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Upcycling

You might have been a bit bemused by my focus on de-cluttering yesterday.  Today I can report that it has a purpose in the sewing/crafting/bag making world – I have used some of my de-cluttered clothes to make a bag for a very special friend of mine who has his ninth birthday today.

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I used a pair of my old jeans for the outside, including using the pocket as the bag’s outer pocket, and lined it with cotton from a pair of pyjama pants (lovely soft worn cotton).  I appliqued his initial in the same denim so it is subtle, but still personal. The bag was designed for him to be able to carry his iPad mini, so I also took the opportunity to experiment with the fusible Buckram that I bought a week or so ago.  I used it for the flap, and for the back panel of the bag, so that it has some structure and stiffness around the iPad.  I am really happy with my experimentation but did learn a few things along the way.

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The first one ( so obvious in hindsight) is that if you are using a really stiff interfacing, don’t expect that you will be able to turn the bag inside-out or outside-in through the normal smallish opening!  Much wrangling was required to get the bag in the right way – next time I will have the opening in a completely different place, and MUCH bigger!  However using the rigid interfacing and fusing it to the denim meant that I was much less concerned about the ‘worn’ parts of the denim, like the hole(s) appearing above the pocket.  It won’t be a weak spot on the bag – just a feature! (and please excuse the slightly wonky stitching – it did get a rework before being gifted!)

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The birthday boy was thrilled with his gift, and I was inspired to re-inspect the bags of clothes to be donated to see if there are any more bag worthy garments to be upcycled or repurposed!  I am also eyeing off the linen cupboard next……..

Those of you who read my newsletter will know that I provided some sage advice on maintaining focus in your business and remembering what is in scope and what is out of scope.  Within hours of sending that out I had an idea that was very bright and shiny and completely distracted me for a good 24 hours.  Luckily I have a great team of cohorts to bounce ideas off and one in particular helped me to sort through the idea, recognise it’s merits, and put it into perspective.  Phew!  The idea involves working with other local crafts people to do a pop-up shop to showcase our wares, and is, in fact a really good idea.  But not for next month!  (Yes I was completely overambitious for a few hours!).  That will now be bubbling away on the back burner and gaining slow momentum across the next few months, rather than the next few days.

Time for me to take my own advice.  I need to come back to my plan, use my focus, and stay within the parameters.

With that thought in mind, I am off to the sewing room to prepare for a week of being creative!  The chicks start school tomorrow, which means that anything could happen, but I hope to get a few hours in and create some new pieces of colour.  Have a great week!

 

Answers to riddles

After the rather obscure references to burnt bits of meat in my last post’s heading, I thought I should clear up some other vagaries in this post!

For those of you who have been reading along over the last year, you might recall that I did my Right Brain business course last year and had all sorts of lightbulb moments that I promised to tell you about.  Then life, and my boy, got a bit chaotic, and all lightbulbs had to be tucked away for a while.  With a new year, and a lovely card (that ironically was in a gift from my ex-husband) stuck to my pin board to remind me that 2014 is my year, I have been dusting off the lightbulbs and adding to them.

The first lightbulb to share with you is that I love making bags.  I love playing with colours, textures and shapes and making those little pieces of art that people get to use.  No surprises there – but a really good reminder about what gives me that zing in my day.

The second lightbulb is that I love to share ideas, to pass on tips, and to help other people to find their creative niche and passion in life.  The first tiny step towards that is my monthly newsletter where I hope to share ideas, tips and links that I find so that you can explore creative ideas until you find ones that resonate with you.  (Heavens knows that making bags was a complete accident for me and now I can’t imagine not doing it!)

The second step in shining the light of that lightbulb on my world is that I am developing some kits so that you can make your own ‘things’ at home, and learn some skills along the way.  Of course there will be bag kits – with everything you need to make a funky, practical and personal bag for yourself.  But I will also be adding in some other kits so that you can make personalised things (like superhero capes) of your own.  I am so excited about this!  I am hoping to have my patterns with testers by early March, so stand by for updates!  (Those who know me understand that I often want to rush in and do everything at once, so the fact that I am doing this in stages is sensible but excruciating at the same time!)

Then last week I was teasing you with images of me walking around the house with wet bamboo fabric on my shoulders to test absorbancy and wicking.  The answer?  I accepted a commission from a lovely business owner to make some bibs for her shop.  She wanted bandana bibs with teething chews attached as she had customers asking for them regularly.  I brought my analytical brain out of hiding and looked at the problem from several different angles and decided that cotton tops, with bamboo/cotton French terry towelling as the lining would do the trick.  The style of a bandana bib is that the folds that naturally form then trap dribble, spills, etc.  Having the bamboo, with it’s super-absorbancy means that all that wetness gets held in the bib, rather than going straight through onto the baby’s clothes.  As for the teether being attached?  Well – I can now say that I have sewn plastic onto fabric (and remembered to change the needle before sewing cotton again)!  Then the question arose of how to close the bib.  Ah-ha!  My days as a mother using modern cloth nappies (diapers) came to the fore – plastic snaps with two snaps on one side makes the bib adjustable.  So I am now the proud owner of a press and die set to install the snaps.  (And we all know how much I love a gadget!)  The trial run of bibs is on its way to be photographed ready for listing at www.LittleBubbalish.com.au – who will sell them exclusively.  Another bit of excitement!  (And while a small deviation from my bag plans, is a great way to play with fabrics for small people that I don’t often get to use!)

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In reviewing my business plan from last year, and working on it a bit more I have been focussing on what is important to me at home, in my business and in my working life (you know – the job that pays the bills!)  I had a think about this blog.  You might have noticed that I have been blinging it up a bit over the last few weeks – creating the home page, adding some other tabs, putting up a shiny new header and tag line.  Hmmmm…..perhaps I got a bit too focussed on the ‘business’ aspect of it all, and forgot the stuff that I like doing – writing to you and talking about what is happening here in the nest.  You can expect a return to ‘normal programming’ soon!  (I am still undecided about the ‘home page’.  All feedback welcome!)

And finally – I have been planning.  Let me explain something first.  I am a list maker – I love to tick things off.  I used to be highly organised  (before I had children) but sitting down and developing plans just isn’t my forte.  So to be working through plans step by step is a little unusual for me.  But I have found a workbook that resonates with me (and will share more about it when I am finished) so am actually using it!  The point I am up to today is to list the things that I will do each day.  There are suggestions in the workbook, that are so simple and obvious and yet reading them gave me such clarity.  I haven’t yet finalised my list, but the ones that resonated (yes I am aware that I am using that word twice in one paragraph) with me were to step away from the computer, to spend 15 minutes each day decluttering a part of your house,  to allocate time for emails, etc.  So obvious, but such a good reminder!  There is also a challenge to reduce emails to 5 lines.  (Thank goodness it wasn’t to reduce blog posts to 5 lines – you know how verbose I am!)

While there hasn’t been a lot of sewing (apart from the bibs) happening, there has been a lot of mental activity going on.  I am struggling a bit with the constancy of children due to the school holidays but am trying to find time each day to just focus on being present with them.  It is harder than it sounds.  I am so burnt out from the emotional demands of the last couple of years that dealing with their demands all day means that I am retreating a bit in order to cope.  But a daily reminder to myself is keeping me from falling away too far.  A three day Monopoly game with the boy was hilarious – even when I finally managed to bankrupt him.  The middle chick thought she would make meringues using a recipe from her Science book.  It was an experiment in more ways than one – the electric hand held mixer I received for my 21st birthday died in a puff of smoke and the smell of burning sugar and rubber.  The eldest chick is doing her own version of planning.  She is writing, cutting, sticking and writing some more.  I think she is making lists to try and help her make sense of the transition we are all going through.  Or maybe she is just her mother’s daughter.

Ah look – another long rambling post from me.  If you are still here – thank you.  I hope that your week allows you time to be present with the people who are important to you.