Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter features

There were some great Easter projects linked up to this week's Round Tuit party.
Here are some of my Easter favourites!











Happy Easter everyone! I hope you have a wonderful weekend!



Saturday, March 30, 2013

Progress working on my blogs

This week I finally published my first video tutorial and then a post describing how I made it and what I learnt. 
I've been really happy with the positive response I've received and chuffed too that I've even had a few people subscribe to my new youtube channel!!  Now I just have to make some more videos for my subscribers to watch!
I've got my next one planned so hope to get it made in the next week or so!

Other than that this week, I've been reading and listening to some interesting books, by Seth Godin and Anthony Robbins.






One thing that stuck with me this week was on a CD where Anthony Robbins speaks about time management.

He asked the audience, 
"Who here wants to make lots of money?"
Of course lots of people reply "Me!"

Then he asks, 
"Who wants to relax on a beautiful beach and get a tan?"
Again lots of people reply, "Me!"

Now at lot of these motivational books speak about finding what you want and then working towards that.  But it's also important to not get sidetracked by short term pleasures (also what you want!) when you're working towards a longer term goal.

I was reminded of this again watching the TV show 'The Biggest Loser' this week. The contestants are at the beginning of their weight loss journey, and one of the trainers was trying to encourage  the biggest contestant to push through the pain of working out.  He said that the problem was that this contestant has been living in a world of comfort. If he's hungry he eats, if he's tired he sleeps, if he wants to watch tv , that's what he does.  
Now he has to learn to get out of his comfort zone, push through pain to get to his ultimate goal of losing weight and getting his health and life back.


It is easy to give in to what we want right now - rather than hold off and focus on a longer term goal.  We constantly need to remind ourselves what we're working towards and why.

I found a great quote this week which I posted on 

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well neither 

does bathing- that's why we recommend it daily." 

- Zig Ziglar


(I try to post daily motivational and inspirational quotes on my Facebook page to help keep me focused and motivated and to share that inspiration with others)

During this long weekend - I won't be spending much time on my blogs as we'll be enjoying some precious family time together; but at the same time, I will be thinking about it, making notes and reminding myself that one of the reasons I'm working hard on my blogs is to try to remain as a stay-at-home (and work from home) mum as my kids grow older, so that we can continue to enjoy quality family time together!

What are you working towards, and what helps you stay motivated?

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 28, 2013

This week's mug rug



Since it's almost Easter - I thought that this week I'd make a mug rug in that theme!


It was nice and easy to follow - and included the downloadable template for the egg shape.

I chose scrap fabric from my yellowish box today - to fit with the Easter theme!
The fleece I used for the batting wasn't wide enough -but I just joined 2 pieces together - knowing how much quilting seems to squish those seams down so they aren't noticeable.
So here's what I started with...

After quilting the top and batting together - I then cut out the egg shape...


And stitched the layers right sides together to the backing.  
This mug rug was made without binding - just joining the two pieces together, turning out through a gap, then topstitching.

Although this was nice and easy (to avoid the tricky binding) - I don't think I like the end result quite as much.


Here it is compared to last week's mug (a bit like Humpty Dumpty sitting on the wall)


I like the thicker feel when the quilting stitching runs through all the layers!  But, I also really like my new little egg mug rug - and can see that binding that shape wouldn't be much fun!!

There is another mug rug tutorial that doesn't use binding, and is made slightly differently again - over here at Razzle Dazzle Quilter.
Very cleverly - she turns the mug rug out through a hole in the backing, then hides the hole with matching fabric and fusible webbing!  Another great idea to avoid that binding!

But next week - I shall be looking for another mug rug tutorial with binding - I really need the practice!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How I made my video

Yesterday I published my first You Tube video - a basic tutorial on learning to crochet.

In making it I learnt a lot - here's how I did it:

The basic video
I decided to use my Sony mobile phone to make the video - so found a makeshift stand for it - stood that on top of something else to get it the right height - and then went right ahead, pressed record and 'taught' the basic crochet chain - as I would to my daughter for example.

Pitfalls: 
I tried a few seconds of video first - put it on the computer and learnt that I had to hold my phone sideways to make the video the right way up on the computer!!! - that may seem obvious to some, but I hadn't really used the video option on my phone before!


Introduction to the video
Rather than just have a plain video - I wanted to have an introduction, so decided to use Microsoft PowerPoint for this.
I chose this because - my kids are learning how to use this at school , and the presentations they are making look really cool! I wanted to learn how to do that for myself!
Plus I'd seen a link that showed how to turn a Power Point presentation into a video.

I found PowerPoint fairly straight forward to use just using the basic templates and layouts that were there.
To set the timing between the slides, and add music - or anything else I was unsure of how to do - I simply Googled - "how do you.....in PowerPoint" - and there was always an answer - usually a You Tube video that showed me nice and clearly how to do it!

Background Music
I wanted to be able to add music to my video - but wasn't sure what I could use in terms of copyright.  I tried looking this up and got even more confused by what I found, so decided it was safer to not use anyone else's music!
So....in a book I was reading, a phone app was mentioned that sounded like it might fit!
The one I found was Cinebeat by Smule, but that is unfortunately only available on iPhones. So I found an alternative that was also available on android - Autorap.  This app allows you to record your voice and then turns it into a rap!
So I downloaded this to my phone - recorded my voice - emailed the link to myself and then recorded the sound playing on my computer using Sound Recorder on my computer. (this was something else I'd never used - but once I'd found it - you just open it and click to record the sounds that are playing on your computer!)
Pitfalls:  I figured out how to add my music to my PowerPoint presentation only to find that when I converted it to a video form - the music didn't convert the way I did things, so I had to add the music all over again!

Turning a PowerPoint into a video
The first link I found when I Googled this - was for PowerPoint 2010 - which apparently has a feature built in to convert your presentation to a video - handy, but no good for me as my version is 2007!
So I found that I could make my video using Windows Live Movie Maker - which I had on my computer anyway (who knew?).
So all I had to do then was save my PowerPoint slides in a different format. So on the first slide I clicked on save as - other formats - then Save as type changed on the drop down menu as jpeg file interchange format.
Once I clicked save here - it asked if I wanted to save all of my slides in this format - so I clicked yes and saved them into a file and they were all ready to put into a video.
So then I opened up Windows Live Movie maker, and clicked on add videos and photos. I added each slide that I wanted, then added the video I had made earlier in between the slides where I wanted it.

Again I found Windows Movie Maker easy to use like PowerPoint - added music etc and Googled bits I was unsure of.


Uploading to You Tube
This was really easy!
In Windows Live Movie Maker, there is an option at the top to share your video in various places - like Facebook and You Tube.  So I clicked on that and following the prompts found it very straightforward.
I had thought I would have to create a You Tube account to do this - but I guess since You Tube is owned by Google - my Google account already had me signed in!  All I had to do was click on create a channel, then once I was signed in - I went back through Windows Live Movie Maker to upload my movie.
It took a few minutes - but that was it!

Phew!!

I hope that helps others out who may be thinking of trying making their own videos.  I've learnt a lot just by giving it a go - and will now make more videos to learn more - and continue to share what I learn!

I had a lot of fun exploring things that were already on my computer that I had never used - PowerPoint, Windows Live Movie Maker and Sound Recorder. And the new app on my phone - Autorap, has provided lots of entertainment for my family since I downloaded it!! :)

Please do comment if there's anything else you can see that you'd like to know how I did - or if you know better ways to do any of this!

Here's the link again to my finished video if you'd like to see it:


Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Learn to crochet - chain stitch, my first video tutorial

Well here it is!
My first video - on you tube! I'm very excited that I managed to get it done.  It's not slick, smooth and perfect - but I learnt a LOT!  Now that I know I can do it - I can work on making more videos that are better and better!

I've had fun making this and learning - and will be sharing what I learnt in some blog posts this week.
If there's anything particular you'd like to know how I did - please ask!


But for now - please take a look at my first ever video:

Anyone can crochet - starting out



Please please, let me know what you think. Don't be shy - any comments - what you liked and didn't - what I can improve on etc!

Go on - I can take it!



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Progress working on my blogs - videos

Last week I said that I'd decided to make a video and so this week that is what I've been working on.


I've decided to make a video on crocheting.  
Why crocheting?

I'm learning to crochet myself this year - and helping my daughter learn too.  So far, I've learnt bits and pieces from lots of different tutorials and videos, with lots of practice, trial and error. I haven't found any one set of videos in particular that really worked for me - so I thought I'd make my own!

Explaining something to others helps me reinforce things in my mind and will help me consolidate my own learning - and also hopefully help others - including my daughter!

In terms of making a video - I've never done one before so this is a challenge!

I do have a small video camera - but decided that it was probably easier and better quality using my smartphone. (I use that instead of my camera now as the quality is better!)

So I found a special stand for it:

This is actually a stand for displaying a fan..


But fitted my phone perfectly!

To present the video - I decided to use Powerpoint and include the video in that, then convert the whole thing to a completed video.


So at this stage - I have made one - and put it all together - but just want the weekend to edit it and make sure I'm happy before I figure out youtube and how to put it out there!

It may not be perfect - but I'm a big believer in trying and learning as you go. When I look back at my early blog posts and tutorials, I can see how far I've progressed over time. Hopefully this is just a start with my video tutorials - and I'll learn more and make them better and better!

So - I'm pleased with my progress this week - and watch out on Tuesday for my first ever video tutorial!!

(I'll also write a post about how I made it, with links to useful info and sites that helped me!)

Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Mug Rug - quilting practice



After recently finishing my second quilt, I decided I'd like to learn and practice more about quilting - but with smaller projects!

So I decided to look at mug rugs!  
A couple of years ago, I made myself a cute pink one:

And I thought that these mug rugs are the perfect thing to practice on because:

1. They are small and don't take long to make.
2. They are small and so are great stashbusters.
3. They are practical and useful and if I decide I have too many of them myself, they would be great gifts to friends!

I also want to follow more of other people's tutorials online, so I can learn more about what I find both good and not so good in the way things are explained or presented and so use that to improve my own tutorials!

So - yesterday I found this tutorial over at The Curious Quilter.

I chose to use scraps from my blue box to make this one..

And chose these:

I found straight away that I wished the measurements were in both cm and inches as my cutting board is in cm, but the tutorial measurements were only in inches!

I found early on when I was posting tutorials that people emailed and commented asking me to convert the measurements for them.  Any new tutorials I make now - I do put both measurements in, but some of my older ones don't.
So I've added a widget in my sidebar that you can use to convert cm to inches!!! (see - just look to your right and it should be there.)

But back to the tutorial I was using.
I found it reasonably straightforward to follow, and the photos - although small - can be clicked upon to make them full screen size which was great!

I used my trusty quilting arm on my little sewing machine:

Then came the binding.
Now so far, I'm not too hot on binding, so I was happy to see this tutorial showed a different way of binding - that did not involve mitred corners! (using one long strip of binding and having to carefully fold and stitch the corners neatly!)

For this tutorial you did the binding on each side of the mug rug separately!

I did my binding using just cut fabric strips, folded and ironed, as mentioned in the tutorial, and was pleased with how easy it was!

Here's the two long sides done (back view)

Then the smaller sides were done last - and the corners simply folded over to neaten!


I really liked this way of binding.  Mine came out reasonably neat..

But not perfect!! ooops!


So thanks to the Curious Quilter for this mug rug tutorial.  I've certainly learnt from it - and now have a cute new mug rug!! 



Time for a cup of tea I think....

Does anyone have any other mug rug tutorials to recommend?
I'm aiming to try one each week!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Progress working on my blogs

Well this has been a busy week - with a full day of paid work, and today spent preparing food - meals and snacks for the weekend when we'll be at a swim carnival for both full days. Plus all the daily to and from school, before and after school sports, packing endless kids bags, squeezing in some exercise! Packed full - but satisfyingly good!

I still managed to fit in plenty of blogging - getting some good posts out for my other blog - Be Our Best - and keeping up with this blog too. - I even managed to squeeze in some sewing!

But that is all day to day stuff to maintain my blogs - so what of progress in growing the blogs?

Well I did lots of finding other similar blogs and commenting on them with regard to growing a community for my other blog. It's slow going at the start - trying to get it out there and noticed, but I know I need to put in the groundwork - and next week on my plan is to start looking for where I can guest post or something similar for that blog.

For this one - my creative blog, I've been trying to decide what my next step will be.
One of my favourite sayings is:

"Success comes from doing things differently."

Well - my blog is steadily growing with me adding sewing tutorials quite regularly and getting them featured on sites like All Free Sewing and Craftgossip which give me great streams of traffic.  But I've been trying to think what I can do that is new and different.

What I've decided is  - videos!!

I'm a big youtube fan - and it's where I always turn to when I want to learn how to do something.

So - I figured that I should give it a go myself!

I've never done one before - so am starting from scratch learning how.

As with anything I learn - I'm going to jump right in and just give it a try - so I'm putting it out there that I'll produce my first video by Easter!

I've decided on the topic and started making notes this week on what I'd like to do - I now have 2 weeks to learn how and make it happen!

Definitely stepping out of my comfort zone with this - but that's what I need to do to learn and grow!

Any tips or hints on making videos would be very much appreciated!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend!


Friday, March 15, 2013

Hanging Pockets!

I really like hanging pockets!

I like that they keep things up off various surfaces, benches and tables - and you can make them to whatever size you need!



Bed pockets for my girls to keep their books in:

Pockets for notebooks:





I received some of this lovely fabric from Wholeport that was just perfect for...yes you guessed it...more hanging pockets!

My girls desks do get rather cluttered...

So I decided to try and provide spaces for all those little trinkets that girls just can't do without - but try to get them up off their desks so they have space to draw, do homework etc!


Hopefully this will help my daughter keep her desk tidy... Now I need to make another set of pockets for my younger daughter too!!

Do you have any hanging pockets in your house??
Tell me I'm not the only one.....