Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring cleaning

In many places in the world now it's spring. Being down-under here in Australia - it's autumn.  But, up in the tropics, to me it feels like spring.  The Wet season is at it's end, the rains have stopped (for now) and the humidity is dropping away.  
Our next door neighbour has just trimmed his tall trees just over the fence and all of a sudden we have extra light and openness in our garden.  

It just feels like spring!

So - not only am I going to spring clean my house, and garden; but I'm going to spring clean my blog.  
I've had the same header, buttons and basic design of my blog since I started up - so I'm probably overdue a change!
Plus Picnik is closing in just 3 weeks, so I'm going to make use of it until then with some new photos and designs.

So I have some questions for you my readers.

What do you like or dislike about the design of my blog?  

What is missing

What is unnecessary

What bugs you?

Do you have any suggestions

Have you started your spring cleaning yet

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Antipodean Love

As many of you know, I am lucky enough to live in Australia.
(Up in the best state of all Queensland! - not that I'm biased at all!!)

This part of the World has so much to offer and so many natural wonders and splendors, and all of this is celebrated in stunning handmade creations sold at 

'Antipodean' encompasses both Australia and New Zealand, and the best of both of these amazing countries are showcased right here...

The cutest ever cookie cutters:

There are so many fabulous and unique gifts in this amazing shop:

Come and take a trip Down-under and see what gorgeous handmade crafts we have to offer on this side of the world!

A frog in My Creative Space

A couple of weeks ago I signed up to swim in a 24hr swimathon to raise money for MS.
I've been assigned the role of creative manager of the team which we've named the Freddo Frogs! (just like the Cadbury version!)

It's a fun event - and we can get everyone to swim with various balloons and fun stuff now and then.
So I thought I'd made some froggy cap covers that we can slip over our caps and wear to swim a few laps !

I tried to take some pictures to see what the cap looks like on - but it's tricky to take pictures of myself...
Not sure - maybe it will look better when I'm swimming!!

I've already made a couple of swimming frog mascots 

Now I have to think what else I can come up with!

Any ideas?

For lots more wonderful creativity - head on over to 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creating Success around the World - Amanda from Bespoke Buttons

Welcome to

Creating Success around the World
The worldwide blog hop tour, that introduces you to creative people from all corners of the globe.

Creating my way to Sucess

Every Wednesday our hosts on each continent will introduce some inspiring creativity from their corner of the world.
Here's the hosts:


Today's guest is Amanda from Bespoke Buttons
    in Queensland, Australia

I’m very excited to be featured on ‘Creating My Way To Success’!  About 6 months ago my husband asked me, “If you could run your own business, what would it be?”  I didn’t really say anything much and kept doing whatever it was I was doing.  After quietly pondering it, I realized I wanted to make something my I would enjoy, that my friends might like and that I could share with others.  And so Bespoke Buttons was born!

My main creations are fabric covered button earrings.  I like to find interesting fabrics from all over the world for my products, which also include hair ties, hair pins/clips and bookmarks.  More recently I have been creating headbands and Coffee Cozies.

I started off selling my creations on Etsy, however have recently been venturing out to markets as well as opening a Luulla store.  I also find a lot of sales simply come from my Facebook page. Markets really do generate the most sales for me, however they are also the most time consuming – I always managed to have a good time though!

I wouldn’t say I have made too many mistakes in running my business.  Everything is a lesson and I try not to be too hard on myself when it seems like sales are a bit lower than what I’d like.  My biggest lesson is that there is a huge handmade market out there, but if you make interesting things that people like and are genuine you’ll get good customers.  I also use plenty of social media, but try to be the type of business I like to like from my own personal profile – lets me know what’s happening, but isn’t constantly saying ‘buy, buy, buy.’

I think success in business is very much an individual idea and is something that needs to be balanced with everything else in life.  Success for me isn’t about having the most sales ever, it’s enjoying what I’m doing and being able to run a business around the other aspects of my life – which are also really important to me. 

So what’s next for me?  Many more buttons of course! I’m looking at more markets for the next few months to see where I best fit and bettering my sewing skills so I can expand my range. 
Thanks  for your lovely answers Amanda- and for sharing your beautiful work with us!
Do go and visit Amanda's  website and check out more of her wonderful creations!


If you would like to be featured in an interview - then please contact your continent's host! 
Each featured guest here on Creating my way to Success, will also receive one week's free advertising in my sidebar as a thank you for your post!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Fashionable Fabrics

For the latest in fashion forward novelty fabric you can't go past 

Just have a look at some of the new arrivals:

But Fashionable fabrics don't only sell fabulous fabrics! They also sell notions, trims, gift certificates and sewing patterns and books.
Take a look at these:

Fashionable Fabrics also have flat rate shipping:

So what are you waiting for?  Go and take a look at this fabulous online shop!

You can also find Fashionable Fabrics on Facebook - so you can keep up with all the latest fabrics and also the many fabulous Giveaways they offer!!

Cuddly turtle tutorial

I'm a big believer in anyone can sew.  I'm trying to bring my girls up with the same attitude and encourage their creativity.
This week my youngest has Book Character Day at school - where they get to dress up as their favourite book character.  She has chosen Tess the Turtle fairy - who wears just regular clothes (easy), a pair of fairy wings (what little girl doesn't have a pair!) and has a turtle....oh...

So - when my daughter asked if I could make her a turtle - I suggested she make her own! So she did!

Here's how:

First she drew her turtle on a piece of paper :

Then I got her to draw the head, tail and a leg separately for the pattern pieces.

She then cut the pattern pieces out:

Then chose some fabric and pinned the pieces on:

Her 6 year old hands are still a bit little for using dressmakers scissors easily - so at her request I cut the pieces out.

She had to work out that we needed a top and bottom for each part - and then enough pieces for 4 legs (or fins)

Next came choosing 2 buttons for the eyes:

And stitching them onto the top part of the head:

Now onto the machine stitching!  The head , tail and 4 fins had to be  pinned then stitched around the edges - leaving a gap for turning out and stuffing!

Turning out and stuffing was lots of fun!

All stuffed and ready for assembly!

Each piece then had to be pinned and stitched to the main body - but facing inwards:

Then the other main body part placed over the top and it all stitched together - leaving the all important gap for turning out and stuffing!

Finally - she turned her turtle right sides out and stuffed him!

(sorry for the blurring stuffing photos!)

Final step was to hand-stitch the opening closed.

And there you have it - one cuddly turtle, designed and made by Maya - age 6!!

Now he may not be a very conventional turtle - but he is Maya's - the fact that she could draw and make the pattern herself makes him all the more special!

Aside from the fabric cutting, and the hand stitching it up at the end, Maya basically made this turtle herself.  The machine stitching she could do no problem - I just stepped in to help when she started getting tired (a 6 year old's attention span isn't too long!) .

What crafts have you done with your kids lately?  Do you let your kids loose on your sewing machine?

Just to update - I asked Maya - and she tells me the turtle's name is Pearl!

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

I'll be linking this post to many of the wonderful linky parties whose pretty buttons can be found on the bottom of this page and whose direct links are on my linky party page.
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