Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bags of inspiration!

I love handbags!!

And I just know that I share this love with so many of you...So I thought I'd also share what I made last Summer from a pattern by Mum's Moment...

I came across this pattern at a craft show a couple of years ago. A customer at the show was wearing one and while I was goggling away, she opened it up to take out her purse... and it was then that I noticed how unusual the zipper was. A great big chunky zipper on a diagonal! Awesome!

So I asked the lady where she had purchased the pattern, and fortune had it that she had bought it from the very stallholder where we were both stood! So what happened next?

SOLD! To the very nosy lady (me!) with the boring handbag!!

Like the majority of crafters I speak to, I am usually attracted to patterns by the cover photo. Whether it be the colours, or fabrics, or the trims... I usually wind up creating something close to the original because it is those choices that I have already fallen in love with.

But it is amazing how many different looks you can get from one design... and that is something I've been working with this past year or so - adapting the patterns I already have and creating something quite different from the cover photo. Please don't get me wrong, I don't for one minute presume to think that my adaptations or fabric choices are any nicer than the original! I just wanted to highlight that I have to remind myself to think outside the box - as it opens the doors for creativity and inspiration. And that's what I wanted to share with you! :-)

The differences?

The original pattern looks like this

pattern cover photo for "Chic Shopping" by Mum's Moment

I decided not to piece or quilt my bag and instead opted for an "outdoors" fabric that I found in my local craft store. I would hazard a guess that it was intended for covering deckchairs and other outdoor soft furnishings. It was a thick material so I used a Jeans needle in my sewing machine.

I beaded certain areas around flowers on the fabric, and covered a button with the same material (also beaded). I lengthened the handles, and made a brooch by fussy-cutting two matching flowers from the fabric, and sticking them together with vilisofix.

The great thing about this fabric is that it didn't fray, but the downside was that the seams were a bit bulky. I certainly need to hone my skills with inserting zips as I had to fix up the zip area with a patch of fabric.

Fantastic free Buttercup bag pattern

If you are a bag-lover such as myself, then check out this beautiful free pattern named Buttercup, designed by Made by Rae. If you want to make it in a bigger size, see Rae's recent blog entry for the adaptions.

As if that isn't enough inspiration - check out Rae's flickr gallery here to see dozens of Buttercup bags made by other talented ladies.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Beautiful Giveaway!

If you love romance, embroidery and "prettiness" in all it's glory, then you will feel right at home in the land of elefantz. This is the home of Jenny and her inspiring designs and beautiful works.

Jenny is having a generous giveaway.... so go check it out before Sunday 3rd May! Not only that, but you will discover her BOM... which is also offered free to anyone who wishes to add a bit of romance and stitching into their lives... Perfection, if you ask me! :-)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pixie dust!


My name is Smiler and I'm a little bookshelf pixie

(although I prefer sitting outdoors!)

My mum made me from a pattern by Allison Marano and I am a very happy girl!

I share mum's craft desk with her and
we smile at each other every day!

When she is asleep I sneak into her desk and eat-up some of her chocolate!

But Shhhh! She doesn't know... she thinks her hidey-hole is secret!

If you would like to meet me, I will be going with mum to the

Sunday 3 May

I will be easy enough to find... just follow your nose...
I smell like cocoa!!!!


Oh, and mum has been drawing again... she likes doing that!

She is so smitten with me (and who can blame her? he he he..) that she is thinking about making me a sister!

So I guess it won't be too long before I'll be sharing my - oops - I mean "mum's" chocolate!

It was nice meeting you!


Monday, April 20, 2009

A blogger must take her camera everywhere!

When I first started writing a blog, my very dear and blog-tastic friend Kerryanne, gave me some great advice. She said, "Take your camera with you wherever you go!"

So I dutifully pack my camera into my bag whenever I go out - and last night was no exception - as I was off to an exhibition with my enthusiastic "felting friend", Narelle!

The exhibition, aptly named "Felt like it" featured wearable art by the gorgeous and flamboyant Rita Caspersz. Here we are pictured among some of Rita's creations. Narelle is to Rita's left and I am far right. I am sorry about the poor lighting in this shot as you can't see the full beauty of Rita's garments.

Anyhow, Narelle and I decided to make a night of it and go to a restaurant after the event, so off we headed to the nearest TGI Fridays... we parked the car on the upper car-park level... and tried to find the exit!

Where is the exit?
Where are the stairs?

Surely there must be a sign somewhere??? Narelle finds a door, we ignore the "Fire Exit" sign on it and enter...

Yep - we entered alright - but do you think we could get OUT?!!! We find ourselves at the bottom of the stairwell, surrounded by broken eggs and their stale splattered contents... and can not open the fire EXIT door! So we trot back up the stairs again to get out from whence we came...but the one thing with fire doors (as Ral and I have discovered) is that once they are closed behind you, they do not open again!

So here we are - TRAPPED - in Salmonella-City! Here is Ral pictured by the door with some of her newly-acquainted Egg-pals:

I'm sure that the local Fire Brigade would have been alerted simply by the velocity of our laughter, as we couldn't quite believe how we had gotten ourselves into this predicament!

So Ral has the brainwave to call TGI Fridays, and the manager endeavours to come to our rescue. While we wait, Ral has another go at opening the door - this time using her foot instead of her hands - and Wah-La! We are free girls again!!!

It was a bit embarrassing walking into the restaurant as it seemed that every staff member knew we were the ditzies stuck in the fire escape! But we lived to tell another tale... and the camera proved its use again! I'll refrain from putting up pics of all the broken eggs I saw, as from the amount of images on my camera it would seem I was rather taken with them!

This is Ral and I just before we left the restaurant to drive home... we had such a good laugh.... and if you're wondering... No, Omelet was not on the menu!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Madame la Chat

You're probably wondering what on earth I am picturing! he he he... It is actually the beginnings of a Victorian cat doll that I am working on for an exhibit in May. Here she is floating on some fluffy "stuffing" clouds on my brightly-covered desktop.

That pic was taken two days ago - "Madame" has had a few meals since then and now looks like this:

She looks like she's getting ready for a parachute jump doesn't she?!! Notice how her knees are 'backwards', like a real feline?!

I don't think I've spoken much about my love of dolls... about how I adore their tactile quality, their pretty little faces, the joys of cuddling a 'little person', oh, and the vast array of costumes to choose from. Yep - you've guessed it - I just LOVE dolls!!! I live and breathe dolls! I am the female equivalent of Peter Pan... the girl who never grew up... and I don't intend on starting now! he he he... I'm sure I'm not alone!

Right, I need to give you a bit of history to this story. When I emigrated to Australia five years ago I couldn't believe my good fortune to live so close to Ringwood - the meeting place for the Australian Cloth Doll Association (ACDA). It still took many months before I actually joined the "dolly club", as I call it, as my own little doll, Rosie, came into the world and took up rather a lot of my time. But I visited the bi-annual ACDA doll exhibition two years ago and once I re-hydrated again from all the drool I lost at the show, I signed up and have never looked back.

At the time I was a big sucker for rag dolls and rather liked a touch of prim too. I still do! But there is soooo much to learn about making dolls, always something to learn, in fact. The ladies at the dolly club are amazingly talented, and their imaginations are as wild as they come. We meet on a monthly basis, have a "doll of the month" competition, followed by Show & Tell, and there is always something organised be it a demonstration or a guest speaker. Members get to borrow books from an extensive library and people sit and chat, drink tea, swap dolly stories and are always willing to share their knowledge and advice. I never fail to return home brimming with enthusiasm and amazement at what I've seen during the day.

Back to Madame la Chat! Who's she? She's the doll I'm making from a pattern by Stephanie Novatski. The dolly club organised a sewing weekend in February to create this doll, but unfortunately I got tonsillitis that weekend and missed the event. However, I am determined to complete this doll and fortunately the pattern has been incredibly well-written and is easy to follow. So I shall show you my progress along the way.

This is the first doll that I've made requiring a wire armature (the bones of the body). It was tricky at first, getting stuffing into all the right places around the wire. But hopefully the arms and head will be easier to stuff, and then the fun begins! The face! The needle-sculpting! The costuming and wigging! Ooh - bring it on! Meeeeowwww!!!!

If you are in Melbourne and free on Sunday 3 May, it would be lovely to see you at the exhibition! There will be an extensive display of amazing dolls, fun demonstrations and trading tables. You could make a day of it! Go here to see full details. If you're a doll lover you won't be disappointed!
Right! I'd best go and lick my whiskers and get on with the job in hand... before I curl up on the end of the bed and have a snooze!

Until next time, happy creating!

Vikki x

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One finished and another one started!

It's such a wonderful feeling to complete a project, and at this stage I'm usually taking a quick photo and wrapping it up for the quick delivery to a friend or family member. So it feels kinda strange to have a finished creation still sat on my desk (or on my outdoor shrubs!) to admire!!

This little project is called The Sew Thoughtful Dilly Bag and was designed by Bronwyn Hayes of Red Brolly Designs. It appeared in Homespun (No 45, Vol 8.2) magazine quite a while ago and has been on my To-Do list for ages.

Isn't the pin-cushion keyring a wonderful idea? I've never seen one like it before and it was such a pleasure to make.

Bronwyn's stitcheries are so cute! Even the inside of the needle case has little critters decorating it... just one of those extra touches that are always so evident in her designs.

If you are a lover of Homespun magazine and of Bronwyn Hayes, check out this link for a cushion pattern generously offered by Homespun in addition to the version printed in the mag. If you follow the link you will also see a text box on the right-hand side of the project detail entitled "Previous Homespun projects" - there are quite a few others to choose from! I thought this info might be useful for you lovely crafters on the other side of the pond, where it is difficult to get hold of Aussie magazines!

Right! Time now to give you a glimpse of my next creation! The painting element is complete, but the sewing and detail are yet to be "performed". I hope to show you the end result some time soon!

In the meantime I wish you all a very happy and enjoyable Easter weekend!

Warm wishes! Vikki x

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Weekend away - Photo Frenzy!

I've finally got some pictures to show you of my Girls' weekend away in Dromana, Vic, from a couple of weeks ago! So here goes...

It began when my lovely friend Narelle (Ral), and I, arrived at the Kangerong Holiday Park early Friday evening. Ral got out of the car to sign-in and pick up the keys and returned with a big grin on her face, exclaiming, "We've been upgraded!". Turns out, Ral had been chatting to the Receptionist who was also an avid crafter, and once she heard we'd brought our sewing machines she gave us all the extra space she could... at no extra cost! What a darling!

Anyhoo, this was the view from our front door balcony...

And then the view looking to our right... the caravan park was beautifully maintained with lots of lush greenery.

Then we get inside the cabin... sewing machines and other crafty regalia being the centre of attention and at the ready... As we'd planned to get lots of sewing done...

Narelle and I were giggling away taking photographs of everything - if it was pinned down we 'snapped' it!

Ahhh... how cute are these bunk beds? Being the youngest child with three brothers there was always too much testosterone in my house, so it was nice to feel like a 'little girl' again - sharing a room with my new sister!

After settling in, we took a stroll along Dromana beach during sunset. The pics do not do it justice, the colours were pastel, dreamy and I felt like a fairy in a fantasy world just waiting for a (friendly) dragon to swoop down from the sky and take me for a ride. (Do fairies ride on dragons? Maybe only if they have tired wings and need to take the 'express'?!)

So after a good walk, a hearty meal and a few glasses of wine, we headed back to our cabin and fell into a slumber until 10am (eeeek!) the next morning!!!! Now we're talking precious-time-without-kids here... it's not the time to be sleeping-in! Even if we are both worn out from the constant daily demands of motherhood!

So we made up for it pretty quickly by visiting an amazing art and textiles shop in Dromana called Peninsula Art Supplies & Textile Artistry. If you love art dolls, art quilts, felting, mixed-media or any other number of arts, this shop is a must to visit. When we dropped by, the very lovely and helpful owner, Catherine, showed us what the ladies in her workshop were up to... which was none other than making the Stargazer Stitchery Tome designed by my guru, Patti Medaris Culea. If you want to check it out, visit here. It is stunning!

After all that excitement, and having woken up so early (!!!), we took a well-deserved break. You can just make out the Textile shop behind me.

We then drove on to Rosebud and bought-up a few fabrics in
The Needlery. Lots of patterns in this store, so I just had to buy another doll pattern... a girl can never have too many? Isn't that how the saying goes?!! Then it was time for Narelle and I to get 'snapped', outside the front of the shop standing in the sunshine.

So how much sewing did we do?????

Sorry, did you say Shopping??????

Or did you say Eating and Drinking????????

Or did you ask how many Easter bunnies we caught???????
Oh - I see - you said Sewing! Ummmm.... nah, we didn't do any of that! But we had a darn good relaxing weekend!!!!! Thank you Dromana and Mornington Peninsula for putting on such a good show for us!

Until next time - happy creating... oh and shopping, and eating......and.....!!!!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Kellie comes up trumps!

Don't Look Now!!!!! ...ha ha! I bet that made you look didn't it?! Actually, I would LOVE IT if you DID look because these exquisite designs by Kellie at Don't Look Now have just been brought to my attention (thank you Mai!) and I fell in love instantly. I'm not sure I have the skills to 'go forth and conquer' just yet... but, boy oh boy, what an incentive to skill-up and learn!

Just check out this detail!

All four of the beautiful pillows pictured come in the one pattern packet, aptly named Pretty n Pink

Kellie is generously offering her fabulous pattern (and other gorgeous goodies) as a giveaway. So if you would like to be in the running, please click here and you too can Go Forth and Conquer!! Good Luck!
ps. Thank you Kellie for permitting me to use your pictures!


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