Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lisa Lam and The Bag Making Bible

I have to share this book with you - The Bag Making Bible!!

Recently I was blogging away, loving others blogs when I came across Lisa Lam's blog 'UHandblog'.  Fueled with a current passion for making handbags it was fantastic to read and see anothers creations.  At the time I wasn't aware I was going to buy her new book, but I do remember reading somewhere about a bag book being put together.

So... I was in town the other day on the hunt for some fresh inspiration...tips, tricks and the like, when I wandered into a bookstore.  Low and behold what was directly in front of me on the shelf....yep...you guessed it, The Bag Making Bible.  So of course it was the first book for me to pick up!  The illustrations were so fantastic and she has displayed instructions in such an easy to follow manner, that anyone can follow them.

Now, I must of stood in that bookstore for an eternity just admiring the pages and soaking up the words and creative energy that radiated from her book. 

All the way down to her foreward from Amy Butler is adoring.  What an honour to be spoken of with such admiration.

With my new purchase under my arm I left town with an enthusiasm to create, create, create.  Excursion successful!!!

This book really is a true gem!  If you love to make handbags or anything for that matter I absolutely recommend you add this one to your bookshelf.

If you would like to purchase this book you can do so on Lisa's blog  http://u-handbag.typepad.com/

Happy Reading!! 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Follow the Light...

"  I am in the process of positive change. I am unfolding in fulfilling ways. Only good can come to me. I now express health, happiness, prosperity, and peace of mind."
- Louise L. Hay
Louise Hay is one of my all time mentors!  She is a remarkable woman helping to create positive change across our globe.  Her books are an inspiration and allow you to expand yourself in so many truly wonderful directions.
Visit Louise Hay's website at http://www.louisehay.com/ to spark incredible change to your thoughts and your world. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Mad Potter

How to have lots of fun with tonnes of mess??

heres how.......

absolute potter madness..........but the creation is really coming along.....

My daughter received her first pottery wheel from her nanna & poppy for her 7th birthday, which she really took quite naturally to.  She spent a good hour on it moulding and shaping (before the attention span ran out ofcourse lol).

Her finished product......
(which I will update you all again once she has painted it)

A beautifully crafted dish!!!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Picture perfect

Earlier in the year I went a little camera crazy.....now... I don't own a fancy SLR digital camera or really any sort of speciality camera.  But, what I did have was my mobile phone camera!  I certainly wasn't expecting to get much out of it, so I was very pleasantly surprised when I started playing with settings and discovering what I could do.  I'd like to share with you just a couple of my favourite shots.  My absolute fav would have to be my first one....the colours are just so incredibly crisp, clean and vivid...and to think it was taken with a mobile phone.....amazing!

I hope you enjoy them!

Dress up up and Away....

I'm so pleased with how the little red riding hood cape came together....it really was quite a simple task.  I had to make some changes as the pattern was made for felt.  I used a cotton and hemmed all the edges, which took a little long than it would normally.  I actually prefer it to the felt.  Mother & Magician joined together and came through.....!!  My daughter absolutely loved it and was very excited to show it off at her book fair parade.  

As the day loomed.....so did the flu unfortuately.....which ultimately ended with her missing the book fair and being home with bottle of panadol , box of tissues and lots of rest and cuddles.  However, now she has a costume to add to her toyroom to play with whenever she pleases and chase that nasty wolf away!!!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Lil Red Riding Hood

My my where has the time gone......it is hard to believe that we are already in August on the down slide to another Christmas.  As hard as it is to believe.....im really looking forward to the festive season.  I just started crafting my xmas gifts....of course I cant say what they are but i'll be sure to post pictures of them once the gift giving is complete.

I have so many ideas rolling around in my head to pursue right now.....I need eight arms just to get started.  Its looking to be an exciting remainder of the year with possibly my own fabric creation - which i'm in the early stages of - very exciting.  New visions and designs that i'm dying to get onto paper and out of my head and an online shop i'm endeavouring to open once iv'e sewn up enough pieces and have my collection of merchandise.  So much to do!!  I must remember while i'm creating gifts for others, to throw some in for myself - as I do I will share them with you all.  More hours in the day please!

Also as a request from my daughters school....she is to attend a book fair next week dressed in a costume.  It took no time at all for her to tell me that she wanted to go as Little Red Riding Hood.  "Great" I thought......that will be a cinch....hmmmm.....not so lol.   I collected a fantastic pattern for a cape for her costume only to discover that it was best made out of felt and the fabric store didn't stock any.  So...low and behold I went for the nearest red cotton fabric I could find, only to discover that it wasn't nearly wide enough.  The felt was to be 72" wide (183cm) and my red cotton fabric was a mere 115cm wide.........hmmm whats a girl to do.  Therefore, as mother and magician, my job tomorrow is to 'make it work'!!

Stay tuned for the result......

Strength of a Woman

While browsing articles and reading up on women's empowerment I came across Marcus Buckingham. He is an author and motivational speaker empowering women to find their strength and work with them to fullfilment. I want to share his words and work with you all... to explore and discover more of yourself - finding your strengths and building on them to reveal passions and talents that lay dormant until uncovered.

Successmagazine.com recently interviewed Marcus and I believe every woman can take something from his words.  Here's what he had to say:

SUCCESS: What are the best ways for people to discover their strengths?
Marcus Buckingham: It’s ironic that your strengths can be so easy to overlook, because they’re clamoring for your attention in the most basic way: Using them makes you feel strong. All you have to do is teach yourself to pay attention. Try to be conscious of yourself and how you feel as you’re completing your day-to-day tasks. Most of the time, we’re so focused on getting our work done that we don’t really have time to notice how we feel about it. At the end of the day, we go home and tell our loved ones that it was a good day or a bad day, but we haven’t made the effort to notice why the day feels good or bad as it happens. When you make the conscious effort to notice yourself at work (or at play, for that matter), you will find that you experience what I call “strong-moments” throughout your day—times when you feel invigorated, inquisitive, successful. Those moments are the best clues as to what your strengths are.
There’s also a simple acronym to help you recognize the signs of strength: SIGN.
  • S— Success: Do you feel a sense of accomplishment about finishing this task?
  • I— Instinct: Do you instinctively look forward to this task?
  • G— Growth: Are your synapses fi ring? Are you mentally focused?
  • N— Needs: Does this task fulfill one of your needs?
If you notice yourself feeling any of those feelings while doing a task, chances are that activity is one of your strengths.

Why is it so important for people to be aware of their strengths?

MB: It’s important to discover your strengths because the luckiest people are the ones who get to say to themselves every day: “Today, I had the opportunity to do what I am most invigorated by and what I do best.” But the people who can say that probably haven’t gotten there by luck. They’ve gotten to a point of high satisfaction in their lives precisely because they have made the effort to figure out what strengthens them (even if they wouldn’t put it in those terms). And based on that knowledge of their strengths, they have intentionally made decisions that will allow them to play to their strengths instead of worrying about things that weaken them. Everybody talks about their “dream job,” but it’s important to remember that you can push your current job, no matter what it is, in the direction of a dream job. The more you consciously decide to use your strengths, the more satisfying your current job will be.

Why do so many people think they need to be well-rounded, instead of focusing on their strengths to discover what they should be doing?

MB: People feel the need to be well-rounded because society gives us that message from the time we’re schoolchildren. If a child comes home with a report card that shows five A’s and only one C, chances are the parents are going to spend the majority of their time talking about improving on the C, rather than on celebrating the A’s. This continues into our working lives, where performance reviews often consist of a brief pat on the back for those areas that are working well and then a substantial focus on our “areas of opportunity.”
We internalize this. The problem with focusing on what doesn’t work is that attention amplifies everything. If you focus on the problem with the intent of fixing it, despite your best intentions, that problem becomes magnified. Instead, we need to shift our focus and ask, “What’s working well, and how can I get more of that?”

What is the secret to using our strengths to be happy?

MB: I believe we are all innately wise. When we make poor decisions, it’s not because we’ve listened to our intuitions or yearnings too intensely; it’s because we haven’t listened to them enough. Listen to yourself very carefully, catch the moments that invigorate you, and cradle them—that means concentrate on them, celebrate them, look at them from new angles, follow where they lead, and you will end up making the right decisions for you.

In your new book, Find Your Strongest Life, you found that women’s satisfaction has dropped steadily over the past 40 years. What’s the reason, and how can women and men find more satisfaction in life?

MB: If you look at the happiest and most successful women—whether they are working or not, or have families or don’t—they seem to realize that the challenge of life is not to juggle; the challenge is to catch—to select a few clear, strong moments from each aspect of your life and reach for those, draw them in to you. If you want to live a life that fulfills you, then you need to know, in each part of your life, which are the specific moments that really renew your energy and bring you joy, and go after them. You want to imbalance your life toward creating more of those specific moments. It’s a very different approach from what most people are taught.

Constructive Bingeing

Its been a little while since I’ve posted anything, but you’ll be pleased to know that my excuse is that I’ve been on a sewing binge.  One project turning into another!

My creative enthusiasm had me venturing out to one of the local town thrift shops – this is one of my favourite things to do!  I love rummaging through the racks and bins leaving nothing unturned in search of little treasures –once loved, no longer needed.   Assorted fabrics cuts, linens, laces, button and so many other gems just waiting to be reinvented.

There is nothing better than the feeling of making alot out of a little......

I find that when you purchase alot of different fabric in one go and pile them up a mind can spin! – but....I have to say that it doesn’t take long to start putting them together.

My latest mind spin left me standing in the middle of my sewing room staring.....and my eyes locked on my machine.....”ha, a machine cover”...that was it, I was already running through which of my bargain fabrics I was going to make it out of.

So, for this cover I went with the denim, a nice chocolate seersucker from the thrift shop and pieced one of my floral fats through it to give it some pizzaz!  The seersucker was a great find – an old doona cover I cut into two large peices.

Once I had my colours sorted I measured up the dimension of my machine and set to work – over the top,  width and  depth.  And started cutting!  I made sure I left enough room for a machine upgrade....which I’m talking myself into!

My next project was a trip to the local sewing warehouse to find some nice fabric and trimmings for my new sewing apron.   When I got past the point of leaving the house covered in cotton and picking leftovers of myself I figured it was time!!!   I chose a pattern by McCalls that was fairly easy and fashionable.  It took me more time to decide on what fabric I wanted to use.....but eventually, I settled....and i’m quite proud of this little number!

Moving on.....now this endeavour was simply unexpected!  My mother stumbled across some of my daughters old clothes she grew out of long ago...bound for the bin!  However, on closer inspection there was some recycling to be done.  With the cost of kids clothing these days its hard to just throw them out.

So, I cut them up instead...motives and all and turned this one into a cute lil French inspired headband.


This headband turned out so cute and my daughter absolutely loves them, so I decided to make her a couple more.  After mixing and matching....I put another two together.  They are incredibly quick and easy to make!


Whats next....who knows, stick around and find out!

Project to Expertise

I have such a long to-do list of desired projects its a tough decision on which to start next.

So far I have on my list:

Cushions (assorted to scatter), aprons (in a variety of styles - I love the frilly french style), chair cover for my mums spinning chair (I promised so I must deliver lol), baskets (my mind is on a few designs of multiple sizes), kntting needle cases, bags (an assortment), purses, folio covers, and pretty much anything else that comes to mind.  But these are just a few i've noted down.

Im hoping by working on these projects I will build my expertise in sewing and work towards a more professional finish.  I'm still relatively new to the world of sewing, however, I seem to have a natural flow with it.  In the past i've mostly worked on clothing, however, i'm now branching into home decor and accessories.  A little bit of nurture and time and I should soon be on the road to making and designing beautiful products to sell.
I must say that im really enjoying the quick projects - fast results can be so inspiring to create more and I absolutely love the feeling of finishing a project and admiring my handywork.  Its such a sense of accomplishment!
So for the ultimate question...."which do I start with?"...decisions decisions!!!

If you have any great project ideas feel free to share them and leave a comment.

HomeMade Dining!

This project came about while I was fussing in the kitchen, in my own world…of course….mind-mapping my way through ideas and designs of things I wanted to make - when my eyes took to my dining table….my boring…..drab….dining table!! Hmmm  Struck!  “I will make a dining and runner set” I thought to myself.  And that was that….I was off to Spotlight again to find the fabric I wanted.

After some searching through many different rolls of fabric and all the clearance sales….I came across this lovely warm and earthy fabric which felt just right for winter.   Now this is a very simple project that anyone can easily run up, however, I have learnt that I need to do some work on my ‘straight’ sewing!! LOL.  I decided to make my place mats a little more square than usual which was made very easy as the pattern is all straight lines.  I simply cut down the middle of the sections (between them)that I wanted.  Then continued on to sew two straight lines all the way the around the edge of each mat, leaving 1/4” seam allowance, then frayed the edges – loads of fun but messy…!

However, note to self!…next time zigzag instead of straight stitch.

Moving on to the table runner, I cut the fabric to my preferred length  (approx 1.2mtrs).  Then straight stitched all the way around to stop it fraying while I was working with it.   I turned under the edges of the long sides 1/4” and zigzagged all the way around again for firm holding, then frayed the ‘short’ edges.

Now… no dinner party is complete without a place for the wine glasses clinked among the guests of your  table …so…onto the coaster.  These are an excellent  finishing touch.  All you need to do is cut out small squares, (which was easy with the fabric I used as I just cut around each colour), zigzag all edges and then fray.

And hey presto…..you're done… let the clinking and good times begin!!!

Weekend treat!

This quilted basket was alot of fun to  make.  I decided on a country lavender theme coupled with the texture of corduroy, giving the basket a lovely warm feel.  As my first quilted basket I was really impressed with the result.  Its such a quick and easy project, great for the beginner sewer or as a breathe of fresh air for the experienced.  My new basket has found a lovely spot on my sewing table for all sorts of goodies and where I can admire it everyday!

In the same sitting I put together this trendy Snap Wallet.  Another simple task!  You could really go wild with these little things because they are super easy.  I chose a modern fabric, yet natural with a splash of colour.  There are so many design options for this project, for example, vintage with buttons, lace or ribbons or retro with some stylish colours and textures - its only limited to your imagination!!!

Both of these items make fantastic gifts for any occasion or simply as a treat for yourself.  You can find the patterns for these projects in my 'tutorials' section.

Intro in a shoe box...

My life took a complete right angle about five years ago when I became a single parent to my now six year old daughter.  I have come to believe that the biggest falls result in the greatest risings.  Along my journey I have experienced abandonment which has taught me strength and courage, falling in love and losing it showed me that I do have the love within me, parenting alone trained me to believe in myself and that the sweet innocent smile of a child can wash away all your worries…even if only for a moment…that moment is worth it!  And after all this and much much more that is too deep to go into here…..I have finally reached a place in my journey where I can look up and actually say out loud “the world is my oyster, and I nowchoose’ to do what ‘I’ want”.  And in light of this ‘choosing’…which I might add, is the best feeling in the world, you will come across all sorts of things on my blog that will make you think, possibly go all warm and fuzzy (which personally I hope you do!), there will be ‘ah ha’ moments…and well, we all know how good those are lol, and finally if you are reading this and can relate then my writing has been absolutely worthwhile and my work to inspire and support someone else has been achieved.