Tag Archives: freezer paper stencils

Creative endeavours

My determination to return to blogging more regularly was severely dented when my site was hacked recently.  Luckily I had friends to turn to for immediate short term help, and was then able to employ a company to finish the clean up.  I hadn’t realised though how it had affected my blogging until I looked at where I was up to in sharing photos of my projects.  As a result be prepared for lots of photos!

There have been some turbulent times here in the nest, which hasn’t helped with my focus.  The chicks’ father has had some changes in his life that have impacted on our tenuous ability to communicate about the children, so much of my energy has been consumed in trying to wade through that murky mess.  The good thing to come of this is that I needed to be creating for therapy, so have made a few things I am quite proud of!

The first step was making up some freezer paper stencilled bags, and some heat packs, to stock in Shop Handmade.

Next was taking the wallet prototype and factoring in all the advice I was provided through my Facebook questions.  As a result I have a design that I am quite happy with!  These are made with ‘fused leather’, which is real leather bonded onto a rayon backing – it makes it lovely to work with and has a gorgeous soft feel to it.  I have been using a bag that I made from it for a few months now and it is showing no signs of wear, so I think these wallets should have a good life in them!

Three wallets ready to go

I also managed to make seven superhero capes as an order for a friend who needed them for an office team exercise.  The delight with which they were received and donned (I love an excuse to use that word) was beautiful.  They even had their CEO put one on and she insisted on wearing it back to her office on another floor!  I commented on Facebook that it is amazing what a piece of fabric and some imagination can do to lift your day!

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My other creative challenge has been to take part in an Instagram photo-a-day challenge coordinated by the very lovely Jess van Den from Create and Thrive.  The title is ‘a month in the life’ and it is designed to showcase our lives, processes and inspirations as creative people.  I am really enjoying participating, and finding new creative people to learn from and enjoy.  If you are an Instagram user I encourage you to do a search under #ctmonthinthelife and see some of the beautiful images being shared!

For now here are my first 15 out of a possible 16.  (Number 6 was ‘action’ so I made a video that appears after the photos!)

 

This is me in ‘action’ folding the internal pockets of a wallet I was making.

In other creative adventures I have been making padded iPad covers (check out out the details on the ‘willow print fabric’!)

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My final photograph is a bragging mother moment.  The artist-in-residence (my 9 year old daughter) had a painting that she did at school selected to be included in an exhibition designed to highlight art in public schools.  She had painted a dingo, and her painting is seen behind the speaker opening the exhibition (and immediately above the head of the artist herself!) in the picture below.  That was very exciting, but even more exciting is the fact that her school has been approached with a request from someone who wants to buy the painting!  I will now negotiate with the potential purchaser and then the artist-in-residence will decide whether she wants to sell or not.  If that wasn’t exciting enough, another piece of her art, a drawing of two gang-gangs (native birds that are the emblem for our area) has been chosen to launch an art competition, and will appear in the newspaper next week.  To say that she is proud and excited is an understatement!

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While this post just skims the surface of what is happening in the nest, I hope that you have enjoyed the pictures!  I will be posting again soon as part of a series on ‘why I write’ that I have been nominated for, so stay tuned!

Two steps forward, one step back

My small start back into sewing went quite well last week.  I made a few more iPad covers, remembered (well – was reminded) that I still ‘owed’ my kids a few promised sewn projects, and started developing some new designs.

One of the products that I want to develop is a man’s wallet.  (I also want to make a woman’s wallet/purse but with Father’s Day around the corner thought that the men’s products had to take priority!)  I played around with some ideas and then made this prototype.

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I put it up on my Facebook page and asked for feedback.  Quite a few of my lovely female followers responded, with many of them commenting that it needed a closure of some description.  There were also comments on fabric, leather, colour etc, but I am not too concerned about those as simply making items with different combinations addresses that issue.  However I was concerned about the fastening issue, so I put a post on my personal Facebook profile, asking for input from males on the question of fasteners on wallets.  The first response was ‘No fastener for me. If you need one of those you’re not a man.’  And the following 40+ responses followed that pattern, except for one friend who responded that he had a fastener, then read the other comments and made various ‘manly’ statements to reclaim his manhood.  The respondents were of varied ages, educations, locations, backgrounds etc, so I think this is a fairly definitive indication that men do not like fasteners on their wallets!   I will tinker a bit with the design and hope to make some more this week, and will be sure to label the wallets as ‘man approved’ so that the women buying them don’t think they should have a fastener!

I also put out some feelers on whether people preferred baby bibs to fasten on the back or the side.  The responses were mixed, so I have decided for my next range of bibs to do a bit of both!  This was a custom order, but I plan to make a few more, and make some square ones with teether chews.

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I then had a great Saturday afternoon and produced a Kindle cover, shoulder bag, and library bag for my chicks (finally!!)

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The shoulder bag as a work in progress

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Kindle cover

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Library bag for the boy using the fabric he chose some weeks ago.

My steps forward were going well.  But I feel like I am going backwards this week.  The boy only managed to last 40 minutes at school today.  Last week he was there most days for between one and two hours, so I had some time to get things done.  This week, although we have only just started, I am feeling much more dejected about my ability to sew, to earn a living on my own terms, and to keep everything afloat.  I have finally decided to apply for some government benefits to help out.  While part of me feels grateful that the services are there, the other part of me is falling into a deep well of self pity wondering how I went from high-flying lawyer to government benefits.  Of course I know the logical answers – parenting a child with special needs means a change of course – but it is still sucking the energy out of me.    My mission this week, then, is that, in between filling out many, many, many forms, and organising my financial records for my tax return, I will find time to make things that are fun, and will re-energise me.

One of my ideas is to make a few more stencilled bags.  I made these two over the weekend as gifts, and enjoyed it, so a few more will be fun!

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I have also been playing with ideas for handwarmers and road tested a couple  with my boy and his friend yesterday – and received positive feedback from them, so will try to make a few more – sure to get me up and going!

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Right.  Here I go, off to get re-energized and move forward again!

 

A workshop

Today I spent a few hours teaching a workshop (of the continuous kind) for a few hours at a Craft Day where there were numerous wonderful workshops, demonstrations, and a few stalls selling handmade goods.  I decided to teach on the use of freezer paper to make stencils and decorate tote bags and t-shirts.  While those of you reading in America might be familiar with this, freezer paper is not an everyday commodity here in Australia.  You can buy it from speciality shops for a couple of dollars a metre, or, do as I did, and have a friend who is travelling to the United States purchase a roll from a supermarket!

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The workshop was fun.  The fox stencil that I made last week was the most popular.  I saw it going home on bags and t-shirts in a rainbow of colours – red, orange, green and blue!

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There were other great stencils made by participants including a golden panda, a red toadstool, and a multi-coloured Lego Man that I didn’t manage to capture photos of.  Here are a few that I did manage to photograph!

 

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As always happens at these things, it was the people who made it amazing.  There was the little girl who looked like she was about 5 who was so incredibly precise with her paint – and so proud of her results.  The elderly lady with a younger woman who worked as a team to make a blue fox for a 2 year old that the older lady wanted a gift for.  The family who all made a bag each to be their adventure bags for the school holidays that have just started.  And lovely people to talk to, to share ideas with, and to learn from.

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The most amazing part of today was that I took all three chicks with me.  The boy made one clay plate, then sat quietly behind my stall with my iPad.  The middle chick made a clay plate and spent the rest of the time at the free stall for children – making all sorts of amazing creations with glue, glitter and coloured paper.  The eldest chick, who often claims to not be very crafty had a ball!  She made this beautiful paper votive house, stamped a delightfully cheeky card for her step-mother, and generally had a go at everything!

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They all behaved beautifully.  The boy left half way through with their step-mother, and the eldest chick left with a friend, but the middle chick stayed to the end and helped to pack up and carry all the loads back to the car without complaint.  It was very special!

I have been busy this week but don’t have a lot to show for it, apart from a fresh pile of bibs to re-stock the website that sells them too.  Between appointments for all and sundry, doing other parts of business like attending meetings and talking to insurance brokers, and keeping on top of the housework, not a lot of additional sewing has been achieved!  I haven’t made a bag for a couple of weeks now and am missing it!  I am actually contemplating making a bag for myself!  Shock, horror!

I am heading off up the coast next week to attend the Byron Bay Bluesfest – a 5 day extravaganza of musical delights (only a portion of which are actually blues).  This year I am driving up on my own, and although I am meeting the people I camped next to last year, and became friends with, I am flying solo.   I have nearly chickened out a few times, and decided not to go, but realise that there is no ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ on attending a music festival, so am going to give it a go and see how I fare!  The first night has Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros playing – a band that I saw live about 18 months ago and really, really enjoyed, so that will be a good start to it all!  There is an eclectic mix of artists playing – Elvis Costello, Jack Johnson, the Doobie Brothers, Buddy Guy, Suzanne Vega, Skunkhour, Matt Corby, the John Butler Trio….. and lots more.  If I can manage to get to even half of the acts on my wish list I will be happy!  And back to the bag making – I think I might make myself a bag to wear while I am grooving around on my own!

For now, though, this little bird is exhausted and needs to lie down after a big day!  I hope that your weekend is going well!

Bibs, bibs, bibs!

I am very excited that I can finally announce that I have launched my new range of bibs for big kids and they are now available in my Etsy shop!  After falling into bib making earlier in the year, and making them to be sold on other websites and in shops, I have been itching to take the same idea and apply to bibs for older children, especially those with special needs, and oral sensory needs.  And I have done it!  (And I have also managed to finally list baby bibs in my online shop as well, so you can buy them direct from me as well!)

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Regular readers will know that I started making the baby bibs with a teething chew attached after a friend asked if I could design and make a bandana bib with a teething chew sewn in.  I agreed to give it a try, and after experimenting with different options (including walking around with wet bits of bamboo fabric on my shoulders to test their ability to hold moisture!) I came up with the design for a bandana style bib with an absorbent bamboo backing, and the teething chew sewn onto the end.  (I even worked out how to stop the sewing machines feed dogs from scratching the chew!)  They have been selling well in the Shop Handmade here in Canberra, and at markets and through a friend’s facebook page, but from the beginning I wanted to make them for older children.  This weekend the planets aligned, I had all the materials, the time and the will, and the first batch have been made.  (Can you tell I am a little bit excited!?!)

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 Little kids bibs

Having a child with special needs has introduced me to a whole new world of needs.  Although my boy doesn’t have a problem with dribble, he and one of his sisters both like to have something to chew on at times of anxiety.  With multiple holes in sleeves and collars I have discovered chewellery – plastic and or silicone jewellery that is designed for teething – or for kids with sensory needs.  It occurred to me that children who also have problems with controlling dribble or drool might also need something to chew on – so taking the teething bib to a new audience made sense.  I am also keen to make things that suit their age – because no 10 year old boy wants to be wearing teddy bears around his neck to make him stand out more than he already thinks he does.

Being able to combine my passion for sewing, fabric, research and children into one small accessory has been very rewarding.  Now to get the word out and let people know that they are available – and make some more!

Hmmmm…… other things that have happened in the nest over the last week or so……  we had rain.  Lots of rain.  The grass is long and high and in need of mowing…. soon.   Autumn weather is well and truly kicking in, with winter wardrobes starting to peek out piece by piece, and heaters occasionally being turned on to take the chill off the morning.

The chicks and I and some friends went to see The Lego Movie yesterday morning as a treat (promised since Christmas when it was advertised, and then we had to wait until April for it to be screened in Australia!).  We loved it!  I suspect that “everything is awesome” will be part of our everyday language for a long time.

I also started preparing for the workshop that I am running at the Mega Craft and Makers Day here in Canberra on Saturday (12 April).  Attendees at my workshop will make a freezer paper stencil and then paint their own design on a tote bag.  I thought that I needed a few examples to take along and show the group, so here are the two I made on Saturday.  I have about 100 more ideas to make, so will make a few more before Saturday!

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I hope that you have had a great weekend!