Wednesday, 28 April 2010

somebody likes what i do

I'm super humbled to find out this morning that Cat Hewett of Jotta magazine has included me in a round up of "Blogs of the Moment".

I've you've never heard of, make sure you check it out.  It's full of inspiration and info for young and emerging artists on craft, illustration, fabric and textiles, photography, fine arts and graphic design.

P.S. don't forget that you've got until the end of Saturday to post your comments and tips on upcycling, recycling and salvaging common household items.  I've been working on some upcycled goodies the past few days for one lucky random person.  So go on... leave a comment.  Please.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

upcycled, recycled, salvaged + giveaway

I love all of these words, don't you. It makes me feel like I'm doing my part for the environment - even if only in a minuscule way. But it all helps and don't they say that one person CAN make a difference?

I've been collecting so many household items that would normally end up in the bin as I'm sure some of you do too. Items such as security envelopes, hubby's Heineken beer bottle caps, bread bag expiry tags, mesh fruit bags, jars you name it.

I keep hording, I mean collecting, these items because I know that one day I will wake up with a brilliant idea of how to use them. Yes, I'm still waiting for that day to happen.

But in the meantime I've been troweling blogs and crafty sites for inspiration and ideas on how I can utilize all of these priceless collections.

I made a small notebook the other day using standard A4 copy paper, recycled security envelopes and a used postage stamp. Came out really cute actually. And it's a handy bag size. Now to make more. And then to find a use for them so that I don't start collecting small handmade notebooks.

I've been trying to avoid that obsession for a good 10 years now. Notebooks I mean. They're really obsessive. Or maybe I'm really obsessive. Whatever.

Leave a comment if you have any great ideas to use up the things I've been collecting or if you have any great links. I will be supplying some handmade upcycled goodness to one random comment-leaver.

Get your shoes on. You have until Saturday May 1st to leave a comment on this post. Make sure you leave details of how I can get in contact with you i.e. your blog or email address.

P.S. I'm off to Europe in September and Paris is on our list of places to visit, so you'll possibly be seeing a bit of French from me over the coming months.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

what I've been making

I've been a busy little bee lately keeping myself occupied with various little crafty projects.  I should be sewing more softies, but I've instead been occupying my time with random projects.

Here's a little peek at what I've been busying myself with...

My beloved and I are heading Europe in September to celebrate my 30th.  In honor of that (and that fact that I can't stop thinking about the trip) I made a travel wallet which my husband won't be embarrassed to be seen holding - unlike the store-bought one I've been using for the past couple of years - a tad girly for him!

We're off to Amsterdam, Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Munich and Paris.  So if you have any must-see or must-do tips for me - especially any fabric/craft stores or flea markets not to be missed, I'd love to hear about it!

Here's a link to the fabulously easy tute 

I've never made one before, so I thought it was about time I attempted my first quilt.  I found one of my son's old fleece blankets from when he was a baby and thought it would make a good filler for the quilt.

Now understand my method of attempting new projects.  I DON'T read tutorials.  I simply try to work it out for myself.  Then after I finish the project, I read tutorials for tips on how to better my technique.  Weird, I know.

Here's what the laid out squares look like (before sewing)
I will post pics of the finished quilt once I finish the edges.  It's all sewn together and very quilt-like, I just need to work out what I want to finish the edges with.  I have some really gorgeous crocheted-lace in mind.  Very unorthodox.  I know.

If you haven't guessed that I have a slight obsession with all things related to snail-mail, well then you haven't been reading closely enough.  A couple of months ago I posted a link to a project on upcycling envelopes.  Well I kind of forgot about that project until yesterday.  I started making a pile of envelopes using an envelope template I made a while ago for some hand-made cards.  I had a bunch of pages saved up which I save from magazines and junk mail.  They make the most amazing envelopes!

You should try making some.  You'll be doing your bit by recycling / upcycling and you'll have fun doing it.
There's more stuff, but I haven't taken photos.  I think that's enough for now.

Don't forget.  I would love to hear any of your tips for Europe craftiness delights please.  Comments.  Lots of comments.

Sand shoe.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

please mister postman...

Despite my love hate relationship with Australia Post, I love all things to do with snail mail including sending and receiving postcards, beautiful and interesting envelopes, old stamps and postmarks. 

So I thought I would do a mini tribute to the humble post man.
You can get yourself a leather envelope purse by paper plane from here!  The address cleverly reads "Save Your Pennies, 4a Rainy Day, United Kingdom.

Mapenvelope allows you to line the inside of an envelope with a google map location of your choice.  The cool way to send mail!

Recycled library card envelopes by DearOhDeer

emmieloustudio's take on mail is this gorgeous set of postage stamp coasters

wearable post in the form of vintage postmark and postage stamp buttons from donovanbeeson

 And if you love mail-related paraphernalia just as much as me then you can make yourself one of these super cute little needle envelopes thanks to em ay kay ee's tutorial.

We should all love and respect our postmen (despite them regularly delivering our mail to other people's houses, delivering mail unacceptably late and sometimes even losing our mail) because they are responsible for looking after delivery of care packages from loved ones and those special goodie swap parcels from randoms and cyber acquaintances.  Gotta love those parcels.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

stamped tea towel tutorial

Ok, so it's time for me to pony-up with the goods.  The tute-goods that is.  I've been promising that I would share how I made my tea towels and now the time has come where I can no longer hold out.  So here goes... my first tutorial.  And on one of my fave subjects too... tea towels!

Stamped Tea Towel Tutorial
Here's what you need before you get started:

1. household sponges 
You can pick up a cheap 5 pack at Coles for a couple of dollars.  Just use the cheapo brand, nothing fancy needed here.  You're going to use the sponge as a stamp pad.

2. rectangular takeaway container lid
I'm sure you'll have some of these laying around from that take-out dinner you had a few nights ago.  If you don't have any used an old plate or something of similar non-porous quality. This will be used as a base for your sponge (so the colour doesn't go everywhere)

3. setasilk fabric paint 
you can purchase these in a range of colours at your local Spotlight store.  They can be found in the paint section for around $7 per colour.  This is going to act as your "stamp ink".

4. foam stamps 
The best stamps to use for this project are foam stamps because they are more pliable and respond better to filling porous fabric.  You can use an alphabet set or shapes stamps or both to create your masterpiece.  Your local craft store (try Lincraft) should have a range of foam stamps between $5 - $25.

5. tea towel blanks
You'll want to find yourself 100% linen blanks.  Linen is more resistant to continuous washing, drying and general use.  You can still use the cotton tea towel blanks, but they won't last as long and I personally haven't tested this method on cotton.  You can go scouring for some on the internet, or go direct to where I bought mine - Linen Line Australia (email them for a quote).

Prep: Ensure you have washed, dried and ironed your tea towel blanks first.  This will give you an easier surface to work with.    Then prepare a clean and flat area to work on. 

  • For each different colour you want to stamp onto your tea towels you will need a separate sponge for your "ink pad".  Hence the reason purchasing a 5-pack of sponges is not only more economical, it's also handy to have a few on standby.  Take one of your sponges and place it on the lid of a rectangular take away container lid so that the sponge sits within the raised edges of the lid (helps to catch any overflow of ink). 
  • Pick which colour you're going to work with first, then take the fabric dye and apply it to the sponge working from one end of the sponge to the other until the sponge contains enough dye to successfully ink a stamp.  Remember that less is more and you can always add more if needed but it's a little trickier to take away excess!
  • What works really well for me is having a paper napkin ready to test my inked stamps onto before I attempt stamping directly onto the tea towel.
  • Now onto the creative part.  Work out what design you want to stamp onto your first tea towel.  Whether you're using letters, pictures or patterned stamps, foam stamps are the best as they pick up the fabric ink well and transfer onto the tea towels with ease.  Rubber mounted stamps just don't work as well especially if they have fine detail in the image.
  • do a dry run with an un-inked stamp if you're going to make a border with a stamp so that you get an idea of how many times you need to stamp a repeated image to make up one side of the border.  That way you avoid getting to the end of one edge and realising you are going to lose half of your image/pattern or have a gap left where there's not enough room to stamp another.
  • Ink your first stamp and make sure you test it on your paper napkin or a scrap piece of light coloured fabric first to see if the colour strength is right.  
  • Then away you go. Be as creative as you like with your designs and don't be afraid of minor imperfections.  It all adds to the finished product.
  • Once you have finished stamping your masterpiece, allow it to thoroughly dry before you stick a hot iron onto it.  Make sure you follow the instructions on the fabric dye you're using to correctly heat set it and don't keep the iron in one spot for too long otherwise you could get a nasty light-brown burn mark on your tea towel.
  • Once heat set, pop your tea towels back in the washing machine for a good old fashioned wash.  Once dry, iron each tea towel again to give it that crisp clean look.  And voila, you have your very own customised tea towels which make great gifts for housewarmings or for that special friend, who no doubt will appreciate their very own kitchen masterpiece.
If any of you make stamped tea towels using my super easy tute, I'd love for you to share some photos! 

Monday, 5 April 2010

third market done

Easter Saturday marked the third market date for me and I'm happy to report, it went swimingly.  Market number three was the Daylesford Makers Market.  So I got my little tush out of bed while (whilst even the birdies still slept) and set out for the 1.5 hour journey from Melbourne to Daylesford - one the my most beloved towns outside of Melbourne.

For me one of the most rewarding things about doing the markets is not the amount of sales (although that is nice too), its the feedback I receive from customers and adorers... such as Angela from Three Buttons who fell in love with one of my softies - Audrette at Daylesford on Saturday.  So much so that she found Audrette a male companion, or soul-softie if you will.

Angela's blogged about Audrette and Manwell over here so make sure you check it out.

So now the big question I have to ask myself... will I continue down the market avenue?  Hmmm... you'll have to stay tuned!


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