22 December 2015

Secret Santa - "Show me the Money!!"

This year, our Secret Santa theme was "Show me the Money!". I had to put my thinking cap on, and decided to make a Money Tree. I had planned to buy a terrarium style container, but I found a pair of coach lights for tealight candles at a discounted price (the box was damaged), so even if the "tree" is removed, you still have a nice pair of lights....

I used some florist wire to make the stem, and some Aussie play money for the flowers. I had hoped that it would be brighter, but unfortunately they were purchased as-is from a $2 shop. I had also hoped to get proper play coins also, but I could only find pirate money, and I was trying to be as authentic as possible, so used actual coins.

I used a very simple origami fold for the flowers. There are numerous tutorials for "money folding" but this one looked the easiest. Basically, you fold the length of the paper concertina style, and then bring the edges together with a but of glue. It needed something else, so I used some 5cent pieces for the centres...

The stem was based on a twisted wire technique used for gemstones. Below is an example.... 

I used a citronella candle as the base, mainly because it meant that I could just push the wire into it and it would be pretty stable, but also because it was a cute little pot. I had hoped that it would fit into the tealight holder, but it didn't. I taped a tealight to the bottom so it would fit, and built up the base to look like it was meant to be that way. This can all be removed, since it is a novelty item, and the tealight can still be functional. I put all the extra flowers in the the bottom, to look like they had fallen off....

In order to continue the theme, I included some Money Tree Seeds. I used a small box that had some perfume in it and put a hole in it for a window. More 5cent pieces for the seeds suspended in a bag at the height of the window. It worked perfectly! I used a piece of plastic from a sturdy bag for the window.... 

I also thought about some witty text to put onto the back - a mix of financial terms and gardening. I think it's quite clever!

I hope whoever receives my gift appreciates all the thought that went into it! I will find out tomorrow.... ;)

21 December 2015

A cushion and another bag...

Many moons ago, I bought some fabric in a bag, and inside was a couple of embroidered designs - one a lovely lady, and the other a winter scene.

So I made the lady into a cushion, and the scene into a bag. They are a little more frilly than I usually like to, but I think they worked?

Finished size approximately 35cm x 35cm.

Finished size 50cm wide x 45 deep. Lined with curtain fabric for stability. 

26 November 2015

More bags...

Another remnant I had on hand had a camouflage print on it, so I made another couple of bags, plus smaller zip pouches to match. These could be for pencils with a library bag, or an overnight bag with one for toiletries? The bag is quite large - 50cm x 55cm - with a pocket on one side.

Quick and easy, zero waste.... ;)

25 November 2015

Flanged cushion tutorial

Having not being able to find an existing tutorial on a flanged style cushion - not with the flange on both sides, anyway - so I decided to do my own. It's really difficult to explain what I did with words, but hopefully the pics will give a better explanation....

So, here goes!

Firstly, let me start by saying that my front and back squares started at 52cm square, with the border strips at 7cm wide and about 70cm long (I didn't measure it exactly, as long as it's longer than the width of the front plus the border). The exact measurements aren't really relevant, unless you want to make an exact replica. ;) I allowed for a 1cm seam allowance on all pieces. Oh, and you'll need a zip. Longer is better, since you can trim it back if necessary.

I have here the front and back, plus 8 strips for the border edge (4x for the front, 4x for the back). You can see that these are wider than the base pieces. I didn't measure them exactly, since I was using scraps, but they are 7cm wide.

The zip will be inserted first in the seam at the bottom of the back piece. Firstly, I folded the front pieces in half and notched all the halfway points, and did the same on both sides of the border pieces. It's easier to do this first, and keeps it accurate.

I also marked the corner of the "Y" seams (which I should have done before the zip went in, but I forgot and had to unpick a bit later on). It is easier to set in the zip if it does not go to the seam edge, so I marked in from the edge, first 5cm, then I increased it to 6cm (which is why there are 2 marks). It was a bit of trial and error, and all measurements are what I thought would be best, but are not set in stone.... Stitch from the corner dot to the edge of the mark, on both sides.

Iron back the seam allowance, making it nice and crisp. 

This will make it easier to insert the zip. Since I will be top stitching around the seam once it is done, I needed the zip to be off centre. This means that the seams will not be the same on both sides of the zip. This is a little hard to explain.....

First, clip the seam at the mark, only on the side that will fold up. The other pieces will fold towards the border.

I pinned the zip in the position that I wanted, and used that as a guide as to where to stitch down. I want to stitch the covered side first, then the side that butted against the zip.

From the back, the distance that the stitching needs to be becomes more obvious. You can see the distance is about half way across the webbing of the zip. Once this has been determined, it can be pinned the whole length of the zip. The position of the zip pull is not important, a this stage, as it can be pushed right out of the way.

Using a zipper foot, I stitched close to the zipper teeth.

Then I did the same with the other side. This one worked out that the edge would match the edge of the webbing. Again I stitched close to the teeth with my machine zipper foot.

At this point, turn it over and double check that it sits nice and flat. I then stitched across the extra length of the zip a couple of times to secure it, and trimmed it off.

It was then time to top stitch the covered side. I started at the seam, over the zip and down the edge of the covered side and back to the centre. I used the open toe foot on my machine, but I could have used the zip foot if I wanted it to finish wider.... Stitch a section with the zip puller ahead of the foot, and then manoeuvre it under the foot with the needle down, and continue on.

Now that the zip is in, we can go ahead with the "Y" seams, or mitred corners.... ;)

Match up the notches made earlier with one side of a border strip and pin. Flatten out the piece and pin at either end. Stitch with the back piece facing up, so you can see the dots you made earlier. Continue with all sides of front and back pieces, starting and stopping at the dots. Make sure the underneath piece is out if the way when you back stitch.

Fold out the pice so that the border pieces are right sides together. Place a ruler on this fold and mark a line from the seam allowance to the edge. This will be the stitching line for the seam. 

Stitch all corners on the front and back pieces. Turn over and press flat. If it doesn't sit flat, it means that the angle was not accurate, and you can simply restitch at a steeper or shallower angle, as required. Make sure you unpick the unwanted row of stitching, or you won't get a flat seam.

Once you are happy with all the corners, trim back the seams, and press really well till they are nice and crisp.

You can now pin the front and back together and stitch all the way around. Don't forget to leave the zip open a bit so you can turn it through. :) Pin at the notches placed in the beginning, plus at the corners. Make sure the seams match, and pivot at this point when you get to the corner.

Trim the corners before turning right side out.

Now, you could stop here, if you want to. It would just be a big pillow with a small zip opening, but my plan was to stitch down the flanged edge, so once it was turned and I was happy with the corners, I pressed the seams flat and used LOTS of pins to keep it together at the seams. I worked from the back and planned to stitch in the ditch, but this isn't so easy when you can't see where you are stitching. Using the pins as a guide, I stitched as best I could in the ditch, or slightly on the main body, rather than the border strip. 

The final result is by no means perfect, but it looks pretty good to me ;)

Back to fabrics....

I bought a large remnant of fabric not so long ago with a big girly print on it. I was planning on just making bags, but one design was so big that I ended up making a pair of jumbo cushions, as well as 4x smaller bags.

Finished cushion size 50cm x 50cm, with a 5cm flanged edge. Since I couldn't find any specific instructions for this type of cushion, I took progress shots, and will write my own tutorial for anyone who is interested... ;)

These are smaller than I would normally make, but was dependant upon the printed design, so work out to be 30cm x 40cm. I boxed out the corners, but only slightly, so it didn't detract from the design too much.

I ended up with very little waste, as I used all the remnants to make the handles and flange edges. Not sure what this was to start with, but it feels like it could have been for a sheet or quilt cover? It's too light to have been curtains... Either way, it makes a good couple of cushions and bags! :)

14 November 2015


Just the one prize from the 8 entered into this years Canning Show, but the main issue that I could see was no section for recycled items! (That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.....)

None of my nutcrackers won prizes, but Dotty got a second.

I put some in Christmas (the winner is the red elf on the edge of the table)

and some in Any Other Article (the winner was the Steampunk Jewellery)

and more in Any Other Article, but there were not enough entries to judge

Mum managed a First for her cushion -

- but didn't get anything for her dessert plate... They look good enough to eat!!

All of my entries, all together. 

You are allowed to enter items again if they don't win prizes, so I'm already up by 7 for next year, (if I don't give them away for Christmas....)

Here are some of the other entries that caught my eye.... This one is actually a junior entry...