Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Year in Craft

Northside Makers are doing a Crafty Meme to wrap up the year.

I'm not a  Northside Makers member yet (I don't exactly live in the north), but I'm a follower of theirs and might come around to it in the new year.  At first I couldn't be bothered doing this meme as I don't have many followers, but then I realised that I should do it as much for my own sake as for anyone else's.

(and thanks to Margaret and Jenni for the link)

So here goes.....

1. In my twelve months of crafting, my crafty self made all these...
Knitted clowns, a toy cat, machine embroidered pin cushion and needle wallet, kimono baby quilt, machine embroidered applique Noah's Ark blankie, toy bags, felt chocolates, rag dolls, dice bag, felt teddy bear, summer dress, library bag, necklaces, christmas decorations, mini quilt wall-hanging, embroidered shirts, library bag and a chess quilt.  Plus all the trial and error projects I've got under way.

(WOW, didn't realise how much I'd done this year!)

2. If my year was a colour it would be...
I think there has been quite a lot of yellow/gold/orange in my mind this year... even though it has not been reflected in all the craft I've done.

3. This year I spent way too many craft hours...
Planning/thinking/dreaming of things to do without actually seeing any end results.  I need to find an idea and focus on it for a while before I get carried away with a new idea.

4. This year I wish I'd had more craft hours for...
Myself!  I've made lots of things for other people... and I love doing that, but sometimes it would be nice to have something that I put lots of love into which stays with me.  Most things I do for myself are rushed or experimenting, most of the "grand projects" I undertake get given away.

5. My proudest craft moment of the year was...
The look on the faces of the recipients of my kimono baby quilt.

6. My biggest craft disaster was...
Hmmm... hard to say.  I've got a lot of  'rejects' in my projects box, but they don't really count as disasters because it's all part of the design/pattern making process.  Oh, it was probably the jelly fish toy I tried to make.... but I still have hopes of turning it into a useful pattern!

7. This year I had stalls at/visited this many markets...
I went to one of the Northside Makers markets, we did Daylesfod markets one weekend, and the Werribee craft market.

8. My most enjoyable market was...
Definitely the Northside Maker's market.  So many nice things to look at, and so many things I could have bought if I had the money!!

9. My best handmade purchase/present/swap/acquisition was...
I can't think what I've obtained this year that is handmade... other than my christmas present which is a quillow, so I guess it would be that one.

10. After this year I swear I'll never again...
Over-commit myself for hand made christmas presents... nor leave them till the last minute (hopefully though, I'll never again be moving house two weeks before christmas, and getting carpet down 3 days before christmas).

11. Next year I'm determined to...
Have a stall at a craft market!!  Which means I have to get on with focusing on a few ideas rather than coming up with 5 new ideas per week.

And use up some of my fabric stash.... there are some great fabrics in there which will make wonderful things.

And set up somewhere to take better photos of my work too.

12. But I'll probably do this instead... 
Buy more fabric....

In other news, the scanner has been fixed (well actually the set up on my computer has been fixed), so I can actually finish the pattern for my last Christmas decoration.  I know it's a bit late now, but I should put it up then it's there for next year as well.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Empty House

So all the guests have left now and we can start enjoying our home for what it is.... our first home!

Christmas was surprisingly simple, and clean up was made all the easier by the fact that my lovely husband installed the dishwasher on Christmas Eve.

I finished my last present at about 8:30 on Christmas Eve, but I wasn't rushed.  I would have liked to finish earlier but other things like shopping and preparing took up time I was going to spend sewing.

So here is the Chess Quilt:

The "board" is just a poly/cotton fabric of some sort which we picked for the marble-like pattern.  The border (and backing) is a more wooly feel tartan to give it an "old man" feel, which my husband suggested.  The quilt was for his brother so I took his advice on that ;).

The chess pieces were going to be screen printed, but with the delay of moving house I didn't get to unpack my silk screen in time or have the space in the garage to set it all up.  They ended up being hand rolled using cardboard stencils on the kitchen table.  The colour is a little more uneven because of this, but I think it gives it that nice hand-made feel.  The dots on the queen were 'stamped' using the head of a nail, and the cross on the king was drawn using the pointed end of the nail.  The things you come up with when your craft boxes are in stroage and you can't be bothered spending any time looking for the proper tools!

The pieces can also be turned over to play checkers (or draughts)!

In the end it was something that was really quite simple, yet really effective!

My husbands family do Kris Kringle so we only have to get one present each, and recently they have been having a theme.  This year's theme was "more than meets the eye", so the gift had to be multi-purpose, or 'transform' in some way.  I think my gift was actually the one which fitted the theme the best, although the quillow I recieved was also appropriate (I'll post about that when I catch up on photos).

My quilt was supposed to have a backgamon board on the back.  I'd cut it all out, but then took a realistic view on the available time and decided to make it a one sided quilt.  So somewhere in the future I'll be making a backgamon quilt.....

The present my husband made for his other brother was AWESOME and deserves mention here (since this is The House of Wilson blog).

This started out as a common (large) bauble.  He found a pattern online to print out and make your own paper globe, so he printed that, and then transfered the continents to the bauble.  By 'transfered' I mean that he drew a grid on the bauble to match the grid on the print out, then hand-drew in all the land masses!!  I was amazed.  The terraforming was then built up using some liqid plastic stuff you can get from Bunnings.  The colours were painted with glass paint (also from Bunnings) and then the whole thing was coated with a 'liquid glass' product.

It was originally going to be cut in half to make a trinket box out of it, but after all his hard work he was afraid to cut it, so instead he found a glow-in-the-dark plasticine stuff, and put dots all over the globe to imitate the lights from cities.  I'd love to get a photo of it glowing in the dark!!

Monday, December 21, 2009

More presents

Christmas appears to be here.  My parents have arrived and my brother (and family) is coming in a few days.

I've made fruit mince tarts, and even put kitties on a few of them.

The house  is becoming more of a home, and the carpet is due for tomorrow so then we can finally unpack everything (once christmas is over of course).

On the craft front, I've finished another Christmas present.

A few years ago I made The Best Library Bag Ever (tm) for my niece who was starting school

Next year my nephew is starting school so of course I had to make him a library bag too.  It had to be cool like hers, but different.  So I present to you The Best Library Bag Ever II.

The books with titles were machine embroidered.  The green one on an angle was supposed to be Where the  Wild Things Are, but the embroidery was too long for the book unfortunately.  The back of the bag is the woodgrain fabric which adds to the bookcase feel of it.  It's padded to protect the books inside and I've quilted around all the books and around the inside edges of the shelves.  I hope he likes it.

And yes, I'm overdue for my last Christmas decoration pattern.  The scanner wasn't working when I tried so I shall try and remedy that tonight.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Camping Mini Quilt

My parents do a lot of camping and have a camper van thing which attaches to the back of their truck, a cross between a tent, a campervan and a caravan.

I thought it would be nice for her to have something 'soft' and crafty to take with her.  Something to have other than pots and pans and camping supplies.  She's a bit of a crafter herself and a lot of women that go on the trips with them (her included) take craft with them to do around the camp fire.

So I decided to make her a mini-quilt wall hanging that she can either hang for a tent pole when they set up camp, or perhaps put a hook on the inside of the truck window and hang it there permanently.

The little campfires in the corner are machine embroidered and the writing is hand embroidered using backstitch and varigated thread.  Unfortunately I chose the thread for the back label badly as most of it is very pale.  Does make it a bit more subtle though.

The dowel on the back was bought in a packet from Spotlight but I still had to cut it down to size.  The top and side edges of the pockets were sewn into the binding.  I then inserted the dowel (with the hanging corod attached) and hand stitched the bottom edge of the pocket down.

I made the twisted cord myself using crochet cotton, which gave me the opportunity to untwist the looped end and slide the dowel through.  The other end is untwisted a little as well to make a look for the dowel.  The tension in the twist naturally pulls itself tight again around the dowel.  I just tied a note and frayed the end for effect.  I quite like the asymetrical look of the back.

I used thick wadding, but it's turned out a bit to puffy for my liking.  I should have just used thin wadding.  But now I know for next time.  I hope Mum likes it.  Her birthday was last month, but she arrives for Christmas on Thursday so we agreed that I wouldn't post it, I'd just save it for when she arrived.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Busy Crafting

This weekend just gone we officially moved into our house!  Most of the stuff is in the garage until we get the carpet done, but stuff is here, and here is home.  I've currently taken over our new dining table for my sewing, with so many christmas projects on the go.

We might not have carpet but we now have a fence and a driveway.  It's all coming together

On the crafting front, I finally got around to doing the machine embroidery for my dad's shirts.  I had to unpick the pocket and then sew it back on again after I'd done the embroidery.  I had a bit of trouble with placement, which wasn't helped by the fact that I didn't have the printer working and couldn't make a template.  The last one (top) is perfect placement because by then I was in the new house and had the pirnter all set up.

I think I ended up with three layers of stabiliser under the dart board, but with that many stitches on a knit fabric it really needed it, and it came out really well.

Christmas presents yet to be finished are the chess/backgammon board quilt, and the bookcase library bag.  Quilt is cut out and partly sewn.  Library bag is waiting for some more fabric, but what I've got is all cut out.

I'm a busy girl.....

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Free Pattern - Christmas Decoration 5 - Tree

Second last one. I think this is my favourite of all of them.  It's actually quite sparkly when the light catches it on the right angle.

Click here for the pattern (pdf)

And next Sunday we'll top them all off with an Angel.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Free Pattern - Christmas Decoration 4 - Bells

And this brings me all up to date!

Click here for the pattern (pdf)

Also, I've finished another Christmas present and started on the next two... more info soon!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Beading work

These are the three necklaces I've made for my sister-in-law for christmas. Most of the beads came from Fire Mountain Gems & Beads.

This first one is apparently coconut shell. I was just looking for something that I liked, wasn't fussed about what it was made from. It is REALLY light weight and feels rather fragile. I hope it's not too breakable.

 The second one is woven cotton cord hooked around a metal ring.  The beads are a random selection from my friend's bead collection.  I had ordered beads for this but when they turned up they weren't quite what I was expecting, and didn't work with the cotton cord. The cord is just knotted so this required no beading tools at all.

And the last one is made with an assortment of millefiori glass beads threaded on tigertail, and held apart with gold crimps.

The first and the last both use magnetic clasps, which are really easy to put on (don't need to fiddle with your fingernails) but they stick to everything!  They stick to each other in the bag, and the split rings that holds them to the tigertail is always sitting funny because it's "stuck" to the clasp.

This has got me re-enthused for beading and I want to do more now!  But alas there is much sewing to be done before Christmas.

I hope my sister-in-law likes them...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Free Pattern - Christmas Decoration 3 - Candle

As promised, here is the next one

Click here for the pattern (pdf)

In house news, we had the new washing machine delivered today, and the dishwasher is due this afternoon. There is a "towel carpet" between the family room and the bedroom so as not to get my feet comletely covered in concrete dust. The fencing and the driveway are due later this week

I've done some more embroidery today as well so I'll have that so share soon.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Finally - A new house

We've finally moved into the new house.  We moved enough stuff yesterday to be able to live there now, and have hired a truck to get the rest of it next weekend.  The cat moves this afternoon.

There is no carpet as yet, but we have laminate flooring in the family room so I'll be setting up the sewing machine on our new kitchen table for the time being.  I also managed to find my iron, cutting mats and ironing board in storage so they're now at the house and I can sew properly with my own things!

This is also the reason that I haven't posted the instructions for the Christmas decorations yet, but this week, I promise to catch up!

I have been working on some craft projects though.  Here is a taste of what I'll be posting up in the near future:
Finally did the hand sewing and finished my mother's birthday present
Have cut out most of the fabric for my chess boasrd quilt
Done the machine embroidery on two of the three shirts for my dad's christmas present
I've come up with a easy and quick pattern to make my nephew's promised library bag for christmas (this has been plaguing me for weeks because I promised it but then the vision I dreamed up was quite complicated and time consuming so I had to make a new plan)
Plus there is my neice's toy bag, which I finished a few weeks ago (wasn't going to post because my family is on the 'net and might see it, but in reality, the chance of them finding this is slim)

That's it for now, time to pack up the sewing machine to move it to the new house this afternoon.


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