Monday, July 25, 2011

I’m Back….

Not that you knew I was gone. If I had been really organised I could have scheduled posts for while I was away, but I wasn’t, so I didn’t.

Not that much has really been happening. I made a really awesome gift for one of Little Princesses friends who had a birthday party last weekend, but I forgot to take a photo of it. Due to the feedback from other parents at the party, I believe I will be making more in future, so next time I will take a photo. It was an idea I got from here, to make a build-a-fort kit. Mine was slightly different, but along the same lines. Great idea, fairly cheap to put together and a huge hit with parents and kids.

I received a pay-it-forward gift from Angela at Mummyzilla. This gift was a bit unexpected, because I had totally forgotten I had signed up for this pay it forward, so it was a nice surprise.


She sent me this Labyrinth square, which could be used for lots of things, but I think I am going to turn it into a cushion. I’ve never seen anything like this, and I think it’s a fantastic idea. It also is a great gift to post, which makes me think that I am thinking too big for the pay it forward gifts I still owe ( I haven’t forgotten about you Kelly, Amaranta and Sandandstarfish).

So, I have just spent the last week down in Napier, but didn’t really do anything blogworthy. Only made it to one opshop, and it was a dud. Since getting back I have been desperately trying to think of ideas for gifts to make for crafty friends whose birthdays are coming up next month. My first idea was based on this link, which I found through Pinterest.


I really like this colour combination, grey and mustard yellow, but I’m just not sure about giving something like this as a gift. Just because I like it, doesn’t mean someone else will. So I need your feedback, is a scarf an ok gift to give to someone you don’t really know that well? Do you like these colours together? Would you wear a scarf like this?

The next idea was based on pictures I’ve seen all over blogland, and has been on my mental to-do list for ages, Butterfly Specimen Art. I got a Cuttlebug (YAY!!) in the weekend, with a set of dies which include two butterflies, a bee and a dragonfly.


I love how it turned out. I haven’t decided who to give this one to yet, but I am planning to make another one, maybe with bees or dragonflies, I just need to find another frame. Preferably one I don’t have to spray paint, because spray painting is messy! This one was made with stuff I had lying around; an old frame that was a little bit chippy, I just gave it a coat of coffee cream spray paint; a sheet of vintage music; and the butterflies were cut from scraps of scrapbooking papers from my stash.

The only other gift idea I have is some felted soaps, which may be given as a thank you gift rather than a birthday gift. If you’ve got some brilliant ideas for handmade gifts that are fairly cheap and not too difficult, please share. I love making gifts for people, but thinking of new ideas every year is the hard part. Unfortunately, most of the people I make gifts for are from the craft group I go to, so I can’t make the same thing for everyone.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Recent Thrifty Finds

I don’t really have anything crafty to show, because all I have been doing for the last few days is housework, in preparation for our rental inspection today. So I thought I would show some of my most favourite thrifty finds from recent op-shopping sprees.


By far my most exciting find this year were these vintage flower frogs. I have been drooling over these on other peoples blogs for a while, thinking I would never find any at the op-shops I visit. So when I found them I just about did a happy dance. They are now living on the windowsill in my craft room, displaying cards I have made.


This egg cup was in a bag with a few other plain metal egg cups, but I had to get the whole bag just so I could have this one. It has the perfect aged patina, and its shape is just gorgeous. I want to make it into a pincushion, but I really don’t need another pincushion, and I don’t want to give it away, so I’m not sure what will happen to it.


Little white metal bucket, looks pretty boring now, but it is destined for a shabby chic makeover.


And this little brooch. I tried to Google it to see if it is vintage, but I couldn't find anything like it. Something about it reminds me of my childhood, so I’m thinking it could be from the 80’s. Is the 80’s considered vintage yet?

It’s been a while, but I’m linking up with a few parties – Apron Thrift Girl , Her Library Adventures & Joyful Treasure Hunting.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thrifty Tin Swap Package

Finally I can show you the package I gave to my partner for the Thrifty Tin Swap. My partner for this swap was a friend who goes to/runs the craft groups I go to. It was fun putting a swap package together for someone I know, but also very challenging because we make similar things and have very similar tastes, so I really didn’t want to make her something she could have made herself or seen me make before a million times. I went a bit over the minimum requirements for this swap, but it was so much fun making these things, I couldn’t help myself.


Here is the package, all wrapped up and ready to give.


The first Item I made was this heart. My friend has a “heart wall” in her studio, covered with different handmade hearts she has collected and been given. I had bought this heart frame ages ago at a thrift store, and it had been sitting on a shelf just a plain empty heart for all this time, so when I found out who my swap partner was, I knew it was time for this frame to get a makeover. I modpodged vintage book pages over it, then stuck on some feathers and purple flowers I made, then tied on some black organza ribbon to hang it.




The sweet component of the package was this altered tin, filled with, as it says, mints. I also covered this with vintage book pages, then added some lace and a label.





I made this little altered bottle, which is filled with an assortment of beads which came from a huge bag I got from a thrift shop. On the top of the bottle is a flower off a vintage clip-on earring. The label is a picture from the graphics fairy and the tag is just out of a packet of diecut tags, I stamped it and used ink to distress the edges.



Altered peat pots are something that are all over blogland at the moment, if you follow the kind of vintage, shabby chic awesome blogs that I love. I have had a stack of these peat pots in my stash for years, with no idea what to do with them (I am NOT a gardener), but knowing they would be useful one day. So when I first saw someone doing this, I thought wow, why didn’t I think of that. I knew I wanted to include some vintage lace in the package, but wasn’t sure how to present them. A few wooden pegs and an empty thread spool just happened to fit perfectly into a peat pot. To decorate the pot I wrapped around some lace, tied a bow with some tea dyed seam binding, hung a tag that I added the word Make to and used ink to distress the edges a bit, tied on with a bit of twine.


This was the “thrifted gift” part of the package. I bought this from the thrift store because I loved it, but then when I found out who my partner was, I thought she would love it even more, and I could imagine it fitting in perfectly in her gorgeous studio. It is a very small cake stand type thing, with little feet on the bottom. I can imagine this having so many uses, including holding small cakes, but also as a candle stand, a jewellery holder, an anything pretty holder…

It was all packaged in a vintage tin, with a tag I made a while ago. I think this will be the last swap I join, at least for a while.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A few woodland creatures, and a brooch


I saw this owl pattern in a book I had out from the library, Sewing Bits and Pieces – Sandi Henderson. This book is full of so many lovely projects, using scraps of fabric. I will be adding this to my “would love to own” list of books.


When I saw this project I knew I had to make it. It’s a fairly easy project, and didn’t take much more than an hour to make, using some bits of fabric out of my scrap bin. But the finished Owl is so cute and full of personality. I wasn’t going to embellish the neck at all, I didn’t really like the idea of adding a billion feathers with french knots. But then I had a bit of an accident when cutting the curves before turning her right side out, and a bit of emergency surgery was required to put her back together, so she had several stitches that needed to be covered discretely. I sewed on some vintage flower trim and crocheted a little flower to complete it.


The pattern in the book also included an alternative to the owl, a bunny, so I had to try that as well.


I made the bunny yesterday while little princess was at home, because she saw the owl and wanted one. I told her I was making a bunny next, so maybe she would like that instead. Of course she insisted I make it right away, but when I finished it she said she actually wanted an owl, but in the same fabric as the bunny. Yup, my four year old sure knows what she wants, and can be very adamant. So we compromised, because I didn’t have a lot of time left and didn’t want to have to cut all those pieces out again. I kind of made up a pattern for a new owl, taking ideas from different pictures of owl softies online, trying to make it as quick and easy as possible, and the finished result is actually really cute.


So now I have a family of woodland creatures living in my craft room.


Doesn’t it kinda look like the owl and the bunny have a love child? I was going to give either the bunny or the owl as part of my thrifty tin package, but I wasn’t too sure about which one, and the advice given by hubby was less than helpful, so I decided not to give either. I really need someone else here to give a second opinion about crafty things when I need one, anyone want that job? Hubby is not at all qualified for the position. The minimum requirements for the position would be: hours and hours spent researching crafty things online, the ability to look at things objectively and from another persons point of view, a willingness to give useful advice and constructive criticism, and a love and appreciation of vintage/retro things. He lacks all of these qualities, making him completely useless in the second opinion on crafty things position.

Another thing I made yesterday was a new brooch.


Using this tutorial, which is in Finnish but can be translated if you have a browser that does that. The crochet pattern was a bit hard to understand, because a lot was lost in translation, but I managed to figure it out, and it’s really quite easy and makes a gorgeous rosette brooch.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

More Swaps on the go

I’m way behind in showing these, because they arrived over a week ago, but the family were on holiday last week, so I didn’t get a lot of spare time.


Firstly, the brooch I received from Sharon for the Brooch Swap. She made it using transfer paper to transfer one of her drawings onto fabric. I love that it is unique and literally wearable art. She does some absolutely gorgeous drawings, they inspire me to want to start drawing again, but I think that is something that will have to wait until I’ve got a bit more time. I will always be an artist at heart (it’s the only thing I am qualified to be), but crafting is my passion/addiction.

The brooch came wrapped in that gorgeous piece of fabric, it’s small, but I’m sure i can find a use for it. Maybe I can make it into another brooch.




The other package I received was the Thrifty Tin swap package from Cat.

Inside this Jack Daniels tin were 4 little gifts, and tied to those gifts were the most gorgeous tags. Is it bad that my most favourite part of a gift are the tags and packaging? That's not saying that the gifts inside weren’t fabulous, but I really love these tags!



One of the gifts was this little pouch made with thrifted materials and containing thrifted crafty items: buttons, button cards & lace. I can never get enough of those things!


The next gift was this knitted wash cloth with a handmade soap. This gift made the whole package smell delightful. The wash cloth is made from some super soft cotton, it’s going to be a real treat to use it.


The other gift was this pocket tissue holder, made from a vintage sheet, a vintage pillowcase and vintage lace. That's a whole lot of vintage in one little package, yum.


And the last gift was the sweet component of the package, and I thought it was pretty clever to even include “vintage” sweets. Made with grandpa’s recipe, so they must be vintage, right?

I still haven’t given my thrifty tin package to my partner, but I will be seeing her on Thursday, so I will be able to show it to you on Friday. I keep adding to the package, because it just feels like it needs something else, so now it is quite overflowing with goodies. But there are still 2 days until I give it away, so maybe more will be added.