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.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Elastic Collar Keepers

I recently bought new cat collars but after putting them on the cats I noticed that they didn’t have a keeper on them. After they wore their new collars for a couple of days the ends started curling outwards which I wouldn’t consider to be very comfortable for them. 

All I did to fix it was get a little bit of elastic and sewed it into a loop to fit. It doesn’t create too much bulk and since it is elastic it is soft and can be easily removed. I used the elastic off their old collars to make keepers for Trixie’s harness since that didn’t have any keepers either – she is still a puppy and chews the ends if they aren’t held back.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Wedding - Part 2

Well I took the last photos if my wedding crafts, so here are the rest of my ideas and craft projects.

I love growing chilli plants, purely because of the way they look and luckily the colour of chillis matched the red theme for our wedding! So for my centerpieces I wanted living plants. Originally I considered bonsais but I don’t have much experience with those. Then I decided to use some glass bowls I found at Ikea to make a kind of terrarium with chilli plants and succulents. Unfortunately the plants didn’t grow as fast as I hoped so they had no chillis on them for the wedding, they had started flowering which was better than nothing!

I also made little origami lights using vellum then popping leds connected to batteries inside (basically LED throwies). They took me forever to fold as I made 50 of them but I now know how to make them without the instructions and they are easy enough that I can watch tv at the same time!

I didn’t want a normal wedding cake because we were already having dessert so not many people would eat the cake anyway. I was considering cupcakes, and also cheesecakes with all different sauces that people could put on themselves. Then I decided that lamingtons would look cute and they tasted so good especially since I got them with jam inside. I also got a lamington cake purely for the cake cutting. Best thing was it only cost $100 for the cake and about 60 lamingtons from a local bakery!

I bought a bamboo cake stand which did have a pole handle on the top section so I just bought a bolt to hold the top plate on without the pole. The cake covered it so no one even knew.

The cake toppers, I originally wanted those rhinestone letters and started making them. Then I changed my mind and started making little clay pandas with a bamboo stand. But that didn’t work out too well and I never bothered to finish… maybe one day so I can add it to my panda collection. In the end I used a set of salt and pepper shakers that my big sister bought me - they are kissing pandas that have magnets for mouths to hold them together.

To add to my little addition of chillis to the wedding I made little chillis of out marzipan that I coloured with food dye. They were quick and easy to make and looked cute sitting on top of my lamingtons. I made them a couple of days before the wedding as they absorb moisture easily.

For my invitations I spent ages designing and carving  a bamboo stamp for the invitation and another one for the envelope. They worked well until I super glued them onto pieces of wood – I guess it needs to stay flexible. In the end I just scanned the image into the computer and printed it off at the same time as the invitation text.

My favourite DIY from the wedding was the jewellery! I used swarovski crystals, black onyx, moonstone, myuki seed beads, metal spacers and lampwork beads and more I am sure. I learnt a lesson when making jewellery – give your hands a break otherwise you can’t get anything done because your fingers are so sore after days of twisting wire!  I actually didn't get any specific photos taken of the jewellery I made for the wedding but afterwards I took photos of what I made for myself in case I lose them or break them.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Wedding - Part 1

When we started planning our wedding I wanted to do as much DIY as I could – obviously I couldn't do as much as I wanted but I thought I could share my ideas with you.

I wanted our wedding to be a bit different, not what everyone was expecting. For starters I wore a red and black dress that I got made in China. It was my second dress that I ordered as they made it to the wrong measurements. I chose a different company, and a different dress and got it made in a standard size – which didn’t fit me properly. I took it to a dressmaker to get it fixed but she said no (because she believed a bride should wear white)! So my talented mum fixed my dress and made it perfect! She also made her own dress while fixing mine and also altering my little sisters bridesmaid dress and making the sash I wanted.

Instead of holding bouquets of flowers I bought lace parasols that also had matching fans - mine were black and my sisters were white. I spent a lot of time trying out origami and beaded flowers but I didn’t really like any that I made.

Instead of flower boutonnieres I made them using feathers that I dyed red and black. I made those for my husband and his best man, our fathers and grandfathers and for our mums and grandmothers I added some beads in with the feathers. I also made mine and my sisters hair pieces out of the red and black feathers but added peacock feathers as well.

For our bon bons I wanted something different that reflected both of us a little. I found these mini metal bookmarks that you could decorate yourself and thought they were perfect. Ray and I both enjoy reading, as does a lot of our family so I thought they could be rather handy for a lot of our guests. They worked out to about $1 each in materials. I used moonstone because I like the colourful sheen they have in them. These also started the ideas I had for the full size metal bookmarks I make. We also had little red heart lollipops on the tables for the guests.

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Hi! I’m Krystal, a crafter from Australia.

I was lucky enough to grow up with lots of opportunities to try out new crafts. I inherited my craftiness from my mum and grandma and have always been taught, encouraged and given opportunities to try new things.

I have a wonderful husband, Ray who I married in November last year. Luckily Ray didn’t mind all the little things I just had to make for the wedding myself. I continuously made changes and tried new things – I’m sure I would have kept coming up with new ideas but there had to be a point where I stopped trying out new projects and had to focus on what I had already started.

I have tried so many different crafts but my favourites are origami and beading. At the moment I am learning to sew and I am slowly getting better.

Other than crafting I am an animal lover. We have two cats – Dash the tabby and Suki who is white with grey and ginger tabby patches. We also have a puppy named Trixie who is 6 months old and crazy! We also have our fish, rats and snakes.

I have started this blog in the hopes of giving back as a thank you to everyone who shares their own ideas on the internet. I have had so many ideas, so much inspiration, found helpful advice and DIY tutorials that in return I hope to help others who visit my blog.
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