31 December, 2009

End of the year

Following on from a conversation with Leisl at Hoppo Bumpo - here is a pic of my unfinished Christmas Project Bags. Including that lovely Christmas dress with the reindeer on it that I had planned for S to wear on Christmas Day. Luckily I've got another daughter to grow into it so it's not a totally lost cause. Better make that soon though before I forget (that's the beauty of these project bags - they make me finish things before I start new ones - I'm easily distracted these days).

The stuffed birds that I made for a couple of friends from the spool downloadable freebie got mixed responses ("so that's a bird?") so I lost a bit of momentum there. And one little goddaughter-to-be won't be wearing her frilly pants this New Year. Perhaps by Australia Day?

And maybe my oldest son will get his pyjama shorts before the end of summer...

One thing I did get done just last night was a cover for my Collins Week to a Page Diary. I've tried a few different diaries over the last couple of years but I keep coming back to this $8 one from the newsagent. But I wanted to surround 2010 in Anna Maria Horner fabric (she's a real inspiration to me) - so I've been working it all out in my head, and trawling other tutorials to help me come up with what I want (including a pen pocket, inside pockets and an elastic to hold the whole thing together).

I'll work on a tutorial for this diary cover over the next little while.

We're having a quiet NYE here tonight, with a game of Cluedo and a bit of Shawn Micallef's show planned, with a few friends for lunch tomorrow. There are resolutions floating around my head that will be committed to paper before midnight and the new Remo Wallplanner (click below) is on the dinner table, ready to have some phone numbers added to it before it's blutacked up on the pantry doors.

Get REMO Tempus Fugit WallPlanner 2010 from REMO General Store

Thanks for all your interest and support this year. See you in 2010!

28 December, 2009

Christmas Yum

My first Christmas cook-fest. Now a pleasant memory. Thanks Donna Hay. The hour-by-hour countdown was great - but I needed more time for the unwrapping, and for a yummy breakfast cooked by the 8 year old.

No stress. Just our little (?!) family plus two. A big change from our usual big family gathering, but it was lovely to wake up at home this Christmas.

And how on Earth do you 'carve' a Pork Belly? (The scored and spiked apples were seriously cute - and perfectly mushy - I may never use apple sauce again.)

Served with crunchy roast potatoes and fennel and pear salad.

And when I stopped pouring the brandy syrup on the salad and saved it for the semifreddo things improved dramatically.

(Actually, these mini puds aren't Donna's - they're from a 2001 Mitre 10 magazine! And they're SO yum. I'll post the recipe next year. Now that's a cliffhanger!)

And that was that. Another Christmas done and dusted. So many things still on my 'To Do' List. Maybe next year....

Hope you had a lovely time with your friends and family. I am counting my blessings.

22 December, 2009

Some softies for Christmas

These two partying Mamma Bears designed by Carly Schwertz from the Softies book, were made by my 11 year old friend Taylah, as Christmas gifts for herself and her little cousin, using a tshirt that belonged to her wonderful grandmother, Nell, who died just over a year ago. Taylah's just started embroidery (see the little cross necklace?) and is really enjoying it. Will have to get her a Sublime Stitching kit one day soon.

This little lady (photographed by my long suffering husband, out in the lovely rain we've been having) is a Christmas gift for my little 6 month old, and has been Christened "Doris".

And here are the three of them, just hanging out together. Waiting for an eligible man-bear, perhaps. Or not.

19 December, 2009

Cushion Zipper Tutorial

I used to think zips were far too hard, and do pillow type openings on my cushions, but once they got sat on a few times (and perhaps used for a pillow fight or two) the openings started gaping. Guaranteed.

So I checked out some bought cushions, and figured this method of inserting a zip into a cushion back. and so that I can remember what I did for next time, here are my pictorial notes!

If you haven't done zips before, just know you've got to use a zipper foot, and you'll be fine. This method is not new, but it'll make your cushions look super professional.

Step 1 - cut two strips as tall as your cushion front (screenprinted linen at top) but longer. Then cut in two - evenly or unevenly, it's up to you. I prefer unevenly (so the zip will be obviously closer to one end of the cushion than the other) because I don't have to measure anything.

Then fold and iron a 4cm (ish) hem on the two 'inside' sides as pictured.

Step 2 - using your zipper foot, sew one entire folded edge, from top to bottom, securing the zip (zipped up to start with, then leave the needle down, open the zip a little, then continue sewing til the end).

Step 3 - pin second back piece to the piece you've just sewn, placing fold over the zip completely. Then mark out the zip location and draw chalk lines to sew up and over both ends and around the zip. (You want to sew inside the metal bits at the top and bottom.)

Note - it's best to actually follow the lines you've drawn, because if you hit the metal, you'll bend or break the needle, as I've also demonstrated for you here...

(It's good to have spare needles on hand at all times!)

You're still using your zipper foot, so this is what it'll look like (above) - you're starting at the top edge, then turning corners by holding the needle down and swiveling the fabric, all the time keeping things straight by bumping right up next to the zip (you'll feel that it's there).

Don't try to sew next to the zipper 'pull' without leaving the needle down in the fabric, then lifting up the presser foot, and gently easing the zip open a little before dropping the foot down again and sewing past.

If you want, include a tag, or a piece of folded ribbon (or even some sort of message) under the flap as you sew it, just for fun.

There. Done.

This zipper was made for the cushion below (which is my mailing list prize for December 2009 - join my mailing list by 20 Dec to go in the draw) which was finished with french seams and topstitching around the edge.

And here's another example using two Anna Maria Horner fabrics for the back - it made the back almost as nice as the front.

So there it is! Thanks for reading, and happy cushion making!

17 December, 2009

How You Can Tell My Mum Sews - Part Three

All the girls seem to be wearing my outfit!

But that's ok with me.

14 December, 2009

10 December, 2009

Creative Space Thursday

My boys have been away, so while I've been exhausted by these two gorgeous little girls, one upside is that it has been a pretty creative week. I'm still commandeering the dinner table for my art and craft projects as no dinner has needed to be eaten at the table all week!

I had a dear friend come and stay a few nights and she encouraged me to pop this pic on the blog. Basically I have a long list of projects that I want to get done. So I spent a couple of sessions just cutting out the fabric required for everything and then basically making up kits (including patterns, elastic, etc) for each project.

These are my current project bags:

I'm hoping this way I can at least put the fabrics away, and just leave the sewing machine and associated paraphernalia out until I've achieved what I can before the boys get back. I'd be delirious if I thought I'd get them all done, as I'm also planning to get a bit of sleep over the next few nights. But hey, it's a plan!

Here is my 'Claudia Frilly Pants Project' Bag before:

And here is the finished item:

The 'Maya's Frilly Pants Project' is also done! (Love these Heather Bailey fabrics!)

And because I needed to visit our brand new Spotlight store to buy elastic, I spotted this apron panel, that I'm going to make into a Christmas dress for my daughter using a Oliver & S's free downloadable Popover Sundress pattern. That project bag's still full, but the pattern seems pretty simple so it'll be done soon. And by mentioning that here, I'm even more accountable. Thanks readers! I'll also be doing a new diary cover, kids apron and shorts. Just going with the flow...

Hope you've had a creative week. For the last list of Creative Spaces for this year, head over to kootooyoo.

07 December, 2009

November's Winner & December's Prize

Sometimes it takes a little longer than planned, but I'm delighted to announce the November Mailing List winner is Jo Hicks.

When Jo sends me her address she will be receiving this pack of Golden Acrylics and Art Tags in a handpainted calico gift bag!

This month's prize is a handmade cushion, made from a print of my design 'Angel Pileup' on natural linen and backed with dark blue denim. I just finished making this today, and will post a tutorial on inserting the zip in the back of the cushion later this week. It also gives you a taste of the direction my homewares will be headed in the new year.

So that it's more of a Christmas draw, I'll pick the winner on 20 December. So make sure you are on the mailing list before the 20th so you are in with a chance.

I'll also give you an extra entry if you're on the list and leave a comment or become a follower on my blog before the draw - I'd love to know you're here, so mention that you're a Shiny Happy Art mailing list subscriber in your first comment (on any post), and you'll be in with an extra entry!

Thanks! And good luck!

03 December, 2009

Creative Space Thursday

Two creative spaces today. Firstly an ironing board full of calico gift bags, handpainted for Christmas.

The first two were needed as teacher gifts - yes! Summer holidays have begun for us here!

The second space is the beginnings of 'Mamma Bear', a pattern from Carly Schwerdt of nest studio.

And of course, while my back was turned doing this, guess what S was up to...

She stayed like that till dinner and loved every minute. Thank goodness Crayola felt pens wash off so easily!

For more creative spaces head over to kootooyoo.

01 December, 2009

How You Can Tell My Mum Sews - Part Two

My pants match the cushions!
And some select little friends will also have bottoms to match mine.
And the other creative thing done today - my husband's birthday gifts, with card artwork created with wordle. Note the painted wrapping paper - always a winner, always with a hint as to what's inside. But have you tried wordle yet? I'll warn you, it's pretty addictive.

Still waiting on laptop repair! I feel like my arms are cut off!
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