Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Etched Wine Glasses

I recently went  to my cousins wedding and decided to make them some etched wine glasses.
I made customised stencils of their first initials using contact paper which I cut out using my craft knife.
This  is a really easy craft to do yourself - the hardest part is making the customised stencils! I use the etching cream and at first was a bit worried about burning my skin with the chemicals but I have never had any on my skin. You can buy it on eBay and it lasts for ages as it is reusable so you just scrape it back into the jar after the 2 minutes is up.

Sunday, 25 December 2011

Stencilled T-shirt

I decided I wanted to try out fabric painting for my nephews Christmas present. My sister just got a boxer puppy so I chose a boxer silhouette for his shirt.
All I did was take a photo of a boxer and using photoshop made it into a silhouette. I then printed it off,  traced it onto clear contact paper and carefully cut with a craft knife.
You could easily print off the original photo and hand draw a silhouette if you don't use photoshop.
After lining up my stencil and carefully checking  all the edges were properly stuck down, I used one of those sponge stencil brushes to apply the paint. I actually left the stencil on the t-shirt overnight so I didn't accidentally get paint anywhere. It came off easily the next morning without peeling any paint off the shirt.
And here it is! It turned out great so after Christmas is over I am going to paint a shirt for myself.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Applique Tie Shirt

I have been trying to make as many Christmas presents as I could this year. For my little brother in law I decided to try out applique. Eventually it turned out ok, but getting there was an ordeal. I think my problem was the t-shirt I used was very thin. I ended up putting a large piece of interfacing on the inside of the shirt so I could do the satin stitch on that. It stopped the sewing machine gathering up the t-shirt fabric and I just trimmed it after I finished.
It looks very cute and I hope my mother in law likes it!

Monday, 19 December 2011

Holly Collar Tutorial

Here is the tutorial to make your own felt holly collar for your pet, as modelled by Trixie!

  1. Cut a piece of the red felt long enough to fit around your dogs neck – remember to take into account the overlap for the Velcro – and 4cm wide (choose the width based on what you think will look best on your dog).
    Trixie’s neck is 33cm and my piece of Velcro is 3cm = 36cm long x 4cm wide piece of felt.
    Cut 1 piece of interfacing slightly smaller than your red piece of felt and iron on. 
    For your holly leaves, draw the design onto your interfacing then iron the interfacing to your green felt. This will make it easier to cut out your holly leaves
  2.  For this step I chose to sew along the long edges of the red felt and down the centre of my holly leaves. I didn’t sew down the centre of the holly leaves on the cats collars so take a look at their photos to see what you prefer.
  3.  Attach your Velcro to the collar – making sure you attach one end to the front on the collar and the other end to the back of the collar. I just used tacky glue but you could sew it if you prefer.
  4. Next you need to sew your holly leave onto the collar – you could glue this part as well if you prefer.
  5.  For this collar I used some 2cm baubles as I didn’t have enough of my big bells. Just sew a couple of loops of thread through the hanging holes of each bauble (or bell).
  6. All finished – a very cute and quick Christmas craft project!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Collars

Well I have been busy making all my Christmas gifts for this year. I have also made collars for the cats and the puppy!
For Trixie I made the Holly Ascot Collar tutorial that I found on the Martha Stewart site.
Link here.
Trixie looks very cute in her Christmas collar and it doesn't seem to bother her at all.

As for the cats I used some felt scraps to make theirs and some tiny little red bells. I plan on making one of these for Trixie as well as I think it looks much cuter and at the same time I will make a tutorial so everyone can make a simple collar for their pets.
I think the little holly leaves and bells would look cute as a hair piece as well!

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Trixie's new collar

I decided I wanted to make Trixie a new collar and started pulling apart old ones to see if I could actually sew a nice collar before buying supplies.

I am very happy with it so I also made her a matching lead. I decided to embroider her name and phone numbers on the ribbon for this collar as well since she always loses her tags anyway. Now I just need to hope she doesn't lose her collar as well!

It is nice that Trixie can have a collar different to all of her doggy friends. Next is buying supplies to make collars for the cats...

Friday, 4 November 2011

Ribbon dog tag

We had the need to buy Trixie a zappy collar after receiving a threatening letter about her barking! Not that she barks much because I have her inside - but better safe than sorry. I am home most of the time so she doesn't need to wear it very often, but we have a wedding to go to next weekend and she will be wearing her zappy collar. Because the collar I bought works through vibrations I can't have any tags hanging from her collar or have her wear her normal collar. I don't want to leave her alone without a name tag in case she escapes or gets let out, even though she is microchipped.

Enter Trixie's new ribbon tag...

What you will need:
  • A ribbon either the same width or smaller than your collar
  • A candle or lighter
  • Needle and thread (I used regular sewing machine thread but you can use embroidery thread)
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Lamp or lightbox
  • Sticky tape
  • Optional: Name and phone number printed off your computer
  • Optional: Sewing machine
I chose to print off Trixie's name and my mobile number only since I won't be home anyway. I did it in all different sizes then just cut out the size I chose. You can just write directly onto your ribbon if you prefer.

You will need to either write or trace your text onto the ribbon. I don't have a lightbox so I just used my lamp by taping the piece of paper onto the lamp. Now you will need to line up your ribbon and tape it down as well. I just used a texta to trace the text lightly onto the ribbon as a guide for my embroidery.

Now you need to start your embroidery. I used a simple backstitch with a doubled over piece of thread knotted at the end. For added security, at the end of each letter I tie a knot just in case the thread gets caught on something - saves me redoing the whole tag again!

After you have finished you need to trim the ends and melt them using your candle - this will stop the ribbon fraying. Just do it quickly and make sure your ribbon is made of polyester otherwise it will catch on fire! At this point you can either fold the edges over and pin the ribbon onto your collar or just leave the ends unfolded as I have done.

I sewed my ribbon to the collar using my sewing machine, but I have also done it by hand before, it just takes longer. I used black thread so it is easier for me to unpick later on if I need to.

Because Trixie is still a puppy this collar is far too big for her, but I didn't want to cut the webbing in case I want to sell it or use it on a bigger dog. So I made a couple of those elastic collar keepers I showed you previously for the cats collars.

Now it is ready for the poor little puppy to wear next weekend!

You can easily do the same thing for cat collars as well. It saves dogs and cats getting their tags caught and losing them all the time. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cute Jar Lids

I like to keep glass jars instead of throwing them away as they are always useful to keep little things together, but I hate the ugly lids. I had a quick look online for ideas on how to decorate them using paper. I didn't really like any of the tutorials that I found so I did a little trial and error, after all if it didn't work I needed to throw a few out anyway.

So here is how I have made my cute little jar lids - which cost me nothing as I already had all the supplies!


  • Jar Lid/s - I did a production line after my trials and errors
  • Decorative Paper - I used a thick glossy gift wrap with geishas
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Sealer - I used Jo Sonja's Gloss Varnish which I get in the craft section at Bunnings
  • Glue - I stole my husbands super glue as it dries fast and is thin
  • Paintbrush
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Blu-Tack
  • Bottle/Cup/Glass (to trace your circle and also to sit your jar lid on while painting)

Step 1: Start by wiping your jar lid clean. Use your blu-tack to stick your jar lid to the top of a bottle or plastic cup. This will allow you to paint the bottom edges at the same time as the top. Start painting and do as many coats as needed for full coverage. I didn't bother with the centre of the jar lid as it will get covered with the paper.

Step 2: You now need to find a bottle that fits on the inside rim of your jar lid. Now place the bottle on top of your paper and trace a circle. Cut out your circle and check that it fits your lid. 

Step 3: Put your super glue around the centre of the lid, don't put it right to edges, then place your circle of paper down and smooth the glue out to the edges. If you put too much glue on the lid, make sure you wipe the excess away or it will bubble up look like my lid at the top left of my second last photo. Don't be afraid of super glue, just wipe it off with your finger then let it dry on your finger before you touch anything else. You can peel it off your skin later.

Step 4: Stick your lid back onto your bottle and start sealing the lid. Make sure you do the bottom edges as well. I did 4 coats of sealer on each of my lids.

And after your jar lid has dried you can fill up your jar and pop your cute new lid on top!
Now I can have my jars of craft supplies on display on my shelves instead of hidden out of sight.

The blue lid is for my husbands little computer screws - if he asks I can tell him they are in the blue jar!

I cleaned the paper glue from the labels off my jar by soaking them in hot water then scraping off as much as I could using my fingernail. After drying them I wipe off any excess sticky sections using a cotton wool ball and eucalyptus oil. I also removed the best before date by wiping with a cotton wool ball and metho.

I also put bi-carb in my jars with the lid screwed on until I want to use them, this absorbs most of the smell.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Spring flowers

I went outside this morning to feed Trixie and noticed that some of my jasmine flowers have finally opened! I love the smell of jasmine and the beautiful white flowers. My plant is covered in buds at the moment and I hope they all open around the same time as it looks beautiful covered in white.
While I was taking photos of my jasmine I thought I would show you the rest of my beautiful flowers. Most of my plants are still in pots until we get a new fence. And most of those pots are in the fenced off section since Trixie loves to destroy them.

I love these native violets, even without the flowers the leaves look so cute covering the ground.
This is my beautiful hippeastrum, this one was the last of the five buds to open, which is nice as it means I get to see them for longer.

These gorgeous yellow ones are a water iris, so I just have their pot sitting in a big bucket of water. They have taken over their pot and the bottom of the bucket so I really should separate them.

My chillis are all starting to flower and produce fruit. I also have chilli seedlings popping up in pots everywhere. I don't really use chilli unless it is for sweet chilli sauce, I purely grow them for the way they look. The silly puppy eats them - even the really hot ones!

All of the brunfelsia plants in the neighbourhood are flowering at the moment. They look gorgeous and smell great as well. Unfortunately all parts of them are poisonous for dogs so we cut the huge one out of the backyard. This one is out the front so it can stay until we get a new fence.

The last one is a bottlebrush, the birds are loving it which means the cats are as well since it is planted right outside the lounge room window!

All my calla lily bulbs have started to sprout now as well so I can't wait to see what colours I get this year! Love spring time for the flowers, although it already feels like summer here!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Cleaning Jewellery

I have been looking into cleaning my jewellery after seeing a UK show where they cleaned jewellery with alfoil, ‘soda crystals’ and water.

I tried it today and it works so well - one of my bangles has just been sitting for years and was black and now it is beautiful and shiny again.

After looking into it I found out that you are not supposed to do this with any jewellery that has precious stones in it. (I tried it with topaz and the stone looks fine to me, but I wouldn’t do it on an expensive or favourite piece of jewellery just in case.) 

Also you have to make sure it is sterling silver (it should have a stamp saying 925 if it is) – I cleaned my charm bracelet and now it seems the jeweller didn’t use sterling silver solder on one of my charms and that spot has turned black!

This is not a method for regular cleaning – if you want to clean your jewellery regularly just use a jewellery polishing cloth. The more you wear your jewellery the less likely it is to tarnish due to the oils in your skin. 

Leaving them sitting around will cause tarnish due to the air and moisture. Store your jewellery in a velvet lined jewellery box or in little zip lock bags. To absorb the moisture you can use chalk (you know that you write on blackboards with) or those little packs of silica you get in your shoe boxes, vitamin containers, etc.

And of course jewellery is the last to go on and the first to be taken off! Perfume, deodorant, hair spray, etc. is not good for your jewellery.

Please note: While I have researched this and tested it out myself, I will not be held responsible for anything that happens to you or your possessions if you decide to give it a go...

You will need:
  • Boiling water
  • Bi-carb soda
  • Salt
  • Alfoil
  • Heat proof container (I used a pyrex bowl)
  • Wooden chopsticks
  • Sterling silver jewellery
  • Soft cloth
  • Polishing cloth

  1. Boil the kettle
  2. Line your container with the alfoil
  3. Put your jewellery on top of the alfoil (it is best to have each piece on the alfoil, not just a pile of jewellery)
  4. Put in equal parts of bi-carb and salt – about a teaspoon each should be enough depending on the size of your container and how much jewellery you are using.
  5. Now be careful not to breathe in the gases - Pour the boiling water on top and it will start fizzing and bubbling up.
  6. Because it works best with the jewellery being in contact with alfoil you may need to flip the jewellery over or swish it around for things like chains.
  7. Once it looks clean take it out using your chopsticks and rinse it well – PUT A PLUG IN THE SINK!
  8. You will need to dry the jewellery using a soft cloth or by waiting patiently.
  9. Once dry use your polishing cloth to make it shine like new and then safely store it away.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Scrappy Curtains

My wonderful husband bought me a sewing machine for my birthday and I needed to learn to sew, practice sewing straight lines and figure out what I can do with my machine.

When we moved into our new house we gave up one of the bedrooms to the cats and the snakes. It is great because it gives the cats their own safe room, stops the puppy getting into the cats food which is on a shelf in the cupboard and also stops the puppy getting into their kitty litter. My cats are very scared of visitors and unfortunately our new house doesn't have any built in cupboards for them to hide in (and fortunately for me I don't have to rewash and fold the laundry because of them!). Which leads to my idea to make a curtain to cover the tables that my snake cages sit on, then put a couple of their beds behind it.
The snake cages in the cats bedroom.
For the cats curtain I decided to use our old flannelette pyjamas - thanks to Trixie as a little puppy our clothes got lots of holes in them which lead to rips and piles of unwearable clothes. I normally recycle scraps from old clothes to make cat nip mouse toys for the cats but that pile would take a lifetime to use! 

I used some dodgy red thread I bought from a cheap store (I urgently needed it to fix my outfit before a party) since the whole thing could have ended up as a big disaster anyway!

As a beginner sewer I thought I could show you the steps as it may help others learning to sew.

For my curtain I measured the height and width of the two tables as one and added 6cm to each measurement for seam allowances. I didn't really decide on the length to make the complete curtain, instead I decided to add 60cm to my measurement as a minimum.

When cutting the strips I kept the length of each strip the same, but I did all different widths. Because I am lazy instead of measuring the width for each piece I made strips that were one, two or three ruler widths wide.

After I had cut the strips I sorted them into the four different piles to make it easier to lay them out ready for sewing.

Next I used my coffee table to lay out the pieces as I wanted to sew them. I used the length of the table as a guide so I knew if I had cut enough strips. Make sure to overlap the pieces to account for your seam allowance if you decided to measure it my lazy way.

Now all we need to do is sew all of the strips right side together along one side only. The first one is easy but for all of the following strips make sure check that you have added the new strip to the last one you added. Use 1 row of the simple straight stitch as we will be using decorative stitching to stop the fraying.

Once I finished sewing all of the pieces together I held the curtain up to the snake tables to check the length - and I ended up adding a few more pieces. 

As you can see all of the edges stand up so we need to iron them flat in order to do our decorative stitching.

Now you just need to select one of your sewing machines decorative stitches. If you don't have decorative stitches you can just use a zig zag stitch to stop the fraying. Grab a scrap piece of material and try them all out. Make sure you look at both sides as I found that some of my stitches looked better on the side that faces the top when sewing. 
The other thing you need to work out is which guide you need to line your material up to. I found that I had to start the material further back as the decorative stitch moves the material front to back and left to right and would cause the material to get stuck. 

Next I ironed the bottom and side hems so that I could sew around those three edges in one go.
Note that I folded and ironed the corners in so there were no raw edges.

As you can see I chose a different decorative stitch for my edges - this stitch only looked good from the top. 

I found that because of all the seams sitting on top of each other I had to pull the material through the machine a little at each strip. Be careful when pulling your material as it can bend your needle.

I chose to use some rope instead of a rod to hang my curtain. Place your rope at the top of your curtain and fold the material over the top then press it down.
Again I folded and ironed in the corners.

Now sew your rope hole down using your decorative stitch, making sure you catch those corner edges.
If you like you can trim any excess edges from the seams.

Use the safety pin method to pull your rope all the way through the hole.

I used 3M brand removable hooks to hang my curtain as I didn't want to bother with screws.

Tie a knot in your rope with a loop at the end, then repeat as tight as you can for the other end.

And now you are finished your scrappy curtain!

If you have any questions, just ask.

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