Monday, October 20, 2008

Bookbinding with the kuties

Made this at the kaotic kraft kuties. The cover is an old record cover, Louis Moreau Gottschalk Symphony - A Night in the Tropics.

Cool eh!

Ooh, just googled the album title and found it for sale here. Now I'm wondering if my copy was worth anything!!

Cushion cover tutorial

ETA: I made some more of these and revised a couple of things here.

I made these cushion covers and liked em so much I wrote down the steps in case anyone else is interested. Some of the photos have "notes" on them in Flickr so click on them to see the notes.
Start by cutting out your fabric. I am making a 50cm square cover with 2cm seam allowance so I've cut two 54cm squares.

Overlock (serger) the edges.
Put your front and back pieces right sides together.

Draw a line 2cm from the bottom edge of your cover (the zip will go in this edge).

Put a mark 8cm from each edge. This will be where your zipper starts end ends.
Now we're going to sew along this line and then unpick part of it after we've put the zip in. Doing it this way ensures that the fabric closes over the zipper really neatly.

Using your normal stitch length sew from the edge to the first mark 8cm along.

Stitch backwards for 3 or 4 stitches and then forwards to the mark again.

Change your stitch length to the longest you have and continue sewing to the next mark 8cm from the other edge.

Change your stitch length back to your usual setting and sew forwards 3 or 4 stitches then back to the marker and then forwards again to the end of the fabric.

Press the seam open. The better you press it at this point the better it'll look when it's finished.

Now with the right side down, line your zip up along the stitching line and pin it in place.
Now we're going to sew the zip in place with the right side up (because the stitches on top always look a bit nicer than those on the bottom). You can either baste the zip in place or you can leave the pins in but it could be a bit fiddly taking them out coz they'll be on the underside.
I basted my zip in place by hand.
Now put your zipper foot on your machine and get ready to sew at the edge with the zipper pull.
Now we're going to sew along both sides of the zip and across the ends of it so the stitching line will make a long skinny box around the zip.

Mark your fabric on the right side 8cm from each edge.

Starting at the first mark, sew down one side to the other mark. You should sew quite close to the zip but not super close.
When you get to the second mark, with the needle down, lift the foot and pivot your fabric 90 degrees and sew across the zip. Sew back and forth across the zip again to reinforce it.

Then pivot the fabric again and sew along the other side of the zip to the mark.
Now you need to move the zipper pull before you sew across the zip otherwise you won't be able to open it, disaster!

So, put the needle down and lift the foot and using your unpicker unpick some of the basting stitches and 5cm or so of the stitches that cover the zipper. (see note)
Now push and pull the the zipper pull until it is behind the foot.
Then pivot the fabric and sew across the zip as before.
And that's the zipper done! Give it a nice press to make it sit flat.
Now with the right sides together sew the other 3 seams 2cm from the edge. Pivot the fabric at the corners rather than sewing all the way to the end, it'll make the next bit easier.

Press all the seams open. Go on, I know it's a pain but it'll give you a better finish.
I sewed across the open end of the zip just to hold it together a bit better as it felt like the other seam might need some reinforcement.

Chop off the excess zip at both ends.
Now you could call it a day and your cover would be finished but I didn't like the pointy corners on mine so I sewed across the corners to give the cover a bit of volume.

Here's how I get it nice and square.

Arrange your cover so it's in roughly this shape then stick a pin into the seam and check that it comes out right in the seam at the bottom. Push it back up through the seam again. This should line them up perfectly. If you have a cutting mat with a grid (or graph paper) you can check that it's all square by putting the point on the darker 5cm mark and then making sure the sides cross the 5cm intersections. Umm that's kinda hard to explain, see the notes on the photo.
Now draw your stitching line across the corner. You can make it as deep as you like. I drew my line 3cm from the tip which makes it 6cm long.

Mark all the corners this way then stitch along the lines.
Then overlock (serger) the tips off and you're done!

Give it a really good press and then put your cushion inside it!

I'm using the 50cm feather cushions from Ikea. They're only about $8 (AUD) each and very comfy.

Note that if you can get a zip with a zipper pull that sits really flat and which locks down into place it'll look even better.
Make a whole set!

Fabric from Amitie

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Stitching weekend over

I've finished sewing my quilt blocks (by hand) and now I just have to sew them all together, quilt it and bind it, phew!

I stitched most of these blocks at the annual Amitie stitching weekend. Three days of hard stitching, chatting and eating lots! All meals were provided and they were very good and very generous serves so I feel like I might've put on 5 kilos. This week I'm going to have to be extra good, gym every day and no cake, chocolate, chips etc. I was good last night, I declined the apple pie and ice-cream I could've had.

It was a great weekend but I'm glad to be home too, I was exhausted yesterday! Strange given that I was sitting on my butt the whole time!

More on the weekend on Justine, Fi and (probably) Jenny's blogs.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Weekend away

I'm having a long weekend with 18 other ladies (including Fi and Justine) on a quilting weekend! We arrived last night and got some stitching in before bed. It's such a lovely day today, we're planning on working outside later on.

Gotta run, brekkie's ready.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Printing Supplies

I bought these on Wednesday from Zart Art. Going to have a go this weekend, eek! The book is from Artisan Books, lovely stuff.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Social Responsibility

The winner of the Sensis Social Responsibility Award (which is for demonstrated leadership and contribution by a business to the environment, people, education or the community) at the Telstra Business Awards was Etiko. Etiko makes fair trade sports equipment, shoes and clothes.

What was really amazing was that while Nick was speaking about the reason behind Etiko the whole audience went quiet and actually listened to him, up til then everyone had continued talking though all the speeches.

I think they're doing an amazing job so just wanted to give them a plug. Please go and have a look at their website.

We didn't win

We didn't win :(

But we were one of 27 finalists out of 4700 entrants so that's pretty damn good.

I wanted to post some pictures of us looking all dolled up but they didn't turned out well. Bugger.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Shameless self promotion

I just finished getting my hair done for the Telstra Small Business awards tonight. My husband's business PaperCut (they develop Print Control Software) is a finalist! So exciting! I'm so proud of him, he (and his business partner and staff) have worked really hard to build a world class product over the last 5 years. Love ya babe!

You can read about it here if you're interested.

I will post glamourous pics of us all dressed up tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Google maps is so cool. I've created a map of the places I need to visit tomorrow, Saturday.

I don't think I've mentioned it before but we're building a new house! We're up to the choosing appliances, taps, baths, paint etc stage, soooo exciting!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Two thumbs up for the cookie recipe

Sooo goood!

It was really hard to tell if they were cooked enough in the centre because you take them out while they're still soft. After these had cooled for a few mins I could tell they weren't cooked but I'd already put the next batch in. I put them back in the oven after the others were done and they came out OK. I couldn't resist having a nibble while they were just sitting there. :)


BurdaStyle patterns are great but they take a lot of cutting out. Perhaps I'll get a guillotine?
Toasted sandwich with tomato, Danish fetta, rocket = freakin yum!
This skirt is basically a torus. What's really weird though is that when it's inside out it's a different shape.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


There's a documentary on SBS tonight called Helvetica.

It sounds interesting:

Helvetica is a feature-length independent film about typography, graphic design and global visual culture. It looks at the proliferation of one typeface (which recently celebrated its 50th birthday) as part of a larger conversation about the way type affects our lives.

So put your computer down and watch TV! :)

In the kitchen

Cookie recipe from the NYTimes. You have to make the dough then wait 36 hours before you cook them, arrgh!

Making this for dinner tonight, yum!

Monday, August 11, 2008


I had my bag making class again last Thursday. We're free to make whatever we like now (using the skills we learnt making the first bag) so I'm making a clutch out of this red leather, Japanese fabric and possibly one of these buttons too (aren't they beautiful!). The leather is really soft and I was hoping I'd be able to sew it at home but the feed dogs leave marks in the leather and my machine finds it a bit tough to sew through multiple layers so I'll just leave it til class.

I bought the buttons at Buttonmania and while I was there picked up these ones as well.

I also found this brochure for the Nicholas Building Open Studios which sounds great. I googled it so I could give you a link to more info but couldn't find any more than was on the brochure so I've scanned it for you. Click the link to view in Flickr then select All Sizes to see the largest size so you can read it.
Nicholas Building Open Studios
Nicholas Building Open Studios

(Please excuse the ugliness of this post, I usually use Flickr's "Blog This" function because it formats the post nicely but when I use the same HTML through Blogger it just doesn't seem to work. Grr.)

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Charlie bag

I whipped this up on Tuesday night (actually it took me ages because I didn't read the instructions properly and stuffed it up a couple of times). You can see more details (and download the pattern) here at BurdaStyle.

There's a vertical pocket on the side that sits against my body so I can reach in and get my purse with my right hand without taking the bag off my left shoulder. So handy when shopping!

It's very roomy and the straps are quite wide so it's very comfortable to carry when it's full. I like it!

Sunday, August 03, 2008


I made this clutch handbag on Thursday night at my RMIT Introduction to Bag Making class. I am so happy with how it turned out. I used it today when we went to the movies (saw Dark Knight, it was pretty good) and it held my purse, tissue and phone just perfectly :)

The course is 6 lessons and we've only had three so far so we can use the rest of the lessons to make whatever we want. I'm trying to decide what I want the next one to be like but it has to be really simple and we haven't learned how to do gussets so I'm having trouble visualising what I could do. I think I'm going to have to go on a reccie in the city to look for inspiration.

More pictures here.

And check out my latest op-shop purchase here.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New pencil case

I went to visit my parents last weekend and my mum found this piece of embroidery amongst her fabric stash. She said she loves doing embroidery but doesn't know what to do with it once she's finished it. I know what she means, there are lots of crafts I wouldn't mind doing but I don't know what I'd do with the results because I don't particularly want to decorate my house with them.

She said I could have it if I wanted it, so today I turned that lonely scrap into a lovely new pencil case for myself, I've needed one for ages, I keep losing or forgetting my pens when I need to take them somewhere. The back of it is a beautiful cream macro suede that was from a upholstery fabric sample (mum has hundreds of these, she was given them when a shop closed down).

I also went to the Bendigo Sheep and Wool show but it's a bit late to blog about that now isn't it. I've had a nasty cold all week so haven't felt like posting about it. I'll just say that I had a great time looking at the lovely yarn and patting the animals, two of my favourite pastimes :) you can see some of my photos here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008


Ta da! I've finished my second pair of socks and they're fabulous! They are the famous Jaywalker pattern (available for free on Ravelry). Raverly says 4480 people have made this pattern!

I'm trying to start a toe-up pair of socks but having trouble with the figure 8 cast on and with my guage and it's really shitting me actually. I love knitting but I always have trouble with starting a new project, it's so stressful choosing the exact right yarn, colour, size, etc etc. I'm tempted just to do the socks from the cuff down but I don't want to run out of yarn like I did with the Jaywalkers and have to buy a new ball which would be from a different dye lot. You can see the very different toe on one of the socks. It doesn't bother me too much but I'd rather it didn't happen regularly.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Crumpets - update

I had another go at making crumpets and these turned out much better, I put more yeast in so they were lovely and light. And heart shaped!

Handy pouch - update

Made another handy pouch and this time I took a picture of the seams inside, neat aren't they!


I made this mobile a couple of weeks ago from some thickish black paper (120gsm?) and a wire clothes hanger. The wire was a real PITA to bend (notice I didn't bend the ends of the short piece) and it's a bit too heavy really, it's very hard to get it to hang straight. I have since bought some very thin dowel and will give that a go with my next one but ideally I'd use some very fine wire. Does anyone know where to get some? I tried Bunnings but they only sell wire in rolls and it needs to be straight.

Notice the little swing hanging from the tree? I think it's pretty cute, if I do say so myself :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Career advice

If you haven't read this post from Holly at decor8 then get on over there. It's good to know you're not the only one who doesn't know what the hell you're doing with your career :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I've had a bit of an unplanned blogging break. Not sure how that happened, I seem to have lost my mojo temporarily.

Anyhoo, Pip's recent guide to being a better blogger has motivated me to get off my bum and link to some of my favourite blogs:
  • Chocolate & Zucchini, it's very dangerous to read this before dinner time
  • Offbeat Homes, great if you like architecture and quirkiness
  • Fail Blog, some of these are a bit wrong but they make me laugh and that's what you need sometimes (and that's why my favourite TV show is Funniest Home Videos)
  • The Happiness Project, I found this via Linda's blog, it's so interesting that you can choose to be happier, check out the post on how not to nag :)
Actual craft content coming soon (promise).

Friday, May 16, 2008

Book Review - A Knitter's Book of Yarn

I first heard about this book someone's blog (but can't remember who!) and it sounded like my kind of book. I love to know how and why things work the way they do and knitting is no exception.

So I borrowed this from the North Melbourne library on Wednesday (Box Hill library also has a copy) and I've finished reading it already.

The book is 255 pages and is divided into three sections, Fibre Foundations, Making Yarn and Ply Me A River and a fourth section at the back that has resources, glossary, recommended reading etc.

I found the first section, Fibre Foundations, the most interesting. It's all about the different types of fibres, where they come from, their properties and what those properties mean to your knitting. For example, Cashmere comes from the Cashmere goat and is sooo expensive because each goat produces only about 170-227g of of fibre each year! The fibre is very light weight, 30% lighter than wool, and very warm, 8 times warmer than wool, and it's not as elastic as wool. It has relatively short fibres which mean it will pill more than some other yarns because the ends of the fibres work their way out of the knitted fabric and get tangled with each other. Interesting, isn't it?

The second section, Making Yarn, is about how yarn is spun, dyed and a bit about various places to get your hands on it, eg fibre festivals.

The third section, Ply Me a River, is the biggest section (163 pages) and is devoted to the different types of yarn plies and patterns for each type. I only skimmed this section. The patterns were OK but my Ravely queue is already long enough :)

I summary, I highly recommend this book! I'm sure it will help me make better yarn choices when substituting yarns in a pattern (actually I don't think I've ever used the recommended yarn!), and I just like to know these things too :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Handy pouches

I made these late last week. The blue one was for my mum for mothers day. I spent an hour in Spotlight choosing the fabric. Then when she saw the one I'd made for myself she wanted that one! So I gave her both of them :) I used this tutorial but I bound the seams on the inside to make it neater (forgot to take a pic of that, will do next time).

Off to make another for myself now.

Dodgy crumpets

I attempted to make crumpets as suggested by Pip but they didn't turn out so well :(

I think I didn't put enough yeast in, never mind, I will try again!

I went to a SnB on Saturday. It was in Ringwood East and organised by Angela via the SnB Melbourne group on Ravelry. It was so nice to sit around drinking coffee, knitting and chatting and the girls were all very nice. If you live in the area I'd highly recommend coming along to the next one on May 24th.

And have you heard that June 14th is World Wide Knit in Public Day! Some of the girls on Ravelry are organising a KIP, possibly at Fed Square so take a look at this thread if you're interested in coming along.

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Meaning of Life

When I was at uni (about 12 years ago, yikes!) I had this really weird moment. I was walking to one of my lectures, past a patch of garden that I walked past every day, and I noticed that it was covered in hundreds of mushrooms that hadn't been there the day before. And it was like a flash went off in my head, I thought ... they weren't there yesterday and they will be dead in a couple of days, such a short life, so what is the point of their existence???? ie WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE!? That might sound kind of lame to you, everyone has wondered about the meaning of life at some time, but it was a really strong feeling, like I'd been shocked, it was really weird (and kinda hard to convey).

Ever since then I've been pondering this question, I used to like thinking about it on the way home, squished into Melbourne's overcrowded trains full of other people thinking their mysterious thoughts.

So far my pondering has led me to the simple conclusion that the purpose of life is ... to be happy, whatever that means to you.

What do you think?

Sunday, April 27, 2008


No not me ... it's the pattern name.

This used less than 1 ball of yarn and was quite quick and fun to knit. I love how it turned out. The cable stitches really stand up from the background and the slip stitch edges are very neat.

And it’s lovely and warm too.