Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fabric basket

I'm probably a little behind the 8 ball here, but I tried a Pink Penguin fabric basket today.

I used some small quilting strips I had been given that were really too small for anything else I have in mind at the moment.

It turned out so cute! Imperfectly cute, due to my bright idea of using heavy hessian (burlap) instead of linen, but cute all the same. The combined power of hessian and wadding made my sewing machine have 78 different panic attacks, during which it broke no less than five needles. Yes, five.

Also, the patchwork is a little wonky in places (my first time) but I still love it. It was great practice for making a few more, perhaps for more sewing supplies and in bedroom drawers for odds and ends.

Next time, I will be going with the suggested linen or cotton :) he he. The end result though, is so cute on my craft desk. The wadding makes it 'puffy' enough to stand up, but it's soft so you can cram more stuff in :D

New coat hook rack

I got distracted from my sewing last night as I lost my quick unpick/seam ripper. Why is it although I have two, I can never find one when needed (often ;p)?

While I was searching in my sewing rubble supplies, I decided I did not have everything as organised as I could, and decided to make a hook rack thingy.

It's not perfect, but I like it. It's spray painted rubbed bronze and the hooks are 'antique copper' colour.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Today's project - More crayon rolls

I've not been able to sew for a few days - was fun getting back into it!

In other news, I seem to have figured out fusible interfacing. I avoided it for ages and used the sew in stuff because it always seemed to bubble. No bubbles today, baby! Yay.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An award!

I was so thrilled and excited to receive the Sunshine Award from Jane over at No Spend in 2010 yesterday! Thanks so much Jane, you really brought some sunshine to my day. I really love that you thought of my little blog! I love reading all your comments too, I have such lovely readers.

Now - the rules of the Sunshine award are that you have to award 12 other blogs. I don't mind doing this as I can share with you some lovely bloggers that I love to read on a regular basis.

1 Joanne at Charlie Moo's - One of La Tempête's Creatives!

2 Steph at Tragically Ordinary - Steph is intelligent and funny, I love reading about her life.

3 Mandi at Tidbits from the Tremaynes - Mandi is hilarious and all her ideas are wonderful.

4 Ana at Knock Off Wood - I want to make everything.

5 Meg at Up All Night - One of La Tempête's Creatives!

6 Novita at Very Purple Person - I love her tutorials and the way she speaks about her experiences.

7 Rae at Made By Rae - Amazing.

8 Lorie at Be Different...Act Normal - Inspirational.

9 Jacquie at Mee a Bee/Blooming in Japan - Another Japan based blogger, her creations are amazing.

10 CakeFeminist at Have Your Cake And  Be A Feminist Too - just starting up, there is an 18+ warning but no objectionable content. Can't wait to hear more on cakes and feminism.

11 Erin at Little Miss Random - Clever and funny.

12 Sarah at The Byrd Nest - Amazing what she can do when she uses the equation: free/goodwill + elbow grease!

Pay it forward, my little rays of sunshine!

Monday, February 22, 2010

OOOOH Lovely fabric - true love!

I snagged some bargains today.

Look at these beauties.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Quick Craft Tip: DIY Stencil

I've seen lots of people blogging about printing out their own stencils straight from Word or Publisher. This is great and shows us how wonderful this technology can be.

My tip is not to use normal paper as some have suggested, although you can. I find that it is too flimsy. I use photo paper, it is more heavyweight and I find it leaves cleaner paint lines.

Just enlarge your font to the required size, print on photo paper and cut out the printed letters with a craft knife or small box cutter/stanley knife.

I used spray paint with this method the other day and the result was really good :)

With spray paint, the edges are a little fuzzier and in my opinion makes it a little more 'aged' looking, if that is the look you are going for. You can tidy it up with a paint pen after if you really want to. It's also really quick!

You'll see in the picture about, the cut line is a bit wobbly. That is just fine and dandy, as long as you do it within the letter and not in the white space. You'll be discarding the black bits, as the white piece is your stencil. You can tidy the edges whenever you need to, as long as the mistake is in the black bit/actual letter.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hard work

Today I vaccummed some crusts and sultanas off the bench to speed up my morning kitchen tidy up. It felt wrong, but also oh so right. :D

Don't judge me! LOL.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

La Tempête's Creatives - Meg of Up All Night

Ladies and gentlemen, please allow me the pleasure of furthering my La Tempête's Creatives series by introducing...Meg of Up All Night! She is, as she puts it, "a 20 something who drinks too much tea and stays up too late quilting". Read on to discover more about her and her quilting.

What piqued your interest in quilting originally?
Believe it or not, the book series of Elm Creek Novels, from the public library. I got one out, was hooked and had to sign up for a class at my local quilting shop!

How did/do you develop your skills and techniques?
The internet, books from the library, classes at quilt shops...mostly from free tutorials though.

How do you choose the fabrics you use in your quilting?
A lot of it is hit or miss. I have a lot of trouble doing colour for anyone else, because my personal opinion dominates too much, but generally I am a bright colour girl, with lots of white space and sashing. I like gimmicky novel patterns, and spots!

Have you picked up any special tips or tricks?
Oh, a few here and there. Mostly they are from more experienced quilters, especially in the shops. I generally go in with a problem and come out with 6 solutions!

What is your favourite part of the quilting process?
My favourite? The beginning. The ideas process - choosing a pattern, a block with some significance and going shopping, of course!

Least favourite?
My least favourite would have to be getting enough steam up to finish projects. I am easily distracted :)

Where do you find your patterns and what makes them appeal to you?
Mostly I like basic blocks, like the 9 patch or Ohio Star. I love to browse books like Material Obsession, and love people like The Sometimes Crafter, who posts block patterns online. There are a lot of "quilt along block parties", which involve a block pattern being posted every month and a flickr with everyone's completed blocks.

You're in your 20s; do any friends of yours quilt? What do they think of you quilting?
Not really. At all. It's kind of an amusing hobby of mine, but I guess everyone has their something.

Do you like to make 'pretties' or useful objects?
I would like to say useful objects, but everything I've made so far has been a "pretty"! So I guess both? I would challenge the idea that a pretty cannot be useful, and vice versa!

Your most wanted quilting items currently are...?
Ohhh. Left handed rotary cutter? Or an awesome stash of plain colours! Or some Heather Ross fabric [You and La Tempête both]! Or...I'll stop now.

When do you normally enjoy quilting?
In the winter. Something about summer makes me want to play outside, not be indoors. But time of day? Probably the afternoon/evening. Once everything vital is done around the house :)

Thanks, Meg!

Join us again next week for a knitty experience, in the 3rd installment of La Tempête's Creatives.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Vintage Magazines - Online, and free!

Thanks to Little Jenny Wren, I have discovered an online resource that is truly awesome! Check out vintage Australian Home Journal issues (1949-1952) thanks to Internet Resource's American Libraries.

I'm interested in seeing vintage magazines, especially craft/home related ones, no matter where they are from in this world. I love the old patterns and recipes in them. I was given some British ones a few years ago, and the content is fabulous! Hmm. A future post perhaps?

Please go and check out Little Jenny Wren's blog. I do not know her, but I just love the darling little dolls she makes and the pictures of her home (Tasmania, Australia).

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Raisin Quick Bread

On Tuesday night, I made this Raisin Quick Bread, that I found on Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker. It was feautured as a "Recipe from Long Ago" and was "found in a vintage Sun-Maid raisin ad, circa 1940". This intrigued me, and as I love raisin/fruit toast, I knew I had to make it.

It's sweet (but not too sweet) and very dense, almost a cake really. Very nice.Thanks Kristen!

Monday, February 8, 2010

La Tempête's Creatives - Joanne of Charlie Moo's (England)

Welcome to the first post in La Tempête's Creatives series! Here I will be featuring some creative and crafty people. Some are entrepreneurs; some are ordinary people who are creative simply because they love to create.

Today we are featuring Joanne Dewberry from Dorset, England.

You make gorgeous cloth party bags for your business, Charlie Moo's; do you sew for pleasure as well, or is it business only?

Ha ha!! The funny thing about Charlie Moo's is that I had this idea about the fabric party bags and found someone to make them for me...but as the business took off it was harder to keep asking her to keep up with demand; and I worried the time between ordering and delivery was getting longer and longer. So Christmas 2008, Daddy Moo bought me a very cheap battery operated sewing machine to see if I could do it myself.

I have no real pattern as such; I just cut the pieces to the size of an orginal bag I've unstitched! Sounds crazy, but I found it easier than I had imagined...the bags are much better now than when I started; especially as Daddy Moo upgraded my sewing machine for my birthday. It's still quite basic, but at least this one reverse stitches! I have started to 'fix' things now though; I recently mended a hole in the kids bean bag & have  started stripping old clothes of buttons and fabric.

What inspired you to start your own business and at which stage did you incorporate your own sewing?

I was disheartened by the rubbish party bags my son, Charlie, had received at parties. Not only did it break straight away, it was either very age inappropriate or made of plastic. One party, he received near enough a whole bag of chocolate...he doesn’t even have chocolate unless its a special occasion.

It became a slightly stressful experience .. Charlie would wander out of the party tightly clutching the party bag in his hand and we’d either fight with him to get rid off the bits he couldn’t have, or have him hand us stuff as we said no, in most cases he’d be left with a balloon and some bubbles. I took the plunge to build and start up my website after Megan was born, in August 2008. I became very adept at typing with one finger whilst breast feeding at 2am.

When did you first learn to sew?

I've cross stitched on and off for years, but first learnt to sew with the machine in Jan 2009.

How do you choose the fabric for your gorgeous party bags?

I just buy what I like and always check with Moo; he generally willl say if he likes something or not, and Daddy Moo always gives his opinion!

Has the design of the bags evolved over time since you first started sewing them?

The design hasn't changed; but my sewing has got better and neater.

Do you make all of the bags yourself or do you have ‘helpers’?

I currently make them all myself but am looking for helpers, I'd like to have an army of stay at home mums sewing for me :)

How do you balance work and family?

I generally make sure that the children get my full attention during the day; however Moo does go to Pre-School 2 times a week and Megan still naps, so I do get a chance during the day to work. The laptop is on all day so that I can check emails,  & pack orders if I get a spare 5 mins, but its in the office so not in the living room where we play.

Daddy Moo helps by taking the children out at the weekend for a few hours without me sometimes, but I do prefer to go too! Nothing beats a bit of family time.

You’ve been in the media and won several awards now for your business. What has been your most treasured moment?

I would say my most treasured moment was actually on Charlie's 2nd Birthday, when I handed all his friends pre-filled bags and the excitement from all my friends and family was overwhelming and the talk of the town for weeks.

Please tell us which awards you have won so far – we just have to know!

Future 100 Young Entrepreneurs 2009
The Green Familia Rated Award for Best Gifts/Party Supplies

I see from your shop that you are listed as a ‘Green Achiever’. Is the environment important to you? How do you reflect this in your crafting?

My seed tags are very environmentally friendly, I also stock mostly wooden fillers. I have also been working on a line of recycled fabric bags too out of clothing, which isn't live yet.

For the readers – do you ship internationally???

It's not something we currently offer but you never know .. the best thing to do is to email me -

Please go and check Charlie Moos out at their home on the web. I do encourage you to find out about international shipping too - such a lovely product!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Another bib

I love the green paisley in this one; I also used it in a bag for my sister last year. It's actually a quilting weight fabric.

I don't know what's up with my camera. This was taken in daylight, but still turned out so much darker than usual. Will keep trying!

I was thinking of adding a flower applique or something, but the parents I am making it for are sort of anti-pink, anti-girly when it comes to baby gear. I hope they like it any way.

Now - pressing time (yuck)!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cross stitch - red border

I've had this piece of cross stitch as a UFO (unfinished object), tucked away, for quite sometime now.

I love the simplicity of the red and white.

I love single coloured embroidery; it can be so striking.

This is a such simple design really, but the repetition of the design really makes it look lovely. I really must finish it soon.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I've decided to do a bit of a feature series on my creative acquaintances and buddies; near and far. Some of my friends are incredibly talented and I'd just love to share their work and thoughts with you too.

Perhaps it will inspire you; if not, there are definitely some interesting stories and creations coming your way.

These people are creative in all sorts of different ways; so expect some variety, as no two are the same. They also live all over our beautiful globe, so be prepared to see some interesting people!

Coming soon!


You know it's a funny thing; I hear so many women say "Oh no, I'M not a feminist", that it actually shocks me. They say it like it is a bad thing to be. That they simply could not imagine it being a part of their identity. That they need to separate far from themselves. DANGER!

I think there are many, many preconcieved notions on what a feminist is. What they think, say and do. What they look like.

There is not ONE type of feminist. There are millions. There are some groups that are radical. I would argue these are a small minority.

What does being a feminist, or feminism, mean to you? To me it is not scary. To me it means to be PRO woman, not ANTI man, as many seem to think. You don't have to hate men and not shave your legs to be a feminist. You can even wear lipstick! LOL.

Liberal feminists, for example, believe "all women are capable of asserting their ability to achieve equality, therefore it is possible for change to happen without altering the structure of society."

If you believe women should be not discriminated againt because of their gender, in our right to choose our own calling, our right to be educated, or that we should have voting rights then you are already really a feminist, whether you call yourself one or not. It's not a dirty word.

Katha Pollitt said, "A feminist is a person who answers "yes" to the question, "Are women human?" Feminism is not about whether women are better than, worse than or identical with men. And it's certainly not about trading personal liberty--abortion, divorce, sexual self-expression--for social protection as wives and mothers, as pro-life feminists propose. It's about justice, fairness, and access to the broad range of human experience. It's about women consulting their own well-being and being judged as individuals rather than as members of a class with one personality, one social function, one road to happiness. It's about women having intrinsic value as persons rather than contingent value as a means to an end for others: fetuses, children, the "family," men". That doesn't mean those things can't be a part of your life.

You may or may not also have differing views on religion, abortion and reproductive rights from other feminists. That does not exclude you from the 'club'.

Yes, Virginia, suburban stay at home mothers can be feminists. You can choose to stay at home, and be a feminist, believe in equal rights, raise your children and be outraged when women are dealt a raw hand. You can sew, knit and crochet and be a feminist. You can choose to work, to not have children, whatever you want. You can be religious, or atheist, and be a feminist. There's no box you have to fit in, no checklist you must adhere to to gain membership.

You can also be a man and be a feminist. My own husband says he is too, as he believes in equal rights for women.

I respect and honour the women that fought so hard to give me the vote. People actually died to help give me  (and you) that privilege. People protested, jumped in front of horses, went on hunger strikes and were imprisoned so that I could exercise my own freedom of choice. What a gift.Thank you feminism, and feminists for giving women CHOICE. Thank you for making it clear to the world that I can do as I please. If that means I want to choose to stay home with my children, or go and build a career elsewhere, let it be known THE CHOICE IS MINE. Mine alone.

Please note, as many people may think, equal does not mean 'same'. Women do not have to be the SAME as men. We are different and that is OK. We're just not 'lesser'.

I remember once in  school, we were talking about feminist theory. We were challenged to think of a major piece of literature, or film, that did not have a woman being either saved by a man in some way, or married/encoupled in the end. I wonder if you can?

Some interesting feminism links:
Catholic Feminist's Story
Feminist Mormon Housewives

Please let me know if you have any suggestions for more links!

Free Vintage Cross Stitch Charts

I can't remember how I first found Ramzi's site, but as an occasional cross stitcher I was in heaven. So many beautiful (FREE) vintage patterns!

If you don't do cross stitch, but are crafty in other ways, you may still be able to use the patterns.

As they are often a grid type chart, they are fairly easy to use elsewhere; knitting would be another craft that could use them. Some are just templates; so easily made into stencils etc.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I am departing from the sewing and crafting that needs to be done so far today...and I'm back in the kitchen. We just did a massive clean out a few days ago and it feels 'right' in there again, for fun cooking as well as meals. Yesterday I made a savoury muffin slice I sorta made up as I went along. And today, I am making my favourite, easy white bread recipe.

You can find the recipe here.

I think DH will be happy. He almost always eats the whole loaf as soon as I make it! Ha ha. Apparently, it tastes better than 'normal' (store bought) bread. If you have never made bread before, this is a great starter recipe.