Friday, 19 December 2008

Handmade Christmas presents

Well I've been very busy making my own Christmas cards and some Christmas presents, and of course I've been giving them away without actually taking any photos of the finished items! So here are some photos of work in progress.

This is the first Christmas that I've ever done anything crafty, and I'm really enjoying it. I'm not sure why I'm in such a crafty mood this Christmas, but I'm making the most of it while I still have the energy :) Today I posted off my handmade cards - I bought my very first set of stamps and scrapbook paper to make these (I've drooled at beautiful scrapbook supplies for ages but I've never had any reason to buy them before!) and I used a straight pen and ink of my grandmother's to write in them with, just to make them extra special.

I made my daughter's preschool teachers a handknit scarf each, and wrapped them up with some lavender bags and some lovely cold pressed soap that my mother in law made. All the other mums were putting money into a Myer gift voucher, but I had already knitted these scarves (and they took me ages as well!) so I hope they like them.

And the little lizard cuties are for my daughter's best friend at preschool - they are from the Softies book and from the same pattern as the lizard I made for my daughter a while ago. I had forgotten what a trial it is to turn the tiny feet inside out, you have to use tweezers and a stick and a lot of patience and sore fingers, but it is worth it once it's all finished!

I love the special feeling I get when I give someone a handmade present, knowing the time and effort I've put into it, and having made it specially with this person in mind. I have lots of plans for birthday presents for next year, although I'll try to time things better!

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Beautiful Buttons

My grandmother had an amazing collection of things in her house, but one of my favourites was her collection of buttons. This is just one small selection of them - there are some lovely vintage buttons in there.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Christmas Craft: gingerbread house

I've always wanted to make one of these, ever since I was little and had a real addiction to fairy tales, and this year I got the chance! I was rather minimalist with it after I saw lots of people piling up their houses with icing and lollies, and then having them cave under all the weight (believe me, it is minimalist compared to what other people were doing :) . It was a rainy, hot and humid evening in Sydney and the icing didn't set as fast as it is supposed to. Many people took home a nicely wrapped pile of gingerbread rather than a house LOL


I'm saving this for Christmas day, so my poor daughter just gazes longingly at it through the plastic :)

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Christmas Craft: gingerbread playdough

Ok, so this is a terrible photo. Does dumping a reindeer in the middle really make it look Christmassy?

Anyway, I got the idea for this Christmas playdough from this fantastic blog. It smells absolutely divine - I made a basic cooked playdough recipe and added decaf coffee (I'm not that much of a sucker for punishment!), ground cloves, ground cinnamon, ground ginger and mixed spice. It really does smell like gingerbread!

This playdough lasts for ages, I usually make up one batch and store it in a tupperware container and I have had it last for over a year. I find that it is softer and less crumbly than store bought playdough, and considerably cheaper :) The recipe I use is as follows:

2 cups plain flour
4 tablespoons cream of tartar
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup salt
food colouring
2 cups of water

Mix the above ingredients in a saucepan, and stir over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, until the mixture congeals.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

My sewing machine is 1 year old!

And this is the latest thing I've made on it :)

I whipped this up in one day for a wedding we went to last month, it is the same pattern I used here. It is very easy to make, especially the second time around, and I just love it. So does my daughter - it is great for twirling in :)

She danced all night long, first with the other kids and then with the adults. She was very sad that we had to leave to put her brother to bed, she has more stamina than I do!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Another future quilt

Farmers Market by Sandi Henderson:

Now this would have to be my absolute favourite quilt fabric, I am so glad that I bought it :) It's definitely going to be a quilt for ME! Although my daughter pointed out that since I have so much I might be a nice person and share some with her. I'm thinking that I'm actually a mean person ;)

The colours are stunning, so bright and summery and juicy! I especially love the vintage cherries, they are going to be the backing for the quilt.

I just can't stop stroking and admiring and loving these fabrics LOL.

My daughter finds them irresistable as well.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this quilt. I want to show off the fabric as much as possible, so no little tiny bits. And I would like to incorporate some panels of plain fabric that I can embroider on as well. I'm really enjoying planning this quilt, every day I am inspired by something that I think I must include in the quilt. I think I'll let this one simmer away in my brain until after Christmas.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Another quilt at last!

Well almost ;)

I've bought some great fabric to make another quilt, a D9P of course! I really like the patterns and colours on these, they are just ordinary cotton fabric from Spotlight, but that just means that I could buy more of it :) They are not the bright colours I usually go for, but they are all interesting and - I think - still cheerful looking.

I think this quilt will be for my son, since I haven't made anything for him yet. Although my daughter is convinced that it is perfect for her as well, she just loves dinosaurs. Good thing I have lots of fabric!

Saturday, 11 October 2008

A couple of (very late) WIPs

I've been trying to make things for family and friends' birthdays this year, and as a result I'm really far behind! I've had to let go of the idea of making lots of Christmas presents, because I'll end up handing them out at Easter. It's such a shame because I think that receiving a handmade present is so lovely and I always love to give the things I make, but it just takes so much longer and there is the temptation of sticking a gift voucher in a card. Here are a couple of my WIP gifts:

Socks, and a couple of scarves.

Another messenger bag.

I also have to make more socks, another bag and some other crafty things that I have yet to finalise. I hope that the recipients like them and don't mind too much that their birthday presents are a few months late!

One other problem with having a large list of presents to make, is that I feel guilty whenever I make something for myself. I'm always buying fabric or other crafty materials but I haven't had a chance to do anything with them - I keep thinking "I'll do that after Christmas!" but then I realise that the birthday cycle will be starting again AAAHH!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Quick, before someone catches you!

I recently bought a great book for my 4yo daughter, The Doodle Book, by Taro Gomi. Oh please, it's a book about drawing! ;)

It has activities on each page to allow the child to express their own creativity and imagination, here are a few examples of the activities:

My daughter has been intrigued by this page:

And I am intrigued by this one! Look at that suspicious character lurking around the corner. I just love the "Quick, before someone catches you!" - children have to learn the dangers of graffitiing at a young age I guess ;)

It has kept my daughter happily occupied during the school holidays (the book that is, not graffiti!)