Thursday, December 29, 2011

End of 2011 review

In 2011 I've gone from 3000 to 30,000 page views per month on my blog. Received my first cheque from Google Adsense, taken on paid sponsors and started selling my own sewing patterns.

I'm loving spending so much time crafting and blogging and feel like I've made a good start on laying a foundation which will allow me to continue doing this in the longer term as my own form of paid employment!

I'm going to continue to work on growing this blog - and also my other blog:

I'll be taking a few days break from blogging - and will return on Jan 1st with my new goals and plans for 2012.

Thank you to all my readers and blogging friends for your support and encouragement throughout this year.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year, and continued success for everyone in 2012!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Creating Success Around the World- Dec28th

Welcome to

Creating Success around the World
The worldwide blog hop tour, that introduces you to creative people from all corners of the globe.

Creating my way to Sucess

Every Wednesday our hosts on each continent will introduce some inspiring creativity from their corner of the world.
Here's how you can take this worldwide tour with us:
You can follow all the hosts to support them and keep up to date with the fabulous posts they will share every week.  Then if you are inspired to join, just link up your own blog to make some new international friends.
Remember to leave us a comment when you follow us so we can follow you back!
And of course we'd love if you added our button to your site to help spread the word!
Here's the hosts:

Our American host - Suzy is on her Christmas break just now - She'll be back next week to start the New Year with a bang!

Today's guest is Megan from meggipeg in
 Perth, Western Australia

Hello to all the lovely readers of 'Creating my way to success' and thank you so much to Jill for inviting me to participate in the Creative World tour.

I am Megan from meggipeg. I live with my husband and two boys in Perth, Western Australia which is where I grew up. Perth offers a laid-back lifestyle and stunning natural beauty. It's a perfect place to raise a family.

Even though we live only five minutes from the city, we still enjoy the great outdoors every day. Here is a quick rundown of our daily life:

...and, of course, we create! My six year old loves crafting almost as much as I do and his bedroom is full of drawers bursting with pipe cleaners, beads, feathers and every other imaginable craft item (except the paint and messy glue - I supervise that part!). He spends hours in there creating things and his friends always love to join in when they come over.

I am also lucky enough to have a craft and sewing room which I fitted out this year (myself!!) with secondhand Ikea kitchen cabinets. I wasn't going to take a picture due to the chaos in there, but I did a quick tidy (read: moved most of the clutter to the back wall out of sight) and snapped a pic. I am so happy in there pottering around and making things. I have a huge wardrobe full of fabrics and finished items for sale, while the kitchen cabinets and drawers are full of more fabrics, old clothes for upcycling and refashioning, threads, ribbons, elastic and beads. There is also a jewellery making corner and supplies for screen printing and acrylic painting.

My prized possessions are my sewing machine and overlocker. I have a Bernina 1130 for sewing, which I have owned for about 20 years and love like one of the family. My overlocker is a Bernina 2500DCET, which I also love but I really haven't spent the time getting to know her as well as I should.
I have been sewing since I was a young girl, when I would make clothes for my dolls. My mum sewed for herself and for my sister and me, so it was just natural for me to sew alongside her. I designed and made my own clothes as a teenager and through university. I spent several years travelling in Europe and North America working as a research scientist, so sewing took a back seat until the last couple of years when I moved back home to Perth and began sewing again with a vengeance!
Sun protection swimwear designed and made for my boys

While searching online for inspiration for sewing for boys, I discovered the world of sewing blogs and decided to start my blog, meggipeg. I spend far too much time reading all the wonderful blogs out there, but I do enjoy it. I mostly sew for my boys, myself and my six year old niece. Sometimes friends ask me to make something for their daughters and I make a few things to sell in my Etsy shop. One of my most requested items is my party skirt, which I designed a couple of years ago. It is stretchy and comfortable, but also twirly and fun.

The meggipeg party skirt

Flower girl dresses I made for a friend

Recently I have made myself a dress inspired by Aussie label Metalicus and a couple of weeks ago I made my first ever pair of jeans! I could hardly believe I had made them, but the pattern I used by Jalie made the whole process pretty easy really, despite my many modifications. It is very exciting to try new sewing challenges and see them come to life.

I was lucky enough to go fabric shopping in Bali earlier this year, but I buy most of my fabrics from local fabric stores and op shops (thrift stores). I also love buying clothes from op shops that I can refashion into something new. So much fun!

Thrift store refashions: 1 pyjamas from a man's polo shirt; 2 stretch skirt refashion; 3 man's shirt to boy's pants

Sewing is the thing I do the most, but I also dabble in jewellery making, painting and other crafts.  I often get asked to help out with art activities at my boys' school, which I love! The children there are creative, energetic and endlessly fascinating. Recently I have opened my Etsy shop where I sell my creations. I'm still feeling my way with what to sell, how to price items and how to take the best photos. Etsy have lots of good tips and advice for sellers, so I'm gradually getting there.

So what's next? In the short term I am focussing on building up my blog readership and increasing the number of items in my online shop. I am also really keen to make some patterns from my own designs to sell and give away on my blog. I need to learn more about how to make different sizes and getting them to look a bit more professional - you know, like real ones!

Jill asked me to define what 'success' means to me and whether I have achieved it yet. Well, I haven't made much money from my creations or my blog and my house is messy and chaotic (and choc-full of stuff that I can't bear to throw away in case I can make something out of it one day)...BUT...I  am living my dream - I have a beautiful, loving family, I live in a fabulous place and I spend my days sewing and crafting. If success is happiness, I have it in abundance and I am so thankful that my husband makes my lifestyle possible for me.

Thank you so much for reading about my sewing and craft adventures. I hope I have inspired someone to try something new - usually it's so much easier than you think. Please drop me a line if I can help with anything, I would love to 'see' you on my blog sometime.


 Thanks  for your wonderful answers Megan.  Please do go and take a look at Megan's fabulous blog - it's a gem just waiting to be discovered by the masses!  She has so much talent and is so creative - you won't be disappointed!
So go on over to:
Now that you've seen some of the talent we have to offer Down Under, why not visit the other hosts to check out more talent on the other continents!
Make sure you visit them all to see the inspiration and creative people
every corner of the world has to offer:
Europe - Mike @ Blue Velvet Chair
The Americas - Suzy @ Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom
Asia - PC @ Meijo's Joy
And don't forget to add your own link below!  It's all about meeting new friends worldwide!


Friday, December 23, 2011

VERY Last minute Christmas gifts!

From 1-24th Dec I give to you my blog advent calendar.
Each day you can click on the numbered 'door' to 'open' it and find some Christmas upcycled/recycled goodness!


Still have Christmas Gifts to buy?  No time to get to the shops or order anything online?

If your gift recipient is a sewer - then how about getting them a sewing pattern tutorial for something they could make for themselves in the New Year?

The pattern and tutorial are available immediately upon payment online. Then perhaps you could save the tutorial onto a CD Rom and print a fancy label - or even print it out and wrap it up!

You could always add a gift certificate for them to buy the fabric to use to make the bags.

The Fat Quarter shop sells gift certificates which will be emailed to you within 2 hours of purchase! Also great for last minute gifts!

As a special for all you last minute Christmas shoppers - I'm offering a 25%  discount on my Personalised Duffel Bag Pattern and Tutorial until midnight on Christmas Eve MST.

Just go to my shop page and click on 'add to cart', then type in the discount code:


to get your discount.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Handibag - a tutorial

It's almost Christmas - and you've still got some gifts to get!  You'd best be prepared when you're out - you never know when you might see something good!

I'm going to show you how you can make this nifty Christmas Handibag:
Basically a simple tote bag - that folds into it's own pocket so you can slip it in your handbag and you're prepared for any unexpected Christmas shopping!!

Small enough to fit in your palm...

Big enough to carry plenty of gifts!!

You could always make one of these as a stocking filler too!  You could choose any colour and any design for the front - not just Christmassy!  Perhaps even someone's initial to make it personalised!

So here's how:

(note about your fabric choice!  I'm all for make things with whatever fabric you choose - but just be aware if you choose thick or heavy fabric for this bag - you will need to make the pocket size bigger to be able to stuff it all in! for this bag I used shiny material - kind of like what you'd find in a skirt lining!)

First you need your fabric:
1 piece for main bag 90 x 43cm (35.5 x 17")
2 straps - 60 x 10cm cm (23.5 x 4")
2 pieces for pocket - 24 x 16cm (9.5 x 6.5")
Alternate scrap colour for tree - around A4 paper size!
Using these templates cut out your two trees.

First you need to stitch your trees onto the bag and the pocket.
Fold one pocket piece in half and place the small tree centrally on one side.
Pin through just one layer of fabric to hold in place, and open out the fabric:

Then stitch around the edges of the tree -either using a tight zig-zag stitch, or the applique setting on your machine if you have one!

Repeat this for the large tree on the main bag piece:

Place your 2 pocket pieces right sides together. Pin and stitch around the edges leaving a small gap to turn out when you're done:

Turn the pocket out, using your scissors to carefully poke the corners out ,

Then topstitch around all four edges:

Then set your pocket aside, and turn to the main bag:

Fold the main bag in half, right sides together.  Then put your hands into the bottom corners of the bag at the fold:
...and kind of flatten the bottom like this:

Then fold the bottom so it looks like this from the side:

This fold means the bottom of the bag opens out when you put things in.
You could also ignore this hole folding step and just leave it flat as a basic tote!

Pin and stitch down the two sides of the bag:

Then overlock / serge the edges to prevent fraying.  If you don't have an overlocker (serger) then you can just do a zig zag stitch along the edge of the seam.

Now to the straps.

Iron the straps in half lengthways:
Then open out and iron the edges into the centre fold:
Then fold in half and iron again to enclose all raw edges:

Topstitch down both edges of both straps:

Now you can put the whole bag together:

Take the straps and pin to either side of the bag matching the raw edges - and around 10cm (4" )in from the side seams:

Stitch the straps to the bag to secure in place:

Now double turn the whole of the top edge of the bag to hide all the raw edges, and pin into place:

Run two rows of topstitching around the bag - and small crosses on the handles for extra strength:

Almost done! You just have to add the pocket now!

Fold the pocket piece you made in half with the tree on the inside - and place on the top center back of your bag, with the open end facing to the bottom of the bag:

Make sure you have the top flap slightly overlapping the bottom part with the tree on - you must NOT stitch the top edge with the tree on to the bag :

Pin then stitch around three edges of the pocket, as close to the edge as you can:

That's it! DONE!

your finished bag should look like this:

To stuff it into the pocket - open the pocket at the top of the bag like this:

Then push the bag into the pocket from the BOTTOM upwards!

It will be a tight fit - push it all in,including the straps, then flip over the flap of the pocket which has the tree on and smooth the edges!

Now you're all ready for some more Christmas shopping!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

(this is a Christmas version of my pillowcase handibag tutorial)

If you like this tutorial, there are well over 100 Free Sewing Tutorials for all levels of sewing ability.
To browse through them, please visit 
My Free Tutorials Page.

And for plenty more sewing ideas for Christmas - take a trip over to the fabulous AllFreeSewing site and check out all the 
Free Christmas Sewing Tutorials they have there! So many ideas for hand-making your Christmas merry and bright!

This year (2016) we have a challenge running called,

The 12 Days of Christmas DIY Challenges.

Every day for 12 days a challenge will be set to create something for Christmas from supplies you have on hand in the house. We'll be sharing plenty of ideas, new tutorials and a linky party for everyone to share their ideas too. Do come and join in!