Friday, 30 December 2011

Melly & Me Kaleidoscope

Do you like unicorns, bunnnies and moose? Add in a cup of cute and you've got Melanie Hurlston's aka Melly & Me book Kaleidoscope. I bought this a few weeks ago and was literally squealing with glee as I thumbed through the pages.


The very night I had the book I was already cutting out "Bella-boo" the bunnie. I made Bella-Boo and the Moose Melvin for my cousins kids this Christmas.

The pair together.


With Bella boo I was fearful that the dress would be difficult since it was so small but her instructions are pretty good... as long as you read them.

back of dress detail
Her patterns are a little different then some as you have use some pattern parts as a template and SEW on the line.. not cut.
so carry-around-able


I used a doll's needle and attached the arms on with a strong cross stitch and DMC floss to create durability and also made the arms articulated.  

articulated arm


I used fabric on her head flower instead of felt.



When I finished embroidering her face I started squealing all over again. The pattern is SO FREAKIN CUTE! Don't you think?




Now these are the first dolls I've ever made other than the Alien with no pants. I was pleased they turned out ok. 

Melvin the Moose.. now he is for a little guy and I omitted all the buttons on his overalls and I had to make her overalls smaller than the pattern was when it was finished. I'm not sure why.



Again I used DMC floss on his arms and on his antlers. Time will tell to see how well these hold up I think they may come off quickly even though they are secured really well. IF I were ever to make another I might make the antlers slightly larger. 


maybe back pockets would make a cute addition?

front pocket detail

He is pretty fun too though... I can say I made a moose. That's right up there with I ran away with the circus.


I can't wait to make the backpack on the front cover... and of course the unicorn.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Sewing Borders onto the back of your quilt.


I made a quilt for a friend recently and after putting together the top realized I had totally goofed on the measurements and hadn't bought enough of the backing... but I had more of another fabric which I thought ok... I'll make a border on it no problem... but then I realized I wanted a perfectly squared border on the back.. how would I do this? Where do I find out how?? 

Well a few fruitless google searches later I sat in a huff on the sewing floor and stared miserably at my quilt.

Then "eureka" 

This is how I did it.


My top had been finished already completed with borders. I basted my top to my batting and stretched amy backing which just extended past my borders on the bottom.

I then stitched in the ditch around the border of my top which just came through on my backing..







I then cut my backing borders larger then I needed and placed them right sides together just past my stitch line I had created.



I did the sides first and then the top and bottom as I would a normal border... pressed it.. and was able to complete my binding as per usual!!! I was so stoked! It looked perfect and beautiful!




Are the other methods? I haven't a clue!

I totally adore this line by Suzy Ultman Critters Community! It is just toooo cute for words. I had a blast working with these prints and just cut and spread these guys all over my design wall until something spoke to me.

added along with that linen texture line.. sublime.




Thursday, 15 December 2011

Candy Cane Shortbread Tutorial


Are you doing any baking for the holidays? It's a christmas memory thing for me.. especially making these cookies.I  used to make these with my mom when I was a little girl using a sugar cookie recipe, but since I've got a serious love for shortbread I decided to give it a go.

I made my normal recipe and then split it into two and added red food colouring to half of it.


I then made two finger thickness "snakes" one out of red shortbread and one of my white. About 8-9 inchs long.


Smush them together a little..


Cut your snack into thirds.



Roll out your new bi-coloured dough so its about 5-6 inchs long.



Roll your left hand towards you while rolling your right hand away from you so you notice the cookie dough "twisting"


Place onto cookie sheet on parchment paper and shape into a candy cane...

Bake as usual.. and enjoy!!



You could get UBER stupid fancy and do one half white dough and 1/4 green and 1/4 red dough.


 I missed making these!! Seasonal Greetings and happy cookie making.

What's your favorite cookie ?



Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Doily Lampshade tutorial

I saw a doily lampshade some time ago I haven't had the chance until recently to explore this. A  number of "string shades" have been used which my best friend and I also explored and using a tutorial we found using wall paper paste we built one which proved successful.

 I was really surprised how strong the shade was using wallpaper paste making this lampshade.

Now here in Canada you buy it at the hardware stores premade in a tub and it's going to cost 10-15 bucks.. England however run to the pound shop (poundstretcher was my favorite) you can pick up a bag of the glue flakes for a POUND! which is like a buck fiddy! No fair.. but aaaanyways. It works. 

Due to the sheer gooeyness of the process I didn't get to take photos of the doing so I'll do my best to describe.

For the string lampshade we used my old exercise ball (finally a good use for it!) , but for the doily lamp I decided to use a balloon I had picked up at a dollar store.


Prep work:

We used a bowl to place our ball in to stop it from rolling around while working on it.
DO put a sheet down around your area. Between wallpaper paste and Vaseline you will thank yourself later.
use a bowl to do your submerging into the paste.. it just makes it easier.

This took about an hour between two of us.


1. Vaseline your balloon or exercise ball.

2. Take your doily's and saturate them in the wallpaper paste. Make sure you are leaving an opening where your  lamp parts will go through. We left about a 4 inch hole. I put an extra layer of doilys' around the the hole for extra support.

3. Overlap by about an inch. Don't worry too much about overlapping since the more strength the better.

4. Once your ball is covered let it dry. It took several days for mine to completely dry.. but when it did.. and the balloon popped.. BOY was I excited.
My balloon is more "pendant shaped"


Now for the electrical I picked up the parts and assembled myself one with about 12 feet of cord. I wanted to hang in above my bed so I measured and installed the switch near the bottom of my cord.

We took wire and attached it to either side of the hole we left. I was happy to see how strong the opening was I had put an extra layer there so it was nice and strong. Then in the middle I created a hook or a claw like shape.
just needed a little bit to attach to!

With white electrical tape I created a large "bump" on my cord. 

When combined the bump prevents my cord from sliding anywhere and it makes it easy to remove the light fixture to replace light bulbs   




I hung from my ceiling...


and put another hook so my cord would fall down my wall.



I just LOVE it. 



My cost breakdown

Lamp parts               $20
Wallpaper paste       $15
Doilys                      $15
-------------------------------

Total cost                 $50 

IF I had shopped around or had a grandma to borrow some from I could have saved on the cost. I also could have had a friend mail me some paste from England.. I still might. 

In retrospect I think even a cheap lace table cloth could be cut up and used.

How beautiful is it though? I think it's worth it.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Best shortbread recipe!

My man is a shortbread fanatic. I have lost count how many times I have been asked at 1030 at night to "throw" together a batch of shortbread. We've tried a few recipes but this one by far is the easiest. I like to double it up to make about 24 large 4 inch diameter cookies.


Shortbread recipe Rara style.

1   cup of margarine or butter at room temp
2   cup of flour
1/2 cup of icing sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
1/4 tsp baking soda



Take all your ingredients and blend them all together until you get a nice soft consistency.




Heat your oven up to 375 F and pop them in for about 20 minutes.


My new thing is to crush up hazelnuts and dip half the cookie in melted chocolate then dip them in the nuts... oh heaven!