Thursday, November 29, 2012

Craft Tutorial - Hankie Envelopes


This craft project is wonderfully fast and a really lovely way to show off your favourite vintage hankies (or perhaps embroidered napkins).  The finished envelopes would be a nice way to give a small gift or hang on the Christmas tree for vintage charm.

Materials (for one envelope)

  • Vintage hankie (fully laundered)
  • 15cm section of lace daisy chain in complementary colour
  • 1 button for front
  • snap fastener (optional)

1. Iron the hanky flat with back facing up.

2. Fold in right side of hanky about 2/3rds of the way and press.

3. Fold in opposite side of hanky about 2/3rds and press. This makes two straight sides of an envelope.

4. Fold up base point of the hanky to meet the overlap of the sides and press.  This now forms an envelope base.

5.  Using matching thread, machine stitch along both sides of the hanky to the join in each side.
6.  Use a needle and thread and catch down the point at the top of the envelope to secure.

7.  Fold the top point of the hankie down to meet the bottom of the envelope and press.

8. Stitch on a decorative button and a small length of daisy chain using matching thread to complete.

I tried two different hankies and a cross stitched table napkin (square in shape).  All worked well.  You could try leaving off the daisy chain or adding a snap fastener for extra security.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy potato plants and snoozing garden beds

At last, after a couple of months hard work, my garden beds are actually looking garden bed shaped and I am seeing happy potato plants all coming through.  They are just like Peter Cundall from Gardening Australia promised when I read his magazine.

I have only a couple of scary shots of the before of my ex-jungle in my back yard, but much work had to be done before I could even find the garden beds.  It turns out after clearing, we even had some flowers growing in there (which I've left to add colour).

I've newspapered, mulched and put the back garden bed to sleep now until autumn where hopefully, I'll get some lovely winter veges in. 


The front garden now is showing the big happy potato plants instead of a nasty case of Singapore Daisy infestation.  I am hanging out to harvest these, my first crop.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

 I've been re-reading "The Story of Stuff" by Annie Leonard.  I first read this book early last year and didn't realise at the time, but it was a life changing book.

Annie deals with the whole system of the things we buy right from the raw materials, through the manufacture, getting the stuff to us, buying it, using and disposal, and in this look she identifies the real cost behind the stuff that fills our lives. 

In just one example, she talks about the real cost of cheap t-shirts when you take into account the water cost of the crop, the mono-cropping mentality, the chemicals used in manufacture and how they affect the workers, how little the workers who sew the garments are paid and their work conditions, how much it costs to ship the shirt to us, and then to have the shirt bought so cheaply and not valued fully for its impact on our world.  And this is just one of many-many stories on everyday things.

This particular story really made me think. Right away I started to consider the effect of unnecessary consumerism on my world and then to re-consider all my purchases. 

Without realising over the last 12 months, I have bought almost no new clothing for myself or my family (we have so many already).  I also have started to try and repair rather than replace and to also re-consider unnecessary technological upgrades that are really not offering anything new I need.

I have also started to really look at how far items travel to get to me, and to purchase local where I can for everything from food to gifts. I also try and buy good made locally as well as sold locally.

I try and incorporate recycled goods where I can in my life, as well as try to recycle as much as I can to others. Even my craft has been influenced - finding low impact options where I can.

This book is a challenge to read but can leave you a better person.  If you like a challenge, try it out.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pink Macaron Softie


I love macarons.  They are my new food passion.  The delight of biting through the slightly crisp outer to the soft centre of the macaron with the swirl of goodness as the central filling.  There is nothing so delicious.

But I cannot cook them.  I fear the bad outcome.  I am afraid of being turned off these gorgeous treats by a nasty cooking experience.  So I cannot taste their goodness at home.

I can sew.  This is my first macaron - a pink confection with luscious berry filling.  It's no fat and will last forever.  I think there may be more to come.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Sewing with new Spoonflower fabric finds

Today I was sewing with my lovely supply of new fabrics just received from the fabric magicians at Spoonflower for my Madeit store.


These fabrics are so wonderful.  I got a great fabric from Studio Fibonacci featuring caffeine molecules.  Studio Fibonacci has many wonderful designs and is always worth a look.

I also got a couple of Doctor Who prints featuring the goodies and the baddies from Scrummy.

My favourite print features Ammonites from Esmeralda_M 

And finally I got a quote from my favourite Doctor Who episode "Blink" from  Spacefem   featuring wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff. Such a good sewing session.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Blogger Special in this month's Australia Patchwork and Stitching magazine

I really enjoyed reading my copy of this month's Australian Patchwork and Stitching Magazine (Vol 13 No 9).

There is a nice feature on the blogs of the regular magazine contributors and I loved visiting the blogs of the other contributors to see how they work, what they look for in their craft and the face they put on their online personality. Reading about other crafters online really inspires me to try new things. You should check out the blogs of Two Brown Birds, Elefantz, and Quilting Mumma.

There is something exciting, though, about writing in your blog that you read in a magazine about your own blog.  It feels a bit like a big interconnected wheel of communication.

This month's magazine also features a pattern I made for a backpack featuring Crinoline Ladies.  I thought this would be a nice counterpoint craft project.  Backpacks are normally casual, but one featuring Crinoline Ladies and made in Osnaberg seems more elegant somehow.  I hope you enjoy it!


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Brisstyle Eco Market - Saturday 10 November

Yesterday I enjoyed participating in the wonderful Brisstyle Eco market at St Augustines Church at Hamilton.  Despite the slightly soggy conditions, it was a wonderful day.  I got to chat to many talented local crafters, I received some welcome feedback on my crafty creations from the wonderful shoppers, and as a bonus scored some really excellent local purchases that mean I have almost finished my Christmas shopping.

Some of the wonderfuls finds I made were a lovely yoyo organza necklace from Shidan at Shhh.... Accessories, a gorgeous handprinted linen tablecloth from Treetomato, some very funky Dr Who lunch packaging from BonTons Gifts, and my favourite, one of Meggy Greens extraordinary journals featuring a sewing pattern cover. This is something I have wanted for ages.  I was also lucky enogh to purchase some excellent fabrics, and some wooden buttons from Heart Supplies.

In all this was a great day with many wonderful crafting relationships formed.

Today to make up for it I have been stitching my new sunny creation and making Christmas Puddings (at the moment it looks like a very yucky witches brew).


Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Moneyless Man by Mark Boyle

I have just finished reading the enlightening book, "The Moneyless Man: A Year of Freeconomic Living" by Mark Boyle.

This challenging book covered November 2008 to November 2009 in the life of Mark Boyle when he decided the best way to try out his beliefs on money, ethical living and as he says "be(ing) the change (he) wants to see in the world". 

Mark's way of doing this was to live moneyless for a year.  That meant he had to find moneyless ways to be sheltered (someone gave him a caravan and he paid "rent" for parking it at a co-op farm by working on the farm), to be fed (farming, foraging and skipping), and to get around (he used his bicycle, walked or hitchhiked). 

The book follows the challenges that face mark on everyday things we all take for granted, as well as his personal journey of acceptance of both himself and the world as it stands around him.

The book doesn't tell anyone what is the right way to live but rather shows by actions what differences a person can make living by their beliefs. I was inspired to think about my own consumption, my own carbon footprint and my own view of money.

As Mark says in the book, he is "an ordinary guy, doing what he thinks is best right now, knowing, all too well, that he  has as much chance of being wrong as of being right".

Ultimately, this is all we can hope for as well. But it's the thinking that can make all the difference.