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.

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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.


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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.


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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.
I do give great instructions even if I do say so myself…

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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.

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.


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


the anti-rabbit

I did take ‘before’ photos of this rabbit. 
I did.
But I can’t find them anywhere!

I got him from the ‘free to good home cause they’re too ugly to sell’ pile at the tip shop last time I visited. The poor bunny had one bead eye (as you can see on his right) and the other eye dangled from a thread halfway down his neck.
Pretty gory looking.
He had the pocket and the red striped ears you see, but no mouth and he was just plain… boring.

I thought I could pretty him up a bit… by making him a monster rabbit. The anti-rabbit of Easter, so to speak.

I gave him a zombie mouth, a mismatched eye, a spotty heart and a few darns and patches. I think he looks much better.

So does my little rat-like creature. He’s smitten. Been offering the rabbit flowers since they met.

Hope everyone has a great Easter.


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felt phone pouches

Well, looks like my ribs aren’t smashed after all. They feel so much better today, they must have just been bruised.
Mind you, the painkillers the doc gave me helped some…
Still, its so good to be able to breath normally again!
I finally got around to taking pics of some phone pouches I’d made. Most of these were made before Christmas as gifts and the last one I made this week for myself.
This one was for a friend named Matthew (hence the M) its my first attempt at making something ‘masculine’… I used a felted grey jumper and some suede fabric to make this one. I used some of the elastic bottom of the jumper for the side of the pouch.

I made this one for my friend Patrice. She’s a cat person. As in, she owns a cat. Well, so does Matthew, but I couldn’t really give a guy a pouch with a cat on it… just didn’t seem right…

The pics aren’t great… I apologise. Somewhere in the mess of the casita is my lightbox. I’ll get it out again one day.
Patrice’s pouch is made from felt squares, tan inside and dark blue outside. I use hair elastics for the ties on most of these.

The one on the left below is made of a piece of felt square on the outside and a bit of felt I wet felted on the inside. Its much thicker than the blue one as my wet felted bits are thicker than bought squares.

FYI The little critter on the outside is meant to be a monster, not a cat. Just so you know.

I rolled the inner lining over at the top and made a simple close with buttons on both sides. I decided to keep that one for myself cause I love the little critter, but my mobile was too long for it. I had to do some surgery and re-make it.

What I did was undo the fold over top, add another piece of the wet felted stuff, back it with some leftover tan, and add the buttons and elastic to the front. I think its much cuter this way.

Then this week I got bored sitting around doing nothing so I made another pouch just ’cause I could.
And cause I never put away all the felting stuff.
I’ve always loved the etch-a-sketch ipad covers and stuff I’ve seen on Pinterest so I made my own.
I used the same felted grey sweater I used for Matthew’s pouch for the body, I even used some of the elasticated knit from the sleeves to make a kind of neck opening.
They may not be the most practical cause you actually have to take the phone out to use it, but they’re fun and they offer a certain amount of protection from rough handling. They also keep the phone safe from scratches when inside a handbag. 
The only thing that concerns me a little is that my poodles have shown a taste for felt and I’m worried that one day one of them might grab the phone in its pouch and think “Yummm, this is nice. Soft on the outside, crunchy on the inside.”

merry christmas and all that jazz

Its Christmas! I’ve always quite liked Christmas though I don’t do the decorating thing. Without a family or a big celebration, it just doesn’t seem worth going to all that trouble. The poodles don’t really care one way or another. As long as they get plenty of pats and food, they’re happy.

All I did this year was pick up half a door I’d been using in the casita as a spray painting base, draw a tree on it with chalk and sit it on the wood heater. That was my Christmas tree.

Oh, I also climbed on a ladder and put fairy lights on the trellis in the garden. They’re not working properly. Great.

Oh well. I tried.

We just had a couple of good friends come over for Christmas lunch. I baked melomakarona on Christmas eve and Wayne roasted a turkey roll, a leg of lamb and a bit of beef.

‘Cause, apparently, you can’t have too much meat.

Our friend Chris brought over a ham (’cause…. see above), and Patrice brought cheese and nibbles and a great sweet potato salad. We also had prawns and I made a greek salad and individual pavlovas. I topped them with raspberries picked from our garden this morning.

We started on nibbles and drinks around 11.30am and had ‘lunch’ around 5pm. All I had was a plate of salads and 2 small slices of ham and one of lamb. Then my pav.

‘Cause there’s always room for dessert.

Now I can’t move.

I’ve lost my ability to over-eat.

Presents-wise its been good. I got a new portable cd player cause my old one broke ages ago. I use it while grooming or doing DIY projects. Its essential.

I also got another power tool to add to my collection! Wayne got me an electric staple gun. Yeah!

I think I may try reupholstering an old armchair I have in my office… stay tuned for that badly done makeover in the new year…


the armchair makeover is complete

Remember the armchair I pressure cleaned a few weeks ago?
Well its finally finished and back in the house.
The washing went well and the drying took a long time cause the weather turned nasty. We had days of rain so I had to keep the armchair in the casita with the heater on it intermittently in order to dry it completely.
Then, once it was dry I got it wet again.
I had to. I wanted to dye it. The colour I wanted was brown but it was almost impossible to find the brown in any shade at all. I ended up with 2 packs of RIT powder dye, one was a reddish brown and the other was dark brown. I mixed them together and made up a bucket full of dye as per the instructions.
It took quite a few coats and I got bored of the process before the dye covered the pattern.
Here it is after the first coat. I applied the dye with a foam roller.

Around coat two the weather got better for a few minutes so I was able to put it outside to get some sun.

Coat three started to go a redder brown.

Coat four I figured I liked the flower patterns showing through. Kind of like an aged faded fabric instead of an incomplete dye job.

Of course before I could put it in the house I needed a new cushion. The dogs had chewed chunks out of the original one. It took me almost a month to buy the foam and fabric.

I only have one question about dyeing furniture though: what about the salt? After the chair dried I had to use a damp cloth to wipe off the salt which rose to the surface. Now I’m a bit concerned the dogs will notice the chair is rather tasty and start licking it.

I made the cushion cover today and was able to bring the armchair up to the living room. The fabric I chose for the cover is plain cause I couldn’t find anything else that would suit the chair. Obviously patterns wouldn’t work cause of the flowers showing through the dye, but that’s what I’d have in mind originally. I got some brown piping and put that around the cushion cover to tie it in a bit and give it some punch.

I’m quite happy with how it looks.

Even if the sewing leaves a lot to be desired.

Yep. No closeups. My sewing won’t stand up to such scrutiny. It works, that’s enough for me. My sewing is of the same school as Patrice’s DIY projects ‘where close enough is good enough’.
Seriously, I don’t think I did too bad considering I had no real plan, hadn’t even intended to tackle this job today, just put down the foam and cut out the shapes and sewed them together willy nilly.
You won’t notice in the photos but I rearranged some furniture. I’d share photos if the room was tidy, but there is washing to fold on the coffee table and Wayne’s new desk is buried under a pile of junk already. I cleaned ok? That was enough!
What I did basically was move the couch and put it against the (stupid, ugly) poles in the middle of our living room facing the back window, put the small bookcase behind it and swapped the old cabinet with the big bookcase cause I think it feels better.
There are more changes to come but I’m trying to sneak up on them so Wayne doesn’t become too upset.
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