Sunday, January 31, 2010

MAKE YOUR OWN: pillow cover

     This is the first time I've published a tutorial, so any comments, feedback and tips on how to explain things are more than welcome! I've chosen an easy one to start with, there are probably hundreds of patterns for pillow covers online already but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. 

     I love old woolen blankets, so much that I have a (very) long term project of re-upholstering our couches with them. It's so easy to upcycle (i.e. take a second hand object and find a new purpose for it) them, they are basically one big sheet of fabric just waiting to be used. Here's an idea on how to refresh the look of your sitting room without spending too much and in an eco-friendly way!

      -       Level: easy

-       Time: 45mn
-       Material: woolen blanket, thick cotton (upholstery or similar in weight), thread, buttons (everything can be found in second hand/ thrift shops or gathered from friends and family)
-       Tools: sewing machine (with buttonhole and button attachments), scissors, measuring tape

     1-    Cut out a 45cm square in the woolen blanket for the front panel, a 45x28cm and a 45x34cm panels in the upholstery fabric for the back. If you wish to put an appliqué on the front panel, cut it out as well (I usually draw it on some paper first, then cut it out and draw the outline on the fabric.

2-    Sew on the appliqué (for the one shown, I used the front of a jacket so didn’t sew an appliqué on). Sew one edge on both back panels: measure 4cm from the edge, fold wrong side of fabric on wrong side. Measure 1cm from the edge and fold under. Pin down and sew along the edge.

3-    Make buttonholes: fold the smallest back panel in half lengthwise; make a mark with a pen. Fold the half in half and make another mark, repeat for the other side. Measure the size of your buttons. Then make the buttonholes parallel to the width of the panel.

      4-    Sew buttons on: match the big back panel with the small one, sewn edges facing. Mark with a pen where the buttons are going to be sewn. Sew buttons on.

5-    Button up the back panels and then sew on the sides where the sewn edges meet. This is so they don’t move when you sew back and front panels together.

6-    Place the front panel on a flat surface, right side facing up, then place the back panels on top, wrong side facing up. Pin together and then sew. Undo the buttons, turn it inside out, et voila. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


After a week end of debating pros and cons we decided to adopt the cute found puppy... His name is quignon (pronounce "keenyorn"), which in french means the crusty knob end of a baguette. He's adorable and loves people. He's about 9 weeks, and bites to play so Tahi's still a bit scared but no doubt those two will become best friends.

I am very busy getting some stock ready for a couple of markets that are coming up, and the blog is suffering from it, but I plan on putting a little tutorial online before the end of the week. It will be a very simple one: How to make a pillow cover. There are probably thousands of them already but it's a start!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little puppy

I was walking to a friend's house yesterday, and found this cute little puppy wandering in the street. I asked around the neighborhood, no one knew who he belonged to, and some people had even found a second one. I thought they must have escaped but josh just reckons someone dumped them. It's quite cruel, but it seems to happen a lot around here. People have dogs that are not neutered and wander in the streets all day. There are only so many puppies you can give away, especially when they are not purebred. Here, by law you have to register any dog you own, and nowadays they get microchipped too. Add on top of that vet and food costs... so people just do the easy thing and dump them somewhere.
I took it home. It spent the night in the house, sleeping on our sheepskin. I found little pees and one poo this morning, and he was up early (6am!) ready to play. That woke Tahi up (he's not usually up that early) so we've been up since that. Unfortunately, we can't afford to have a dog, so I'm taking this little cutie to the SPCA today. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

what's going on out there

It is summer here in the southern hemisphere, and we've been enjoying some beautiful warm sunny days. It's been so hot, most days we have to water the garden day and evening (we're lucky to live in a place where water is not in shortage... yet). It's all well worth it though, our garden is going nuts.
It's so nice, and so rewarding as well, to be able to eat fresh fruit and veges from the garden.
I must have made a really good compost last winter: I'd planted some courgette, tomato and sunflower seeds, and suddenly that corner turned into a real bush. A pumpkin managed to sprout as well, and it's slowly taking over the corn patch.
So far, we've had close to a kilo of courgette a day (they're slowing down a bit now), a handful of beans every couple of days and a few strawberries and radishes. There's also sorrel, rhubarb and spinach ready to be picked, the tomatoes are not far off, a heaps more things sprouting: watermelon, cabbages, rock melon, carrots, lettuce, salsify, corn, eggplant, capsicum, rocket, kale, onions, pak choi, sliverbeet. Cross fingers things will grow!
We're also lucky to have a little orchard with golden queen peaches, granny smith and cooking apples, mandarins, tangelos, oranges and lemons. Our latest additions, three lovely Orpington chooks, love resting in the shade they offer in the heat of the afternoon. 
I have also been growing all our herbs: thyme, rosemary, basil, mint, coriander, dill, stevia, sage and chives. Most herbs have medicinal properties, which we value as well, and I have added a few more: lemon balm, chamomille, calendula, aloe and echinacea. I am very excited about the echinacea. Although I don't think I'll be digging out my only plant yet. I'm waiting to get some seeds and plant them next year.
We've been using soapnuts (or washberries) for our laundry, and I've been using it as a shampoo as well (it works a treat), and every now and again I'd find some seeds, so I planted all the ones I'd collected so far and two produced seedlings. I have to figure out how to care for them this winter (indoors or outdoors?). It would be so nice to get our own soapnuts fro our tree. The only thing is that it takes about 10 years before getting the first fruit! Hopefully we'lle still be here in 10 years' time.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Sew Liberated Book GIVEAWAY!!!!

I've just found this cool crafty blog called Grosgrain, and guess what: it's so cool you can be in to win this book. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Post zero, year 2010

Oh the dreaded first post. I've got the blogger's block. I've been thinking about this post since I finally decided to start a blog about a week ago; what have I got to say? what am I going to talk about? should it be about crafts only? Or about the path to sustainability we've chosen to follow?
Since I started sewing and selling kids' clothing on Etsy, I have been thinking it would be nice to share with others my love of handmade, recycling, crafting, organic down to earth things and free things. So far, I hadn't taken the next step. lack of time, motivation, confidence...
I'll leave it to this for now and start by wishing everyone a happy new year. Hopefully I'll manage to stick to this year's resolution: write a blog!
Here's where we were for New Year's... where were you?