Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Japanese sewing and origami





Today we head off on a family holiday to Japan, so I thought this would be a good time to showcase the 'Japanese' crafting I've done over the years - from Japanese style bags, to fabric and paper origami and some Japanese fabric too! Hope you like them!





This is still one of my most popular tutorials. These bags are fairly easy to make and super cute.  

I also made a few of them from upcycled old nighties:


And I also tried out a giant version of this bag.




Some Fabric Origami Boxes, square and triangular.











A Handibag made with Japanese Fabric. (made using this tutorial)






Paper Origami Flowers I made for a friend's daughter.


And finally what I recently learned about Origami and 



I hope you enjoyed these Japanese themed features!

If you're interested in seeing some pictures from our trip - I shall be posting some on Instagram and my Facebook page - so please do take a look!




Monday, March 28, 2016

A Round Tuit 303

Happy Monday!

I'm super excited just now as tomorrow we head off to Japan for a family holiday!
I have previously lived in Japan for 3 years teaching English, but it's been several years since I was last there.
It's going to be great fun to go back and see what's changed and what hasn't - and to show our girls it all and see things through their eyes!
I shall be posting pictures on Instagram and my Facebook page if anyone is interested and will be sure to post about the holiday when I return in a couple of weeks!

But for now - let's see what everyone has been up to this past week.

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Welcome to this week's linky party. A place where you can link up your posts and creations, and be inspired by others.

Tuits are very hard to come by, especially the round ones. For years people have been saying, "I'll do it as soon as I get a round tuit". Well now you can have one of your very own, and all those jobs that have needed doing will finally get done!
 
 
 
Here's my favourites from last week's party:
 
First of all, this amazing 
Crochet Flamingo from Howling at the Moon.



Next, another crochet feature,
Minecraft Crochet Creeper from Creative Chaos Art.


For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
----------------------------------------------------------
Now it's your turn:
Link up your own projects - old or new - no rules - just share your creativity and inspiration!
I'd love if you grabbed the button - then you can have your very own Round Tuit!
And of course we all love visitors and comments so do visit some of the other links!
By linking up here you're giving me permission to use photos from your post in features here on my blog.
I will feature my favourites on this post next week.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Chocolate Orange Pots



I make this super simple and very tasty chocolate pots whenever I have left over cream. All you need with the cream is chocolate, honey and orange juice. They make the perfect little snack or dessert.

Here's how to make them.

You will need
400 g plain chocolate
4 tblsp clear honey
3 tblsp fresh orange juice
500 ml whipping cream

Break the chocolate up into a heatproof bowl and pour over the honey and orange juice. Microwave in short bursts of about 20 seconds, stirring well in between to completely melt the chocolate and combine the mixture.

Let the chocolate mixture cool slightly while you whip the cream.

Carefully fold the chocolate mixture into the cream.

Then spoon into pots or bowls and refrigerate until you're ready for a yummy sweet snack!


If you liked this recipe, you can find more here.

I'd love if you followed me on Instagram or Facebook where I share pictures of things I bake, cook, and create.
I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

How Creative Problem Solving can Save The World, One Bag at a Time


The problem

Plastic Bags are unnecessary and are destroying our environment.
We've all seen images like this. This particular photo was taken on a family holiday travelling through Asia in 2015, at a small village in Cambodia. So much waste littering the ground - and so much of that waste is plastic, and plastic bags.


Every day I hear or see another story, on Facebook or in the news about waste and environmental pollution. The problems seem so big and insurmountable for the average person.  What can just one person do to alleviate such immense problems like 

This Mokumentary created to raise awareness of the plastic bag problem in California - could have been made anywhere.





My Decision to make a difference

Plastic bags - particularly single use plastic bags are everywhere. We all use them, but this is one thing that we can all do something about. And this is what I chose to try and make a difference with.

 I sew, I make lots of bags in particular and I mainly sew with upcycled and recycled materials.  So this was definitely the problem for me to try and solve! 


My personal experience of the problem

Reusable Shopping Bags have been around for years. I bought myself a set and started using those for my weekly grocery shopping several years ago.  They were a great idea and I was very happy with them. BUT I often forgot them and left them in the car. 
They also weren't easy to clean. If any food spilled on them, the bags weren't easily washable, so began to smell after a while.  Some shop assistants were very aware of customers bags smelling and would, and still do, put meat and other things that may potentially leak - into plastic bags before putting them in the reusable bags. Which to me defeats the whole purpose of the reusable bag in the first place.
Not only this, but some of these reusable bags I bought from the supermarket were biodegradable. One day I went to use my bags and some of them literally fell to pieces.

So - I decided to use my creative problem solving skills and come up with a solution.


My own solution to the plastic bag problem

First of all, back in 2010, I made myself a set of reusable shopping bags from an old sheet - and a small drawstring backpack to keep them in.
These were much more compact than the store bought reusable bags, and could be easily washed in the washing machine if things spilled on them by accident.

I used these bags for years - reducing the need for hundreds of plastic bags over that time.



However, there were still times when I forgot and left those bags in the car when I went to do my weekly grocery shopping and ended up with a few extra plastic bags.

So, over the next few years I played around with designs and finally came up with my own solution to getting rid of the need for any plastic bags when shopping.

I finally came up with a design and made my own 
Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags Handbag.

This is a handbag that has a hidden compartment in the base where a bag full of reusable cloth shopping bags are stored. This means that as long as you have your handbag with you when you go shopping, you will also have your reusable bags. No more leaving them in the car!

I made a few bags over the course of designing and perfecting this bag. I also added some mesh produce bags in the side pockets for buying fruits and vegetables, and an extra handibag from a pillowcase inside for those times when I buy a few extra things.




An all round eco-friendly solution

All the while I was making this bag, I had the environment in mind and wanting to do my part to reduce waste. So these bags are made as much as possible from recycled and upcycled materials.
I like to work on the basis of

Use What You've Got

So, the main handbag is made from a pair of jeans - plus some co-ordinating fabric - from my stash or charity shops. The zips and bag accessories were reclaimed or again bought from charity shops.
The main reusable shopping bags were made from old sheets and pillowcases and the produce bags from old net curtains.




Testing

Once I had completed my bag design and pattern, I had a fabulous team of ladies to test the pattern and instructions out for me.  They made some gorgeous bags and gave me some very positive and constructive feedback to enable me to polish and finish off my pattern, which had now grown into a small e-book.
Here are the bags they made:





Making a difference

I use my bags each and every week and never forget my shopping bags now. I always get lovely complements on all of my eco-friendly shopping bags and feel proud that I am taking some action and making a small difference to the problem of single use plastic bags.

Not only am I making a difference in having made and now using my own set of these bags, but through the sale of my e-book of patterns and tutorials I hope I am inspiring others to make their own eco-friendly, reusable shopping bags thereby further reducing the need for and use of single use plastic bags in other parts of the world where my e-book has sold to! The e-book contains instructions and plenty of photos to help make the handbag itself and all the reusable shopping bags that fit inside it too.



I wanted to make sure this e-book was affordable and so attractive to as many people as possible to try and spread the impact it makes.
I settled on the cost of a cup of coffee as the sales price for the book.

Just AU$3.99

Buy Now
AND $1 from each book sold is being donated to the WWF .
In order to do this I decided to 'adopt' a turtle, which means that each month I contribute money - partly from sales of my e-book and the remainder funded myself.

I chose turtles as I live in Cairns - right on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef and have seen lots of turtles many times whilst snorkelling. They are beautiful creatures.
I also volunteer twice a month at a local turtle rehabilitation centre, helping to care for sick and rescued turtles.


So if you sew (and I tried to make all the tutorials as clear and detailed as possible with LOTS of photos) so even a confident beginner sewer can give these a try. Or perhaps you know someone who sews.  Then why not, have a virtual 'cuppa' with me and 
Add to Cart

Help to make a small difference into a bigger and bigger difference by spreading the word.

I believe that one small action by a single person can grow and make a big difference.



What skills do you have that you could put to use Creatively Solving a Problem to make a difference. Even if the difference is only small - it's a beginning that can grow into something HUGE.

I'd like to leave you with one of my favourite quotes and one that inspired me to create these bags and sell this e-book.



What will it inspire you to do?


I would love if you shared this post with your friends and on social media - Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest - anywhere. Help me make the small difference I'm making into a bigger and bigger one.

Thank you!


I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.

Monday, March 21, 2016

A Round Tuit 302

Happy Monday.
It's the last week of school term, almost Easter and just over a week until our family trip to Japan!  So much going on just now with my parents visiting from the UK too!
I haven't had a lot of time for crafting and blogging lately - but I did make a couple of new luggage tags last week - with a nice simple tutorial to go with them. Upcycled from..what else but Jeans!
Luggage Tags from Jeans Pockets



Now let's see what you've all been up to.

----------------------------------------------

Welcome to this week's linky party. A place where you can link up your posts and creations, and be inspired by others.

Tuits are very hard to come by, especially the round ones. For years people have been saying, "I'll do it as soon as I get a round tuit". Well now you can have one of your very own, and all those jobs that have needed doing will finally get done!
 
 
 
Here's my favourites from last week's party:
 
First of all and awesome tutorial for a 
Piped Zipper Pouch from Roonie Ranching.




For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
----------------------------------------------------------
Now it's your turn:
Link up your own projects - old or new - no rules - just share your creativity and inspiration!
I'd love if you grabbed the button - then you can have your very own Round Tuit!
And of course we all love visitors and comments so do visit some of the other links!
By linking up here you're giving me permission to use photos from your post in features here on my blog.
I will feature my favourites on this post next week.