Saturday, January 14, 2023

Slow stitching and Creative Mending

 I purchased another class from Craft school of oz!   I was inspired after doing a couple of free classes learning Shashiko stitching and decided to venture more into this meditative method of stitching.   I have been re-purposing unsold garments to sell in the op shop instead of sending them to landfill.  This made a white ripped pair of shorts into a more interesting piece before I turned it into a bag.  

For Christmas I enjoyed making some little needle cases, it really is quite meditative to sew random little stitches.

I tend to look at descriptions of crafts, and then run with them and make them my own.  I love the idea of sashiko stitching, but some of it seems quite rigid.   I have been playing around with a few samples, and then thought that would be an ideal way to personalize some of the phone bags I have been thinking of making.  I didnt have a washable marker, so marked out a sort of grid with my tailors chalk.  Luckily this fabric had lines as well.  

A friend had given me some lovely sari silk, so these are going to look very pretty with that as a liner.  I am now toying with the idea of stitching a yolk to make a silk dress or top.  I am really enjoying making lots of different projects and learning different techniques.
Do you stick with the same craft, or tend to veer off in other directions as I do?

Friday, January 6, 2023

Re-fashioning Jeans

 In our hot and humid climate, jeans are not big movers in our op shop.  We had a $1 a pair sale, and still have full racks..... so I decided to make up a few different bags to see if we can value add items saved from landfill.

 Re-fashioning those items into something useful. 

I made a few variations just to try out the market and sold this one on the first day they were put out! Each one is individual, depending on what fabric I have available.

I tend to lay things out, and then just play around a bit.  Here I am laying out all the options before I start sewing.

 I actually made a lining for this bag with the doilies, and didn't like it, so made another lining.  No worries, I can use that on another bag. 

another bag finished!  

 Do you make items from clothing that would have been thrown into the trash bin?  It gives me such a feeling of satisfaction, and I am so glad to be doing my little bit.  I cannot look at it in the whole scheme of things when I see on the news about piles and piles of garments thrown away.  I just know that I am doing my little bit here and there.  One step at a time.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Coiled baskets - a gift to myself!

 I have been interested in making baskets for  along time, and last year I purchased an online class on making baskets from the garden.  I found it really messy and required a lot of space to collect all the bits and pieces so really did not pursue it after the initial spurt of creativity.  The same school offered a course on coiled baskets which I had been greatly admiring, so I bought that course as a Christmas present to myself!  It is run by the same lady as the baskets from the garden - Ruth, who I found very easy to follow.  It is super easy to go back and check the instructions.

craft school of oz

Oh my!   am I hooked!  This was the first basket I created.  I made a little lid in what I considered an African design - like a rondavel, which is a "round house" This was t shirt material wrapped around string and sewn with crochet cotton.

From then on, there was no stopping me.  as you know I am very keen to recycle materials instead of sending them to landfill and this is a perfect way of doing that.  At one stage I made necklaces out of t shirt material, and I still use that for tying up plants etc.   I have quite a collection of cut up t shirts and I keep them in a little footstool right next to the couch.  Perfect for picking my project up and working on it, and then packing away easily when I want to take a break.  I organized the fabric into colour themes, since my daughter is always telling me to use a colour wheel.

The first one used rope as the center core, and I decided I wanted to use recyclable materials so used four strands of t shirt material as the core for this one.  I used some pretty wool for the stitching.  All kinds of materials being used up!  

The class showcased a round mat made with denim, and here I used the jean seams as the core, which turned out a bit lumpy.  The colour variations come from using the right and wrong side of the denim.  I used crochet cotton for the stitching. 

Next I wanted to try some silk, as I had some scarves that I had painted that of course I never wore.  I think they work better as baskets.!  the silk was a little slippery to work with.  The little yellow one has the silk folded over the core (T shirt material again).  The blue one Was a scarf that portrayed the beach extending out to the ocean and it really seems to work well here.  I was thinking of maybe sewing a shell onto the top for a handle.  This time I twisted the silk around the core, which does leave exposed cut edges 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Bringing the forest into the living room!

 For a while I have been trying to bring more plants into the living room.  We have three big sliding glass doors in the living room so you can see my lovely tropical garden from every angle.  I hung a macrame hanger in front of window, and borught in more pot plants.  Some of which didnt like the transfer from my garden to inside!

I mulled over it was that I wanted - actual plants? or did I want something different on the walls?  Huge sunflower posters? Wallpaper?  I just didnt know, all I knew was that I needed a change. We had just purchased  new living room furniture.  Dark grey, a safe colour with the silver grey curtains, and pale yellow walls. In the meantime, I began to wash down the walls, and curtains, and remove clutter.  

  It was very timely to recieve an offer from a wonderful company in Sweden called Photowall. 

 Check them out here:

They offered to send me a product so that I could review it on my blog.  Ohmigosh - the choices!  I knew that I wanted a nature theme, but did I want wallpaper or a canvas print or a wall hanging?  

There are lots of different articles and ideas - how to make little baskets for your office equipment from  leftover wallpaper - or a garland of rosettes!   Gosh I certainly came away with all sorts of wonderful ideas!  

In the end I ordered a canvas print of a forest scene.  Thinking I would put it behind the couch and it would seem like a window looking out to the forest.  I ordered a long narrow print, thinking that I did not want it to be overwhelming.   Considering it came all the way from Norway it arrived very quickly. Very well packaged in a long box.   Immediately I could see the quality of the product.

I laid it out on the table out in the garden, and followed the instructions on how to put it together.  Placing the wooden frames along each edge and then turning them inside to stretch and lock the frame in place. 

There are hinges that fit in each corner and some very easy to use screws to screw it all into place.  Everything lined up perfectly.  I am so very impressed by the quality.
So I flipped it over and took it inside and hung it up where I had orginially intended it to go.   Bearing in mind that I had never measured the area, or put much thought into how it would fit I was not too surprised  to see that it was not going to  work where the hangers from my other pictures had been or even directly above the couch.

The other place I had thought it might fit was above the TV, and immediately we both thought that was the best place for it!   I love how it fits in with the plants that I have being bringing in from the garden, and now there is something lovely to look at even when the TV is off!   It was so easy to hang with the little hanging bracket provided.   
Now I looked back at the area behind the couch and decided to hang the same pictures up on the wall.  Batiks that I purchased when visiting Tanzania, which bring back lots of lovely memories.   

I still feel I need something else on that wall.  These pictures were hung up when we first moved in because there were two nails in the wall.  It always worries me though that things should come in threes.  I feel I need something to the right of these pictures.  Should I install a series of boxes down the side of that wall next to the batiks?  Should I add a strip of wallpaper?  A macrame tree of life?   What would you suggest?   

Photowall havve been very generous, and offered my readers a wonderful discount, will you tkae up their offer?   Do you have any suggestions that I could add to that wall?   

Thursday, May 20, 2021


Beeswax wraps


I have been making and using beeswax wraps for about a year now. Reducing plastic in our lives is so important. Plastic never goes away, and it is really worrying to think about that fact. Micro-beads of plastic are showing up in the fish we eat, and the only way we can stop this occurring is to STOP USING PLASTIC. One way is to use beeswax wraps instead of cling-wrap. Choose pretty 100% cotton fabric, and cut it into the sizes you desire. You can pink the edges, or sew with a three point zig zag as I do.

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I buy my beeswax locally from a dear friend who sells honey, and I love the fact that it is a little bit rustic, and even sometimes has the odd little bits of unknown objects in it! I used to grate it but find it is easier to take a large knife and just shave pieces off it. If you get natural beeswax like this, then I would suggest you select fabric that does not have a lot of white background, as the wax tends to yellow it. You can buy beeswax pellets that are white from echo warehouse.

The other product you are going to need is pine rosin, this is used to create the tackiness. You need twice as much beeswax by weight as pine rosin.

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These need to be placed into a double boiler, or a bowl on top of a pot containing water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl, but make sure you have enough water that the pot does not boil dry. Add jojoba oil or coconut oil, this keeps the wraps a little more pliable.

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Once the mixture has completely dissolved ( the pine rosin takes much longer than the beeswax) you need to paint the mixture onto the prepared fabric. I put the fabric on a baking tray covered with wax wrap, for larger wraps the material can be doubled over. Then I pop the tray into the oven, set on low or 100*C for a few minutes. Take it out, and check that all the fabric is evenly coated. When well coated, lift the wrap up and gently wave it around until it starts to dry. the wrap can then be place on another sheet of wax wrap to harden and dry.

You have just completed your first beeswax wrap.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Necklaces from recycled t-shirts.

While visiting my daughter in America I came across a wonderful organization called re-threaded that is based in Jacksonville FL and creates jobs for women rescued from the sex trade.  I love to support companies like that, that empower women who in the past have felt that they have no other options.  I purchased some items from them, and looking at the necklaces that they make from t-shirts I wondered about making them myself here in Australia.    I intend to donate 5% of my earnings back to them since that is where I first got the idea.
This is what I am making, and will sell them here on my blog and once a month at the markets here in tropical north Queensland. They are so comfortable and light to wear, you can twist them, double them up, clip on brooches or fabric roses.  I am really loving this new craft I have discovered!

All necklaces are made from santized recycled t-shirts and/ or t shirt material.       Handmade right  here in tropical North Queensland.  

Sensory necklaces for Mum and Bub.  Something for baby to tug on, play with, grab.

Completely machine washable - each necklace comes with its own little gift/wash bag.

Buck the trend - Reduce, RE-use, recycle.

A simple t-shirt can cost less than a cup of coffee but uses 2700L of drinking water to produce (enough for one person/yr)
95% of all clothing thrown away could have been recycled.
Australians throw away enough clothes each year to completely fill an enormous football stadium twice over!

Necklaces are AU$15.00 each or two for AU$20.00, plus postage. Bracelets are AU$5.00 each and if you bring me two use-able t-shirts you get a free bracelet!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Rag quilt

This is the rag quilt I made for my grandson - these are such fun.

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