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May 2007
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July 2007

Art club fun

T_roll_bracelets_web_2I'm up to my eyeballs in end of year projects at the moment for school and working on additional projects for the autumn issue of a UK children's craft magazine - more about that later. No time for any sewing for me I'm afraid. We made these summery little bracelets in the art/craft club I teach at school the other day. We used our big bag of felt scraps and my button box, so simple and the girls loved them!

Not suprisingly, the boys weren't so keen so instead we set about crafting and decorating cool paper aeroplanes then we threw them off the fire escape balcony to the garden below (not so popular with the other teachers, guess I haven't really changed much from when I was in school.)

We made the generic pointy nose version of a paper aeroplane, which flew very well, but there are loads of websites that show various designs with downloadable patterns like this one. Such an easy way to have fun.

Real softies

2_bunniesLook at these beautiful bunnies - loving the sunshine. Billy and Freckles, girl bunnies that we thought were boy bunnies until we took them to get their bits removed only to find out they didn't have any bits. Lovely pets, always very affectionate. In fact it was hard to get a picture of them because they kept jumping up and putting their noses on the camera.

The black and white one is Billy (our third Billy - long story, there were tears involved.) I've always wanted to make a Billy softie. Not quite sure where to start on the pattern making for that. Any ideas out there, or any good softie books to recommend?Billy I thought I might use some of my boiled wool blankets, Lyn gives a tutorial for blanket felting and dying here.

There are so many fantastic softie makers out there, like Fiona who makes these at hopskipjump and of course Lyn's teddies that ooze personality. My softie skills are a bit hit and miss - the last one I made my husband thought was ET (meant to be a teddy), but I'd like to give making Billy the bunny a go - he she deserves to be immortalized.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

Mirror_mirror_1 How to make a 5 year old girl very, very happy: Buy a nasty old gilt framed mirror from a boot fair for 50 pence, spray it a hideous Barbie pink, hang it up and watch her smile.

In fact, little Gracie smiled at herself in this mirror for a very, very long time. I must give in to her pink obsession once in a while or she'll sweet-talk her daddy into painting her whole room Barbie pink when I'm not around.

Must figure out how to photograph a mirror without myself and my messy house reflected in it.

Baby gifts on the go

Gilrlie_bib_1_2Finally started getting some baby gifts made. This little bib I put together from my scrap bag. I started with the cross stitch rose at it's centre and matched what I had from that. It turned out OK. I didn't press it very well I see now but the wording at the top says "drool here."

I'm not much of a quilter (as I'm sure is obvious to the real quilters out there) but I like to use up scraps doing small quilting on various pieces and since I make my own patterns up there's always something I would change if I could after I've finished. On this I'd change the dark blue fabric to smaller strips because I'm not crazy about that fabric.

It's OK though and it will be going off to my cousin Cathy for her new baby girl Katie Rose. I wanted something very girlie as she's just had a girl after having two boys. Now I will make booties or a fabric dolly to go with it.

Quick monogrammed gift tutorial

VI love type - probably has to do with my graphics roots, so I often incorporate it into my sewing and crafts. Check out Rowland Scherman's "Love Letters" on Typographica, it combines type and another love of mine, photography - a real treat.

I whip-up quick, monogrammed lavender bags whenever I need a gift in an hour or less, perfect for teacher gifts.

Being new to blogging, I don't know if there are instructions like this posted anywhere so I thought I'd show how I do it.

Yesterday I realized I missed my friend Vic's birthday (bad friend that I am) so I grabbed a bunch of scrap material left over from the Easter Dress I made Gracie and made her a hanging lavender bag.Ready_for_sewing

1. Start by printing out your favourite font in various sizes (I used French Script).

2. Cut out the front and back pieces of the bag, mine is about 10cm x 14cm.

3. Then cut out the size letter that best fits your project - I use an outlined letter to save ink.

4. Iron some Bondaweb (or other fusible adhesive) onto the wrong side of a different piece of fabric for the letter (follow manufacturers instructions for Bondaweb.) Then place the cut out letter backwards onto the paper of the ironed on Bondaweb; trace it and cut out the letter you've traced.

5. Peel off the paper backing of the Bondaweb on the letter you've cut out and iron it onto the front or back piece of your bag. I used a piece of leftover blue linen and a scrap piece of cut-work embroidered linen that I backed with a piece of Liberty fabric. I also used a Liberty fabric for the monogram.

6. Machine or hand stitch the letter with contrasting embroidery floss.Needlework 

7. Cut out a piece of trim or ribbon for hanging and sandwich it between the front and back pieces of fabric (right sides facing), positioning the trim at the top.

8. Pin the two pieces of fabric and the trim together and stitch all around leaving a gap of about 5cm for filling.

9. Turn the bag right side out, press it and fill with lavender.

10. Hand stitch the gap to close and add some buttons at the base of the hanger. Finished!Back_front_copy

I've also made similar bags using a quilted piece for one side of the bag.

I'll try and get around to posting other projects I've made that incorporate typography.

New stash

I love everything about old fabrics and sewing notions. I can't help but pick up every bit of sewing paraphernalia I can when at boot fairs and jumble sales, they're my favourite finds. This is the piece of old bark cloth I recently found. Trop_bark_cloth_3 I might try making a shoulder bag, but I'll probably make another messenger bag - for some reason I always haul around a lot of junk: shells and stones, lego, pink hair bands, half-eaten lollies, etc., so I need a big bag.


I love the faded quality of these old spools. I use them with vintage fabrics.

Button_cabinet_2 Most of my button collection is housed in this old watchmakers cabinet - not a boot fair find but worth the investment from an antique shop - it holds most of my buttons. Although real addicts always have several secret stashes.

These tins hold more booty - love their cheery colours.Tins


Haven't yet decided what I'll do with these Bakelite buttons, they're huge, about 5cm across - but I had to have them.

I've also picked up a pile of old children's clothes with fantastic patterns, not as lovely as the Oilily stash Lyn has, but very cheery nonetheless.

Guess I'd better start using these bits. I thought I'd make some little Zakka style patchwork bibs. I've got loads of overdue baby gifts to get to so that next handbag might have to wait.

Handbag success

Just returned from the quick trip to Holland, although driving through Antwerp - not so quick. I finished the handbag before leaving and here are my results.Frnt_view  It turned out to be the perfect size for me (about 28cm x 34cm) and not nearly as difficult to put together as I thought it would be - three broken needles aside.

I had the pieces sitting around for ages waiting to be sewn but I wasn't feeling confident in my pattern making abilities.Flap_up_pockets

I added pockets to the front and the inside and even managed to put in a zip.

Must have zips ever since some skanky loser stole my purse from the zipless handbag I was carrying while shopping with my children. Not fun getting to the till with a full trolley and trying to explain a disappearing purse to the shop assistant and two shocked kids. I heard "but why would someone take it out of your bag mummy?" about three hundred times. Pockets_3

Because it will probably take me about two days hours to get this nice brightly coloured bag really grubby, I'm going to try and tackle making this bag again with a gorgeous piece of tropical print vintage bark cloth I recently got.