My Creative Space – Crochet Spaghetti.

This week I am madly cooking up some crochet goodies to add to my range of play foods.  Spaghetti and Donuts are on the menu this week.  Have a look at some other creative folk over at Our Creative Spaces.  More new crochet delights next week.

dl

A custom request.

You will see a tab up the top for custom requests.. see it!?  Well just so you know I am more that happy to do them.  This one was for a cool weather set in a unisex colour for a currently genderless baby.   I had some lovely denim blue luxury wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills on hand that was perfect for the job.   I concluded that an option of embellishing flowers to girly up a typically “boyish”  colour (I love dark blues on girls, especially paired with a crisp white) would be the way to go.   But then at the last minute I decided to throw in some little white hearts as an option for a boy as well.  The set would have been fine without them but I just figured it added an option for another level of cuteness.

It has provided inspiration for a few ideas I have for some dresses and vests when I manage to find the time.  I really like the colour combinations.  As always it feels great to have completed another order and just in time for my uni subjects to have started this week.  Head down and bum up?  We shall see.

P.S Notice the new shopping cart!?  More on that later.

 

dl

The pleasure of making things for friends.

Sometimes I think that being a bit of a Jill of all trades means I lose out on really breaking into any one area and building my skills.  But I am finally realising that I can have it all.  I can do a bit of this and a bit of that and provide a range of handy skills to my friends.  It just takes time and practice to build on them and of course the desire to learn.

Here are some of the recent goodies I have made for friends.  Sadly I forgot to take photos of some so I can’t keep a record of those particular ones but hopefully I will be sent the odd pic of them modeled on little bubs.

Now I plan to make myself some cool dress/skirts and trial some DIY health and beauty products.

Daylight saving may mean it seems like there are more hours in the day but that doesn’t stop me from being too tired to use them!

 

dl

Play Food Creations

I have been busy busy busy crafting up a range or play food, writing and modifying patterns and filling orders.  Here are some of my new additions.  They have been very popular with some good friends pouncing on them.  Yes I’m talking about you CarysInspired.  I gave some to Oliver’s preschool which have been well received.

I am intending on branching out and offering my patterns in my store for a small fee.  I just need to hit husband up to know me up a shopping cart for my page so I can post them here as well as my madeit store.  Speaking of MadeIt  my fruit was also included in their recent fruity feature.  It is always so exciting when someone feels the desire to share your work.

I have been having so much fun with these little treats and just love creating cute things to share.  Cuteness makes the world go round.

 

dl

Handmade Gifts and Crafty Friends.

I’m in the process of putting together a gift to post to a little friend who is turning three next week.  I have been so flat out with life, work, study and all that comes with it that I have not had the time to do what I would normally try to do and make what I plan to send her.  So I decided to do the next best thing.  I have sourced a range of beautiful handmade items put together by crafty friends of mine.  This way I hit three birds with one stone.  An awesome present, supporting handmade and giving business to crafty friends.

You may remember an introduction to Miss Mollie and Friends in a previous post.  Well I wanted to show you the stunning dress I decided to buy.  Look t these details.  At this point Miss Molly and Friends was working without an overlocker.  Check out those awesome seams and detail around that bow.  So incredibly neat and well made.  She has even splurged on cute labels and branding.  Things are really moving ahead for this little home business.

Miss Molly and Friends.

Miss Molly and Friends.Miss Molly and Friends.

Next I would like to introduce you to CarysInspired.  These are the most adorable hair clips made by mum, inspired by the lovely locks of her beautiful daughter Carys.  I wish I could get away with wearing them but sadly I think i’m a little old.

Carys Inspired

 

I couldn’t support fellow crafters and not include Jam Made so also grabbed another little pair of hair pins.  And also included a cute beaded necklace made by my son for one of his favourite friends.  And for good measure threw in one of my own hats.  This girl is going to be seriously decked out!

Jam Made
I love being able to support other crafters.  It is almost as much fun as making things myself.

dl

Op Tots Recycled Kids Clothing.

I  would like to share with you a great little business called Op Tots which specialises in kids Op Shop finds.  Sophie lovingly sources the items herself with regular visits to her local Op Shops.  Here is her little blurb from her facebook page:

Welcome to Op Tots Recycled Kids Clothing, where you will find a fantastic assortment of Recycled Kids Clothes all with a thrifty, not hefty, price tag.

Buying recycled clothes is a great way to Save Money… And Save The Environment

If you are a believer in used clothing recycling, you will love what Op Tots has to offer. We offer a variety of different types of recycled clothes for children of all ages.

Not only does buying recycled clothes help protect the environment, it can help you save money as well.

With the prices we sell used clothing for, you will be able to purchase many items at great bargain prices.

By buying recycled clothes you can help reduce the amount of clothing that ends up as waste in landfills, reduce the need for manufacturing new clothes and help me help the opportunity shops I visit! !

It really is a win-win situation for everyone involved!

I have purchased items from this store two times now and both times have been super impressed.  It really is becoming the first place I check when I want to grab something “new” for the boys.  There is such a variety of stock too.  I even grabbed myself a pair of cords.

 Open your mind and consider reusing secondhand clothing.  With Op Tots the items are well chosen, quality items with accurate descriptions.  You will not be disappointed.

Here is my big, little guy in some of his new gear.  Notice the spiderman socks, they were a special bonus stuck in there too, not to mention I grabbed my gear on a bonus free postage day to boot.  You have gotta love that.
 

 

 

 

dl

 

 

Yo-Yo!

Yo-yo decoration on a baby headband with button detail.

You know yo-yo’s right?  Those little round puckered decorative details that are all over the place.  Well it turns out they are a great stash buster for all the little scraps of cute fabric you have lying around gathering dust.  So I thought I would share with you some pics of the process of making up some of these little guys.

First consider the size you are wanting the end result to be.  I find cutting the material to about the size of a cd makes about the size of a 20 cent piece after stitching and pulling in the puckers.  Generally I like this size for most things.  However, it is also fun to make different sizes and layer them up to make flower like details.

 

Stitching on the wrong side of the yo-yo. I use big running stitch on the wrong side and little less visible ones on the right side. Do this all the way around with a nice strong thick thread and a large eyed needle.

Here you can see that I am gently pulling in the thread as I stitch around the edges. You don't want to snap your thread so take care. Nobody wants to have to start again. See how the edges fold in on themselves and meet up in the middle? The colour of your thread will be barely visible so its not a big deal that I used rather obvious white thread.

So here is my little stash of new yo-yo's ready to add to craft projects. Consider adding a button or ribbon detail to the center for maximum cuteness or layer different sizes and fabrics and really get creative.

 

I personally don’t worry too much if the middles look a little bit rough.  I usually intend to add something over the top of them anyway so don’t waste my time fussing.  I just join them up nice and tight like a little dumpling and stitch them together so they will not come loose.

These little guys really are so useful and a quick and easy project and stash buster.  Imagine all of the cute fabric you could use, or how well you could use up every little bit of re-purposed clothing etc.  I love these things!

 

dl

 

 

Handmade Soap – What’s the Difference?

Handmade Lavender soap balls and blocks.

I’ve dabbled in making handmade soap for some time now.  I had had a pretty big break from it with my big move interstate, starting back at work and generally being flat out.  But over easter I had gone back to my old place in QLD to see the family and was reminded that I had left a batch of lavender soap curing up on one of the cupboards.  What a nice suprise!

I have to say I was very quickly reminded how much more soothing and luxurious handmade soap actually is.  Sometimes I let myself forget and just get whatever is cheap at the grocery store.  But if  you can learn how to make soap yourself it is cheap as chips and you have complete control over what you include in the recipe.

The idea is that handmade soap still contains all of the glycerine’s that is created during the process.  Generic soaps have had this removed so it can be sold separably or in other items  for $$$.  All I know is it is soothing, moisturising, and fit to use on delicate skin.  I use it on my face.

It can be customized to your needs with added goats milk, exfoliants like sugar or oats, or contain absolutely no additives like colours or fragrances.  Great for eczema and allergies.

I have only made soap with the cold process method and have been very happy with the results.  I will give you a list of what I consider to be the best links.  The best thing about this method is you get to get all decked out like a scientist and create cool stuff.

This is seriously fun stuff and the result is very satisfying.  It is just really really difficult to wait the 4 weeks curing time before you get to try it out!  It may look a little intimidating at first but if you make the time to read the safety info and get yourself set up properly  making sure you have an hour or so to yourself it is easy as pie.

There are countless recipes available on the net but do always run them through a lye calculator to double check the measurements.  It always pays do be sure.  I also recommended hitting the local library.  I have had some great finds with soap related stuff at mine.

My Little Soap Basket.

 

Aussie Soap Supplies Intro and Safety Info.

Aussie Soap Supplies Tutorial.

MMS Lye Calculator.

 

Give it a go!
Tip Junkie handmade projects

 

dl

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t sell yourself short!

 

Cotton/bamboo blend bonnet and booties set by That Curious Cat!

 

I know when you first begin the whole craft thing, and think hmm I can sell a few things here or there and don’t really mind working for peanuts, it’s not like I intend to make a living from it right?.  Hell isn’t it enough just to cover the costs of your supplies so you can buy more, and have more fun?

Having been officially selling my crafts for over a year now and having had some long conversations with fellow crafters about the value of our work my view has changed just a little.

In short no, no it’s not.

Underpricing is a mistake I am guilty of making.  I did not realise that my prices could actually have an impact on what the market thinks beautiful handmade items are worth.  There are people out there with extensive skills and years of experience also trying to sell their items  and some of them actually are trying to make a living from those skills.

When most of the selling is happening online the customers cannot touch and compare the items accurately either.   All they see is “similar” items with huge price differences.  They don’t see the hours spent or the long honed skills.  Or the fact that one of the two items has completely disregarded the value of their time.

As time goes by, and I learn new skills and abilities, care for two children, work nights and try to maintain a home and marriage I have come to realise that my time is actually really rather valuable.  Should I not get paid a fair wage per hour it takes me to create items to sell?

So here I am throwing out an apology to those skilled crafters out there that I may have made things difficult for with my $6 bamboo/cotton booties.  (yes I was stupid enough to originally charge $6!)  That hour I spent on each pair should have atleast been worth the $17 I get paid per hour for my mindless nightfill abilities.  (or closer to it anyway!) I was thinking within my small little box of wanting people to see my work and purchase it.  I was not looking at the big picture.

Of course if someone saw my booties, and something similar in the little display cube next to it they would wonder why the other pair were $15 and doubt their value.  Wouldn’t you?  As a caring community we need to try to look out for each  other and promote the value of lovingly handmade items that take hours of our time and supplies out of our back pockets.

I know we need to find a balance between a fair price for us and something that customers are willing to pay for our items but please don’t make it any harder for people to see the value of our work.  Please consider the hours you spent making it and give yourself a fair wage for the greater good.

I get healthy competition but there isn’t anything healthy about promoting our time as valueless.  Is that not the problem with slave labour?  Is that not a big part of why people choose ethical clothing and handmade options in the first place?

Craft should be fun, and it doesn’t all have to be so serious and grumpy but just take the time to consider what you are doing to the community as a whole if you don’t price your goods in a way that says hey I have skills and I know how to use them!  Put a little value into yourself and in turn the rest of the crafting community around you.

We are skilled people with items that people want to buy.  We just need to get them to understand the difference in time and value of our handcrafted items and what they can get at best and less.  Lets not make it any harder on each other.

 

dl

Technique – Knitting in the round with the magic loop method.

I was describing this method to a friend of mine and decided I should pop up a post with some links on how to do it.  I like this method as double pointed needles and I have not really made friends.  I am lucky enough to have myself a set of interchangeable needles so this is rather convenient for me.  The magic loop method requires you have one really long circular needle in your required size/sizes.  Something like 80cm+ is good for very small projects.

It is suitable for items that are smaller then the usual circular needle sizes particularly like when you are making a ladies beanie and the decreases get to a point where it becomes too small for your circular needle and would usually change over to your dpns to finish off.  I just click together the longest cords in my interchangeable set, choose the right sized needle tips and off I go.  Very handy to not have to run out and get a missing size or length needle.

I just yesterday received a new set of interchangeable needles that are highly recommended for this method as the cords are thin and flexible and the joins very smooth.  I’ll get back to you with my opinion on the Denise interchangeable needles vs the knit pro once I have had a chance to give them a run for their money.  For now my pics are just of the Denise needles.  I find they do the job!

As you can see the stitches are worked on one continuous loop instead of separate little needles.  Knitty had a nice post on using dpns if you are curious to compare.

I like that you don’t have to worry about stitches dropping of the ends of the separate needles.   It is rather portable as there are only two tips you could lose stitches from int transport and there is plenty of extra cord for you to slide the stitches down along to prevent this.  Good for people like me with little kiddies with grabby little hands!  I’ve  included some useful how-to links below as I am sure people have explained it better then I ever could.

The magic loop method.

Double Pointed needles.

Knitting in the round.

Give it a go!

Or give it all a miss and just go do some crochet!  Heh.

dl