Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Hot Air Balloon Mobile

Since our return from overseas, we seem to be receiving expectant baby news from almost everyone we know. Currently, we know eight couples who are soon to be parents, hence why we have been spending ever other weekend at baby showers...which is great!

My latest crafty antics have, therefore, turned into a succession of presents for bubs! 

The first project I completed was this wee felt hot air balloon mobile for our friends Gary and Kelly, who are expecting their second in under a week's time! Martin helped out by creating the little baskets from oven-bake modelling clay. The balloons were then threaded onto invisible wire and hung from a ribbon wrapped bamboo ring.

I hope their little boy is going to love looking up at these fellas floating above him! 

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Frida Kahlo Cushion

It was my Mum's birthday all the way back in February and, just after Christmas, I settled on a project that I thought would make a really nice present. Unfortunately, it took me a little longer than a month to complete and once I was well into making it, I decided this was something I wanted to give to her in person, so it's only now that I am able to share these pictures with you!

My Mum is a mixed-media artist and ceramicist and I was introduced to Frida Kahlo a long time ago and instantly felt drawn to her work and use of strong, rich colours. There was a time when Frida Kahlo's name was spoken of relatively little....up until recently when she seems to have become something of a style sensation! Her love of floral crowns and chunky golden jewellery took off and I see Frida influences everywhere. It seems her preference for a 'fuller-brow' still remains wholly her own, however. 

Since I always have so many projects on the go at once, I decided I would take my time embroidering Frida, and worked on my hoop during my half an hour lunch break at work. Embroidery is my most loved craft-form and I thoroughly enjoyed doing a little bit of stitching each day, while supping a hazelnut latte and nibbling on my lunch from my favourite foxy box.

When the stitching stage was complete, I ordered some of this amazing Alexander Henry fabric from Bolt of Cloth to make the piece into an envelope-backed cushion. 

It was awesome to give my Mum a present in person after so many missed birthdays and Christmases whilst we've been living in New Zealand. I can't wait to see it installed on the sofa in Italy next time we visit :)

Monday, 28 July 2014

Drawstring Bags

Hello, me again! Away for so long and yet back again so soon, ha! Today I've got some pictures I thought I'd share of a few drawstring bags I made for our trip. 

Drawstring bags are so handy for keeping bits and pieces together in a big bag and, as it turns out, super simple to make! I spent barely anything on these little guys as you only really need the kind of materials you'll probably have hanging around anyway as a maker. 

I made a couple to keep all my jewellery in a safe place - using a little bit of linen, some vintage gypsy ribbon as decoration and a snippet of hessian cord. These fellas have kept all my fave items of personal adornment safe and sound and brought a smile to my face each time I pull them from my pack. I love the simplicity of the plain linen with just a pretty bit of ribbon added.

Before we set off on our adventure, I was keen on preparing some ways in which we could keep our packs organised. It's hard enough as it is to live out of a bag for three whole months - nearly four months now since we left our rental property and started staying with friends - without constantly having to re-pack and keep things in different sections etc. 

So I thought we might benefit from having a laundry bag each, to help make life a little easier! I had these two vintage pillowslips lying amidst my fabric collection in the studio and thought they'd fit the bill perfectly. All I had to do was press down the open edge to create a casing for the pull-cord and - hey presto! - job done.

I also made a bag to keep clean 'small clothes' from floating around and getting lost. Again I chose to re-purpose, using a little silk tote bag my Mum had sent over from Italy: snipping off the existing handles, sewing them together and using them as the drawstring. Easy as that!

So that's about it for the travel-related makes. I have one more archived post to publish, then I can start to share some pictures of our epic journey and maybe throw in a couple of tales along the way....does that sound good? Or I could just post some links to the albums on Flickr??

Monday, 21 April 2014

Cosmetics Roll

Presenting the newest addition to my travel accessories range - the cosmetics roll case! My usual make-up bag is round, fat and full of empty eyeliners and funny coloured lipsticks that I never wear - I'm sure this is fairly standard! So I went on the virtual hunt for a cosmetics holder that would accommodate a scaled-down collection of war-paint and be easily stowed in my back-pack.

The use of a clear plastic wipe-able vinyl attracted me to this particular tutorial, since I've never worked with it before and saw this as an opportunity to not only have an easily cleaned make-up pouch, but to up skill myself too!

I've also been working with zippers and binding a lot recently and any chance to practice is really useful! I used two designs from one of my favourite fabric collections at the moment - 'Modern Folkloric' by The Henley Design Studio - and chose a contrasting yellow polka-dot for the binding to off-set the subdued colour palette.

I was a bit daunted about attaching the binding around the curve of the flap, but when it came down to it, it sewed up beautifully. I'm very proud! I've also found a new love and appreciation for hand-stitching, which I have always previously found a drag.

Maybe I've learnt to appreciate any task which allows me to sit quietly for a while without my brain working over-time on all the things I should be doing!

What do you think??

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Neck Pillows

Hello! Wow, it's been a while right? You might be aware that I have been doing a spot of globe-trotting over the last three months, hence an extended period of absence on the blogosphere. With just two days until we return home to Christchurch, we are on 'back-to-normality' count-down here in Bangkok. This return to business as usual for me also includes blogging and sharing new developments here for friends and family (and possibly a few others who may happen across this page). 

Before we commenced our epic journey back in May, I had lined up a series of draft posts with photos of various projects I had been working on (mostly travel-related items!) so it makes sense for me to begin my return to writing by publishing these archived posts.

Today, I want to share with you some pics of a couple of travel pillows I whipped up before we left. As with most travel related items, these seem to be particularly expensive to buy in high-street shops, so I decided to save a few pennies and make some myself. They aren't necessarily a necessity for travel, but the pillows that are provided on most major airlines are generally useless and we knew we might be doing a few overnight bus/train journeys in Asia too.

I chose flannel for its softness and, yes, it's pretty darn cheap too! I improvised a pattern and used a soft poly-fill to pack them out. I also sewed in a little loop to allow us to hang them from our packs.

Can you guess which is mine??

Monday, 14 April 2014

A Home for a Harmonica

A few months ago, I acquired a harmonica. Since I've started learning to play the ukulele, I have gained a new-found confidence in the potential of my musical capabilities. I've had a peek into a world which I had previously felt I was too slow and unco-ordinated to be a part of. 

I'm still very much a beginner and progress is slow, but I am really enjoying discovering new abilities. As I'm going to be leaving my uke at home whilst we are travelling for three months, a harmonica is the perfect portable instrument which can tag along with us and provide some tuneful company on the road.

Typically, before I taught myself any tunes, I had to make my harmonica a cute case! Using a combination of hand-embroidered linen and scraps of fabric from my travel wallet, I based the case on a tutorial for a glasses pouch from Liberty's blog. Again, to be extra thrifty, I used a hair bobble for the elastic and a matching button from my stash.

So now my little harmonious harmonica can accompany me on my travels and provide sweet sweet music on train platforms, during long bus journeys and for nights when I can't get to sleep because it's ridiculously hot. Martin's going to love it!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Hollyburn Denim Skirt

T-shirt - thrifted
Denim Skirt - handmade
Necklace - gift from my mother-in-law
Headband - handmade
Face - model's own

My last wardrobe-related post was over a year ago now and since I've resumed sewing lots recently, I thought it was about time I shared a handmade garment with you!

Unlike crafting, I wouldn't describe my relationship with making clothes as a harmonious one. I'm still very much a beginner and the phrase 'practice makes perfect' is hard to hear when you're unpicking something for the fifth or sixth time! Having said this, there is a certain sort of satisfaction that I gain upon completing an item of clothing that I just don't get after finishing a craft project.

It's kinda like, 'phew, that wasn't as easy as I thought, but I did it!' Kind of...

This week, I finished two items of clothing: a denim skirt and another Staple dress.

My skirt was made using a Sewaholic pattern - the Hollyburn. As usual, I ignored the warning on the pattern sleeve not to use anything but light-weight fabrics and opted for this medium-weight denim, largely due to a lack of choice in fashion fabrics in CHCH. Come on Global Fabrics and open in The Tannery already!

I also skipped on making a toile - much to my own detriment. Considering I have an extremely disproportionate waist to hip ratio, this was a very bad decision. The first time I tried the skirt on, it was huuuge on the waist. I took it in quite a lot before sewing in the zip, but it still sits better on my hips than my waist, which is a shame.

Apologies for the weird cropping - those are definitely my hands!

But now I know, I will probably opt for two sizes smaller next time! I'll be starting on another next week so hopefully I can make it fit much more snugly. 

I have also been making an array of wire-shaped fabric headbands this week, to help dress-up my locks as I go through a month of bleaching in order to eventually dye my hair either baby pink or lilac (more on that soon!) I've become a little bit addicted to making these as they are super simple and great for using up fabric remnants. I plan to make up a collection to take home and give as gifts to girlfriends :)

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Travel - Earring Book

One of the things I usually struggle to pack in a space-saving fashion when we travel is my ever-growing earring collection. Since cutting my hair boy-short (or Justin Beiber short, as Martin prefers to call it), I seem to be acquiring more and more studs and danglies in celebration of my ears being on show all the time.

I came across this tutorial on making a felt earring book and gave it a go using animal-print felt for the cover and a lovely speckled firm grey for the pages.

I opted for an elastic closure - using a hair bobble for extra thriftiness - and added a leather button too. A super cheap project, at around $3 (£1.50) - can't go wrong! 

Making this book also reminded me that my sewing machine has more functions than just my default setting of a 2.5 straight stitch. I used a downward arrow stitch on the cover and a wide zig-zag to secure the pages - I just need to remember to change it back for when I'm stitching skirt side panels together!

Right, now to fill it full of earrings! Maybe I need to go buy some more...

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Travel - Sewing Kit

Good evening/morning readers! I have a whole heap of these DIY travel accessories posts to share with you so let's get started!

I've been sewing like I have needles for fingers lately, in a mad dash to get everything ticked off my list of things to make before we go away in May. One of these items was a travel sewing kit.

I found a great tutorial from Lots of Pink Here and, taking my inspiration from a great version of the kit on Dispatches From Whitcomb Street, set out to re-create one of my own. The outer fabric is a lovely cotton/linen blend by Anna Maria Horner and the inside is a combination of linen, a quirky McCall's patterns fabric and some brown paper-clip patterned binding.

Eunny Yang's version features a mini pin cushion and a lined zipper pouch between two of the sections. I added Velcro to the pin cushion so it can be removed for ease of use. I also added some rows of stitching on the left-hand pocket to slip in my quick un-pick, chalk pencil, tape measure etc.

I love the spool tab: it's going to be great for carrying around mini spools of thread to sew on buttons and mend rips. The zipper pouch is definitely going to come in handy for storing odd buttons and transportable projects. 

I've also been trying to quickly throw together a couple of handmade garment ensembles for our city stops. More on that to come...I have a few hems to finish!

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Fairy Dust & Kisses

Last night, I attended a very special 21st birthday party for a very special lady in my life - Miss Renee Carver. It's been a rough couple of months and Renee has been a rock for us all in these hard times. She is so full of sparkle and sunshine...and her birthday celebrations were no different!

With fairy and elf fancy dress as a necessity, we celebrated with bubbles, copious amounts of glitter (that stuff is never coming off!) and giggles. Renee did an amazing job of decorating her pad to reflect her personality - good job sweetie!

I made a flower crown for the occasion, something I've been wanting to do forever! I feel more will be coming soon...

And I also created a one-off handmade gift (I've been sewing in my sleep by the way!) Renee is an amazing artist so I thought I'd make her a paintbrush roll to keep her watercolour brushes safe.

I hope you had an amazing evening last night chick and a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY for Wednesday!!! Love you lots xxxxxxx

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Commissions

After my last post when I shared pictures of the travel wallets I'd made for Martin and I, I received a couple of requests to make more for friends and family to use on their travels this year.

Here are the results! As you can see, they are two very distinctly different styles. The one on the left is for Martin's Auntie Sandra who lives in Melbourne (Au) and wanted a travel wallet for her trip to the US, Canada, Alaska and Hawaii at the end of May. 

Sandra asked me to chose the fabrics from the Flower Sugar range by Lecien. I went for a delicate floral print with a clean white background for the main fabric, with a co-ordinating pink polka dot for the interior. Super Pretty!

The second purse is for my good friend Abi, who travels a lot and gave me free rein with choosing fabrics from my stash (brave girl!) 

I went for this Japanese Linen which I bought from a seller on Etsy last year when purchasing a piece of lace for my wedding dress. In true quirky Japanese style, it features a mix of cat motifs and classic British emblems, like London Bridge and little Union Jacks. 

It also features miniature rainbows, which I thought was perfect as Abi has this wonderful knack of always looking on the bright side of life :)

I thoroughly enjoyed producing these two commission pieces and I very much hope their recipients will enjoy using them!