Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Creating Success Around the World

Wow what a week I've had!  In a good way ... I've been super busy with beginning paid work after 8 years away, then I've been super tired with all the new stuff I've been processing!  This week's crafty superstar has some insights and advice about being a working mum.  I gave you a heads up to my guest last week when I showcased some of the lovely handmade goodies and vintage supplies available on Made-It, and showed you the lovely gingham buttons I'd sighted :)  So let's say hello to the lovely Elethea from Sweet 'n' Kitsch ...

What do you create? 
Hi there, my name is Elethea and I’m the owner of SweetnKitsch, a cute little online shop selling new and vintage craft supplies. I’m a full-time mother of four, thrift store shopper, home renovator and part time crafty gal. I’m also the creator of Diddle & Ro, another online shop that which sells vintage inspired girls dresses, hair accessories and quilts, all made by me.

Why do you create?

I started both my stores as a way to make some extra money while at the same time indulging in one of my favourite hobbies – sewing. Creating and selling from home is perfect for a busy mum like me. I have 3 autistic children so life can get ‘interesting’ at times; I need to be able to work flexible hours. Working with vintage fabric makes me happy, and I enjoy making patchwork quilts in my “spare’ time.
Do you sell your creations? If so, how? Where? And is it profitable?
I was making custom made dresses for my online brand Diddle & Ro, plus selling at craft markets, but this started to become quite stressful and time consuming. Thankfully Sweetnkitsch has been doing so well that I’ve been able to have a break from D&R to work on some other craft projects plus start enjoying weekends again with my family.
What mistakes have you made or lessons you have learned?
I’ve made heaps of mistakes! Probably the biggest being that I would be often influenced by what other people were selling and lose focus on what I enjoyed. You really need to love what you create otherwise it just becomes a chore.
I’ve also learned that ‘skimping’ on postage is never a good idea. It’s very easy to fall into that trap of not using enough packaging to keep postage costs down. Customers are usually happy to pay extra shipping if it means their products arrive safely.

So what's next?
More products! I have the best time searching for vintage and interesting supplies to sell in my store. I’m also hoping to create an exclusive range of products for SweetnKitsch. I don’t really want say to say too much, as I will probably change my mind a hundred times.
Where can we find you? 
SweetnKitsh has a store at Craftumi and Etsy. I’m constantly adding new stock, so make sure you drop by often.
My Diddle and Ro store is currently closed while I work on some new ideas. I’m hoping to have lots of new products in store later in the year.
I also have a blog here –

Well, I'll be sure to visit Elethea's blog, and hope you've enjoyed reading her story here I've so enjoyed interviewing other crafty people - it is so INSPIRING!  Thank you all for sharing your stories - I think I might be running another series like this later in the year.  In the meantime, if you would like to be interviewed or host a blog hop for a month, contact your continent's host or click on the 'Creating Sucess Around the World' button below to contact Jill and give her your name and details :)

Be sure to add your link too - it's great to see what you are all working on and doing in your lives ...

Jill in Australasia
Jill in Australasia
Divya in Asia
DIvya in Asia
Larissa in Australasia
Larissa in Australasia
Charlene in the Americas
Charlene in the Americas
Creating my way to Sucess

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Creating Success Around the World

I'm going to come clean - today I start my new job, and I've been so focussed on it that I didn't get round to interviewing someone for this week's post.  I believe with creativity sometimes you just have to stand still and start from where you are at that moment, so this week I've had a good time looking at Made-It and it's sister site Craftumi to come up with my top 5 handmade crafters and suppliers.  (It ended up being six - I couldn't resist the last item!)  Anyhoo, it was wonderful being ensconced in the handmade world and I wish had enough dosh to buy everything on my wishlist from my top 5 6. 

This blogpost is a great excuse for some gorgeous online window shopping :)

Firstly, at Craftumi - "Buy and Sell Craft Supplies"

1.   Sweet 'n' Kitsch - here you can buy beautiful vintage and vintage-style fabrics and embellishments.  I couldn't resist these little gingham buttons - simply LOVELY!  And I can say from personal experience that the customer service is excellent :)

2.   Magpie Finds -  I just couldn't resist the name and had to have a look!      Just like a magpie, this store has a stack of beautiful embellishments, suitable for scrapbooking, sewing, card-making, craft.  I was particularly drawn to the beautiful coloured crochet doilies.  There are also care instruction labels for sale to sew in clothes - brilliant!  Vintage buttons too, yum.

Moving onto Made-It - "The Handmade Market Open All Day Every Day"

3.   Rosieok - Made-It were featuring rainbow items on their home page today, and I could not go past this delightful rainbow rabbit amigurumi.  If you look at the store, there are all sorts of gorgeous creatures (the monkey is also one of my favourites!)

4.   Dew Studio - I really am crazy about scrabble tile pendants at the moment for some reason!  And look at this one!  Perfect for my first week at work!  Dew Studio also sells supplies on  Crafumi if you fancy having a go at making your own pendants.  Glad I researched this as I've discovered a new resource for myself at the same time :)

5.   Image On It - okay, I was looking for more scrabble tile pendants, and there are plenty on this site, very beautiful, but this caught my eye and what's lovely about this bracelet is that you can choose the 8 images to be included.  It would make a wonderful gift for someone special tailored to their passions and interests (and of course, for yourself!)

6.   Iszle - the wildcard of my top 5!   Okay, okay - it's more scrabble tile pendants, but there are loads on this site, and look at this fabaroony one, specially selected by moi for my special readers out there who like the Timelord as much as I do xx

All these beautiful pictures are from the stores themselves.  I haven't given links to the individual items because I think you will have more fun visiting the stores and looking through the wonderful products for sale.  Some of the stores have a place on both Made-it and Craftumi and will tell you so on their profile page - so double window shoppping - yay!

Well, I hope you've enjoyed this little 'window' into Made-it and Craftumi - please visit them to be assured of good quality gifts and purchases.  :)  To be a seller on either online store you do have to be a resident of Australia, but of course this doesn't apply to purchasing.  I've found the Made-it people to be very helpful and the system is reasonably priced and easy to use.  I haven't sold anything on Craftumi but have bought a fair bit and found it a great way to shop (exciting to get those packages in the mail!)

Let's support handmade!!

If you would like to be featured in the Creating Success Around the World blog hop please contact your continent's host.  Feel free to visit the other hosts for May by clicking nn the buttons below ... and don't forget to leave your own link too!

Jill in Australasia
Jill in Australasia
Suzy in the Americas
Suzy in the Americas
Divya in Asia
DIvya in Asia
Larissa in Australasia
Larissa in Australasia
Charlene in the Americas
Charlene in the Americas
Creating my way to Sucess

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Me-Made-May - week 3!

Week 3 of Me-Made-May 2012 - didn't do so well this week in wearing things made by my true self: I owe 1 garment/accessory so to speak.  Time kind of went into a vacuum, and suddenly it's a week later and I start part-time paid work tomorrow for the first time in nearly 8 years.  I have a feeling it's going to be a shock to the system :)

Crochet scarf and my favourite purple glittery mohair scarf
The crochet scarf was made on a large (about 10 mm) hook - chain about 80 and then work 4-5 rows in treble crochet.  I double crocheted round the edge for a neater look in a plain yarn.

The mohair scarf is lovely simple garter stitch, until I used the ball of yarn up!

But - I did wear a couple of my favourite scarves and a skirt I have featured here before, but which I am also extremely proud of and it deserves a peek at again:

The photo is from my blog archive - I obviously hadn't mastered getting the photo the right way round! 

I drafted the pattern myself.  As I say, very proud.

I will endeavour to do better this week - it's been more of a personal challenge, I haven't worried about contributing to the Flickr group for the event - that would be a whole other world of techno-stress!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

My Creative Space - Big Bad Wolf Costume!

What I wanted to show you this week in my creative space is the big bad wolf costume I had to make for Little Man for his assembly.  He particularly wanted a hat like Max's from Where the Wild Things Are, so I asked dear old Uncle Google and found a fantastic pattern here - I think it could be adapted to make any animal.  And it's not too hard to make.  It's also quite simple to make smaller or larger - there are some good pics of other people's variations which are worth a look at.  I used pipe cleaners for the whiskers and curled the ends over and squashed them with pliers so no little people's eyes could get poked in all the dancing!

The jumpsuit was cut from a trouser pattern, which I just continued upwards to make the body and were sewn straight across the shoulders at the appropriate height.  I took the sleeve from a top pattern and just flattened the top curve so that it would fit the straight sides of the jumpsuit.  The best thing is that I managed to make it from a sheet, and some spare fur pieces I had in my stash!  Oh, and I knitted claws and sewed them onto a pair of gloves and Little Man's ugg boots.  Make sure you sew them on well if you ever use the idea as in his excitement at crawling around like a wolf, some of the claws did come off (to be sewn on again, they are not coming off apparently - slippers are so much better with claws on!)

Have a look at the other beautiful creations on display here ...   p.s.  The lovely creative space has moved to a new space, so you've arrived at the right space if you follow this link - it just looks different :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Creating Success Around the World

Welcome to another week of the Creating Success Around the World blog hop, where we get to visit other creative people from all over the globe.  What I love about this is that we learn about people we may not know, as well as new things about people we already know - as in this week when I interviewed my crafty buddy Amanda, and asked her to recommend 5 books she likes to refer to.  This week I'm thinking about inspiration and where we can get it - Amanda has pointed me in the direction of many new crafty pursuits, and I now have a very long list of 'must get round to it' projects!

But let's meet Amanda and look at her inspiring recommendations:
How long have you been crafting?

Way too long!  I used to knit and sew dolls' clothes and do macrame as a kid!  I liked embroidery too.  I also did some dressmaking although I wasn't as good at that!  ThenI started to knit Jean Greenhalgh patterns for other children in the family, and then for my own family.  Next I started quiltmaking and card making - bad idea!  Would you say you are obsessed?  Yes, a bit!  And the more fiddly the better.  I love to do stuff that other people don't have the patience for :)

Why do you enjoy crafting?
Amanda's crafty bliss - embroidery and a cuppa
No idea!  But I find it's really relaxing - I love the process and the end achievement.  Although end results are few and far between at the moment.  I tend to make for other people rather than myself.

You're a Pinterest girl - what do you like about it?

There are so many lovely ideas in one place.  There's lots of inspiration and there seem to be lots of other people who like the same things as I do.  I tend to do a lot of re-pins but I also like to use it as a digital scrapbook.  It's given me lots of brilliant ideas, if I ever get round to them!

You can find Amanda at her Pinterest site!

One of Amanda's handmade cards - these are paper hexagons, glued on one by one!
Would you say you're a very visual person?

I've never thought of myself like that!  Although I do tend to do more looking than doing!  I would say I'm perpetually distracted!

Amanda's 5 recommendations:

Le Petit Monde by Jacqueline Morel

A beautiful book with mini quilts and collages - "I bought this book simply because I liked the look of it".   The book is in both French and English and I think it adds a certain 'je ne sais quoi'.  It is indeed quilting eye candy.  Includes pattern sheets.

Quilt from 'Le Petite Monde'
It's Quilting Cats and Dogs by Lynette Anderson

So cute!  How to make projects featuring  your favourite furry friends!  Bags, pin cushions, patchwork, even a rug!

A couple of projects from 'It's Quilting Cats and Dogs'
Tea Cozies 2 edited by Emma Kennedy - and yes, there is a Tea Cozies 1! 

I must admit to this being one of my favourites.  Nothing to do with the gallons of tea I drink in a week.  An assortment of tea cozies to knit, from the minimalist to the extraordinary.

I need to make this one!
Picture this!  From Photo to Fabric by Marcia Stein
The back of the book showing just what you can do with a photo to a quilt ...
This book looks fabulous, detailing how you can take a photo and simplify it's content to make a quilt from it.  Really personalizing quilt-making.

... And this one, just because we liked the title!  And the food looks great ...

OMG! I can eat that?  Indulgent Food Minus the Boombah by Jane Kennedy

Prawn and Asparagus red curry - I going to make this at the weekend, see Amanda's inspiring me again!
Honestly the food looks amazing, and I've found some I'd love to try, healthy pizza and pears in red wine are just a couple.  Hmm, making me feel hungry ...

Please feel free to link up your blog using the linky button below.  And if you'd like to be featured in this blog hop, please contact the host for your continent.  Happy craftmaking!

Jill in Australasia
Jill in Australasia
Suzy in the Americas
Suzy in the Americas
Divya in Asia
DIvya in Asia
Larissa in Australasia
Larissa in Australasia
Charlene in the Americas
Charlene in the Americas
Creating my way to Sucess

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Make trousers into a funky skirt!

Before and after pics of boring old trousers into funky new skirt!

Here's the tutorial I promised yesterday on how to make a pair of trousers into a skirt.  I used a pair of trousers made out of a tweed fabric - which frays very easily, but I wanted this to be part of the detailing of the skirt, so have left the edges raw - but you don't have to!

Step 1:  You need to undo the inside leg seam - either unpick it or if you're impatient like I was because it was taking too long with material that liked to fray easily, you can cut the seam out with scissors, it won't make any difference to the fit.  Also undo the crotch seam for a couple of inches until the material can lie flat for the next stage.

Step 2:  Overlap the legs at back and front until they lie flat, and look like this:

Then sew along the crotch seam and overlapped inner leg seam.

Decide on the length of your skirt, add 5 cms for mistakes and cut.

Step 3:  Lay some of the spare leg fabric under the 'v' where legs are overlapping.  Pin when you're happy that all the fabric lays flat.  Using zigzag sew the fabric to the inner leg.  I also topstitched with a straight stitch.  Repeat for the back of the skirt.  A word of warning - there are a few layers of fabric so you may have to keep a check that they are all lying flat and in place, it's so easy to sew bits you don't mean to and we don't want too much unpicking going on!

Step 4:  Now you can hem the skirt properly and trim it to the right length - this is why we left a little extra at step 2 - so you have some room to play with! 

Step 5:  Trim up the fabric on the wrong side of the skirt as you'll have some 'flaps' of fabric.   Using pinking shears is a good idea if you have them.

This pic shows the reverse side of the skirt neatly trimmed.

Step 6:  Topstitch the hem with zigzag and a row of straight stitch as before.

You can leave the skirt like this if you want, or you can add some extra elements ...

Step 7:  Cut pockets from remaining scraps of legs.  I used the hem as the turnover.  Cut to a pleasing size!  Pin, tack and sew the pockets in your desired position.

Step 8:  To make a ruffle, cut strips of fabric about 4 cms wide, I sewed together strips until they were about twice as long as the hem of the skirt.  Zigzag stitch along the edges if you like.  Sew a line of gathering stitch along the centre of the strip.  Pull up your gathers carefully so as not to snap the threads (you could always gather the strip in smaller sections if that is easeir) until it fits along the length of the hem. 

Step 9:  Sew to the bottom of your skirt, flattening the ruffle as you go along so that it feeds through the machine easily.  Take your time!  Use the gathering stitch line as your guide.

Et voila!  You now have a totally unique, exclusive wearable creation! 

I'm hoping that these instructions are clear, but feel free to email me from my profile if you'd like further clarification.  :)