Thursday, January 30, 2014

My new Madeit shop!

After helping my girls get their Madeit store (2 Little Lightbulbs) up and running, the next thing on my list was to reopen my own Madeit store that I had briefly opened a couple of years ago!

It's done and opened now - with just a few items listed to start it off!

I've called the store

which is what my friend and I called our market stall a few years ago, and what this blog was originally named for!

This online store isn't something I'm focussing on right now - but I plan to make something each week to add and support my girls in their handmade sales endeavours!

Do take a look and let me know what items you think I should make to stock it with! 

 I plan to use my own tutorials - since I do have over 100 to choose from now, I thought I'd make use of them.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My girls' Madeit shop!

It's done!

My girls have opened up their very own Madeit shop selling their handmade creations.

Over the summer holidays I helped them with some sewing and taught them how to make some upcycled denim inspirational bag tags.

Then we went through the process of opening up their online store.

They chose their store name and designed their own logo.
Then there was the trip to the post office to determine postage costs, and deciding on what price to sell their things for.
Finally we took pictures and they listed a few items.

Over the course of this year, they plan to learn to make more different things and add them to the shop. All the while, learning about selling online, marketing and handmade!!
What a great experience for them. They are very excited!

They would love if you went and had a look and tell us what you think! Here's the link:

Now I have to get my own store sorted and stocked!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Relaxing sewing!

Yesterday I had my first real sewing day of the year.  I made these pencil and notebook folders with fabric from my stash. 
I used my own tutorial, and since I have made lots of these before, it was a nice relaxing day of sewing!

As I've mentioned before - I'm planning to use my fabric stash this year to make things for my soon to open Madeit shop.  These are the first items to stock the shop.  I plan to sew something each week - probably from my own tutorials.

It was nice to just sew and not have to remember to take photos of each step, or figure out how to make something.

I will make more tutorials this year - but with over 100 of my own now available here on my website , I figure I've earned a break for a while.

I like the idea of choosing something to make each week, and although I'm going to list things for sale in my Madeit shop, I'm not really focussing on promoting it.  It'll be good to stock up on handmade gifts for birthday parties my girls get invited to. Plus I'm helping my girls set up their own Madeit shop for things they make - so it's all about helping them.
At this stage, if I sell anything through it - it's a bonus!!
(of course having said all that, I will post a link when I get the shop set up in the next couple of days!)

So nice to be doing things for a purpose, but without any pressure. (I hope that makes sense).

I feel overall more relaxed this year, happy to be continuing sewing and blogging, but feeling less pressured to focus so much on growing the blog.

Happy days!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Friendship Bracelets

My girls have been asking to make friendship bracelets for a while now, so when this package of embroidery threads arrived in the post  ...

it was the perfect opportunity to try them 

I was inspired by this post from Pam at Threading My Way, who made a little friendship bracelet kit as a Christmas gift - such a neat idea!

We followed this tutorial that Pam recommended, using a braiding disk.

It was so easy, and in no time my girls and I had each whipped up a pretty bracelet:

Or anklet!

I've never made friendship bracelets before and really had fun with this. We're going to check out more tutorials and make lots more of these.
How pretty are they?

Gorgeous combination of thread colours!

Have you ever made friendship bracelets?  Do you have any other tutorials to recommend?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Blogging learning and my new 2014 focus

Ok after a lovely summer holiday, taking time away from blogging and figuring out what to do, my ideas have come together and I know where I'm at and where I'm going.

What I've got

I have 3 blogs - this one, Be Our Best and Fit and Healthy Me.
The challenge will be to use these 3 blogs effectively.

Until now, this blog has been my main focus and that is what I've put A LOT of time into. Last year it was growing and growing and half way through the year I was very positive about it. Then I continued doing the same thing for the second half of the year, but began to lose heart when my visitors and stats started to drop and continued to do so over the second half of the year, despite all the time, and effort I was putting into the blog.

Blogging is still something I love doing but I need to shake it up and refocus. I'm going to be spending less time on my blogs - but the time I do spend will be more planned and focussed.

What I'm going to do with it

In terms of blogging itself, what I'm going to commit to this year is
 learning regularly. For the next few months, I'll be taking a hour a day (on weekdays) so I can really get my teeth into it and make the most of my free Wordpress site (Fit and Healthy Me)  I originally set this blog up as a way of learning, but haven't made the most of that opportunity, and I only have 8 months left of my free hosting so need to make the most of that.

Again, this is part of my overall plan for the year to..

Use What I've Got

So this year, I'm trying to blog smarter!

I'm going to..

 blog about what I'm doing, 

rather than 

doing things to blog about. 

It means that my Creative blog will be a bit more varied - I'll still be sewing, but, each month this year I'm going to be focussing on a different topic - making us of what I already have! 

January (although it's nearly over now) is making a start on using up my fabric stash. My stash is so large, that this is a long term project.  I'm just going to get into the habit of making something each week and I'll use these things to stock my new Madeit shop (opening soon) and also for the usual birthday gifts.  This gives me a way to keep on sewing (which I love) without it being the main thing I do. 

Starting with sewing is also the easiest thing for me to do while my girls are still on holiday, and I plan to get them involved too!

Other things I'm going to be 'making more use of' are:

writing skills

 teaching and parenting skills

 kitchen, food, recipe books and cooking gadgets!

other crafts - crochet, upcycling, recycling, etc


the garden

Let's get started!

So there you have it, my plan for 2014.

Not a radical change, but more 'useful' I think.

I've started this year well with 

'using what I've got'

Making the most of everything.

The school summer holidays are drawing to a close - so my time is building up and I'm making the most of that too!

I hope you'll continue to stop by and see what I get up go this year!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Missing sewing..

Sewing a button onto my daughter's skirt.

That's the extent of my sewing adventures this week! 

But I have been busy, getting my girl's school uniforms organised (they go back to school in 2 weeks).
Renewing all our family passports that seem to have expired quietly without me noticing.
Selling the last of my girls' toys that they've grown out of. 
(Part of the major clear-out we've done over the past couple of months)
And making a start on my new focus and direction for this year.

Essentially this is based on 

Use What You've Got

The de-cluttering process I've just gone through in our house has helped me see exactly what it is that I've got, so now it's easier to plan knowing what I'm working with.

Next week I've got a week of sewing planned to kick-start part one of my plan which is to:

Use my fabric stash!!

With sewing actually my plan for next week rather than just doing what I can fit in, I'll have something to show and tell - so watch out for some new sewing posts...finally!!

For now....Things to do, must get on!

Back soon...

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I'm in the top 100 sewing projects for 2013!

My Handibag from a Pillowcase tutorial was in the top 100 sewing projects for 2013 on AllFreeSewing!

Thanks AllFreeSewing and everyone who clicked through to my tutorial to make it so popular!!
I'm chuffed!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Monster Pencil Case - a tutorial

My youngest daughter saw a pencil case in the shops similar to this and asked me if I could make her one!

Here's how I made it:

First my daughter chose the fabric - fur for the outside, and sparkly red velour for the inside.
Plus I needed a little black and white with some fusible webbing (Vliesofix) for the eyes, and of course a zip.

The size of the pencil case was just decided by laying the zip on it to judge the size of the mouth, and folding the fur in half.
(I cut the fur for this one was 35 x 32cm   - 14" x 12.5")
I then cut an inner piece larger than one side of the pencil case as I wasn't sure how the slanted zip would affect how it turned out.
I also ironed the fusible webbing to one side of a scrap of black and white ready for the eyes:

So the first sewing step was to add the zip. I did photo the steps as I did it, but the fabric doesn't show the details too well.
 I have another tutorial for how to add a zip like this here.

WARNING!! I managed to get my inner fabric the wrong side up here - you should place your inner and outer fabrics right sides facing when you draw, pin then stitch around the zip hole!

Once the zip mouth was in place, I cut shapes for the eyes from the black and white fabric and ironed then stitched them to the fur:

Next I trimmed the red inner fabric piece to the same size as one side of the outer pencil case (half the fur) 

Then I cut another piece of red inner fabric the same size and stitched the two red pieces together around all four sides:

Finally, I folded the fur in half, right sides facing and stitched around all 4 edges, just leaving enough of a gap on one side to turn the case right sides out:

All that was left to do then was to turn the pencil case out, and hand-stitch the opening closed.

My daughter is very happy with her new pencil case!

Cute hey?

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

For lots more free sewing tutorials go here.

There are over 100 to choose from, including a few more pencil case tutorials in the 'things to make for kids' section.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

More zip keychain pouches

I made some of these pouches as Christmas gifts to post to family and friends, and got hooked!  
Since this year I'm going to re-open my Etsy and Madeit shops, I thought I'd make a start on some stock for them.
(They are made using my own tutorial - which you can find here.)

They are all made with fabric scraps - the denim from old jeans.

The zips have cute little gold pulls on them.

They just add that extra special touch to these cute little pouches don't you think?

Once I've got a few more things made, I'll get back to my stores and find out how to re-open them again!

Will keep you posted!

Any Etsy or Madeit hints and tips would be gratefully appreciated!

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Year, new start 2014

Happy New Year to all!
I hope 2014 has started well for you all.

I'm still enjoying my holiday, with another week to go before getting back to my work plan for the year.

My overall plan for the year, which I'll blog more about when I get into things, is

Use What I've Got

I spent the last few weeks of 2013 having a major clear out and sort in our house, and have started the year with a much less cluttered and tidy house.  I've had a wonderful start to 2014, feeling like I have more time, I feel more in control and everything has a place. What a difference!!

But with my plan for the year in mind.. today, I was cutting up this watermelon that we got free from the local market this week when we did our fruit and veg shopping. Now 2 out of 4 of us in our house don't like watermelon, and so this whole chunk isn't going to be eaten very quickly. So I Googled what to do - and found you can cube it, remove the seeds and freeze it, in flat layers in ziplock bags to use over the coming weeks in drinks, or even just to eat cubes frozen from the freezer ! Apparently that tastes good, and they defrost really quickly, but are refreshing like that!

In summer here in the tropics, fruit goes off very quickly, so there are times when our compost bin gets more than it's fair share of the oversupply of fruit!

I'm determined this year to get into the habit of using everything we have, and not wasting a thing! Hence freezing the watermelon

I also learnt from Mr Google too that we can do the same with pineapple - chunk, bag and freeze.  Since we have lots of pineapples in our garden, all ripening at the same time, I may have to do that with some of those too - although they do get eaten quite quickly!! YUMMY!!

But I digress.  My plan for this year involves more sewing, more upcycling, more blogging and some new things too. But all involves using what I've got!

Give me another week and I'll explain more fully what I'm up to and start to share my progress.

Until then, the usual Round Tuit will be out on Monday and a few other small posts next week too, just to keep things ticking over until the real fun for the year starts!!

Hope you're all well.
I'm looking forward to catching up with everyone's blogs and what you've all been up to soon.  I feel quite out of touch thanks to my break - but much refreshed and the break was definitely what I needed, although unexpected and unplanned!

I'll be back soon!
Hugs and sunshine to you all from Cairns.