Friday, 21 December 2012

:: Merry Christmas! ::

I have now ticked off the last of the goodies on my pre-Christmas sewing to-do list - with four whole days to spare! 

First up for today was the project-size from Jeni's In Color Order Lined Drawstring Bag pattern.  I made one each for my girls, to store balls of wool and other goodies for their most recent crafty-obsession - kumihimo braiding

They each chose their own fabric combos.  I really love Jeni's pattern, it's really easy to follow and comes together very quickly.  I will be making more bags in the new year - to add to the five I've now made in the last few days :-) .

And then it was onto two zip pouches, using Anna's open-wide zip pouch tutorial on her Noodlehead blog. 
I had seen zip pouches made from 2wenty Thr3e by Cosmo Cricket, on Badskirt Amy's blog and loved the look of the line.  Amy mentioned in her blog, that QuiltJane had some layer cakes in stock, so I clicked across and bought one. 

I figured I may as well make two pouches while I was at it - so I made the grey camera-print version as part of my Secret Santa pressie for one of my brothers ... 

... and this gorgeous one is for me to keep!  I LOVE this print.

Anna's tutorial was great, and I'm really amazed at how roomy the pouches are, and how big the zippered opening is.  It makes a huge difference to the usable size of the pouch - you can easily see what's inside, which is important when you're scrabbling around for pointy things like embroidery-snips.  I really want to sew some pouches in the two bigger sizes that Anna has in her tutorial.

But that will have to wait for a few days, as I am stepping away from the sewing-machine and the computer, to focus on Christmassy things and to spend some time with my family.  

So - this will be our last blog post before Christmas, and maybe the New Year.  We'll see how we go. We wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year, and a peaceful and safe holiday period.  We'll see you back here in January.

take care  xoxo cat

Thursday, 20 December 2012

:: Secret Santa Swap ::

With 5 days til Santa arrives, I thought it was a good time to post about the Secret Santa Swap.

The gorgeous Kara from Me and Elna organised the swap a few months ago, and I came across it on Instagram and put my hand up to join in - my first-ever swap! 

We all filled out a little profile, created by Kara, to show our fabric-y and crafty likes and dislikes.   That was a fun thing to do - to really think about favourite fabric lines, designers and colours, and also about whether there was any hand-made item that I really wanted (or didn't want!) to receive.   

I was matched with Kimberly from Hitched and Stitched, in Kentucky.  From Kimberly's list - and from secret sticky-beaking on her instagram and blog - I settled on making a zippered bag, using lots of grey, teal and yellow, some Sweetwater Reunion and Moda Half Moon.  I also wanted to include a sausage dog or two and an elephant.  

Happily, Vee and I have our Pipsqueak panels on hand - ohh, so handy! - and we had recently printed some onto turquoise (teal?...) dots.    

{{Pipsqueak in the middle.  Spot the elephant and the Heather Ross sausage dog}}
{{the back - Moda Half Moon butterflies and scissors, and Reunion bunting and text}}
I really enjoyed making the bag, hoping that Kimberly would notice all the little snippets of fabric that came from her wish-list.

{{hangin' by the pool before the flight to Kentucky}}
{{more pool time}}
I posted it way early, so that Kimberly would definitely receive it in time for Christmas.  Which she did.  I think it arrived even before November had finished ...  And she did love it - shared pics on instagram, which was awesome.

Once I'd sent my pressie, I kind of forgot all about the Swap for a couple of weeks (plus I knew I had finished and posted early).  So when a package arrived - literally sitting on my front doorstep - I didn't guess where it was from.  

I was SO excited when I opened it, to discover it was MY Swap pressie! - and to find this inside:
{{a cute little bag, bunting and the only pic you will see of the Lindt Santas.  they were goooooone in a flash}}
My Santa Swap partner was the lovely Ros from SewDelicious , based in Melbourne.  Ros has a gorgeous blog full of sewing and crafty tutorials and great recipes.  She really nailed it with this sweet little drawstring bag: 

{{love the pink and green together, love the whales and LOVE that it's an In Color Order lined drawstring bag!!}}
Ros also made me some really cute Christmas bunting (I do love a bit of bunting), sewn onto a way-fancy gold satin ribbon. It's so sweet and Christmassy.  I have taken so many pics of the bunting hanging up and I just can't get it to look awesome - too much white wall.  So here is the bunting nestling up to the whale-bag:

Lucky, eh.  I've been using the pouch a lot already, to carry crafty supplies and little bits and pieces.  It's a perfect size in fact - to carry just what you need, but not too much.  I've just started making bags from the In Color Order pattern (the Gnoma Santa sacks from my last post), but haven't made this size yet.  That will be next on my list. 

I loved taking part in the swap - loved making something for someone all the way over in Kentucky, and loved receiving a surprise package at the front door.  I loved the thought that went into my choosing fabrics and making a gift for Kimberly, and that the same thought was going on with Ros to make something for me.  

This online sewing-and-crafting community is such a blessing.  We have met so many lovely people, who share the same fabric-obsession and love of creating things, whether for a useful purpose or just because it makes someone happy or looks cute and makes someone smile.  

So, thank you Kara, for putting the whole Secret Santa Swap together - I am definitely in again for next year.  And thank you Ros for my gorgeous pressies, and Kimberly for being the recipient of my first-ever swap-a-thon piece of crafty-makery. 

And now - the countdown to Tuesday continues.  Hope all your Christmas planning is going well.   xoxo cat

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

:: ho ho ho, said the gnomas ::

So I made my girls a new Santa sack each.

I carefully cut into my hoarded-and-oh-so-loved stash of Winterkist and Holiday Happy, two of my favourite-ever fabric lines, designed by the gorgeous and clever Monica of Happy Zombie.   

{{guess what girls, you each get a cushion!!}}
I used the laundry-size from In Color Order Jeni's awesome Lined Drawstring Bag Pattern.  There is a basic drawstring-bag size in the tutorials-tab of Jeni's blog, but it's really worth buying her pattern (downloadable as a PDF from Jeni's shop), as it provides cutting-instructions for about 8 different bag sizes.  The laundry-size is the biggest.  It will fit the most pressiess, Santa.  Just sayin'. 

{{gnoma love}}
{{more gnoma love}}
I love Jeni's pattern, as you get to choose a feature fabric AND an extra feature fabric AND THEN your lining gets to show off too! 

{{gnomas showing off}}
One more look at the Holiday Happy.  It doesn't get to come out much, as it lives in my fabric cupboard.  Bit by precious bit, it is seeing the light of day.    

Last pic:
I'm off to make another few of Jeni's bags - smaller ones.  One more each for the girls - they've chosen their fabrics.  Though I did have to veto Heather Ross' purple unicorns being chosen for the bag lining, as those precious unicorns needs to live in the fabric cupboard waiting for another day.  They will be in good company, hanging out with the gnomas.  

Hope your 6-days-and-counting week is going well.  xoxo cat

Monday, 17 December 2012

:: the one about Red-Riding Hood ::

My sister-in-law G casually mentioned that my niece H would loveity-love-love her very own Red-Riding-Hood cape for Christmas.

Now, H is a girl who loooooves to dress up.  Can't stress that enough.  Wigs, shoes, accessories, the whole bit.  There are many awesome photos that I would love to share - but Vee and I don't even put pics of our own kids onto the blog, so you will just have to imagine a 4 year old girl rocking a Rapunzel wig, sunglasses and a Cinderalla dress on a normal day at kindy, with an awesome attitude of  "nothing to see here, leave me to my painting and don't get caught in my long, blonde wig". 

Anyway, now that the Christmas holidays have started, I thought I'd get onto the cape.   I had already found an excellent tutorial thanks to Allie's Freshly Completed blog - I had googled until I found the easiest-possible tutorial, since I am not blessed with garment-sewing-skills of any kind.  Can't stress that enough.  

I then made Allie's tutorial even easier by leaving out the lining and button.  I hemmed the cape and hood, and sewed in some cute candy-cane striped binding tape, so that G can tie a bow to close it.  

Please go check out Allie's blog, as her how-to pics are excellent, AND she has a gorgeous tiny girl modelling her completed cape!    

So once H's cape was done, I thought we should find a little basket to go with it, since everyone knows Red was carrying a basket to grandma's house.  

But then I saw the cutest little 9-patch tote on Chase's Quarter Inch Mark blog, so I thought I would just copy that idea.  I already had some sweet red-riding hood fabric in my stash (that I had bought with H in mind), AND some cute basket fabric too (that I had bought with me in mind ... ), thanks to Frances' gorgeous Miss Matatabi shop on etsy.   

{{I love that it says 'walking in the forest with friends' ... ahhhhm, watch out for that wolf!!}}
{{the basket fabric is gorgeous}}
{{what big ears you have, grandma ... }}
{{Red is looking sweetly determined, and is surrounded by friends ...  }}
H's favourite colour is purple, so I used Lizzy House's pearl bracelets for the lining, and Heather Ross' Far Far Away 2 moon dot print along the bottom on the outside of the bag (scroll back up again to see the sleepy moons). 

And here they are together.  I really do need to work on my photo-styling skills.  Particularly when capes are involved.   
Very happy with this pressie, particularly since I'll be adding in a little name-star that just arrived in the mail today from Jeannette.  Her Wordz of Life shop on etsy is beautiful.  Jeannette repurposes old quilts and makes them into stars, hearts and other shapes and then hand-sews words onto them.  Every piece comes with a little bible verse and heart attached to it.  I ordered a name-star for my children, and one each for my niece and nephew.  So happy that they've arrived in time for Christmas.  

Hope your week has started well.  xoxo cat

Saturday, 15 December 2012

:: holidays ::

The school holidays have started - yahh, at last!! 

The last couple of days of school are actually always a little sad - the holidays loom forever out of reach for weeks and then they're suddenly here and you realise that another school year has finished.  But then once the holidays actually start, good grief it's awesome.  

Here are a few pics from the last few days.

My new advent calendar stick, bought from a gorgeous local gift shop, and made by a gorgeous and very talented local lady.
{{the advent stick of awesome}}

And now Ted:

{{chatting with his magpie peeps}}
Ted had a bath and hair-cut today, at a local pet-pampery place we hadn't tried before.

{{please take the bow out of my hair}}
{{why have you stopped?! take it out!!}}
{{are those scissors?!}}
The bow is finally out.  Scissors were involved.  I'm not quite sure why it was there in the first place.  The kids wanted to change Ted's name to Francine, but thankfully we're now ok to stick with Ted.

We went and saw 'Rise of the Guardians' yesterday, and then had a healthy lunch:

{{this wasn't my lunch.  I had hot chips}}
And finally, some sewing.  We REALLY needed some coasters for home, so I made a stack of 9-patches using Mama Said Sew, AMH feathers, Alison Glass' Lucky Penny, Center City and a pink solid and texty print from the cupboard.   I love the colours all mixed in together.
{{waiting for wine}}
Here's to a happy and safe weekend for you all.   xoxo cat

Sunday, 9 December 2012

:: the one about the markets ::

Our market career has started, peaked and quite possibly may be over.  Well, for 2012 anyway.

{{our market hotspot. literally}}
We set up shop at the Brisstyle Indie Designers' Market yesterday, in the gorgeous grounds of St Augustine's Church in Hamilton.

We had an awesome little corner of the market.  Honestly.  It's just that in Brisbane's hideous hot humidity, Vee and I baked like Christmas chickens.  We so glam. 

{{cute, right}}
It was lovely to see the Brisstyle girls again, and to meet so many new Brisstylers too.  It is such an awesome organisation, coordinated by such gorgeous women, who are so generous in giving their time and energy to supporting and helping the crafty types of Brisband and beyond.

{{how could you not go crazy for that?!  the coffees weren't for sale}}
The market was quiet as a mouse though.  It had been incredibly well advertised.  Amazingly well.  But it was just Quiet City. All day.

{{nice rack}}
On the upside, the quietness meant that Vee and I had plenty of time to tag-team shop the gorgeous stalls.  Seriously, there was SO MUCH great stuff to buy.  And buy, we did. 

The only purchase that I have photographed - so far - are these gorgeous little jugs from Raw Ceramics.  Come oooonnn.  How cute are they?  Love them.  All for me.

{{so gorgeous.  so buying more.}}
So that's us done with markets for now.  On the upside, due to Quiet City, we have lots of gorgeous stuff to upload to the shop.  Which we're tag-team doing right now.  Due to the oh-so-slow internet connection in our part of Brisbane, the uploads will probably take us into tomorrow.  Allowing time too of course for proper concentrating while 'Homeland' is on tonight.  

We'll do a quick post to let you know when we've uploaded all our new shop stuff - because we are talking a SALE - yes, our first ever SALE.  Get excited.  Get shopping.   

Happy last week of school to you all.  Even if it's not even your last week of school.  It so is ours!! 

xoxo cat


Thursday, 6 December 2012

:: real life will resume shortly ::

Ohhh the blogarama has been put in the corner like Baby as life rolls on.  As we all know, no one puts Baby in a corner.  So we're ba-ack ready to have the time of our lives. 

Our second-and-last-and-that-is-enough market is on this Saturday - the Brisstyle Indie Designers' Market, 9.00 am til 4.00 pm in the grounds of St Augustine's Church, on Racecourse Road in Hamilton. 

It's a seriously fabulous market - we have both been as shoppers before, but this will be our first time as stall holders.  The gorgeous Helen, Belinda and Sam have done an amazing job coordinating the market - they are seriously magic-makers - and we are very excited. 

You can find us in the courtyard entry way into the hall - right by the toilets in fact, so stop by on your way to the loo.  Handy.  We're hoping people drink a lot. 

We'll have teatowels, ipad zip pouches and panels, panels and more panels.  Cushion panels in 8 designs, plus our homies.  Too much Christmas shopping is never enough. 

In other sewing news, I have finally finished the two bags that will be our school teacher pressies this year.  Many pics follow.  Starting now. 

{{a super big laptop zip-bag}}
Can I please just say - do notice the straps and zip - yes, I have finally figured out how to do a zippered bag WITH sewn-in straps.  I'm surprised there hasn't been more fainting over this significant piece of news. 
{{yes, a subtle reference to our lovely teacher originally being from England}}
{{the bag - note the 'B for blackboard' ... no 'W for whiteboard' or 'S for smartboard' though ...}}
{{detail - loving the computer keys and the France map}}
{{the lining and pocket - how much are we all loving the Melody Miller typewriters, eh?}}
{{a tote bag.  no zip.  red is the theme}}
{{more red.  more Melody Miller}}
{{Amy Butler lining and pocket}}
{{the back of the red tote bag}}
{{the students, with aching arms, holding their pressies for their teachers, before I let them finally hop into the pool}}
OK.  We'll be back with a market wrap up, and an update on our Secret Santa Swap.     xoxo cat
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