Pink Christmas

Pink Christmas Patridge

I recently entered Brother Australia’s Pink Christmas competition. To enter, you were required to make one or more of the pink Christmas patterns created especially for Brother by some of Australia’s top craft bloggers. I made the bird decoration by Christine Mitchell. This was a huge learning curve for me as I had not sewn something so small and curvy on the sewing machine before. As part of your entry you needed to add your own touch with something pink. I added a pink-ribbon tail and pink sequin eyes as well as a little head feather to make the birds partridges. I made most of the birds with a pale pink fabric and one with hot pink – I guess he’s the male as he has the showy colours, as you can see below! I used some vintage buttons on the wings and the birds now decorate our Christmas tree!

Hot Pink Partridge

If you’d like to have a go at making the Christmas bird decorations or one of the other pink-themed projects, visit Brother’s project page to find lots of free patterns.

Adventures in Bag Land

I made my second drawstring bag recently (not showing my first one until I ummm…refine it), it was a comedy of errors! The material is lovely; I found it in an op shop after spotting the lovely cherry pattern from a distance. Now, to the sewing! My first mishap was when it came time to pivot the material to go around a corner; I forgot to raise the foot, it came loose and the needle hit it and bent. Oh well, I thought, now I know how to change the foot, as it had fallen off during the chaos, and needle.

Next, I eagerly sewed along the top seam. I was happy with how straight it was…until I noticed that I had sewn through both layers of material so I had sewn it SHUT! Sigh. I ripped it open again and sewed the top seams properly. Finally finished I happily clipped the loose threads and had a lesson in how sharp sewing scissors are – I snipped my finger! Ouch! Just as I did that my two cats ran into the room, so I was trying to get them out of the room while not bleeding on the carpet! But, all ends well, and I love my bag (not perfect, but I made it!) and I learned some valuable lessons!

bagadventures

Have you had any sewing mishaps, dear reader? :)

The Lure of Hexies

Making Hexies

Oh dear. I never thought I would have a fabric stash but it happened. I never thought I would learn quilting or related crafts; yet it has happened this day! Yes, it is true. I have succumbed to the lure of the sexy hexies! I kept seeing them on Instagram and Pinterest and finally had to cave in and have a go! I want to make many, many more! I did not do any fussy cutting the first time around, I just wanted to learn the technique of english paper piecing. I used lovely templates from The Printed Stitch and also followed a fabulous tutorial on YouTube from 3and3quarters. All it needs is a little pin on the back and I have a lovely brooch.

hexieflower

I have some Christmas prints in my stash so I am planning a hexie-based table runner. I used a small hexie template today but I will use a bigger one for the table runner so more of the print is visible. I might even try some fancy cutting skills! I can now understand why making hexies is so popular, the process is just as relaxing as knitting and spinning. Must make more!

Knitting Around

There has been knitting! And studying, but that isn’t very interesting, so back to the knitting! I recently finished my first shawl, based on the pattern ‘The Sunlight Shawl for Sad People‘ which is on Ravelry. The shawl still needs to be blocked, but I am very happy with it! I was going to block it last week, but after unwrapping my new rubber mats and being overwhelmed by the obnoxious smell of them, I put the mats in the garage and will wait a bit. The shawl is on the right in the photo below. Obviously I need to learn the art of photographing knitted items. Hmmm.

Yesterday I cast on for ‘Wingspan‘ another pattern that can be found on Ravelry. I am making this with Schoppel’s Zauberball yarn in the Frische Fische colour (left in the photo). I am using it as my dissertation (long project) for Nerd Wars on Ravelry. The colours of the yarn remind me very much of the Sixth Doctor’s frock coat, and as I am on Team Tardis, that fits perfectly! The Doctor thought his outfit was the “height of sartorial elegance” and I think my shawl will be, too!

More knitting to come!

Trying to be Creative Again

Late last year life threw us a few curve balls which, amongst other affects, saw my creativeness all but disappear. I am now trying to get that spark back again, as allusive as it is. One of the projects I want to pick up and finally finish, is my mushroom embroidery. My last post about it was back in November. I’ve done a bit more since then, but still much to do:

I’m going to make a little crafting and creating nook in the kitchen this week. Now we have two very curious kittens, I don’t feel safe doing crafts that involve needles on the lounge chair. I shall hang a few pictures on the wall around the table, add some dishes for working needles and maybe a cloth on the table!

Speaking of kittens, Pippin and Merry are much bigger than they were in the photo I posted the other week. They are now heading up to five months old and getting quite big! Their fur coat is changing with the warmer weather and some of the longer fur is shedding out until next winter. They will be much comfier with a lighter coat for summer!

You can just see a photo on my desk of me holding my late Maxie. Pippin has many of Max’s traits, and on the first day the boys were home, Pippin saw the photo of Max on my desk and gave him a little kiss! Awww! Last week was snip snip time for both boys. They were a little sleepy at first but are now back to bouncing and running around the house. No lack of energy, that is for sure! Another craft project I have in mind is making them little ties so they can be little business cats! hee!

Thread Bobbin Tutorial

As I was winding some embroidery threads onto bobbins yesterday, I realised I was almost out of them. Not being all that close to a craft shop, I pondered what to do. I noticed a couple of thin cardboard packets from chocolate blocks and realised they would be perfect for making some new bobbins. Bonus is that I am reusing cardboard.

If you don’t have cardboard chocolate packets, have a look at what other recyclables are around your home. Tissue boxes would suit, the thinner packing put between new shirts and sheets, cereal boxes, tea boxes etc.

* If you use cardboard that was from a food product, just make sure there is no food residue left on the cardboard.

Step 1. Open and flatten your cardboard, and trace around an existing bobbin. Try to fit as many shapes onto your cardboard as possible – we may as well make as many as we can! As you can see, I used the packets from Cadbury chocolate; enjoy the chocolate and then reuse the box. Mmmm.

Step 2. Carefully cut out the bobbin shapes, using your tracing as a guide. On one end of the bobbin, make two small cuts in the shape of a ‘V’ which will allow you to tuck the ends of your threads away during winding.

When I am about to start a new bobbin, I write the colour number plus the brand of yarn on one end as well as in the center of the bobbin. That way I can easily replace that colour when I am running low, or have just run out of the thread.

Step 3. Wind some thread onto your bobbins. Hey presto! You have made some new bobbins and you have reused packaging. It’s all good!

Feel like reading more creative posts? Head over to Kootoyoo for this weeks edition of My Creative Space.

Less of the Meh

Less filled with ‘meh’, today. Instead, I am happily covered with Kitty fur after my very snuggly Max Kitty decided it was snuggle afternoon. Awww. I am not, however, happy about the humidity today, but then again, I never am. Humidity and alyshajane’s are like oil and water – they don’t mix well!

Over the weekend, the Husbitect and I visited Birkenhead Point, not so far from the Sydney CBD. We visited the newly refurbished Spotlight there and I was pleasantly surprised with the range of crafty items and how well the store was stocked and organised. They still have a few things to put out, but it was wonderful to walk around. The Husbitect mused that if we won lotto, I could spend a serious amount of money in that store. He’s right! One item I really wanted but was a tad too expensive was the ‘L Letterpress’ kit. Although after reading this review, I am feeling mighty glad we didn’t buy one now!

But, what did I buy?! I replenished a few of my embroidery threads, DMC, in some lovely shades including some lovely purple hues. I also snapped up some of the mushroom Christmas decorations as they are far too cute for me to resist. I have a vintage, white Christmas tree and I am envisioning some decorating of the mushroom type tomorrow. I also bought some black aida material which I am going to use in some geeky, SciFi projects for the Husbitect. My other purchase was a fabulous embroidery hoop from Clover. My previous hoops were like reliable, but older, Holden cars. This new Clover hoop is like the Audi of the embroidery hoop world. I think so, anyhoo. Since I cannot afford an Audi, I shall enjoy my Audi-esque hoop instead.



The hoop in action! Still working on my mushy embroidery!

After enjoying a very delicious serve of tuna and salmon sashimi from a lovely Japanese eatery, we wandered around and happened upon the pet shop. We usually go in and have a look at the kittens, and talk of how we would love to get some and how our Maxie can be Grandad Kitty and teach them how to miaow for food, how to run around the house in the middle of the night and make the most amount of noise, and also, how to do the fluff-yourself-up crab walk!

We marveled at a huge fish tank that had teensy tiny baby prawns floating around amongst the fish and agreed that another tank was one of the most lovely shapes either of us had seen. After looking at the other fish and then the birds, I spied a large cage near the door that I had glanced at when we came in, but not really taken in what was inside.

I looked at the sign. SQUIRRELS. *Squeeeee!* I squeed aloud a little and ran over to see my first ever Squirrel! They were Indian Palm Squirrels and yours for the sum of $1200+ each. Unfortunately, the shop had some very noisy children playing with the squeeker toys, so the Squirrels were staying in their nesting box. But I did get to see a tiny Squirrely face peeking out! I was quite excited at finally seeing a real, live squirrel, but felt sorry for them in their tiny cage. I said ‘Squirrels’ quite a lot for the rest of the day, and told anyone who would listen about seeing Squirrels. hehe.



One of my softie Squirrels with some mushrooms.

French Knots, Oui!

My creative space this week sees my little mushroom having some filled in spots. I decided to go ahead with french knots and am quite chuffed with the result. The texture is just right and looks nice against the long and short stitch I used on the main body of the mushroom.

My first tries at french knots can be seen at the very top in the first two spots. I kind of had it, but the knot kept getting a bit messy. I searched for a better tutorial on french knots, and found this one by Mary Corbet (must see site, btw). They key action, which was missing in the other videos I watched, was gently pulling the thread so the knot slides down to the base of the needle and then keeping the tension as you pull the needle through. I think you can see the difference in my french knots in the rest of the spots. Top two are a bit messy but the rest are pretty good.

I debated briefly on removing my first two groups of french knots, but then decided to leave them in because they show my progress and also, handmade isn’t meant to be absolutely perfect. At least, not in my view. To me it adds a bit of character. And also, I have no idea how to remove embroidery stitches! hehe

To see more creative spaces, visit Kootoyoo and play along!

Em-Broid-er-eeeee!

Here we are on day 17 of Blogtoberfest. The native participants are seeming to be more slowed in their intensity… Sorry! I was drifting into being the David Attenborough of Blogtoberfest! *slaps self*.

Today has been lovely. Lots of geekyness with my love and general relaxation. Some of today was spent browsing embroidery patterns online, and deciding on my next project. I have plans to make my own, very geeky, pattern. Probably SciFi based. But for now, while I am learning stitches, I have decided to embark on another pattern from online.

This lovely one is from Doe-C-Doe, who has a tremendous amount of vintage patterns available online. You can see for yourself, here. I love mushrooms; both the visual aspects as well as the deliciousness of eating them. So mushrooms had to be an embroidery subject, sooner rather than later.

I have the attention span of a flea, or a squirrel in a room full of nuts. So my latest craft obsession is embroidery. It’s not all short attention span, however, it is also partly based on the weather being warmer, and my seasonal lack of interest in wool. Embroidery has my eye now as it is cooler, and more portable. Well, at least around the house.

So in my photos you can see my latest pattern selection, courtesy of Doe-C-Doe, my brand new pink keyboard with non-stickable keys thanks to my Husbitect, my fuel of choice (wine plus unpictured cheese & pate) plus my newly traced pattern in a hoop, ready to go. I am chuffed with my new air/water vanishing pen. It makes me feel more experienced. Ahem.

* Today’s post was brought to you by Blake’s 7, Cliff Richard, Dean Martin, Doctor Who, Wine and Cheese. Plus the colour pink.

My Creative Space

I came across my first attempt at embroidery the other day, and am now adding the last few stitches to finish it. Just a little more detail on the trunk, and a couple more nuts for the squirrel. Cute, isn’t he? I found the pattern on Flickr, in the Embroidery Group pool. Embroidery is more appealing to me at the moment than knitting and crochet, no thanks to the warmer weather!

I’m not sure if I have done the stitches correctly, but I am quite happy with it nonetheless! I’m going glue the edges of the fabric to the back of the hoop and hang it up in the hoop. These first hoops I bought weren’t the best, very hard to tighten. I have some better, plastic ones now. I also enjoyed winding all my threads onto the cards and arranging them in my storage box.

I just came across a very lovely site with free vintage embroidery patterns: Vintage Transfer Finds. Do take a look, so many wonderful patterns to be found.

Visit Kootoyoo for many more Creative Spaces.

Halloween Links (Blogtoberfest Day 7)

As I type this, I am listening to “Monster Mash” by Bobby Pickett, “The zombies were having fun, the party had just begun…” Listen and watch here.

Anyhoo, since we are getting close to Halloween, how about some craft and food links for Halloween fun?

  1. A collection of recipes from TLC. Make Bat Wings with Drip sauce! Mmm…
  2. Papier-Mache Black Cats from Martha
  3. Spiderweb Plates, again from Martha
  4. Vintage Halloween postcards from Craft Jr
  5. Halloween Crafts and Cards from Vintage Image Craft

I have always wanted to have a Halloween fancy-dress party. But I don’t know enough people who would be interested. Boo! But I think I will make some decorations and themed foods regardless. The Kitty Litter Cake has been on my must make (and must gross people out) list for a long time. Is this the year I make it? I think so! Muhahaha! I’ll just have to make sure my Max Kitty doesn’t think it really is a tray!

The ghosty cupcake at the top is one of the Halloween foods I have made in the past. That year I made dark chocolate cupcakes and used food gels to draw spiders on some, and placed white marshmallows on the rest. I shaped each marshmallow by pulling a little of the top part up, and then twisting it to look ghost-like. I then made a mouth with a toothpick, then decorated with gels and icing. Ghost Mallow; not all that scary but very cute and tasty!

What’s On Your Table?

What’s on my Table or What’s in the Bag?

I’ll open it up a little more, it looks quite full of something squishy and soft. Could it be…

Yes! Yes, it is full of yarn! Glorious yarn in many colours including the shades of pink and white yarn that I need to complete my first granny square blanket.

Ah. Now I can play with crochet motifs in many colours. And feel content that I finally found more hot pink yarn, after many weeks of searching.

I was about to enjoy a cup of tea while writing this post, however I took one sip and felt ill. I may have over-tea’d myself lately. At least with plain black, milky tea. The drain enjoyed that cup. I think I shall have a glass of apple juice instead. Do you ever over-tea yourself?

What is on your table? Join the lovely Joyce’s meme!