Thursday, May 31, 2012

42. Dirtying up the Doily


I had to laugh when my husband came to me with this design concept. You see, he's not a fan of doilies (or crochet rugs for that matter) he finds them "nanaish" . Every time I begin a sentence with Look what I made out of this doily! he gets a pained expression his face. He prefers the sleek simple designs of Mid Century furniture, bold colours, and screen printed fabrics to anything fussy and frilly. Today's project is my husband embracing the doily cushion, but on his terms. He loves traditional tattoo imagery and particularly 'Day of the Dead' skulls, you might remember them from the Mexcian inspired ikea stool he transformed. Perhaps this is his way of admitting that there will be doilies around for as long as I'm still thrift shopping... which looks like it'll be for a while. Better to embrace the doily I say, and make it work for you than to fight it.

So here is our joint effort made with thick black velvet and a vintage doily. And I have to say, I love how it came out. He's pretty good at this stuff this man of mine.

Skull Cushion made from vintage doily

Time: An afternoon
Cost: Under $20

I had a long rectangular vintage doily in my stash downstairs that I would have paid $1 or $2 for in an op shop, and I bought half a metre of velvet for $12.50. I would have preferred to use vintage velvet which I think is far superior in quality, but I couldn't source any in time. Mr J printed a skull shape off the computer and laid the doily over the top before carefully cutting out the shape. Since he doesn't sew, he made it rather, erm, detailed. I don't think he quite understood that I would have to hand stitch around each and every piece of his design. Ahem.

Once he was finished he handed it over to me and I placed it onto my 40cm square of black velvet using quilting basting spray to help hold it in place while I stitched. Then it was just a matter of carefully stitching around the skull outline, jaw, eyes, and nose. I added some sparkly buttons for eyes.


To sew the cushion I placed the right sides of the two 40cm squares together and stitched around the outside leaving a gap at the bottom to turn it and insert the cushion inner. I bought a zipper but decided at the last moment to just hand stitch the opening closed.





It took a while to make but we're both really happy with how it turned out. It's always fun to see something that you created in your imagination come to life.



Happy crafting everyone!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

le thrift

I reckon about 75% of the things in our house are pre-loved, collected over time from markets and op shops, gifts thankfully received, and hand made from re purposed materials. Being surrounded by interesting old things is the way I love to live. And then there's the irresistible pull of finding a bargain. Yes, there's that.

So this afternoon I thought I'd take you on a walk through my house to show you some of the things we've collected in the two and a half years we've lived in Australia. When choosing what to photograph I've gone with a brown and orange theme just for fun.

West Germany pottery vase $22 from Salvos (yes, a bit pricey for a thrift store find but they're collectable and I so wanted it).

1970s leather clutch purse $4 from Vinnies

Crown Lynn 'Carnaby' coffee set $6 from an op shop in Dapto


1970s Chiswell teak table $30 from ebay

4 seater brown leather couch $250 through the local classifieds.


Antique wooden jewellery box $35 from Leura Markets

1950s lamp with wooden base $15 from Vinnies. Japanese glass vase $2 from Vinnies.

Thanks to my poor sleep deprived just-off-nightshift husband who took these photos for me while I wrestled with making my own gluten free puff pastry in the kitchen. Seriously, what was I thinking?

Have you got a favourite thrift store find?


Monday, May 28, 2012

Make it Monday - Vintage Kids Clothing

There is something about home made kids clothing. Maybe it's knowing that you made it with your own two hands, or maybe it's that you won't see another child wearing it. For me every aspect of sewing for my two kids is a good time, and if I've managed to recycle some vintage fabric then, well that's even better. 

This week on Make it Monday I thought I'd show you all some vintage inspired kids clothing ideas. Whether it's a party dress for a special occasion like the Sound of Music dress I made Jemima recently, or something for every day, sewing for kids is just plain fun.

Here are my favourites of the week:


If you like making kids clothing you will love indietutes. I recently discovered this blog and I can't wait to try out some of the patterns and tutorials. This peasant blouse is the perfect thing to make out of a vintage cot sheet or table cloth don't you think? 


One of the best things the Internet has given us crafty mums is PDF patterns. I first tried one a few weeks ago and I haven't looked back. I have a good sized paper pattern stash collected from my op shopping trips but it's hard to find exactly what you're looking for, and in the right size. I love this boys waistcoat from Anthea Christian of AngelLeaDesigns available on Etsy.com.


For really beautiful vintage inspired patterns have a look at the gorgeous things on offer at snazziedrawers. This pattern design business offers quirky, stylish, and one of a kind children's clothing patterns along with patterns for accessories like these cute fabric flowers:


If you love to sew and you have a little girl in your life, this could be your new favourite place to visit!

And lastly, there is this beautiful vintage 'Holiday Dress' from Simple Simon & Company including a full tutorial. 


If you're new to a sewing machine have a look at Remaking Kids Clothing where you'll learn how to use a tshirt or vest top for the complicated bodice bit, and a length of a fabric for the skirt. Or start with a plain kids tshirt and a doily or piece of linen like this Doily Tshirt that I made Jemima last year.

If you have a blog submission that you would like to see here on Make it Monday just send me an email to mybornagaincreations@gmail.com with a link to your post and a brief description.

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

An afternoon in Leura

A chilly Sunday today but full of blue skies and autumn light. Time to head up the mountain for some crafty browsing and co-op goodness.

First stop, Leura - one of my favorite places to spend an afternoon. Since we arrived in the mountains Leura has become just a little bit more 'crafty' which I love.  After a browse in some antique stores we headed down the main street for coffee.




A newish shop is  The Nook, a gallery featuring local Blue Mountains artists and crafty folk. There are beautiful knitted hats and fingerless gloves, jewellery, fine arts, and fun things for kids. I even spotted Sami Bop who I featured a while back when she was selling at Glenbrook Markets. 

Jewellery by Suzanna Coombes, available through Etsy and The Nook, Leura.

One of my absolute must visit stores in Leura is  Elizabeth Rosa fine stationey. There are leather bound journals, beautiful papers, thank you cards and invitations to die for. If you were a kid who looked forward to buying your school stationery then this is the store for you. 

And lastly, we drove one suburb over to Katoomba to the food co-operative. I shop here at least once a week for gluten free flours, nuts, grains, and organic vegetables. Every time I visit I enjoy it a little more than the last time. There's a friendly community atmosphere that we all love. Unlike the supermarket my kids are always excited and happy to shop at the co-op!

I hope you've all had a relaxing and fun Sunday. Don't forget to check back in the morning for Make it Monday! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

41. A Braided Rug


This morning I laced together the last piece of braid in Jemima's rug. This project has been somewhat a labour of love for me. As far as crafts go, I'm not very patient and this was one project that was never going to be completed in a hurry.

I knew all along that I would eventually finish it of course. Making something for the kids provides that pull to keep on going, just do a wee bit more for the day. It's also a special project for me, because it seems to sum up what born again creations is really about. Finding something old and unwanted, changing it, remaking it, redesigning it into something beautiful and functional.

Jemima's braided rug is recrafted from three queen size vintage sheets ripped into 5cm strips. She loved ripping the sheets with me - the sound of the rrrrrip! The question in her eyes "Am I really allowed to do this?" The satisfaction of a growing pile of fabric pieces.  Once you have a few strips ready grab three and sew them all together at the top short end, one on top of the other. This is to secure the braid so that it doesn't unravel.


The next thing to do is start braiding your fabric strips. I found it easiest to secure the end to a door knob and stand up as I worked. Keep braiding, adding fabric when your strips run out. The best way to do this is to make a small nick in both the short end of the fabric and the top of the new piece you want to attach. Lay the new piece behind the short end matching the nicks. Pull the long end of your new piece through the holes and pull tight. There are lots of good youtube videos on braided rugs if you need help.


As you braid roll it into a ball to keep it all tidy. Change colours every now and again, or use two strips of one colour and one strip of a contrasting colour as I did. You'll need a large ball to make a rug, to test the size you can lay it out flat and wind the braid around to see how much more you need to do.


When you're ready to assemble the rug get the end that you sewed together right at the beginning and lay it flat on a table. Wind the braid around it making sure that it lies flat. You can stitch it together using strong upholstery thread or you can get a blunt needle and some lacing cord and weave the braids together - in through one loop of a braid, then around the loop of the braid lying next to it. I started stitching and ended up lacing it. Lacing was quicker but didn't hold the rug together as tightly. With either method don't pull too tight or it will cause the rug to curl up.




Homemade Handkerchiefs


Each year as winter approaches and with it runny noses I'm a little alarmed at the number of tissues we all go through. We're raising our kids with an awareness of sustainable living and caring for the planet that we live on, but somehow the tissue situation is something we've let slide. This year I decided that surely, I can do better.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered a little handkerchief bag in a craft book I had, and this morning I rifled around the bookcase until I found it. It was Amanda Soule's 'Rhythm of the Family'.

I used a vintage pillow case that I've been saving for the bag and some flannelette scraps for the hankies. Flannelette is perfect because it's soft and thick. Vintage is even better because it's nicely worn in, helping the absorbency of the cloth.

The bag is a simple design - two pieces for the front and two for the back with a zipper so you can insert a pile of handkerchiefs from behind.  For more info on making one see Soulemama.



To make the handkerchiefs cut out 30cm (12 inch) squares of fabric, 2 pieces for each hanky. Sew around the edges with right sides together, leaving a small gap so you can turn it the right way out. Clip the corners and turn, then press well. Top stitch around the edges folding under the raw edge and closing the gap that you left to turn the hanky out. If you like you can add details such as embroidery or applique to one of the pieces of the fabric before you begin sewing. Wash hankies in hot water with a drop of tea tree oil which acts as a natural antiseptic.


Perfect for delicate little noses and kind to the planet too.

x Bec



Monday, May 21, 2012

Make it Monday - Knits!

I know it's getting warm up in the Northern hemisphere but down here in Australia and New Zealand we're thinking about pulling out the knitwear, buying a new pair of sheepskin slippers, and cranking up that slow cooker.  What better way to start the week than with some beautiful do it yourself ideas using wool. There's something about cold winter nights that makes me feel like keeping my hands busy with something crafty. For me, it's usually embroidery or some hand stitching because as much as it pains me to say it, I'm not a good knitter. Knitting and crochet are two crafts that I would love to practice more but my sewing machine beckons and I never seem to have the time. Maybe this will be my winter!

Here are my favourite knitting and crochet ideas of the week:

This little knitted dress couldn't be more gorgeous. It's Little Winifred by knitting designer Sarah Ronchetti. As Sarah writes on her knitting blog Sezza Knits:

Little Winifred is named for some wonderful women in my family. It is the middle name of both my Mother and Grandmother, and was the first name of both my Mother in Law, and her Mother. Although I know my Mother in Law didn't really like her name, and went by another, this pattern is named for her. She never met my children, in fact she died before I married her son, and only by having met my husband so many years ago (I was 16) did I get to really know her. She would have adored these children!

I love the classic shape of this knitted dress, it would be perfect with a pair of bright tights and some winter boots don't you think?  The pattern provides instructions for both tunic and dress lengths and the adult version is due to be released soon. To purchase for only US $5.50 and to view Sarah's other beautiful patterns visit her Ravelry Store



Now for something different. This is a knitting project that even I could manage. Here we have a gorgeous chunky knit cushion cover made from finger knitting. You remember finger knitting right? It was a huge hit in my 7 year old daughter's class last year. Anne Weil at Flax & Twine shows us how to elevate finger knitting out of the 'children's craft' arena into something a bit more grown up with her fantastic tutorial.


If I was a knitter, I think this would be one of my new favourite places to shop. It's Vintage Knits, an online store for vintage 'gently used' knitting and crochet patterns. Even without the knitting know-how I still had a great time browsing the vintage patterns on this site. His & Hers snowmobile jumpers? Come on! Vintage Knits also offers links to free patterns and a vintage pattern sizing chart. If you love vintage, it's worth a look.


This is a really cool gift idea that I saw recently on Green Eyed Monster. It's a tutorial for knitting a little knitted washcloth/cover for a bar of soap. By using 100% wool you create a naturally anti-bacterial washcloth that is soft and lathers easily with the soap inside. So easy to make I think I might have to add this to my list of future home made presents. Love it.





Not strictly 'do it yourself' but if I only buy myself one winter treat this season it'll be one of these gorgeous crochet hats handmade in New Zealand by Kylie of PeonyK. Not only are they beautifully made with just the right amount of 'slouch' they're great value at NZD 15.00 for an adult sized hat. Newborn hats are available in pure wool for NZD 13.00 and Kylie welcomes custom orders in your choice of colour. You can't beat that!
Check out her online shop (she also makes great jewellery) at her Felt Store.


And for a bit of luxury have a look at knitwear designer all for everyone's online store. There are some beautiful patterns and colours on this site and even if the items are a little on the high end of the price scale, it's always nice to have a browse for inspiration. 


That's it for this Monday, have a fantastic week everyone! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Get well soon....

Well it seems that the virus that has threatened all week finally arrived last night. Both kids are feeling pretty awful today with sore throats and blocked noses. I feel guilty, but I have to admit that our first virus of the season has me a tiny bit excited. You see, I have been stockpiling herbs in my apothecary drawer for the last few months ready for when winter hit and now I get to try out my potions on my unsuspecting children! I haven't had to break out the Coltsfoot or the White Horehound yet but I'm ready for the first hint of a cough.



In February I made some herb infused honey for sore throats using lemon balm and thyme. After 3 months it smells and tastes delicious. A tablespoon in hot water is just the right thing for a raw throat. Making this is as easy as buying some good quality honey and stirring in some chopped herbs. Make sure they're completely covered by honey and seal. You should leave it for at least two weeks before eating or infusing in hot water.

Natural Vapour Rub Salve



I'm not a fan of petroleum based ointments like Vicks for children so as winter approaches I make my own version. This is an almond oil base to which I've added essential oils of peppermint, eucalyptus, and wintergreen. A small amount of beeswax is melted into the oil so that it sets as a thick salve that melts onto the skin. It smells great and it's soft and gentle.

Full of Goodies Smoothie


I did plan to make this and take a photo for you but with the kids unwell I ran out of time, so here's a nice picture of some raspberries instead!

My kids love smoothies and I find them one of the best ways to get "goodies" into children. When there are viruses around I give the kids one of these smoothies once a day:

1 ripe frozen banana (defrosted a bit)
1 handful of berries - usually blueberries or raspberries from the freezer
2 tablespoons of live yoghurt
1 tablespoon of honey
1 tablespoon of kefir milk - you could omit or use probiotic powder
1/2 tsp Vitamin C powder
1 Psyllium husk capsule broken open (the casing discarded)
1/2 tsp Slippery Elm powder
Rice milk or almond milk - enough to get a good consistency

Blend everything together until smooth. Makes enough for two good sized servings.

Now a bit about the ingredients:
Berries - The berries add a nice flavour and colour to the smoothie and contain a good dose of Vitamin C and antioxidants.
Yoghurt and Kefir - I'm only just learning about kefir milk and growing my own kefir scoby but what I'm reading is really exciting. It's like a home made probiotic boost with awesome good bacteria for the gut. We have huge gut issues in our family so I'm keen to incorporate kefir into our diet. To learn more about kefir try reading What is Kefir.
Vitamin C powder - I like the powder form because only a pinch in a glass of juice is enough for kids and it's not sitting around in their teeth like chewable tablets.
Psyllium Husk - A great source of gluten free fibre with benefits for colon cleansing and bowel regulation.
Slippery Elm powder - One of my favourite herbal remedies. It create mucous in the gut so it's incredibly soothing for people with irritable bowels or stomach issues. It's also good for sore throats because it forms a  coating.

If you're interested in natural health I encourage you to google the ingredients in the recipe further, I'm not a naturopath or a herbalist so the descriptions above should be taken as my opinion only.

Get Well Soon Soup

I love old recipes and cough and cold remedies that have stood the test of time. This is a version of Jewish Chicken Soup that I make whenever anyone is feeling poorly. It feels and tastes so good to drink I can almost feel myself getting better with each sip.


Ingredients:

Chicken necks, wings, and/or carcasses (pref organic)
1/4 Celery - leaves and stalks chopped roughly
1 Onion
Garlic - around 4 - 5 cloves
1 Carrot
1 Parsnip
Herbs - I use thyme, parsley, sage
Water
Salt

In a large stockpot fry off the chicken bits with the onion, garlic, and a little oil. Once they're lightly browned add the rest of the ingredients roughly chopped and cover well with water. Sprinkle some salt over and bring to the boil. Reduce to a slow simmer for 1 - 2 hours checking to see if you need to top up the water. Every now and again I give the chicken pieces a pummel with a wooden spoon to break up the bones.


Strain and enjoy. You can make dumplings to go with this but that's difficult with us being egg and gluten free so we usually have some toast on the side instead.

Wishing you a lovely (healthy) Sunday

x Bec

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bibs for Baby


I've been busy in the workroom over the last couple of days making baby bib patterns and going through my vintage fabrics. When my own babies were small they didn't have bibs like these. They had pretty cheap and nasty ones. And now that I have this lovely soft little stack of baby bibs next to me, oh, I really wish I had made them bibs like these.

These bibs are recrafted from tablecloths, pillow slips, cushion covers, and remnants of fabric. It's my favourite way to sew. You can turn just about anything into a baby bib I've discovered. They're lovely and quick to work up too which is always nice.

The first series of bibs have a simple cotton tie around the neck but I'm already working on patterns for either a velcro or dome fastening. The next series will also incorporate some vintage terry towelling on the backs for extra absorption.




If you'd like to purchase one of my vintage baby bibs go to my Facebook page born again creations and visit the store photo album. Non Facebook members can order by emailing me on mybornagaincreations@gmail.com.

For instructions on how to make a baby bib yourself see my Vintage Baby Bib post.

Enjoy!

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