Thursday, March 31, 2011

Golden Hands

I recently purchased a selection of gorgeous kids crochet hat patterns from Bubnut. Having no crochet experience myself I have passed the patterns on to my very talented mother, who is always making cute crochet toys for my children.

Mum's crochet toys

My mum first began learning the art of crochet in 1972, at the age of 19, when she bought Part 1 in a series of magazines called 'Golden Hands'.

1972 editions of Golden Hands

Golden Hands is a guide to knitting, dressmaking and needlecraft, and it was published as 75 weekly parts. Mum still has her five copies of the magazine (parts one to six) that she bought in 1972, and they are full of fabulous retro patterns and photos.

Inspired by the hat patterns, cute crochet toys and the vintage Golden Hands magazines,  I will admit I have become a little excited about the idea of learning to crochet. A few days ago, armed with Golden Hands Parts 1 and 2, a crochet needle and a ball of yarn, I sat down to have a go.

I think I managed to make a slip loop, and hold the yarn and hook correctly, but sadly that was about as far as I got. But I'm hopeful that with a bit of effort, and a helping (golden) hand from mum, I will be whipping up 'Granny Squares' in no time. I will continue to post updates of my progress!

The Moda Sugar Pop Drink Coasters are now in my shop, and I will be listing the first of my stylish and practical shopping bags very soon. I should also mention that until Saturday I am offering FREE SHIPPING on all of my cushion covers!

Monday, March 21, 2011

To market, to market...I need a new bag

With a visit to the Perth Upmarket (a treasure trove of handmade goodies) planned for Sunday, I decided that a handy take-along shopping bag would be a good Saturday afternoon project.

A couple of years ago I was given a re-usable polypropylene bag. It rolled up when not in use and turned out to be a very useful little bag. It found a permanent home in my handbag and was used on many a shopping trip. However it was starting to show signs of wear and tear, and needed replacing. So I decided to make my own much cuter version of this bag.

With no time for fabric shopping I found enough plain black lightweight cotton and a funky black and yellow paisley in my stash of offcuts, and set to work. I instantly fell in love with the finished product. I toted it around the markets (which were amazing) filling it with all of my goodies, and it served its purpose very well. Friends and family have already put in their orders, and you will see it available at Cotton And Card soon.

Aside from the markets, I had a really nice shopping trip out with both of my children early Saturday morning.  I realise that our routine has changed a lot since my son started full time school in February. I miss having both of my children at home with me all week, just hanging out together and having adventures. I am so proud to see my son growing up and settling into school, and I am loving all of the 'girly' time my daughter and I now share, but I just don't want either of them to grow up too fast.

On the flip side though, the kids often talk about what it will be like when my daughter finally heads off to school too (she is only three) and they have it all planned out that mummy can drop them both off and then do her craft all day. Now that does sound rather tempting!

To finish, here is a sneak preview of the Moda Sugar Pop fabric coasters. They are coming along nicely.

Fabric coasters sneak preview

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Starting Out

With anything new, just getting started is often the hardest part. For me, the delay in starting this blog has not only been a question of what to write about, but also how to find the time! But here I am, finally writing my first post, and hopefully setting some direction for my blog which will make future posts that little bit easier.

I have a lot of ideas for my blog and Cotton And Card shop, and I am very excited about finally getting the ball rolling...

Current Fabric Obsession

I have some GREAT fabric sitting on my craft table at the moment. One of my favourites is the Moda Sugar Pop Charm Square Pack. This has been the inspiration for some bright and funky fabric drink coasters. (And will no doubt pop up on a few other projects too.)

Moda Sugar Pop

Another favourite is the Echino Flower Bed Linen in Turquoise. (I do have a soft spot for anything turquoise.) This Japanese fabric is a cotton/linen blend and is available in other colours and patterns, all just as gorgeous. I am yet to decide on a definite project for this fabric.

Echino Flower Bed Linen Turquoise

My five year old son joined me for a 'spot' of craft a couple of days ago. He is a very creative soul, and was quick to claim a half finished clutch purse I had abandoned part way through as the sizing was incorrect.

“I’m going to finish this mum” he declared, and disappeared for a few moments, to return with his cotton and sewing needle ready to go. He began his sewing and I continued on with my project. All of a sudden he put down his sewing and said quite matter of factly, “Nope, this just isn’t working mum.”  I had to smile as I replied “I know the feeling.”

The Sugar Pop inspired drink coasters have been one such example of “this just isn’t working” The initial idea was for a very simple lightweight fabric coaster, perhaps with a linen or calico backing. But then I started to investigate the options for a middle lining, that might improve the function-ability of the coaster.

Upon the advice of the lovely lady at the fabric store I decided to try a needled insulated lining material. However after several attempts I have decided to scrap this idea. I wasn’t enjoying working with the material, and I wasn't happy with the finished product - too much bulk.

I have since returned to my “simple” design, and I am very happy with the end result. A little more road testing is required (a few cups of tea, a glass of red, and some laundering) but if all goes well some very cute drink coasters will be available from Cotton And Card very soon!