Saturday, January 23, 2010

Op shop treasures, waiting for some crafty love

Winter is not far away, so I've started thinking and preparing for the winter wardrobe. Over the past few months, I've found the above collection of various tops, jumpers and pants from my visits to op shops. All are in good condition (two even still had the tags on them!), no stains, and all are plain boring items, crying out for some embellishments. Actually a couple have ridiculous decorations (a pink poodle with the words underneath - born to shop!?), but these will quickly disappear.
So over the next few months, I have a bit of work to do. The embellishments I was thinking of were
- reverse applique for the pink poodle (that way I get the pleasure of cutting him out completely!)
- patchwork patches for another
- frills for the bell bottom pants
Plus I have a couple of pants and skirts I plan to make up, so I will have to add embellishments to match.
I know its only the middle of summer still, but thoughts are already heading towards the next season. Nothing like being prepared I say!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

summer tops

I've added a couple of new tops to the bubba's summer wardrobe. Both were existing plain tops that I added some detail to to jazz them up. The first I started a while ago back here, when I did some dining table screen printing. I finally completed this one the other day by finishing the flower and stitching edges around the petals. Came up rather nicely in the end (particularly because this embellishment was inspired by the need to hide a stain that I couldn't remove.)
The second t shirt was just a plain whitey from target. I unpicked the sleeves from the top at the front and added some gathered fabric leftovers I had lying around. Then restitched the seams. The ruffle edges are raw and there are actually a couple of layers of different fabrics in each ruffle, so now that I have washed it a couple of time, it is starting to fray a little which adds to the look. I think this one is my favourite (although who knows how I am going to manage keeping it white...) as she does look especially cute in it.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Learning to crochet - the beginning

So our weekend away camping was wonderful, albeit VERY hot. Not good weather for concentrating on anything or fiddling around with a big ball of yarn in one's lap. However, my Mum and I persevered and I have now started to learn to crochet. This was my first effort at crochet. Having been a bit of a crochet snob in the past, I had decided it was time to lower my nose and give it a go. And didn't it come back to slap me in the face. It was hard, fiddly (the weather didn't help) and I just couldn't get it (and neither could my Mum). The stitches were uneven and all I could manage was a plain single chain. Every time I tried to turn it into a double or triple stitch, it turned into knots. I didn't find Pip's instructions very helpful (although I hesitate to lay all blame on the author - there may have been some interpretation difficulties there too...).

So after about 1 hour I had this.
Twisted, too tight, too loose, grubby and of no use to anyone. I spent most of the time undoing and starting over again. I think my skills definitely lay in the automatic department (give me my sewing machine any day). However, not to be too negative, I am determined to continue and will not give up straight away.
And our camping trip was really lovely. There was a creek alongside our campsite where we spent most of our time keeping cool in the hot weather.And the baby had an absolute ball playing in the dirt and mud most of the time, or being spoilt by her grandparents and aunt. I took a photo of her sound asleep, in her shorts (made by me), sleeping on her blanket (made by me). I love looking at this picture, it brings a smile to my face.
So now I admire all those that can crochet, whipping up granny squares or scarves in their spare time. And I look forward to joining those ranks some day. Maybe one day.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Confronting the inner crochet snob

So we’ve got a few days away camping in the country. Looking forward to some fresh air, long relaxing walks, gourmet camping meals and spending time with my family. Looking forward to a getaway from the suburban heat and busi-ness of life.

We go away camping quite often. My skills and passion are mostly centred around my sewing machine so it is always a challenge for me to think of things I can do whilst I am away without electricity. I usually drag a couple of magazines along with me to flick through looking at pictures and getting ideas. And whilst I would hate to downplay the importance of pouring over beautiful magazines to stimulate the creative juices, it is hardly a replacement for actually making things.

So this camping trip I have decided to challenge myself.

I have a confession. I am a crochet snob. I have always thought it to be an old fashioned, out-of-date and something that nannas do. I have seen other people’s blogs showing their latest granny squares or other crochet creations and commented “lovely bright colours!” or ‘how creative!”, but I have always thought deep down, crochet is not for me. I do cool stuff, not crochet. I have seen a picture of somethingerother, and thought how cool and different it was. Then read the print underneath only to find out it is crochet, so I loose interest. Oh, I don’t think it is so cool after all – its crochet.

So now. I’ve decided its time to confront my inner crochet snob.
I am armed with:
- Meet Me at Mikes craft book (a very thoughtful Christmas present) with Pip Lincoln’s ‘how to crochet’ instructions (this will also fulfil the need to pour over beautiful pictures and inspirational ideas without actually doing anything)
- a ball of lovely speckled yellow yarn
- a metal crochet hook (according to Pip, for ‘extra slipperiness’)
- my Mum who used to crochet once upon a time, who thinks that she might remember again
- a long weekend away with plenty of time for relaxing and fiddling around with learning new techniques

I am not sure what I want to make yet, but figure I will play around for a bit and see what turns out.

Wish me luck. If all else fails, by the end of writing this post I have finally learnt to type crochet rather than crotchet. So I have at least gained something!
Eds note: oops, this post was meant to be posted before we went away. We're back now so the results coming soon...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

New born baby gift and getting my sewjo back

Ooh and aren't I starting off the year on a good note!

My brother in law and partner had a brand new little baby boy on Tuesday. To welcome little Ollie, I made a few things to make his introduction to the world a little nicer.
A printed muslin wrap to keep him comforted in the hot summer months to come. The edges are bound in bright yellow binding. Cute animal print muslin. I loved the colour combination of the blues with the fresh lemon yellow. I hope the new Mum did too!

A couple of burping towels, finished with the same theme of the muslin print and lemon yellow.
And finally a chew blanky to match. These chew blanky (otherwise known as tag rags) are so easy to make; cut out two squares of bright fabrics, attach a few left over bits of ribbons and notions, sew it all together, and babies love them!
The whole set ready to be wrapped and gifted.
I was especially pleased with my effort as I have been finding it a little hard to get into the making stuff of late. Sewing action has been nearly zero. But I was energised and motivated to get this one done, so fingers crossed, I may have finally gotten my sewjo* back! Yippee!
* Compliments to Selena's Vintage who introduced me to the term 'sewjo' a while back. Potentially I thought this to be such a cool term when I first heard it that I was subconsciously looking for the opportunity to loose my 'sewjo' just do I could claim to have my 'sewjo' back. Hmm, only time will tell.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New 2010!

**Happy New Year fellow crafters**

The start of a new year and the start of a new decade.
I've decided to look forward to the new year rather than back to the year just past.

Although I should pay my dues to 2009 with a quick wrap up as it certainly was a significant year in my life. In 2009...
  • I had my first year on maternity leave from a full time career. Because of this I rediscovered my creative flair and my love of sewing and making things. The Melbourne Stitches and Craft show was a real inspiration for me and got the ball rolling by introducing me to a whole new world of craft, blogging and some amazing people. (I honestly had no idea that such an amazing crafty community was out there!)
  • In July I stopped being an anonymous blog peeper and started my own blog! I also joined the great Perle 8's group and met more amazing people.
  • I had the pleasure of watching my friend Nic of Yardage Design make a dream come true in creating a crafty business from scratch. Nic is a real inspiration and has documented the whole journey on her blog. It is definitely worth checking out.
  • In December by little baby girl turned one. It was time to return back to work, albeit part time.

So in 2010, there are more exciting challenges to come. The end of 2009 saw me going back to work, getting busy and just never finding the time for dragging out the sewing machine (although there were plenty of longing glances into the spare room cupboard where machines, stash and notions are all kept safe). Or turning on the computer to be inspired by all the bloggy creativeness. I have learnt my lesson many years ago on making aspirational and unrealistic new years resolutions that never stick.

This year I look forward to continuing my lovely blog, continuing to make and create lovely things, learning new techniques and finding new inspiration.

We have a house move/renovation/extension thingy to plan and do.

And finally I hope to find that balance between motherhood, wife, domestic goddess (did I say earlier I was going to avoid unrealistic expectations?), part time career, home renovation project management, and finding time for my passion for sewing and craftiness (plus all the other very important things).

So Happy New Year to you all! I look forward to joining in with your adventures in 2010 and I hope you enjoy being a part of mine!