Wednesday, December 03, 2014

White and Blue Cushion with Embroidery

A couple of weeks ago I signed up for the Penguin and Fish news letter and in return I received a lovely  picnic pals embroidery pattern. I used the pattern on this cushion cover slightly larger than the original. The cushion measures approximately 12 x 16 inches.

Friday, November 21, 2014

it has begun...

 The radio stations are  playing Christmas songs and its cold outside. Its time to start thinking about gifts, will you be making or buying for the peopleyou love?  my shop has handmade dolls for little ones. just something to think about.
Have a good week

Friday, November 14, 2014


Just sharing a link this week to a new digital magazine that is calling for submissions -'Seamwork' check it out here .

Friday, November 07, 2014

Corded Fabric

More playing and experimenting this time with a technique known as cording. The type of cording I am referring to here places a cord or yarn inside a stitched channel, this creates a raises fabric surface. Coding can be done by hand or machine. I am not a very patient person so naturally I used my sewing machine. A twin needle is essential to create the stitched channel which holds the cord or yarn.
How its done. place cord under fabric (I used acrylic yarn in my cushion), stitch on the right side of fabric, use fingers to guide cord making sure its centered between the twin needles, and experiment with straight lines, wavy lines, spiral patterns. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination!
Another way to cord is to sandwich the cord between two pieces of fabric. cording will reduce the size of your fabric so always start with a larger piece.

Friday, October 31, 2014


The idea for this cushion cover popped into my head during my yoga class last week. It a variation on the work I have been doing recently on fabric gathering but simplified. This got me thinking about inspiration and new ideas.
Where does it come from and how can we tap into it everyday. Over the years I have read many books on this subject and the most commonly mentioned point is to just get started with a project and ideas will slowly began to flow for new work. Keeping a sketchbook of ideas is also invaluable.
Personally I have noticed that ideas will come to me when I am not actively thinking about my work like during yoga last week.
Sigmund Freud once said "When inspiration doesn't come, I go halfway to meet it"
Where or how do you find inspiration?

Friday, October 24, 2014

This week

This week I have been working on Christmas themed cushions. If you like what you see visit my shop.

Friday, October 17, 2014


Right now I am enjoying the Autumn as the leaves  change colours and gently float to the ground as I take  walks around my neighbourhood.

Friday, October 10, 2014

I remember

It was Grandparents week at my children's school the week which made me reflect on my wonderful grandparents. The bench  in the above picture sits in my mudroom, the cushions on the bench  were made a long time ago by my grandmothers.
My grandmothers were friends who often worked on the same projects. My paternal grandmother was very skilled with a embroidery needle and the work on the front of the cushion was done by her. My maternal grandmother would create pure magic with a crochet needle the trim around each cushion was done by her.
Both grandmothers were always busy making something. the something was always an item for the home, a table cloth , a cushion or tea towel.
 I remember my grandmother telling me that the project she was working on was for me for when I grew up and had a home of my own I could display the item and remember her. This of course made little sense to me at the time but today when I see the cushions in my mudroom I remember- my grandmothers made those cushions for me.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


Went to see Matilda the Musical this weekend in New York.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Frilled Cushion

Adding a frill to a cushion cover gives it a soft feminine look. A frill trim need not be restricted to floral fabric.
To make the frill you will need to measure the cushions perimeter and add a seam allowance of about 5cm (2inches) and double it. Decide if you would like a long or short frill for the width and double that figure also. Cut strips of fabric  that measure the length and width you have calculated, joining strips if needed. Fold the strip in half on the short side (width) wrong sides together. Using the longest stitch length on your machine tack the folded strip on the raw edge. To gather pull the threads. The gathered frill should measure half the original length. Attach to cushion front the same way you would any other trim.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Star Gathering

Experimenting with different ways to manipulate fabric using this book as a reference guide.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Craft book Review

I have been waiting for the release of this book since reading an article in Mollie Makes about a year ago. So when I saw it listed on Amazon I preordered it and last week it arrived.

Jess Brown makes dolls with distinct facial features – star eyes and heart mouths; you may have seen the dolls in the Land of Nod catalog. This book gives you the chance to recreate a similar doll. It’s not the original pattern but close enough.

The book retails for $24.95. It provides the pattern for the ‘Jess Brown Rag Doll’ and nine projects for making accessories. There are two dress patterns, the sundress which is the one I made in the photo  and a drawstring dress which is the one on the book cover. Other projects include knickers, two hats, coat, and apron, bag and a quilt.

I had no problems or confusion while making the doll and dress. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. There are illustrations to support the written instructions. The patterns are to scale and seam allowances are included. However the section of hair is very brief. For example it says to cut felt scraps into 4 x 30.5 cm strips but does not mention how many strips are needed. Also I am left wondering if I should start attaching the strips from the front or the back.

This is a good book for a beginner or someone wishing to make a Jess Brown rag doll. The more experienced doll makes will not find anything new in this book in terms of techniques or knowledge.

It’s a beautiful book to look at however I felt that there was not enough content to fill a whole book,there is lots of empty space and lots of photographs sometimes the same photograph appears twice.

This book allows you to make your own Jess Brown Rag doll and to personalize it, something you cannot get from a readymade.

Friday, September 05, 2014

Patchwork Cushion Cover

This is a good project to make with fabric left over from other projects.

Materials needed

one 12in zipper
17in striped fabric
5in navy fabric
8in floral fabric
Finished size 16in square pillow


Cut  the following-for the front one 7in square from floral fabric, two 7in x 2 in from navy fabric, two 10in x 2 in from navy fabric, two 9 ½ in x 4 in from striped fabric and two 16 ½  x 4 in from striped fabric. For the back cut one 16in square from striped fabric.

Sew the 7in navy strips to the top and bottom of the floral square. Follow this by sewing the 10in navy strips to the sides of the floral square. The square should now be framed by the navy fabric and measure 9inches.

Next repeat the same steps with the striped fabric. Sew the shorter strips to the top and bottom and the longer strips to the sides. The square should now measure 16inches.

To attach the zipper place the front and back pieces together with right sides facing centre the zipper on the bottom raw edge measure the zipper  pin and stitch a 1in seam leaving the section were the zipper will be unstitched. Tack the zipper opening closed. Place the zipper face down on the zip seam tack into place. Using a zipper foot stitch the zipper into place starting about 1in down from the pull tab. When you reach the  opposite side of  where you started stop and slide the pull tab down and behind the zipper foot. To do this leave  the needle in the down position and lift the foot so as to not lose your place. Once you have the pull tab behind the zipper foot release the foot and finish stitching.
Open the zipper place front and back pieces right sides together stitch the other three sides to complete the cushion cover. Turn right side out stuff with cushion pad and enjoy.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Yoga bag

I had a lovely black yoga bag for about 7 years but it was falling apart. The trim at the top was unraveling. It was time for a new bag. I did consider buying one but in the end I chose to try and make one myself. I used the old bag as a reference, and even used the old cord for the new bag. The bag is simply two pieces a rectangle  which is joined on the long side to create a tube and  folded under at the top to create a channel for the cord and a circle for the base.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Joe the Fisherman

I received my copy of 'Stuffed' Volume 7, Issue 2 this week. My work is featured on page 133. It's always exciting to see my work published along side so many other talented artists.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Making and Growing

The garden is growing nicely. The above picture shows yesterdays harvest. That pickle sized cucumber was out of this world delicious.
Abby from Whileshenaps is hosting a sew-along, it inspired me to try the pattern. The pattern is 'The Peanut Baby' by Rachael Gander.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Cushion Covers

I started working on  new cushion covers this week from some remnant fabric that I had purchased months ago. They are not finished because the warm weather is taking me into the garden, watching it grow. We also went fruit picking last weekend, came home with strawberries, raspberries and peaches.

Friday, June 20, 2014

This week

Work in progress-pieces from my next doll

The garden is blooming-marguerite daisy

Friday, June 13, 2014

Essential Craft Tools

Having the right tool for the job makes a huge difference when working and in the finished product . This week I thought I might show you some of my favourite and essential tools in creating my cushions and dolls.

Rotary cutter, mat and ruler
Three separate items but as a team they are a dream allowing me to cut straight neat edges when making cushions.
Stuffing Stick
Not much to look at  and I am sure it has a proper name but it makes turning arms and legs right side out so very easy. Also it was free with a bag of fiber -fill.
Fabric Marker
I like to use the purple end. I write on the fabric and by the time I am finished with the project the marks have completely disappeared. Magic really.
Good  sharp scissors are important in preventing fatigue when cutting. Only use fabric scissors to cut fabric never cut paper with them, constantly reminding my children not to cut paper with my fabric scissors.
Seam Ripper
For my mistakes of course.
Tape Measure

Measure twice cut once, the advice my TAFE teachers gave me. My tape measure is in centimeters  on one side and inches on the other.
Finally my sewing machine, its a Singer, its basic and well I love it.
What tools  do you use most often?

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Book Review

I love books especially books with pretty covers and "My Rag Doll' by Corinne Crasbercu is one of those books. It retails for $22.99.
The book is divided into two sections with patterns following each section. The first sections focus is on making the doll and hair. The outfits and accessories follow in section two and this makes up most of the book. There is only one doll pattern with seven variations on facial features and hair styles. You need to enlarge the patterns by 140%. I had a go at making the doll but did not enlarge the pattern nor did I add a seam allowance. My finished doll is just under 10inch still a good size doll.
The instructions are straight forward and often brief. There are no step by step pictures to follow. The doll and dress did come together easily enough however I would have liked some illustrations  just for confirmation that I was on the right track. The dress I made is on page 68 and the shoes minus the strap on page 30.
The book has no glossary or techniques section and I did have to refer to another craft book for some guidance on a embroidery stitch.
I feel this book assumes the reader has prior knowledge and experience with crafts, knitting and crochet knowledge is also needed for some of the hairstyles. I could not recommend this book to someone who is new to doll making, If you like making clothes for your dolls this is a good book.
I am glad I purchased the book. There are many things within its pages to inspire and challenge me for a while.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A peek at my work space

Working on new cushion covers for the shop. The fabric is a cotton print by 'Richloom'.
What are you working on?
Check out my new listings at

Friday, May 23, 2014

Simple Bolster Cushion

Bolster cushions are super easy to make. A bolster nestled by your sofas armrest adds a decorative touch and extra comfort. For more interest add piping to the seams in step 3.

20’ fabric
50” ribbon
14” square cushion insert


1.       Cut one 13 x 19 in rectangle, cut two 3 x 19 in rectangles

2.       Zigzag 19 in side on all pieces.

3.        Pin and stitch the narrow rectangles on either side of the wider rectangles. Seam allowance is ½ in. Remove pins as you stitch.  Zig zag edges. You should now have a 19 in square.
4.       Open and press seams flat. Zig zag all edges.

5.       Fold the square in half right sides together with the narrow rectangles on the ends. Making sure the seams meet.

6.        Pin and stitch 1 in in from the edge to form a tube.

7.       Open and iron the seam flat

8.       To make the casing turn the edge over twice ½ in each time. Iron to keep in place and stitch around the circumference. If your machine has a removable extension piece remove it while stitching the casing. It makes it so much easier.

9.       To thread the ribbon through the casing channel pin one end of the ribbon to a safety pin and enter through one gap and slowly work the pin all around and emerge through the other gap. Repeat on the other end.  Turn cover right side out.

10.       To inset the square cushion roll it up and slowly pull the cover over the cushion. Once the cushion cover is in place pull the ribbon to gather the sides and tie a bow.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Seahorse Cushion

I think  seahorses are fascinating. This cushion has three resting on a lovely linen blend fabric.
This week I opened an Etsy shop. Something I had been thinking about for a long time. Please stop by and take a look. Just click on the link on the sidebar.

Seahorse Cushion with Pleated Trim


½ yard linen blend fabric
15 x 24 in printed fabric
Cushion insert
Fusible web (wonder under)
Seahorse template


1 Cut two  12x 16 rectangles from solid fabric, cut two  4 x 24in strips from printed fabric, cut one 7 x 10 in rectangle from printed fabric for seahorses.
2 Iron the wrong side of the seahorse fabric to the rough side of the fusible web (or follow product instructions). Trace the seahorse template onto the paper side of the fusible web 3 times and cut out.
3 To position the seahorses on the cushion front, firstly fold the cushion front into thirds along the long side. Place pins at the folds. Unfold the cushion front and place the first and last seahorse on the folds and the centre seahorse will sit between them. There will be about 3 ½ in on the top and bottom edges of the cushion front and the seahorses.
4 Remove backing paper and iron seahorses onto the cushion front. Top stitch the outline of each sea horse.

5 Fold the strips in half wrong sides together on the short side and iron to keep the fold. Open and fold the other way so right sides are together and stitch the shorts sides. Turn right side out.
6 Measure 1 in intervals along the raw edge. Fold starting from the right hand side the second to last mark to meet the last mark. Pin to hold in place. Repeat until you get to the end. In the photo the pink pin will fold to meet the red pin.

When pleated the strip should measure about 11 ½ in. Machine stitch to hold the pleats. Remove pins as you stitch.
 7 Attach pleats to short sides of the cushion front. Place pleats about ½ in from the edges on the top and bottom. Pin and stitch. Remove pins as you stitch.
8 Align the front and back pieces together right sides facing. Measure the zipper length a long the bottom long side and stitch the seam either side of the zipper. Make the seam allowance about ¾ of an inch. Make sure the pleats are not caught in the seam. It’s a good idea to zigzag the edges of the sipper seam at this stage.
9 Working from the wrong side of the cushion pieces iron the seam flat. Place the right side of the zipper face down in the middle of the seam. Tack and stitch one side of the zipper to one seam allowance only using the zipper foot. Start at the bottom end and stitch towards the top when you are about 2 ins from the top leave the needle in the fabric, lift the zipper foot and pull the zipper open until the zipper tab is behind the zipper foot release the foot and continue to stitch.
10 Turn the cushion over to the right side. Tack and top stitch the other side of the zipper in place starting at the bottom and working up and again opening the zipper as you get to the top.

11 Partly open the zipper. Align the edges of the front and back pieces right sides together with the pleats sandwiched between the front and back. Stitch around the edges of the three remaining sides to finish the cushion
12 Zigzag edges. Turn right side out and insert cushion.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Gathered Cushion Cover

Finished size 31x33cm

90cm cotton fabric
Matching thread
Cushion insert 36x36cm
160cm cord


1 For the front cut two 13x37cm strips and one 13x72cm strip. For the back cut one 30x35 cm piece and one 17x35cm piece.

2 Zigzag down the length of the 72cm strip encasing an 80cm cord. Repeat on the other side.
3 To gather the fabric hold the cord in one hand and push the fabric towards the centre. When gathered it should be the same length as the other two pieces.

4 With right sides together stitch the three strips of fabric to form a rectangle, with the gathered piece in the middle.

5 Unpick the zigzag stitch and remove the cord. The easiest way is with a seam ripper.

6 On the right side of the fabric top stitch down the length of the seams. The front piece is now finished.
7 For the back pieces fold one long side ( 35cm)of each piece under 1cm press and fold under again  1 cm and hem.
8 Place the back pieces on the work surface right side up. They will overlay by about 5cms. Lay the front piece on top right side down. Pin the front and back pieces together and stitch around the rectangles perimeter. Remove pins as you stitch.
9 Zigzag edges to minimize fabric fraying. Turn right side out and insert cushion