Sunday, 27 February 2011

Ming Makes Cupcakes

Hello lovelies

I hope you're having a lovely weekend.  It's raining here in Melbourne, so I've resorted to looking at some baked treats on the internet.  One site which I've been meaning to share with you for some time now is Ming Makes Cupcakes.

If you haven't heard of Ming Makes Cupcakes, you're in for a real treat.  Literally.

With cupcake recipes such as cupcake #13 - Sour Cream Fig Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

via Ming Makes Cupcakes
and cupcake # 8 -  Chocolate Cupcakes with Mint Marshmallow Frosting
via Ming Makes Cupcakes
You're going to die and go to heaven when you see Ming's cupcake recipes.  Oh and at the top of the site, there's also a section for cookies.  Not as extensive as the cupcakes, but still delectable nonetheless!

Happy weekend baking. Oh and I accept cupcakes in the mail. Just saying.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

tea towel cushion tutorial

What you need:

- thrifted tea towel (dish drying linen cloth)
- zip
- cushion insert (size 14 or 16 depending on tea towel size)
- scissors
- sewing pins
- cotton thread in similar colour to your tea towel
- sewing machine

How to do it:
I'm not a big measurer myself, so for this purpose I simply folded the tea towel in half (so the top edge is lined up with the bottom edge) to work out where the half way point was.  But you can be more precise and measure the length of the tea towel and divide it by two to get the length of where to cut your tea towel in half.  Yes, I said CUT!
Now that you have two pieces, you essentially have a front and back panel for your cushion.  The size of these two panels is how you will determine the size of your cushion insert.  I suggest you take your tea towel to the shop with you to figure out which insert size will best suit your particular tea towel (remembering to fold your tea towel in half if it hasn't been cut yet or using one of your panels to measure the size).  TIP: You want it to be snug, not loose.

I didn't have a zip in my zipper stash which was long enough, but I did have one that was red and matched the main colour of the tea towel, so I decided to use it.  I suggest using a zip which is at least the width of your tea towel and no shorter than two thirds of the width.  It needs to be wide enough so that you can insert the cushion insert when you're done.  So just keep that in mind when selecting the length of your zip.

Take your "front" tea towel panel and lay it with the print/pattern facing up.  Now take your zip and lay it facing down (with the zipper pull facing towards the print) then align the bottom edge with that of the tea towel making sure that it's centered across the width of the tea towel's bottom edge.  Now take some sewing pins and pin the zip and tea towel together making sure that your pins are all facing with the pin head away from the direction which you'll be sewing so that it's easy to pull them out as you go (you don't want to be trying to pull the pins out against the foot of the sewing machine).

Then making sure you have the zipper foot attachment on your sewing machine, sew about 1/2cm from the edge of the zip and tea towel using the edge as a guide to sew in a straight line and pulling out each pin as you reach it.

You should end up with something that looks like this (it's difficult to tell, but there is a line of red stitches along the bottom of the zip)...

Now it's time to sew the other side of the zip onto the "back" panel of the tea towel.  Gulp.  Don't sweat it if you've never sewed a zip onto anything.  I promise to make this as painless as possible.

Lay your back tea towel panel with the print facing up, as you did with the front panel earlier.  Now, take the front panel with the zip sewed onto the bottom edge, line it up (print side down) with the width of the back panel of tea towel.  The idea is that you use the edges of both panels to line up the placement of where you need to pin your zip onto the back panel.  Confusing?  Take a peek at the images below if you're like me and need a visual aid.  

Now just stitch along the bottom edge of the back panel and zip as you did with the front panel.

When you're done and you flip your panels back out, you should see a nice, neat centered zip like this...

Now that you've inspected your zipper, sandwich your panels back together (print facing in), but before you do, unzip your zip almost all the way to the end - this will make it possible for you to turn your finished cushion cover the right way.  If you accidentally forget this step, you'll have no way of turning your cushion cover! 

Now comes the fun part.  Starting with one end of the sewn zipper, you're going to start pinning your front and back panels together along all of those loose edges.  

Start at one end of the zip (HERE'S THE TRICKY PART) and with the metal teeth of the zip facing out and visible against the raw edge, pin the zip right at the part where you're going to sew (near the small metal stopper where the zip can't zip-up or unzip any further).  You don't want there to be a finger-sized gap between where the zip ends and the fabric of the cushion starts, so get in nice and close when pinning either end of your zip.

Once you've pinned both zip ends, you can pin all of the loose edges together making sure that you're keeping the front and back panels aligned as much as possible AND making sure you're pinning in one direction with the pins pointing sharp end towards the direction where the foot of your machine will be sewing.

Before you get all excited and start stitching, make sure you've removed your zipper foot and attached your regular foot back onto your sewing machine.  If you haven't, you're certainly going to notice how difficult it is to sew the fabric with a zipper foot attachment.  I've made this mistake before!

Ok, now go.  Position the needle of your sewing machine at the left edge of the end of the zipper and on both panels and zipper edge.  You're going to stitch a line straight across the zip until you reach the stitch line of where the zip is attached to the tea towel panels.  Once you reach this line, lift your sewing foot and spin your fabric around so that the foot is facing along the edge which you're going to stitch along.  Essentially you're going to stitch an upside down 'L' to ensure there is no gap between the teeth of your zip and the part where the fabric sides of your zip end.

Stitch along the outside of your panels and when you get to the other end of the zip, lift the foot and turn your fabric around so that you can finish in the same method as you started - by sewing a line along the end of the zip near the metal stopper.

When you're done stitching, you need to snip any loose thread ends and then...

CLIP - clip each corner on an angle so that when it's turned, the edges which you've stitched sit flat on the inside
TURN - turn your cushion cover inside out... or right way out! 
PRESS - give your cushion cover a nice steamy iron to get it looking nice and crisp
STUFF - insert your cushion insert into your newly created tea towel cushion
FLUFF - give your new cushion a nice fluffing to plump it up and get it into shape

and lastly... the most important step of all...


Stuck?  I'm happy to help.  Just drop me an email and I'll do my best to explain any steps in greater detail.

Happy vintage tea towel hunting lovelies!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

my creative space: tea towel cushion

You might remember seeing this tea towel (in last weeks creative space) which I picked up on my recent holiday to Brisbane.  I sat down on the weekend and turned it into a cushion.  Yes.  Another cushion.  I really like how it's turned out. It's quirky and kitsch and even a little bit nanna-ish.

And I took photos while I was making it.  So you know what that means?  Tutorial!  Yup.  I'll be posting a tutorial on how to turn a vintage linen tea towel into a great cushion.  Soon.  Within the next week maybe.

For many more creative spaces, jump on over to Kootoyoo, but before you do, make yourself a nice cup of tea and grab some biccies.  There are many talented people sharing their creative spaces.  192 played along last week!

P.S. do you have a collection which you would like to share with us?  You can check out my owl collection and add a link to your own collection (of absolutely anything you like) while you're there!

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

what's in your: collection

1. The act or process of collecting.
2. A group of objects or works to be seen, studied, or kept together.

On Sunday I wrote about collecting things and how much I love to see what other people collect.  Maybe watching 'Hoarders' has brought this to light for me in a bid to keep my collection very much to a minimum in case I end up like one of "those" people.  So rather than indulging in more purse-emptying-antics, I thought I'd delight in your collections instead, so please do share!  Photos are such a feast for the eye after all.

To start us off, I'm sharing one of my collections with you.  I don't necessarily keep all of these things together as such, but they all have a common theme. Owls.  And I know I'm not the only one who likes owls... there are many owlets out there, so I hope you enjoy a glimpse into one of my most treasures collections.

last year I partook in an awesome owl swap and this
 stunning owl bunting was just one of the many things 
inside the parcel I received

a little collection in our bedroom. the large owl I found 
in Spotlight. the medium owl I found in a shop in Daylesford. 
the small owl I got for my birthday from this lovely lady

one of my many finds while fossicking for treasures at 
Camberwell Market one fine Sunday morning.
 Along with a copy of "Scuffy the Tugboat"

this cute little fella made my day when I found him
 at Melbourne's first Finders Keepers market. Made590 had 
a stall there and when I saw him I fell in love. 
They have some in white also.

brooches are another collection I could share with 
you sometime. these are just a few I own. the yellow 
one is from here. and those little ones are earrings 
which I purchased from Finders Keepers

this little guy is actually a glowing light which I 
purchased in Amsterdam. except I've taken him off
 his light bulb perch 

a beautiful one of a kind silver ring which I received for 
my birthday from my beautiful cousin in Krakow, Poland. 
yes, I said "one of a kind"

this stained glass owl hanging also came from Krakow 
and also was a gift from my family. I am so lucky.

it might not look like it, but this is a picture which my
doll of a friend sketched and framed for me for my 

birthday. those leaves are actually fabric shapes stitched 
onto the paper.

purse from Mombasa and keyring from Fossil. also 
both received as gifts.
I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse of my lovely little owl collection. I don't have a problem. I promise. I just like owls. A little.  OK.  A lot.

Now it's your turn.  Show us what's in your collection.  It might be stamps, vintage children's story books, china, figurines, fabric (yes many of us have a large collection of this), Blythe dolls, bugs, tea pots or anything really.

Add your link below making sure that it links directly to your post and not just your blog.  I will be eagerly visiting each link as I'm sure others will be too, so go on... show us what tickles your fancy.

Thanks for playing along.

Sunday, 13 February 2011

what's in your collection?

orange collection via Flickr
I love seeing what's in people's collections.  They might collect stamps, tea pots, vintage magazines, or things all in a certain colour, style or from a certain era.  In my case, it's mainly owls amongst other things!

Do you collect anything?  Maybe you didn't realise that you have a collection of items within your own home.  I do that sometimes.  I'll be drawn to things when I'm out shopping and not realise that I have a few similar things at home already.  Then all of a sudden I have a collection.  How does that happen?

On Wednesday, I'll be sharing my growing owl collection.  

I'd love it if you played along too.  So if you have a collection, get your photos ready (or maybe you can take some photos over the next few days) so you can share your link too.  I can't wait to see what you've collected!  

Stay tuned on Wednesday when you can share your links and see my owl collection!

Thursday, 10 February 2011

my creative space: what I've been up to

I realised the other day that I've taken an impromptu break from blogging and responding to my craft business emails.  I think my brain really needed a rest complete without deadlines, stress and juggling acts and I didn't realise I was even taking a break until I looked at the date of my last post.

I have been doing lots of stuff for myself and my loved ones this past month.  And being creative for ME again.  I got so engrossed with making stuff to sell that I was starting to not enjoy it anymore.

So, here's some of the things I've been up to this past month...

being a new year and a fresh start, I made myself a lunchbag for work to get
excited (or is that motivated) for the year ahead

a very dear friend of mine who lives in Nashville had her first baby...
a beautiful girl named Adelaide Rose.  So I had to make her a fitting softie

you might remember seeing this little op shop find on my blog a
few months back.  It was an embroidered panel which I made into
a cushion!

a childhood friend of mine gave birth to her second son, so I made
a cute bunny rattle for him to cherish

inspired by Pip and her awesome granny square tutorials, I sat down
and started to learn how to crochet something more than straight rows

the three of us went on a little holiday up to Brisbane to visit family, friends
and do the theme parks.
while in Brisbane I visited Voodoo Rabbit in Coorparoo and purchased
some fabric which I've had my eye on through their online shop
I also took a little trip to the Woollongabba Antique Centre with my
dear mum. I picked up this great tea towel which will be turned into a...
cushion.  You guessed it!
our son started school!
we finally bought a pantry... to store my little teapot collection on!
oh, and to keep our food organised inside too.
 For more creative spaces, visit Kootoyoo.


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