Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Magnetic Pockets a tutorial - 5 steps in 15 mins





Does your fridge look anything like this?

I get endless vouchers and notes that get stuck on the fridge with magnets, but look very messy and cluttered.
So I decided to pretty them up a bit!
So instead of this:

I can have this:

Much neater and prettier!

It's a nice simple project that just uses scraps of material and a magnet for each pocket. (I have several odd magnets that have fallen off things or come unstuck etc).


So here's how to make your own magnetic pocket for the fridge to hold all those coupons, vouchers and notes, in just 

5 steps and 15 minutes

Step 1
Cut your fabric a little wider than you want your pocket and 4 times the length.
(I cut mine 11 x 40cm (4.5 x 16")
Fold in half lengthways with right sides together:

Step 2
Stitch down both long sides:

Step 3
Turn the pocket right sides out and press:

Also press the raw edges of the opening inside the pocket like this:

Step 4
Place the magnet just inside the pocket:

Then stitch across the top of the pocket on both sides of the magnet. I used my zipper foot so that I could get the line of stitching nice and close to stop the magnet slipping around.




Then stitch down the other two sides of the magnet to hold securely in place.

Step 5
Fold up your pocket in half, with the magnet at the top back.

And top-stitch down both sides, close to the edge.

And you're done! Pop it on your fridge and fill up with those vouchers and coupons!


I think my fridge looks a little tidier now, don't you?

You could make these pockets any size you like - but you may need more magnets spaced out across the top for larger pockets!

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


For more simple sewing tutorials that anyone can sew in just 
5 steps and 15 mins - go here.

And for over 100 free sewing tutorials for all levels and abilities - take a look at 




Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday motivation


I love reading inspirational and motivational quotes. I try to share one each day on my facebook page, and often email good ones I find to my daughters who like reading them too.

I decided to start posting one each week here on my blog. I'm going to add them to photos so that I can add in developing my photography skills too. I'm getting a swanky new camera for my birthday in a few weeks time, so that will give me a good excuse to experiment some more.  But for now - I'm just using my camera phone - so above is my first Sunday motivation picture and quote.



Saturday, April 27, 2013

Sarong skirts upcycled

Have you ever seen sarong skirts?
I've had a couple in my wardrobe for several years but I have to admit I have never worn them.
I don't find them very flattering - plus they are a little tricky to tie on, and not easy if you need to visit the toilet!
Here's my long pair, they are basically a front and back panel joined under the legs:
You tie the front panel behind your back. lift the back panel through your legs to the back..

Then tie it at the front!



Mmmmmm!

So having decided to have a good sort and clear of my wardrobe, I thought I'd better try to do something with these so that I would actually wear them!

My initial thought was to just join up the sides..
 make them a bit narrower, shorten the body a little,


and use the ties to fasten at the sides.
BUT..

I still don't like the look of them.  Having ties at both sides makes my hips look quite wide - not very flattering (oops - didn't think of that!).
I think I need to rethink these - maybe I need to just add elastic to the waistband......

I also have a shorter sarong skirt - which I decided to just cut and make into a simple beach wrap:


First I cut the centre (between the legs bit) out..


This left me with two separate panels.

I simply then joined these together to make a single beach wrap or sarong.

Much better! Now I will actually wear this - and it's very easy to tie and wear!

Do you have any clothes in your wardrobe that you have NEVER worn?  How could you alter or upcycle them to get some use out of them?

Clothes upcycling - getting back to it

I'm a HUGE fan of clothes upcycling.  The idea that old discarded or unwanted clothes can be given a new lease of life is just brilliant - and the creative ways people find of doing this are so inspiring - like this layered t-shirt dress from Second Chances by Susan:
Made from old men's t-shirts and a blue slip from the thrift shop!



Clothes upcycling is something I'm always coming back to.  I seem to accumulate bags of clothes over time until they start to burst out of the cupboard, then I have to do something with them.

This time however, I have no bag of clothes to work with. BUT! I do have a wardrobe full of clothes that need sorting through.  I've lost a little weight recently, so some of the clothes are a little too baggy, some are also a bit worn, and some I just don't like anymore.

So it's time to start sorting through them.  I'll go through them drawer by drawer and hanger by hanger; only keeping clothes I like, and refashioning or upcycling those that are no longer wearable as is.

Of course I have the big clothes upcycling linky which now has well over 400 ideas, to turn to for inspiration.



I was also inspired by a friend's blog - My Busy Craft Life. MJ challenged herself to sort out her pile of clothes that needed altered or upcycled in her Fabulising February posts - go here to see what amazing things she did!

So - I'm going to start 'Fabulising' my wardrobe too!

I'll make sure and commit to at least one upcycle per week that I will post about here to keep me accountable!

As far as possible, I don't want to throw anything out - even the parts of clothes that are tricky to use when upcycling them - like the seams! But the amazing PC at Meijo's Joy has an idea even for those:
Brilliant isn't it?

So do you have any brilliant upcycling ideas for old clothes that you can add to the long term linky to inspire me and others?

Or perhaps you have a wardrobe of clothes that needs sorting too - and you could join me in sorting through yours piece by piece and Fabulising your clothes to!

I do hope you will come back each Saturday and follow along in this challenge - maybe I can inspire others too!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Creating my way to Success

If you're a regular reader of my blog - you will know that I am always trying to grow and develop it and my ultimate goal ( success for me) would be to have this blog as my 'job' or 'business' - something that would provide an income for me so that I can continue to do what I enjoy and make a living from it.

My attitude is that lots of other people have made their blogs their business - so why can't I?

A few weeks ago, I came up with a plan to commit to time and effort consistently and persistently on my blog.  I launched myself into it, wrote lists and ideas, then once I'd got everything out of my head and down onto paper, I stopped, stepped back and realised that I still hadn't got there with a plan that was going to work.

You know that feeling when you know something isn't quite right, but you just don't know the answer yet - but it's hovering around just out of your reach?

Well - I eventually reached something and have decided on a way to refocus.

I've been inspired by other Bloggers - for example Danielle over at Blissful and Domestic who last year really settled into her 'niche' on her blog. I watched as the theme of her blog became clearer and more defined, and as it did so, her blog grew.  It's been inspiring to watch this progress in Danielle's blog.

So returning to my own blog - I've looked closely at defining 'what' my blog is about.
Sewing - is my craft and is what I show and tell on my blog - with lots of tutorials, which make use of my training as a teacher too.  However - I don't want my blog to be just a sewing blog.

Yes I do have an (ever growing) knowledge and skill with sewing, but the important part of that to me is to encourage others to give it a go too; to show that Anyone Can Sew.  I am a teacher, and to help others to learn and grow is what I really do enjoy.  

I looked at my blog title:

Creating my way to Success

And decided to break down my blog into areas defined by this title.

Creating - This is what I am all about - getting creative, with not just my craft of sewing, but with other crafts and indeed with my whole outlook on life - exploring creativity and finding my own way - indeed 'creating' my own business and job!

My Way - this part refers to my own creative outlet - mainly sewing. In the form of tutorials, clothes upcycling and also new crafts I'm learning - like crochet and quilting.

To Success - the building of all of this into a business, and form of income. Motivation and Inspiration being the foundation on which to build.


So having defined what my blog is - I've then looked at my posts and tried to keep a balance of these three subjects. So my overall plan turned out like this:


Monday – Round Tuit linky party– a chance for everyone to show off their creativity - I always get plenty of inspiration from this each week.
Tuesday – My tutorials, and my own creations
Wednesday – Exploring Creativity - sharing some creative things and ideas that I find that inspire and amaze me.
Thursday – My Creative Space – What I’m up to creatively - linking up and visiting others too
Friday – Success stories, my own learning
Saturday – Clothes Upcycling 
Sunday – Weekly motivation


I've started out this week, following this plan.
As I've said before - I believe that

Consistency and Persistence

are the key to success.
So putting this plan out here for all to see is my way of keeping myself accountable.

I really do believe that it's possible to create your own niche in the world - doing what you WANT to do. One of my favourite quotes is:



"The reasonable man adapts himself to the 

world; the unreasonable one persists in trying 

to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all

 progress depends on the unreasonable 

man." 

 George Bernard Shaw


I want to be that unreasonable person that adapts my world to me. I want to show my kids that they should dream big and that they can achieve anything if they put their minds to it.


I want to finish this post with a poem that my Mum showed me recently and I just LOVE it!

Believe in yourself and don't let anyone tell you you can't!


It Couldn’t Be Done by Edgar Albert Guest


Somebody said that it couldn’t be done,
    But, he with a chuckle replied
That "maybe it couldn’t," but he would be one
    Who wouldn’t say so till he’d tried.
So he buckled right in with the trace of a grin
    On his face. If he worried he hid it.
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
    That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

Somebody scoffed: "Oh, you’ll never do that;
    At least no one has done it";
But he took off his coat and he took off his hat,
    And the first thing we knew he’d begun it.
With a lift of his chin and a bit of a grin,
    Without any doubting or quiddit,
He started to sing as he tackled the thing
    That couldn’t be done, and he did it.

There are thousands to tell you it cannot be done,
    There are thousands to prophesy failure;
There are thousands to point out to you one by one,
    The dangers that wait to assail you.
But just buckle it in with a bit of a grin,
    Just take off your coat and go to it;
Just start to sing as you tackle the thing
    That "couldn’t be done," and you’ll do it.





Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crocheting a granny square in My Creative Space


This year I'm learning to crochet together with my youngest daughter (aged 7).

We've been practising with our basic stitches - chain, slip stitch and double crochet - just playing around with them, creating and getting the hang of the hook and wool.

We've made lots of friendship bracelets:

And also lots of ugly little amigurumi monsters - with wonky eyes, lots of missed and extra stitches - but it's been fun to have actually 'made' things, even though our skills are very basic and we're still learning!

My daughter particularly liked playing with adding beads.

It's been good to just practise but I'm now just realising that I can understand (sort of) basic crochet patterns  - which at the beginning of the year when I started out were completely alien and unintelligible to me!

So I decided it was time to focus a bit and see if I can make something with a bit more order to it!

Here's my first try at a granny square:

It's a bit round for a square I know-  but at least you can make out a shape and a kind of pattern in it!


At least I'm starting to get the basic concept of how a granny square is formed - I think I just need some more practise - and probably to try a few more tutorials to find one that speaks to ME! - I find that with something I don't get straight away.  If I have several different people try to explain it to me, then eventually I get it - either as a result of repetition, or perhaps it is finding one that explains it just a little bit differently and my brain finally grasps the concept!
I used to feel like that in my physics lessons at school - but with persistence I always got there in the end!

So - any links to granny square tutorials would be gratefully received.

If you've never crocheted before - then do take a look at my 2 crochet videos - the first is the basic chain and making friendship bracelets, and the second adds slip stitch and double crochet and then shows you how with these basic skills you can play around and make a crazy little monster while you practice! 
It may seem odd that I'm a complete beginner but decided to make a video to show others how to crochet. 
Well - I wanted to have a go at making videos - and I like to encourage others to try things . 
I believe that anyone can do anything they want to - they just have to have the courage to try, make mistakes and not worry about perfection!
My daughter also likes that she can watch the video whenever she wants to help her practice - she doesn't need to wait until I have time to sit with her!

So there you have my crochet journey so far!  I'm going to keep on practising and trying tutorials, and encouraging my daughter to keep  it up too! 

Are you learning any new crafts or skills this year?



\

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What is Creativity and why do we need it?



Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.



I've recently been re-reading a book that I enjoyed last year called A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink


In this book, Daniel Pink talks about how the skills you need for top jobs are different now, compared to previous generations.

Here's what I've taken from this book:

Traditionally, you needed to study hard at school, get good grades in exams and tests and the best jobs were considered those that you needed to be academically good to get into - like doctors, lawyers, accountants etc.  Essentially 'left brain' jobs - those that use the logical and ordered left side of your brain.

However, Daniel Pink mentions the 3 factors that he believes have changed this:
Abundance, Asia and Automation.

Abundance -  Just a trip to the shops shows you abundance - when you want to buy something - you are faced with a massive array of choices of style, size, price and brand for what you are looking for.  How do you choose?  It is no longer the best product we necessarily buy - but more likely to be the best marketed product! - the importance is no longer on the object -but how it is promoted and sold - how creative the company marketers are!
Information is something else that is abundant - particularly on the internet - you can find the answer to anything. How many times have you self diagnosed 'illnesses' by Googling your symptoms rather than going to the doctor?  The abundance of free information available at the touch of a button is also reducing the need for some professions.

Asia - a huge amount of technical computer, and many other jobs are now outsourced from for example the USA, Australia or the UK to for example India, because living costs and so wages are lower for the same level of skilled worker. As a result there are fewer jobs like this available in more westernised countries.

Automation - this speaks for itself. Computers and machines can do  so much for us now that many jobs don't need actual people to do them.

What is happening now is that it's not the people who do well at  studying and learning facts, figures, academic subjects etc who are headed for the top jobs; it is those who are good at being creative.
It is those who can offer something different, new and innovative that are headed for success now. 
Those who use actively their 'right-brains'!

“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” 

So if creativity is the key to success in this day and age - all of us creative, crafty souls are a step ahead in the game!  

If I am 

'Creating my way to Success'

Then I am going about aiming for my goal the right way! I knew it!


So what is creativity?
Wikipedia defines it as:

Creativity refers to the phenomenon whereby something new is created which has some kind of subjective value (such as a joke, a literary work, a painting or musical composition, a solution, an invention etc.). It is also the impetus and motivational force behind any given act of creation, and it is generally perceived to be associated with intelligence and cognition.


Creativity then, is something to be nurtured. Ideas are the starting point of creativity - mix that with some inspiration, risk-taking, brain storming and you're on your way!  
There are thousands of creative blogs out there, then there's sites like Pinterest, which for me at the moment is my favourite go to place for inspiration.
The endless linky parties we all join in and host provide a breeding ground for creativity - with everyone sharing their own ideas and innovations.  Even when you follow someone else's ideas and tutorials, you inevitably put your own spin on in by choosing your own colours, designs, fabrics or adding or removing features.

If Creativity is the skill of the future - then it is to be nurtured and grown as much as possible.  Our kids should be encouraged to flex their creative muscles to help prepare them for the future, as much as, if not more than their school studies and textbooks will help them.

I have decided to make more of a conscious effort to explore creativity, and how we can encourage and develop it in ourselves and others even more.

“Curiosity about life in all of its aspects, I think, is still the secret of great creative people”
Leo Burnett
When I see a great upcycle idea - I'm always so impressed that someone could look at something in a totally different way to that which it was intended.  Like someone who can look at a chair, and not just see a chair, but see the shape, construction and other possibilities - turning it into a shelf, or a storage rack.
I think a large part of creativity is the ability to look at things in a different way - to think outside square so to speak.
Are you good at doing this?
I always feel that there must be something I could sew to solve a problem - do you feel the same way about your craft?

An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
“You can't use up creativity. 

The more you use, the more you

 have.” 

Maya Angelou


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mug Rug Tutorial - A Round Tuit




I've been making a few mug rugs lately to practice my quilting.
This one is the first I have designed myself - so I thought I'd share how I made it - in case you'd like your very own Round Tuit!


This is a double sided mug rug - and some of you may recognise it as the same design as the button for Monday's linky party


So here's how to make the mug rug:

Materials you will need:
2 squares green fabric 21 x 21 cm (8.5 x 8.5")
1 square piece batting (I usually use fleece)  for the inside 'padding'   also 21 x 21 cm (8.5 x 8.5")
White fabric A4 paper size, plus fusible webbing (eg Vliesofix) same size.
White fabric for binding - 6 x 100cm (2.5 x 39.5")
Round Tuit template - you can download this here.

First you need to print the Round Tuit template onto your fabric.
To do this - cut your fusible webbing to A4 paper size then iron onto the back of your white fabric:

And cut the fabric to size around the paper.


This is what you now feed through your regular computer printer to print the template onto:

Cut out the two circles:

Now you're ready to start putting your mug rug together:

Peel the backing paper off your two circles so the fusible webbing is ready to iron on.  Then place each circle in the centre of one of the green squares of fabric. To find the exact centre fold each piece in quarters and finger press the centre folds  - then match these with the circle and the square.


Cover with a damp cloth and then iron to fuse the circles to the green squares.




NB - After ironing to fuse the fabrics together - iron over the printed fabric without the damp cloth. The heat apparently helps seal the ink so it doesn't wash out!

Then using the applique setting on your machine, or a tight zig-zag, stitch around the edge of both circles to neaten and secure:

Now you need to layer your front and back green squares - facing outwards with your batting square in the middle. Pin all 3 layers together

You can line up the circles front and back just by feeling the edges with your fingers:


Now to the quilting.
I chose wavy lines as I like the look of them and they are easy and fun to stitch!
I just ran a series of lines on the green fabric only. I did not quilt over the circles so as not to have lines going over the writing:



Almost there!!

Trim the edges of your square to neaten them:

Now you're ready to add the binding.
For this - I'm still practising, but so far the clearest tutorial I've found is this one here from the blog Contented.
I'm still trying to save time and do all the binding by machine rather than hand, but so far I haven't managed to get it neat enough! 
For a neater finish - I would recommend hand-stitching as the binding tutorial recommends!

NB
I'm using up my scrap fabric to make my mug rugs so didn't have a 1m (39.5") long strip for the binding.
I joined 3 shorter pieces together to make this by joining like you see in the pictures which makes the seams less bulky:



Once you've added your binding - you're all done - sit back and enjoy a cuppa and chocolate biscuit on your very own Round Tuit Mug Rug!

Admire it lots too!


And don't forget to come and link up your own projects to the 

For the downloadable version of this tutorial, click here.


If you liked this tutorial there are many more on 


Happy Sewing!