to feel, feeling, felt

Many, many years ago I bought 3 bags of wool felt from Spotlight . I am not sure if they still stock them. Purple, orange and green. As you can tell they are rough pieces in many shades. I did not take a photo of the purple bag but here is the orange one.

So I set about first separating them into 3 shades, light, medium and dark. Then I proceeded to split the fibres to make them soft and easier to work with. This took a very long time. But worth it.

Then carefully guesstimating the amount I needed, I created balls of felt ready for wet felting.

So with a bit of hot water and soap and initially carefully creating felt balls between the palms of your hands, balls start to form. As they take on shape you can add more hot water and more soap if needed and applying more pressure with your hands to form the balls. They are left to dry overnight.

Once all the hard work is done you can create – the ideas are endless, here are a few that I created. The felt balls are easily cut with a kitchen knife to create 2 halves.

earrings – with a few seed beads and embroidery

necklace – with a few seeds, sequins and stitching

a trivet – joined and sewn together, I used a curved sewing needle

a greeting card – on tulle, perle cotton, seed beads and sequins

I trialed this process last year and created some green earrings for my bestie.

What would you create with felt balls?

Advertisements

Non-stop Workout Ninja Warrior party

We, as a family enjoyed watching Australian Ninja Warrior last year. Cheering on from our lounge room and with many sympathetic aws’s and oh no when contestants missed the mark!

In celebrating children’s birthday one tends to be inspired by current trends, current superheroes or current likes. Perfect! A ninja warrior themed party for master 7. Here’s a little overview of our efforts last December.

First, a bit of Pinterest inspiration for invitations and cakes. A free editable template was found. Edits made. Printing at Officeworks. Invitations on the their way.

My husband detests lolly bags [read the irony in the subsequent paragraph] so we brain stormed what could take place of the lolly bags. Water bottles! With our active, and energetic party theme, we thought these would encourage kids to drink healthy and be active.

Personalised thank you tags attached!

During a clean up I found some car-related party-favour medals. So printing off a few more thank you notes I converted them into Ninja Warrior thank you party-favour medals.

Master 7’s grandfather offered to make the piñata. He replicated the image from the invites to a T. And yes it was filled with lollies. And yes they all took home brown paper bags with the lollies they retrieved. What’s a party without a bit of sugar!

We settled on the menu.

We hired the obstacle course.

I created a commando obstacle course.

Now for the cake. After several Pinterest research sessions for inspiration I came up with my own design. It was to incorporate some of the obstacles. It meant I needed to use other materials other than royal icing and jelly. Namely, balsa wood, wire, paint, washi tape and plastic containers. I even used quilling techniques to create the rungs on the ring toss obstacle. I made the frame and used trimmed plastic containers for the pools. The cake consisted of a chocolate layer and upper vanilla layer. I had to be careful when engineering the holes to insert the swimming pools.

The party was a success. Happy and tired kids. And well fed parents. Till the next one!

 

Cliche but true – Cute as a button

Do you share my weaknesses? ‘Researching’ Pinterest/social media and adding to the many pins ‘you plan to try one day’? Or wanting to rescue ‘unwanted’ sewing notions from op shops. After seeing an idea on social media I traced it back to the artist, aren’t these trees gorgeous? I knew I wanted try these eventually.

And after a trip to the local op-shop, I encountered 6 bags of buttons. I couldn’t rescue all 6 so I choose 2. Yield, $2. Amongst the buttons was sewing threads, snaps and belt buckles.

After sorting, discarding and cutting threads off buttons, I soaked the buttons in Napisan [stain remover and whitening powder], scrubbed them with an old toothbrush and soaked them once more. What a difference that made!

Yield, 560 grams of reclaimed buttons. Left out to dry.

Then came the sorting, into colours. This rainbow with my favourites.

Pinks. Doesn’t the bottom right look like a ‘Mentos’?

Blacks.

Reds.

Golds.

Whites. Off whites.

My absolute favourite.

And then grouping them by size to see if I could make trees/tree shapes. I did add a few from my previous stash but not many and came up with a rainbow of trees. Although it seems white, creams, blacks, browns and oranges are more common. In matching perle cotton I joined the buttons to create the tree decorations. Some had bases. Some were skinny. Some were the perfect tree shape. Yield, 25 trees. I love each one – as they all different and quirky. Each one deserved it’s own close up shot.

The rose star!

The ‘star’ looks like a quilled button – what a treat for the papercrafter in me.

 

 

Love the vintage cracks and all.

 

 

 

I hung/stuck these on the kitchen/breakfast bar.

And added a few as gift toppers alongside my fabric stars.

The secret life of secret swaps

It is no secret that Instagram is BIG. And no secret that the communities formed are supportive and inspirational. And that ig friends become real life friends.
The ‘hashtag’ has become a uniting link. One such hashtag is #saturdaynightcraftalong. Those crafting on a Saturday night around the world post photos of their makes or WIP and add this hashtag to their photo. Crafters who join in are encouraged to follow the hashtag and support others in the community. Crafters can join any Saturday. Or every Saturday.
There are three lovely and dedicated ladies that take the lead and organise this crafty bunch around the world. Rachel @thebarefootcrafter in Australia, Lucy @charmaboutyou in the UK and Meg @myteaandbrie in the USA.
In it’s second year running we have just participated in the #sncaswap2018. 180 crafters globally participated in a secret swap. After completing a few questions and registering your interest on of the organisers sends out your swap partners details. Although the person you create for is not the person you receive from.
Each participant is encouraged to post a mosaic on Instagram. A mosaic is a collection of images and photos to assist your partner with your likes and preferences. Although everyone welcomes the idea of being surprised.
Each crafter had about 5 weeks to make a main item and add one smaller made or purchased item to the package. All packages were to be sent by the end of the first week in December in time for receipt before Christmas. Participants were also encouraged to post progress shots without revealing too much. The element of surprise was paramount. Crafters posted cryptic photos, photos of their wrapping and photos of their postal receipts.
The swap is an opportunity to use colours you normally would not. Try a new pattern. Or create something completely different.
It also a lovely way to connect with your partner and form another ig friendship.
Participants then shared what they received on instagram.

In researching for this post I reviewed all 680 posts [at the time of writing] that had the hashtag #sncaswap2018. The top 3 and the most popular were:

fabric pouch

drawstring bag

mini quilts

Followed by [in random order]:

needle-case

bunting

fobs

thread catcher

fabric bucket

roll and go

sewing organiser

scissor pouch

patchwork doll

patchwork stocking

stitchery cushion

gadget holder

wallets

project bag

scarf

sofa arm sewing caddy

wall hanging

knitted socks

pincushions

mug case

mug warmer

mug rug

cowl

cross stitch decoration

cushion

oven mitt

tea towel

Japanese knot bag

table runner

supply case

bag

fabric baskets

rope basket

wire/bead tree

hoop applique

pillow case

fabric ball

And the mini extras included:

washi tape

tape measure

knitting nancy

badges

pins

decorative pin

scissors

pincushion

lollies

chocolates

charm packs

gingerbread

ribbon

lipstick pincushion

stickers

baking cups

bookmarks

crochet star

fabric star

notepad

Christmas decorations

mug

wallet

keyring

embroidery floss

mug cosy

coasters

hoop pack

lip balm

travel sewing case

Christmas bauble

felt ginger bread decoration

I received this package from the talented and generous Natasha@sewcraftynatasha.

‘Cookies for Santa’ embroidered tea towel and oven mitt

Reindeer and sleigh cookie cutters

Miniature cupcakes, cup and teapot

a beautifully handmade card

And this is the package I sent my partner.

Tara loves amongst other things, drinking tea and reading. So I set about making a tea themed package, ‘a teapot cosy’ pouch and tea cup bookmark. It is the first time I tried the dumpling pouch pattern I found on pinterest

and I designed the teacup bookmark from inspiration of the beautiful Russian beaded brooches I have seen on Instagram.

“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

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.