Monday, October 31, 2011

Adding a little excitement!

Last night in a conversation with my mum
 ( after a wonderful family day, when we all climbed a nearby mountain )
I had a 'light-bulb' moment.
I realised I need to inject some 'excitement' into what I'm doing.

I'm enjoying the sewing and blogging that I'm doing but is it exciting? Is it something that ignites a passion in me and creates a momentum that allows my projects to grow and develop to their full potential?

What do I mean by excitement?

Well the examples from other areas of my life and my past that come to mind for me are these three things.

1. When watching an AFL match (Aussie rules football) - and I'm sure this relates to any sport.  When one team starts to score goals - they often get 'on a roll' so to speak - their confidence builds and it seems to bring out the best in all the players.  The more they score - the better the team starts to play - as the excitement builds in the stadium I think the fans contribute to this feeling that drives on the team that is winning to play even better.

2. When I was younger, I used to do gymnastics.   I remember one particular evening at our club - it was the end of our session, but one girl just managed to master a move that she'd been practicing for a while.  The parents had all arrived to collect their children - and the atmosphere became excited as everyone congratulated her.  As this was happening - a few of us other girls - tried our moves another time - and several of us had breakthroughs there and then in suddenly being able to do moves we'd struggled with for sometime!  I remember the feeling of excitment from that evening - and I do believe it contributed to driving everyone to believe in themselves and do their best.

3.  One of my favourite books is Michael Crichton's "Travels".  It's a collection of short tales of experiences he had in his life and what he learned from them.
One of these tells of him attending a 'spoon bending party'.  He describes around a hundred people all in one room - bending spoons, and forks - with an excited party atmosphere.  No tricks - just everyone having fun! Sounds crazy?  Maybe - but an interesting idea of what can be achieved with focussed inattention and energy!

So how does any of this relate to my blog and sewing?
Well I do enjoy what I'm doing - but currently I'm not feeling the passion.  I need to get that back.  Think more about the whys and have a bit more fun with things.  The upcycling side of things - is something that I do get passionate about, so it's good I'm getting back into more of that!

As I mentioned in my November goals post - I've planned my posts for the next couple of months already - so now it's time to inject something else into them! 

I love making activities fun for my girls - turning chores and homework into a kind of game!  Time I did it for myself!  If I can grab that passion and excitment - imagine what I can achieve!!!
There - I've put it out there - so I have to do this now - Best get my thinking cap on as to how to add some excitement.......

Do you manage to add excitement to your daily life?

Are you passionate about what you do? And do you think that those who are - manage to achieve more than those who aren't?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

November goals

On one of the Anthony Robbins CDs I have he says that

 "Most people vastly over-estimate what they can achieve in a year -
but vastly under-estimate what they can achieve in a decade."

I do have a tendency to set my goals high - particuarly in the short term.  Goodness me - you should see my 'to-do' lists for a Monday - they are HUGE and always spill over into the rest of the week!

But it doesn't generally make me feel bad or disillusioned! It's just the way I do things.
 But is it right?  Shouldn't I try to set more achieveable goals if I'm always falling short?

I've done lots of thinking these past few weeks - after realising that  I'm only going to achieve half of my October goals!

For those of you interested which ones - I have finally reached the $150 mark on my Google ads and so that should mean my first cheque!! Whoo hooo!!!

Plus - I have some lovely sponsors for my blog now - so this month, the thing that I'm working on for hours each day - has finally brought me a little money! Yippee!   Now I have to work hard for my sponsors to make sure they get value for their money and want to renew!

Anyway - my page views aren't growing.  I tried posting more often, but that made no difference. Why? Well I didn't think that through properly.  Most of my traffic comes for my tutorials - so to increase by simple number of posts - it would need to be more tutorials - and they take too much time for me to be able to put out more. So that didn't work! Lesson learned!

Never one to give up - I've been plotting and planning some more.  I decided that I need even more detailed a plan for my blog than usual. Or rather detailed in a different and hopefully more productive way.

Challenges seem to work best for me in terms of keeping me motivated.  It gives me a focus for the month too.

So for November I'm joining in the ....

Plus getting started on the many Christmas crafting ideas I want to try out this year.

Then in December I'm teaming up with some lovely other bloggers for a Christmas handmade special!

I've actually already got my posts planned out day by day through the next couple of months - and I'm excited about all the projects I've got planned!

In terms of my blog growth - I'm still learning - but have found it hard to plan 'what' to learn as it's more of a discover as I go along and explore things that come up.  So for now - no specific goals for that other than to make the most of and explore every opportunity that comes up.

This weekend is very busy - but I needed to get this down - and the finer details will be sorted on Monday when I get the house to myself and have time to think clearly!

Hope you're all having a great weekend!

Happy halloween celebrating!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A new clothes upcycling project started!

I feel like I haven't done a decent clothes upcycling project in a while - and the new fantastic ideas being added all the time to my clothes upcycling page are inspiring me! We've almost reached 160 links - so many great ideas - and I know there are more out there so keep on linking them up!

Anyway - my new project is a Christmas one!
These are the clothes I'm going to use:

But I've only just started...

I'll post what I make in a few days - watch this space!!

Hope everyone is having a wonderful creative weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

My not very creative space!

A few years ago we bought a day bed to put on our patio outside. Living up here in the tropics, a lot of time is spent outdoors - so this piece of furniture has been very well used!
However - the covers are all getting quite ragged and very faded - after several years exposed to the elements!

So in my wisdom - and true style of upcycling - I thought I'd make use of a pile of old curtain swags a friend gave me - and whip up some new covers. Cost $0

Unfortunately satisfaction  also 0!!

YEUK!! I just don't like it! 

And honestly I think the old ratty faded version was better!

Not that any of these photos are very inspirational!
I need some colour!

Don't we all have failed projects though?
Now this one will just become a challenge - and at least I 've got some good daggy, dull and colourless 'before' shots

For something a lot more colourful and creative - head on over to Our Creative Spaces!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quilting and Patchwork

Last week I tried my hand at quilting for the first time when I made a small mug rug:

I really enjoyed making this - and it made me curious to learn a little about quilting - and patchwork. What is the difference? How did it start? And here's what I found.

According to Wikipedia,

Quilting is a sewing method done to join two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material
Patchwork or "pieced work" is a form of needlework that involves sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design.

The earliest example of quilting was found more than 3000BC on a carved figure of an Egyptian Pharoah! 

Quilting and Patchwork were used through history mostly it seems for bed quilts - often made from old clothing - enabling people to re- use even worn items and very small scraps.

There was even lots of quilted armour - like a Gambeson.
Would you believe I even found a pattern/tutorial so you can quilt your own armour!  Amazing!

In later years - quilted clothing like the Doublet - became popular as mens clothing!

Personally - what interests me most about quilting and particularly patchwork is the 'recycling' aspect of it.  It seems like a fantastic way to use up scraps!
Of which I'm sure all of us who sew have LOTS! Bucketloads even!!

Or even another way of upcycling those old clothes!
Earlier this year I started trying to find ways to use up my scraps - and made this patchwork pincushion - or is it really a pet bed?

A patchwork pillow for Mickey:

And this cute patchwork fabric basket - using a tutorial from Pink Penguin:

I'd kind of forgotten about these until I made my mug rug last week - and it's revived my interest.
I'm definitely going to be trying out lots more patchwork and quilting - to try and use up my scraps and stash!

A great start is going to be a challenge I've signed up for during November
- the Solid's only Tote Challenge
One of the techniques you can use for this challenge is patchwork!
Do you want to join me in this challenge?
Do you have a large pile of scraps that would love to be transformed into a fabulous patchwork bag?
Head on over to Ricochet and Away for the details and to sign up for the challenge! It's going to be lots of fun!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Upcycling for some dolls clothes - Guest post tutorial from Becky at Creatively Content

Hi, I am Becky from a little blogging corner called Creatively Content. Jill it makes me smile to be able to hang out here on this great blog of yours, that is always getting better. Thank you for having me.

I am an American living with my family in the west corner of Turkey. I have adopted a theme since living here in Turkey that is 'use what you have".  Living in Turkey has put my life in perspective in many ways and I am truely grateful to not have everything I want at my finger tips, it has produced ingenuity in me. :)

On this fun Friday I want to share how my girls and I put together a few outfits for their dolls by simply upcycling/recycling some unwanted clothing.

A Sock hoody, Pant leg jean skirts, a Sleeve sweater 

and a Sock dress. 
I made these two yellow haired dolls some time ago for the girls. The third doll is a muslin ready made doll my daughter put together. They were scantly clad for way too long. So my girls and I went to work. I have put together a picture tutorial for each piece of doll clothing. They are very simple and take little time to create.

Sleeve Sweater

1. Find an old sweater.

2. Cut off sleeve according to the length of dolls waist

3. Take the doll's arm and measure from what is left of the sweater sleeve.

4. Cut a piece of sweater that is long enough and wide enough for a sleeve. Do this twice for two sleeves.
5. Sew newly cut sleeves closed - into a cylinder shape. Set aside.
6. For sweater bodice, take the piece cut off from the sleeve in step #2 and cut small holes in each side for the arms. 
7. Now take the sleeves you made and insert them into the arm holes of the bodice.

8. Turn sweater inside out, then take the sleeve that is poking through the arm holes and turn it towards the sweater. Sew the small piece of  sleeve around the hole that you made for the arms, so that the sleeve is now attached to the inside of the sweater. Do other arm the same.

9. Turn sweater right side out and tada ~ a doll sweater.

Sock Sweater Hoody

This sock hoody is very simple:
1. Find sock.

2. Cut holes for arms and head.
3. Cut the head and neck hole larger.

4. Cut the sock to fit to dolls waist.

Pant Leg Jean Skirt

1. Find old pair of jeans (these were mine)

2. Cut off pant leg to the length of skirt you want. (These jean skirts could easily fit an 18" doll)

3. Turn inside out and fold down material.

4. Sew around pant leg and leave an opening then  run elastic through opening with a saftey pin.

4. Tie or sew elastic in place. Sew up opening.

5. Turn right side out.

Here are our models: 

Melek (Angel) and Sari (Yellow)

Here are a few more examples 

of our recycled/upcycled doll clothes.

I hope all of you reading have enjoyed these fun doll outfits and maybe some of you now have a few new ideas for those mis-matched socks of yours that are hanging out in your laundry baskets looking for a home.

Please come on over and visit me at Creatively Content, I would love to have you. It is a place where I record my creativity and highlight lots of kids crafts, simple sewing, my reflection of culture, faith and being a mom to my 3 kiddos in a country that is not my own. I would love to have you come over and visit my corner of the blogoshere. Here are a few links of my posts to show you a bit of who I am, because my blog is just that, me. :)

From my little corner of the world to yours,


Thursday, October 20, 2011

First quilting project!

I did it!
I tried quilting and I'm quite happy with my little result:
This Mug Rug!

I was excited to discover my machine has a "quilting guide"  - who knew??
 (I've now had my machine for 7 years and am still discovering things about it!!)

I used this tutorial  for the Mug Rug, plus this machine binding tutorial.

I had fun stitching the wavy lines - nice to have a play around!

But am painfully aware that the corners of my binding need a little work!

Overall - I enjoyed my first foray into quilting, and will definitely be doing more!  If anyone has any simple quilting tutorials to recommend - please leave me a comment! I'm on the hunt!

For now I can enjoy my new pretty Mug Rug!

Just perfect for a cup of tea, homemade chocolate chip biccie - and a browse through some wonderful creative spaces!
What have you been up to in yours?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Goodies for me!

This morning my parents arrived from England! They come over to visit us here in Australia most years and stay for several weeks. They haven't been out for over a year - so it's really good to see them again!

Mum taught me to sew - and I still have lots to learn from her - so I'm hoping we can spend some sewing time together over the next few weeks!

They brought out lots of goodies for us and the kids.
Lots of books for the kids - including many I had when I was little - The Thirteen Clocks I'm particularly looking forward to reading again!  I remember I loving it as a child ! 
There's a box of Shreddies breakfast cereal for my husband, clothes for the kids - but best of all for me - were these from Mum:


and Buttons....

LOTS AND LOTS of them!!

Can't wait to get started!!

Fabric Halloween Baskets

I made these baskets using a great tutorial I found over at
 A Spoonful of Sugar a while ago.
I've had it pinned to my "things I want to make" board over on Pinterest - and since I had some cute ghostie fabric - thought I'd try them out for Halloween!

I made two - one with the ghostie fabric each way up - gold on one side, silver on the other.
Here's the underside of the baskets so you can see the fabric better:

They make perfect little table containers for parties!

 I used rip-stop nylon for the inside - so I could use it to serve snacks and be able to wipe it out.

Aren't they cute?

They are super simple to make - for the tutorial go here.
Many thanks to the talented ladies at A Spoonful of Sugar for the inspiration and the tutorial!

I'm going to be linking this to a new party I found called:
Liked it, Pinned it, Did it at La Nouvelle Mode

Friday, October 14, 2011

Fall Door Hanger - guest post tutorial from Terri at A Creative Princess

Hi! I'm Terri and I have a little craft blog called A Creative Princess where I share my crafting obsession with all of you. I host "It's a Party" on Thursday's where everyone can show off their fabulous creations.

I am so happy to be guest posting here today! Thank you, Jill!!
Today I'm going to show you how I made this door hanging from acorns and pine cones.

This time of year you can find just about everything you need for this project in yards everywhere!

I took part of an old potato sack and stretched it in an embroidery hoop.

I used the pine cones for the petals and the acorn tops for the center, attaching them using a glue gun.

That's it, easy peasy!
Thank you again, Jill, for having me! I hope you all will stop by A Creative Princess sometime and let's get our craft on!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Halloween lights from recycled cans!

I remember seeing this idea somewhere last year and liking it - so finally have got around to trying it myself

Candle holders from old food cans!

I washed out the old cans, removed the labels, then filled them with water and froze them
 (this helped stop the can from bending when I punched the holes in):

Then wedging the cans between a couple of bricks - I just used a hammer and a long screw to tap holes in the cans:

I tried to think 'Halloween' when making the holes!
Here's my ghostie...

And my pumpkin (which looks kind of apple like!)

Then I stood them in the sun to melt the ice.

They did admittedly look pretty ugly on the table when it was still light, but when it got dark - I popped a tealight candle in each one and lit them up!

Much prettier!

I've already recycled some old wine bottles as candle holders - and I'm loving the dripped wax down the sides.

As for the cans - I thought they looked ok for my first attempt - but I'd like to try them again and improve them.  Perhaps I could draw on a design first and then punch the holes?  And maybe paint the cans so they look prettier during the day?

What do you think? 
Have you recycled anything else as a candle holder?

For more wonderfully creative spaces - go here!