Thursday, 30 April 2009

Bag Pattern Magically turns into a Mosaic Table

I'm so excited, I had to post again. My new friend, Nancy, used my evening handbag design as her inspiration to mosaic table. She's almost finished the table and I only emailed her the pattern late Monday night! She works quick. Take a look at her cool blog as she explains the process. She also has lots of other cool crafty ideas on her blog.

Here's the bag
Here's her mosaic table!
Photograph coutersy of Nancy McCarroll's blog


Beaded Flower Quilt

Been crazy busy with work, so just wanted to share one of the quilt projects my mother and I made together a while back. All of the leaves and petals were cut out separately and then stuck to a later of fabric with fine fuse. We used pre-made black binding and ironed it down over the raw edges of the fabric and quilted by sewing around the black lines. To finish it off, we added yellow beads in the petal centers. Easy Peasy Lemon Cheesey!

Does anyone else out there quilt or am I the only one?

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Cool French Stuff

While in France, I found this brilliant store called La Marelle. All of their products from tattoos to note cards to luggage is little girl off the wall charming. Below are some tattoos like none I've ever seen before. (The next three photos are courtesy of their website. These are some of the adorable postcards.

And now Burlesque -
I also read in one of the French magazines that Paris will be hosting its first Burlesque Festival from the 21-25 October. There's also a group that gets together each Saturday - a Burlesque for Beginners class at the Bellevilloise in Paris. It's called the L'Ecole des Filles de Joie translated School for the Joyful Girls. I'll bet. As far as my French permits, I think they practice on a Saturday and then perform many Saturday evenings. They're obviously very serious about this.
My curosity got the better of me and I searched what was on in London. Apparently, there's a London School of Striptease and the London School of Burlesque! Apparently Mama JoJo can help you learn a new life skill. Didn't life skill used to mean cooking or weaving? Do watch the video of this lady who can sure make her pasties twirl.
What I want to know is who are these people taking the classes?

Monday, 27 April 2009

A Lille Adventure in France!

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I went to Lille in France because he had to work over there. We traveled business class on the way out, which for 10 pounds more, I highly recommend. The seats are 1/3 bigger and champagne, wine, and dinner are included.

Statues of angel and demon babies were there to meet us upon arrival. They were on display for the Dan Brown/Tom Hanks “Angels & Demons” movie coming out soon. Why gigantic baby statues in a small French town and not London or Paris, I have no idea. Anyway, the horned babies struck poses in the sky with their bat-like wings and their long slithery tails. They were truly gruesome chic!

To sum up Lille, the food wasn’t brilliant. Lots of restaurants catering for tourists who will be there only once. The large art museum in the center of town had as its main display a video piece about a woman in a pod who zooms to Istanbul from London. Sounds cool, but basically, she spills water in her pod seat and her lettuce leaf salad dinner flies away. Oh no! I’ve ruined the ending for you. On the same Turkish theme, there was a short film about slaughtering cows in Turkey. It was absolutely heart wrenching, but mesmerizing. I haven’t eaten meat since. Is this really art – watching cows being slaughtered?

On a lighter note, the best part about the art museum was the hot chocolate in the café. It was wonderful, thick, creamy with a foam top heavenly hot chocolate. My boyfriend said it tasted like Charbonnel & Walker drinking chocolate. I recommend buying some and trying it at home.

The only crafty place I could find (not counting the one store with card tables spread out with some random assortment of the worst fabrics I have ever seen – really gruesome and not at all chic) was on outdoor market with tons of vintage books and one stall in the middle with vintage postcards, stamps, and letters. Here’s one of the gorgeous postcards I found for 1 Euro. I can’t wait to use it in a craft. If anyone would be interested in the vintage postcards, let me know and I may post them as a download.

So after moules et frites (mussels & chips) for lunch and moules et frites for dinner, we happened upon a funfair. I was so excited to see what a French funfair was like. Much the same as at home in the US – packs of teenage boys walking with their trousers sagging down showing their underwear butts and baseball caps perched on top of their head (truly balancing on top – odd) following packs of girls with too much eye make-up. All of the rides were painted with a South American or USA theme. Lots of wonky knock off Mickey Mouses.

To sum up Lille – For a medieval city, go to Brugges in Belgium instead.

Stay tuned – Coming up tomorrow – gruesome chic French sticky tattoos and French burlesque. (This burlesque theme seems to be following me lately…)

She should cover up or she's going to catch a chest cold.

Doll Hats

Today I posted the pasties to RockerJewlz who won the competition last week. I was given the dreaded customs form to accompany the package at the post office. I couldn’t actually say, pasties on the form, could I?

Had the clerk been handsome, I might have, but instead, he looked like someone who might paid to see pasties before and who had eaten far too many meat pies, so I didn’t want him to have a heart attack. I wrote “craft project” and gave the slip back to him. “Sign there!” he said. Wow, I have to sign this thing!?! The words “Craft Project” stared up at me. Surely that would inspire interest (it would in me) what kind of craft project, hmmm… I didn’t want a customs inspector to open the package and lose one. There’s not much one can do with one pastie.

What wouldn’t arouse suspicion?

Brain wave! Dolls’ hats. And that’s what I wrote on the form. Don't you think they look like dolls hats? What would you have written? Would anyone have been brave enough to write pasties?

Tomorrow - pics from a Lilles adventure in France!

Friday, 24 April 2009

Free PDF Tutorial - Handbag to take Dancing!

I've been working on a design for an evening handbag and finally made one I love. I've written up the pdf tutorial complete with photos and before I put it on etsy for sale, wanted to offer it to my readers for free. All you have to do is post a link from your site to my site and post a comment telling me you've done so. On Monday evening, I'll email the tutorial to everyone who would like one. Guess I need your email address too. Drop me an email at Have a great weekend!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

So why pasties?

So to answer a question in the comments section yesterday, the pasties were inspired by two things. The first was the London Burlesque festival that happened a few weeks ago. The newspapers had been filled with pictures of glamorous girls in slinky costumes. The second was previous to this in earlier posts, I've been trying to sew my own lingerie because all of the silky lacy pajamas I want to buy were $300. I've had mixed results with making my own silky sets (burnt holes through silk, sewed insides to the outsides, shredded straps, and cut three left sides but no right sides), so when I saw the pasties in the Burlesque poster, I thought surely I could make those little old things. They were only circles. How hard could it be?

Well, I tried making them and of course messed them up. The next day, I flew home to the US to see my parents and asked my mother if she could help me because she's a crafter extraordinarie and likes a challenge! Thus, we set off to JoAnn Fabrics to find the perfect backing, figured out how to make the shape, how to make a tassel (I'm still working on this one), and the right size eyelets. My mother has a wicked sense of humor and really enjoys something if it's on the edge (even though she's 76!) so we had tons of fun making these. Some of the JoAnn fabric ladies were fairly amused as well.

If you would be interested in knowing how to make yourself a pair, leave a comment and if there's enough interest, I'll write up the directions.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Winner Announced!

And the winner is RockerJewlz for being the first to guess pasties! Here's a look at what the final set look like. We made two variations. Please let me know which one you prefer and your address via email and I will send them to you.

If you're in the US, I wonder if I will have to fill out a customs form and declare what is in the package. Ack! I'm sure the post office workers will love it.

Right, to explain the clues - I really have seen some made out of skittles and starbursts on someone's website. I think they were stuck on with really strong icing. I shall investigate and keep you posted. The one made out of starbursts was in the shape of a flower.

I'm posting so late today because I have been having a fight with a murderous wasp that had taken up residence this evening in my bathroom. He's the second in 72 hours. I am panic stricken that there might be a nest on the other side of my window.

I suppose you could say I have a completely irrational fear of wasps and since the first sighting on Sunday, I have been having nightmares of bees stinging me in the chest (maybe some strange subconscious thing going on with pasties on the brain).

When I saw the bee buzzing this evening, my first thought was to trek all the way across town and go stay with a friend, but it was such a long journey and I was tired, so I played peekaboo with the bee for over an hour, spying him through the bathroom door and slamming it shut whenever he buzzed near. I opened the second bathroom window hoping he would have enough sense to fly out that one, but of course he didn't.

Normally, I like to think of myself as a good Buddhist (even though I'm not really a Buddhist) and don't like killing animals. However, this one needed to go. The problem was, I was terrified. Every brush of hair against my face, terror shot through me and I jumped. I got out the vacuum and prepared myself (jeans, winter jacket with collar turned up, hat, leather gloves, socks and shoes), but for half an hour I couldn't bring myself to suck it up. I realized I had a problem when I was considering the following alternatives:

1 Asking the beer swigging tattooed man sitting on the wall adjacent to my flat to come save me from the bee.

2 Never taking a bath again

3 Peeing in an aluminum can

Right, this had gone too far. I switched on the vac in one giant swoop, sucked up the bee, let the vac run until the bee had definitely been sucked inside and ran the vac outside to the balcony where I tied it up in three plastic bags so my vac doesn't break if it rains tonight. Even so, I may have to throw the vacaway because who knows if the hornet is still in there waiting to sting me. AAHHH!

What have you guys done to get rid of a bee in the past?

Monday, 20 April 2009

Summary of Clues for the Top Secret Undercover Project

They come in pairs…

They’re often undercover…

They’re a little bit naughty and a little bit nice…

They could be made out of skittles (but they’re not a vegetable)…

They could be made in the shape of a flower…

They’re something I never dreamed I would be making or even discussing with my mother…

As for animal, vegetable, mineral – Well, we cannot be held responsible if they turn someone you fancy into an animal…

Here’s a peak -

Whoever guesses will win a pair.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Blue Tulip Quilt

I love the comments! They're hysterical. Lots of great ideas. My mother and I usually quilt (see her blue tulips below made from a bag of scraps), but who knows, now we might try our hand at garters and suspender belts. I wonder - can these be quilted? Since we're on a floral theme, the clue for today is they sometimes look like flowers.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Another Cupcake Clue

Lots of good guesses, but none were quite right. Very interesting though. I'm left wondering what are "boobie warmers"? Are they like mittens for your boobies? Do you knit them and then shape them over a melon? Is there a market for such things?

I guess I'll just have to give another clue. It or they could be made out of Skittles candy.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Guess Top Secret Undercover Project & Win Prize!

Okay, so the photo doesn’t match the recipe, but I have no camera access at the moment. This cupcake is another idea you can make with Betty Crocker chocolate cake mix and cream cheese frosting.

Remember the Leach’s Secrets of Sweet Making magazine I bought for 1 pound in a flea market? I was trying to figure out the date. Well, I brought it home to show my mother and she says it’s from the 1930’s. We’ve been reviewing it together and discussing all of the sweets her mother made for her during WWII. (That is when they had enough sugar and butter rations). Thought you might like to try one of the delightful and delicious old-fashioned sweet recipes. Keep reading for Top Secret project.

Pineapple Toffee
1 teacup of pineapple chunks without juice
1 teacupful caster sugar
½ teacupful milk
1 tablespoonful lemon juice
1 dessertspoonful golden syrup

If you’re in the US, you can find golden syrup in the English section of your supermarket.
Mix the sugar and milk together in an enameled pan over the fire and stir till hot. Add golden syrup and bring to a boil. Add pineapple and lemon juice. Allow mixture to boil "at a gallop" for ten minutes. Continue to stir or it will burn at once. Remove from fire, allow to cool for five minutes and then "beat it as hard as you can with a wooden spoon" till it begins to set. Pour into a well greased tin. Cut into squares when cold. Yummy!

Okay, okay, the Top Secret Undercover Project. I’ve been working on it with my mother while I’ve been home. It’s a little bit naughty and a little bit nice and something I never dreamed I would be making or even discussing with my mother. With each post, I will give a hint to see if all you Extremely Crafty Chums can guess what it is. The person who guesses will win a pair. That’s the first clue – they come in pairs and it’s often undercover.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Blog Award!

Wow! I won a blog Award the other day. Thank you very much Cara for nominating me. She has a great blog called Thoughts of the Nonsensical which is a joy to read. It's called the Smoking Typewriter, or the "Premios Dardo" Award which is for bloggers that "acknowledge the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day." I know a few people who are workthy for this reward, so I shall have to email them.

It's so great to be able to network with other crafters. The people I work with think I'm absolutely mad for pursuing hobbies such as cake decorating and tiara making. I certainly can't tell them that I've been sewing lingerie lately. Does anyone else have any top secret crafting pursuits?

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Heart Quilt

This is a quilt that I have been working on with my mother. When we bought this fabric together from a mail order catalogue we were so excited until we actually opened the package and decided at once that we had made a wrong decision and hated the plaids. They were so garish and we had ordered a pack of 40 different fat quarter prints. We didn't know what we were actually going to do with all of them and they sat in our basement for years until we finally decided to just chop them into squares. Yes, we chopped and chopped. We took out out hatred for those little pieces of brightly colored fabrics and then left them in a pile because we didn't know what to make next.

It was my mum's idea to make a bunch of patchwork hearts and once we made these, we added different shades of light and dark beige background fabrics. Some had a dash of gold. Others had the outline of white daisies. Suddenly, the quilt started to take shape and we started to fall into like with it.

After a long day of work, (I was working at 5:30 this morning!) I love to unwind by just sewing patchwork squares together. First two, then four, then a strip, then another strip and another until it transforms itself from the ugly caterpillar into the beautiful butterfly. What makes it better is that my mother and I made it together (and she did all the hard bits).

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Rosie Cupcakes

Okay so I was on a roll making cupcakes. Here's another one I decorated with roses. You'll be seeing a lot of ways to decorate cupcakes in the next week or so because I'm visiting my parents and I've had to store a bunch of photos on my blog because I can't upload photos on their computer. I am so happy to be home. No matter how many years away or how nice I make my flat, there's nothing like our living room in front of the big screen TV, my sheepy blanket from when I was 8, and a large bowl of buttery sweet popcorn.

One of my favourite things to do is sew with my mom. Instead of having a sewing room, we have a sewing basement. There's boxes of fabric (we could probably become a supplier to Joann fabrics), buttons, ribbon boxes, and three sewing machines. Everything we need. I've been so looking forward to my mother teaching me how to make some more advanced projects and have brought home the lingerie pattern I bought the other week, (See further down my blog for my botched adventures in knicker making) silks, and a huge list of to dos. When I'm back on my normal computer, I'll be able to post the photos. With my mom by my side, hopefully, I'll avoid burning holes through silk, cutting three of the same left side of a pattern, sewing the seams wrong side out, etc.

No matter where I've travelled to in the past (Paris, Brugge, or Venice), there's no place like home - sewing with my mom in the basement.

What crafts do you make with you mom?

Her Majesty's Cupcakes

I've been on a cupcake making mission these past few days. Added the royal plate because so much has been in the news these past few days about the Obamas meeting the Queen. Anyway, I've frozen a dozen and a half cupcakes and slowly eaten at least six straight from the freezer. They're actually lovely when they're really cold. I would highly suggest it. The cake mix is Betty Crocker. The recipe for the mouth watering cream cheese icing is here
What is your favourite frozen naughty treat?