“Mum, I can’t wait for our trip”,

said baby Joey. They were bound for Berlin, Germany. They were heading to their forever home to play with baby Ella and teach Ella of her Australian connection.

 

When I heard our friends in Germany were expecting their first baby, I could not resist making Bea and Miki, an Airali Design by Ilaria Caliri. It was a labour of love, with some tricky bits but I am happy with the duo I created. Wanting to use my stash and not knowing the gender I used a neutral palette. Browns, greens and greys. I made felt balls in place of the poms poms in the pattern [beanie and scarf].

 

With the hope to fit in with the nursery color I created a very subtle neutral tone bunting. Fabric triangles, ribbon for lettering and scalloped crochet trim.

the combined gift

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Why are old things so charming?

A trip to Quongdong Cottage in Campbelltown during the school holidays opened up a world of historical houses around the area. Quondong is now the Visitor Information Centre and has information on local attractions and events. The Centre also features a heritage rose garden and a replica school room. More information about the historical site here. It is here I picked up a leaflet on, Camden Museum.

The next day, with junior and my mum in tow we set off to find the museum. We first stumbled across the Alan Baker art gallery, the historic Macaria building is stunning. There is something magical about Alan Baker’s paint crusted tool case. Add this stop when you visit Camden.

Then onto the museum through the current library. What a treat this hidden treasure is! You are welcomed with gem after gem everywhere you looked. Some items left you wandering what it was used for, others were memories of one’s childhood. The items however were labelled with detailed information. Here’s a collection of what caught my eye.

For the children

a pram

dollhouse furniture and books

scooter from yesteryear – that red tin car!

In the sewing room

 

one of my favourites – spools caddy and pin cushion

circa 1951

wooden spinning wheel – circa 1917

darning mushrooms, pin cushion, toy sewing machine

Office

 I remember some of these

typewriters, counting machines, stamp caddy, telescope

In the kitchen

milk bottles, milk cartons, tools on the far right


my mum remembers these pastel green cured meats boxes, kettles, milk urn, lanterns

In the laundry

wringing clothes by hand

irons

 

a well kept clothes wringer

I’ll let the label do the talking

Sports

lawn bowls case

Entertainment and travel

music, music, music

if those initials, stickers could talk

medical instruments far right

Medicine

prescription books

20/20 vision

If you are ever in the area I cannot recommend this wonderful museum enough. I’ll be going again – guaranteed to discover more wonderful snippets of history. There are many more historic sites in Camden, op shopping and some great cafes too.

I love a little bit of alliteration

I have a new page on my blog!

I have finally collated all my published work. Put this together reinforces that I do love a bit of alliteration, even in coming up with a name for my creations I have the need to be creative. Check it out here.

I have a soft spot for my very first published work, a English paper piecing hexagon Christmas tree – it made it on the cover.

Always smile at a [plastic] crocodile

The Queens Birthday long weekend here in Australia means I can squeeze in a blog post. Over on Instagram I promised I would share my photos of the 29th Miniature’s and Dolls’ House Fair held on 5th and 6th May at Netball Centre Olympic Park. This year we exhibited and had a stall.

So impressed with all the displays I forgot to take photos of my mini haberdashery store and of my dad’s ‘junk food’ lane.

My mum created a bag and hat shop many years ago. She subsequently created some framed pieces which would look lovely in a girls room, sewing room or craft room. We also sold room boxes which my dad made. He made the room box, floor and furniture. This is our mini stall.

I created some brooches showcasing different crafts which I sold on the day. You can see them laying flat. They all measure on average 5cm x 6cm [2.5 in x 2.5 in]. Mini knitting, crochet, macrame, quilting, weaving, cross stitch, sashiko, felt and ribbon embroidery. Here they are close up.

Here are some of the displays that caught my eye. The level of detail is what astounds any miniaturist. So zoom in or take an extra second or two admire the craftsmanship in these pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enjoyable Embroidery [challenge]

So technically it is still February somewhere in the world – although here down under we have started a new month and new season. So to celebrate the wonderful month that February is [my birthday, Valentine’s day, kids go back to school] AND it being National Embroidery Month – I am blogging about the challenge I participated in last February.

Gulush Threads and DMC organised an embroidery challenge during February – National Embroidery Month – 2017! I participated through Instagram. We were required to post a photo of stitches from the daily prompts. Here are the prompts for the month.

As opposed to using fabric or an embroidery hoop I decided to embroider on cotton paper. Here is the complete collection I created during the month.

So if you are interested how I interrupted each day, here goes….

Day 1 – Pink only

baby pink to be exact – embellishing sequins and seed beads with straight stitches and French knots

Day 2 – Back Stitch

an nice easy stitch to create this thread bobbin/spool

Day 3 – 1 ply strands

weaving stitch

Day 4 – pearl cotton

in addition to French knots – eskimo laced stitch

inspired  from the Modern Folk Embroidery book by Nancy Nicholson, a blog hop I participated in

Day 5 – neon

this is the only neon I had in my stash at the time – couching stitch

Day 6 – stem stitch

a little pumpkin in stem stitch

Day 7 – free style

so I delved into my embroidery bible and thought I would try this double threaded [mauves] back stitch [grey]

Day 8 – neutral only

buttonhole stitch – they look like wheels and buttons

Day 9 – French knots

my idea was to fill the negative space of the ampersand with French knots – far too ambitious for a daily challenge – I’m liking the combination of knots and holes though

Day 10 – variegated

wanted to try the herringbone stitch

Day 11 – whipped back

combines a back stitch with thread threaded back over each stitch [easily seen with this variegated thread] – crochet hook only in back stitch

Day 12 – black and white

I was cheeky with this one – using back stitch – Spanish and reversal

Day 13 – 7 ply strands

first time using 7 ply – I had a go at feather stitch – do you think it looks like coral

Day 14 – free style

I decided to have a go at chevron stitch – in red for Valentine’s day

Day 15 – green only

Amber from @ambrosiastitches on Instagram introduced me to cast on stitch – perfect for my lil tree

Day 16 – ombre

pink ombre long and short stitch also known as embroidery shading stitch, tapestry shading stitch, brick stitch, leaf stitch, Irish stitch, plumage stitch, feather work, opus plumerium

Day 17 – split stitch

split stitch for concentric variegated circles kinda works

Day 18 – shapes

applying some felt with blanket stitch and French knots

Day 19 – blue only

chain stitch on a paisley shape – or is it a bird

Day 20 – straight stitch

also known as stroke stitch – which is great for depicting grass

Day 21 – free style

flicking through my embroidery bible I choose this Pekingese stitch also known as Chinese stitch or blind stitch – looks like a stamp to me – stamp stitch?

Day 22 – 3 ply strands

the basket stitch or long armed cross stitch was easy quick – the French knot hydrangeas on the other hand…

Day 23 – shades of grey

not many greys in my stash but the wheat ear stitch came up a treat

Day 24 – abstract

had a go at Roman stitch also known as branch stitch – I also varied the short cross stitch from running parallel to running diagonally.

Day 25 – filler stitch

I used 4 ply for the double Algerian eye stitch

Day 26 – rainbow

battlement stitch – or overlapping blanket stitches

Day 27 – satin stitch

no secret I like to mix different media in my creations – I couldn’t resist stitching a hexie with satin stitch

Day 28 – free style

to finish the challenge I want to combine several element and try a new stitch – I create this miniature kite with a back stitch tail and sheaf stitch bows – I added a metallic thread in the variegated floss – upcycling an old atlas page to make the kite.

Would love to know which one is your favourite and which stitch you are now itching to try?

I learnt so many stitches during this challenge – great learning exercise when you commit to a challenge!

WOW WIW [walk-in wardrobe]

This Christmas gift was 6 months in the making. And is not quite finished either. But the 25th December deadline insisted I deliver this labour of love. Who would be worthy of 6 months of my craft time – my miniatures loving parents. I created this fairy-tale walk in wardrobe for them.

Let me walk [pardon the pun] you through the steps of my creation.

It first started with those crocheted hangers the ones Grandma used to make. The plan to replicate the crocheted hanger in miniature. I used paper clips and DMC perle cotton for a collection of pastel hangers.

Then some delicate fabric and lace covered hangers. The fabric covers were machine sewn. The hangers were made with cardboard to provide the shape and support. And beads added as a decorative touch [see white dress photo].

A couple of years back I was fortunate to participate in Sarah Peel’s Luna Lapin blog hop. Flipping through the wonderful templates I was drawn to the cape. I reduced the template size and created 2 lined capes.

More clothes for the wardrobe meant some dresses. First up, crocheted bodice with full linen skirt. Seed bead as a button and ribbon tie. The linen skirt I was up-cycling had this brown trim which was perfect for mini dress.

The second dress I attempted was one I had seen in a book where the front panel is actually one piece and the side is gathered and sewn at the waistline. The hem was created with a machine stitch and the fabric trimmed as closely as possible to the edge of the stitch. It has raw edges [neckline and armholes] but in my next attempt I would try and finish these off with more finesse [note the coat-hangers]..

 

Between the hangers and the dress there seemed to be enough crochet – knitting was the next miniature challenge. A cardigan. I found a pattern on Pinterest and created this little double-breasted cardy. Star buttons were the perfect size.

A chance exchange during my son’s kindy gym session had me swapping crochet patterns with another mum and I received a pattern for Solomon’s knot scarf – but of course my first try at this was in miniature.

As I delved into the accessories and away from the clothing I thought I would make the little lady a hand quilted hand bag from floral ribbon I’d purchase in Spain. Sequin and seed button and crochet  to close the sides and for the strap.

On to the clothes rack. This was fun to create. I drew a rough diagram. Measured and cut the balsa wood, craft rod and foam board. Glued all pieces together to create the rack.

With the majority of the items made I set about to create the room. I purchased I photo frame from the op shop. It had to be right size, for both the floor size and skirting. I pulled the apart for the base to become the floor and the 2 sides of the frame the skirting.

I needed a little help from my dad – so I had to say a little white lie when I asked my dad to make me the room box – all I had requested was two walls at right angles attached to the floor and 2 mitred skirting pieces . Nothing else. So my dad thought I was making this for my bestie so he offered a window frame and door. I accepted but had to insist I was still working out what I would do for the floor. I had definite plans for the floor but could not divulge.

The walls, floor, window frame and door were ready for finishing touches. The window frame and door were painted gloss white after light sanding. And the walls a ‘praline sweet’ shade – the sample bottle and mini roller was perfect for the application.

Next the floor – definitely wooden. Floor boards – perhaps? Parquetry – mmmm? Modern parquetry – yes!! After some ‘research’ on Pinterest I decided on a hexagon format with trapezoidal tiles. Hand cutting tiles from jumbo pop sticks – 120 in total took some time but I had a good feeling on the outcome. Edges were sanded, laid, glued and sanded again.

And then varnished. And skirtings too.

My next challenge – venetian blinds.  Coffee stirrers, quilling paper and cotton used to create the blinds for the window. And balsa wood for the pelmet. Ice-cream sticks and a make-up case mirror for the wall mirror. I designed them as I went along.

The walk-in wardrobe needed a comfy chair for the little lady to put on her stockings and shoes. Inspired by my own chair in my craft room [photo below] I set about to make miniature furniture. My first attempt was looking like a failure – so I simplified my approach and created this. An upholstered chair, I made this from cardboard, sponge foam, balsa wood and fabric. It’s suit fabric from India. It’s perfect for mini upholstery.

Just a couple more crochet pieces – I warm floor rug for her feet

And a raffia hat for the sunny days.

I do want to add some more items to the walls and perhaps add a dress or too. I will be sure to share those once finished.

You’ll never loose your keys again! [free bag organiser instructions]

We are all guilty, the hand bag is a fashion statement, or it must match the outfit or shoes. So it’s functionality is sometimes overruled by it’s statement. Regardless of which handbag you choose, this bag organiser will make finding that pen to jot something down or finding the lippy before you step out, a breeze. It folds or rolls up as compactly as you need it. A compartment for everything!

I designed this bag organiser for Handmade magazine [using the lovely Leutenegger’s Sketchbook range] who have published the instructions on their website. You may need to sign up to receive their newsletters and offers but it’s worth it as you will have access to many other instructions.

Click here, to go straight to the instructions, if you are already  a member or once you have signed up. Let me know if you have a go at making this and how it has saved you time 😉

So much character and charm!

This is the final part of my creative inspiration travel photos. And this is probably my favourite collection of photos. If you would like to read the other installments, links here Part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4. I have always loved antiques or ‘old’ things. But my antique attraction started during a sunny day in Lisbon whilst we were walking, exploring the city and decided to explore Avenida de Liberdade and stumbled upon a wonderful market. It was stall after stall of pre-loved treasures.

 

 

As mentioned in my 4th installment on our second day in Florence we came across markets where I found the following gems…..

On our way to the Basilica della Santa Croce, through a tiny laneway this adorned a store front step!

So many stores had wonderful pieces as their window dressing….

Couldn’t help another trip to the flea market in Florence!

I have been having fun googling the brands on the machines and instruments to ascertain rough vintage.

Another wonderful flea market, Port Antic Market,  in beautiful Barcelona!

And these markets, Mercat del Encants, a wonderful find.

THE PRINCESS OF WALES SEWING MACHINE
By
Newton Wilson

Actions speak louder than Italian!

This is part 4 of my 5 part creative inspiration travel photos. Part 1, part 2 and part 3 if you would like to read the first 3 installments.

On the second day in Florence, 1st of October, we set off for breakfast. After coffee and delicious pastries we continued our on-foot exploration of the gorgeous city. Before stumbling onto the heavenly food, flower and antique markets I discovered Zest, a cute little craft store on Via della Mattonaia. At the entrance a notice board with their upcoming demonstrations. It read, Sabatto, 1 Ottobre. What luck, a quilling demonstration for 2 1/2 hours! After a wonderful morning at the markets and homemade lunch in ‘our’ apartment I returned to Zest for the demonstration while my ‘boys’ decided to feed the birds at the busy bustling people watching piazzas.

Lucky I have delved in quilling before, and my second language, Spanish helped somewhat but the entire demonstration was in Italian! Mario explained and demonstrated many techniques and showed lovely examples of his work. Lucky for me actions speak louder than words. What an awesome serendipitous afternoon! I also stumbled upon the best crepe paper [Cartotenica Rossi] in this store. Probably one the best souvenirs!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What can you see?

This is part 3 of my 5 part creative and inspirational photography series. I wrote about doors here and mosaics/tiles here.

Today’s post is a mixed collection of photos. I found inspiration in:

a. shop fronts

these giant balls of wool look good enough to play with

this crocheted window dressing was adorable – love the percolator

the balls on the those giant pins!

that’s a lot of wine 😉

b. craft shops

cute little shop in Cordoba, Spain

I fell in love with the tiny floral ribbons in row #2 from the top

paper bliss

love the shop name – to create and decorate!

c. almost anywhere

these string art adorn building facades in ‘La Rambla’ Barcelona

Floral circular panels

shells, rosettes, egg shape

I see the figure 8, quilling, hexies 😉

the iconic rooster in Portugal – paper maiche tin style

painted ceramic in Toledo, Spain

florals and embroidery in this stylish cushion in a Florence shop window

Keep looking. Keep recording. There is inspiration everywhere.