Thursday, 31 December 2009

Crochet Play Food

I have been waiting for some time to make some of the things from a book I purchased just before Christmas. The book is called Tasty Crochet and is by Rose Langlitz. The things made will find their way to little nieces and nephews when they are all done. So far I have tried out the mini cheeseburger, pizza slice, toast triangle, fried egg, tomato slice, lettuce, egg shell, and apple wedge. The patterns are great and very easy to follow.

Mini Cheese burger with lettuce and tomato. At this point I did not have any yellow for the cheese. That is in progress now.

Fried egg, toast triangle and egg shell. The egg can be put inside the shell.

Slice of pizza with pepperoni, peppers and olives.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Oh Dear - time passes quickly!!

There has been a long time since our last post - does anybody visit anymore? Full time work for Crafty Things and end of year school doings for Avid Crafter left us very busy. Christmas crafting was confined to creating this year's cards and some decorations for the tree using my paper and string patterns. Some robins and some reindeer were added to the tree. No scans of the card design yet. It was created using my Gocco printer with some added watercolour shading once the design was printed. I drew a little robin using Inkscape to help me and then added a hand lettered greeting.

The picture at the top of the post is a collage of some photos I took this morning on our walk to the shop from our shack - along the beach and up the track. Lots of stopping for photo taking and enjoying the scenery. I was lucky enough to be able to treat myself to a new lens for my camera and now must learn how to get the best out of it. Chasing butterflies and seagulls tests it out very well!!

Relaxing at the shack is the ideal time for some crafting to happen. Some crochet food is being trialled at the moment. The patterns are from a book called Tasty Crochet by Rose Langlitz. The only problems so far have been with not having enough colours to fully finish any one item. Taking the whole yarn stash to the shack would be very hard to do!

Maybe there will not be quite so much time between posts while we summer holidaying.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Who says elephants can't be orange!

This fellow follows on from my penguin that I designed earlier in my Art & Fashion class. I just tweaked the penguin patters, making the body section a little shorter and rounder, then making pieces for legs, ears and a trunk. He didn't turn out quite as I imagined, but very cute nonetheless. He is made mostly from felt, with the patterned sections coming from random scraps of fabric, his eyes are buttons, the eyelashes from dimensional paint (I was going to sew them on first, but I forgot when I was sewing him up, so dimensional paint it was!), and he has a little plaited tail made of orange wool. There are toy-pellets in the base so he is nice and weighty. The outsize ears and slightly downwards facing expression make him look like a shy, baby elephant to me.

When I make another, I think I would make the trunk shorter and perhaps curved more. I did cut a little off the original pieces I cut when I attached the trunk, but I would still prefer it a bit shorter. Also I would interface to fabric pieces with a nice soft interfacing so they didn't fray. This definitely isn't a toy for children; I doubt he would be up to much rough handling even if he didn't have 'choking hazards'.

Once again I got some lovely comments from my classmates and a few of them tried to sneak him home with them! I have a couple of requests for some more :-) I love when designs work out so well.

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Saturday, 31 October 2009

Sewing, Sewing, Sewing

Well the bag lead to some inspiration to keep sewing. Do you get like that? Start one sewing project and then that snowballs into more so sewing becomes the obsessive activity for a while before something else catches your attention and you switch to that.

In the photo there are a couple of fabric baskets made using Pink Penguin's tutorial. In the second one I experimented with stripes as well as patchwork squares.

Browsing through my favourite tutorials and my rather large stash of fabrics led me to creating a set of criss cross coasters. I found a new tutorial for a reversible drawstring bag and I had a few squares left from the bags so I created a bag for the coasters to live in. Everyone who sews has more fabric than they could possibly use, don't they? There is fabric that just begs for a home when you walk past it in the shop, doesn't it?

Last was another drawstring bag using the techniques from a bookmarked favourite. This blog has a series of posts that document the development of her drawstring techniques. I use this often because it creates a very nice lined pouch for tucking things in.

Two new felt project kits have arrived from paper and string. The robin and the reindeer kits plus some ribbon and brads winged their way to my house from the UK. These have jumped queue to the top of the to do list. Hopefully I will get some time to start these soon but an unexpected house guest is arriving late today so I will just have to see how much time is left.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Bag Making

Some more sewing has been happening. I needed a gift for a lovely friend so I decided to use a small stitching that I had just finished and incorporated it into a bag loosely based on the tote bag from the Bend the Rules sewing book. It is larger than the bag in the book and I lengthened the longer strap quite a bit. The stitching was part of a kit purchased at the Craft Fair earlier in the year. It is called Stitched with Love and is by Calico Farm Designs.

I was very pleased with the end result and it was one of those gifts that was so hard to give away. I would have loved to keep it for myself but know that it will be well used by the recipient. The bag is big enough to fit a medium sized lunch box or book and a drink bottle. I added a small zipper pouch for keeping small things in and looped that around the strap. For the zippered pouch I used my favourite tutorial by Sew Sally. I really like her construction technique and the way the zipper is on one side of the pouch. The last part of the gift was a small drawstring pouch for holding stuff. For this I used my bookmarked tutorial from happythings.

I modified the base of the bag by making a feature of the boxed corners. This idea came from my copy of the Zakka Sewing book that I was lucky enough to win earlier in the year. I folded the corners to the outside after sewing across them and added a wooden button as decoration.

I seem to have found a few tutorials that I go back to again and again. Do you have tutorials like that - bookmarked to get back to easily or used so often they become just part of your sewing repertoire?

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A Little Bit Of Sewing

I found another book to add to the collection last week courtesy of a post on this blog. The book is called Felties and I have created two already.

The book has eighteen little felt critters to create. Each one is pocket sized and they do not take very long to make. I adapted each one slightly as I didn't want to use beads as I am going to gift these to some little people. I also stitched rather than gluing for some of the smaller parts.

First meet Pensive Rabbit.

And second to be created was Babuska. Instead of the beads used by the author I stitched some flowers.

I have a few more on the list of things to sew. The list that is growing oh - so - loooooonnnngggg!

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Kumihimo Braiding

I have been having fun with our Kumihimo braiding disc and some lovely silk threads. After making a long braid with some Colour Streams silk thread I had a shorter set of lengths left over. I put these on the disc and braided it into a short length. It was just long enough to make into this keyring.

The shade is called Seascape and it has yummy pale turquoise, blue, yellow and pale jade colours within it. Sorry for the photo quality but outside it is raining again.

The Celtic knot design came from one of the books we accumulated with our braiding supplies. The book is by Beth Kemp and is called HowToKumihimo.

The silk threads are great to work with although they snag easily if your hands have rough skin. I am still experimenting to find out with thickness of threads to use for my necklace length braids. I have also made a few bracelets.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Ramblings, loooong ramblings!

Hello internet, I am finally back from my travels and all is back to normal. Very sad, I know.

Crafty Things mentioned in her last post that I was selected in the Tasmanian Junior State Squash Team and spent the last week of September in Sydney competing the Australian Junior Squash Championships. This of course was right after our family holiday (which included going to Sydney), which was fantastic. I have only one photos to share because I didn't take any whilst in Sydney for squash and all the holiday photos are on the other computer.

With all my to-ings and fro-ings with Sydney I managed to miss the spectacular dust storm that was in the news all over the place, but this is the dust haze that was around for one morning while I was competing. This is the view (of the Bunnings towers!) from my hotel window in Thornleigh. It was a little creepy, but all gone by lunchtime.

The squash competition was great. I had a fantastic time, and have gained so much from the experience. As a little bonus, my results were also quite good. I would never describe myself as a top squash player or as a particularly bad one; I play because I enjoy it and train hard to improve because I do wish to play as well as I possibly can. I suppose this is summed up by the saying "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well." The selection for the state team was a surprise and an honour in itself and going away to compete was even better. So I went into this competition curious to see how I fitted compared to the best players in the country, but not expecting to win. My goal was to gain points in every game of every match, to win one of those games if I could, to play the best shots, the best squash I could, to enjoy myself and the meet some other dedicated players my age.

I went into the opening round ranked 26th, the bottom in my age group, making my first match against the 7th seed. I warmed up for that match expecting her to be much better than me, but also hoping to stop it from being a complete white-wash. As it turned out, she did not entirely dictate the game play, I got points in all the three games, and some of my shots were ones that I could be proud of. So I came off that court having lost, but feeling as though I had won.

This continued all through out the tournament. I was getting points, although no games, and not being the player who really shouldn't have been there because they weren't good enough, one of my fears going into the competition. I came so close to winning a game in the fourth round match, and then in the warm-up for my fifth and final match something was a bit different. The girl I was playing was making as many errors warming up as I was and looking just as nervous as I was. It hit me then that this time I wasn't going in the underdog, we were at the same level.

I won that match in 3. I was amazed at elated at what I had done. I had discovered that I was good enough to compete at a National level in my chosen sport and do ok. I wasn't out of my depth. I had achieved above my goals, that I had thought were a mix of achievable and challenging. Turns out I could have set them even higher.

One feature of the Australian Junior Squash Championships is the MC Hazel award which is awarded to one male and one female player for the 'best performance' of the tournament. Each team official places votes each day for who they think should be given this award. The results are announced at the presentation function at the end of the individual events. When announcing it they read out the names of people who had achieved high numbers of votes, starting at 5 votes. I was surprised when my own name was read out as having 5 votes. 5 votes may not sound like much, but the winning level was around 11 votes and most of the players in the top groups were the players winning their divisions. Of course, winning is only a part of 'best performance', it includes many other factors, a large one being sportsmanship. I am guessing that it was my whole attitude at 'winning' even though I had 'lost' because I achieved higher than I had thought possible that was the reason for people to award me some votes.

As you can imagine, that really was the icing on the cake of one amazing week. The Nationals has left me with an ongoing sense of optimism and self-belief, that has continued past the bump of returning to everyday life (no more housekeeping to make the beds!). The whole thing was such a great experience. Now I have my fingers crossed that I will be able to compete at next year's Nationals in Alice Springs (so hot! Sydney was hot enough for this Tasmanian!) and be able to play the teams event as well as the individuals, some fundraising may be in order I think.

And to assure you that this really is a craft blog, the results of our little trip to a local handmade market :-)

It's a friend's birthday today, and since I have been away I haven't had a chance to make her a present so the next best thing was of course, buying something someone else had made!

The little cosmetic bag contains a bar of olive oil, rose and paprika soap and has a gorgeous little zipper pull:

Hopefully she likes the card and present as much as I do!

Sorry for all the crazy ramblings. it's amazing the amount of stuff that builds up in your head that you want to say!

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Monday, 21 September 2009

Gosh, what a trip we have had!!

We have not posted for over a month but it has been a busy one! Not much crafting because of all the other parts of life that intervene.

We had a sale in our Madeit shop - it is a real buzz when someone chooses to buy something that you have crafted yourself.

We have been on a family holiday and some of us are still holidaying. More about that next.

I have sewn some necessary squash skirts for Avid Crafter who is coming back from Sydney to go back to Sydney to compete in the Junior National Squash Championships.

The family holiday has just finished for me and DS who are back home but Avid Crafter and DH are bringing the car back and will have two more nights of holidays. We put the car on the Spirit of Tasmania and drove to Sydney via Lakes Entrance, Merimbula, Canberra, Bathurst and Katoomba. Two nights or three nights in most places except Bathurst. We ended up in Sydney in time for DS and his team mate to compete in the National Junior Robocup competition for his fifth and final time. Their team called The Covenant did really well ending up National Champions in the Premier division of the soccer competition.

A big proud mother moment for me!!

It has been a five year labour of love for our son who set the big goal three years ago with a simple statement - "In three years we will win the national competition" - after coming back from his second sponsored trip to the national competition. It has taken three years, they came close last year and then this year after a very tense Grand Final they won. The game was a very close competition with the score being level at 4 each with 45 seconds to go. A spectacular goal by on of DS's robots gave them the lead and it was a nail biting countdown to the final whistle as the ball remained in their defensive end right up to the whistle.

Both families made the trip to Sydney to cheer them on and became very involved with the tense atmosphere of the final. Shaking hands and breaths held as the other team kept leveling the score. Big cheers for every hard fought goal and then a very vocal count down of the last seconds - hoping that they held on to that very slender lead of one goal for the last 40 seconds.

We are so proud of the efforts the boys have put in over three years, fitting it in around school, sport and normal teenage social activities.

Avid Crafter got her first taste of Sydney. We had booked and organised our holiday before finding out that she had been selected in the state squad for the National Junior Squash Championships. This had led to the silly situation where she is driving back from Sydney to be home for one night before heading back to Sydney so her second taste of Sydney is going to occur right after her first! Life does get interesting at times.

On the crafting front we were able to visit a couple of craft related shops on our travels. One of these was at Bathurst. We got to browse in The Home Patch. This is the store next to where those lovely Hatched and Patched stitcheries were designed. Oh was it a nice place to browse. Avid Crafter and I got to look around and spend while the car went to a local car wash. The main purpose of adding Bathurst to the itinerary was for two others to have the opportunity to drive around the Mount Panorama race circuit but visiting The Home Patch was a splendid side effect of that!

In Sydney we spent lots of time in Morris and Sons to come away with some silk thread and stitching kits.

Sorry no photos yet - I am waiting for my camera to come home with those still on holiday.
Will stop now as the eyes are getting fuzzy - 4:30 start to get to the airport this morning.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Still here and trying to craft in amongst other stuff!!

Yes, it has been a while since an update on this blog. If anybody is still visiting - sorry but life gets hectic and the blog languishes!

A new item in the crafting supplies was a Kumihimo braiding disc.

I first saw these a few craft fairs ago but paid little attention to them. Avid Crafter had the chance to do a workshop at this year's craft fair and that was enough to encourage us to obtain several to experiment with.

Along with several round discs we bought a square disc (yet to be used) and two lovely books. The books had plenty of ideas to get us started. Avid Crafter will most likely share her experiments in a post soon. I have made a few key chain decorations with thicker cord and some adjustable bracelets with thinner cotton thread. I have tried hand dying the thread first with some success although the colours in one bracelet faded considerably after a trip through the shower. Sorry no pictures of the bracelets yet - the weather has been very bad for photos.

So far I have tried cotton thread, wool, thick nylon cord and ribbon. Each one had it's own unique characteristics when braided and I really liked the ribbon combined with the cord. That experimental piece might becomes a bag handle one day.

I have sourced supplies from Punch with Judy and Braid and Bead Studio. I love the gallery on the Braid and Bead site.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

What do you do when stuck at home with the lurgy?

Why, craft of course!

I came down sick with a sore throat on Thursday and have been sniffly-snuffly and fuzzy headed since then. Leaving the house is about the last thing I want to do. So with all the extra time on my hands I got the perfect chance to craft. It also helps that it is far too wet to tackle the growing mound of laundry, even if I could be bothered.

This card was a quickly-made commission from Crafty Things because she had to work, poor thing. It is for her father's 70th birthday, if my lurgy-fied brain is remembering right. All the supplies were her own. Card, yarns, rub on alphabet. Couldn't be easier. It turned out nicely, I think. Simple, elegant and certainly not too girly.

Of course simple is best when crafting with the lurgy. Otherwise it is far too easy to make heaps of mistakes that just have to be fixed later.

This cross-stitch fits the bill. Nice blocks of colour and a cute design. I've been working on him for a couple of weeks now. He makes the perfect project to stitch on while watching a movie, and because Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is about to be released there have been plenty of Harry Potter re-runs for me to watch. I love watching the first movies, they all look so young in them.

Anyway, this teddy will eventually have the words "Days... to remember" next to him. He is the the last kit from Crafty Thing's stash that I have to stitch but don't worry, I picked up a new one at the Craft Fair when it was here the other week. This adjustable hoop/frame system came from the Fair too.

It works with several different sized sections that screw together to make different sized rectangles. Then a plastic strip with little teeth is clipped onto the sides of the rectangles. You stretch the fabric over the frame and the teeth hold it in place. The handles then clip over the top to make it comfortable to hold. You do have to make the rectangle the right size to go around the edge of the whole design because the fabric ends up with little holes in it where the teeth grip it. So you need a decent amount of spare fabric. This teddy design only just has enough, it gets a bit hard to end of threads at the edges of the design. That's the only problem I've had aside from a little difficulty putting the aida on. Evenweave fabrics are much easier. I think a little practice will help. The whole frame is lovely and light though, and doesn't lose tension like my Q-snaps tend to do.

There's one other project I have been working on, but it deserves a post of its own. Besides, my lurgy-fied brain has just about had it. Time for some more stitching!

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Thursday, 9 July 2009

Finished Blanket

In amongst lots of other things I have finished my crocheted blanket. It is lap sized and very snuggly. I really like the colours and the technique of joining as you go was a great one to learn.

On the go at the moment is a stitching from Calico Farm Designs - sorry but there are no pictures - and another neck warmer using Frog Tree alpaca yarn. I am experimenting with a little bit of the lacy pattern from another scarf pattern in the crossed over section of this scarf.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Finished Some Knitting

A recent purchase from Bendigo Woollen Mills led to the knitting needles getting to work again. Part of the purchase was some very soft Alpaca in colourway Dusty Coral. Cruising through Ravelry led me to this pattern and here is the finished scarf.

The crochet hook is also busy at the moment with some Granny Squares. These are being made in to a blanket. The yarn for this is Bendigo Woollen Mill's Luxury in 10 ply. The colours I am working with are Leaf, Lake, Autumn Glow and Ghost. Sorry no photo as the one I tried to take does not show the colours well at all - will try again soon. I stumbled across a new way to join the squares as you go - quite nifty! Being 10 ply yarn the squares are quick to make but it is being fitted in amongst all sorts of other tasks so progress is slow.

An enjoyable day at the Craft Fair led to the acquisition of some new pieces of fabric, a couple of patterns, a mini iron for applique, a new applique mat, some silk ribbon for more dyeing experiments and another set of good pinking shears. Now all I need is the time to create some things with all these acquisitions!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Time for a Happy Dance!!

You know what that means! Warning: This is a picture-heavy post!

Uh huh! The Spring girl is finished, the lucky last in the whole set. Here they all are together:

Don't they look good all together like that. I haven't worked out yet exactly how I'm going to put them together, or what they will actually end up being, but that's ok, there's no rush. There's plenty of fabric around the edges of each girl so I have plenty of room to move. Of course, I immediately moved on to something else, and finished it too! (ok so that's because I finished the Spring girl a little while ago, but hadn't taken any photos yet but shhh, no-one needs to know that!) So here is a cute May Gibbs bookmark front and back:

It is based on her famous book Snugglepot and Cuddlepie. Crafty Things had the kit sitting around for years, so I ended up stitching it instead.

And yes, I have the next one all ready to go :-)

In between doing those cross-stitch projects I made these from a pattern produced at my local-ish quilt shop.

Meet "Moggy" and "Sproggy". (No I didn't think of those names, they were on the pattern. Wish I did though!) They are not very big and only took me a weekend to make. Plus I did them all myself, no help needed :-) My machine-sewing skills are improving slowly!

So until next time, off I go to do some proper work.

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Thursday, 4 June 2009

Drawing Day 2009

Drawing Day 2009

Calling all those who love to draw. Why not participate in Drawing Day 2009 by creating a drawing on June 6th and uploading it to flickr, your blog or one of the other particpating sites. Check out the information on the Drawing Day site.