Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Painted Door Mat

By the laundry door we have a plain jute door mat.

This door gives access to the outdoor kitchen/BBQ area, the clothes line and the rubbish bins so we use it all the time.  It is also seen by guests as it is right next to the downstairs powder room.  I wanted to make it more stylish.  I've seen kitchen rugs painted with chevron stripes and similar designs, but I wanted something different.  Beside the door hang these pictures.

The top half of the laundry door is glass so these pictures are visible even when the door is open.  I love French Lavender.  My husband and I drove the see the lavender fields in Provence on our honeymoon.  So there was my inspiration, I was going to paint the mat in a French lavender theme to remind me of our honeymoon.  This is what I came up with.

I am by no means an artist, so the design had to be simple.  I decided to paint circles to look a bit like a postage stamp with a small bunch of lavender in the centre.

To get the circles even I painted around the edge of a large platter and a dinner plate.  I used black permanent fabric paint.

I cut stencils from paper using an exacto knife.  The type font is Travelling Typewriter from DaFont.  I filled in the space on the sides with a little Fleur de Lys.

So I took a plain boring Cotton Jute mat from this

To this

Much more stylish.

Sharing at
A Beach Cottage - Good Life Wednesday (and Sarah's talking about floors & rugs)
My Romantic Home - Show & Tell Friday
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Clay Tags

Seriously, am I the last person in Blog land to try making clay tags?  Probably, but when I saw Riot Art and Craft had a 1kg pack of white clay for $9.95, I thought I'd give it a go.

There are many beautiful clay tags available on Etsy (visit Freckled Laundry or  Marley & Lockyer ) but I needed something different for my creative workdesk area, so I made these.

A small and large heart shape that I stamped with a rubber stamp (no ink) while it was wet.  The stamp has quotes about being thankful and grateful.

I tied the hearts together with twine and hung them using  a white Fleur de Lys push pin.  The hearts help to fill a gap in the gallery wall above my work desk.

Then I did a similar thing but with a bird shape.  I made a hole in the tag with a bamboo skewer and threaded through a small piece of cream ribbon.  I attached this to the gallery wall with blu-tak.

Then I made some labels for my baskets.  Once the clay tags were dried, I stamped them with rubber stamps and attached the tags to the baskets with jute twine.

These baskets hold all my crafty stuff on the shelf above my workdesk.

Just for fun I made this bird plaque.  I stamped the clay with a bird stamp (no ink) when it was wet.  When it dried, I made a wash using Jo Sonia's burnt umber paint mixed with water and used it to bring our the relief detail left by the stamp.  Just brush it on, then wipe it off with a cloth.

I still have half a packet of clay left, so I may make some more later, or I'll just visit Etsy?  Clay tags are a bit messy and time consuming but I enjoyed learning a new skill.  Good for keeping the brain active.

Sharing at:
Handy Man Crafty Woman - Wicked Awesome Wednesday
The Shabby Creek Cottage - Transformation Thursday
My Romantic Home - Show & Tell Friday
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday

Monday, 22 August 2011

Vanilla Vase

I made something so quick and easy using a vanilla pod jar.

When I buy vanilla beans from the supermarket they come in this screw top glass jar.

I cleaned the jar and wrapped some wire around the top to form a loop.

I had a set of 3 Fleur de Lys push pins from Bunnings Hardware that I'd bought years ago.  They were brass so I spray painted them white.

I hung the vase to fill a space in the gallery wall I am creating above my work desk.

I filled the vase with water and a single rose.

This brings a little cheer to me when I'm sewing or working at the table.

When I don't have any fresh flowers, I keep this little artificial bud in the vase.

So simple, but so pretty.

Sharing at:
A Beach Cottage - Good Life Wednesday
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia - Tuesday's Treasures
Home Stories AtoZ - Tutorials & Tips Tuesday
Faded Charm Cottage - White Wednesday

Friday, 19 August 2011

Making Patterns

I have been busy in front of my sewing machine over the past weeks sewing my bedroom curtains.  Both my dining room chairs and my outdoor chairs need new seat covers but I'm a bit over sewing at the moment.  However, what I did on the weekend was to create patterns for them so when I find some fabric I like I can quickly sew up the covers.

I traced and measured out each panel and drew the pattern onto tissue paper.  I have a cheap roll of iron-on interfacing which I iron to the back of all the pattern pieces.  It's just makes them more durable and less likely to tear, as I have to pin and re-pin each piece 6-8 times to make enough covers for my chairs.

I've written down details such as how much fabric I need and the steps I need to follow to sew the covers in my sewing book.  The notebook is covered in brown kraft paper and  I decorated the front of the book with this dress form graphic from The Graphics fairy.

Now I just have to find the right fabric (at the right price).

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Linen, Pleats and Gardenias

I have sewn new curtains for my bedroom (all by myself). 

Last year I got a couple of quotes to sew a pair of curtains for the two narrow windows in my bedroom.  The quotes were $1,600-$1,800.  Ouch!  I wanted something simple but pretty.  Our bedhead is upholstered in a slate brown/gray colour so I thought a simple beige/gray linen style fabric would work.  I found some cotton fabric that had slubs and texture like linen and I bought blockout lining to help keep out the 5am summer sunrise.  Total cost was about $200.

I measured, I cut, I ironed and I sewed.  I took my time.  I really wanted these to look well made, and I am so pleased with the result.  To add interest to the plain fabric I decided to add rows of horizontal tucks or pleats to the bottom of the curtain.

I also made fabric tie-backs embellished with some brown velvet ribbon and a pretty gardenia.  I think this achieves the perfect balance between masculine (what my husband wants) and feminine (what I want).

The heading is a simple single vertical pleat.  Each curtain is only one drop of fabric as I wanted clean simple lines rather that full and fluffy.

These curtains are largely decorative as we have timber venetian blinds on the windows already.  One day (on the wish list) I would like to replace the blinds with white timber shutters.

I know there are sewers out there that will see the imperfections, but to me they are perfectly imperfect and for $200, I'm not complaining.

Sharing this refined simplicity at:

A Beach Cottage - Good Life Wednesday
The Shabby Creek Cottage - Transformation Thursday
French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday
Freckled Laundry - Air Your Laundry
My Romantic Home - Show & Tell Friday
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday

This is a lot of link parties for me.  I usually stick to just a few but I worked really hard to make these.  I hope they inpire somebody else the way I get inspired seeing other people's work.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Shopping the US

Today I came home to find a parcel had been delivered.

No - I didn't put a vase of flowers there to make the DHL box look pretty.  I am keeping the promise I made to myself to buy more fresh flowers.  I bought these on Saturday for $8 from Woolworths.

So what was the delivery?  Well every now and then I get so frustrated with the lack of product choice in Australia that I find myself shopping online in the US.  The problem is, not all US web sites will ship internationally.  The way around this is a freight forwarder.  I have been using My Us for about 4 years.  They give you an address in Florida so you can have all your deliveries sent there and then they consolidate and repack your goods into the most economical package and send it to you.

You pay a small annual fee and obviously you pay the freight to have the goods shipped to you.  This usually ranges $80-120.  To justify the freight I only order items that I simply cannot get here in Australia, or items that are so much cheaper in the US that even with the freight charges, I am still in front.  I requested this delivery on Wednesday night and it was here Monday morning.  So what was in my package today?

A strange mix really. 
  • I ordered a pile of wooden craft pieces so I can try to make some ribbon spools like Beth from Home Stories AtoZ did.  She just had to walk into Hobby Lobby to buy round timber discs.  I have to get them shipped half way around the world.
  • Some 2" square removable labels.  Seriously you'd think you could buy these in Australia?  I like removable labels so you don't have to scrub off sticky glue when you need to change the label.
  • Some Quicksilver shorts and t-shirts for my son.  Quicksilver surf wear was started in Australia, but it's half the price and has twice the range for kids in the US????
  • Lastly I bought a yard of beautiful script fabric from HouseFabric.  It was $18.95 per yard.  The closest fabric I've seen here was $99 per metre at Brisbane Fabric Market.

I am going to make some pillows for my bed.  You always take a bit of a risk when you order online but the colours in this fabric work perfectly with my bedhead and curtains.

I'm all for buying Australian Made but here's to Shopping the US when you need it.

Friday, 12 August 2011

In Love with my French Love Seat

I am tickled pink today.  I have just picked up my latest eBay purchase - a beautiful French Love seat/sofa.

It ticks all the right boxes for me.  It's white

It's upholstered in genuine Cabbages & Roses fabric in a lovely soft blue and taupe combination.

It has beautiful detailing.

And I bought it just the way it is.

For once I was able to find something completed just the way I would have done it.  No sanding, no painting no wrestling with upholstery.  The reason I didn't have to do anything, is that this lovely lady had already done the hard work.

Donna is a lovely lass from the UK, living in Brisbane with her husband and 2 little kids.  She restores furniture and sells it through eBay and direct to clients who've discovered the wonderful work she does.  You can find her on eBay as don-don-down-under.  She is pictured here with a beautiful french gray dresser she has restored for a client.

I am so happy with it.  I keep looking at it and stroking the fabric.  Come on, I'm sure I'm not the only one?  One more look at it.


I am sharing all Donna's hard work at these parties - Yippee

French Country Cottage - Feathered Nest Friday  (Courtney will love it)
My Romantic Home - Show & Tell Friday
Perfectly Imperfect - All Things Furniture
Miss Mustard Seed - Furniture Feature Friday
The Shabby Nest - Frugal Friday

Monday, 8 August 2011

Lunch by The Story Bridge

Yesterday was a lovely winter's day in Brisbane.  We decided to go into town for lunch and make the most of the sunshine before the cold westerly winds hit us at EKKA (Exhibition) time.


Sydney has The Harbour Bridge, Melbourne has the West Gate Bridge and here in Brisbane we have The Story Bridge.  It may not be as famous as The Harbour Bridge or as big as The West Gate Bridge but it is one of Brisbane's greatest icons.  Thea and Sami have a great Story Bridge fabric panel which I love - it's so Brisbane!

Sometimes when you live in a city, you can get caught in your little pocket of suburbia, so a trip into town is a great way to get out.  We walked along the Brisbane River, looked at some of the stalls at The Riverside Market and had lunch at the famous George's Seafood Paragon restaurant.  This Greek and seafood restaurant has been long established on The Gold Coast and George has recently opened at Eagle Street Pier alongside Char Char Char at Matt Moran's Aria.  We were lucky enough to get a table on the sun drenched balcony.

The best marinated kalamata olives!

A seafood plate - prawns, scallops, barramundi and Moreton Bay bugs - yum.

What a great day.
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