year blog-olutions

I've been thinking ... dangerous I know. 

I've noticed a trend with some of my favourite bloggers. Writing less and less and just snapping more and more. What? It's the Instagram sharing I'm talking about. 

My current Instagram feed - with Jingle our elf and a few handmade Christmas things

I made some amazing dolls clothes yesterday as my little girl is getting an Australian Girl Doll for Christmas from her grandparents.

Of course I want to share with  you. Do I:

  • take photos - either with my DSLR camera or iPhone
  • transfer to computer
  • editing them, adjusting the colour, cropping the size, adding my business name
  • write up a blog post, adding links to all the patterns I made
  • press go and perhaps be seen by the 5 people who follow me

Or ...

Share a quick snap on Instagram, quickly using one of the various filters to make the photo look better, hashtag and tag to share around and receive heaps of comments and those awesome little love buttons!!

You see where I'm going with this. 

So my New Year's blog-olution is to just not stress about my blog so much. I absolutely intend on sharing more. Possibly when I make something amazing, that I want people to find, that I want to share forever more. But when it comes to my day-to-day crafty capers - you'll see more of me in my favourite place ... Instagram!

Do you have a New Year resolution? Or Blog-olution?



Thursday, November 12, 2015

Open for business



Been a little quiet around here but busily preparing for markets and our online store is now open again. 

You will find these items available now with more coming soon. Some are new, some are end of lines - with discounts!

Shop now for Christmas or a new summer wardrobe. 


Friday, October 9, 2015

Hour basket for a baby gift

Not ANOTHER hour basket right?

And there are more, I just haven't blogged them!!


Another baby to make for and this time I was factoring in that I would be going to Brisbane for work so wanted something easy to transport. 

I was fortunate to win this car fabric on Instagram and teamed with a Kona red solid and this awesome grey inside - it made a fantastic storage basket for nappies and so forth now and can't you just imagine it filled with cars in the future? 

The pattern says you can make the basket from a fat quarter but I'm not convinced. By adding this strip at the top, I was able to make it work. Possibly due to this directional fabric? Or my own bad measurements!




Hope little Darcy likes his gift ... eventually!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

New baby gift set



My next door neighbour had her second baby last week. We are pretty close and when I got the call, was happy to head over for a sleep over to take care of bubs big sister (she is 2!). It was a pretty exciting week with lots of playdates with my two older owlets, remembering how all consuming toddlers can be and a few sneaky little newborn cuddles - and by that I mean when he was just one day old!!! (Cue the 'nawwhhhhhs'). 

I knew I wanted to make something as she would appreciate a handmade gift. After a little online searching and checking through my stash (determined to use what I had), this is what I came up with. 

Snuggle blanket

Backed with beautiful soft minky, this little blanket is designed to wrap baby now but perhaps just snuggle with as he grows. It isn't huge and I just used what I had in terms of fabric. (I forgot to take measurements but probably around 30inches square - or 75cms). This gorgeous elephant splash fabric from Spotlight has been in my stash for a year or so. Happy to put it to good use!


Fabric basket

There was only a very narrow strip of fabric left after making the blanket and I wanted to use it all. I decided to make a little fabric basket and this time teamed it with a Kona Solid called 'Pear'. 

If anyone knows where my extensive selection of interfacing has disappeared to - I would love to know. I found a little batting and quilted it to the outside. Raided one of my Sew Box's for some thin interfacing for the lining (really need to find the medium and thicker weight interfacing I know I have!).



If you are interested in the template before I made it - the dimensions are around 13 inches high x 11 inches wide. I cut 3 inch squares from each corner (probably could have been 2.5). 



It is perfect now to fit a nappy or two, wipes and nappy bags but a good size to stash some toys as he grows. 


Elephant taggy toy

I cut out these elephant shapes months and months ago from a Flosstyle Babies First Toy pattern - see my review here. But in a HUGE fail moment, I cut four the exact same way (rather than flipping so I would have matching sides). 

In a lightening bolt moment, I thought I would make these little taggy toys. There seems to be lots of babies around me at the moment so I whipped up four at the same time. 

Miss 6 got involved and choose all the ribbons and backing minky. 

This little orange guy went with our gift next door.



How awesome is this orange?!?




And the four together - with teal, pale blue and green backs. 



I didn't bother wrapping the gift - popped it all in the basket, ribbon around and delivered next door. 




It was wonderful putting this gift set together. Do you have a go-to newborn gift to make? I have another to share with you soon!


Monday, October 5, 2015

Cotton and Steel Herringbone Quilt ... and why I will never make 120 HSTs again!



Ms Midge (aka Melissa but seriously everyone calls her Midge!) regularly hosts Charm Swaps and when I saw this one come up for Cotton and Steel - I was in!

56 people buy two fabrics, cut them into 5 inch squares, send them to Midge who sends back the 112 different squares. I had no idea what I was going to make but knew I wanted something for myself. 


I searched Pinterest for ages. I'm really not a quilter (though according to Midge - now I am!) but I really wanted to do something with these that wasn't just sewing the squares together. 

So I decided on this cool herringbone pattern and teamed it with this Charcoal Shot Cotton from Spotlight (which was used by a couple of others in the Swap group). 

I started with a couple and laid them out ....



Did a mountain of trimming (I was trimming the four sides as I don't trust myself on the two side method) ...




Ended up with about 120 squares (or HSTs - half square triangles). I didn't use them all. Oh and no pinks or reds are in my quilt - I'll make something else with those.



Decided to do a variegated pattern rather than random. Love the end result with this going from the dark blacks and navy's on the left, the blues and greens in the middle, the neutrals and multi coloured on the right. 



I know this really chopped up some of the patterns and some might say I ruined some of the charms (I couldn't bare to chop into a couple so saved them for other projects) but I think there were a few successes to. 

Little birds ...


Friendly spider!



I'm tracking down some more of this charcoal shot cotton so I can add to the top of the quilt and make it a proper queen size. Then I'm going to send it off to be professionally longarm quilted. No way am I attempting this one myself. 

So I will make HSTs again, I think I'm rather good at them now but seriously it will be a long time before I make this many for one quilt. Really not my favourite thing.

I'm pretty happy with the end result!!






Ms Midge

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