Thursday, June 28, 2012

My Creative Space

Recently a good friend of mine in the UK had a gorgeous baby girl.  Of course I had to send her a handmade gift to say congratulations!

I sent her a baby play mat, with lots of different
fabrics and textures on it.

And also a very small soft bucket hat, since it's summer in the UK just now, and I'm sure she'll be taking her adorable baby out and about to show her off!

I hemmed the edges of a large piece of cute muslin that I had, and wrapped the gifts up in that, so the wrapping is also a gift too!

Tied it up with a pretty ribbon and sent it off on it's way to the other side of the world!

Congratulations to my dear friend Reina!!

To see what others have been up to in their creative spaces this week, head on over here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Creating Success around the World - Gabrielle from Little Bird Bindery

Welcome to Creating Success around the World
Introducing you to creative people from all corners of the globe.

Creating my way to Sucess

Every Wednesday our hosts will introduce some inspiring creativity from their corner of the world.
Here's this week's hosts:
Jill in Australasia
Jill in Australasia
Daffy in Asia
Daffy in Asia
Today's guest is Gabrielle from Little Bird Bindery
    in Melbourne, Australia

What do you create?
Well, basically I create books. Books with lots and lots of empty pages, screaming out to be Illustrated or written upon.  Journals, sketchbooks and notepads all built for a little prose, a lot of doodling or whatever takes the book lovers fancy.
The Little Bird Bindery books come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  Hardcover and soft leather journals. I’m even happy to make custom orders.
Why do you create? I create because I must!
I’m one of those people that’s always making something.  From a kid that knitted, a teen who designed and sewed her own clothes, a Mum that made kids hats, to middle aged lady who makes books.  Knitting, sewing, cross stitch, illustrations, painting, letterpress……..and the list goes on.  As for book binding, well, I first learnt how to make books about 3 years ago and love every single itty bitty moment of it.
That desire to CRAFT has always been in me. It’s an intrinsic part of me and I can’t remember a day where I haven’t created something, whether it’s a quick sketch of an idea or actually sitting down at my desk and making and creating.
Do you sell your creations? If so, how? Where? And is it profitable?
I do sell my books.    You can find all my current books for sale at
Initially I was very reluctant to put them out on the market. Not because I didn’t think they were good but simply because I thought nobody would want to pay for them.  It’s very easy to be highly critical of your own work so it took me long time before I recognised that other people loved my books as much as I did. So there I was with a room full of books that needed to go to good homes and rapidly running out of places to store them.   What to do?   Well, I started giving them away.  Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, gifts for any occasion really.   And then something fantastic happened.  I realised that there were people out there who loved my books as much as I did and after receiving some amazing feedback I decided ‘selling them” might be worth a go.    My books are now available to everyone on  My little store is called “Little Bird Bindery”. You can find it right HERE.
It’s been a great learning curve and although I haven’t sold an insane number of books, I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved so far.  It’s great to see them go to good homes and treasured by someone other that myself. 
At this stage my Madeit store finances my binding habit.  One day soon (real soon) I’m hoping it will lead to bigger and better things (like stay at home and madly binding all day long. Sigh!)
What mistakes have you made or lessons you have learned?
Mistakes?   Me??  Never! Seriously though.
A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.  (Albert Einstein)

When you’re a creative even a mistake is something good.  One mistake and what you began with can result in something pretty spectacular in the end.
But, yes, if I think real hard I guess I have made a few mistakes but by far the biggest would have to be not having faith in my skills and talents and knowing that what I produced was brilliant and admired. 
So for any fledgling creatives out there,   just do it!  Give it a go!  Nothing ventured.  Nothing gained!
What, to you is success? Have you achieved it yet, or are you on your way towards success?
Success for me is being able to be creative ALL of the time.  I don’t necessarily measure it in financial terms (although some extra cash wouldn’t go astray), but in my ability to spend time creating and learning.
Currently I’m spending more time designing covers than actual binding so I don’t have a lot for sale at the moment (must fix that) but it means what I have created, is very unique, not the same old stuff you’ve seen before.  And I’m truly, wonderfully enjoying myself.  That to me is success.
So what's next?
Next?   Gee.  I guess it’s to learn more skills and techniques to enhance my binding skills.  Take some chances and design something a little crazy perhaps.  Hit my blog a little more consistently, populate my shop and show some strength in promoting myself.
Feel free to pop into my store for a looky see.
Or Visit my blog for my latest ventures into the creative world of bookbinding.
Better me:
Thanks  for your lovely answers Gabrielle - and for sharing your beautiful work with us!
Do go and visit Gabrielle's blog and check out more of her wonderful creations!

Special note:
This feature - Creating Success around the World has been running for around a year now. In that time we've had lots of hosts all over the world introducing us to so many fabulous creative souls.
I've loved meeting each and every one of them, and am proud to have been able to feature many of them right here on my blog.
Thank you to all those who have participated in this project - either as a host, a featured crafter or a reader.
This is the last week this feature will run, but you can always browse back over the past 6 months of Australasian features here, and gain some inspiration and insight into Creating to Success!

Thanks to everyone for your support of this feature.
Don't go away - there's lots more great stuff yet to come here at 
Creating my way to Success!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Notebook covers - tutorial coming..

Usually I have a tutorial ready to post on Tuesday morning.
However, this week I have my girls on school holidays which slows things down a bit - plus I'm feeling a bit sick at the moment with blocked sinuses and a sore throat! So, I'm not very organised!

Here's a couple more pics of what I've made - I will post the tutorial very soon!

UPDATE! The tutorial is now available here.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Me, a mad scientist?

A couple of weeks ago, I showed you a picture of a new drinks belt for running that I had made.

Well I tried it out on an 18km run and found it still bounced around a bit too much - not so comfortable! So it was back to the drawing board! ( I refuse to pay $45 for something that I'm convinced I can make myself!)

So I've gone as simple as possible - with just a thick elastic belt with little loops on to hold the bottles and velcro to fasten it!
I tested it out last weekend on a short run with my daughter, and found the weight of the full bottles pulled it down a bit much, but otherwise it seemed ok.
So I've now added a couple more belt loops on my shorts to stop the belt sagging!

(This is when my husband called me a mad scientist - testing, retesting and adding bits here and there!!)

So - I think I've finally cracked it.
Today I'm off up this mountain (The Pyramid) for a training run and another test of my belt!

Hopefully it will finally be perfect!

Wishing everyone a happy weekend!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Dress to skirt and top - this week's upcycle

As I've mentioned before, my daughters are growing up but not out at the moment, and although their clothes still generally fit, they are getting too short.
This was the case with a pretty dress belonging to my youngest daughter:

So I upcycled it into a skirt and top:

I just cut under the main shirred body part:

Which left me with a wide skirt:

Then using another skirt for size, cut some elastic for the waist, and stitched that on - the fabric was already folded in gathers from the dress so it was easy to fit around the elastic evenly.

Then the top I had left, I matched up with another discarded top that had stretched and become rather shapeless.

I cut a section from the bottom of the blue shirt, and simply stitched down the side, then attached to the top.

Hopefully now she'll get a little longer wear out of it!
And of course here's some cool poses to show off her new outfit!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

My first quilt finished!!

Phew! I did it! Finished a whole quilt!

I enjoyed the whole project - learning as I went along.

I started with a bag of scraps:

Which were all sorts of funny shapes and sizes, so mixed with colour scraps I had, I cut squares and strips..

 and gradually pieced together enough to make a single bed sized cover:
I don't own a rotary cutter, and although I read a lot of quilting advice and blogs that said how important it was to cut accurately, I stayed with my trusty scissors.
I am not a perfectionist and much prefer to focus on being able to do something successfully than perfectly (if that makes sense) - a successful quilt to me is one that looks nice, covers the bed and keeps the occupant warm!

I did lots of shuffling around of the pieces until I liked the overall look, then stitched them together.
Only a few fish ended up swimming upside down!! oopps!

The batting layer for the inside was made with all my scraps of fleece pieced together!

Then the backing was made from a large roll of mustard coloured knit fabric I was given recently!

Now things were getting tricky!
I've never sewn anything the size of this before.
Some quilting blogs I read suggested tacking together the layers to stop them slipping when you quilt them. 
I'm too lazy to do that, so went with the safety pin option.
One blog I read, the lady said she'd used 500 safety pins to secure her quilt!! Unbelievable!
I raided my stash and found about 30!
So placed and pinned them at intervals, smoothing the fabric as much as I could!

Then it was time to quilt the 3 layers together!
Oh my! Trying to maneouver all that through my little machine was tricky!

Oh - and I had to test out first that I had my threads right - with blue on top and yellow on bottom to match the colours on the quilt!

I think overall it went pretty well - only a couple of puckers on the bottom:

And a couple of bits of dodgy stitching on the top:

So now all I had to do was the binding!

So I found another yellow scrap piece and cut this into strips:

I joined the strips together, then ironed the long strip in half..

Then opened it out and folded the edges into the middle crease and ironed again to make my own binding!

Then I was very lazy. (again! gosh that seems to happen a lot!)
I got my quilt, binding and machine and stitched it all together as I unrolled the binding strip!

Yes I did end up with a couple of small 'missed' bits..
Which I had to re-stitch to secure.

But hey - I finished a whole quilt!
And in spite of the small flaws and imperfections, I'm proud of it!
Here's the front...

and here's the back..

And my daughter loves it on her bed - now the other daughter wants one too!
And here's one last picture of my quilt on a fence - because it seems to be that you have to photo your quilt on a fence! That's what all the quilters do!! and now - maybe I can call myself a quilter..?? maybe?

I take my hat off to all you quilters out there who have the patience and the skill to make perfect and beautiful quilts!
I love browsing around blogs to look at them in awe!

But to those of you who have never quilted, I say give it a go!
It was a challenge - and yes I will be making another one, which may or may not have fewer flaws and imperfections.  But it's handmade with love, and hopefully these quilts will be ones that my daughters will keep for years - and hold happy memories of growing up alongside the Great Barrier Reef!

To see what others have been up to in their Creative Spaces this week, grab a cuppa and head on over here.

I'll be linking this post to many of the wonderful linky parties whose pretty buttons can be found at the bottom of this page and whose direct links are on my linky party page.