Dragon’s Loyalty Award

I was extremely excited recently to be nominated for the ‘Dragon’s Loyalty Award’ by Crafty Minx. Thank you so much. It really means a lot to be nominated. I love reading about her adventures and misadventures in crafts with her two mini men.
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dragons-loyalty-award1

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I understand this award goes to loyal followers of your blog and/or the blogs you loyally follow. What a great idea!
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We all shape and construct our blogs for a variety of reasons. The act of posting online can seem initially like writing a message in a bottle. You’re not sure who will read it but you have taken the time to share your thoughts, ideas, photos and the like with the world.
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Those who read and comment on our blogs encourage and inspire us, as do the blogs we read and comment on. A big thank you to readers and bloggers alike.
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In keeping with the tradition of this award, I have to:

  • Display the award certificate in this post (tick)
  • Announce the win and link back to the person who nominated me (tick – thanks again Crafty Minx)
  • Present the award to another 15 nominees and notify them in their main pages about their nominations (see list below)
  • Post seven interesting things about me/my blog (see my list towards the end of this post…)
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My Nominations

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It is hard to put together a list of only 15. There are so many great blogs and bloggers. Here is my list in this moment. Tomorrow it may have been different. They are a mix of the early supporters of my fledgling blog and those bloggers I loyally follow.
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7 Interesting things about me/my blog

  1. Writing this blog makes me more productive. I’ve started and finished more craft projects in the last 3 months than I probably did all last year.
  2. My ‘kuki’ crafting inspires productiveness in the rest of my life too.
  3. The background image on my blog is a closeup photo of a blanket my Gran made for me. Crafting certainly runs in our family. Both my grandmothers taught me many things that have remained with me even though they are no longer with us. My mum and aunt create and craft as well and over the years we have enjoyed sharing the results with one another. And not to forget the boys who’s ‘making’ is just as crafty in my mind. then there is the extended family…
  4. I’m really starting to realise just how much of a big kid I am. I have visions of making as many toys as I can with more and more of my own designs. When I have too many I may have to accept I will have to sell some. Maybe…
  5. I still own and wear shoes in all colours though I now wear a somewhat larger size.
  6. I suspect animals would make good consumers if only they had a say in house hold spending. Monty very much still loves his monkey!
  7. I feel I’ve only really just got started with this blog so I’m leaving this one last ‘interesting thing’ open for the future…watch this space.
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Making themselves at home

“on growing a personality”

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slouchy

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When constructing toys I find that as soon as I add the stuffing they seem to come alive. They go from being merely pieces of fabric to a constructed three dimensional character that takes on a personality of their own. This part of the process is probably my favourite.
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Once constructed they can begin to settle in. Amusingly, I’ve noted that the monkey seems to end up slouched pushing the others about. My steam punk character, named Marmoo*, frequently ends up falling off his perch.
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The big kid in me loves finding the stories.
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*The design for the steam punk character was a combination of characteristics of a marmoot and a moorhen. The name coming from a combination of his origins. Only later did I realise that Marmoo is the name for the aboriginal god of evil! I like to think of him as misunderstood and most certainly not evil. The colour choice of the design was also chosen before I knew of this connection but interestingly despite it being unintentional also mirrors the look and feel of the Aboriginal god somewhat. Marmoo’s unintentional associations may play a role in him being pushed off the couch…
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Monkey 4 Monty

“Mine!…er…if that’s ok?”

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is-he-for-me

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So there I was kicked back making a monkey for a friend from a jumper she gave me when I noted that Monty had taken a real shine to the toy. He sat by my side until I was done making it whilst giving me his best ‘puppy dog eyes’.

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for-me

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The knit jumper I was using this time was a lot looser knit than the previous material I used. The monkey shape was not working as well for what I wished to give my friend.

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I-think-he-is-for-me

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So the ‘puppy dog eyes’ won out and Monty had himself a new toy. Once I decided this I didn’t worry about attention to detail as much as I wasn’t sure how long the toy would survive.

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finished-monkey

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Is-he-mine-yet

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MINE

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As a thank you I got kisses ‘with tongue!‘ as did the new monkey…

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frenched

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I-love-my-new-toy

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My-monkey-toy

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But alas the love affair was short lived and thus I found the monkey abandoned a little later on…

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all-over_a-fast-burn-love-affair

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Is this the end? We will have to wait and see if ‘monkey’ comes back into favour tomorrow…
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Pink Doggie

“New life to an old ceramic figurine”

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Pink doggie before and after

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A friend of mine recently gave me some old clothes to add to my stash of materials for use in crafty projects. Along with the clothes was this little guy. She was planning to give him to charity. I thought the ceramic dog was rather cute and just needed a little modernizing to give him a new lease on life.
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Before

before 1

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before 3

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before 2

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I had several different styles and colours in mind but ultimately planned to use materials I already owned. So in a slightly unusual approach I decided to try nail polish. The process of painting the figurine with nail polish was fun and easy to do. Two coats of polish were used to ensure even coverage.
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Brightly painted using nail polish
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painting with nail polish

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pink doggie 2

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In order to ensure the nail polish finish lasts I then vanished the little guy with a gloss finish.
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Finished vanished look

pink doggie 1

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pink doggie 2

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pink doggie 3

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He now lives with a growing collection of toys…
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pink doggie and friends

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What do you think? I’m currently trying to think of other old ceramic figurines I might have stashed and forgotten. I suspect there will be more friends to add in the near future.
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An evening of craftiness

“handmade presents”

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I usually consider my main craftiness to lie in the realm of sewing and textiles. This weekend though I had a friend’s birthday to attend and the jewelry making bug got me. I got to making while inspiration was high and here is what I made:
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evening of craftiness_earrings
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evening of craftiness_bracelet
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Hardly any tools or space are required making this a great portable project. Although (based on the amount of small beads that were lost in the shag pile carpet I was sitting on whilst making these) I would advise a bowl or tray to work over.
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Tools & supplies used

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evening of craftiness_tools

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  • round nosed pliers
  • wire cutters
  • stretch cord for bracelet (thickness and colour will depend on the project you are working on – the thicker the cord the stronger the bracelet but the larger the hole in the beads needs to be)
  • earring findings (style to suit you. would work equally well for non-pieced earring clasps)
  • selection of beads – variety of colours and sizes
  • aluminum crimps (check out your local fishing supplies store – I find crimps great as they seem to hold more securely than many other methods I’ve tried for elasticated bracelets and it’s quick and easy)
  • head pin and eye pin findings – I used a selection for the earring design
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It turns out my friend had indicated to her family she would appreciate jewelry for her birthday. Seems I was on the right wavelength when I got that buzz of inspiration and was glad the earrings and bracelet were well received.
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Fun Recycled T-shirt Pillow

“more ideas for those old tshirts lying in the back of your cupboard”

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old-tshirt-pillow-side-one

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Construction
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I’ve had some much loved old tshirts in my collection of sewing materials for some time now. They shrunk a little too much to be worn but the design is still in really good shape.
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In the past I would often feel compelled to give such items, with life left in them, to charity so someone else could enjoy the item. However I also enjoy re-purposing and recycling items so I saw the chance to create a fun pillow from these old tshirts that would give them a new lease on life.
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old-tshirts

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Mark out the pillow shape to encompass the existing design. To quickly mark out the other side use the first one cut to mark the other half.
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cutting-out-tshirt-pillow

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old-tshirt-pieces-cut-out-for-pillow

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Place the pieces together design side inward and sew around the edges. Leave a small opening to fill the cushion. Once filled zigzag the ide with a hole closed. As a design feature I chose to zigzag stitch two sides as a finishing touch. I also chose not to leave an opening for cleaning as I felt the whole pillow can be washed including the innards.
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An alternative to the method I used here would be to add a zipper and or buttons to allow a store bought pillow to be added. I had a large European sized pillow I was no longer using that I have been progressively pulling the stuffing out of and reusing.
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If you favourite tshirt is so well loved it has holes in it consider adding another layer using  a plain tshirt and allow the holes to be a design feature.
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Completed
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Here is my completed tshirt pillow – front and back. What do you think?
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old-tshirt-pillow-other-side

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old-tshirt-pillow-side-one

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Conquering Zippers

“about finishing projects and (mostly) conquering zippers”

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skirt front

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Over the years I have found numerous work-arounds or ways of avoiding zippers. If I had no other option I often resorted to hand sewing as I tend to find I can work more slowly and accurately this way.
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Often when working on a sewing project I get such a buzz to see the end result that when using a sewing machine I tend to race through the project with a view to getting to the end result. When it comes to zippers my technique is just hasn’t been there and the results have always been frustrating. Not matching up to the image I have in my head.
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So I figured it was about time I address this and spent some time learning how to finally conquer zippers even if it means sewing zipper after zipper and unpicking the failures until I get there. As a start point I thought I’d turn to the many talented sewers sharing techniques online to see if perhaps I had been missing some crucial knack.
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One post I discovered in my search stood out and I’m excited to try this particular technique. Melissa’s guest post on Keeping it simple titled ‘zippers unzipped‘ outlines a technique that struck a cord in it’s simplicity and in that it addresses a major issue I always encounter of ensuring the zipper is even fitted and sewn.
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I have a skirt that has been sitting there waiting to be finished. Awaiting only a zipper installation to finish. This struck me as the best time to test out this technique and hopefully finish my skirt. I’ve also been wanting to wear the resulting skirt and determinedly avoiding purchasing one instead.
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The time has come to finally conquer zippers head on and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from achieving a goal or two. So an afternoon later and the skirt is done and zippers mostly conquered (a little more practice required for the perfect finish). Here are some photos of the completed skirt:
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skirt front

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skirt front detail

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skirt back

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skirt back detail

 
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A growing group of toys

“and a happy inner child”

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hand crafted toys_recent additions

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Every time over the last week I’ve sat down to write a blog post I seem to have been waylaid creating more toys. My boyfriend seems to have a permanent bemused expression whenever I say “I’ve just finished another one!”. And as I sit back to finally write some blog posts for this week I note that it’s getting a little crowded on the couch arm wrest.
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toys_the growing collection

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