Category Archives: Crafting

Building a Boat


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Nicholas has always had a bit of a fascination with boats.  He will spend hours sitting quietly studying the details of boats whenever he is given the chance and has produced many wonderful sketches of boats and their surrounds.  A couple years ago we lived by the waterfront, right across the road from a quiet anchorage and he spent hours, days, weeks even, quietly observing each and every boat. If a new one came in, he knew immediately or if one was missing, he spotted it. He would discuss boat designs in detail with his Pa, who knows a thing or two about this subject, and they would kayak around the boats discussing the designs of each.

Recently this fascination has turned to a new direction – a desire to build his own model boat. A desire which I’m sure he will fulfil in good time, but at the moment he is studying designs, plans, kits and weighing up the pros and cons of each. It will be interesting to see the result of all this planning and thinking. In the meantime though, I’m enjoying being his Mum and observing him grow and develop into his own unique person, with his own creative ideas and the ability to turn these ideas into reality.

With his head spinning with model boat plans and a quiet afternoon to fill, he joined forces with his younger brother and built these. The craft cupboard supplied the pegs; the toothpicks came from the kitchen and my sewing room was raided for fabric sails. Quick and easy model boats which then provided many hours of creative play for brothers and sister alike.

Hexagon Quilt

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It’s been such a bustling, creative time in my studio lately. I’ve been finding moments here and there to hide away and stitch yet another seam or cut another piece – you know how it is when the creativity is bubbling over in your head and there is no other solution but to utilise those little pockets of time to recreate the beauty in real life. This creative bug seems to have hit most of the family, with various children accompanying me in making things – sometimes working on their own projects and other times actually helping me – I’ve been taken quite by surprise to find that the older ones are now ‘big enough’ to really help me out – pinning quilts, cutting fabric, even sewing a seam or two…. very capable. Oh, it’s been one of the nicest surprises to discover.

With all this making happening, I thought it was high time I called in here and showed you some of our creations. It’s one of those things I find hard to balance – the creative input seems to run in spurts and I get so caught up in it that I forget to come to this place and share with you lovely people – and I really enjoy doing that and along the way hope that you enjoy sharing our lives as well. So let’s grab a cuppa (I’m enjoying a freshly brewed, black coffee in case you would like to join me) and I’ll tell you about this bright, spring-like burst of colour which currently adorns my table.

It was a project which just kind of evolved while playing around with the pack of pre-cut triangles which I had bought a year or two ago when I was teaching children’s sewing classes but it was never used. In the effort to finish off some projects and clean out the sewing cupboard a bit, I thought I’d put these bright triangles into use. I really liked the triangle/hexagon shape mix so sewed them together as such – this took many weeks in between travelling and other projects and of course everyday family life! Then it sat waiting for my quilting pins to be finished with another project (to be revealed here soon).

Still without any final use in mind Eamon decided it made the perfect blanket for himself and his teddies and almost daily he would come and get it off my sewing table for whatever use he had in mind before returning it when he was finished (hmmm, at 2 years old he isn’t always this efficient in returning things to their correct place). He even tried to use it while it was in the sewing machine in process of quilting, this required a high level of negotiation skills on my behalf  to convince him to use a different quilt that time.

Then as I finished the last hand stitch on the binding late one evening last week, I lay it over the table to look at it and decided it really looked at home with the mis-matched brightness of our chairs. And there it has stayed for the past week or so without anyone, including Eamon, using it for anything else – so I think it has found it’s home (for now at least).

 

Business Card Holder – Tutorial

With my fabric business cards made and showing my personality, I decided that a place to keep them safe would be essential – after all, my handbag is more accustomed to holding spare clothes and snacks for the children than these cute little cards. So I set to work with co-ordinating fabrics and the result makes me smile – perfect for me.

Follow along and I’ll show you how to make your own.

Business Card Holder 2 Business Card Holder 1

 

You will need:

2 pieces 5 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ outer and lining
2 pieces 2 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ pockets
5 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ iron-on pellon
1 small hair elastic

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On one long edge of each pocket piece, fold over 1/4″ and iron in place. Fold over another 1/4″ and iron in place enclosing the raw edge along that side and creating a double hem.

Topstitch close to folded edge.

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Place pocket pieces onto right side of lining fabric with hemmed edges toward the middle, raw edges matching and right sides facing up.

Iron pellon onto wrong side of outer fabric. Place this outer fabric/pellon piece right sides together with lining/pocket piece.

Pin.

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At the centre of one end, insert hair elastic between the pocket and outer fabric. Allow enough of the elastic loop sandwiched between the fabric to allow a button to pass through, leaving any excess elastic to be caught in the seam. Pin in place.

 

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Using a 1/4″ seam, stitch around the edges leaving an opening for turning along one of the longer edges. Reinforce the elastic by backstitching a couple times.

Clip corners.

Turn right side out.

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Gently push out corners, using a semi-pointed object (ie. tweezers held shut or a blunt pencil).

Iron, making sure the opening seam is ironed in and sitting flat.

Topstitch close to outer edge, stitching the opening closed.

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Stitch two rows of topstitching down the centre of holder. This makes a nice, crisp fold when it is closed.

Hand sew a button in place on the front of holder, Stitch through outer and lining fabrics but keep the pocket out of the way while you stitch. Determine the button position by marking where the centre of the loop sits when it is closed.

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Fill with your business cards and enjoy having something pretty to protect them.

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Making Washing Powder

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Living a healthy lifestyle is a step by step process. Changing ingredients, habits and various products one at a time so that the lives we live are healthy, alive and filled with energy. It’s been a process of several years as our eating habits have reached the point they are now. Green smoothies and salads are a regular item on the menu, boxed food is non-existant in my pantry and my children think Mum’s cooking is ‘the best food in the world’ (I’m told this at least once every day) so obviously they think whole foods, freshly made, are a pretty good thing as well. And why wouldn’t they when they get served ice cream (frozen bananas whipped) or chocolate mouse (made with avocado, cocao nibs, etc) for breakfast on occasions.

As the next step in our healthy lifestyle journey, I’ve been thinking about other areas of our household and how the harmful ingredients can be removed from these products as well. So last week I took the plunge and tackled the laundry. I have previously been using these Soap Nuts which work well for our everyday washing. But for some reason (probably moving house and losing the little calico bags didn’t help) I stopped using them and resorted to standard, off the shelf, washing powder. Ooohhh (insert gasp of horror here). So while I’ll continue using the soap nuts as I still have half a bag full in the cupboard, I thought it would be a good idea to have a stock of washing powder to use when it’s needed. Times like when we go away, I have an extra dirty load of clothes or I get lazy and resort to old habits (as has happened recently).

Washing Powder

There are an abundance of recipes online for homemade washing powder. And they all seem to be either the same or similar. So I set off to the shops with a very simple list of ingredients. But discovered that my small town, small grocery store doesn’t stock borax. Note: I did ask as I’m sure it would have been in a less-than-obvious place, and I could have ventured to a couple other stores locally which may stock it. But I figured that with some websites citing the dangers of that product (mostly for the garden when the waste water is used on it) and the suggestion of someone that I use bi-carb soda instead, I thought I’d try that because it seemed easiest at that point in time.

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The ingredients list is:

2 cups Lux Soap Flakes

1 cup washing soda

1/2 cup bi-carb soda

15 drops Lavender essential oil (just because I like the smell of lavender on my freshly washed clothes, certainly not necessary)

Directions:

Mix together and use about 1 – 2 tablespoons per load

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I used those ratios as a guide but multiplied it so I would use up the full packets of ingredients I had purchased. Basically just the full packets of each of those items. Simple. Yes. The ratios might not be exact but close enough. Besides I’m known for never being able to follow a recipe, I always change it in some way, just because I like to experiment. So why should washing powder be any different.

Then I enlisted the help of my little chef who is a my constant companion in the kitchen. We stirred and put into bottles and as simple as that, I have washing powder again. A variety of which I’m more than happy to use without all those harmful sounding, long names which grace the ingredients list of my last box of detergent.

And it’s really cheap. I ended up with about 2.2kg of washing powder for the grand sum of $9.35. Yes. I like value like that. Just use about a tablespoon per load or a couple spoons full if it’s really dirty and it works ‘just like the bought stuff’.

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As an end note: I’ve now been using this detergent exclusively for 2 weeks and it works just fine. Next time I might try borax and compare the results but for now I’m totally happy with this bottle of powder sitting on my laundry bench.

Modern Art DIY – part 3

Modern Art DIY part 3

I’m presenting the third instalment in my ‘packing = modern’ art series. This project was created by me as I was sorting and packing the school area. It is a simple project which serves a dual purpose – creating a work of art and finding out which felt pens still work. For this reason, I undertake this project on a semi-regular basis.

What You Need:

  • A pile of felt pens, highlighter, markers etc.
  • A piece of scrap paper – pre-scribbled on is just fine
  • A good chunk of time to undertake a mindless task
  • A rubbish bin
  • A pencil case

The Process:

  • Take lid off felt pen.
  • Draw a scribble on the scrap paper.
  • Choose whether pen is good to keep.
  • Place pen in either rubbish bin or pencil case.
  • Repeat with every pen in the pile.
  • Display artwork with previously created modern art areas in house.
  • Experiment with different filters over photo.
  • Smile while continuing to sort and pack.

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Modern Art DIY Collage

Modern Art DIY – part 2

Modern Art DIY part 2

 

I’m sharing our second modern art creation here today. You can find our first creation here. 

This masterpiece was created by my 2 year old son. It all began quite innocently as he dropped a container full of colourful markers, which he had found already packed in a box. His face showed signs of concern as he stood there pointing and saying, “Uh-Oh. Uh-Oh.” in his cute sort of way. Then his expression changed to confusion as I grabbed my camera and started shooting pictures instead of cleaning up. Hmmm. Parents are funny sometimes.

What You Need:

  • One container full of colourful little dots
  • A young child
  • A tiled floor
  • A good dose of patience
  • An active sense of humour

The Process:

  • Dig through packed box to find container full of small pieces
  • Take off lid – using your teeth works well
  • Drop container on floor
  • Put on cutest possible face and pretend it was a total accident

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Modern Art DIY

Modern Art DIY

 

We have been creating ‘Modern Art’ in abundance around here lately. All of it is directly related to the fact that we are moving in about a weeks time. Moving = Modern Art, not usually my equation, but I’ve been having fun with the camera this week. Sharing my first Modern Art DIY project here today.

What you need:

  • A houseful of belongings
  • Big brown boxes
  • Packing tape
  • Black permanent marker
  • Other obscure personal effects

The Process:

  • Collect any odd assortment of ‘stuff’ which has found it’s way into your home.
  • Place collection of objects in a box – the bigger the better. Except when the objects are primarily books – then the smaller the better.
  • Tape box firmly closed with packing tape.
  • Label box very clearly.
  • Stack boxes in every corner of your house.
  • Enjoy the masterpiece you have created.

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