2017 Gift Plans

activity-go-case

My 2017 gifts are organised.

kits

I have already finished my first gift for 2017 as it is due at the start of January. I have sat down and worked out every gift I am making for both birthdays and Christmas for each person. Pattern wise I need to finalise a few things but at least I know what I am looking for. When making my gifts this year I realised it worked better when I had things already cut out and ready to go, kind of like kits that you buy at the shops or craft shows. Why are kits so popular in the shops? Because everything you need to make item is right there in front of you ready to go. I have spent most of my Christmas holidays making up kits for as many gifts as possible so I can just grab and sew them throughout the year. When I go to my Sewing Guild meetings I’m often stumped as to what I will work on that day but by having things in kits I can easily see what I items I can work on. I have certain projects I like doing on certain sewing machines. Anything that has a lot of curves to it I only like doing on my big machine as it has the knee lift.

instructions

I have added notes to some of them such as what colour thread to use if I had multiple coloured items in a packet. On others I have written the way I want the fabric to be used in the project. Making up the bags was a great way to go through my fabric stash as I pulled out all the fabrics I needed from it for the required projects. It made me really look at the fabrics and think of creative ways to use them.

interfacing-stash

In the kits I have included the interfacing they require. It was a chance for me to pull out my entire interfacing stash and sort it out. I now know what I had plenty of and what I was running low on. It was a real eye opener as I didn’t realise how much I had in my stash. I was able to use a heap of odd shape and small pieces in projects which has culled the stash a lot.

2017-gift-pattern-plans

I am now feeling the most organised about my gifts I have ever felt. I’m going to be trying to some new patterns and some old favourites. Some gifts are going to be more complicated than others but if I just do one stitch at a time I will get them all done with love as I always do.

Cassiy

2016 Crafty Year In Review

Little Driving Wheel

2016 continued to be another crafty year for me. I have done so much this year and had a lot of fun in the process. I have learnt new skills, made new sewing friends and continued making all the gifts that I give so I would consider it to be a successful year.

finished-bags

Discovering liquid radiance and doing the workshop with Anne was a highlight of my year. The workshop was so much fun and it really allowed me to explore the possibilities that you can do with the fabric paint. Throughout the year I have used fabric that I have painted in gifts which is a special touch. I loved making the watermelon bags because you can start with a plain piece of fabric and through the process of your imagination you can paint it and manipulate it to make it anyway you want.

SS Together

I’ve continued making the gifts that I have given this year. I don’t pick favourites when it comes to the gifts that I make because each one is special. I try to make the gift to what the person likes. It can be a challenge at times but it is a lot of fun. Some toys are easy to make because you know what the child likes (I have one niece where everything is owls) others I quiz the parents for ideas on a theme and from there try to make a present up. Sometimes I consider the age group of the child and think of fun things that they may like. There are lots of toys and gifts you can buy in the shops and have the child’s name on it but I love it when I can make something you can’t buy in the shops like a toy dressed in a child’s favourite sports team or a pink reptile.

Yoda Coasters

I do make some gifts for adults. I like practical gifts for adults so I try to think of things that they can use. Making the Star Wars coasters were a lot of fun this year. They were practical items in a theme that my friend likes with our sense of humour added in. That is the best thing about home made gifts you can do things like that.

Navy Vest

This year I have done more garment sewing for myself. I have made skirts, hats, vests and pj’s. I like looking down and knowing that I’m wearing something “me made” I have tried new patterns this year and developed some skills. In the navy vest I altered a pattern for the first time. I worked with new fabrics such as rayon to make my beret. I’m getting out of my comfort zone of only making basic A line skirts. I have entered a few sewing competitions through Pattern Review and the Australian Sewing Guild this year. The competitions were fun. I love the challenge of trying to make something within set guidelines.

Colour Palate

I discovered a great bunch of local sewing enthusiasts this year called the Sydney Spoolettes. I have been to couple events with them and have developed new friends. I have also through them decluttered some of my sewing supplies… and also added to them. They hosted a few workshops this year with Anne Whalley. The workshops were great and have helped me to try to develop my own sewing style as far as clothing that I make for me. When you are starting from nothing trying to figure out your own style can be a little overwhelming but the workshops helped guide me and now I feel very confident to start making myself clothing more.

Pamuke Finished

It hasn’t just been sewing this year I have had a few yarn projects. I made good progress on the Sunny Log Cabin blanket then it halted. All the squares are complete I just need to block it all and join them. Lucy has a new blanket coming out at the start of 2017 which I may have purchased yarn for and I’m really torn as I want to start it but I still have the Sunny blanket to finish. Oh and I may of also started a new corner to corner blanket on Christmas day…. The C2C has no deadlines I’m just using leftovers from another project. The biggest item I made this year was the Pamuke blanket. I had a lot of fun doing it. The recipients weren’t expecting it and were surprised when I gave it to them. It gets mentioned a lot during my training sessions at they gym.

charity-face-washers

This year I was able to contribute to charity once again through craft. I have done scarves (which I still haven’t blogged about) face clothes, WIRES pouches, toys. I like contributing in a practical way with things people can use. Knowing out there somewhere someone using an item that you have made in their daily lives or hugging a toy to make them feel safe is an amazing feeling.

Petunia

Completed items wise I think I would say I have completed less than in previous years but you can’t really compare as I don’t have a quota of things of I wish to make. The items that I have made this year I think are a little more complicated as my sewing and yarn skills have progressed. I do have a scarf that I started in January using the Knit One Below stitch which I never finished this year and with any luck might get it finished next year. The person doesn’t know they are getting it so I got away with not completing it.

caterpillar

I’m hoping 2017 continues to be just as crafty for me 🙂

Cassiy

Pillow Beds

pillow-bed

This year I made 3 pillow beds as Christmas gifts. A pillow bed is basically a length of fabric to slot pillows in to make a mattress. You can either sew individual pillow cases together or use a length of fabric and stitch slots to place the pillows in which is how I have done it. They are great to use as a spare bed for kids or to use in the lounge room on the floor or even to place on the floor if your child rolls out of bed.

pillow-bed-snap

To stop the pillows from coming out I used 3 snaps per pillow space. These pillow beds were the reason why I invested in my snap press earlier this year. By the time you do both sides of the snap (you do one side of the snap closure on each side of the fabric) there are 24 snaps per pillow bed. The press made this very easy to do.

pillow-bed-coverstitch-fail

Originally I had grand plans of doing a row of cover stitching on the edges where I was placing the snaps but I can’t get my cover stitch to look right. The top looks fine and I did go and hand baste along the edges but the underside the tension is off. On my machine it is meant to auto set the tension but it doesn’t appear to be right. I’m going to have to investigate this more. To quickly overcome the problem I just did a straight stitch on the sewing machine along the edge.

pillow-bed-covers

I have made 3 pillow beds but I have only assembled one. The other two are in an owl fabric and butterflies. I’m going to be a mean Aunty and not wrap them. They are a very bulky item. I don’t drive so will be delivering them via a taxi. I can stuff the flamingo one in a rubbish bag to keep it clean. I will take the others flat, the pillows for the others are in the originally packaging in garbage bags in my garage. I will throw them all in a taxi. I managed to find a packs of 2 pillows for $5 so throughout the year I have been buying them in readiness for Christmas. I will set these up in the kids room and let them walk in for a surprise instead of wrapping them. I’m not totally mean each child is also getting a watermelon bag which I will wrap.

Cassiy

Black Butterfly

I made one last set of Butterfly Wings this year.

butterfly-wings-black-front

Once again the pattern I used was Butterfly Wings by Wife-Made. This time I kept it simple. For the applique shapes I worked with glitter wool felt for the first time. I had a piece in my stash so I thought I would try it. The sheet was 8″x12″ and I basically folded it in half, pinned it then free hand drew some shapes on the 6″x8″ rectangle and cut them out. It is amazing what you can draw in that little space. Admittedly I was expecting to be cover in glitter when I cut it and stitched it up but I wasn’t. I did get the odd speck on my fingers but I wasn’t showered in it and finding it on me for days. I get my wool felt from Rose Petal Collections as the quality is very good. The sheet of glitter felt is surprisingly thick but really easy to sew.

butterfly-wings-black-back

This was the first time I’ve made wings with one solid colour background. The stitching on the front doesn’t look too bad as eyes are more focused on the applique but on the back the stitching looks…. a little abstract. I used monopoly thread which is clear but on the black ground it really stood out. In hindsight I should have used black thread. Every wonky curve is visible. That’s ok lesson learnt.

tacking

One thing I do a little differently to the pattern is cut the batting layer in half so you have a piece behind each wing front. I tacked it into place with some left over bobbin threads to hold it. For me this is easier to work with when it comes to turning the wings out when fully constructed. This is another great way to use those near empty bobbins.

I have more wings planned for 2017 and after making these I now have a clear plan on how I will make them.

Cassiy

Are You Still Having Fun?

are-you-still-having-fun

An innocent conversation I had with someone last week has kept repeating in my head and it has gotten me thinking. We were talking about the gifts I make and the comment was made “But are you still having fun?”

caterpillar

If you’re a crafter at this time of year it common to feel so much pressure to get gifts finished in time for Christmas. You want to put all your heart and soul into making the perfect item for each person to show them how special they are but where do your draw the limit? Just because you can make nice things doesn’t mean you have to make things for everyone.  Every crafter wants to make more items than they will realistically get time to finish and it is easy to get super stressed and anxious. We all know that when your stressed and anxious you tend to make more mistakes and your items to longer to finish adding to the stress to finish them by your deadline.

make-up-pouches

Sometimes we need to stop and think “Why do we craft?” For most people they craft because they find it enjoyable. It’s a hobby, it’s a relaxation. It keeps your hands and brain active. We craft because we love it and it is fun. If your stressed out than you’re not having fun are you? If you’re not enjoying what you are doing then why do it? If crafting isn’t your means of income then don’t put yourself under stress by it. If you do have a craft business and your super stressed think about is worth it? If you craft to relax but it stressing you out then maybe you should rethink things.

mermaid-tails

I’m lucky that I have finished all my birthday and Christmas gifts for 2016 as of yesterday (I still have a few to blog about) For about the last month or so I have been planning 2017 birthday and Christmas gifts. Towards the later half of 2017 my day job could get busy but I still want to continue my tradition of making gifts so that is why I have started planning. I want to keep having fun making my gifts and I don’t want to get stressed out by them. I can’t avoid stress in my day job but when I get home I want my time to be fun and relaxing as I go about my creative processes.

Gift making is meant to be fun and I think is all something we need to remember sometimes.

Cassiy

Ear Bud Pouch

ear-bud-front

I know I say a lot “This has been on my to sew list for a while” but these ear bud pouches really have. I kept seeing them on Pinterest but early last year I came across the actual pattern for them… and so did my friend who pointed out she could use those 🙂 This year I got in and made them for her as part of her Christmas gift. The pattern is by Dog Under My Desk. It is really quick pattern to make up when you follow the instructions. My only tip is that make sure your zipper pull is in the centre of the zipper before you cut off the ends to shorten it. I almost had a disaster where I shortened the zipper but had the zipper pull on the wrong side of my tacking stitches but luckily I hadn’t cut it so I was able to rip out the tacking stitches and move the zipper pull. Also if you are using directional fabric like this make sure both pieces are facing the same direction. Originally I had cut one half that was the wrong way around.

ear-bud-back

Once you have made the pattern it is easy to modify it around and change the shape, you can do squares, hearts, dog bones. These are a great gift to make up as they are very quick and you can do them in bulk. Don’t just think of using these to hold ear phone cords they also make great coin purses, card holders anything that you need a little pouch for.

Cassiy

 

Star Wars Cushion

star-wars-pillow

I picked up this flannelette fabric up in the last years post Christmas sales at Lincraft. I had no idea what I would make with it but it was Star Wars so I knew I could use it for my friend. It has sat in my stash all year until a couple of weeks back when I made this cushion up. The cushion insert is size 18 and it measures around 45cm x 45cm.

star-wars-pillow-in-use

My friend got her Christmas present earlier this week and it turns out it matches in with her lounge perfectly. By the look of her cat he approves of the new addition. It is funny how a present that is just made on a whim turns out to be perfect.

Cassiy