Friday, January 28, 2011

Scrappy Friday

After deciding that it was time to get stuck in to using up my enormous scrap fabric collection - I've been a bit short on time this week!

My girls both went back to school yesterday after 2 months off, and after a big party at our place for Australia Day the previous day, I've been tidying up and cleaning since then!!!

After lunch yesterday, I thought I'd sneak a little time to start a scrap project I've been thinking of all week.

Unfortunately on part one, I managed to break the last of my larger needles!  It just clean broke through in the middle of the eye!!  Ooopps!
So, I decided to leave that project for now, and do a different quick one...


I've got a pot of long thin scraps!  Mmmm!! 
What to do??
I saw something like this while looking around online, and wanted to try it!


A bit of plaiting (braiding), and ....


5 mins later - three scrappy bracelets!

Oh - and after learning how to make fabric yo-yos last week, and making this jewellery set on a scrappy day with my girls....



I got a bit carried away making yo-yos...


Just look how easy it is:
Cut a circle of fabric - look at mine - it doesn't even need to be a perfect circle!
Then, turning the edge over a little as you go - stitch with a simple running stitch -in and out, all the way round:



Then slowly pull the thread and the edges will ruffle up together:

Pull all the way, until you get this:
Then secure with a few stitches - or add a button in the middle, then use to decorate - anything!!


So, using my new yo-yo making skills, I  decided to make a quick Australia Day necklace with some scraps!

All the right colours - I had my Australian flag bikini and sarong on too - so all red, white and blue co-ordinated!
Not bad I thought, until someone pointed out my necklace looked like one of the characters from the cartoon movie Madagascar......  Can you see the resemblance??? Nose, eyes and ears?? Mmmmmm, not sure that's a compliment for my jewellery making skills...


Do come back next week when I'll have a new scrap project to show!

Have a lovely weekend!

Jill

Linking to some of the wonderful parties whose buttons are at the bottom of this page!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

My Creative Space

I've been thinking a lot lately about why I sew, partly I guess because I've started to teach my girls to sew and I want them to see the benefits of it, and partly because I like to ask 'why'!!

My mum taught me to sew when I was little, and my granny was also a dressmaker, so it does run in the family !  Mum used to make everything for us - from clothes to bags and toys.  I grew up in a family where you could 'make' just about anything you wanted or needed - with fabric, or wood, or whatever you had handy!  Once I settled down and had my own little family, I began to revisit this philosophy more and more.

I did some hand-sewing when my first daughter was born, but soon my ideas needed a machine - and a visit from Mum and Dad from England soon sorted that out with a gift of a new machine!

The first things I sewed were baby rugs. I'd asked Mum to make me one with her scraps, with lots of different textures.  This turned out to be a fabulous patchwork rug with lots of scraps which had memories for me of things she had made over the years.  I wanted to take this idea one step further and make 'picture' baby rugs, with different textured fabrics.  Here are some I made:



I made these for a few years - for both my daughters, and friends who had babies - sold some, gave more as gifts, and thoroughly enjoyed it!  My girls still have a selection of these rugs - and still play with them - with their teddies, for picnics, covers when they're sick.....  They've been great!

As my girls have grown, so has what I've wanted to sew.

As we started renovating houses, I put my skills to use making roman blinds - I've now done two whole houses - every window!!
I've made a lot of storage solutions for my girls - from bed pockets for their books, to hanging jewellery and hair tie holders.  And I've finally started sewing for myself too - bags, and only this last week I started trying out fabric jewellery.

So why do I sew? and why should my girls learn?

Well, aside from the most important factor, which is that I enjoy it... It's a practical and useful skill.  To be able to mend your own clothes, sew on buttons, adjust hems etc, can save you both time and money.    A local DJ said recently on the radio, that she spent and extra $10 every time she bought a pair of trousers, to get them altered to fit her as she wasn't a standard size!  That's a lot if you add up every pair of pants you buy over the years....

I want to bring my daughters up to be independent and resourceful.  I think in teaching them to sew, I can help them develop those skills.  I can nurture their creativity, and also help their improve their growing skills of physical dexterity,  control, accuracy and spacial awareness.

I love sewing - it's one of my biggest creative outlets.  Discovering blogging over this past year has helped me enjoy it even more as I've found and connected with so many wonderful people worldwide who share my passion for sewing and creativity.  I gain so much from the blogging world, and I hope I put enough back into it, to help, encourage and inspire others. 

My tutorials are one way of doing that.  I've recently revamped them into PDF format, and have made them available for free download - see my tutorials page for the link.

As I've considered this topic over the past few weeks, I have revamped my blog and concentrated it a bit more in the direction I want it to take.

As such I now have my weekly routine, if you like:

Monday - A Round Tuit linky party - where I can showcase some of my favourite projects made by others, and try to inspire and be inspired by all the creative talent out there.  Also as the name of this linky suggests - it encourages people to 'get around to' those jobs and projects you've been planning for a while!

Tuesday - My tutorials and projects.  Never having been a big fan of patterns, I've actually found they are very useful (I know, bit slow on the uptake sometimes!)  so I've started making tutorials for the things I make, so others can have a go too, and to make it easier for me too, when I go back to making another one!!

Wednesday - Each week I'm featuring someone new - with a series of questions about how they are 'Creating their own way to Success'.  I love hearing other people's stories, and again, it's a chance for me to give back to the blogging community, and promote someone else's fabulous talents!

Thursday - This will be all about learning to sew!  Since I'm teaching my girls to sew, I'm going to show their sewing projects each week.  At 5 and 7 years old, they're just starting out, so it will be nice to chart their progress! I'm sure there will be weeks they are too busy to sew, so I'm also going to improve my sewing this year by learning some new skills!

Friday - this year I've decided that I HAVE to start using up my scraps!  So I'm going to make Fridays 'Scrappy day", and try out and discover as many useful, interesting and well - whatever ways I can, to use up my stash!

Phew!! 

Well if you're still reading this LONG post - thanks for sticking with me to the end!  I hope you'll come back and visit my blog again! Sign up to follow if you like (I always love new followers) - or you can even 'like' me on facebook (just started out on there too!). 
Do leave me a comment - and tell me why you sew / craft / blog ?  Like I said, I like to ask 'Why' and love hearing other people's stories!!


I hope you all have a great day!  See you again soon!!

Jill

To see some amazing creative spaces - pop over to Kirsty's place at Kootoyoo

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pencil and Notebook folders



A few weeks ago, I decided to make my girls some new folders to take with us out on our reef trips.  They both LOVE drawing and writing, and always take paper and pens with us - which end up blowing and rolling around the boat!  So I made them one each of these:

They open out to this..


To make them I managed to finally make use of a little of this massive pile of stiff cardboard...
(There are 100 pieces of card - with dots on!!  Left over from a number/ maths education activity I tried with my girls when they were really little!!!)
So, as you can see - I could make LOTS of these fabric folders!!

I also used some of these exercise books., which I've bought hundreds of over the past few years as they're sold for 1c each in the 'back to school sales' and I just can't resist a bargain!. So I have a reasonable stockpile of these too!!

The girls love using theirs, having chosen their own fabric from my stash -( Bratz and ballerinas). 
And they did turn out perfect for our boat trips!


This fairy one I made today, and also did a photo tutorial.

If you're interested in the 'how to', I've made the tutorial as a free PDF download, available if you




This is going to be one of the gifts I make this year for kids birthday presents.  My girls get so many party invites - and I always try to give handmade gifts!   They're always well received with no chance of giving the same gift as another party goer!  It leaves room to personalise the gifts too!

Do you give handmade gifts?   What kind of things do you make and give?
Boys I always find the hardest to make for - but I think with this, I have some cool camoflague fabric and other boyish stuff that may go down well!!

UPDATE:  I've now created a Flickr photo group - if you'd like to see all the different versions of these folders that I've made - and add your own as you make yours!
Jill

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Pencil cases - teaching my kids to sew!

My girls are now 5 and 7 years old - and definitely old enough to learn how to sew.  We've done little bits and pieces before - but I want to start some real projects with them, that they can do mostly themselves, and get something they want at the end of it. 
At the beginning of the school holidays, they asked if they could make pencil cases, so today, we finally got around tuit!


Cute little pencil cases -fully lined - material specially chosen!
 They have amazingly good control with the machine. Even managing with the zipper foot!

And pretty good with the pins too! no accidental pin pricks for either of them! Only me!!!


I had to cut the fabric
(mental note to buy a smaller pair of dressmaking scissors that they can manage with their little hands). 
 And I helped my younger daughter with the pinning a little.
I also did the iron on applique, and the finishing topstitch.

I really want to get them making things to practice.  Not just endless straight lines on scrap bits of paper - but real projects, so they don't get bored - and have something to show for their hard work and concentration at the end of it all!

I took pictures along the way, and made a PDF tutorial for this so the girls can print it out and keep it
 (I'm sure that will be great show and tell material for school one day!)


What age were you when you learnt to sew?  Have you taught your kids?  How are you teaching them? 
Or maybe you're learning to sew yourself now? Through online courses? Classes? I'd love to hear how everyone learnt or is learning...

Jill







Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jewellery hangers

Last year I got around to organising some of my daughters' things.  Their hairties, clips and jewellery, for too long were just stuffed in boxes getting tangled, broken and generally not being used.


First I made them both wall hanger, from an old pair of their jeans, for their hair ties and clips:
These have been a big hit, and have helped keep things much tidier.

But their jewellery was all still in the boxes.  So for Christmas, I made them each a jewellery hanger.
Another big hit with the girls who now have more unicorns and ballerinas in their room!




So the hair ties and jewellery are tidy, now all I need to work on are the toys, the books, the ornaments, the cuddly toys, the clothes............

Jill
 

Now, stock up on hair accessories, using these Kmart promotional codes available for shoes.