Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Toy Society Christmas Drop

My second drop for The Toy Society was part of their Christmas Toy Drop.

This little toy went along on a road trip with our family from Brisbane.

Our destination was Melbourne and the plan was to do the drop along the way. We took off on Sunday but it was either raining or threatening rain, and the play parks in the highway towns were deserted.
I waited until Monday lunchtime when we pulled into a beautiful and well used park on the Castlereigh River in Coonabarabran, NSW. I left him in the tube slide, a quick toss in, a picture (can you see him in there?), and we moved on down the highway. Happy Christmas to the finder!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The one dollar, one hour Christmas sack

A last minute and basically only bit of Christmas-style crafting blog post here. We aren't really big on the whole Christmas thing, for us its more a family get together time and a celebration of the end of another year.

But....I did make a Christmas sack for my little boy. I bought a small sized white pillowcase for $1 from the Salvation Army. It got a wash and dry in the hot Brisbane weather. One hour later it was embellished with an appliqued red and white striped star and embroidered name in green.

Ready for a few modest train set additions from us and the family. Enjoy, my sweetest.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Wow, I have been doing a lot of sewing lately! Thats about to change as we head off for two weeks with my family about four days south of where we live.

This halter neck sundress has been in my wardrobe for some time and I have hardly worn it, its very thin cotton, the ties at the back of the neck are too bulky and iritate me and the elastic back sags down. But, I love the colour. I unpicked the skirt panels and turned them into a cool summer top, easy to wash and dry while on a road trip too.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Big stitches

Mmm, instant satisfaction is sewing together fat quarters into a patchwork. The three pieces of vintage sheet I ordered arrived in the middle of a heavy shower of welcome but rare rain on Tuesday. Lucky they were wrapped up well in plastic inside the paper envelope.

I got two fat quaters out of the orange and yellow flowers...

two fat quarters out of the blue and purple flowers (middle right, below)...

and two out of the blue flowers (bottom right, above), with more left over for another project.

Fifteen pieces in all, three by five in a patchwork. Oops, there's my toes!

Just waiting now to have the time to put the backing sheet on. Its a surprisingly different pink, green, blue and white sheet, fairly contrasty to the front, but let's go wild!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Little Things

I promised to do a post about what was in the box from a week or so ago, so here it is.

They don't have a name. They are just little things.

A little experiment of mine.

My most excellent friend Elizabeth has recently opened her new shop, Nest Nappies in Paddington, Brisbane. Its all about cloth nappies actually (if you use cloth nappies, or are thinking about it, and live in Brisbane, then definitely go and check her out). She does sell a range of other baby accessories and a general array of gorgeousness like slings and carriers, bibs, bags, hair clips and such. She has been lovely and supportive and put six of my little goodies in her shop.

Just to see.

How will they go?

All monies from any sales will go to the shop's chosen charity - Food, Water, Shelter.

Check them out too! A group of Australians doing great stuff for kids in Africa (and eco-friendly to boot!).

Friday, December 11, 2009

Now I know my ABCs

I have this ABC frieze by Dick Bruna. You probably know Dick Bruna through his "Miffy" books - do you recognise these illustrations from your childhood? Actually I have three friezes - ABC, Numbers and Animals - published in the early 1970s and they are certainly well loved and have been used by two generations of our family.

I had this ABC one stuck to coloured cardboard in my son's room, but it got all mis-shapen and fell down. And look at it! Its water damaged, ripped, brittle and tired, and basically in need of retirement. My crafty plan (next year...) is to create a fabric version of it with fabric/felt applique of the illustrations and then make a wall hanging. It can then continue to be used and loved into the future.

So, if you are visiting this post today, how about weighing in with your opinions on two things. Would you mind? I think I would have to make each square one at a time and sew them together at the end, kind of like a quilt. My two conflicting ideas are:
Should I make an exact copy including the coloured backgrounds?
Should I make an all white background version? (possibly makes it more uni-sex)
What do you think?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Creative Space

Its been too hot in Brisbane to do much lately. I am suffering from a bit of heat induced crafty/blogging-itis, just feel like lazing around like a lizard, and with looming holidays I am kind of winding down anyway.

So, what do I have on the go? I am cutting up these vintage sheets into fat quarters to make a patchwork, inspired by this one from Meet me at Mike's. There are a few more pieces of floral sheet fabric arriving in the mail this week - yay! The sheets are nice to work with in hot weather, they are thin, soft and cool. I also got a great $4 floral sheet from the Salvo's store as a backing piece. Maybe it will be all cut and stitched by the time we go on holidays, maybe not. Its holiday time after all!

For more creative spaces, head on over to Kirsty at Kootoyoo!

Another one

I had a second try at skirt making recently. I used the same Little Bird pattern but didn't bother with the three panel version like last time but just made a straight up single panel skirt. Much faster and a lot less fiddly. This time I made the medium size, and it was still too big! Do I dare to make the small size next time?

The yellow and white flower/lace trim was $2 from the Salvation Army store. A nice finishing touch I think.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My creative space

This week I have pretty much started afresh on things. I have cleared my shelves and posted off the softies for Mirabel, and birthday season for my friend's kids is over, so yeah, time to concentrate on something new, and also something to finish off my year with.

A pile of cute, bright fabrics has migrated to my table in the last week or so....don't worry, there is way more fabric in my sideboard cupboard (a sideboard is not for plates, its for fabric around here)...

...I have a fabulously organised system for keeping my embroidery threads...

...and a few days of stitching, embroidering, ironing, clipping and stuffing have produced a box of goodies, but I will tell more about what they are for later.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

New fabric

I finally went to claim the black zippers that I ordered in at the fabric shop. I was just meandering around, as you do, and I came across this little pack of five fat quarters. I just love flowers and birds, and the colour combination was really appealing as well. It was the only one of its kind on the shelf, so I thought it definitely needed to be purchased...

I have already used some of it too.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Softies for Mirabel appeal

Four lovely friends and I have been meeting semi-regularly for some months, and doing significant amounts of "after hours" sewing to produce a final tally of 18 softies for the Mirabel appeal. Hopefully each of these little ones will be finding their perfect human match sometime in December and brining a smile and a cuddle to some of the children supported by the Mirabel Foundation.

Thank you to Petrea, Annette, Jackie and Kris for being inspired, super crafty and taking up the challenge with me - it was heaps of fun.

I will post photos of each toy and details of who made them on the Flickr website sometime today. I also have to get them down to the post office quick smart!

Thanks also to Pip and Meet me at Mikes for this little piece of crafting for charity brilliance.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My Place and Yours: thats different, thats nice, thats unusual

Nothing like the challenge of taking a step back and unravelling what it is that is odd about your place, especially when those odd things are just normal to you (because you live there, right?).

Anyway, enough of the confusing dialogue. Like Toni, I have a switch that does nothing. The powerpoint next to this switch is ordinary, very handy for ironing in the kitchen, but the switch on the left does naught. I have lived in this house for three years and probably for at least the first year I thought that this switch was the power for the dishwasher, which is underneath the bench nearby. But then one day I ran the dishwasher and forgot to flip the switch on, and there went that theory.

I also have a bathroom mirror in which you can't see your head. We have the pokiest and stupidest bathroom/shower/toilet combination, so the fact that there are windows where your head should be in the mirror doesn't really surprise me. We installed an Ikea shaving mirror for all important facial related activities in the bathroom....

For a good dose of hilarity I do recommend that you head on over to Mikes and check out some other contributions.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Creative Space - the pleasure and the pain

I have been busy experimenting the last few days. These two are what I have been up to.

My little red friend there was a pleasure to make, he just worked, straight out. He looks great and I had a lovely feeling of satisfaction after finishing him. I might make him a bit larger next time.

The blue bear creature was a PAIN. I wanted to make something that was a good cuddly size for a kid, and not have to sew limbs on (this is my lease favourite thing about softies - the arms and legs, arrrgh!), so I made a figure of eight shaped pattern. So far so good. The face was my real problem with this dude. I had a bit of human like face on it, kind of like the face here, but also with green hair. I then sewed it together with the wrong sides facing, so had to pull it all apart again, then sewed it correctly and stuffed it, but I just hated the face, and I picked up the seam ripper and just ripped it right off. I then made the current face and spent ages deciding how to arrange it - how far up the face? how far apart the eyes? eyes close to nose or separate? Ahhh, the decisions! Last night I pulled the filling out and sewed on the face and ears with much difficulty, but much patience. He's OK now, just a very frustrating experience.

For more creative spaces, head on over to Kirsty!

Here....Kitty, Kitty

I finished Kitty from the Kirsten Doran kit. I made him mostly black (despite the nice fabrics in the pack) because I was feeling in a black cat mood considering Friday 13th and Halloween happening within a few weeks of each other (yes, I have been working on this small project for a while). Isn't he just adorable? I really do love him.

And so does the small one it seems. The little boy spied Kitty sitting on my sewing table after she was finished, and immediately claimed it as his own. He talks to it, goes to bed with it (forsaking the usual favourite of Maisy Mouse!!), and even toted it around to his friend's place yesterday.

I wanted to photograph Kitty today, and there he was, relaxing on the end of my son's bed. Miaow!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My creative space

My work table is a mess today. There are several things in this pile that are in various stages of completion.

I have some fabric with pheonix's and flowers on it.

To be made into this skirt.

I also bought a Kirsten Doran "kitty" kit from the Finders Keepers Markets a few weekends ago. He's still half finished and the honest truth why is that I can't be bothered changing the cotton in my machine from white to black...pathetic I know!

For more creative spaces, go on over to Kirsty.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Getting skirty

An evening of cutting and piecing together on Monday and an afternoon of zippers, trim and finishing on Tuesday produced me a new skirt.

I used the Madison skirt pattern from Little Bird Patterns. Its a very simple skirt to make, and its very comfy around the waist as it doesn't have elastic or a tight waist band or anything. I also really like that the skirt is a bit longer than average, that suits my style. I even wore it out to the movies last night.

The one thing I am dissatisfied with the facing around the waist as its not interfaced (so thin and floppy), the instructions seem to indicate that you just zig-zag (or overlock) the raw edges (no neat hem), and it shifts around and rides up when you put the skirt on and adjust it on your waist. I had to tuck the facing in to make myself neat! Must fix that with a few little stitches, especially along the side seam on the other side to the zipper. For some dyslexic reason only known to myself I made it in the large size, which is definitely not my size, and had to take in a whopping 14cm from the waist and side seam, but at least I could custom fit it, better too big than too small!

I have plans to make some more of these in the very near future.

Monday, November 16, 2009


I went for the second time to get a 15cm black zipper. No luck. So I compensated by purchasing some cotton fabric, and zippers in other colours. I am going to make clothing for myself for the first time in at least 10 years, maybe a bit more.

Today its a bit of a scorcher in Brisbane. I had these washed and dried in no time! Don't you love that?

Girl sewing

I don't get to do much girl sewing. You know, with soft pinks and flower prints and all that. Well, I had a go today at making a bag for a little girl I know. I just made up the pattern (well, strictly I didn't even use a pattern), it was a bit of a brain teaser deciding which way to sew everything together so that the lining, the exterior and the handles were all in the right place when I turned it the right way out. One of the handles ended up with a twist in it, but I don't think the three year old recipient will mind...

I also made some felt covered hair clips to go with.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Have a pattern, have pre-washed fabric, have sewing machine and enthusiasm, large chain sewing supplies store is understocked in black zippers of the appropriate size. Grrr.

A Lucky Winner!

I won this lovely package of goodies last week! I happen to be a follower of Ellie from Petalplum, Danielle from Craft Laboratory and their joint venture Selvedge House. So I had a good chance at their random pick of a blog follower to win a giveaway prize, and I won indeed.

Inside red tissue paper and brown string was a beautiful deep red drawstring bag, and inside the bag were two pieces of hand printed fabric, one red "Pear Shaped" and one dark natural "The Potter's Daughter" (which is especially cute with little pottery pieces printed all over), a fabric covered mirror (for my handbag!) and a fabric badge, and a lovely little handwritten thank you card. It was more than I ever expected, beautifully presented and totally lovely and touching. It made me feel all warm inside. Thanks ladies, I will certainly be letting you know when I have used the fabric in a little project.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Ready to get cooking

The little boy wanted an apron, so Mummy made him one. My little model had a hard time sitting still and smiling for the camera though.

I had a lovely little scrap of green Ikea fabric with hippos on it, so made a rather large contrasting pocket. He will definitely be able to store Maisy mouse in there (his favourite toy) while he is cooking. Might get Grandma to test the apron out in the coming week while she is visiting...

Monday, November 2, 2009

Am I crazy?

Hello! Its been about a week since I had time to do a blog post. A few small projects are bubbling away on my dining room table, but nothing enough to really post about.

I went to Ikea on Sunday (hm, bad idea I hear you say?). Well, I don't have any time during the week right now and I needed sheets and Ikea have 100% cotton ones that don't cost the earth.

Anyway, I went past the fabric section and pulled out a massive square of this Gunilla fabric from the "off cuts" box. I secretly think they just put pieces in the box to tempt folk like me who are browsing through with kid/s in tow and the whole self-serve fabric thing is in the too hard basket.

I want to do two things with it. I am going to try and attempt some long cushions for the couch. That's OK. And I want to make a skirt. That is kind of odd because its heavy weight fabric, more for furnishings rather than clothes. I'll be the lady with the cushion cover skirt....

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Roll it up

A little something for my boy - a crayon roll to tote his crayons around in. He often gets into the colouring book when we are out having a weekend coffee (and my husband and I try to do boring adult things like reading the newspaper).

It also contains not just any old crayons, but 'twistable' crayons, each in its very own pocket - double the fun!

The instructions came from a website called Skip to my Lou.

The Quilt Project comes together

The fabulous Kirsty from Kootoyoo has brought all 66 redwork squares together into one fine looking quilt. Its really satisfying to see the fruition of her project, seeing how it looks both all in one complete quilt, and to see all the individual squares in detail. The pieces have such an amazing diversity, from simple to fabulously detailed. You really should check it out here.

My design "Winter Fox", and accompanying instructions are almost ready for linking to this website. I almost have it ready and was researching how to load it on this blog and discovered that Blogger doesn't allow direct links to files, so I have to investigate using a file sharing thingy-ma-jiggy. Just give me a few days to sort this out. Thanks.

You really should check it out, go on!
(image via)

***Embroidery pattern file can now be found on the side bar under "Free Stuff".

Monday, October 19, 2009

The tip forward bird

I have designed and made my own toy bird. A nice fat, jolly one. I spent quite some time sketching her up late last week, and then just went for it and cut it out and got sewing. Construction wise there are a few things I would do differently, but I like her overall look.

But...I have now discovered a new aspect to making toys - balance. This little birdy wants to just tip forward onto her beak, and put her pretty little tail in the air. She's front heavy and this made her very difficult to photograph (like an unco-operative child). Finally I stuck her in a fork in my oleander bush. Where else does a birdy go anyway?

Do you like her?

The other two...

My last two Miss Allsorts dolls were dropped in the staff room last week. Thursday's drop was in the late afternoon on the fire extinguisher near the entry to the staff room. I sat on the couches and watched for a while, she didn't get noticed while I was there, probably because I was watching. She was gone Friday morning though.

Friday's drop was a bold one, amongst the tea and coffee supplies, right near the water boiler in the staff kitchen. It didn't take long for her to be found, everyone loves to come for a tea or coffee, don't they? Someone got a bonus with theirs though.

I'll see if I have to out myself as the toy maker, or if I can remain anonymous...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A bevy of beauties

Last week was mental health week. Maintaining good mental health is something I am aware of in my life. So when the school I am working at right now announced it was holding a week full of feel good mental health activities for the staff in the second week of term (the week after the official week), I was both impressed and inspired to make my own contribution when "random acts of kindness" was mentioned at the staff meeting.

Now, I am not a regular staff member, most people would have seen me around but not know me well. Absolutely nobody knows I am a sewer or that I like to give things away. Instantly a little Toy Society style toy drop came into my mind...but amongst all the lesson planning and teaching stress was there room in my life for sewing?? You bet ya!

I decided to leave a toy a day in the staff room for someone to find and take home. I chose to make four Miss Allsorts dolls from the Make Your Own pattern, started them on Friday, sewed into the night and finished them off Sunday afternoon. Phew, a sewing marathon but totally worth it. I only got three in for the picture as I didn't get access to the camera until after dark on Sunday and I took one doll with me to work on Monday morning.

On Monday I left one near some of the staff computers, Tuesday I left one on the lounge chairs in the staff lunch area. I spied Monday's toy sitting one someone's desk, haven't spotted who got Tuesday's toy. Two to go, keep you posted!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How cute are these?

I wandered into the homewares shop just outside my local supermarket the other day. I was just browsing, killing time, and then I spied these key covers on the counter. How adorable! They are called matryoshkeys (doll up your keys). They come from an American company called Fred and Friends. I just love using my keys now, can't stop admiring them. Better go lock the back door (with my lovely keys) and get myself to bed.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

And the winner is...

...drum roll please...

The random number generator has picked commenter number three. That's my friend Zoe. I think this is a very appropriate winner as Zoe is of Russian descent and her husband is from the UK. I think the little boy looks like one of the Queen's soldiers (although they wouldn't be seen dead (or alive) with a star on their hat...).

The toys are coming your way Zoe - when I make it to the post office - congratulations!

Thanks to everyone who dropped by my blog and made such nice and encouraging comments. I really appreciated you stopping by.

Sunday Softie

This little one was a quickie job this afternoon. I used the pattern from Clever Owl to create the body shape and then sketched on the shape of the head. I did a bit of a "hung, drawn and quatered" job on Miss Jemima. I recycled her arms for this toy, (her legs are awaiting recycling down the track) and then stuffed her body in the cupboard in case my little on should see her in her dismembered state... I loved the eyes that Jodie put on the bug she sent me for the bug swap, so I tried out a similar face, and got all enthused and did some double sided fabric ears. My finishing touch was a little pocket on the tummy, handy don't you think?

I tried to photgraph it in the late afternoon light at the back steps. Got one shot and then this happened:

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My creative space

I am a Kootoyoo Creative Space virgin - there's a first time for everything though, so am going to bite the bullet and finally join in - yay!

This should actually be my dining table, but per normal its covered in sewing stuff. In the late afternoon beautiful rays of sunshine angle in through the back windows and illuminate my table with a lovely warm, golden light. My chair needs a little sign "Back in 5 minutes" (while I take a few shots for Creative Space...).

And yes, I realise you can see my laundry basket by the back door. But I am not airing my dirty laundary for you - no, its piled high with clean washing, after holding out for dust free drying weather.

For a first time, that wasn't so bad.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Well, its the last day of September, beautiful spring weather here in Brisbane, and to me that sounds like the perfect day to give away a couple of toys made by me.

I finished this little matryoshka inspired couple yesterday - a girl and her soldier boyfriend.

Like what you see? "How can I win them?", I hear you ask. Simple. Just leave a comment on this post. I will leave the give away open until Sunday evening and then select the winner via a random number generator.

Good luck! (Don't forget, just leave a comment.)


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