Friday, March 30, 2012

Spring cleaning

In many places in the world now it's spring. Being down-under here in Australia - it's autumn.  But, up in the tropics, to me it feels like spring.  The Wet season is at it's end, the rains have stopped (for now) and the humidity is dropping away.  
Our next door neighbour has just trimmed his tall trees just over the fence and all of a sudden we have extra light and openness in our garden.  

It just feels like spring!

So - not only am I going to spring clean my house, and garden; but I'm going to spring clean my blog.  
I've had the same header, buttons and basic design of my blog since I started up - so I'm probably overdue a change!
Plus Picnik is closing in just 3 weeks, so I'm going to make use of it until then with some new photos and designs.

So I have some questions for you my readers.

What do you like or dislike about the design of my blog?  

What is missing

What is unnecessary

What bugs you?

Do you have any suggestions

Have you started your spring cleaning yet

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A frog in My Creative Space

A couple of weeks ago I signed up to swim in a 24hr swimathon to raise money for MS.
I've been assigned the role of creative manager of the team which we've named the Freddo Frogs! (just like the Cadbury version!)

It's a fun event - and we can get everyone to swim with various balloons and fun stuff now and then.
So I thought I'd made some froggy cap covers that we can slip over our caps and wear to swim a few laps !

I tried to take some pictures to see what the cap looks like on - but it's tricky to take pictures of myself...
Not sure - maybe it will look better when I'm swimming!!

I've already made a couple of swimming frog mascots 

Now I have to think what else I can come up with!

Any ideas?

For lots more wonderful creativity - head on over to 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Creating Success around the World - Amanda from Bespoke Buttons

Welcome to

Creating Success around the World
The worldwide blog hop tour, that introduces you to creative people from all corners of the globe.

Creating my way to Sucess

Every Wednesday our hosts on each continent will introduce some inspiring creativity from their corner of the world.
Here's the hosts:


Today's guest is Amanda from Bespoke Buttons
    in Queensland, Australia

I’m very excited to be featured on ‘Creating My Way To Success’!  About 6 months ago my husband asked me, “If you could run your own business, what would it be?”  I didn’t really say anything much and kept doing whatever it was I was doing.  After quietly pondering it, I realized I wanted to make something my I would enjoy, that my friends might like and that I could share with others.  And so Bespoke Buttons was born!

My main creations are fabric covered button earrings.  I like to find interesting fabrics from all over the world for my products, which also include hair ties, hair pins/clips and bookmarks.  More recently I have been creating headbands and Coffee Cozies.

I started off selling my creations on Etsy, however have recently been venturing out to markets as well as opening a Luulla store.  I also find a lot of sales simply come from my Facebook page. Markets really do generate the most sales for me, however they are also the most time consuming – I always managed to have a good time though!

I wouldn’t say I have made too many mistakes in running my business.  Everything is a lesson and I try not to be too hard on myself when it seems like sales are a bit lower than what I’d like.  My biggest lesson is that there is a huge handmade market out there, but if you make interesting things that people like and are genuine you’ll get good customers.  I also use plenty of social media, but try to be the type of business I like to like from my own personal profile – lets me know what’s happening, but isn’t constantly saying ‘buy, buy, buy.’

I think success in business is very much an individual idea and is something that needs to be balanced with everything else in life.  Success for me isn’t about having the most sales ever, it’s enjoying what I’m doing and being able to run a business around the other aspects of my life – which are also really important to me. 

So what’s next for me?  Many more buttons of course! I’m looking at more markets for the next few months to see where I best fit and bettering my sewing skills so I can expand my range. 
Thanks  for your lovely answers Amanda- and for sharing your beautiful work with us!
Do go and visit Amanda's  website and check out more of her wonderful creations!


If you would like to be featured in an interview - then please contact your continent's host! 
Each featured guest here on Creating my way to Success, will also receive one week's free advertising in my sidebar as a thank you for your post!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cuddly turtle tutorial

I'm a big believer in anyone can sew.  I'm trying to bring my girls up with the same attitude and encourage their creativity.
This week my youngest has Book Character Day at school - where they get to dress up as their favourite book character.  She has chosen Tess the Turtle fairy - who wears just regular clothes (easy), a pair of fairy wings (what little girl doesn't have a pair!) and has a turtle....oh...

So - when my daughter asked if I could make her a turtle - I suggested she make her own! So she did!

Here's how:

First she drew her turtle on a piece of paper :

Then I got her to draw the head, tail and a leg separately for the pattern pieces.

She then cut the pattern pieces out:

Then chose some fabric and pinned the pieces on:

Her 6 year old hands are still a bit little for using dressmakers scissors easily - so at her request I cut the pieces out.

She had to work out that we needed a top and bottom for each part - and then enough pieces for 4 legs (or fins)

Next came choosing 2 buttons for the eyes:

And stitching them onto the top part of the head:

Now onto the machine stitching!  The head , tail and 4 fins had to be  pinned then stitched around the edges - leaving a gap for turning out and stuffing!

Turning out and stuffing was lots of fun!

All stuffed and ready for assembly!

Each piece then had to be pinned and stitched to the main body - but facing inwards:

Then the other main body part placed over the top and it all stitched together - leaving the all important gap for turning out and stuffing!

Finally - she turned her turtle right sides out and stuffed him!

(sorry for the blurring stuffing photos!)

Final step was to hand-stitch the opening closed.

And there you have it - one cuddly turtle, designed and made by Maya - age 6!!

Now he may not be a very conventional turtle - but he is Maya's - the fact that she could draw and make the pattern herself makes him all the more special!

Aside from the fabric cutting, and the hand stitching it up at the end, Maya basically made this turtle herself.  The machine stitching she could do no problem - I just stepped in to help when she started getting tired (a 6 year old's attention span isn't too long!) .

What crafts have you done with your kids lately?  Do you let your kids loose on your sewing machine?

Just to update - I asked Maya - and she tells me the turtle's name is Pearl!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

If you are interesting in helping your kids learn to sew, I have produced an e-book that helps kids learn to sew using a pair of jeans as the base fabric!  Do take a look at my 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

A great week for me fitness-wise!

My week of fitness - Another week of really pushing myself - aching muscles, feeling great and seeing progress.
Today was great fun. We decided to have a challenge with our girls of the fitness things that they are doing at school and at swimming.
The girls drew up a table of the exercises and with our names on, then this afternoon we got out the stopwatches and all did push ups, planks, shooting basketball hoops, skipping and sit ups.  We all in turn were the best at different things.  Amazing to see and measure quite how fit our little ones are (aged 6 and 8) and shocking for us to see how far behind we are in some senses (and how much our muscles ache now!)

After that we all went and did the aquathon training together - and with my eldest daughter's encouragement, I swam 1km, 500m of which was freestyle - more than I've ever swum that stroke in my life! woo-hooo!!

It's so nice to be doing things together as a family - and for it to be such a healthy thing too!

This week coming is the last week of school term - so my goals are to fit in what I can and get organised as best I can for the 2 weeks holidays!

Hope you've all had a great week!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tagged and an award!

This week I've been 'tagged' twice, so thought I'd better take a little time to answer the questions I was asked!

First of all from Tanya at Craft Couture:

1. Why do you craft? 
Simply because I love it

2. If someone could make you a handmade gift for you, what would you like to receive?
Something that I could use in my everyday life.

3. What is your favorite color?

4. What is your favorite movie or T.V. program?
Movie - Don Juan DeMarco with Johnny Depp

5. What is your current craft project?
Developing some bag patterns.

6. If you are given a free ticket/ accommodation to go anywhere in the world, where would you like to go?
Machu Picchu in Peru

7. If you are given another 24 hours in a day, what would you like to do?
Everything I can't fit into the current 24 hours!!!  Seriously I'd blog, craft and work for one 24 hours, and the other 24 would be all about my family.

8. Do you watch T.V. or listen to music when you work on your hobby projects?
Listen to music - I ALWAYS have the radio on.

9. What is your favorite season?

10. What do you do first thing in the morning?
Check my emails!

11. What's your favorite treat? 
Definitely chocolate!

1. How much time a week do you spend blogging?
HOURS!!  I guess if I had to average it out maybe 4 hours a day..

2. How many different states have you lived in, and which one is your favorite?
I've lived in 6 different countries - and settled in the best here in Australia!

3. Are you a "half glass full", or a "half glass empty" kinda person? Explain a little
Glass half full for sure - I'm the biggest optimist ever - I ALWAYS look on the bright side, expect the best and believe!

4. Can you laugh at yourself? 
Yes - of course - all the time! 

5. When you lay down to sleep...what do you think about?...or do you just sleep?
I go over the day in my head and think about the next day - or sometimes I make up stories!

6. Would you consider hosting a HGTV show? What would you call it and what would you do?
Sorry - don't know what an HGTV show is!!!  

7. How many Pinterest pins have you actually done? If so, was it successful?
Only a couple -simple sewing things and a couple of recipes - yes all successful!

8. Does your TP roll over or under?...(Over is the ONLY way:)

9. How many pets do you have?...What are they?
No pets

10. When was the last time you played a board game? What game was it?
A few weeks ago - monopoly with my kids!

11. Have you bought an area rug lately? If so, what brand, style, color etc. was it? (Okay this one is just for me cause' I'm trying to decide on a rug for the family room) 
No rugs I'm afraid!

And finally a while ago Pam from Threading My Way passed on a blogging award to me - so I'd like to say thanks so much to Pam for that!

Thanks ladies for tagging me and passing things on.

I hearby tag anyone reading this post who would like to answer any of the above questions to let us know more about yourselves!

Have a lovely day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

New bag pattern on it's way !

A friend recently asked if I could make her a bag.  She has one she loves that is wearing out, and has looked and looked in the shops for another just like it but to no avail!
So she brought her old one to me to see if I could made her one just like it!
Here's the original:

And here's the first two I made:
(this one from a pair of jeans I got from the charity shop for 50c!

And the second in a brighter colour using fabric from my rather large stash!

I'm satisfied with the pattern and method now - so I'll make my friend her new bag - and draw up a new tutorial for it too!

I really enjoy the process of making my own patterns - and putting them all together to present so others can follow them too!
Plus it helps me to have a record of how I've made things in case I want to come back to them another time - when inevitably I've forgotten what I did in the first place!

For more wonderfully creative spaces, 
head on over here!