Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The very exciting arrival of Carmen's amazing hand-knitted felted bag

A few weeks ago I won Carmen's give-away for this amazing hand-knitted felted lunch bag. Well, she calls it a lunch bag but its too beautiful to put your lunch into. And she made the gift even more beautiful by sending me a pin cushion I had admired on her blog. I actually didn't have a pin cushion and this one is in what Carmen calls autumnal colours: all golden browns and mossy greens with 3 buttons sewn into the centre. And as an extra surprise she added a lovely scrubby block of her home-made pumpkin chai soap which really looks good enough to eat. Anyway, I just wanted to say how beautifully made all the things that Carmen sent me were - even the way she packaged them was so lovely. So this is how my morning began...





Thursday, August 20, 2009

Stranger things have happened...

A present for a pregnant friend who has been feeling rather ill...





...perhaps it'll make her smile...

(This little fella is an adaption based on a template designed by Rosa Pomar and published in Plush-O-Rama p.92)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

One of the Nicest Things about Blogging is...

One of the nicest, and perhaps strangest, things about blogging is the thought that while I'm here in Sydney posting a project, someone on the other side of the world is looking at it and wanting to make it. And even nicer are the emails that come saying: "Hey, I've made your project. Here's my link. Come and have a look." I love seeing how people make a craft their own and love that they want to show me what they've done. Last week Robin at notes from me to [me] sent me a photo of her Tiny Travelling Doll's house and Mama King at 4crazykings linked me to her version of the the O's & X's pouch. It was a very good week.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Trixi's Golden Oldies 2: From Shoebox to Broadway

Here's a really simple craft that's quick to make:


Behold an ordinary old shoe box. I don't think I need to explain much about it. As they say: "A picture is worth a thousand words". The only tricky part might be cutting out the opening. A sharp stanley/utility knife makes the job easier and neater. I use PVA glue to secure the shoebox to the lid and a white undercoat to stop any writing on the box showing through. I had a old raggedy brush that kept shedding hair and didn't give a nice even finish so I made a virtue of the brushes shortcomings and went for a stippled finish which hid the problem.

A big part of the fun in decorating this sort of project is trying to use whatever you have on hand. Kids love doing this and, from a creative point of view, it's really interesting...you can't over-plan the design...you just work towards a balance until everything works. Using trims (I have a big box of these) gives sharp strong lines of colour.

The curtain is threaded onto a bamboo skewer which is then inserted into a hole at either side of the box. A wooden bead on both ends of the skewer stops it sliding out when you open and shut the curtain. The puppets are just plastic tea spoons. There are all sorts of things around the house that make AMAZING puppets. Jim Henson's Muppet Workshop has published fantastic books on this subject and will open your eyes to how to make ordinary household stuff into colourful companions for your kids.

Here's a snapshot of the actors posing with their stage:



If you have any questions feel free to ask...oh, I also have to mention that a version of this idea appeared in Family Fun magazine (my contract with them requires this little bit of advertising on their behalf).

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The world's simplest way to zap in a zip and it wasn't even my idea.

Just the other day I came across this really great tutorial for putting zips into purses. Until recently I've mostly tried to avoid zips. They seemed to be nasty little fiddly things. Even convinced myself that I didn't really need to know how to put a zip in. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately) I've realized that they can be pretty useful if you're trying to make a simple purse...and then I found this tutorial... and it made putting in zips so easy...and now I'm thinking...a zip project for the older girls in my sewing classes might be just the thing.

Trixi's ziiiiiiip purse:


Thanks again to Paper and String for a really simple way to zap a zip in.