Vintage Trophy Coat Rack

This is one of those projects that I really wish I thought of myself, but sadly I can't claim the credit for this one. It's such a simple, cool idea though that I had to share it with you all.

This vintage trophy coat rack is the idea of Kate Pruitt of Design Sponge.  We're not a family with loads of trophies (yet!) but I know of lots of parents who have an abundance of kids sporting trophies and nowhere to put them. Instead of keeping them on a shelf why not make a feature of them and put them where everyone will admire them daily.

For easy, step by step instructions on how to make this great coat rack see the tutorial here at DESIGN SPONGE.

I'll definitely be adding vintage trophies to my list of things to look for next time I'm doing a round of the thrift stores.

21. Fabric Prints using Lace Paper

I was strolling around a craft store the other day when I spotted some adhesive lace paper in the scrapbooking aisle. I thought they'd be perfect for some easy DIY fabric prints and this afternoon I decided to try it out on a top I bought for my almost 7 year old daughter.

Cost: $5 - $10
Time: 30 minutes plus drying time.


T-shirt, jumper, cushion cover or other fabric. I chose a sweatshirt top that was on special at Kmart for $5.

Fabric paint or enamel paint (I've used white enamel house paint for fabric painting in the past and it's worked well)


1 sheet adhesive lace paper - mine was $3.95 from Lincraft and will do 2 - 3 projects.

1 image printed or photocopied.

Here we go...
Print out a simple silhouette image from your computer and cut out the shape. Make sure you measure your top to see how big you want the image to be and resize it if necessary.
I used this rabbit picture:

I decided that I wanted the rabbit to be facing the other way so I reversed the image in Word before printing.

Place your image on the lace paper and trace around it. I stuck my rabbit down with some blobs of blu-tac to keep it from moving around.

Cut out the shape from the lace paper.

Measure across your top and place the cut out lace paper shape where you want it to be.  Peel off the paper backing and stick the shape down.

Put some newspaper inside the top so that any paint that seeps through won't stain the back.

Using a paintbrush carefully dab paint over the shape, making sure that you get all of the holes.

Carefully peel off the lace paper.

Wait till it's dry and you're done!

20. Cuff Bracelets using Felt and Vintage Fabric

Here's a simple and quick way to make yourself a cuff bracelet. I've made 4 different designs for this post and they're all suitable for beginners. The ribbon/braiding cuff is a no sew project.

Cost: Under $10
Time: 30 - 60 minutes depending on detail

1 press stud kit from a sewing or craft shop. This is for the fastening on the cuff and should come with a shank which you hammer into place. Mine was $5.50 for 5 studs from Lincraft.

1 piece of Felt, braiding or wide ribbon, fabric scraps

1m ribbon

50cm fusible interfacing medium - heavy thickness

Sewing machine, hammer, thread, scissors, darning needle

Here we go...

1. Plain Bow Cuff and Ribbon cuff

Measure your wrist with a measuring tape then cut out a long oval out of felt fabric. Make sure you make it long enough so that it overlaps because that is where your fastening will be.

If you're making the ribbon cuff, stitch some ribbon in and out of the felt using a large darning needle. Hand stitch the ends on the underside when you're done.

Fold in half, find the middle, then pinch it together to make a bow shape. Wind thread around the middle.

Cut a small piece of ribbon and hand stitch around where you have wound the thread.

Place the cuff around your wrist and mark where the buttons should be. Following the instructions on your stud press kit hammer in the button/fastening.
*TIP Make sure you have the right parts in the right places before hammering into place by clicking the button together.

2. Cuff using Recycled Fabrics

Measure your wrist then cut out a rectangle out of fabric. Mine used up the scraps of a vintage tablecloth that was used in my book bag project. If using ribbon or braiding measure then cut.

Cut out a strip of interfacing just shorter than the fabric and a bit thinner so you can fold over the fabric edges later.  Iron it on shiny side down, on a medium-hot setting with no steam.

If you're using ribbon (mine is left over from my Frida cushion) then just cut a piece of interfacing to match your ribbon length and iron on, shiny side down.

For the fabric cuff, fold over the edges and press well. Sew around the edges of the rectangle. There is no need for this step if you're using ribbon or braiding.

Mark where you want your studs and hammer them in following the instructions on your kit.

19. Transposing Images to Fabric - Frida Kahlo Cushion

Following on from the photo canvas prints I made over the weekend here is a new project working with transposing images.  In this tutorial we'll use what we learned in working with printed images and gel medium and incorporate it into a simple sewing project.  Not a sewer? No problem, just buy a plain cushion cover in a light colour, take the insert out, and pick up this tutorial when we get to Step 3.

Cost: Under $5
Time: 1 - 2 hours

50cm of plain calico fabric (around $1.50)
1 printed image from an inkjet printer or toner photocopier
Matte gel medium from an art store
Trims such as decorative braiding, ribbon, or lace to suit your design (optional)

Here we go...

1. Print out your image. Before you print it, have a play with colours and effects on photo websites such as if you want something a bit different.

This was my image. I'm Frida Kahlo's biggest fan. I cropped it into a square (eliminating the blue border) and resized it to fit my cushion panel.

2. Cut out the squares for your cushion out of the calico fabric. Mine was 35cm x 35cm.

3. Trim your printed image then decide where you want it to be placed on the calico. Mark with pencil in the corners so you know where to place it.

4. Brush the marked area with gel medium in a thick, even layer then place your image face down.

5. Smooth out the wrinkles from the centre outwards using a credit card or roller. Be careful not to rip the paper. Smooth out any remaining bumps with your finger. If a few wrinkles remain don't worry, it'll still look great.

6. Leave to dry completely. I hung mine of the line on a sunny day and it was dry in 2 hours.

7. Spray with water and gently peel off the paper, keep rubbing until all the paper is gone.

8. When your image is clean and dry add any decorative trims. I hand sewed my ribbon on using a large darning needle. The print was quite thick and stiff so it may not go through your sewing machine.

9. With right sides together sew around the edges leaving a gap to turn the cushion the right way out. If you prefer a removable cover you can add a zip instead.

10. Stuff the cushion or put the insert inside and sew up the opening. Lovely.


The print was a lot more durable on fabric than it was on canvas so I could give it a good scrape to get the paper residue off. I found that a laminated library card worked the best.

Ribbon or lace around the edge of your print will hide any untidiness left from the gel medium.

You can use any fabric to make the cushion or pillow but make sure it's durable and preferably a natural fibre (not stretch).

How about trying...

  • A personalised cushion for your child featuring a picture of them or their favourite pet
  • A vintage flower print on top of cottage floral fabric
  • Using a vintage magazine or advertisement as your print - photocopy it and use the copy
  • Using a print out as a stencil then colouring it in with fabric pens or paints
Happy Crafting!

18. DIY Photo Canvas Prints

I'm really excited about this project. Over Easter my good friend Jo over at beaux design told me about a new painting technique she'd heard about using gel medium. I've been thinking about it over the last month or so and this is what I came up with this weekend.

Everyone I know (including me!) loves canvas prints of their favourite photographs. But they're very expensive. I had a look at some photo ordering sites online today and they ranged from $50 to well over $300. I can see the value for a wedding photo perhaps, but as an everyday craft project it's way too costly.

I started to have a play with photos and did my research on gel medium - and I think you'll like the exciting discovery I made.  Let's have a look.

Cost: $5 or under depending on canvas size
Time: 15 minutes to apply plus drying and time to remove paper

1 canvas from a discount store or art supply shop. Mine was 20cm x 20cm and was $2.50
Matte gel medium from an art shop. Mine is Matisse and was $13.95, another brand is Liquitex. One pot will do for many projects.
1 inkjet printed or photocopied (toner only) image in colour or black and white

Here we go...
For my first attempt I wanted to use a photo of my daughter and I. I uploaded the photo onto the site Photobucket then edited it. All I needed to do was crop the picture into a square shape then choose the "Pop Art" option under Effects. This is what I ended up with. There are lots and lots of different options to choose from so there's room to try out a few different looks to see what you like.

Next I downloaded the image to my computer and pasted it into a Word document. I resized it so that it was just bigger than my canvas and printed it out on the best quality setting. An important note is that your image will be reversed because you're placing it onto your canvas face down. This is particularly important with text. You can flip your image in photo editing software (like Photobucket) or most printers have the option of printing in reverse. For a larger canvas get your image enlarged at a photocopy store but make sure it's a toner print rather than laser.

Time to open up the gel medium! Using a sponge or a brush apply a thick, even, coating to the entire surface of the canvas. No blobs allowed. Every part must have gel medium applied or the print won't adhere.

Place your image face down into the canvas, being careful to position it where you want it.

Using a roller, credit card, or plastic ruler, smooth out any wrinkles and bubbles. It's really important to get the paper as smooth as possible at this stage, but be gentle because you don't want to rip the paper.

Once you're satisfied, leave it to dry for at least 10 hours. For my second one I cheated and dried it in the sun for 2 hours then popped it in front of the heater and it still worked.

If you see a section where the print hasn't come through enough you can apply some more gel medium onto the back of the paper and it will seep through and react with the ink.

When the paper is completely dry, spray some water onto a small section and gently rub the paper away. Work in small areas at a time until all remnants of paper are gone and your print is nice and clean.  This is time consuming.. I'm the first to admit it. But it's something you can do in front of the TV or do a little bit then come back to it later. I used my finger mostly but a clean cloth also worked really well.

That's it! A home made canvas print for as little as $5.

As you can see in my finished canvas above there are a few white bits here and there. I'm still experimenting with the right type of paper and the amount of medium to spread on the canvas so I'm hoping to tweak it a little in the next few days. I kind of like the distressed look though so I'm not too worried, and for around $5 for a 20cm x 20cm canvas I'm happy with the results.

Here are my tips for making this project work really well for you:

  1. Use a good quality, strong, preferably coated printing paper. And remember this works with inkjet (not laser) printers.
  2. Give the canvas a good, thick, coating of medium. Below is a pic of my first attempt where we hadn't used enough product and the image didn't bond well.
  3. When you're peeling off the paper, dry it periodically so you can see where small bits of white paper remain.
  4. For a longer lasting and tougher canvas finish it in clear varnish or enamel.

If you're a fan of Andy Warhol inspired artwork check out this great easy tutorial using photocopied images and food colouring from artist Jo Stanes over at  beaux design pop art project.

Happy Crafting!!

17. Vintage Velvet Cushion

My husband and I have been watching the TV series The Tudors lately and seeing all of that luscious velvet and gold got me thinking.  A few years ago my mother in law gifted me some beautiful blood red velvet fabric that she bought in the 70s. She loved it so much that despite its price tag she had to have it.  She loved it so much in fact, that she couldn't bear to cut into it. It sat in the sewing cupboard for years before she generously passed it on to me in the hope that I would make better use of it.

This velvet is like nothing else.  It's thick and soft and the colour is deep and dark. I was so touched that my mother in law would give me something that had at one time meant so much to her. So touched in fact, that I couldn't bear to cut into it either!!

And so it was that I found myself sitting in the living room watching The Tudors, admiring Anne Boleyn's rich fabrics and King Henry's drapery in regal red, when I guiltily remembered my own stash of blood red velvet.  No one was getting any enjoyment from it while it was carefully packed away.  It was time to take a deep breath and make the first cut. Naturally I chose a project that used the least amount of fabric that I could think of!  I hope you like it.

Cost:  For me, $4.80 because I already had the velvet.
Time: 1 hour


  • 1 piece of velvet. My piece was 43cm x 90cm.
  • Thread
  • 1 button
  • Synthetic silky fabric for the flower
  • A candle
  • A zipper if you choose to use one

Here we go...

To make the flower we need 5 circles of the satin fabric in various sizes. You could use a pattern but I figured I had enough round things in the kitchen to draw around so I used them instead. Make each circle smaller than the last.

Next take each circle and cut inwards about 1/3 of the way, 5 times. This makes the petals of the flowers. You can measure if you like but it's not necessary - I just guessed.

Now the fun part! Remember playing with candles when you were a kid but knowing that you really weren't meant to?  Over the flame of a tea light candle gently melt the edges of your circles as well as the cuts you have made for the petals. Some blackening is OK, but you don't want the fabric to melt too much or catch on fire so be careful. You'll need to be very careful not to hold the fabric near the flame for too long and protect your skin!!  You may need to hold the smallest circle with tongs if you're worried about it getting too hot.

Now that you have all of your circles melted around the edges, lay them on top of each other, largest one at the bottom. Place the button in the centre.

It's my preference to stitch each layer of the flower onto my cushion but you could stitch the layers together at this stage if you wish.

Now onto the cushion. I cut two squares 43cm by 43cm and sewed them together (right sides together) leaving a small gap along the bottom edge to turn it out the right way.  I then stuffed the cushion and hand sewed the opening shut. Make sure you turn out the corners nicely. You could do a zip, button, or ribbon tie opening if you want the cover to be removable. I figured I there was no way I'd be washing the velvet so I didn't bother!

Once your cushion is made sew on your circles starting with the largest first. I tacked mine on in the centre, leaving the petals free. Keep layering until the flower is complete, then add your button.

Beautiful, luxurious, and would make a wonderful gift. Happy crafting everyone.

The Week

Ever year since I've had children I've experienced the most cruel and torturous of parenting ordeals - The Week.

When I was a new mum The Week was a horrid shock. I fought against it, bemoaned my bad luck, even shed a few tears.  Somewhere along the line I came to the realisation that mothers all over the globe were also plodding through The Week and the best method for survival was to just relax and go with it.

What am I on about? I'm talking about that dreaded week, that long, boring, and exhausting week that usually occurs once or, ( if you're spectacularly unlucky) several times a year.  It's the week where every child in your household is as sick as a dog.  And what makes this week just so so bad, is that it will also be the week that your significant other is away on a business trip, working late, on night shift, or sick themselves. Mothers out there, tell me I'm not alone!

As you may have guessed by now, I'm smack in the middle of The Week.

I've got one with tonsillitis, a chesty cough, and a blocked nose, and the other with an ear infection, asthma, and a blocked nose. It's a round of antibiotics for all!  One needs medicine on an empty stomach one hour before food, the other needs theirs on a full stomach with a probiotic on the side. There's Ventolin to remember, paracetamol doses to keep on top of, and always, always, a nose that desperately needs wiping.

We're spending the hours in the living room with the heater on, the lights dimmed to protect sensitive eyes, endless kids TV programming playing. Despite being home all day long, I manage each night to go to bed with the knowledge that yet again I have not cleaned the bath, or folded the washing, or put the sewing machine away.  The hours are both never ending and speeding by in a flash.

In amongst The Week you will also be familiar with The Day. It's the day somewhere in The Week, normally day 2 or 3 in my experience, where it all feels impossible. The children bicker and won't listen. Everyone is miserable at once and you can't do anything to please anyone. You look longingly out the window and imagine escaping. You picture yourself running maniacally down the road laughing deliriously.

It is, of course, a fundamental law of motherhood that The Day will coincide with something else equally annoying. Your partner will be extremely late home from work, your power will go out, or maybe someone will use a chainsaw next to your house all day long.  Yesterday was The Day for me, and my husband got home from work just as I was getting ready to go to bed.

So what's a mother to do to preserve her sanity?

  1. Forget cleaning. Forget cooking. Forget looking decent in any way, shape, or form.
  2. Order your groceries online and get them delivered. Don't forget tissues like I did!
  3. Accept that it will be a crapper of a week. If you fight it, it'll make it worse. Just accept it.
  4. Get some earplugs. This is so that the endless loop of animated movies and kids TV presenters don't make you lose your marbles.
  5. Walk around outdoors at least once a day. Even a circuit of the garden helps enormously.
  6. Unless it turns to custard, night time is when your shift ends. If you have someone else to get up to the kids in the wee hours make sure you let them know it's their turn.
  7. Once the kids are finally asleep you know what to do. Chocolate, wine, reality TV... choose your poison and indulge freely.

If you, like me, are in the middle of The Week, take heart. Every day that passes is another little conquest.

Now if you'll excuse me I have a snotty nose beckoning....


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