30 May 2014

Little Darlings Cushion

How to Use Inkjet Fabric Sheets

Little Darlings Pillow.

   Inkjet fabric sheets allow you to print an image of your choice from your computer onto fabric.  They come in packs of five or more and rolls where you can cut off the length that you want.  The fabric is pre-treated to allow the computer ink to "take" to the fabric without smudging.  It is adhered to a paper background to allow it to feed through your printer.  In some cases, heat setting with an iron is required afterwards, so it can be washed.  Refer to the manufacturers instructions.

For this tutorial, I have used EQ Printables Inkjet Fabric Cotton Roll.  I find this is superior quality cotton which prints well and you can cut it to the length you want. It does not require heat setting.  There are inkjet silk fabric sheets, cotton lawn and other types.  You may want to research these, depending on the project you are making. 

I find that inkjet 100% cotton sheets work the best and suit the type of projects I do.  I use them mostly for textile art and collages.  They are great for printing photographs on. NB:  My  printer is a Canon Pixma iP4500 which has a rear tray and a cassette for paper feed. 


25 May 2014

Have a Swap Shop!

How to build your craft stash without any cash!


A swap shop is a fun way for a crafty group of friends to collect some new craft supplies using the old fashioned 'barter' system.  By swapping, "one mans trash ..can literally be ...another man's treasure." Follow my how to list and create a fun day of swapping. 

1.  Make a list of who is going to bring what to the swap, otherwise you may end up with all fabric or all embroidery threads.  this will severely restrict your swapping unless you are having a theme.  More about that later.  Make a list of special requests for those who are desperate for some more-for example 1930's fabrics or vintage buttons? 

2.  Have lots of people, the more the merriment, mayhem and fun.  More people = more goodies!

 3.  Stay well nourished with deliciously fattening cakes, champagne or anything else to keep your stamina up!

4.  Have a 'Swap and Show' day where you bring something you have made with your swapped goodies or make it on site. Share your creation with your swap mates at the end of the day! 

 5.  Have a theme swap such as Christmas (in July) to allow time for making.  Just quilting for patterns, fat quarters, anything you need to finish your next quilt.  Make it a color theme.  You can be creative or radical here, especially if you choose colors like red, black and white?  Make a round robin quilt or other project for charity with the swapped items.  A free-for-all swap would be just down to earth good old fun and you will all go home with a bucket full of goodies.

6.  Tell me how your swaps went and send some pics by email.  I will share them on future posts.  Have fun and get swapping!

22 May 2014

The Big Tree Retreat

I was reading a post from the wonderful and very talented Rebecca Sower recently who talked about becoming too busy and needing to slow down and appreciate the simple things in life.  It made me ask myself where do I go to retreat and just be still?  The answer is under the big tree in our very own back yard.  It is #? centuries old, 40-50 feet high and a bit scrappy looking at times.  It is not a 5 star resort, with massage, yoga and gourmet food provided, but it provides magnificent shade in summer, is quiet and is away from the phone.  At the moment there is a carpet of leaves underneath and nice dappled sunlight in the middle of the day. We have placed a little memorial for our lovely dog Chloe under the tree.  She passed away two years ago, it was a special place for her too.  She loved to scratch a hole in the dirt to lie in, on a hot summers day. 

 After three days of annoying tummy pain, lack of sleep and feeling ordinary, I took  myself out to the "retreat" yesterday and just had a relaxing afternoon of making something simple.  It was 'au natural' with some gorgeous leaves I had picked up in one of our popular and busy streets.  I'm sure those driving past thought I was the "Mad Leaf Woman" as I bent over to collect them!  Some gorgeous fluffy felt balls, bits of lace, buttons and string made it a simple threading exercise and very relaxing.  The result was unusual I have to say, but it gave me some quiet time and of course lots of ideas for other projects (coming soon).  The good thing was it wasn't planned, there was no rush and the final result didn't really matter.  It was just therapy-art for therapy!  Have a look.  

 Do you have a little retreat space?  Is it close by or far away?  I would love to hear about them or see a pic or two. Why is it special for you?



15 May 2014

Stay Calm and Keep Crafting!


The crafter's guide to being happy and productive !


I don't know about you fellow crafter, creative person, but I am a multi-tasker.  I have many balls in the air at once and try to juggle them all, being a Mum, healthcare worker, wife, keeper of the house, pet owner, gardener.......  I often feel frustrated at not having time to do my craft work due to lots of other responsibilities.  Yes, it often comes last on my list of daily duties = frustration, UFO's (unfinished objects) and a Mrs Cranky Pants!  I hope this list of  my ten top tips helps you avoid all of the above, to Stay Calm and Keep Crafting!   


1.   "Start at the kitchen first."   

A university lecturer once told me to do this when daunted by the amount of assignments or study we had to get through in a day.  This really works!  Do your basic kitchen duties, washing-up, take a meal out of the freezer, empty the rubbish bin and you will feel that you are on top of things.  

2.   Have a "happy" mess.  

If there are lots of people in your household, this is inevitable!  As long as you are all happy and doing what you enjoy, the mess doesn't matter!  P.S.  I am writing this post in my pyjamas with dishes on the sink, ironing in a huge pile behind me and I haven't had a shower yet! 

3.  Use a diary or calendar.  

I have lots of ideas for things I want to make and for my blog posts.  I like to print off a few monthly pages from Windows Calendar and staple them together.  Very basic but useful.  They have little squares for each day and a month at a glance so I can plan posts down the track and actually do them!  When plotting, be realistic and know that life happens, you have small children, people get sick etc.  It is OK to move something to the next week if it is not super urgent!  


4.  The Big 'E' - Exercise!  

Get outside for some Vitamin D rays, clear your head and boost your overall good health.  This is absolutely non-negotiable for me because I have a very physically demanding day job and it clears my head.  I do weights at the gym also for good bone strength as I don't want to end up a frail old lady!.  I have "canine accountability" also.  That is, two gorgeous puppies (thank-you Banjo and Lucy)  that love to run.  I have no excuse really!  

5.  Have a notebook for ideas. 

 I have two or three on the go at once.  One small, pretty one in my handbag and one or two more at home.  Oh, and another folder with plastic pockets to put pretty pics in that I like from  magazines.  Do this and you will have your very own inspiration library!  

6.   Include your little ones in your craft time.  

Give them some glitter, paper and pens to dabble too.  My two boys have grown up surrounded by fabric, glue and assorted other craft ingredients!  If this becomes a regular thing as they get older, they will appreciate that this is a normal and important part of Mum's time.    In addition, developing good imaginations. 

7.   Limit your computer time. 

Oh no, I hear you say and yes I am guilty of spending time mesmerized by Pinterest!  I find that you can easily lose half a day in front of the screen.  I try to limit it to one hour.  

8.  Reward yourself.  

If the ironing pile is nearly as tall as a skyscraper, then say to yourself, I will do one hour of ironing then I can spend the afternoon in my craft room.  If you try to tackle too many big chores  during one day, you will end up exhausted and unhappy ie.  Mrs Cranky Pants!

9.   Organize dinner early.  

Touched on this earlier.  If you have a big day in the making, don't plan anything gourmet for the evening meal.   Simple and healthy or invest in a slow cooker.  Roasts are always nice in winter as you can be making stuff while they cook.  No guilt allowed, have take-away once a week!  

10.  Be true to yourself!  

Do not follow trends and frustrate yourself by trying to be like everyone else.  Express your own ideas in your craft and be unique!  This is so essential for happiness.  One of my favorite sayings is "Be yourself-everyone else is already taken!"

Let me know how you go using these tips to Stay Calm and Keep Crafting!


5 May 2014

The $100 Vintage Challenge!

What do you do if funds are tight but you have a desperate desire to go vintage shopping?  It's just fun to browse, rummage and sort your way through piles of aisles and boxes of old stuff I think.  So here is the challenge, take limited cash,  $100.00 to be exact.  On a rainy afternoon with a few hours to spare, this is what I brought home in my shopping basket.  Mmm-yes it was bliss!  Keep an eye on those price tags and see you at the CHECK-OUT!

Delicious little bags of jewellery pieces, beading and buckles, ideal for my craft projects, vintage doileys and a white crochet cloth (must be dyed one day).   COST $35.00  (Yes, happy with that.  A good start for the challenge).

A bundle of vintage children's books, gorgeous color plates and illustrations  inside.  Maybe I should be honest and say they were bought just for the covers!  These will look great on a book shelf, little pieces of art in themselves.  COST $7.00.  A bargain! 

A two metre length of Daisy Duke vintage denim fabric in perfect condition, check out the cute lace hankies poking out from the pockets.  I don't think I could bear to cut this up, but one day I might make an all in one quilt with some broderie lace and red check trim-the mind is ticking!  Overalls would be nice for the howdown with hat on my head and a straw poking out of my mouth!   COST $2.00
Ooops, nearly forgot the cute sparkly, crochet scarf I grabbed on my way out COST $3.00.

Love this ironstone pavlova plate I saw in a window.  Great 60's graphics and a recipe included. A steal for an oven-proof  $3.00.  

Color up winter with this crochet rug in nice purples and pinks.  Couldn't resist it.  It reminds me of curling up by the fire at my Grandmothers house.  COST  $12.00

You can never have too many hankies.  These little ones were bundled into groups of six or seven for $2.00 a pack x two.  Please note, they were not bought for personal hygiene reasons!  I have used them already in a super easy and quick gift idea for my book group friends.  Simply thread the hankie through a vintage buckle and there you have it, a functional and pretty bookmark! 

Adding to my linen collection, I found this large square ? tablecloth or throw.  Thick, jacquard fabric with fringing.  This would be great picnic blanket.  COST $1.50!


For fans of Audrey Hepburn and Breakfast at Tiffany's, please find attached a black silk handbag!  Not too big and not too small- in perfect condition.  Stay tune for some vintage bag re-do projects on the blog in the near future. COST $3.00.  

The highlight of my shopping challenge was finding this 1960's super soft, cashmere stole (shawl) with silk lining for a mere $20.00.  Beautiful beyond belief, yes I know all vintage shoppers will agree.  I probably would have went home at this stage, happy with just buying this, but hadn't spent all of my money yet. Needed a coffee and deliciously fattening cake at the bakery at this stage! The stole makes a "snug as a bear hug" bed runner for winter.  I just want to touch it all the time!  

Idea for a bag re-do.  Add a piece of vintage beading ? 

Never one to forget my four legged friends, I found a cosy, polar fleece blanket in winter red and a noisy, rattle (or chew toy) for young Banjo and Lucy.  Very spoilt aren't they?  COST $6.50.  (Dogs not for sale!). 

What am I supposed to do with this? There is something exciting happening outside.

Does she expect me to play on cue?!

Mmm.. the blanket is good to rub my nose in. 
OK..it's noisy and it might move if I stare at it long enough!

Please Pay Here.
      That will be $97.00 thank-you.   Have a nice day.

PS:  Please send me pics and ideas for more vintage challenges.  I would love to see them!