Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Dress A Girl Campaign

Whilst looking for new blogs to follow for a recent post, I stumbled upon Louise's 'Sew Scrumptious'. As well as stocking beautiful fabrics and posting great tutorials, Louise is the UK Coordinator for 'Dress a girl around the world'.

In a nutshell this campaign involves people donating simple handmade pillowcase dresses (or shorts for little boys) which are shipped out to people in need around the world. They've now reached a whopping 10,000 dresses but are still looking for both donations and volunteers travelling to charitable organisations abroad who are able to distribute them.

I plan on taking part and making a few bits and pieces of my own and thought that whilst I was at it, I'd post a little info and a few links to spread the word and hopefully encourage a few of you lovely people to do the same!

There must be literally thousands upon thousands of pillowcase dress tutorials online (check out Pinterest) but here's one from the US branch to get an idea.

Head over the the 'Sew Scrumptious' page for further details, and more pictures of the happy recipients. I think perhaps I'll arrange a little pillowcase dress sewing day! Anyone else thinking about joining in?

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Liebster Love

The lovely Sue from 'Deerey Me!' has nominated my little blog for a 'Liebster Award' which is a 'pass-it-on' peer to peer kind of recognition for small scale blogs. I'm so thrilled that Sue thought to include me so naturally want to pass on the good will.
Here are the Sue's questions for her nominees:
  • Why do you blog?
I love making things and trying out new techniques but I have a terrible habit of not finishing things so blogging provides a little extra motivation to keep going. I also tend to make things for others so it's a way to document projects which are given away.

  • What is your greatest ambition?
I simply aspire (like most I'm sure) to make a comfortable living from pursuits that I enjoy and to see a little more of the world. Next on that front is our summer trip to Tuscany.

  • Who inspires you?
There are one or two people in my life whose relentless optimism and kindness inspire me. On a more general level -passionate creative folk, particularly strong women.

  • If you could swap places with anyone who would it be?
I always fancied the idea of living on a pretty little smallholding in France -Somewhere like St. Emillion, so I don't know, perhaps a Piano playing craft based business owner living somewhere like that?

  • If the world were to blow up in three weeks on Tuesday what would you do with the remaining time?
Firstly I imagine I'd be fairly skeptical and take some persuading... Then once the reality had hit home, after friends / family visits, I'd head far away to somewhere beautiful with my other half and all the chocolate I could carry!

  • What is your greatest fear?
Spiders & needles so probably some ghastly combination of the two.

  • Which 5 people (alive or brought back to life) would you choose to join you for afternoon tea at the Ritz?
Gosh this is a hard one... probably a mixture of designers / artists /composers -it's impossible to choose but Frederic Chopin and Frida Kahlo would probably be in there for starters.

  • What advice would you give your younger self?
Life is too short to waste time on people who don't bring something positive to your life. Friendship is a two way street.

  • What do you want to be doing this time next year?
This time next year I hope to have moved into our new home, be working on finishing my teaching diploma and teaching piano as well as further honing my crafting skills and developing my little corner of the internet.

  • What is your favourite food?
It's tricky to pick just one, chocolate in pretty much any form / ice cream / pasta.

...Now for the really tricky bit!

My blog roll consists primarily of established blogs with many more than 200 followers so this was a great opportunity to go out and find some more, though as Sue found before me this is a surprisingly difficult task! Many smaller blogs are hard to come across plus many do not have their number of followers displayed. After perusing the internet for some time I've given up on it for now but would love to find some great new blogs to follow so do get in touch with suggestions!

So my pathetically tiny list of 'nominations' (all local and well worth a read so check them out) is as follows...

My buddy Kate at 'Kate Blandford - Cross Stitch and Stuff'

Lily at my newest local find 'Lily Doughball'

SJ, fashion blogger and vintage enthusiast at 'Ship Shape & Bristol Fashion' (and not just because I have the phrase tattooed on my leg...)

and last but not least 'Eclectic Threads' who I am aware has previously been nominated but is still well worth a mention!

So if you'd like to share the Liebster love, simply answer my questions below, then set ten of your own for ten blogs of your choosing.
  1. Why do you blog?
  2. Who inspires you?
  3. Where do you see yourself in a year?
  4. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
  5. What new skill would you most like to learn?
  6. What places would you most like to visit?
  7. What are your 'guilty pleasures'?
  8. What is your favourite book?
  9. What's your favourite music / band / song?
  10. What advice would you give your younger self?

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Local Independents - Make & Do Emporium

For the very first of 2014's 'Local Independents' features I visited Kirsten & Co. at the lovely 'Make & Do Emporium' in Brislington, Bristol. I'm not often in the area so it was my first visit to the store, but I'm quite sure it won't be my last!

There is a beautiful collection of printed cottons -both from the bolt and sold as fat quarters/bundles. I 'spotted' a bundle of 10 spotty fat quarters for a staggering £15!

Kirsten tells me the shop is simply stocked as collection of her favourite things -oh to have the space for such a great stash! Alongside the aforementioned fabric you can find notions, buttons galore, ribbons, felt and various other crafting accessories.

Far from merely a shop -the 'Make & Do Emporium' also serves as a meeting / workshop space (more details available from their website) and hosts a 'Craft Club for Grown-ups' with materials, tea and coffee, plus helpers on hand to create a little something to take home -all for a meagre £7.

With friendly staff and beautiful handmade offerings for sale -it may not be central but was well worth our short drive. For more information head over to the 'Make & Do' Facebook page.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

'Low-Sew' Needle Case Tutorial

After whipping one up as part of a Christmas Present, I thought I'd share this little project for those with *ahem* limited sewing experience or perhaps for youngsters or those needing a small gift but short on time. There's no need for a sewing machine as it can be made entirely by hand!

To make this very simple little needle case, you will need:

  • Two small pieces of felt (I used 8"x 4")
  • A scrap of fabric of the same size
  • A piece of fusible fabric bonding sheet (available at most fabric stores)
  • Pinking shears
  • A single 'Kam' snap or other fastener (Optional)

Firstly decide upon the finished size (I've gone for 4" x 4") and cut a paper template twice that in width (8" x 4"). Use this to cut one rectangle from your fabric, one from your bonding sheet and two from the felt.

*Tip: Why not use patchwork for the outer, or perhaps decorate with a few embroidery stitches? Decorate at this point before fusing*

Next fuse your outer fabric to the bonding sheet by placing it paper side down with the fabric on top -wrong side facing the glue and the right side facing upwards. Press with a cool-medium iron (or follow the manufacturors instructions) until thoroughly stuck!

Now peel off the paper backing and place it glue side down onto your felt (the fabric will be right side up) and press once more. You should now have a single fused piece with your print on one side and felt on the other.

Now using pinking shears trim around the outside edge. This not only looks decorative but avoids the need for fiddly finishing to prevent fraying.

Still using the pinking shears, trim the second felt rectange slightly smaller than the first to hold the needles / pins. *Tip: Be sure to allow enough room at either end for your fastener*

Mark the centre point of both pieces -either simply with a pins or a temporary fabric marker, then stitch along this line using small stitches. I used backstitch but a small running stitch would be sufficient. (There's a free PDF stitch guide available to download HERE).

The final step is to add your fastener of choice (optional). I love 'Kam' snaps as the are so quick and simple to use plus hardwearing. The down side is that you need to invest in a specialist tool to insert them (£10-15) so it's not really a viable option for single use.

You can pick up sewn in snaps from any fabric / craft store for pence which are held in place with a few stitches, or how about a spare hairband? Ribbon ties? The possibilites are endless -alternatively you can omit this step completely.

Now simply fill her up, and admire your handywork!

I'll shortly be posting another 'Low-Sew' tutorial, this time for a cushion cover which can also be made completely by hand with minimal sewing required. If you use this tutorial to make your own needle case -do get in touch and let me know what you think, I'd love to see the result!