Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sunday Motivation

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

No Man's Land

Since deciding to change my direction and step back from blogging a little, I've been feeling like I'm in 

'No Man's Land'

I'm getting lots done around the house, (right now I'm sitting at the dining room table as a workman is fitting a new wardrobe in the computer room).
It's exciting to be updating our house and clearing and decluttering is so good to do.

We've also got a big swim carnival with our girls this weekend for which I've taken on the catering with some friends, so we're busy with that this week.

It just feels strange to not be blogging too.
I'm looking forward to getting started on making things to stock and open my new made it or etsy store, and have lots of ideas buzzing around in my head - but just not had the time to start that yet.

I'm also looking forward to writing more, and exploring the world of freelance writing.

But right now, I'm in the transition and preparation stage.  All fun, but it feels like things are on pause!

I guess I should just enjoy the break - but I have to say I'm missing daily blogging.

Oh well - best get back to more de-cluttering. I just emptied one cupboard that is getting new doors! Can't believe how much stuff came out of such a small cupboard!  Time to get rid of more of the excess so there's less to put back!!

I'll be back soon!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Christmas Placemats

I finally started some Christmas sewing, and made a few festive placemats using this cute Christmas fabric.

They were super simple. All I did was cut rectangles of fabric 
44 x 36cm (17 x 14"), then double turn all 4 edges and stitch around them. 

Cute fabric, super simple project and Christmas preparations started! 

Have you started your Christmas sewing yet?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Stepping back...a little

I've been struggling a little bit with my blogs lately, in the sense that I don't feel like I'm getting anywhere.

I run my blogs because I enjoy them, but also with a view to making them a profitable form of income for our family.

After putting a lot of time and effort into my blogs this year, they haven't really shown enough growth and return for me to justify such a continued amount of time and effort.

I have now produced and made available on this blog 

a great resource for everyone to use - including myself.

I think it's just time for a new direction and a fresh approach to what I'm trying to achieve in life.

I'm still going to continue with my blogging, but just not putting all my time and efforts into them.  
It's important when you assess your progress to see what's not working, and right now, what I'm doing isn't working.

I'll continue to run my weekly linky party, and I'll still be doing lots more upcycling and posting about that. When I do make something new - I will still add the tutorials.  So really all that is going to change is the frequency of my posts, I will no longer post daily, maybe just 2 or 3 times a week.

I'm also looking at starting to make things to sell again. I did this for a while at a local market here in Cairns. This time I'm going to look at Madeit and Etsy as my platforms.  I also have an idea to get my girls looking at Junior Madeit - and they can learn with me!

Having made this decision, I do feel like a weight has been lifted.  Slowly, my blogging was becoming a chore as I saw less and less return for my efforts in terms of falling page views and fewer of my tutorials being featured on the larger sites that had previously featured lots of my work. Lately I've also had a couple of photos accepted by craftgawker which made me really excited, but didn't then bring me any traffic. In the past, a feature on craftgawker would result in a huge traffic spike to my blog.

Really I think it boils down to 'time for a change'.

I have such a large fabric stash, that I'm looking forward to using it up and hopefully selling on some of the things I make with it. This will help with my current project of de-cluttering and clearing out my house.

I'm also going to be looking at work as a freelance writer. Since I already write daily for my blogs, I figured that's the next logical step for me. The idea is that I will see a more immediate return for my work if I'm writing for someone else in a paid capacity! It's also still something I can do from home in my own time.

I may even look at e-publishing some books I have written!

As I said, I'm not stopping blogging, just cutting back on the time I'm spending on them, doing some other things to produce and income that in turn will allow me to continue growing my blogs in the background for now.

Over the next few weeks until the end of the year, I'm clearing, sorting, upcycling, sewing, brushing up my resume, and planning my Etsy and Madeit stores and what to make to sell in the fresh new year.

I do hope you'll continue to stop by my blog and see what I'm up to. Of course this new direction, will mean I have more adventures to blog about ..Ha..Ha....!!

Watch this space!!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

BOOK SALE! Grab a Christmas bargain now!

I LOVE BOOKS, and a great place to buy them is 
The Book Depository 
as they have free delivery worldwide!

Every now and then they have an amazing sale like this, with a new book on sale every half an hour. So keep on checking back for books that you'd be interested in, or that would make great Christmas Gifts!

I know I'll be checking and stocking up for myself and for gifts!

Happy Bargain Shopping!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Upcycling shorts to a funky soft backpack

I had a few pairs of soft shorts that didn't fit very well. I've had them a few years and really like the bright colours so wanted to make something fun with them.

Here's how to made a funky soft backpack:

First cut the seams and trims off the shorts to get panels of fabric in various sizes, plus the drawstrings:

Then place the pieces roughly together to make 2 rectangles which  form the main outer parts of the bag:

Then trim and square off the pieces before stitching them together.  The long waistband pieces are used for the bag straps - 2 waistbands stitched together for each strap.

So with my shorts I ended up with 
2 rectangles measuring 42 x 34 cm (16.5 x 13.5")
And for the straps
2 pieces measuring 168 x 12cm (68 x 5")

For the lining of the bag, cut 2 more large rectangles the same size as the outer pieces - I used an old sarong:

For the lining:
Place the two rectangles right sides together and pin around 3 sides leaving the top short edge open.  You also need to leave a gap of a few inches on one of the longer sides to allow you to turn the bag out at the end.

I chose to add a clip to the inside of my bag here. It was a plastic clip I had salvaged from something years ago. I threaded a piece of the shorts cord through this and stitched it into the seam of the lining:

For the outer bag:
Once again, place the two rectangles face together, pin then stitch around 3 edges - 2 long one short.  This time you need to leave a gap near the top edge of the bag on both sides which will be where you thread the straps through:

You also need to add the loops at the base of the bag for the straps to thread through. I used 2 pieces of the shorts drawstring for this - each was 15 cm (6") long. Simply loop this in half and place one in each bottom corner of the bag. Run the stitching over these several times for added strength:

Putting the bag together:
Leave the lining inside out, but turn the outer bag part right side out, then push inside the lining. The right sides of both bag parts should now be facing each other:

Pin then stitch all the way around the top edge.

Turn the bag out through the gap in the lining, and stitch the opening closed:

To make the casing for the drawstring strap:
At the top opening of the bag, run two rows of stitching all the way around the bag on either side of the gaps in the side of the bag:

To make the straps:
Iron the strips of fabric in half, 

Fold both short edges in before you iron:

then open out and iron the outer edges towards the centre. 

Finally fold the fabric in half again to completely enclose the raw edges. Top stitch around all 4 edges. Repeat for the other strap.

Now you just need to thread the straps through the casing in the top of the bag.

Using a large safety or nappy pin, push one strap into the casing on one side of the bag, thread right through and out the same side.  Make sure the strap is even, then tie both ends to the loop at the base of the bag on that side.

Repeat with the other strap on the other side of the bag:

All done!
I made a mini drawstring bag with the left over scraps from the shorts. 

I can clip this into the inside of my backpack for money, keys etc.

I'm really pleased with my new backpack.

It's bright, colourful, comfortable and different on both sides!

Not a bad transformation - don't you think?

For the free downloadable PDF version of this tutorial - click here.

To see more ideas for shorts upcycling, you can take a look at my Shorts Upcycling Pinterest Board.

Or you can check out over 600 ideas for upcycling any clothing by visiting the long term linky here. Please feel free to add your own clothes upcycling projects too. It's a very popular resource - visited hundreds of times every day.

If you enjoyed this tutorial, then why not have a look at my other free sewing tutorials