Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Left over's quilt

Here is a UFO I started just after my fall (see the wheelchair). Mum came down to Melbourne to help us out and also helped me stitch up this little beauty. It is made up totally out of leftovers from a cot quilt I did and a bit of calico. All I had to buy was the batting. Isn't it annoying how some patterns completely overestimate how much fabric you will need (I still had some fabric left over). Anyway for the calico borders I have since cut out butterfly's and flowers to applique on to it and I made up little pictures to embroider in the calico squares from the original quilts panel. Does that make sense? I think I'll have to take a pic of the original quilt. Better yet here's the pattern of the original. I made the black one. There is some lovely free patterns available here too.
This pattern was from one of my favourite editions of Patchwork and Stitching. The magazine quilt was made with fairys, but at the time I was in brights mode.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jack's new nest

Ok I know I said I didn't want to make this too kiddy, but I have a reason, I just made this new little nest for Jack to learn to sit up without too many headaches. I of course pinched the idea from here. I took apart a baby cot bumper set we were given because the sids foundation recommend not using bumpers and made a little fitted cover out of it. (well it will be fitted when I can get him out of it for long enough hehe) Mine is alot smaller though, I used an old flat pillow and recycled the stuffing to make the donut shape.

By the way yes he is that happy! I can't believe how easy a baby he is! I am very lucky.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Apricot Balls

My mum was heading off on her annual quilting trip today and of course ran out of time to get everything done, so when she called all stressed out I offered to whip up some of my favourite Apricot balls so could cross at least one job off her list. (Looking for a good Daughter award hehe)

Here's a recipe I made up after trying hundreds and combining my favourite bits....

1 packet 250grams Scotch finger biscuits
1 1/2 cups coconut
About 1 cup Dried Apricots
125 grams Butter
1 tin condensed milk
Extra coconut

I start by melting the butter and condensed milk in a glass bowl in the microwave. (I tried doing this on the stove once and burnt it so badly I was cleaning the saucepan for hours!)

Using a whirly giga (food processer), crush you biscuits into fine crumbs and tip them into a mixing bowl.
Next whirly gig your Apricots into small bits, it's most important to test your ingredients as you go! ;)

Make sure you taste test, I can't guarentee my recipe will work if you don't pinch at least 1 apricot and a bit of broken biscuit! ;)

Add your Apricots and coconut to the mixing bowl and mix up before pouring in the butter and milk mix. Give it all a good mix and once again test for taste! hehe

Take out about a teaspoon full and roll it into balls. Give it a roll through the extra coconut and wack it on a tray. When your finished rolling, taste test at least 1... you did all the work, you deserve it. Put the tray in the fridge and let them set for a half hour or so. Then pack them up in a box and hide them at the back of the fridge so noone else knows they are there and sneek them out when you sit down to read some blogs!

Mixture makes approximately 60 balls after taste testing!

Making an Embroidered wall hanging from your own photos

To start with you need some photo editing software.

I have Microsoft program Digital Image Pro, but most photo editing software will do the same things, you’ll just have to mess around with your own program to see what gives you the same effects.
So we start with our photo....

I just loved this picture of my husband and daughter, the little boy was just hanging around watching, I didn’t want him in my wall hanging so I will just take him out later.
The most important thing is to make sure your picture has nice defined lines and contrasts; a soft picture in the snow is probably not going to work.

Ok so we’ve picked our picture, now to start editing it. Our first step is to go into the effects section and go to all filters, on other software this is usually where you change your picture to Black and White or get rid of red eye, stuff like that.

You want to go to the Arts and Crafts section and click on Photocopy. This will turn your picture to an outline drawing look.

Next click on the change advanced options tab and lower the detail option until you get rid of some of the noise, giving you a nice clean outline to trace.

The only problem left is that the lines are fairly light and I need the lines to be a bit darker so I can actually see them.

So click on Touch up and then on Exposure Auto Fix.

That’s it! You did it, now print out your picture the finished size you want it to be and your computer work is done!

Now on to the fun stuff!

I usually take my print out and stick it up on the window, (you could use a light box if you have one) and start tracing the bits that I want for my finished project, in my case I took out the little boy, beer bottle and bag and most of the grass. This is where your individual style and creativity comes into it. You could edit 2 or 3 different pictures and paste the best bits of each into your final pattern.
This is what I ended up with for my final pattern.

I also did a Google search for some nice phrases or poems about family and printed out my poem in the font I liked and traced it in the same way.
Next just trace onto your fabric in the usual way and embroider as you wish.

Congratulations you are done!

This is my very first Tutorial so let me know what you think?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Auntie Nic's birthday present

Ok so I'm going through this insain handbag thing at the moment and after taking the handmade pledge, I have given away 3 in the last 2 weeks. I found this tut and loved the idea but cut out a step or two by making the outside fabric and lining in just two pieces of fabric instead of four.

I also only had two handles and needed more for another bag I made, so I made some little straps out of the cream fabric and attatched them with D rings. (much easier to turn through!)

So basically I cut out a piece of the cream fabric in a long strip twice the length I wanted the bag to be. I cut about 3 or 4 inches off one end and stitched in a piece of fancy fabric for the strip.

I then cut out the lining and a piece of interfacing the same size as my finished front. I made the handles in the same way as the tut I mentioned, then I layed down the interfacing (you could use iron on, but I have sew in in my stash), then place the front strip right side up.

I then pinned the handle straps in on both ends.

I then placed the liner on top of everything and stitched just the ends with the handles. So you should have a big circle with the handles on the ends.

Next I slid the bag in half so that the handles are in the middle and matched the seams I'd just sewn. You should have the bag front still inside out at one end and the liner at the other end. Like the picture number 10 in the tutorial.

I then pinned the side seams making sure the seams from the ends are finger pressed and pinned towards the bag front. This is very important, if you don't do this your lining won't sit nice and flat inside. At this point I also put in a magnetic clasp.

I then stitched straight up one side and then down the other, leaving a two or three inch gap on the lining half for turning.

I turned it in the right way, pressed it and viola was done.

I'm not an expert stitcher and this seriously took 10 minutes to do. (except for the half an hour half way through when little mister wanted mummy)
I took the handmade pledge seriously and used a few of the gorgeous paintings my girls had done at day care and taped them together for wrapping paper.
Please let me know what you think of my description, is it clear enough? I'm thinking about writing a tutorial or two and hope I'm explaining myself properly.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Ear flap hats.

My little cherub in her ear flap hat. I was inspired by this pattern, however when I first tried the pattern (I wasn't sure about the conversion with Aussie wool types needle sizes etc) the Man sized hat was just big enough for my two year old. So after a little trial and error, I perfected my own pattern and If anyone is interested I will give it a go at writing my own pattern in Aussie (english) knitting terms.

everything old is new again

Ok so a long silence, sorry about that, but the day after I started my blog my computer had a meltdown. Must have worked it to hard. hehe So it is finally back from the doctors and I can start blogging again.

So here is a little play suit for DD That was once a ladies shirt. Here's the original...
And it became......

Basically I cut off the arms and used them to make a crutch and took in the sides a little. Its still a bit big, but perfect for running around in the garden.