Sunday, January 29, 2012

I really should be making something

But instead I'm looking at this



and this




Not to mention this...





And how cute is this?



All product images are from Ashford

Now all I need to do is convince husband that I need one of the above! (The little frames would be a bonus for the girls).  How do you like my chances?





Saturday, January 28, 2012

Snippets of life


I received this week some very beautiful hand dyed cotton from Melissa at Rainbow Made. I'm knitting up some dishcloths using this famous pattern.






My heart flutters when I look at this photo.



We have so many tomatoes this year. These ones are partially oven dried and sitting in olive oil for sandwiches, salads, pasta etc.


                                                 The love affair with books continues.



Have you tried achachas yet? They're really good! A little like a mangosteen in flavour and Australian grown. We've been getting them at an Asian market  where everything is fresh and cheap.

Today I'm working on a dress for an out of sorts 6 year old, knitting dishcloths, then there is that unfinished painting, embroidery and pattern to write up. Wish me luck!

Friday, January 27, 2012

"I just can't take it anymore!" book review and giveaway



















Anthony Destefano has a new book and it's a little different to his other works. Each page has a comical photo of children along with encouraging text for those feeling discouraged. It's a lighthearted look at life, it's problems and the way we deal with them. It's also a reminder that a good sense of humour, along with trust in God will go a long way when we experience conflict.

The book would make a great gift.

You can read more about the book here and the press release is here.

I have one copy to giveaway, unfortunately there is a small tear in one page, courtesy of my over enthusiastic toddler!
Sorry, this giveaway is open to Australian residents only :)

Just leave a comment to enter and I'll draw the winner on Tuesday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Back to dolls


This is my latest custom order. I've been feeling lately like I miss making dolls and getting all nostalgic about it so a knotsie doll is a really good compromise. It doesn't take as long to make as my other dolls.


And they're also really cute!


I'm working on writing a pattern for these at the moment, so if you'd like to make your own, watch this space! Maybe don't watch too closely, as I'm notoriously slow when it comes to these things.

I have some other things to show you so hopefully I'll make it back here this week. We have started up our lessons again, so the days are pretty full, but it's kinda nice to be back in the swing of routine, I think I enjoy holidays a bit too much and start to get lazy.

Hope you're having a great week, God bless.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Needle felted heart brooch tutorial

I'm on a bit of a roll with the tutes lately! In case you didn't know already, Valentine's Day is next month so I'm seeing hearts everywhere! I hope you enjoy this tutorial and I apologise in advance for the not-so-great night time photos, but as all crafty Mums know, night time is when the magic happens!




You will need: 
Red wool roving (you don't need all that much
Heart shaped cookie cutter
Needle felting mat and needle
Embroidery floss
Brooch back


Pull off a piece of wool and tease it out a little so it's nice and fluffy. Place the cookie cutter on the mat and stuff the wool into it.


Using your felting needle, begin to felt the wool by pushing the needle up and down all over the wool. Hold onto the cookie cutter to avoid needle felting your finger. It hurts. I repeat. It hurts! When the wool seems matted add another, thinner layer of wool and repeat the process.


When the wool seems to be matted down nicely, turn it over to the other side. Replace the cookie cutter to keep your heart shape and continue to felt, paying particular attention to the edges and the fold in the top middle of the heart.


Take your heart out and turn it over again. If it doesn't seem matted enough just repeat until you're happy with it.


Using the design I've provided (at the end of this post) as a guide begin the embroidery. All of the loop stitches are worked in lazy daisy stitch and the spots are french knots. Use a light colour such as cream or light pink as I have used here. Use 2 strands of floss. Knot your thread at the back and use a light tension for your stitches so that they float on the surface rather than sinking into the wool.






Use your cookie cutter to cut a heart shape out of wool felt. I've used a lovely hand dyed red wool felt. Slip stitch around the felt and wool hearts with a matching coloured embroidery floss to attach them together with almost invisible stitches.


Stitch your brooch back onto the back of the heart, then, as a cute little touch, cut out a small heart shape from the wool felt and stitch it over the stitched brooch back. This neatens up the back too.

If you make one I'd love to see it, and please let me know if there are any mistakes or if you need more information.

By the way, if you like the brooch but can't be bothered making one yourself, I have one available for sale, contact me if you're interested :)

This is my own design and for personal use only. Please do not copy this design or blog post in any way.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Custom embroidery


I've just completed this custom order and it's turned out beautifully. The customer wants to give it to a friend as a going away present and she wanted me to come up with a design that reflected their friendship in a cute and whimsical way.


I embroidered all the design outlines and then filled in the white with corresponding colours in colour pencil. I then made it up into a cushion.

Isn't she sweet to want to give such a meaningful gift?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Teapot rest or mat tutorial

I'm a teapot devotee - teabags just don't do it for me. Every teapot lover needs a pretty mat on which to rest the pot while the tea is steeping. It's so long since I did a tutorial, so I got stuck into this one this afternoon. It's a quick project that is great for using up little bits of fabric.


Requirements list :
  Fabric measuring 25 x 25cm (depending on the size of your teapot - mine is medium sized)
Ric rac measuring approx. 53cm
Small crocheted doily 
Embroidery floss (optional)
Sewing thread
Batting (I've used polyester quilt batting)
Air erasing pen (optional)
Iron on adhesive (I've used Heat n Bond)


Using a round bowl (mine measures 17cm across) draw 2 circles on your fabric with an erasable pen or lightly in pencil.


Cut 2 squares of batting a bit larger than your circles.


Cut  a circle of Heat n Bond that is the same size as the circular part of the doily (exclude the border). Follow the packet instructions to secure your doily to the middle of the right side of one circle.


Laying the circle with the doily on top of the wadding work some running stitches around in circles between the gaps of your doily. I've used cream coloured embroidery floss for this, but regular sewing or a quilting thread would be fine too. Working the running stitches ensures your doily is securely attached and also gives a lovely lightly quilted look. I didn't stitch down the scalloped border of the doily as I like the way it looks kinda fluffing up.


Lay your two circles right sides together.  Lay your ric rac so that it's sandwiched between the 2 circles right on the edge so that you can just see the bumps on the outside. Carefully pin around the circle , leaving a 10cm gap open (don't pin ric rac on the gap either).



Here it is pinned all the way around except for the gap. If you're worried about the placement of the ric rac you could tack it on before sewing.


Using your sewing machine, sew around circles (don't forget to leave your gap open!) about 1/4 inch from the edge.


Turn the circles right sides out through the gap. Press lightly around the edges, being careful not to scorch the ric rac. Turn the edges in at the gap and sandwich the remaining ric rac. Tuck the tail of the ric rac inside. Pin in place.


Top stitch right around, close to the edge,  catching the turned in edges at the gap.


Hey, it's even reversible!


Now go and have a well earned cuppa!

I hope you like this tutorial, please leave me a comment if you make a mat and please let me know if I've made any mistakes in the tute!




Thursday, January 12, 2012

The 4 year painting

I started this watercolour of gazanias about 4 years ago and abandoned it, feeling I'd bitten off more than I could chew. I got it out last week and said to myself "Right, you're finishing this, even if it means you stuff it up totally". So it's finished. It's better to have something imperfectly finished than have it lurking as a reminder of a failed attempt.
Yes, I'm very glad I finished it :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Farm inspiration






I thought I'd share some inspiring photos of our weekend away. Even in the typical dry summer there is so much beauty to be found.

Hope you're having a great day, I'm baking Italian style today and hoping to squeeze in a little embroidery too.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Persistance.

In high school I had an adversary. She and I were considered the "best" singers in the school, and in fact, I was considered the better vocalist.  It didn't bother me that I had a rival - until she started getting the roles I wanted. At the annual school musical auditions there would be the tense wait for the announcement of roles, only for me to learn, once again, that I was to play second fiddle in the supporting role.
As I was the better vocalist, you might be wondering why? Was her father the school Principal? No. Was she somehow connected to the musical director? No.
It was her character. She was an extrovert, a supremely confident performer, she was driven and never gave up.
I was quiet, reserved, didn't believe in my own abilities and seriously lacked confidence. This lead me to miss out on many opportunities (not necessarily as a singer but in life thus far) and it is something I'm still battling today.

I don't make New Year's resolutions, but I do have a serious ponder over what I would like to do differently at the beginning of each year.
This year I want to believe in myself. As I now move more towards art and design, I want to be confident that I can have some measure of success in my endeavours. I want to believe that my designs will start to sell, that my art is good enough to make prints, have exhibitions and that there are really people out there who would like my art in their homes. I want to know that if I persist with the guitar I can become really good and bring joy to others and glory to God through my music.
I want my children to benefit from having a positive and happy Mother.

I have a long way to go and a lot of work to do. But maybe, just maybe, this year will be the year for positive change.

Thanks for reading. God bless :)


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Completed watercolours

Yes, I've been painting again and I must confess I'm loving it!



This is a first attempt at a wet on wet background wash. I need practice with this technique but I'm pretty pleased with the overall result. I worked from a photo I took one summer out the front of our suburban house. The sunset was so beautiful and created a silhouette of the foliage and utility lines. I used a little ink here and there to highlight.


I used a photo I took at the Melbourne Zoo Butterfly House as inspiration for this one. I like the butterfly but am not really happy with the rest, once again, I need practice.

 Both were worked on A4 300 gsm paper using watercolour paints, watercolour pencils and ink.

Would love to hear your thoughts/ opinions!