Friday, April 29, 2011

Scrappy Friday - last bag!

 Over the last few weeks I have been organising my boxes of colour coded fabric scraps, and also making myself a few bags using these coloured scraps!  This week I finished my last box, and last bag!! Yippee!! - great to finish a job, and see all my scraps now neatly folded into their boxes so that I can finally see what I've got easily!

So here's my final - green - bag!

A couple of pockets inside...

And a ruffly flower on the front for decoration!

So now I've got a bag to match every outfit!  For those of you who missed the last ones, here's the other colours...



And purple.

Not bad for bunch of scraps!!

So now that I've sorted my scrap boxes, my next project is to use up all the old clothes that I've saved to upcycle!  The piles are growing and it's time to stop planning and start doing!! 
So May is the month - every day I will post an upcycling clothes project!
I've decided that committing to post about it every day on here, will be my best motivator to stick to the job and get it done!!
Why not join me - stop by any day in May to see what I'm upcycling, and link up your own clothes upcycling projects on my dedicated page:

Have a lovely weekend - and hope to see you back soon!

I'll be linking this post to many of the wonderful blog parties whose pretty buttons are on the bottom of this page.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

My Creative Space

The school holidays are over and after a wonderful two and a half weeks with my girls, I feel like I'm cleaning up after a big party!  I don't mind that, we've had lots of fun, and it's not a bad thing to let the housework take a back seat for a while to spend time with my kids.  But I still can't help wishing I was more perfect, and could do it all, that my house would never be a mess, I'd always be super organised..........   Oh well, I can dream can't I?

Still, I've decided to try and get somewhat more organised.  There are so many things on my 'to do' list, and more get added all the time.  One of my big ones this year is to try and use up some of my massive fabric stash; in particular my scraps.  I also want to try and make useful things, and things that can replace throw away items - like cloth napkins instead of paper ones.

This coming weekend is my younger daughter's birthday, and she is having a few friends around for a party at our house.  So this got me thinking...

I have quite a stash of fleece - which, since we live in the tropics, is not getting used up much at all!  So what could I do with it?  Here's what I did, to make a small dent in the pile....

I cut several pieces from several colours...

And some strips from an old sheet...

And had my first try at making bunting!!

I think it looks nice and colourful in the secret garden...

Or perhaps it could go by the pool...

Wherever we decide to put it - my daughters love it, it used up some of my stash, and we now have reusable, washable decorations!!

My own birthday is coming up in a couple of weeks too, and I always make more
 'New Years Resolutions'
 as it's the start of a new year for me!!
Since there's no time like the present, I've decided to get a move on with a big project for this year - upcycling my stash of old clothes! 
I've already added a page here on my blog, and a linky, where already lots of people have linked up some great upcycling ideas and tutorials, but I need to get myself in gear too!
SO, I've decided that in May, I will post every day about some clothes upcycling I'm doing, and also look at some of the links from other people!
There - I've said it!  Now I have to do it!

So starting May 1st - do stop by and see how I'm going!  Join me if you like and bust some of your stash too!! 
I'd love to get 100+ ideas, links and tutorials on my clothes upcycling page! It's fun, environmentally friendly and very frugal, thrifty, cheap.......!!!

For more wonderfully creative spaces, head on over to Kirsty's place at Kootoyoo

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How are you Creating your Way to Success - Marissa from Hazel and Honeysuckle

·Welcome my weekly post about how different people are Creating their way to Success.

My aim in this weekly feature is to :

• Provide an interesting insight into other people’s journeys towards their own personal success

• Help contributors to this post by encouraging them to advertise their own blog, website or shop / market within their post.

• Share motivation and encouragement with as many people as possible who are looking to use their creativeness to work towards their own goal of success.

This week's guest is Marissa from Hazel and Honeysuckle:

Hi everyone! My name's Marissa, I'm a 23 year old student from Australia. My blog, Hazel and Honeysuckle, is my creative outlet and helps me to maintain my sanity while I work through my PhD. I'm very excited to be here today and answering Jill's questions!

What do you create?
Like many crafters, I like to dabble in lots of crafts! Primarily I enjoy sewing and making jewellery and accessories. I particularly enjoy making pencil cases and handbags.

Lately I've been particularly into hand making felt brooches, fun!

Why do you create?
I'm a PhD student in computer science, which means I spend a lot of time writing (typing) and creating computer programs (more typing!) so crafting keeps me sane! It gets me away from the computer - at least until I blog about it all ;) - and gives me a creative outlet. I love making fun, cute and beautiful items for people to enjoy!

Do you sell your creations? If so, how? Where? And is it profitable?
I do sell them in my MadeIt store, but quite casually. It's more as an outlet for my creativity - I don't really need that many pencil cases, bags and brooches for myself! The proceeds go back into craft supplies, so it helps sustain my hobby, but eventually when sales are a bit more steady I would like at least some proceeds to go towards a charity supporting autism research and/or animal welfare, two of my other passions :)

My MadeIt store is pretty much an Australian Etsy. Anyone can sign up though, and I happily ship Internationally! ;) I also have a Facebook page which has some items for sale that are only available through Facebook, such as earrings and hair accessories.

What mistakes have you made or lessons you have learned?

Hmm, I'm relatively new to it all so I don't really have any epic, life changing lessons to share (yet?). What I'm currently doing is assessing which items people are buying and which aren't getting much response; I'm learning about what my audience like. I'm also learning what I enjoy making most and do best. It's an ongoing learning process, and eventually I hope to find my niche!

What, to you, is success? Have you achieved it yet, or are you on your way towards success?

I think I will feel successful when I have a predictable, consistent level of sales so I can support not only my hobby but contribute to a charity as well, and find my niche. I'm actively working towards these goals and making progress, I think!

So what's next?

Keep on keeping on! Hopefully in the near future I'll pinpoint what items to focus on in my store and build up enough sales to support some of my favourite causes. Of course, I'll always be a craft dabbler just for fun!

Thanks so much for having me today Jill, it's been great fun sharing with you and your readers!  Come and check my blog, Hazel and Honeysuckle, out sometime, I love to share tutorials and my crafting adventures! 

xx Rissa


Thank Riss for your wonderful answers - I think we can all relate to that process of trying to find your niche- I think it has to be a combination of what you love doing and what actually sells - you can't just concentrate on one without the other!  Not an easy thing to achieve!

Good luck with everything Rissa - thanks so much for answering my questions, and go on everyone, check out Rissa's lovely blog and shop too!

If you would like to be featured here, I'm always looking for new people to grill with my questions - so do leave me a comment, and I'll get back to you as soon as I can with the details!

Thanks for stopping by!

I'll be linking this post to many of the wonderful blog hops and parties whose pretty buttons are on the bottom of my blog!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fabric chessboard set - a tutorial

My two daughters both learned to play chess at school a couple of years ago, and they play quite often with our wooden chessboard set.
 If you're interested in reading more about the game of chess itself and the benefits of playing it, click here to read the post on my other blog - Be Our Best.

  We've had in our cupboard for some time now, another old set of chess pieces and an old chessboard that came from my husband's childhood in Scotland.  Although we do have a set that is used, it seemed a shame for the other set to sit there in the cupboard all unused and unloved!  So I decided to transform it into this:

Hopefully now it will get used! - I think it looks more attractive than before, don't you?

I found the black and white checked fabric in the remnant clearance box in a local fabric store months ago, and have been wanting to try something like this with it!
If you have an old set of chess pieces, and can find some black and white fabric like this, then
here's how to make one of your own cool fabric chessboard sets:

First gather your materials :
Black and white checks, fabric for the inside surround, and the backing, and some elastic.
Here's what you need to cut:
(Note - the sizes may vary depending on the size of the squares on your fabric, or to suit your chess pieces mine had 3cm squares)

1 piece chessboard fabric - 10 squares across and up (1 more all around than the actual chessboard)
Inner fabric:
2 pieces 35.5cm x 16cm
2 pieces 52.5cm x 8cm
2 pieces for ties, one 32cm x 8cm, one 42cm x 8cm
Outer fabric: 35.5cm x 52.5cm
4 pieces of elastic each 35.5cm long

First you need to 'frame' the chessboard with the inner pieces of fabric.
Take the longer pieces first (52.5cm x 8cm)
Folding the long edge under by around 1cm, pin it along the outer line of the board (the central 8x8 squares)

Then topstitch in place, as close to the edge as you can:

Now you need to pin the two wider inner fabric pieces into place along the other edges of the chessboard, so it's completely surrounded:

Again fold the edge under by around 1cm, before pinning in place:

Topstitch into place as before, as close to the edge of the chessboard as you can.

Next you need to add the elastic to hold your chesspieces in place.
Pin the strips of elastic 3cm and 8.5cm down from the chessboard on the wider edges like this:

Then stitch the little 'holders' for the chesspieces by stitching lines across the elastic.  How wide you stitch will depend upon the size of your chesspieces.  For my larger ones, I could just use the edges of the chessboard squares as guidelines, but had to narrow the gap for the pawns on the lower strip.  The best way it to check as you stitch, or if you want it to be perfect first time, use a piece of scrap fabric and elastic to check the sizes first, then measure and mark before you stitch:

Now for the ties.
Using an iron, press the short edge of each tie over,

Then fold the straps into the centre lengthways and press:

Then fold the ties in on themselves once more to hide the raw edges completely - and press:

Then topstitch around the edges:

Now is the time to add any embellishments you want to the outer fabric.  Centre them level with the bottom two rows of elastic, as this will be the section of the outer fabric that will show on the top when the chessboard set is folded up:
I chose to add a chessboard fabric ruffle!

Pin and stitch your embellishment into place:

Now it's time to join the front and back together.
Place the two pieces, right sides together, and the two ties in the centre of the bottom in between the two pieces:

Pin all around, leaving a gap at the top - opposite end to where you pinned the ties:

Then stitch the two pieces together. Don't worry if the edges don't match up exactly - as you can see mine didn't!  Just make sure when you stitch, you catch in all the edges of the elastic, and don't forget to leave that opening to turn it all out through.

Have a quick check (turn right sides out briefly) to make sure you've stitched far enough in to catch the edges of all the elastic, then trim the edges and corners:

Turn right sides out, press, and pin the opening closed:

Then topstitch around all four edges:

And you're done!! Put your chesspieces in:

Roll / Fold up and tie together to secure!

There you have it - a fabric chessboard set:

You can choose the fabric to suit whoever you make it for - pink and ruffly like mine - or boyish planes, or camoflague fabric!  Personalise your chess set!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

If you liked this tutorial, then why not check out my others - on my tutorial page.
Many of my tutorials are also available as free downloadable PDFs to make it easier for you (scroll to the bottom of the tutorial page for the links)!
If you do try any of my tutorials, then please do send me a picture of your version! I'd love to see them!

And why not sign up to follow this blog - or to receive my upcoming newsletter - so you can keep up with my latest tutorials, linky parties, feature posts and general creativity!
See my sidebar for options!!
Have a great day!

I'll be linking this post to many of the wonderful blog parties whose pretty buttons are on the bottom of this page.

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