Saturday, 31 December 2011

Starting a new venture - cardmaking

I love cardmaking, it offers so many possibilites and is like mini-scrapbooking! I thought as a new venture I would start to make and sell (hopefully) some of my own handmade cards and see how I go. I know there are a lot of these available out there, and it's really something that you need to be uber good at or really stand out from the crowd to get a look in but I'm not really aiming for either of those things, I do it purely because I find it relaxing and seriously enjoyable! That's all you need really, the rest in due time will follow naturally as with most things crafty :)

I am a paper-junkie. I really am! If I see a piece of scrapbooking paper or a new stack at a store, then generally it ends up in a bag coming home with me whilst I slowly repeat 'my precious' under my breath....oh yes I am obsessed!! And since I don't actually do a lot of scrapbooking as I find once you buy everything you need (I like my scrapbooking pages to be coordinated and when I think it needs something specific I could spend 6 months hunting for it!)  it ends up being a very pricey hobby so I've decided to satisfy my paper-love with cardmaking instead.

So first I gather my pile of loot (ooooh how I love loot! So shiny and sparkly and new!) and a now clean crafting desk (it was rather messy a few hours ago)...

And then off I go!






 You gotta do it for the love of it and just go with the flow!

Til next time,

-Tashy Xx

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Heaven!!

Guess what my hubby bought me home after helping to clean his parents' shed????


CHOCOLATE MOULDS!!!! Christmas moulds (including advent calender moulds!), chocolate frog moulds, christening moulds, chocolate seashell moulds, sea creature moulds, leaf moulds ooooh I'm a very happy lady!

I was also given my first sewing machine today too! My aunt had one that had been in the family for a while and she wasn't using it so I gave it a new home! Previously I'd been hand stitching everything (bags, skirts, clutches, pillows...everything!) so I am very excited :)

Now all I want to do is make dozens of chocolates all flavoured and coloured and ganache filled and test out my new sewing machine!! Pity the kitchen is a mess and my crafting room needs a good clean out... drat! Looks like I'll have to tidy first!

Friday, 23 December 2011

What an absolutely crummy day I've had! Nobody likes coming down with the flu this close to Christmas...I must just be unlucky! I didn't end up finishing (or getting anywhere near) all those handmade Christmas presents I was meant to have had done by now so no presents from us this year :( that is a major dissappointment!! My husband and I won't be having much of a much needed holiday this year either..after everything we've been through this year we desperately need a break and wanted to go camping, just the two of us for just a weekend but even that doesn't seem possible anymore. At this rate we don't even think we'll make it home to visit my parents and brother and sister which I don't even want to think about!! Unfortauntely Im doing my usual drown my sorrows in food thing, which isn't so bad coz hey, it's actually helping but I'm sure my tummy will remind me of what a bad idea that was when my jeans don't do up.

Should I look for the positives of today? I had to just to get through it! My wonderful husband has been taking care of me whilst I've been sick, bringing me cold and flu tablets, hot cups of lemon honey tea and lovely Twix bars :) And our puppy got the official approval to live here in our apartment today which is great! I have been working on a bag today too but it hasn't turned out quite how I wanted...originally it was going to be handbag but I made a mistake with the measurements and it's a tad big; but I have deducted it would make a fantastic Baby Bag so that's what I'm going with! I've tried to stitch the handles on twice today and for some reason my thread has just been knotting up all day...i'm currently working on a nappy wallet as part of the baby bag and stitching my first button hole. I just don't know when to quit do I? I keep trying and things just keep not working ARRRGGGGG Maybe it's time for bed!

This is my bag too... I'll show you the work in progress now in case I make another mistake and in my sick and short tempered state fling it out the window!



It's super spacious! You'll notice the lack of handles.. I will add those later and hopefully wont jab myself with the needle too many times! Ahhh the hazards of hand stitching! I figured with the rest of the fabric I'd make a large nappy wallet, a baby bottle holder and a change matt. I have no idea what I'm going to do with it yet!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Made myself a new handbag!!

Look what I made!! Every inch is hand stitched :) It took about 3 hours in total to complete but I ADORE my new bag! A big thankyou to Monica at Deliberately Domestic for the fantastic tutorial! I did mine a bit differently, I added the straps onto the outside (I love that look), made the body of the bag a bit bigger and added one of my flowers for a personal touch. Her instructions are super easy to follow and who wouldn't want such a gorgeous bag!!
It's very bright, I just love it! I'm still working through all the fabric I have here at home in my stash! I think I've caught the bag bug coz now I'm going to go find another wonderful tutorial and make more :D


-Tashy Xx

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

SOOOO guess what I'm doing tonight??

haha yes, more baking!

This time in someone else's kitchen though so it's all good...my mother-in-laws kitchen actually...it's HUGE, and much easier to cook in than my tiny excuse for a kitchen *hangs head in shame*. I mean look...all my spices and baking supplies barely fit on the one shelf I have!


As soon as my hubby and I start looking for a house to buy...it ABSOLUTELY MUST have a big kitchen.

I am baking again tonight...we're going and making gingerbread cookies with my Hubby's younger sister and brother...I foresee icing sugar everywhere...strange new colours invented with food colouring and many many spoonfuls of eaten cookie mixture! It's always more fun that way though :)

So holy cow there's only 4 more days until Christmas! What the heck happened to the rest of the year???????? Did I misplace a few months? Are they under the bed or something?? wow.... that's really all I can say is wow.....
Oh well...bring on 2012! What are you doing for Christmas this year? We're having a nice family day, lots of food, water and soap sud slide in the yard, more food, a nap or two, lots of wine and heaps more food! Christmas is no fun unless you feel like you're gonna hurl from overeating am I right?! And then we eat some more! Ooooh can't wait! I'm a proud food-fanatic, what's that old saying? Never trust a skinny cook? Well...I should be a cooking master!!!

Hmm so what else have I done today...well I made some new Doggie Bandanas!  All sewn by hand with a needle and thread, (yes I am still without a sewing machine) but it was worth it and they turned out great! What else?! I have a huge stash of ribbons and lace and fabric and things so I dug out some of my prettier ones to create with today.. I still feel like I need more though... you can NEVER have too much stuff in your craft stash!! (don't tell my hubby I said that!)


todays creations :)

Well, I'm off to bake in 10 minutes so I'd best hop off the net and say goodbye for the time being!

Happy Tuesday!!

-Tashy Xx

 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Chocolate and Cream Headband Tutorial



Hi guys! I'm winging this one from my couch today, as I'm not feeling too fantastic (my hubby and I seem to have caught the 'summertime' bug)...This is a super cute elastic-free tutorial and can be fitted to any size so you can make it for a special little bubba in your life, it would make a lovely baby shower and baby birthday gift. I have a few friends with bubbies due next year (and by a few I mean 8! must be something in the drinking water hehe), I'm going to have a lot of baby shower gifts to make!

So let's get started... as you can see here, your materials list is fairly simple. I've chosen to make mine brown, ivory and blue (my favourite colour combo). You will need:

-A comfy couch and a cup of tea are a complete necessity for this one, I would have ice cream but Im not sure my stomach would thank me for that at the moment!

-A piece of satin; a scrap will do, you will need roughly a 30 x 30cm square
-A length of wide organza ribbon, to fit it to your head, simply measure it to fit from behind one ear to the other leaving about and inch on either side to attach your tying ribbons onto.
-Some tying ribbon; I like to double mine over at the ends of my headband so you will need two pieces about 50cm long
-Three large buttons; I've chosen a set of ivory buttons I picked up for 50 cents at the local fabric store
-Needle and thread; I've used white so you can see it for the tutorial :)
-Hot glue gun (as always!)



Making Your Headband:

1. Take your organza ribbon and your two lengths of tying ribbon. Hold one end of the organza ribbon between your fingers and about an inch from the end, fold it in half. Then fold in half again, and then again.


2. Take one piece of your trying ribbon and loop the middle an inch from the end of the organza where you've folded and tie a knot. Take the tail of the organza and fold it upwards, tying another knot. Take the leftover tail and fold it down, tying a double knot this time. Repeat on the other end of your organza. Refer to the image to see how I've done it :) It's pretty simple.



You've now got your basic headband!

Making the Flowers

1. Cut three strips of satin about 40cm long, your first about 6cm wide, the second piece 4cm wide and the third about 3cm. Precision isn't important here today...I'm sick and can't be bothered finding a ruler.

2. Thread your needle. Take the first strip of satin and fold in half. Along the open end, sew a quick running stitch by hand....


 gently tugging on the thread as you go so your fabric looks like this:



3. Once you have a full circle, you can cut off the tail. Overlap the two edges and close to the centre stitch them together and tie it off on the back. It should look like this:


Repeat with your remaining fabric strips.. You've now got your flowers!



Don't worry too much if the satin had frayed in the centre, because now you're taking your buttons and hot glueing one to the centre of each flower :) I have to leave the couch for this part, my glue gun cord didn't reach to the coffee table!

4. Arrange your flowers on your headband how you'd like them, I like mine fairly low on the headband so the flower cluster is to the side when I wear it. Cut out a circle from your remaining satin to act as a 'base' for your flowers; when glueing on your flowers, position the circle underneath the headband first. This will not only make your flowers more stable on the organza, but it will also help to not burn your fingers in the process!


Voila!!! You now have a beautiful couch-headband! Simple to make yet such a gorgeous addition to your hair accessories don't you think? Now to make another 10 in different colours ;)


Happy Headband Making!!

Though if you don't mind, pretty please don't sell headbands you make from this tutorial; I have an online shop and I create tutorials for home-use only..it wouldn't be fair to sell them k? :) Thankyou kindly in advance!!!

I'd love to see your creations! Email them to me at thequirkycraftingshmooglebean@gmail.com and I'll post them here on my blog :)

-Tashy xox 


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Itty Bitty Ginger Bread House Recipe

I have gone completely cookie mad today... I made a lovely batch of gingerbread peoples and 'royally' iced them! They are uber tasty, I LUUURVE cookies...major weakness! I'm making batches and batches of them as Chrissy gifts to friends, family and colleagues. We can't really afford to do the gift thing this year so I'm handmaking all my own sugar scrubs, cookies, meringue, gingerbread houses, lemon and pumpkin butter....the list (and a neverending list it is too!) goes on!

My husband took some gingerbread people to work to share with the ladies he works with in a library (hubby works in a school) and they sent him home with nothing but compliments and all begging for the recipe saying how light the texture was and how beautiful they tasted...well, as you imagine I was very happy with myself!! I'm new to baking so I was extremely pleased! I guess that's what nudged me to think I could give this a go.

anyhoo, I want to share this recipe...it's not only super yummy, but also super cute and very Christmas-y! I have always wanted to try these but never been brave enough; I'm actually typing this recipe out as I bake them so they could go wrong yet! But HEY! What can't be fixed/hidden with a bit of icing huh? If they're 'Tash-Proof' then I guarantee you can do them to. I'm a forgetful baker, like forgetting to put the cocoa into chocolate pudding, and yes I have managed that before.

 SO here goes...

Itty Bitty Gingerbread House

To start this yummo recipe, you'll need some gingerbread...so let's start there.

Making the Gingerbread
Ingredients:
125g butter, softened
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg lightly beaten
2 cups plain flour
1/3 cup self raising flour
1 Tbs ground ginger (more or less depending on your tastes...I like mine sharp with that delicious ginger flavour so I add a little more than 1 Tbs)
1 Tsp of bi-carb soda

With this recipe, you should get about 3-4 itty bitty houses of the gingerbread dough
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees; beat butter, sugar and syrup until light and creamy (and try not to eat too much of it as you go!!!)

Add the lightly beaten egg gradually. Sift all your flour, ginger and bi-carb into the butter mixture and combine well with a wooden spoon. Once combined, knead it gently to form a smooth dough.
 
Roll out your dough onto a baking paper lined tray to a thickness of about 5mm. Refrigerate for about 1/2 hour...(this makes it a world easier to handle later, trust me!!)

2. Now to cutting out your house peices out of your gingerbread, you can measure these out onto cardboard before hand if you like or you can just measure them as you cut like I did:

Two front walls: 5cm x 5cm squares with a 3cm triangle on top
Two side walls 5cm x 8cm rectangles
Two roof pieces 5cm x 9cm rectangles
Bake for about 10 minutes. You can tell they're cooked when the base of the cookie has turned a darker brown. Using a spatula, gently place your cookies onto a wire rack to cool completely. 

I like to use that half hour the dough is in the fridge for to clean up my mess and prepare for the next step. I only have a very small kitchen with limited bench space and I need every inch of it so I suppose I don't get too much of a choice! :p

Ta da! you've got your cookies! Are they cooled yet?? Yes?  I just took mine out of the oven and they appear to have survived! Excellent!
While they're still warm, take a sharp knife and straighten to edges of your cookies..they'll stick together better that way.


 Now let's get to the fun (and messy) part!

Making the 'Cement' Icing and Constructing Your Itty Bitty House
This recipe should give you enough to glue your house together and use the rest to use to decorate with :)
2 egg white (at room temperature)
3 cups of icing sugar
1. Beat your egg whites until they form soft peaks then gradually add your icing sugar bit by bit until you get a gorgeous shiny and stiff icing. Just a tip here...what you don't use for sticking the house together, cover the bowl with a damp towl to keep the icing from hardening before you use it for decorating.

Or you can get your husband to beat the eggs and sugar! You didn't think that was MY arm did you? Be warned..don't wear black!! The icing sugar gets everywhere!

There are two ways you can stick your house together...first way is to use a piping bag ( a number 96 piping nozzle works well) or you can simply (but carefully) dip the edges you want to stick into the icing and do it that way. Or you could use a spoon too... do whatever is necessary to form your beautiful little yummy house together!
2. Join together the walls and leave it on a aluminium foil sheet to harden.

I've just piped the cement on here and I'm hoping it hardens!! Not too sturdy at the moment..but I always have trouble getting royal icing to the right consistancy..I think it's just me!
. When the walls are set enough (you'll know if it's not, as it will fall apart on you!) after about half an hour to be on the safe side, pipe or spoon icing on to join your roof pieces. Leave your house for 20-30 minutes for the cement to harden up before you start decorating.

THE FUN PART (a.k.a The Decorating Bit)
Did you see my Christmas Mallow Poles there?? I've also got M and M's and some Naturals Jelly Fruits as well as a whole range of food colouring at my disposal!! You're free to decorate yours however you like, but in case you're curious, I've taken some progressive photos of how I've decorated mine :)


With plain white icing I have piped on roofing shingles

On the front I have added some cut-up pieces of marshmallow pole I bought at the supermarket

To add some fun colour I have 'glued' on M and M's to the roof shingles...looking very very tasty at this stage!!!

I made some mini gingerbread christmas trees to use as front doors :) I started making some gingerbread windows but found I'd forgotton my liqourice strips to make the window frames with! Whoops! (the windows look a little like grilled cheese on toast!)


Next I went a little icing-mad and added 'snow' to the eaves and over the top of the roofs...then digging in my pantry I found some silver candy balls and sprinkled those on top. The house is resting on a small plate covered in foil, which I then dampened and sifted icing sugar onto. Around the bottom of the edge of my houses I stuck yummy little jelly fruits! yum yum yum!!

It definately needed a chimney...I found a fun-sized cherry ripe in my chocolate stash (you have to keep an emergency stash at home at all times...you know, just in case!). I cut it in half and cut a diagonal on the bottom edge, added some icing and stuck it on top....perfect!!!
And there you have it! I hope you have as much fun making these as I did! I hope the people I made these for enjoy eating them just as much too!


If you have any questions, feel free to ask!! :)

-Tash Xx

Monday, 12 December 2011

A pretty skirt, a bowl of ice cream and a playful puppy!

You know at the moment you can't even get through the DOOR of my crafting room?? Yes it is that bad... and yes I should be cleaning it instead of being online (pity it's so much more fun!) but hey, it's Monday and we all need a bit of extra enthusiasm to get into gear on Mondays. My enthusiasm is coming from a nice hot cup of tea and the baking of apples for after tea tonight (and a little bowl of ice cream of course!!! The only downside being of course that baking means more mess to clean to it's a catch 22....but who cares!! Baked apples are yummy. Peel them, core them, shove dried fruit and brown sugar down the middle and bake until they're cooked! I have no idea how long that is, I usually just wing it! (like I do with most things!)

 Honestly...what kind of insane person sews a skirt...by hand without a pattern when they've never sewn an article of clothing before in their lives??????


Oh right...that was me


It's not completely finished yet, I still have to hem the bottom layer in the skirt and add the silk ties to it (dusty pink ones! That tie into a sweet bow at the back of the skirt). It was really quite simple! I just pictured the kind of skirt I wanted, high waisted, two layers, and with a fuller body in the skirt so it would be flattering on my figure! It worked!! The hardest part was once I had cut out all the peices, the hardest bit was trying to figure out how it should all go together! And parts of it were a tad fiddly...but it was so worth it! It isn't a straight edged skirt (they're a little boring anyway), and it's very comfortable! When I finish it completely (and have someone else around the take the photo; hopefully soon!!!) i'll show you what it looks like on.







I'm in love with it! And isn't the fabric just divine!! It was a fabric remnant I picked up locally and fell in love with, I made a bag with it a few months ago and found I had enough left over for a skirt too! I still have enough for a clutch and a headband aswell so I am one very happy camper!! The dark blue fabric I had in my stash and never thought I would use, but it turned out to be perfect for this project :) It's quite heavy (it's courdory) but it falls perfectly and has the right amount of stretch to fit comfortably. It comes up just under the bust and the skirt falls just above the knees.



My furry little companion here watching me take photos of my skirt!

My skirt also has a cute split in the front on the top layer
I've used a beige thread again the dark blue, I just loved the effect!

Oh! And one more thing before I get stuck into my day....


Caramel, chocolate and honeycomb
BREAKFAST!!! :)

-Tashy
Happy Monday!!
xox


Monday, 5 December 2011

Sharing my favourite 'Net-Haunts'..the best places for craft lovers to be online!

OH MY GOSH have I found the most amazing website ever today??? I think I have! I found these and just HAD to share with you....

Craft Gossip - this is one of my absolute favourite places on the internet to be.... it is absolutely packed full of amazing patterns, recipes, ideas, inspiration and pretty things galore! It has tonnes of tutorials, knitting, scrapbooking ideas, home and garden, wedding inspiration and DIY and so much more!  It's very addictive to just sit and browse through! Not only that but like all good craft-central sites... you will find millions of new pages and blogs as you go! Definately worth a visit! Be warned though... you may never leave!

Your Style Rocks - Now this particular site is for the out-of-the-box sewers! It has the most incredible ideas! I am actually going to be making myself a skirt from a pattern on this site...Fashion Frills Skirt and I cannot wait to get started! It looks so gorgeous. Another site I am hopelessly addicted to!

The next one is a well-known favourite but for those who don't know... Pinterest Oh yes.... we are all addicted to Pinterest! Now there's a page you can spend days browsing on!

If you have a soft spot for pretty fabrics (and I'm sure most of you do!) and for gorgeous patterns you just HAVE to visit Keyka Lou! I'm in love with everything that amazing woman sells... oh to have an endless supply of money!!

Grand Revival LOVE IT!!

CrafterHours - just.....so...darn...beautiful!!

rhapsodyofcacophony - I DESPERATELY want to try this apron!!

These are my recommendations for the day... I won't give you anymore today otherwise you'll never get off the internet... TRUST ME! :p

Enjoy everyone and happy hunting!!

-Tashy Xx

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Not-So-Great Days can be fixed with Cake

I don't really have anything overly fascinating to say today, just having a bit of an 'internet therapy' session really where I gush about my cruddy day and someone out there sympathises and we both eat imaginary chocolate together and watch sappy movies until we feel better! Anyone up to the challange?

What the heck happened to my temper these days?! Have I become less tolerant of other people in general? I find myself becoming more and more frustrated at what people say and do and find myself thinking how immature others can be without really realising I'm doing it! Normally it doesn't bother me at all... not only that but I seem to have found my (and you'll excuse my French) 'Bitch Centre' these past few days...

*WARNING* Unpredictable and unexplained word-vomit may occur at any given moment without valid reason

On the other hand, I suppose I AM a woman so that above if null and void really... let's just put it down to 'hormones' or 'stress' and leave it at that aye? :)

So today has not been the best day...mind you it hasn't been the worst..just one of THOSE days really. I didn't sleep until 3am thismorning up worrying and fussing over things that need doing rather urgently (and a myriad of other things that have been plaguing me recently) and yes, yes, yes I KNOW that at 3am in the morning there isn't a lot you can about anything but it was bothering me so much! I didn't even sleep in! It's a Sunday, I was up til 3am last night and I didn't even sleep in...there has GOT to be something wrong with me!

Oh and guess what? One of my adult teeth has decided it's not happy where it was and shifted on me whilst brushing my teeth. It's now a tinsy bit wobbly and I'm terrified!! Given my inability to deal with things (you know, like a normal person) it has been on my mind allllll day and boy oh boy it has not been fun!

And so I moved on to distracting myself... there were of course good points to my day... I made an adorable little bandana for my puppy, Toby and he could get away with murder running around with it on he's just so darn cute!



So let's turn this around and look at the good points of today.. my puppy looks adorable and gives the best cuddles so that counteracts the pain in my tooth and a bit of the worry too...



I have cake. Cake is always good so there we go, that's another good thing. Sort of doesn't help with the toothache thing but its soft and easy to chew so that one's a catch 22 BUT it is chocolate cake so that overrides everything! :)


My hubby and I are big on the boardgames and DVD's :p We're really just kids at heart!
Oh! I made this the other day :) Do you like it? It was a perk to come back home after a not-so-enjoyable trip to the outside world today and see my handiwork....I'm rather proud of it :)

Although I have been sick, and got an epic toothache and headache, been feeling all out of sorts and out of touch with myself and the world I am an expert procrastinator which means I have a knack for distracting myself! Alas making pretty things doesn't cure pain but it does help alleviate the want to throw bean cans at someone's head so that's a plus! I made 10 headbands today as well as my pups bandana. Down side being though I still feel the need to throw bean cans at people. I'll do my best to keep suppressing that one I think!!

My poor husband doesn't know what to do with me today! I swear that man has an insane amount of patience and an untapped supply of constant kindness when it comes to me and my weird days!! He really is an amazing person :)

What was the point of this blog entry again? Who knows! I certainly don't! I'll leave you with a song tonight... this one has been on my mind all day and I wanted to share it :) It doesn't have a lot of relevance to my day, but I have been singing it to my myself a lot recently.

Now I think I'll make like my puppy and head off to bed...looks like I'm going to have move Toby out of my spot first though!


Goodnight! May tomorrow be better than today....and may whoever annoys me get their armpits infested with fleas and their arms be too short to scratch... Dang there's that bitchy streak again! Oh well... sleep deprivation :p Sweet Dreams!!

 

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Pipe Dreams, Realisations and Reality

I have had a relatively good day of moving boxes around in my loungeroom in what seemed like a game of tetris, tidying up as much as I could and playing with my little fur baby puppy Toby! He's a 6 month old Mini Foxy x Staffy and as you can see he has enourmous ears! He has a little problem called 'Prick Ear' it doesn't hurt him or affect him in any way, it just means he has radar hearing which comes in handy for him when I'm opening the dog food tin! Apologies for the fuzzy photo, he's a bundle of energy and hard to catch sitting still :) He's a gorgeous dog, very friendly and playful... on the odd occasion though he decides to test me and run off with a shoe but he's slowly learning that's just not on in my household! Puppies hey?


I looked around my crafting room today and decided (again) that I probably should clean it up again. Crafting rooms should be more like the Tardis... they look small but open the door and it's the size of a palace! A palace filled with storage boxes, clean desks and neat little rolls of ribbon, thread, jars of colour coded buttons and oh gosh... does such a thing even exist??

So I am pretty happy today mainly because tomorrow is the 1st of Decemeber and that means it's time to put up the Christmas tree!! It's one of my favourite parts of the holiday season :) My husband and I put on Christmas Carols sung by the one and only Frank Sinatra and our Christmas jazz album, set up the tree, hang the lights, bake a lovely dinner and have a glass of wine...tomorrow we've invited some friends to share in our fun so I'm really looking forward to it!

Do you want to know something? This occured to me this afternoon. I never thought I'd be a crafter... you know I didnt even own a glue gun until about a year ago (and let me tell you did life become so much easier!!).

I've always been more art- orientated...I have always had an knack for drawing and I still sometimes amaze myself when I find old drawings and can hardly believe it was me who did it! My art teacher in high school told me if I ever got the opportunity to go to France school of fine arts and study abroad... and I'm sure if I had have had the money I would be there right now! Ohh France... everyone wants to go to France... I want to go to provincial France, the countryside, set up a tent and just sit in an open feild staring at the sky, wandering down grassy paths and sketching and painting and photographing until my arms fell off! Maybe one day :) Then I studied Fine Arts with the intention of gaining a diploma and becoming a professional artist...unfortunately though that path didn't work for me. But hey, no need to worry! Most of the world's greatest Masters didn't have any 'training' and look what they acheived! :) Nothing is impossible.

I have always had an addiction to ribbons and fabrics though... I think it comes from my love of colour and the ways they are combined and matched and used to create something more beautiful. In a way that's what I strive to acheive in life... there are many elements available to us, many different colours, many different brushes and pencils; the lessons and the experiences come from learning which colours combine the best to make a painting into a work of art. A true artist doesn't automatically know which brush works best with what canvas, it takes time and patience and one day, it suddenly all comes together, and you just know you've done it. You will continue to carry that knowledge with you onto the next painting, the next step of life.

Realisations are a harsh though thing though aren't they? If they're good, then fantastic!! If they're bad, well, I tend to be more annoyed at the fact I only just figured something out and it's been hiding elusively from me for a long while! I've been having more and more realisations over these past few days, some good, some bad, some are just mere facts presenting themselves to me clearly rather than the clouded version in the back of my mind. If I were to be completely honest with you, sometimes I wish I could have a clean slate and start all over. It's not even anything in particular I want to start over, just something...one tiny little thing that would make all the difference to me and the way I live my life. I realised that I have family, and not just biological that love and care for as sisters and brothers do...it is these people who have helped me form a new opinion of people that not everyone has a cruel intention, not everyone takes offence if you're in a bad mood, not everyone is out to get you, not everyone wants to take pleasure in your suffering; family are quite open, forgiving, caring, offer kind words when you need them, even if you don't want them; they understand and don't hold a grudge, you don't feel like you need to compete, you don't have to feel like you're fighting to stay a part of a friendship, you just feel warm and welcome and like nothing in the world could tear you apart.

 It has taken me many years to learn this, many years to find those people who showed me that life can be better. There really is truth in the saying 'it's the people you choose to surround yourself with that make all the difference'.
But you know, I guess looking back...If I did happen to go back and change the ways things happened, change things I've said and done in the past, then I wouldn't have had the opportunity to appreciate my family and friends as strongly as I do.

Reality isn't always as bad as it seems... and who knows! One day I may get my wish and whisk myself off to France; I'm gonna need to win lottery though because it just wouldn't be the same if I couldn't take my friends with me.

Xx

Thursday, 17 November 2011

My Crafting Quirks

Hi all!

Let's get into the post of the morning though! :) I thought I would share with you some of my crafty quirks... how many do you recognise in yourself?

My crafting room is, despite many many attempts NEVER tidy and neat or organised but I still know where everything is...down the sewing needle I used last week to the one coloured button I know is perfect for a project!

I take great pride in my crafting and sacrifice my finger tips quite frequently to wiping off still hot glue from a project rather than letting it dry and it be visible on my hard work!



I have four LARGE plastic tubs (and growing) of fabrics and scraps that I have collected from friends and family and I have no idea what to do with it half of the time... as a dedicated hand-sew-er the idea of making a tote bag, or sewing a plush toy is a bit more of a daunting task. I have great determination when I get started on something, the trouble is taking that step! Anything can be done by hand that is done by machine, it just takes time :)

The next one can be summarised in a simple quote:

The only place where housework comes before needlework is in the dictionary. ~Mary Kurtz


ohh yes, we are all victims of it!

I dont actually own a sewing machine... but I have always had a 'thing' for hand sewing and embroidery... it relaxes me and i find it very therapeutic actually

Stitch your stress away. ~Author Unknown


I am completely addicted to craft stores... so to prevent mass purchasing and budget breaking, I'm simply not allowed in one without my husband as an escort! I put that rule in place rather than him... yes really!! Im crazy, I know... why would I do that right? Unless you are a true crafter, you wouldn't understand... the urge to buy one or a million of EVERYTHING is sometimes too strong to resist and you either dont go into the shop or you take someone with you like my hubby whom I love dearly, but as he tells me often, crafting is not his thing so he wants to spend as little time in those places as possible... It's a half-measure attempt of purchase-restraint but it works!!

As a crafter, I have another weakness...


I believe humans get a lot done, not because we're smart, but because we have thumbs so we can make coffee. ~Flash Rosenberg


You do tend to develop a tiny caffeine dependency as a craft-ist (its a mix between a crafter and an artist... does it work? haha!)


You also develop this tendency to not leave your crafting room for long periods of time so I sometimes think I should have some coffee then I get distracted and keep at the project at hand.... hours and hours can fly by this way don't you agree? I might just add here that I don't have any children so not really any other distracting factors in my life... my craft room is my sanctuary, my haven, my love nest of all things awesome!

Do any of these ring any bells?? I bet they do! :p

-Tashy Xx

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Diary of an Inexperienced Gardener- Day Two

My husband and I decided to dig up one of the garden beds today and discovered the weeds were barely in the ground but somehow still alive! The soil is rock hard and very abundant in clay so it's been an effort! We did find more tiny strawberry plants and I've moved them into a pot with plenty of water in the shade :)


I also thought I'd come up with a way to vanquish the snail problem..I pulled an odd 20 or so of one unidentified-of-yet plant and thought if i put them in a bucket of water that might, well you know! Gosh I even feel quilty about murdering snails!! But anyway that didnt work, they just tried to climb out so i put them in hot water and that STILL didnt work so in the end i just tipped them into the green bin with the weeds and closed the lid. The bin goes out tomorrow so hopefull I won that! We will need to find a more effective way non-toxic way though, im not keen on the idea of going around and picking snails of everything!!




I have a question today... all answers welcome! Whilst gardening we found this




What on Earth is it?? It looks as though it's been there a while and we're too scared to open it... any guesses? It's about 4cm in size and seems to contain some kind of yellowly clear oily liquid and the bottle is made of glass. I am extremely curious about it!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Diary of an Inexperienced Gardener- Day One!

I was in my new garden for just under an hour thismorning and there are some things I discovered that were not overly obvious from a first glance! I might add to start with though that I have just moved from a two storey townhouse apartment to a one storey unit complete with a large and very beautiful backyard just this week and garden that the previous tenant has so lovingly created and maintained. I have never gardened IN MY LIFE so i thought I'd share my experiences so that you can have a giggle at my inexperience or commiserate for fellow never-before gardeners.

Firstly, most of which makes up my new garden is actually weeds but the place having been empty since June that is understandable of course... I just don't know which are actually weeds and which are plants.. so we have reached problem number one! I have discovered I now have a rather large mint plantation in the yard which I think is great coz I just love the smell of it!!! But I've also discovered that the whole garden is absolutely overrun by snails!!! They are everywhere! On every plant, almost on every leaf! What on Earth do I do about those?! There we have my second problem!! I left my garden tools outside for a moment whilst I ducked inside to get a glass of water, came back out and one snail had already perched itself on my trowel! Im sure if i sat still long enough they'd quite happily slime their way all over me!

I was pulling out weeds (and being stung by a hidden patch of thistle) when I discovered a bright red tiny sphere amongst the weeds and at a closer look discovered it was a little tiny strawberry plant trying to grow. It had three fruits on it, very small and underdeveloped but suprisingly untouched by snails! I couldn't believe it! I have a feeling the overgrown weeds might have been keeping it well hidden... I may have just sentenced that little plant to death-by-snail :( can I transplant strawberries? maybe I should pop it in a little pot and see? I spose it wont do much good will it?

So what's at the bottom of MY garden???

Thistle, weeds, snails, millions of penny lizards (they sun themselves on leaves, its like a little solarium out there!), more weeds and guess what? more snails!

Oh and I broke out in little red spots all up my arms too, must have been a reaction to the sap in something that is another little problem im going to need to deal with!

I dont in anyway dislike my garden...I simply ADORE it! I think snails are actually quite cute but i cant possibly hope to grow anything successfully if i keep them there, and the penny lizards arent doing any harm of course... the lawn is lovely, its so very private and homely, and there is a beautiful willow tree overhanging our yard from the neighbours, I grew up around willows and they have a special significance to me so i put our garden table and chairs under the tendrils and its perfect :)

Do I have a green thumb? Well at the moment it's red from the thistle but I spose that's what it's all about! I would love nothing more than to nuture it, and help it grow and be proud of it..is there anyone out there who can help me? Please? :)

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Chicken soup for the crafting soul

I am having a 'down' day... I'm sure i'm not the only one who experiences these soooooo I did some retail therapy! Lincraft is very handy for retail therapy! Especially for those who are crafty-inclined!



Ok, so my husband and I had this brilliant plan that what with the wedding two weeks ago and us moving house in a weeks time that we are actually too broke to do the whole Christmas present thing this year BUT then he pointed out that I have enough craft supplies to run a small workshop and while the workshop idea isn't quite practical at the moment (one day!!!!) it does mean that I have all I need to just make Christmas presents this year! And so my mission began about a week ago and so far I have made 3 aprons, one pair of pot holders for the kitchen, sewn a new pattern and made a 'peas in the pod' soft toy (very cute too I might add!!) and a pencil roll for art supply storage and I am mid-way through sewing a gorgeous recipe folder. I trawled the internet today too for some food ideas and have also decided that for our friends we are making ginger bread houses, home made toffee apples and coconut ice mice AND im going to try this really cool recipe where you combine cookies, peanut butter, marshmallows and chocolate to make edible acorns!

Why then did I need to do retail therapy today? Well, it sort of helped with the 'down' feeling (I'll explain where that came from a bit later) but also I needed to gather up a few bits and peices to complete my Home-Made DIY Christmas Crusade like cellophane, some more embroidery threads and coloured felt, a few paper bags and chinese take-out boxes for cookies and coconut ice mice, coloured cardboard for tag-making and a few other trims and tassles to complete some projects with. All in all it was about $50 worth of bits and peices but considering I have everything else needed and we are making for 30 + people I'd say that isn't too bad! As for wrapping everything, I've decided to go with inexpensive red and green tissue paper and handmade decorative bows and the afformentioned gift tags for the bulkier things and I am going to make my own gift boxes from my large stash of scrapbooking card for the smaller gifts. There isn't going to be much room left under our Christmas tree this year!!!

So why am I down?

I think this image sums it up pretty well...


I have absolutely no idea why, I just am! Well actually I do know why... but that's another tale for another time :) I think I'll have a coffee and sew some thing together then go get cuddles from my hubby then it will be ok, I have plenty of things to keep me occupied for the time being anyhow so I'd best hop to it! Yes I am aware that it is 10.30pm but I don't sleep too well, I'm a bit of a night owl but it's very productive time spent making, creating and listening to my lovely soft Enya albums.

Remember im always happy to chat so feel free to leave a comment, find me on Facebook or drop me an email or two just to say hello!

Til next time!

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Help!? my wedding is trying to eat me!!

Uh oh.... 1 month and 9 days to go until....


until





I GET MARRIED!!!!!!


Still so much to do! I can't believe it's flown around so quickly! I'm starting to feel a bit distant from it to be honest, like it's not 'real'... it's like Christmas when your 6, you wait for it for weeks, months even and when it finally arrives it's like you've waited so long, and been so excited and there's so much hype surrounding it that the day just doesn't seem like 'The Day'! I kinda feel like I should just 'go with it' and take everything as it comes but I'm feeling like I'm being a little TOO laid back about it and I don't know why. It's not that I don't care about it, no no no no no... im marrying my best friend and to use a cliche the love of my life.. it's more the wedding part than the marriage part... oh gosh I'm making no sense again aren't I?

I've been planning for so long, and there have been SOOOO many dissappointments along the way... to name a few:

The dress not fitting ( i wont go into it but in a nutshell, it does now THANKFULLY!, but when I tried it on the ladies who sold it to me told me it was perfect for me when it turns out it hadnt been done up at the back and was way to small)

My social anxiety holding me back from going to the gym which is costing me a fortune to stay a member of and we can't get out of it :(

Family dissapproval

Bridesmaid dress issues... as in we only just picked and ordered them two weeks ago (I wont go into that further but HOLY COW has it been stressing me out!)

Being double booked TWICE after a PAID deposit for our original ceremony site AND the second ceremony site we booked due to the first one falling through.

Having such rude vendor services in our original wedding location, no one we paid to hire actually made us feel like it was our big day, just that it was a burden on them

SO due to some major stressors and budget problems we moved the wedding from one town to our home town for convenience for us and costing less 3 months before the wedding date... that hasn't been as much of a nightmare as you'd imagine... aside from a 30% drop in the guest list of attendees but we expected that.

There are more  but I won't go into it...


you see why I'm feeling a little distant about it? It just seems like everytime we plan something to work for US and to make US happy it falls apart and ends up being more stress! GRRRRRRRRR


I guess I'm just finding it difficult to be excited, and to be prepared for whatever happens.

Help!?





Friday, 26 August 2011

Goals and I dont get along too well

I started a little page for my hand sewn things but you don't know me from any one else out there who does the same thing. I am just another girl entering the crafting world in the hopes of selling something right? Wrong! Actually, the real reason was because I feel like of my many little foibles (be they useful or not) not many of them are actually known to anyone but me! I didn't know I could sing until I stood up in front of a crowd of 250 people one day for a charity fundraiser and sang 'Killing Me Softly' and got a standing ovation...I didn't know I could draw overly well until my art teacher told me I would sincerely benefit from taking a two year trip to Paris to study in a Parisian Art School! As I am not currently sitting under the Eiffle Tower sipping piccolo lattes with a pencil in my hand, you can see that I didn't take that advice.. (a couple of thousand dollars can make any dream a reality) but still, it was a MASSIVE encouragement to be told that.

But in saying all that, I don't sing in front of people, I'm not a member of a choir, and I get rejected from musical auditions (I maintain I'm not 'stage material'... I think you have to be pretty for that stuff), I hardly ever draw anymore and I'm sure there's more to me than that but I haven't worked it out yet.

And so, one of my foibles that I actually want the world to notice (and people have told me it's a little peculiar at my age, but I dont care)... I actually really really REALLY love to hand sew and embroider!! Machine sewing, and don't get me wrong, there are some AMAZING things out there people are able to sew with a machine but I just don't get the same satisfaction from it. I actually enjoy the quiet moments spent sitting with a needle and thread in hand and carefully running a stitch through fabric, it's utter bliss for me! I don't feel the same sense of... oh I don't know how to word it.... erm, the drive to make a dress for example.. so you buy your fabric, you buy your pattern and it's pretty much done in a day. I suppose, if my intention was to make baby clothes for example, you'd need to make them sturdy, they're have to withstand multiple washes... hand sewing doesn't always provide that so of course I'm not going to try and make baby clothes. Dolls clothes perhaps, but not for children... does this make sense?

Anyway, so let me show you something I found thismorning that I had forgotton I'd done



This is a 30 x 30cm square of chocolate brown satin that I hand embroidered with dragonflies and a lovely vine pattern with beadwork. I adore dragonflies, and my intention with this was that I was going to make enough squares in 'colours of the seasons' each embroidered with the dragonflies and vines and roses to make a bed throw out of. It was when I found this square of fabric thismorning that my intentions came rushing back to me and I felt an overwhelming desire to continue with my dream (I don't need a couple thousand dollars for this one!)

Here is the second one I must have started but didn't finish



So this is my plan... I want to finish this project, I really do! Then I want to enter it in the craft section of the Autumn Festival next year! Wouldn't that be fantastic?! I'm excited just thinking about it... but of course, I'd have to actually start working on it again for that. Too bad I can't stick to goals! I will, for the time being, put this project into the 'to be completed' basket I think.


Friday, 12 August 2011

Dreaming of Chocolate Cream Pie

I was watching 'Julie and Julia' today and I have been hit with a powerful desire to make a chocolate cream pie!! Looks like I'm taking a trip to the supermarket in the morning! And while we're on the subject of food, I will also be baking a roast dinner on Sunday... oh yes, yes, yes Sunday roast how cliche right? Ha ha well it's like this, I havent baked ANYTHING in oh I don't know how many months. Call it being busy, call it being lazy, it could be due to anything really but the point is I am due to be married in October and I'm shaping up to be a pretty crummy wife! So my poor fiance has been sleeping outside in the freezing cold for his job since Wednesday and gets back on Sunday and I feel terrible... the apartment is an absolute disaster zone, I've hardly touched the kitchen, the washing is almost high enough to scale with a grappling hook and considering we don't have children I'm thinking that's pretty slack of me. So I've kicked myself back into gear and gone a crazy cleaning spree this evening and my lovely man has requested a nice big beef roast with lots of baked potatoes (his favourite) and a citrus meringue tart. Sounds good doesn't it? Ok so it does seem a little '50's house wife' but believe me when I say, if I am willing to clean up our collosal mess and cook a giant meal... our apartment and eeating habits have been REALLY bad lately.

But anyway that's enough of me commiserating about how I wouldn't survive a bygone era...

So, 4 months til Christmas huh? Holy cannoli that has come back around fast! It doesn't seem that long ago that we had last Christmas! I swear it comes up faster and faster every year don't you think?
I hadn't even thought about it really, until the thought struck me today that i'd need to start present hunting again *insert slightly apprehensive frightened face* I HATE Christmas shopping... you would think since I had my own little shop I could just make everyone something right? Alas the downside of only stocking things applicable to girls... I don't think my dad or my brother would appreciate a cute headband somehow!

What is everyone else doing for Chrissy this year? Wouldn't it be great if the whole online crafting community could participate in one ginourmous 'Secret Santa' where we all agree to swap with other businesses in return for something of theirs and so on? Imagine the variety of gifts you'd end up with!! THAT would be a great way to make Christmas easy...


Happy Friday and wishing you all a fantastic weekend guys

-Tash Xx

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Obsessed or devoted or just nuts?

Look what I made yesterday! I am ridiculously proud of myself, I did it without a pattern or tutorial or even a measuring tape and sewed it with a hand needle! Pretty cool huh? I highly doubt it's an original design though, and to be honest I just chopped up a heap of rectangles and guestimated what I'd need and where to put them and how to sew it together so it didn't fall apart but it worked!



I am sooo keen to get to work on another one! Only the next one I will work out what kind of closure to add to the bag and put some pockets on the inside and two on the outside and make it into a nappy bag.  I even had some ideas about making matching nappy wallets that you could fold out and use as change mats too!

Hand sewn I hear you say? Yes indeed... I hand sewed it. Each seam is triple stitched for durability and you don't want to know how long it took me to complete... really you don't....

you do?

Oh gosh...

ok well it took me 6 hours.. yes I know, it really is a labour of love but for some reason (and this partly makes up the reason why I'm crazy) I find it very theraputic and relaxing!

I went fabric shop hunting today and came back with lots of fabrics (I couldnt decide on just ONE), a roll of lovely variety vintage cotton strips, ribbons, buttons, christmas buttons for my christmas bundles I want to make (and I am very excited to start those let me tell you!!) and some other bits and bobs... I am smiling from ear to ear! I even thought I would try my hand at some of my own design owls but mini versions! I don't know how they're going to work out but hey, it's worth a try right?

Well, I'm off to get sewing! It is positively freezing here today, I swear my toes are going to break off my feet very shortly (time to find and 'borrow' the fiance's ugg boots methinks)..

Happy Thursday everyone!

-Tash xoxox

Monday, 8 August 2011

Sew Sweet Headband Tutorial

Well ladies, here it is! My very first tutorial I would love nothing more than for you to have some fun and tap into your own inner-creativity to make headbands in any colour and size you like! If you're like me and love accessorising your outfits with that perfect item but just can't find that special something, just make yourself one! They also make fantastic gifts and with Christmas just around the corner, it's the perfect thing to do! I hope you have as much fun making these gorgeous headbands as I do... they're so so adorable!

I was feeling particularly girly today so I have picked a gorgeous pale yellow and purple fabric for my flowers, pale yellow buttons for my centres and a lavender spandex lace for the headband...worked out quite nicely don't you think?
You will need:


  • a 1/4 of a metre of your favourite coloured fabric. I'm using cotton today but satin works just as well
  • a pair of sharp scissors
  • glue gun and some hot glue melts
  • needle and matching thread
  • buttons to match your fabric
  • a 12.5 inch long piece of spandex lace (available at most crafting shops)
  • a 5.5 inch long piece of elastic
  • 2 x 5cm pieces of matching ribbon
  • a coffee cup (empty of course)
Trace around the brim of your coffee cup onto the back of your fabric 20 times and cut out your circles...these circles will become the petals of your flowers; there are two flowers to this type of headband with 10 petals on each flower.

To make your petals, take a circle and fold it in half. You can iron the crease to make things easier


Fold in half again and iron your crease


Do this with all the remaining petals


Take your needle and thread and pop two stitches along the bottom of one petal
Do this about a 1/4cm in from each edge and a 1/2cm from the bottom edge
Do this with 9 more petals and tug the thread as you go so your flower begins to take shape


Your flower should look like this!


Once you have threaded all 10 petals on, pop your needle through the petal you started and tug on it gently with to close the flower


Run a stitch or two back and forth through the two petals to secure it, then stick your needle down through the fabric and tie a knot on the back




Repeat the process to create your second flower. They should look this this:



Cut out two small circles of left over fabric about the size of a 50 cent coin and hot glue one on the back of each flower to secure your petals in place


Glue your buttons on over the centres of your flowers


Take your 12.5 inch long piece of spandex lace and stitch your 5.5 inch long piece of elastic to each end of the lace. Be sure to stitch it on securely so it won't come loose.


Take one of your 5cm long pieces of ribbon. Wrap it and glue it down over the stitching on your headband. Repeat on the other end.


Have a play around and decide where you would like to position your flowers on your headband. Once you have them where you'd like them, use hot glue to attach them to the headband. Cut out two small circles about 7cm wide and use these to glue over the lace on the back of your flowers.


And there you have it! Your very own fabric flower lace headband!
For personal use only though please, I'd appreciate it if you didn't sell items made from this tutorial; it's just courtesy :)



I would love to see everyone's headbands! If you email your photos to me at
thequirkycraftingshmooglebean@gmail.com
I will feature them here on this blog!

This is my very first ever tutorial so if I have missed something, or you would like to ask a question...please don't hesitate! :)

Enjoy! xox