29. Vintage Tea Towels

I love vintage tea towels. The brighter and cheesier the better.

I found a pile of them in a thrift shop about a month ago and I bought the lot. Who could resist them at .50c each! One of them made me smile when I opened it up in the store. It's a 'Wedding Anniversaries' tea towel complete with a list of themes for each anniversary. I was intrigued by the psyche of the person who bought it. Why would you need it? Did she use it to wash dishes or just put it in the cupboard? Was it a reference point for the approaching date...
"Frank! Our anniversary is coming up, better check the tea towel."

It was too funny to do nothing with so I made it into a simple cushion by folding it in half and sewing around the edge (right sides together) then stuffing it with hobby fill before sewing up the gap.

Another great find was a limited edition screen printed tea towel on linen fabric. I bought a cheap canvas and pinned it on with drawing pins. It'll go above the fireplace in our new house. I washed it first to get a couple of small marks out and then had to spend over an hour ironing it. It's still not perfect! If you know a way of making linen silky smooth let me know.

I have lots of tea towels left in my cupboard and I'm continually on the hunt for more. What I really want is a retro Blue Mountains one but I haven't had any luck yet.

We're moving into a bigger house in just over a week. I can't wait. Since I found out that we got the house I haven't been able to sleep because I'm too excited about decorating it. I have so many ideas, and knowing me I'll want them all done at once.

Happy crafting everyone!

28. Six Things to Make with Doilies

Have a lovely collection of doilies that you don't know what to do with?

These 6 simple tutorials will show you how to get those doilies out of the drawer where you can admire them.

(1) T Shirt with Doily Applique

1 Plain t shirt. Mine is a $3 shirt for my 7 year old daughter which I bought from Kmart.
1 Piece of vintage linen - circular doilies work well.
Thread and a needle

Here we go...
Making the shirt is as simple as placing your linen piece onto the t shirt and carefully hand sewing around the edge. If you place a piece of card between the layers of fabric it will stop you accidentally sewing through the back of the shirt.

(2) T Shirt with Cutie-Pie Sleeves

In 2009 I bought my daughter a top from a market in Queensland that was made with a singlet top and some floral fabric sewn on as sleeves. Cute idea, and very easy to make. I have two round cornflower blue pieces of embroidery that I plan to use as sleeves on a top for her this summer.  Nothing could be easier sewing a doily onto a top to make little capped sleeves. Just cut your doily in half and pin under the existing seam at the shoulder and sew it on.  For more ideas and step by step instructions see Jessica Wilson from scrumdillydo's article for Craftzine :

(3) Doily Lampshade

A collection of large doilies
1 Balloon
Wallpaper paste OR PVA plus cornstarch
Rubber gloves

Here we go...
This tutorial has been doing the rounds on the Internet for some time, but it's such a goodie that I have to include it here. The original pics are from Shannon South from reMade USA and the lamps are available in the reMade store.

All you need to do is blow up the balloon and mark with a pen where your light fitting will be inserted. Make up a thick paste with either wallpaper paste or a combination of PVA glue and cornstarch mixed with water. Dip your doilies then lay them over the balloon, smoothing down any bubbles. Don't place any doilies where you have your pen because that will be where your light bulb will be inserted.  Overlap the doilies at the edges. Hang it to dry and then pop the balloon.

(4) Doily Candle Holders

Amanda from craftsbyamanda.com came up with these sweet little candle holders made from doilies and mason preserving jars. Just spray your doily with a good quality craft glue then press onto the (clean) jar. Finish by decorating the tops with twine, buttons, shells, or whatever takes your fancy. Pop a tealight candle inside enjoy.

(5) Doily Bowl

This is a stiffened doily made into a bowl shape by using either starch or fabric stiffener (available from Spotlight).  thehappyhomeblog.com  has a great step by step tutorial.  Remember the sewing paper pattern lightshade I made earlier in the year? The concept is exactly the same here. I love the look of these bowls, I'll definitely be on the lookout for some more doilies so I can make a few of these as gifts.

(6) Doily Cushion

This is a bit gorgeous isn't it? Smile and Wave's tutorial on thebeatthatmyheartskipped.co.uk shows you how you can create a cushion by overlaying doilies onto fabric. For a more simple idea try sewing just one doily onto a plain cushion you already have by following the same technique as the Applique T Shirt above.

I hope this post has convinced you of the truth - doilies are cool! I'd love to hear your comments and if you make something with a doily make sure you let me know how it went.

27. China Plate Frame

Time: 15 minutes
Cost: $5 or under


1 china plate - look for one that is flat in the middle rather than one with a raised ridge because it'll be easier to place your photo
1 photo
Clear varnish and brush
Scrapbook letters (optional)

Here we go...

This is a quick and easy project that you can make for very little money.  I picked up this Italian blue and white side plate for $1.50 in an Op Shop today and I decided to make it into a photo frame.

Give your plate a really good clean before you start.

Choose your photo and find a circular object to use as a template. Cups and small bowls work well. Hold you photo up to a window pane face down and draw around your template. By drawing on the back of the photo you'll avoid any pen marks in the image, and the window will help you to place the circle in the right place.

I cut a circle out of paper to put behind the photo, but you could skip this step if you wish.

Glue each layer together, then glue the photo onto the plate. Measure so that you have the photo right in the middle of the plate.

Place your letters around the frame and glue them down. Use a cotton bud (q-tip) to clean up any glue around the letters.

Give the whole thing another wipe to remove any dust or fingermarks.

Take the plate outdoors or open some windows then give the whole thing a coat of varnish.

At this stage you could tape some wire onto the back so that you can hang it on the wall, or use a cute plate display holder on a shelf.

Other ideas to try:

A vintage floral plate with an old photo or cut out from a retro magazine
Bright coloured plate with photos of your kids. Put hand or finger prints around the plate before varnishing.
Make a matching set for Grandparents or for Mothers Day.
Choose an image you love from a postcard, magazine, or poster and match one of the colours in the image to the plate.
Experiment with other things to glue around the edge - buttons, gems, twine spelling out words.. . you're limited only by your imagination.

Happy crafting everyone!


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