easy peg bags

The other day I found myself with time on my hands…
HAHAHA. As if.
Actually I didn’t find myself with spare time, on my hands or otherwise. I had to make the time. But this was one project I’d had sitting in a bag on the floor of my office for months. I wanted it gone. Seemed like it’d be a waste to just get rid of these tiny little pants since what I planned to do was a simple little conversion: from tiny people pants to peg bags.

I added patches to them to fancy them up a bit, make them cuter… and buttons on the loops.

I secured them to bits of wood or sticks and make hooks out of wire for hanging them on the clothes line.

This blue jean one is my favourite with its red star patterned fabric patch and the stitched star on the other side.

I even had a dress so I included that in my burst of industriousness. That one has been waiting longer than the tiny pants.

The dress actually is a much bigger peg bag, you know, for those heavy duty washing days. 
z

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dog bandanas – something fun

Just wanted to share a quickie tonight. A quickie project I mean. Mainly cause I really enjoyed making these little dog bandanas out of scraps of fabric.

The idea of these is that they can be put on a collar, taken off and washed then put back on. They’re colourful and fun. I got the idea from a little bandana a friend gave me and I thought I could put some of my millions of fabrick offcuts to use to make something different and special for the dogs I groom.

I didn’t use any large pieces of fabric to make these, just small squares. First I joined two pieces together, then folded, ironed, and stitched the sides for neatness. Lastly I folded over and ironed to create a sleeve to put the collar through. Then ironed again. Easy peasy. If you don’t mind all the ironing.

If I can do it, trust me. Its easy.

Ok, so you noticed the crooked stitching on the dog paw bandana. Yes… it was my first try… Not an excuse, I basically lost control of the sewing machine. It happens. (To me, it happens too often…)

No two-tone effect for that first one either, justvery crooked stitching. That’s what makes it special… hehehe

I used black thread for all of these – there was no way I was going to change the thread and bobbin colour to match each one. Too fiddly and too much work for a fun little project. I put these little bandanas on grooming customer dogs cause it makes me happy to make them look good.

I want to make more. I have tons more fabric offcuts to mix and match. I just need to find the office desk. I know its in the office somewhere… under 3 metres of fabric…

z

steampunk faerie jacket

Today I’m sharing the work wearable art entry in the Art From Trash competition. This steampunk jacket was made by a ladies art group I work with.

It started with a jacket from the tip shop and a ton of odds and ends.

We collected anything we thought would work on the jacket and basically hand stitched it all on to get the look we were after.

We really wanted a bustle and that was added using layers of tulle from the discard bin.

We used stud earrings and other small bits of jewelry on the bustle to give to added interest.

One of the sleeves was cut short and re-finished with black velvet lace and beads.

We decided to run the decoration down one lapel and down one side of the back, bringing it together on the lace sleeve.

All the ‘junk’ we sewed onto the jacket is quite heavy so we had to make sure it was balanced. 
It turned out well and the ladies were all proud of being part of the project.
z

faerie dress or something like that using tea bags

I’ve wanted to share this dress for ages, soon as I finished it really, but had to wait till after the art show. I’m doing it now with some hesitation… typing with one finger takes ages and seems to block my creative thinking.

However, here goes. I’ll give it a try.

So.

I wanted to make something special for the 2016 Hobart Art From Trash competition. I wanted to use lots of fabric scraps, lots of whites and natural colours. I wanted to use tea bags.

My dress was inspired by dresses like this:

and this:

in my frocks or art board on Pinterest. Aren’t the just FABULOUS? Wow. If I was younger and slimmer this is how I’d dress!

Anyway, I went through all my scrappy bits. I had tons of cotton fabric pieces in various shades of white so I began the dress by sewing together pieces and then sewing used tea bag fabric to the bodice.

Here’s a glimpse of the front before the tea bags. I dyed some of the lace, ribbons and fabric with tea to tie it all in together better.

Since I’m no seamstress, I had a few glitches along the way … mainly figuring how to fit the dress in such a way that it would be adjustable to different sizes… and to make it so it could be worn by a real person, not just a mannequin in an exhibition.

Lacing up didn’t work

A belt worked better, but still wasn’t quite right.

The armpits were too big and messy…

In the end I could avoid it no longer. The dress needed darts at the bust. That helped shape the bodice.

I also kept the lace-up idea – using it on each side of the front, under the breasts, and the back. Mismatched buttons and jute string are decorative but also useful in fitting the dress at the waist.

The dress itself has a few scrappy layers on the skirt, but in order to make it richer, I added an ‘overskirt’ using a thick, tea dyed satin ribbon. The ribbon adds an extra layer of fabric and ties at the front like a belt.

I dressed it up with an old, discoloured wooden bead necklace which I hung rusty items on.

I’m in love with it. But it is for sale if anyone is interested in it for display or to wear!
Thus ends a long post with many photos and not so many words!
z
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rag peg bag

Another quick and easy sewing project. This time its a peg bag with a crazy quilt heart. The pic above shows the front – the heart is the opening you reach into. It’s made of scrap curtain fabric I had on hand and colourful tiny scraps for decoration.

I used the cut out heart on the back for extra interest, using orange scraps.

In the end all I had to do was fit in a wire hanger and its ready to use.
z

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new couch cushions

When I got our new couch, I really wanted some new cushions…or new cushion covers! The old ones were in reds and browns in keeping with our older look. Plus they sported the odd chewed corner thanks to a younger Romeo.

Now I wanted something brighter… some light blues, some pink, some yellow maybe?

Originally I planned to make all the new covers using my crazy quilting technique. Like this one where I used fabric scraps to create hot air balloons against a blue scrap backgound.

But you know what? I had some pretty fabrics I didn’t want to rip up. They made very pretty covers as they were.

I make cushion covers the easy way – like pillow covers – no ties, buttons or zips.

The pink one is my favourite. The fabric piece wasn’t wide enough to do the entire cover, so I had to improvise. I picked some complementary plain fabrics and added a couple of colour blocks. It worked great!

So, a quick change for a different look in the living room.

z

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easy fabric wall hangings

Does anyone remember the little bird project I did a long time ago? I made the little bird by hand stitching the fabrics onto a piece of felt and I really enjoyed doing it.

When I was trying to think of a project I could do with a group of participants at work, I thought it’d be a great idea to do something similar. I mean, we have tons of fabric… Some of it is even halfway decent!
The main problem was that doing it the way I did the little bird involves a lot of hand stitching and the people I work with are disabled. Their abilities are mixed… some have the dexterity to do fine work, others have no fine motorskills to speak of, and none of them can do fine stitching.
My first attempt involved ripping fabric into strips and asking one participant to select the colours she wanted, then lay them out on a piece of fabric to create a picture. She chose the colours and laid them out in colour blocks.
The plan was that I would then use the sewing machine to sew the pieces down.

Of course, the minute I picked up the backing fabric all her scraps moved or fell off so I had to stitch them back one by one. As a result, I couldn’t help myself… I added a few accent bits here and there… Kind of defeats the purpose of getting people to do their own art!

I couldn’t help it! It went against my grain to leave it in plain colour blocks… the fabric got mixed up. Yeah. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it!

Given that I’m trying to let the participants make their own art, this method wasn’t an ideal way to do it…
I found a video on YouTube of a lady who does crazy quilting. She recommended using thin iron-on fabric to keep the pieces together!
Now, why didn’t I think of that?
Well, for one thing I’m no expert in sewing and I’m pretty sure I’ve never used iron on stuff before… In fact, I’m not even sure I’d heard of it before! 

So, I went out and bought some. I got the second thinnest (cause the lady on YouTube said ‘thin’) and got to work.

I had a bag of scrap fabric which was given to me by a friend. It wasn’t ripped up in long strips like the first experiment so the pieces were different shapes and sizes. This gave the participants more variety in shape as well as pattern and colour.

Once they had their pieces laid out, I ironed them in place, then stitched them down with the sewing machine.

It worked much better. I’m sharing three of the creations we’ve made so far. There are a few more which I’ll share when they’re done.

Aren’t they fabulous? I want to make some cushion covers for my new couch using this method!

For the work project I’ve made these into wall hangings by sewing the art to a backing piece of fabric with pockets for dowels top and bottom. It makes it easier and much quicker. They can now go home and be hung on the wall straight away.

Mission accomplished. We found a way to let the participants create their own work with minimal staff input in the creative part.

z

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easy easter bunnies

I don’t do much for Easter. Its just a break from work really, and an excuse to eat chocolate.
It was different when I lived in Greece… it was the only time we went to church in my family – other than weddings, christenings or funerals. Easter is the best time in the Greek Orthodox church in my opinion. There’s something really special about the build up and celebrations of Easter.
Though I must admit, I really didn’t enjoy fasting for lent…

In Greece, Easter is a big thing. It wasn’t just the lamb on a spit, or the red eggs… it was the fact that after fasting for weeks you were finally allowed to eat real food – milk, eggs… chocolate.

Now I live in Tasmania and I don’t do Greek Easter. Partly its cause I have no family here and barely know any greek people to share Easter with. I tried going to the Greek Orthodox church in Hobart once and it just wasn’t the same… so I just do the Aussie thing: hot cross buns and chocolate eggs.

Enough about my sad story. I was going to share these cute little bunnies. They’re so easy to make and are a great way to decorate an easter basket for kids or friends.

I don’t have a pattern for you, but its real easy. 
All you need is some felt, some pipe cleaners and some buttons. 
First cut out two simple round top shapes for the front and back and an oval for the bottom, making sure its the right size for the rounded tube rabbit body. Its not as easy as you’d think, I had to reduce the size of my bottom (the rabbit’s bottom, not mine unfortunately) once, then I had to reduce the width of the rabbits, but once I worked out the right size I could make a ton of rabbits quickly.
Next choose buttons for eyes, a larger button for a tail, and a pipe cleaner for the ears. Bend them in half, then in half again, doubling over each end to form ears. Make sure you sew the eye and tail buttons onto the appropriate piece of felt (front or back) in the appropriate place, cause its easier to do it that way. Trust me, trying to sew buttons on while working inside a tube ain’t fun. Using a plain blanket stitch, sew the two rabbit parts together, not forgetting to add in the ears when you get to the top. Before you sew on the bottom, fill the rabbit with whatever stuffing you have on hand, then sew on the bottom.

So there you go.
Easy.
I do give great instructions even if I do say so myself…
z

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a poodle love affair and bed hopping

Its never been a secret that I love my poodles. In fact, if you know me at all, you know all about how I love my poodles.

They make me smile when I come home at the end of a day at work. The feel of their coats under my fingers comforts me and even when they do naughty things I can’t be angry at them. They are my family.

There’s just something really special about poodles. Of all sizes. Standard poodles are more dog to hug, miniature poodles are big enough to carry and a good armful to hug, and toy poodles are great value cause you can fit more of them on your lap.
Really, they’re just the perfect dogs.

But enough gushing. I wanted to share about the bed hopping that’s been going on around here lately.

The canine bed hopping, I mean. Don’t get too excited.

Here is Romeo in Barney’s small bed.

Here is Romeo in the bigger bed.

Here is Montana on the couch.

And here is Barney in his own bed.

On the weekend I made some new covers for the pillows that are in the dog beds. Cause I didn’t just buy dog beds… I bought extra soft and squishy pillows to go into them. I needed new covers for them so I can change them and wash them. Especially stinky Barney’s pillow. (He’s not a poodle and thus both sheds AND smells!)
I got a flanelette sheet from an op shop with little cars on it, perfect for a little boy dog, and I had the purple sheep flanelette in my fabric stash. I was able to make 3 new covers, but had to use a piece of and old sheet in purple ones as the turn over bit… You know what I mean. I make these covers just like regular pillow slips with a folded-in side to hold the pillow in place. I actually love the contrast.
Anyway, before I go, here’s another, gratuitous, picture of a poodle.
Heheh.
z

the baby booty experiment

I’ve never made baby booties before, but I’ve done a ton of work with felt and blanket stitch. And I’m always up for trying something new.

So when a friend at work became a grandma for the first time I thought it’d be a good time to try my hand at baby booties.

First I looked up felt booties on Pinterest and I found a few different styles and patterns. I picked this easy one, then took liberties with it.

The result is these cute little booties which are just perfect if the little baby’s feet are slightly different sizes.

Eh.

Its handmade, right? It doesn’t have to be perfect…!

z