Sunday, October 19, 2014

CuteTute: Vintage Fabric Covered Bead Necklace


All the inspiration that was oozing from the interwebs last week has translated into my latest tutorial for a Vintage Fabric Covered Bead Necklace. This in turn has seen me get my craft on and start Christmas gift-making - yay! How super-organized is that?!


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After trying a couple of different methods for covering beads with fabric, I decided to cut out little leaf shapes and overlap the fabric til the beads are covered.  It takes longer and gets a bit sticky but there are some great advantages - you don't have a huge bunch of fabric to stuff into each end of the bead AND you don't need a sewing machine AND you can use as many different fabrics as you like AND it's a great scrap-buster so you can use all those teeny bits of your fave fabrics you just can't bear to throw away!  See?  It's totally worth it!

You'll need:
- leather strips or thonging or other jewellery thread*
- wooden beads in varous sizes
- vintage cotton fabric pieces
- scissors
- Mod Podge Gloss
- paint brush
- crochet hook or skewer or pen etc that fits snug into your beads - for the purpose of the tutorial, we'll call this the 'stick'
- jewellery pliers and jewellery findings including leather crimp ends, jump rings and a lobster clasp**





*the necklace in this tutorial is being made for my beautiful sister-in-law who doesn't like to wear leather so I'm using plastic coated jewellery thread instead
**to make it easier, especially if you're doing this with kids, you can ditch the jewellery findings and just tie knots in your chosen jewellery thread 

Here we go...


1. Choose your fabrics.  
I'm using a vintage blue, black and white folksy print (top left of the below pic) purchased from A Piece of Cloth (such pretty, genuine vintage fabrics from Jennifer's travels around the globe).


2. Measure
Cut a little strip of fabric and use it to measure the distance from just inside one hole of the bead to the other, like this:



The fabric strip is just long enough to cover the hole at both ends.
3. Get snipping!
Using this measurement as a guide, cut about a dozen skinny leaf shapes, like this:



You want the points of the leaf to fold into the holes of the bead.  The skinnier the points, the less bulk you'll have in the holes (that's a good thing!)

4. Get stickin'

Paint a little Mod Podge onto the bead and stick on your first piece of fabric. 




Paint a bit more Mod Podge onto the bead, making sure you put a little on the first piece of fabric so that you can overlap the pieces. 




6. Tidy up those ends

After you've stuck on a couple pieces, use your stick to gently push the fabric into the holes on each end of the bead.  You might need a teensy bit more Mod Podge to help it adhere. 



Continue doing this til the bead is covered.




7. Coat the bead

Now hold the bead with your stick and paint the whole surface with a neat coat of Mod Podge and leave to dry.



Repeat these steps for as many beads as you'd like on your necklace.  I'm covering one big bead for the centre, and four smaller ones (separated by six plain black beads).



8. Get threadin'
Pop your beads onto the thread and tie a knot next to each end bead to keep them in place.


9. Attach the jewellery findings (if you're using them)
Attaching findings is pretty straightforward (this was my first attempt and they're still standing strong!) but if you'd like a helping hand, you can find loads of tutorials on YouTube and Pinterest.



10. Voila! 
You've made your very own Vintage Fabric Covered Bead Necklace!  Nice work, crafty kittens!


Here are a couple of other necklaces I've made using different vintage fabrics





I hope you have loads of fun making your own fabric covered bead jewellery and I'd love to see your creations!  

Happy Crafting x

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mud Lovin'


You know those times when you know the kids are safe and you know where they are and they're clearly having fun because there are only happy noises to be heard... 
But they have their back to you so you're not 100% sure what they're up to?
That happened today as I was hanging out washing. 
Baby was only a few feet away from me. 
She was wandering around the patio and stopped at Berry's fairy garden. 
I heard happy sounds. 
I saw baby delicately touch the little pond (an old cake tin) and pull back because the water was cold. 
I continued hanging out washing, Baby continued making happy baby noises.

Then I heard a little splosh and a metallic twang.
This is what I saw.


'Oh no, Baby!' I say.
'Look Mama!' say those eyes, that smile.



Aw, what could I do? Baby was covered in muddy mud and was clearly having fun.  Any attempts at keeping her clean would be in vain.  So, naturally, I took more photos :)










Such play calls for an early bath!

Bye bye mud...

Hello Baby! x



Thursday, October 9, 2014

Feeling... Inspired

Don't you just love it when you find inspiration practically everywhere?  I think it's got a lot to do with state of mind - sometimes I'm just not in the mood to be welcoming new ideas or I'm not wearing my 'creative' hat.  But the last couple of days inspiration has been everywhere - and just in time for Christmas crafting!

Here are a couple of things I've come across in my blog feed which have set off a creative spark:

Fabric Covered Bead Necklaces from www.mypoppet.com.au



This tutorial set off a PING in my creative mind and I've been scouring the interwebs (and the fabric stash) for more ideas!  Check out Cinti's fab tutorial here 


Rainbow Beaded Stitch Markers from www.mypoppet.com.au



Another PING! And a wee freshening up of the craft supplies.  See the tutorial here

Summer Lace Bunting from Cherry Heart



These lacy little flags look so sweet and fun!  So far I've made four flags in an off-white lambswool.  I think four more should do nicely and I'll string them along our mantle.  You can find Sandra's tutorial here

These three ace tutorials (and the ideas they have inspired) have kept me busy this week and I can't wait to show you what I've been making!

x

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fable Table: Roast Pumpkin & Spinach Salad



You might read the title of this post and think 'Salad?! What?! No cake? No cheese? No chocolate?' But alas, this is not the kind of salad you eat when you're dieting. Oh no. 
It may sound like a salad. After all, it is a mixture of scrummy ingredients, tossed in a bowl and served as a side dish. And it looks like a salad. And it feels healthier if you call it a salad. But trust me. It doesn't taste like a salad ;)

Roast Pumpkin & Spinach Salad
Serves 4 -6

You'll need:


a nice chunk of pumpkin, about 250g, cut into 1-2cm cubes
a bowlful of baby spinach or other greens, rinsed and dried (today I've used a pre-packed mixture of rocket, baby spinach and other unknown lettucey types)
1/4 cup honey-dijon vinaigrette
1/2 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, cut into strips
1 tbs finely chopped red onion 

1. Preheat your oven to 190 degrees Celsius.  Place the pumpking in a shallow baking dish and toss it with a dash of olive oil. Bake for about 25 minutes, without turning.  Remove the pumpkin from the oven and pop it aside in a bowl to cool a little


What emerges are rich, squishy cubes of pumpkin, each piece having one crisp, caramellised side, adding to the flavour and texture.
2. Spread the pine nuts into the tray which you used for the pumpkin and put them in the oven. After five minutes, give the tray a shake. If there are lots of lovely toasted golden pine nuts, remove the tray from the oven and put the pine nuts aside. If they're not golding up yet, put them back in the oven for another two minutes, then check again. It won't take long for the pine nuts to become fragrant and crunchy.

Toasting the pinenuts removes the bitter taste of the raw nut 
3. When you're ready to serve, toss together all the ingredients, reserving half the pine nuts, then sprinkle the remaining pine nuts over the tossed salad and serve.  I like it best served fresh when the pumpkin and pinenuts are still a little bit warm but served cold is delicious too!

Tonight we had our salad with delicious lamb burgers from our local free range butcher, served on Turkish rolls with tomato relish and potato wedges. After the pics were taken I loaded all the salad into my burger and it was heavenly! 

This is a staple for us during summer when the hot weather calls for something fresher and cooler than your standard steamed greens. It's a great addition to a BBQ meal and goes just as well with crumbed chicken. As far as I'm concerned, this dish is an all round winner!

Some notes on this recipe...
One of the great things about salad is that you can change so many of the ingredients to suit the tastes of your family.  Sometimes I'll leave out the sundried tomato, adding chopped fresh tomato instead, sometimes I'll add both.

If I can't find fresh, crisp baby spinach at the store (as happened today), I'll use mixed lettuce or other baby leafy greens. 

The red onion adds a little burst of colour and bite but can be left out if your family isn't keen.

If you don't like pumpkin, you can substitute with sweet potato.  You could add cubes of roasted beets. Leave out the pumpkin and tomato and add orange segments instead.  

There are loads of recipes out there for homemade salad dressings but I use store-bought simply because it's quick and tasty.  Note to self: find salad dressing recipes on Pinterest!

Make it a complete meal by mixing through a chopped up roast chicken and serve with crusty rolls. 

Make it your way and make it yours!




Sunday, September 28, 2014

Cute Tute: Mini Moss Bowl



'What's a moss ball?'  Berry asked.
'A moth ball?' I reply. 'They're little white balls you put amongst your clothes to...' 
I was quickly shut down.
'Yeah, yeah, they smell gross and stuff but what are those moss balls called?' she said.
'Moss...bowls?' I asked, hesitantly.
Berry was getting frustrated.
'MOSS. BALLS!' She repeated.
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I took a moment to reflect on what my daughter could be talking about (lest I get scolded again) and remembered that on the weekend we had visited my friend's lovely shop, Little Lands, where she sells the most magnificent terrariums and Kokedama balls
Kokedama balls. 
That was the answer Berry was after. Yes, we were on the same page again.

Only now I was inspired by our misunderstanding. I wanted to make a moss bowl!


I sent Berry on a quest to find many mosses as she knows the whereabouts of everything in our garden, while I gathered the rest of the supplies. 

Berry soon returned with a mighty fine collection of mosses including a type I didn't even know we had, which looks a bit like something from the age of dinosaurs.


Tiny prehistoric-tree-looking moss

Flat fungi-like moss
Supplies (plus a snail shell)
Here's what you'll need to make your very own mini moss bowl:
a glass bowl 
stones
soil
mosses

That's it!

Start by laying a few stones in the bottom of your bowl to help with drainage.


Next fill the bowl about with soil, leaving about 1 inch to allow for the height of your mosses.


Now it's time to add the moss.  Use whatever moss you can find around the garden, even along the street.  Look between pavers, along rocky walls, on embankments and under trees - anywhere cool and damp.

As well as the fungi-type moss and the prehistoric-tree moss, we used furry, lime green moss which grows like a ground cover in a shady corner of our garden...


And baby's tears (this we got from my dad's garden as ours has all been lost in the renovation process)...


And these short, cushiony mosses, like those we found growing on the bridge during out little adventure last week




Fill your bowl with the mosses, covering every bit of soil and pressing them down gently.  It might look a bit messy but will sort itself out as it grows.


Bear insisted on adding a hippopotomaus as the moss bowl reminded him of a miniature hippo-habitat.


Now give your moss bowl a spritz with fresh, cool water (preferably from a very fancy-pants atomizer as they make watering fun!)...



And there you have it!  Your very own mini moss bowl slash open-air terrarium slash minipotomaus home!



Keep it somewhere out of direct sunlight and make sure it stays moist (the perfect excuse to buy yourself an atomizer!).



Our moss bowl is living on the mantle piece in my bedroom where it gets filtered sun and stays cool.  I'll post an update in the next few days to show how this little moss bowl is coming along x

A little side note - Keep all your supplies, especially the mosses, out of direct sunlight while you're creating your mini moss bowl.  We only made ours in the sun in order to get some decent pics for this post :)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Little Adventures: The Creek

Oh I do so love an adventure!  In all honesty, it's probably because I'm reading Enid Blyton at the moment and she does make serendipitous adventures sound so grand! 


The weather was beautiful today so we headed to the park for a play with friends then off for a wander by the nearby creek.  

We love going to the creek - it's one of our favourite Little Adventure spots.


As a child, I would venture to the same creek during the school holidays with my best friend and her ginger dog.  We'd splash in the creek, walk over fallen logs and create small dams using rivers stones. 

It is a special place and it is so lovely to watch this new generation enjoy it.

There is so much to discover, like mini waterfalls...



Yabby holes along the muddy tracks...



and trees covered in hairy moss



Actually, lots and lots of things covered in moss, which is what makes the creek seem so magical










Berry discovered this 'fairy house with a wide open door' 


We listened to the rush of the sparkling water 






and saw more moss!



The weather is meant to be superb again tomorrow - I wonder what Little Adventure we will have?