Thursday, March 29, 2012

A frog in My Creative Space


A couple of weeks ago I signed up to swim in a 24hr swimathon to raise money for MS.
I've been assigned the role of creative manager of the team which we've named the Freddo Frogs! (just like the Cadbury version!)

It's a fun event - and we can get everyone to swim with various balloons and fun stuff now and then.
So I thought I'd made some froggy cap covers that we can slip over our caps and wear to swim a few laps !

I tried to take some pictures to see what the cap looks like on - but it's tricky to take pictures of myself...
Not sure - maybe it will look better when I'm swimming!!


I've already made a couple of swimming frog mascots 

Now I have to think what else I can come up with!

Any ideas?

For lots more wonderful creativity - head on over to 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cuddly turtle tutorial




I'm a big believer in anyone can sew.  I'm trying to bring my girls up with the same attitude and encourage their creativity.
This week my youngest has Book Character Day at school - where they get to dress up as their favourite book character.  She has chosen Tess the Turtle fairy - who wears just regular clothes (easy), a pair of fairy wings (what little girl doesn't have a pair!) and has a turtle....oh...

So - when my daughter asked if I could make her a turtle - I suggested she make her own! So she did!

Here's how:

First she drew her turtle on a piece of paper :

Then I got her to draw the head, tail and a leg separately for the pattern pieces.

She then cut the pattern pieces out:

Then chose some fabric and pinned the pieces on:


Her 6 year old hands are still a bit little for using dressmakers scissors easily - so at her request I cut the pieces out.

She had to work out that we needed a top and bottom for each part - and then enough pieces for 4 legs (or fins)

Next came choosing 2 buttons for the eyes:

And stitching them onto the top part of the head:


Now onto the machine stitching!  The head , tail and 4 fins had to be  pinned then stitched around the edges - leaving a gap for turning out and stuffing!


Turning out and stuffing was lots of fun!


All stuffed and ready for assembly!

Each piece then had to be pinned and stitched to the main body - but facing inwards:

Then the other main body part placed over the top and it all stitched together - leaving the all important gap for turning out and stuffing!


Finally - she turned her turtle right sides out and stuffed him!

(sorry for the blurring stuffing photos!)



Final step was to hand-stitch the opening closed.

And there you have it - one cuddly turtle, designed and made by Maya - age 6!!





Now he may not be a very conventional turtle - but he is Maya's - the fact that she could draw and make the pattern herself makes him all the more special!

Aside from the fabric cutting, and the hand stitching it up at the end, Maya basically made this turtle herself.  The machine stitching she could do no problem - I just stepped in to help when she started getting tired (a 6 year old's attention span isn't too long!) .

What crafts have you done with your kids lately?  Do you let your kids loose on your sewing machine?

Just to update - I asked Maya - and she tells me the turtle's name is Pearl!

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


If you are interesting in helping your kids learn to sew, I have produced an e-book that helps kids learn to sew using a pair of jeans as the base fabric!  Do take a look at my 



Sunday, March 25, 2012

A great week for me fitness-wise!


My week of fitness - Another week of really pushing myself - aching muscles, feeling great and seeing progress.
Today was great fun. We decided to have a challenge with our girls of the fitness things that they are doing at school and at swimming.
The girls drew up a table of the exercises and with our names on, then this afternoon we got out the stopwatches and all did push ups, planks, shooting basketball hoops, skipping and sit ups.  We all in turn were the best at different things.  Amazing to see and measure quite how fit our little ones are (aged 6 and 8) and shocking for us to see how far behind we are in some senses (and how much our muscles ache now!)

After that we all went and did the aquathon training together - and with my eldest daughter's encouragement, I swam 1km, 500m of which was freestyle - more than I've ever swum that stroke in my life! woo-hooo!!

It's so nice to be doing things together as a family - and for it to be such a healthy thing too!

This week coming is the last week of school term - so my goals are to fit in what I can and get organised as best I can for the 2 weeks holidays!

Hope you've all had a great week!


Thursday, March 22, 2012

New bag pattern on it's way !

A friend recently asked if I could make her a bag.  She has one she loves that is wearing out, and has looked and looked in the shops for another just like it but to no avail!
So she brought her old one to me to see if I could made her one just like it!
Here's the original:

And here's the first two I made:
(this one from a pair of jeans I got from the charity shop for 50c!

And the second in a brighter colour using fabric from my rather large stash!


I'm satisfied with the pattern and method now - so I'll make my friend her new bag - and draw up a new tutorial for it too!

I really enjoy the process of making my own patterns - and putting them all together to present so others can follow them too!
Plus it helps me to have a record of how I've made things in case I want to come back to them another time - when inevitably I've forgotten what I did in the first place!

For more wonderfully creative spaces, 
head on over here!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jewellery bags - tutorial in post

One of the first tutorials I ever made (and still one of my most popular) was this one for little drawstring jewellery bags.  
I'd just figured out how to make my patterns available in PDF format - so that's how I presented this one.  However - I never posted the tutorial in full here on the blog.  Now I know some people prefer to see the tutorials like this - rather than to download them, so I thought I'd post this one here so you have both options!
So to download the PDF version click here.
Or - read on to see it all here!

Jewellery Bag Tutorial
By Creating my way to Success



These bags are easy to make – and perfect for jewellery with their small individual pockets inside:

First you need to make your pattern.  You need two circles – one large and one smaller.  I used a serving dish and plate from the kitchen to draw around.– My larger circle is approx. 31cm (12”) in diameter, and the smaller is 22cm (8.5”) in diameter.  This will make a finished bag around the size of the palm your hand – but you can make any size you choose! 
Cut these two circles out of paper:

Then cut out your fabric. 
One large circle of the outer fabric.
One large circle of the inner fabric
Two smaller circles of the inner fabric:
You will also need some thick plastic – a washed juice or milk bottle is fine – with a 10cm (4”) diameter circle cut from that (around mug size is good).
Then you need some ribbon or cord for the drawstring, and any trims you would like to add.


Take the outer large circle and fold into quarters. Place a pin on two edges about 3cm in from the edge. 

Open the circle out, and make a button hole where each pin is. This will be where the drawstring cord or ribbon feeds through when you’re done!


Then place the two large circles, right sides together and pin around the edge.

I added a piping trim here, by pinning it between the two circles:

Then stitch all the way around the edges.

Now you need to snip a hole in the centre of the INNER fabric circle:

Then turn the circles right sides out, through the hole.
Repeat this process for the two inner circles:

Pin right sides together, stitch, snip the centre and turn right sides out.

Now place the large circle flat with the inner fabric facing up.  Place the plastic circle in the centre over the hole you snipped, then place the smaller circle on top of that, with the hole facing down against the plastic.

Pin around the plastic circle to hold it in place:


Then stitch around the circle, feeling with your fingers as you go to keep your stitching even with the edge:

Next you need to stitch the pockets.  Stitch straight lines from the centre circle – to the outer edge of the smaller circle. Stitch slightly over the edge to make it a little stronger.
I didn’t measure any of these pockets so they vary a little in size.


Now you need to stitch the casing for the drawstring. Stitch two rows of stitching all the way round the outside of the larger circle – one row on either side of the buttonholes you made earlier:



So now you can thread your ribbon or cord through the casing using a large safety pin:

You will need two lengths of ribbon or cord. Thread one all the way round and out one buttonhole, and the other round and out the second button hole – so you end up with something like this:

Here I threaded the ribbon through, then cut it to the length I wanted the bag to be able to open to. Two 50cm (19.75”) lengths would be good; I made this one a little longer.
To finish the edges off, take two small rectangles of the outer fabric (approx. 8 x 4cm (3.15 x 1.5”)). Fold each rectangle in half, right sides together and stitch down the sides, leaving the end open:


Then turn this mini ‘pocket’ right sides out, and insert the ends of the ribbon or cord into it.  Fold the ends in and stitch across the top to secure in place:

All done!  Ready to fill up with jewellery!







This bag can be made in any kind of fabric you choose.
For a great selection of possible fabrics, why not take a look at the fabulous