Monday, 29 October 2012

Shape Cushion-Toys For A Baby’s Cot


I have needed to make a few presents lately for friends who have had new babies, so I’ve been trying to think of different things to sew that little babies would like.

So I came up with these Shape Cushion-Toys! They were very easy to make, they look great in the cot…. and babies always love little soft things that they can cuddle. I made a circle, a triangle and a rectangle.

My method for making them was very simple. Firstly I selected my material (these shapes have been sent to a little boy), and put the right sides together. I used things around the house that I could trace to get the shapes and size I wanted (eg. saucepan lid).

Then I cut around the shapes, leaving a bit of a seam. As with all of my sewing, nothing is very accurate!

It was then an easy matter of sewing around the shape, leaving a section so that I could turn the shape the right side out and stuff it. Before turning the shape out, I ironed up the seams of the ‘not-sewed’ bit  just to make it easier for later. You can see what I mean in this photo, even though the photo shows the cushion the right way out.

Then I turned them right side out, stuffed them with toy filler, and machine-sewed up the ‘not-sewed’ bits.

Very simple but they will work well I think!

Happy sewing!


Thursday, 25 October 2012

Red Toile Quilt


This week I finally managed to finish my part of my mum's 60th birthday quilt. It's a lovely french red toile print on a light weight linen, which I hope my mum will love!

I would be so incredibly impressed with myself except for the fact it was actually mum's 60th birthday LAST November!!! Yes, it's taken a while - lots of procrastinating on my behalf and for some crazy reason, a weekend of 32 degree heat for me to sit down and finish the quilting.

My aunty and I are making this quilt together - my role was the quilting and my auntie's is all the piecing, so this quilt is now off to my auntie's for its binding, but I thought I'd show you before then just in case I don't get a photo of the finished product!

Caity x

Monday, 22 October 2012

My Big New Rural Mailbox With Modern Property Signage

Home Decorating:

I realise that it may seem quite strange that I’m posting a photo and details of my new mailbox, but I just love it! I actually thought it might be helpful to post about it, because when I went to find something recently to replace our old one, I couldn’t really find anything suitable to buy.

We used to have a small-ish barrel hanging down from a chain and a frame, and while its size was perfect for letters (not that there are as many of those these days!), we couldn’t have anything delivered to us in the mail direct to our property because no parcels would fit into it!

So I set about designing a new mailbox that was:

  • Large enough to cope with receiving large parcels, farm deliveries and the occasional groceries-on-the-mail order
  • Easily accessible from the car window – basically I didn’t want to have to get out of my car to collect my mail!
  • Good looking, practical, modern and a bit funky!
Once I came up with the design and size that I wanted, our clever builder then built this for us.

He cemented the steel frame (which he welded together) into the ground first, then built a wooden box and then clad it in the corrugated iron.

The whole box was then attached to the frame. The lower part of the door can easily be opened from the car window, and the whole door can also be opened to cope with large deliveries.

I then had a metal property sign made up for me and I attached it to the mailbox using heavy duty double-sided sticky tape.

It is getting lots of use!

Happy decorating!


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Updating A Plain Pillowcase Tutorial


I'm always looking for simple ideas to make Thom's room a little more special. A while ago I made some pretty petal pillowcases for a friend and ever since then I had been meaning to make something boyish for Thom.

This was a really simple project and may not cost you anything if you use an existing pillowcase. I had a new pillowcase I picked up from Target a while back, but I had everything else already.

Things you will need:
  • Pillowcase (new or old is fine)
  • Ric-rac (any width you have is fine really although the 25mm one is good for giving a more pronounced effect)
  • Strip of fabric approx 3 1/2 wide and slightly longer than the pillowcase (dig into that scrap basket!) 
The first step is to cut the fabric the length of the pillowcase adding a 1/4 inch extra on either end. Next sew the ric-rac to the wrong side of the fabric, lining it up against the edge of the fabric and stitch down the centre of the rid rac.

Next fold the fabric over on the centre line of the ric rac and iron to create a clean turned edge. Iron a 1/4 inch seam on the other edge and at the top and bottom of the fabric so it fits the length of the pillowcase perfectly. Pin and sew to pillowcase.

These would look great in some pretty florals too.

Happy sewing!

Caity x

Monday, 15 October 2012

A Cheap and Easy Bedroom Makeover Using ‘What You’ve Got’

Home Decorating:

I’ve been doing up the spare cottage on our property for the past two or so years by myself (where friends and family stay when they visit us), and it’s now completely finished inside. I’ve only got a bit of tidying up in the garden to do there… and I’ll be done!

It’s very exciting to nearly have such a big job out of the way, and people love staying there too! I have previously posted a couple of ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of the bathroom in the cottage, so you have seen the sort of state it was in! There certainly was lots of scrubbing, fixing, painting and re-organisation involved.

This post is about one of the four bedrooms, and this bedroom was one of the worst rooms for cleaning and repairs, as you can see.

When it came to decorating the cottage, I really just had to use everything that I already had. I didn’t really want to spend any more money and I also wanted to challenge myself to get it looking nice without buying new stuff.

I am very lucky to have a good supply of furniture already (from years of buying things cheaply, hand-me-downs from parents and friends), and I also had lots of bits and pieces from various sources (like my parents’ linen cupboard cleanout!). The things I did have to spend money on (like the curtains) I did very cheaply. Here’s a summary of what I did for this bedroom:

Painting - I Scrubbed, fixed and painted everything, including the floor – I priced getting some lino put down, but it was going to be too expensive when I multiplied it by the other 5+ rooms that I had to do! So I simply ripped up the old carpet, ploughed a mountain of no-gaps around the base of the wall, and painted the floor in white decking paint using a roller (the floorboards were quite rough so I did two coats). Then I used a heavy duty clear furniture varnish (one coat) over the top once the decking paint had dried. It looks great and wears extremely well, especially considering the amount of no-gapping that I did. It also worked out to be extremely cheap!

Curtains – I priced doing the windows cheaply with blinds or ready-made curtains, but it was still going to be too expensive. So I just made my own using only curtain backing, and I got this on special for about $6 per metre. I simply sewed a space at the top of each curtain for the curtain rods (these were cheap too), and I didn’t even bother doing any hemming at the bottom.

Talk about quick and easy! Then I wanted to give the windows some colour, and I also wanted them to look bigger than they are. So I put longer curtain rods along the windows, and hung red gingham material off the longer bit of the curtain rod (i.e. there’s no window behind the gingham curtains). And they look great!

Furniture – The bed was one of those black metal things that I bought from Harvey Norman about 15 years ago. I just painted it and I place pillows over the ugly circle design bit on the bedhead. The dressing table is a lovely hand-me-down, the chair I already had, and the bedside tables (my only furniture purchase for this room) cost $10 each from Fantastic Furniture. You can also see here my Tea Towel Cushion from a previous post. The nice European pillowcases with the red trim came from Ezibuy on special for $7 each.

Decorations – I just gathered what I had and used it – lots of little pictures that don’t work very well on their own but look great in an arrangement, the wicker wreath was another hand-me-down, a vase of sticks, an old suitcase that belonged to my father-in-law… all sorts of things like that. And somehow it just all works together!
Happy decorating!


Thursday, 11 October 2012

Wrapping Paper Art


I'm in the process of slowly doing up my 1960s house. It's taking a while, but I'm really enjoying doing a lot of it myself. 

One challenge that has been difficult though is finding art for my walls at an affordable price. I've bought a few things off etsy, made a few things myself and been lucky enough to already have a few great pieces. 

But I had one wall on the landing, outside all the bedrooms I just couldn't find the right piece for. Then, about 4 months ago I was out browsing the shops with friends and found the most lovely wrapping paper - and I had a brilliant idea - why don't I just frame the wrapping paper as my 'art'.

I mean, it's so lovely, it's cheap and really, if I get sick of it it's only going to cost me another $5 for more wrapping paper and I can just change it over!!!!

The frame is from ikea and it's a perspex sheet instead of glass, which I think I prefer - it makes the frame so much lighter to hang and also means if it were to fall off the wall then there won't be a major disaster to clean up!

Happy creating!

Caity x

Monday, 8 October 2012

Contemporary Yellow Flowers Design for Canvas


This is a nice, simple pattern that I developed recently when I was trying out some ideas for modern floral designs. I painted it for our spare cottage, but ended up liking it so much that it now hangs in the corridor in our house!

It’s a really easy pattern to try for yourself. The three Dulux colours I used for this canvas design were: Rolling Pebble (the brown); Pale Daffodil (the yellow); and Wayward Grey (the dark surrounding the flowers). I just purchased sample pots of the colours.

My process was very simple. I firstly drew in the pattern with a pencil. The balance and placement of the flowers is obviously central to making this design work.

Then I painted in the brown and the yellow.

After waiting for them to dry, I then finished off the design with the dark grey around the edge. This was the fiddliest and most time consuming bit of the painting work.

As with most of my projects, the possibilities for use of colours for this design are endless!

Happy painting!


Thursday, 4 October 2012

'Wash' and 'Dry' Embroidered Towels


This week I had fun making some simple guest towels.

If you can do basic embroidery, I promise you, you can make these towels!

Similar to my Little Bit of Love Cushion, I used the Pilgi font which I typed up and printed in 288 and 144 font size. 

Next I traced my words onto the towels with a water soluble pen and then embroidered them with a lovely bright blue pearl cotton using a small chain stitch.

Finally I gave the embroidery a good spray with a water bottle to dissolve the pen marks. Then they were ready to use!

This washer and towel project took me about 45 mins in total, and I did it all while I was watching TV one night! They are nice and quick and will make your guest feel that little bit more special!

Happy Sewing!

Caity x

Monday, 1 October 2012

Cute Little Curtain-Rod-End Clown

Creative Ideas:

This is another of my projects that use second-hand curtain fittings to make new decorative items for my home. I’ve previously done two others (See my Curtain Ring Art Piece and Fish Wall Hanging pictures)… and they’ve all been made out of the one bag of old curtain fittings that cost $3 from an Op Shop!

This little clown is just lovely, and he has lots of potential uses! He’s easy to put onto anything as he can be easily screwed in using his current fitting.

Just a few uses for my little clown head that I thought of were:

  • Put four of them into the corners of a child’s cot or a child’s bed – one for each corner
  • Put two of them at the back of a child’s chair – again, one in each corner
  • Use him for his intended purpose – as the end of a curtain rod! It would be lovely in a child’s bedroom or playroom
  • Put him on top of a little wooden box and you’ll have a lovely looking (but not functioning!)  Jack-in-the-Box
He was also very easy to make. Firstly, I worked out which sections I was going to paint and decorate (i.e. which bit was his hat etc), and then I searched the internet for some example ‘retro clown’ faces. I had a really quick go at drawing a few on a piece of paper first.

Then I chose my paint colours. I decided to use softer tones, rather than strong ones, to give the clown a friendlier look. I only used four colours: grey, white, yellow and red. I also decided to do a face on each side of the curtain end.

After painting the clown, I allowed it time to dry before adding
the facial details with a black permanent marker.

Happy making!