Thursday, 29 September 2011

my creative space - shared

sharedcercis canadiensissharedgleditziasharedstaticesharedpinks

I'm enjoying sharing my creative space this week. A few projects have been completed including this reversible eye mask made by Miss A, and a matching mask for her well loved and faithful friend Moose.

The chocolate brioche are by (aspiring Junior Master Chef) Master D, who wanted to make something 'different and hard'. These weren't too difficult but had a few different stages, some yeast and some rising, and best of all have a square of melted chocolate inside each one. They are perfect for this classic school holiday weather we've been having - wind, cold and rain.

I'm just hoping the wet passes before we hit the road on Sunday. Otherwise I might have to pack a few more creative projects to take along.

The upside though of this rain is that every time I look out the window I see spring springing, and I know this much needed rain will help those little green shoots grow.

More creative spaces, shared and otherwise, here.

(p.s. brioche recipe from Taste but actually I think I prefer the Artisan no knead Brioche recipe I used back here: next time I'd use that for the dough and steal the chocolate bit from Taste! Fussy aren't I!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

embroidery thread bobbins

bobbins bobbinsfriendship braceletbobbinsbobbinsfriendship braceletbobbin

Its holidays here and a bit of mooching around the house is in order followed later in the week by a couple of days away from the big smoke, walking along a beach and collecting shells.

The other day Miss A found some wool scraps I'd collected together and started plaiting them for bracelets, then moved on to our embroidery thread stash. We found a good tutorial online for a simple card loom (which makes that eight strand cord with the leaf charm) and she's having fun choosing different colour combinations for these simple friendship bracelets.

We soon got sick of untangling all my embroidery threads though so I decided (finally) to make these simple thread bobbins out of spare card. First I looked at some examples online and then made myself a template which I've added below to share (or here at full size). I printed them on paper then held them against the card and cut them out, but you could easily print them straight to card depending on your printer. I think they would make a nice way to recycle cards as well, the green bobbin is cut from the back of an old birthday card. They only take a couple of minutes to cut, I ended up doing two at a time, and the feeling of satisfaction is wonderful when the tangles turn to neat bobbins. On top of that they are much easier to use and simple to store so you can see all your colours at once.


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

show & tell - camille condon

show&tell18In Full Bloom 1
I'm sure that some of you could have guessed this month's guest simply from the colour of the banner above! And if the colours weren't enough of a giveaway then I'm sure these beautiful vibrant fabric flowers would be.

The CurlyPops blog is always full of bright colour and design. I love it for its mix of beautiful sewing, sculptural work, op shopping, fabric design, vintage fabrics and tea towels, a few of my favourite things! If you haven't seen it you're missing out. Curlypops' bright colourful retro style always makes me smile.

CurlyPops is the work of Cam Condon aka SuperPops, a talented crafter. You may remember Cam's work featured on my blog recently when I showed off a beautiful bag she made from one of my Filigree tea towels. I've always admired Cam's sewing on her blog, but to see it up close was a real treat. If I can ever sew half as well I'll be a happy girl!

In fact I was quite self conscious when I sent my hottie in for the group entry she coordinated for the Hottie Challenge this year. I really hope she didn't look too closely at my stitching! Cam did an amazing job of coordinating 50+ bloggers and crafters to make hot water bottle covers for an exhibition to raise money for the Margaret Pratt Foundation. It was wonderful to be part of this group and as I was organising a swap of my own at the time I know how much work would have gone into it. This cause is close to Cam's heart as she was recently accepted to the waiting list for a lung transplant.

That's another thing I love about Cam's blog. Reading her blog has informed me on issues like blood donation, organ transplant and pharmaceutical subsidies. I like hearing about these issues from a first hand perspective and so admire her honesty and courage.

But anyway, I'm sure I'm not the only one with a soft spot for the 'Pops so I'll get out of the way and let you read more about her and her blog!! Thanks Cam :-)

Camille Condon - but everyone knows me as Cam

1. Can you give us a short description of your blog/style/work
Wow, how do I explain my blog? It's mainly about the craft, but it's also a little bit of everything else in my life thrown in for good measure. I think I've developed my own unique style over the last few years. It all starts with colour - usually pink, orange and red... but I really love any bright colours mashed together. I also have a penchant for vintage and retro - mainly the bright and funky styles from the 60's and 70's.

iphone pouches

Lots of my work tends to be as a result of some sort a brilliant idea born from a happy accident. I wish I could say that I sit down and plan what I'm going to design or make next, but I really just design or make whatever I feel like making and hope for the best.

2. Why blog? How did you start?
 I started reading blogs after I had to give up working full time in 2007. I'm currently on the waiting list for a double lung transplant at the Alfred Hospital in Mebourne.

I went away for my annual summer holiday at the Victorian surf coast in January 2008, and when I returned I just decided on a whim to start my own blog. At the time, I thought it might be a bit of fun and something to fill in the extra spare time. I never realised that it would completely change my life and my career.

Granny fabric 3

3. Family taught/Self-taught/Trained?
I'm completely self-taught. I do remember taking a textiles class in Year 8 though. I made a drawstring marble bag (useful if you have marbles to store)!
As I'm self taught, I tend to just look at something and make it. I don't use a pattern. I usually draw a sketch and work out some measurements and go from there. It's probably not the way that one would actually be taught how to sew!

4. Workspace - studio or kitchen table?
Oh how I wish I had a separate studio! I must admit that I'm very lucky to have a house large enough to fit in my 'craft space'. It's part of the open plan living area, which was used as the dining room by the previous owner. I do have curtains to separate it from the rest of the living area, but I never close them as I probably spend more time there than any other part of the house anyway. It's actually really convenient because I can watch tv, listen to music and make cups of tea while I sew.

Bunting 1

 5. Blog/Shop name, where does it come from?
When I was a little girl, I always had dead straight hair, so my dad called me CurlyPops (it's quite obviously a dad joke). He still calls me CurlyPops to this day!

6. Favourite media to work in?
My favourite media is most definitely fabric. I love it - there are just so many possibilites to explore with it!

7. Ambitions/future directions/future projects/medium you'd like to try?
At the moment, I'm really enjoying designing my own fabrics to work with. I would love to be able to have an entire colour co-ordinated range available. I've also promised myself to allow more time for making and exhibiting textile art pieces, and combining textiles and sculpture.

pen roll 1

8. Are you neat and organised or, ahem, creatively messy?
I can't begin a day of creating unless I have a neat and tidy space at the start. Of course, by the end of that day, there will not be a single surface which is not covered in crafty clutter... and then I have to clean up again and so on and so on!

9. Favourite handmade, handcrafted item you own not made by you.
My favourite of all time is definitely the ginormous painting that my lovely friend Cathy Kirwan (Tinniegirl) painted for me for my birthday this year. It hangs above my bed and I love it.


10. Favourite food/recipe?
I'm not much of a cook these days but I certainly love to eat... I can't go past any sweet treat, especially chocolate

11. Favourite colour?
Oh gosh, I can't just pick one - pink and orange (preferably together)

12. Star sign?
Taurus - Sensible, stubborn and opinionated (although I would never force my opionions onto anyone else)

13. Favourite place, landscape (not necessarily Australian)?
I'd have to choose the South West Victorian coast line - reminds me of childhood.

Handbags 3

14. Any tricks for juggling life/work/family with creative pursuits?
For me, life and family always come first - then creative pursuits. I have no tricks, but I choose to be happy and to make the most of every single minute.

15. Favourite artists, artisans, crafters?
I have so many favourites that I don't know how I could possibly choose! Does the fact that I have about 500 blog subscriptions in my google reader tell you anything?

16. Your favourite thing you've made/written/done
My favourite thing I've ever made is definitely my sculpted flowers that I originally created for the Melbourne Fringe Festival last year. I have one left at my house that I kept for myself.

curlypops hottie challenge

My favourite thing that I've ever done would definitely be co-ordinating a group entry for the Hottie Challenge to raise funds for the Margaret Pratt Foundation.
Being able to combine my love of craft with raising funds for heart and lung transplant research, and meeting so many more wonderful crafters was an absolute joy.

17. Three words to describe yourself?
Determined, Strong, Happy

18. What do you like to do besides creating?
When I'm not creating, I love to hang out with my family (especially my nephews) and my friends, and drink coffee and eat cake. I'm also addicted to Op Shopping!

Avas pinny - close up

Sunday, 18 September 2011


pax pax pax pax pax

I think the naming of these wardrobes is ironic, though I am happy to say that my marriage has survived the last two days of Ikea assembly... just. That is a sketch of me above, midday on Saturday, I think the illustrator has captured my expression quite well.

I am a (re)convert to the Ikea cause though, but I think before I attempt any more I might need a little rest. Amongst lots of 'why didn't we do this sooner?' revelations we have been packing away mounds of stuff into those wonderful shelves and drawers and hangers and shutting out the mess. The kids all have storage now, and next up is us.

But what I really popped in here to say is that Show & Tell is back this Tuesday. Miss September is a real favourite and you are going to love sharing more about this lovely girl! Please come back then, and in the meantime, thanks for the pillowcase love. I'm going to work out some US and UK measurements I think, so that everyone can have their own pillowcases. Mine is on my bed and giving me lots of happiness!

Friday, 16 September 2011

learn to sew - pillowcase tutorial

pillowcase tutorial
pillowcase tutorial
pillowcase tutorial

I'm a big fan of all textiles so I love bed linen and I love to mix and match my prints and patterns. I find pillowcases are a great way to change a look. They are also a wonderfully simple sewing project - simple and a bit addictive. And its a great way to use and admire your stash! I whipped up the gingham case this morning with its vintage sheet trim to test my tutorial, the other cases are made from my marble fabric as I showed yesterday.

When I looked for a tutorial I couldn't find one that had the features I wanted and that was for local sizes, so I've made my own. I hope you find it useful. This pattern has a double thickness cuff, which you can sew in a contrasting print like I have here, and an internal flap to keep the pillow inside hidden. Also a bit of trickiness at the end hides all the seams at the opening and gives a lovely neat finish (photo above).

Pillowcase Tutorial


All measurements are in inches as I used my quilting ruler and rotary cutter to cut the pattern pieces. All seams are 1/2 inch unless otherwise stated.

You will need three pattern pieces, Front, Back and Cuff. Measurements below. Keep in mind the final positioning before cutting if your fabrics are directional, like some of mine. I've used measurements for standard Australian pillows (finished size ends up as 28 x 1712) but I've done some research on the standard sizes in the US and UK too, so you can adapt the tutorial to where you live. However, best to check your own pillowcases before you start to see if these are relevant. Its not too hard to adapt if not.

pillowcase table

pillowcase diagram
1. Cut three pattern pieces - Front, Back and Cuff.

Fold Cuff fabric in half lengthwise, right sides out and press.

2. Lay Front piece of fabric right side up (directional print in final position). Place Cuff fabric with fold on the left on top of the Front piece with right (cut) sides aligned. Pin.

pillowcase tute

3. Sew along seam.

4. If you have an overlocker, overlock or serge the seam. Alternatively zig zag along the raw edge.

pillowcase tute

5. Open out cuff and press flat. Press seam towards Cuff side.

6. Overstitch along cuff fabric (I use my 1/4 inch foot against the fold to get a neat straight seam.

My creation

7. The finished overstitching gives a neat look.

8. Take the back piece and press over a 1/2 inch seam, then turn and press again. Sew. This is the flap hem.

pillowcase tute

9. Take the back piece and lay it down, right side up with the flap hem you've just sewn on the far right. Lay the front, right side down on top of it, left edges aligned and with the cuff fabric on the right.


10. Fold the extra length of the Back piece over the Front piece to form the flap. This is the trickiness which hides this seam in the final pillowcase. Try and make sure it is square and fold hard against the cuff underneath.


11. Pin the seams on the bottom, left and top.

12. Sew around side and bottom edges with 1/2 inch seam and then overlock or zigzag around the raw seam to finish.

pillowcase tute

13. Turn the pillowcase out the right way and voila, all done!


I hope this tutorial inspires you to make some pillowcases! They would be a great way to add some spring freshness to the house. I bought the gingham for about $3 a metre on special, the vintage is a swap so it doesn't need to be expensive.

Please, if I've got something wrong or its not clear I'd love to hear from you, just email me. I'd also love to see and hear if you make a pillowcase :-)

Thursday, 15 September 2011

my creative space - pillowcases

flowerpress pillowcase
flowerpress pillowcase
flowerpress pillowcase

These are the fabric designs I had printed from my Project Selvedge entries, my Marble series and the coordinating Triangle Twist fabric. It was so nice to sew with these and I'm really proud of the way they look. These are proofs of the designs and I've tweaked some of the colours and scale and now ordered yardage to put in my shop. I'll be selling fat quarters and larger as soon as they come so if you want your own marble pillowcase you are in luck!

When I had these fabrics printed earlier in the year my kids all had favourite designs and asked to have something made from them. This spoonflower cotton is really smooth and I mentioned before I thought it would make great pillowcases. So here at last they are made up! I love the way they go together and the colours, and though I've made the scale a little smaller, I do like the marbles big like this too. I have some smaller pieces and I'm going to make at least one marble bag from the offcuts, I think it would be perfect.

Pillowcases are such an easy sewing project but when I looked for a tutorial I couldn't find one that was just right, with all the details I like and the right size for my pillows, so I've made my own! I photographed all the steps as I made the second case and I've nearly finished writing up instructions to share. I hope to post it tomorrow, so come back and grab it and make some of your own pillowcases. I have some green gingham that is calling to me for a pair of pillowcases for me.

In the meantime check out all the amazing creative types here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

leaf & feather

leaf & feather
leaf & feather

I am so in love with these beautiful necklaces and bags which my friend Lauren has started making for her brand new Etsy shop Leaf & Feather. I couldn't wait to have one of the small paisley shaped necklaces (mine is aqua with a red bead) but I'm thinking I might need a long knotted rope necklace as well or maybe a couple! I think they would make great Christmas or birthday presents too. I love the materials and colours Lauren has used in her necklaces - the shorter ones feature vibrant wooden beads strung with leather thonging and brass clasps and the longer ropes feature a 'bowerbird' mix of beads including amber, ceramic, czech and indian glass.

Lauren's reusable satiny bags are a great alternative to the big ugly green bags and roll up to nothing so you can keep them in your bag. The fabric is her own design, and they're a great price too, I've got the pink and acid green bag.

Lauren's new to the world of online selling, and she's a dear friend of mine, so I would really love it if all you lovely people would take a second to visit her new shop, have a browse and maybe favourite her. Help me make her feel welcome. And of course you might want to buy something while you're there too... Lauren isn't blogging, yet, but she does have a website that I helped her make here at