November 24, 2013

A Selection of Cards

A friend was asking what I'd been up to lately and I had to confess that study has taken up the bulk of my time, leaving almost no room for craft.

There were a couple of things I couldn't post about earlier because I was waiting for them to arrive (mail is very slow going to Africa).

This one headed over to Africa to my best friend!


An engagement card! You might be able to just see all the hand drawn hearts on the background.


My first attempt at a centre-opening card - this one was for a wedding.


Now this one looks complicated, but it actually very simple. It's just a piece of patterned paper stuck on a card. I wrote the 'Happy Birthday' myself (as you can guess, since it's not perfectly centred)


I've also been doing some more on African Sunset, but no pictures this time. I'm filling in some gaps and working on the ground.

I'm also planning some Christmas cards and Christmas crafts, but study is taking precedence right now with deadlines looming!

October 19, 2013

Mini for Christmas

I needed something to do while going away for a weekend recently (not that I actually did it while I was away), so I pulled out my stash of projects to complete and decided to do a mini Christmas decoration.
I like to have something new every year, although I have now exhausted my stash (unless I pull out some of the Tiny Stockings that I did a few years ago - I didn't do them all then).

So there you have it! A little bit of Christmas!

October 2, 2013

Update on African Sunset

A few people have been asking me lately how I'm going with finishing African Sunset.

So I thought it was time for me to give you an update.

I'm probably 2/3 of the way through, and I'm now doing back stitch as I go, so that I don't have to come back and do it at the end. Before I scroll over to the next section, I'm completing as much of the back stitch as I can.
I really like the elephant's wrinkles - they look so real and it's all done through slight changes in colour. Back stitch is just used to outline.

September 26, 2013

My Working Space

Have you wondered about my crafting space?
Well, if you have I'll tell you a little.
My bedroom is not just a bedroom - it is also my home office, crafting space, relaxing spot and library!
The top of my bookshelves holds DVD boxes full of stamps, ink pads, dies and a variety of other crafting paraphernalia. My desk is flanked by 2 sets of plastic drawers plus another set of plastic drawers on the other side of the room, holding embellishments, paper punches, adhesives, brads, eyelets, scrapbooking papers, ribbons, lace, templates, cardstock, beads and chalks.

That's all good, neat and tidy, but when I get crafting things start getting pulled out, and things get piled up on every available space - generally my bed!
This is what happened when I got crafting recently:

What you can't see from this photo is what my desk looked like, but I can assure you there were crafting things all over that too (I just don't want to give away the project I was working on)!
With the school holidays I have had a bit of time to work on some sewing projects - I have actually halved my list!

  • Darts in pants so that they fitted properly
  • Mending
  • Putting pockets into shorts that didn't have any
  • Making a rag bag
The most interesting is the rag bag. I used the legs of a pair of jeans that had worn out in other areas. I cut them off, sewed them together in a tube, sewed up one end of the tube and made a casing for a draw string by opening a small section of the hem on the other end.
To make the string, I started off by finger knitting some wool, but I found it was not thick enough and likely to break. So I used the initial finger knitting and finger knitted that again to make it stronger. It was then too short, but I had more wool and tried again.
So that I got the right length, I started doing the single finger knitting, then before finishing it off, I started the double up. It worked really well because I could do more single finger knitting to make it longer until I had the right length.

It's a good feeling to finally get some things done.

September 7, 2013

Cardmaking Experiments

A card I made today.

I used embossing powder and my heat gun for the first time. It didn't quite work how I planned - the ink dried too fast.
I also made the window blinds - I stamped the window on the paper I wanted to use then cut out the bits I needed. The bottom edge was done with decorative scissors and I hand drew stitch marks at the bottom. The blind pull at the bottom is a pearl.

(This post has been scheduled for a later date so that the person receiving it doesn't have a sneak peek.)

August 24, 2013

Birthday Cards

I've had a busy afternoon and evening of card making, and here are the results:

This one combines decoupage layers with washi tape.

I tried a new technique with this one, by using blow pens.

Both are for female cousins.

This one is for one of my male cousins.
Normally when I make a card, I just put things together and see how it works out, but for this one I actually roughly sketched it first. The tent and fishing rod are stickers that I purchased so long ago that the adhesive on the back had lost it's stick, so I had to use my own. I cut around the top of each wave on the paper (very fiddly) for the wave effect. The sky was done using chalk and a dauber.

(This post will only appear after their birthdays, as I don't want them to have a sneak peek.)

August 1, 2013

July 24, 2013

Secret Projects Revealed!!

Earlier this year I mentioned that I was working on some secret projects! The time has now come for them to be revealed.
2 new babies joined our family recently, and as is my tradition I did cross stitches for each one to welcome them to the family.

The pictures below have been slightly edited. I stitched their names on each one, but for privacy, I can't reveal them here.

Each of these are from the Playtime Nursery book by Ginny Fraser. There have been a couple of alterations to the patterns so that they worked for the babies I made them for.

June 2, 2013

Bows with a Bow Maker

I recently got a free bow maker (not quite like this one) with a card making magazine. This video has given me a few ideas of what I could try!

Or you could try this (no bow maker), but it looks a bit awkward.

May 26, 2013

A "Little" Bit of Crochet

For years I've wanted to do really fine crochet and make a doily. Since I learned how to crochet using a DVD I've thought about it more, but with so many other crafts that I do and projects on the go, it's just one more thing that's been put on the back-burner. I've also been seeing crochet embellishments for cards and realised that I could make them myself.

I had a little time on my hands over the last couple of days, and a book out of the library - "100 Snowflakes to Crochet".
So, I found some crochet cotton and used one of my smallest hooks (actually a cro-tat hook).
The first one I did in about an hour. The second took a bit longer, but it was more complicated.
And here they are ...
The one on the left was first. It's about the size of a 10 cent coin. The one on the left, I think looks more like a ships wheel than a snowflake! It's just a little smaller than a 50 cent coin. It was hard to get the loops right. I wasn't sure which side of the chain to put the hook through so that it sat right. I think I may use these on cards as embellishments.

So that's what I've been up to lately, plus some more work on my crochet rug! It's slow going these days with it getting so large, but I'm closer to the end than the beginning. A few more rounds of blue, then I'll do maroon edging!

May 19, 2013

Baby Shower Card

So a friend of mine is having a baby, and today was her baby shower.
This is the card I made!

May 10, 2013

Cards, Cards, Cards and a Few Other Things

I know, I know! I haven't posted about projects for a while, but I had some mail go missing and couldn't post about the cards I made until I knew they had arrived!
So here we go - a couple are actually Christmas cards. Mail to Africa went missing, and only just arrived - 5 months later!

This one was fun. The tree is actually a wallpaper cut out. The lights and decorations glitter glue and rhinestone stickers.

This one I made for a friend for her wedding. The heart paper I made myself by sticking punched hearts on white paper. I scanned it into my computer and can now print more whenever I like!

My brother's birthday card! The domino paper was from a craft magazine. The dominos stuck on were actually out of a Christmas cracker. There weren't enough for a game of dominos, but they made a nice embellishment. My brother loved it!

A friend of mine was starting a new job and moving to the other side of the city, so this was an encouragement card. The hand is a novelty paperclip!

A notepad for my Mum! She needed a new one, and while we had all my card making things out I whipped this up. The cover is embossed cardstock, and the hedgehog a sticker.
We had a card making party for my birthday - it lasted 2 days! I pulled out most of what I have, spread it out on and around the dinning table. I can't show you most of the cards we made because they haven't been sent yet, but we had a lot of fun!

A couple of engagement cards. You might recognise the black and white border on the second one! It was part of my Op Shop haul a little while ago. Yes, the heart paper is the one I made and featured in the wedding card I mentioned earlier.

So there you have it! Just a few of the projects I've made this year (and one last year). Stay tuned, there's sure to be more.


With the cooler weather I've also started working on my crochet rug again. It's big enough to keep my legs warm as I keep making it!

And then there's a cross stitch project I'm working on. No sneak peaks. It's a surprise gift!

May 9, 2013

How To and A Brilliant Idea

Finally someone telling me how to use these stamp and die sets!!

And the answer to a question I've had for a while - what to use to hold a die in place that is easily removed at the end and doesn't cost a fortune.

February 4, 2013

My Quilt Journey - Part 1

Sewing has been part of my life for a very long time. My Mum sewed! Her Mum sewed! Generations of women in my family (both sides) have sewed, some were even seamstresses. Even a few of the men in my family do the occasional bit of sewing. So I guess it was only natural that I would want to do it to!

The first thing I remember sewing was a dress for one of my dolls. I used green and white checked fabric, and even sewed some white lace on the hem.

Buy the time I was 11, I had also dabbled in tapestry and cross stitch; then I also tried long stitch and embroidery (not to mention knitting, bead jewellery, and a host of other crafts - papercrafts came later).

My introduction to patchwork and quilting came when I was in Grade 6. One of the mums offered to do lunch time patchwork classes and I jumped at the chance. That mum was Julie Wallace, now the owner of Quilter's Barn and a designer of fabric and quilt patterns. She taught us using her Quick Patchwork Papers, a product she was developing. I learned about fabric, colour matching, and quilting, and the final result was a small tote bag, that I still use on occasion.

Moving into secondary school, I continued to sew and do a variety of needle craft projects. I also chose Home Economics classes at school where we spent half the year sewing and half cooking - I liked the sew half better.

One of the projects we were able to choose was a log cabin bag. We were required to choose our own fabrics and spent several weeks making it. I loved the challenge and learning new skills.

By this time I was also making some of my own clothes and doing more and more cross stitch.
One of the cross stitch projects I did was a sampler (from Soverign Hill).

With the cross stitch sampler finished, I had the idea to make a sampler quilt. And that is how my quilt plan began. Not a quilt, but a quilted doona cover. I decided to use the cross stitch sampler as the centrepiece of my quilt, then put a sample of patchwork squares around it.

I began looking through quilting books and magazines to find the patterns that I liked most, then planned to use matching fabric to tie all the squares together.

The problem with this idea was that I liked 9 patch, 5 patch, 10 patch, 4 patch and 8 patch squares, and it would be difficult to get them all the right size, not to mention that it really wasn't going to work, and the cross stitch wouldn't go well in the wash.

The whole project was put on hold as I completed my final 2 years of school, then hunted for a job during a gap year and finally when I headed off to uni. During my time at uni I did start to buy some fabric - just whatever caught my fancy and when I had a little money to spare (that I hadn't spent on books).

Uni finished, I moved back home (although everyone moved, so it wasn't quite the same), but I was doing a lot of cross stitch, so quilting was at the back of my mind. I did work through which squares I wanted to do, made some templates, and even cut one square out, but then I started full-time work and the quilt was put on the backburner once again.

It got to 10 years after I originally started to plan, and I thought, ok, let's get this done. But by then my ideas, likes and dislikes had begun to change. I had also read about quilts where people put in fabrics to remind them of family and friends - like using fabric from an old shirt or baby dress, bits of left overs from a wedding dress, anything that reminded them of special events and people. So I began to think about doing a scrap quilt instead of the original idea. I also didn't really like the cross stitch sampler anymore and didn't want that on my bed.

So it was back to the drawing board. About this time Mum and Dad gave me a small applique to to. you've seen it - The Lighthouse (see older post).

 By the time I finished it in 2010, I decided to make this the centre of my quilt, and do crazy patchwork in blues around it to look like the ocean.

So, my reasearch into crazy quilts began, and I started to accumulate more and more fabric - all with blue somewhere in the pattern. The problem with crazy quilts is that they are all done in small areas and then joined together. I just wanted to have one big ocean, without the square joins, plus I wasn't planning to do any of the normal embellishment seen on crazy quilts because it needed to be washable.
About the only thing that hasn't changed in the planning of this quilt over the last 16 years is that it will be a doona cover, not a regular quilt.

Now we come to 2012. The quilt has been in the planning stages for 15 years (half my life, literally). It's time to get things done.
I'd worked out the backing fabric I needed to do the crazy quilt, and purchased it. I had the rest of the fabric to make the doona, and my fabric stash of a whole variety of blues was growing, and growing, and growing.

Then I went to a quilt and craft show in the middle of the year! I needed advice on how to use some of the ideas I'd discovered about crazy patchwork, BUT I was beginning to realise that what I wanted to do probably wasn't possible, and certainly not very practical.
I attended a couple of workshops, and then popped in to one done by, yes, the one and only, Julie Wallace - the woman who had first introduced me to patchwork and quilting.
The workshop was about her Quick Quilting Papers, and right at the start she mentioned how she had begun using this with a group of children at the school where her children had gone! That was me!!!!!
At the end of the workshop I went up to talk to her, and she actually remembered me!!! One of the quilts she had on display was a zig zag pattern, and that started me thinking. The zig zags would be like waves if I ran them horizontally across the quilt (Julie's pattern is vertical).

So now I've come full circle in my quilting journey. Instead of a crazy quilt, I'm now going to be using Julie's papers. My stash has grown a little more as I realised I needed some white/cream in the quilt (sea foam or the crest of the waves).

Now I just need the time to quilt ...

January 23, 2013

Op Shop Finds

I popped into the Op Shop yesterday to fill in some time, and came out with a few bargains.

In total, I only spent $7.50!!
The small pom-poms I'll be taking to work to add to what we have.
The black and white frames are actually puffy stickers that I'll use on cards.
The book has some great projects that I can try with the children at work (It was $2).
Finally, the little bears and ducks (pictured below) I'm planning to use as embellishments on cards.

So, be on the lookout for projects featuring these things in the future!

January 22, 2013

Sew and Sew!

Sewing has been my focus (when not studying) in recent days. I needed something to wear to my cousin's wedding, and had been unable to find anything in the shops, so I decided to sew something. This is what I ended up making. I did not end up wearing it though.
Let's just say, that pattern pictures are decieving. This top did nothing for my figure. So I ended up having a day of shopping with my Mum and one sister, that resulted in me purchasing a beautiful dress in an oceany green, that was very flattering, and everyone said I looked good.
I did, however, learn some new sewing skills and learned that Chiffon is an awful fabric to sew with!

This was a skirt I bought recently, but it was very straight and rather boring, so I jazzed it up with some dainty lace around the hem, I love it! And the pattern on the lace looks remarkably like butterflies. I actually stitched this by hand, although I could have done it much quicker by machine.

January 8, 2013

Progress on African Sunset

Here's what I'm up to with African Sunset. I haven't done the back stitch in this section yet, but you can already see the elephant's tail, wrinkles and the edge of the water!

I'm having to put this aside for a little while. I have a couple of secret projects that need to be done! You'll have to wait a few months to see them though, as they are gifts.

January 5, 2013

Galej Napkin Rings

In my last post I mentioned the napkin rings I made for Christmas.
Well here they are:

These are made from part of the packaging from the Galej Tealight Holders. These cardboard rings separate the 4 holders to keep them from rubbing against each other.

To make them:
1. Paint the edges of the rings with white acrylic paint (the inside and outside were already covered by a white layer).
2. Cut Christmas scrapbooking paper to the correct width.
3. Stick the paper to the ring with double stick tape.
4. Using Stampin' Up! punches, Punch the cream oval to write the name on. Glue that to the backing card (red or green), then punch with the scalloped oval, centering the cream oval in the punch.
5. Write the name on the label, then stick on the napkin ring, covering the paper join.
6. Insert napkin!

For the green card, I used a paint colour sample card!
Each set of the tealight holders comes with 3 rings.

Mysteries Revealed

Now that Christmas and a birthday have come and gone, I can now share with you some of the projects I made as gifts.

One of them was my first foray into Kaiser Craft's constructable items - in this case an advent calender.

 This is the 'advent' calender that I made for my Mum. I had planned to do it for 2011, but time got away from me. Then she said that she wanted one that could be used throughout the year, not just at Christmas, so I was very glad I hadn't done it.
It took a lot of time, particularly constructing all the individual drawers - I wrapped them with paper, then clear contact.

These are just 3 of the Christmas Tree decorations that I made for each family member (plus a few friends). As I have mentioned previously, it is a tradition in our family for each person to receive a new tree decoration each year. It makes our tree very eclectic, but I like it that way!

I also made my own gift tags! Just hearts punched out of Christmas papers (leftovers from a make and take I did at Paperific) stuck on precut circles, with a bit of gold cord tied through the holes.
I also made personalised napkin rings (no picture). A bit of recycling went into this project as I used the cardboard rings in the packaging of some Ikea tealight candle holders! I painted the edges of the rings white (there was already white paper on the inside and outside), stuck some Christmas scrapbooking paper around, and put on a label with the person's name. For a couple of the labels I actually punched out the shape from a paint colour sample card!

These were a present for one of my sisters. She loves bird houses and I found these two fairly cheaply online. They come unpainted, so I had the fun of painting and decorating them. The daisies on the green and red one I painted, but the lady bug is a sticker. For the green and white one, I stuck on blue paper flowers, but painted the vines.

These 2 felty friends rounded out my partially handmade Christmas Gifts. The Scotty dog was a new pattern, and I'm very pleased with how it turned out. My friend said she didn't want to wear the brooch because she'd rather look at it!


Finally (for today - although there are other projects I've done that haven't been received yet) a birthday card for one of my sisters - yes the same one I gave the bird houses to.
I used one of the Flower Soft toppers that I have had stashed away.