Saturday, 27 December 2014

2015 Handmade Challenge

I'm hoping you had a lovely Christmas. We have thoroughly enjoyed ourselves here over the festive season, and I felt it was a good time to launch My Handmade Adventure's 2015 Handmade Challenge.

The rules are simple, I challenge you to;

1. Make a list 12 things that you have really been itching to make. That allows one month for each item, it doesn't even matter if it takes you an hour to make something on the list. 12 items, that's all.

2. Make all 12 of them before December 31st 2015!

See, simple.

Challenge accepted? Comment below with your list of 12 things, or post a link to your list, mine's on Pinterest too, a very easy way to make a list. I'd love to have you play along. You don't need to do them in order, and they don't need to be tricky or time consuming, just handmade.

I know there will be plenty of other things I will make and will want to make, however these are the things I must make in order to triumphantly complete The 2015 Handmade Challenge;

1. Jo Sharp Bolero; for me! I've had the pattern sitting and waiting for 12 months or more. As it's something for me, it keeps going on the back burner. 2015 is the year it will come into being.

2. Heart Shaped Pinata; For the little lady's first birthday. We're going to throw a ripper of a shindig after she's over her last cardiac surgery, so smashing a giant heart seems appropriate!

3. Play Tea Bags; These are on a French website, however they look easy enough to figure out. I'm sure I can manage some for the kiddies kitchen.

4. Easter Bunny Egg Cosy; These were on my to do list last Easter, lets see if they magically appear for Easter 2015.

5. Kids Reversible Fabric Apron Kit; A Christmas gift from my mum. It's a size 2-3 and Sophie won't be 2 until December 2015... A good excuse to get out my sewing machine.

6. Card Table Tent. I have the card tables, I have the pattern and the sewing machine. All I need is to pick a theme and get to work...Probably should get some fabric too.

7. Crochet Cake Kit by Suzanne Houghton Designs. This was a Christmas gift from my husband (after a hint!) an incentive to get me crocheting.

8. Baby Cardi pattern from Bendigo Woollen Mills. I've had the wool and pattern sitting there for probably six months now. It's time to get knitting on this one.

9. Crochet fruit buddies, adorable! From Mollie Makes issue 44. Pattern is sitting in the drawer, I have more crochet hooks than I can point a knitting needle at,  and I will, I will crochet...

10. Heart cookies. I really want to have a good crack at some fancy royal icing on cookies for the heart themed Birthday. 

11. Fabric dollhouse tutorial by UK lass in US. There are so many different things you could do with this one. I am a bit scared about tackling it, but am determined to give it a go.

12. Snowflake Christmas Tree Skirt Tutorial by katbaro. We didn't use our Christmas tree skirt in 2014, it's pretty naff. Fluorescent red with a few ironed on snowflakes. It's time we classed up Christmas. 

So watch this space and watch out 2015! You can join in at any time, all you have to do is make your list and get making. Good luck.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Merry Knitmas

I was going to say, 'here is the last of my Christmas knitting (and creating)', however I have yet to post about the knitted Hat and Crown I am currently working on for the boys. I will leave that for the Christmas aftermath, and hope that they aren't destroyed before I can get pictures.

I am also cooling some meringue coconut Christmas Trees in the oven as I blog. I will do my best to post about these prior to the big day.

I am pretty chuffed about this little get together of knitted goodies.

The Knitted Plant comes from the book; 500 Toys To Make. I made it as a joke for a friend of ours who said he wanted to buy fake plants for his bathrooms (I was aghast!) So I knitted him this plant and was then actually pretty excited by how it turned out.

Christmas Peanuts, so adorable!

The little festive Peanut People are from Kookla Creations. Kookla means 'little doll' in Greek, I don't know if I ever mentioned on this blog that my husband is Greek?! My daughter gets called Kookla a lot. I actually found the pattern for these cuties in an old handcraft magazine, however you can buy and download the pattern at the Etsy Store. I'm pretty sure I will be buying a pattern from here in the future, they are so cute.

Mini Mitten Garland

The Mittens, I have blogged about before, as I used them with my Christmas Crackers. They are actually supposed to make up a little advent calender garland, however I used them to put little gifts in and also to decorate presents. I might even make a pair for my niece's doll. You can get this pattern free. D
on't be scared if you're unsure about using double pointed needles. I was a novice, but this great video really helped me out.

Cardboard Fruits

The little Cardboard Fruits I came across on Pinterest. I thought this was a good way to use my Accucut Grandemark machine before I said farewell to it. I will be doing a post on my Accucut farewell in the New Year. If you'd like to have a go at the fruits, you can follow this easy tutorial.

I am also very happy that my husband borrowed a lightbox from work one evening, and I was able to have a mini photo shoot! That was a lot of fun, and I think we will be borrowing it again!

Thursday, 18 December 2014

What a Cracker

If you are my family, please look away now. I was hoping to try and keep these crackers as a cracking good Christmas Day surprise. They have become a mini Christmas gift in a way, specific to each person, instead of just a cracker with a lame joke and a plastic comb.

So here it be! A cracker of a cracker filled with (mostly) handmade goodness!

The Cracker itself comes from Pip & The Sea, they come sans banger, however I always like to have a little bang in my Christmas, so I got some to put in. You can squeeze a surprising amount of stuff in these.

The oh so cute mini stamps are from Cupcaketree on Etsy, I tried to get ones that suited the people they are for.

The Mitten (I have made quite a few!) comes from this free pattern. They are a little tricky to begin with, however I can just about do them in my sleep now. Don't be scared if you're unsure about double pointed needles. This great video really helped me.

I chose jokes that I tried to make specific to each family member. Some are a little generic, these late nights and unruly children are somewhat stifling my creativity!

I would've liked to have made my own paper hats, and chocolates, however sometimes you have to make compromises.

Hoping you have a Cracking Good Christmas!

Monday, 15 December 2014

Pip & The Sea

Yikes! My 2 year old has discovered that he can get out of bed, and is making good use of the house when he is supposed to be sleeping. We are also replacing windows which we were surprised to be told could be installed before Christmas and in 2 - 3 days no less (we were willing to wait until New Year). Of course it hasn't gone according to plan, we have boards where a window should be, and the hole was made last Wednesday. Anyway, we have been told it will all be done tomorrow, and remain optimistic.

Meanwhile, I have been trying to get together my Christmas bits and bobs. One of which is my handmade Christmas Crackers, which I will feature on another post, however firstly, I would like to share with you the handmade adventure of Nicola from Pip & The Sea who designed these gorgeous Christmas delights.

What a Cracker!

How & when did Pip and the Sea come about?
Stunning Resin Bracelets
I have always had an interest in jewellery making and have previously dabbled in silver-smithing and other mediums. A few years ago I enrolled in a resin jewellery workshop, and really loved it. For Christmas 2012 I designed and made my mother a resin bracelet as a gift. I had embedded photos of her grandchildren in it. Friends began to inquire about purchasing them, and after a few custom orders, I decided to set up an Etsy store. Since then I have expanded to many other products, and have specialised in using eco-resin, which is a plant-based resin that uses the by products of paper pulp and bio-fuel.

Is Pip and the Sea your day job?

I am currently a full-time mum, and mostly make jewellery in the evenings, once my two young kids are in bed. It is a hobby business that I do for enjoyment and the love of creative expression. I also enjoy the social nature of interacting with my customers and all of the Pip and the Sea Instagram and Facebook followers. The support that I have received from friends and strangers from all over the world can be really uplifting.

Do you attend markets?

Tomato Red Earrings

I occasionally sell at markets, but have decided to focus more on selling my designs online. I have found that markets can be quite flooded with jewellery sellers, and selling online gives me more control over the hours that I work on my hobby business, freeing up weekends for time with my family.

How do you come up with your designs?

I’m constantly researching, reading and experimenting with resin and trying out different techniques and tools. I often get ideas for designs from things that I see in nature. I designed a honey-comb shaped pendant after my family got a hive of native bees for our garden in Sydney. I’ve made pendants using found objects, such as insect wings that I have stumbled across on the ground. New designs happen organically. 

I’ve recently started to develop a line of paper goods such as cards, gift tags and crackers after I took a workshop on gold-foiling. I’m led by whatever interests me. New products are always a bit of a risk as I need to invest in materials and equipment before I know if they will be successful, but that is part of the fun.

Where do you work from?

Black Seaweed Pendant
I have a work bench set up in the corner of a room in my house. I can be a bit untidy when I am getting creative, so I needed a space that was separate to the rest of the house.

What do you love most about what you do?

I love having a creative outlet, and something to focus on. It’s rewarding when people are purchasing and placing value on an item that I have made with my hands. I feel proud that I have built a small business from scratch and have sold items to people all around the world. It’s really lovely to receive so much support from so many people.

Where do you find your inspiration?

I can find inspiration anywhere. I’ll will often notice a shape or a colour combination somewhere during my daily activities and I’ll take a picture and see if I can come up with something for a new design. Sometimes I have custom requests from people which will lead to a new design.

What is your ambition for Pip and the Sea?

I would like to continue to work on improving my products and customer service, and creating new designs. I have felt proud as I’ve witnessed my business slowly grow and I hope to continue with the work I have put in for as long as it suits our family’s lifestyle. When I return to full-time work it may take a back seat, but that is the nature of a hobby business. It can be flexible, which is part of the attraction.

Be sure to take a look at all of Nicola's other amazing pieces. I think I will be dropping a not so subtle hint for an eco-resin jewel for my birthday in March!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Handmade Home?

Not quite...

Presently up to my eyeballs in dust due to replacing windows, instead of being up to my eyeballs in knitting. Where I would much rather be!

Watch this space for lots of Handmade Christmassy things soon.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Dandelion in your bonnet

At Easter time this year, I came across a lovely dress and bonnet set made by Tam from Dandelion and Boo. Even though Sophie was only a couple of months old, and the outfit was size 2, I decided she needed it, and so I bought it and put it away for a few years time.

I recently asked Tam about her handmade adventure, and here it is;

I definitely wasn't a sewer to begin with! In fact in Grade 7 or 8 I got a 'D' for Home Economics! My Mum doesn't sew and my Grandmother taught me to knit but wasn't a sewer. I only learned to sew a couple of years ago when I was looking for a creative outlet.

Sweet Reversible Bonnets

I started making a few bonnets for my middle daughter when she was one and a few friends wanted to buy some so Dandelion and Boo was started. That was two years ago.

Dandelion and Boo is currently a hobby business, I would love for it to be my day job, however with two kids at home, they are my day job. One day I hope to commit full time to Dandelion and Boo.

Most of my work is my original designs. I do use a few vintage patterns that I picked up in op shops, and was recently asked to pattern test for Bobkin, so I might add a few of her patterns to my range.

I would adore a sewing room, but at the moment my work space is the dining room table as the bedrooms are taken up with my three girls! I'm planning on eventually making a little space for myself in the rumpus room.

As well as being a creative outlet, I sew for the love of making people happy, and making beautiful things. I love seeing my customers come back with photos to show me of their little ones in my creations. And it is a wonderful thing to make something beautiful out of nothing.

I'm inspired by fabrics. They often 'talk' to me about what they should be made into. I'm also inspired by the past. I love what people use to wear, and elements of that come through in my designs.

So Adorable!
I've been very lucky with how Dandelion and Boo has grown this year. I'm getting more followers and customers, as well as a lot of respect from my fellow handmaidens. I would love for that to continue and I am starting a boy's line shortly, it would be nice to get some boy customers on board.

Make sure you head to Tam's Facebook page and online store, to check out more of her beautiful dresses and bonnets.

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Handmade Biggest Kids Christmas

Here are the last of my handmade Christmas gift suggestions for this year.


1. Knitted Necklace - These are my take on a Mollie Makes tutorial. Quick, easy and a little bit different
2. Personalised Bracelet - From Debby at 2Roads Designs. These are lovely and you can have your own message stamped onto the bracelet, so thoughtful

3. Crochet Rug - Add a bit of cute and cosy to her life with a hand crochet rug from Castle Handmade**
4. Cookies - Yum, I love to give and receive baked goods! Bake some or buy some (preferably that someone has handmade not from the supermarket). I made some of these up for gifts a few Christmases ago. The little owl I made from a kids' sock, following this free tutorial


1. Tie Bar Clip Set - Debby at 2Roads Designs will customise these for your man, very suave
2. Ugly Jumper Card - Write him a lovely festive message in one of these awesome Christmas Cards from Mum and me Handmade Designs

3. Knit Something! - There are so many good things out there to knit for the man in your life. If, like me, you have a bit of a nerd, head to ravelry and look up Doctor Who, very cool gift ideas for Whovians
4. Personalised Luggage Tags - Again from Debby at 2Roads, personal and practical, that says man gift to me

**please note, I have not actually purchased anything from Castle Handmade at this stage, I just think her stuff is so darn cute!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Handmade Big Kids Christmas

Here we are, my handmade suggestions for the bigger kids, the biggest kids to follow tomorrow.


1. Ninja Doll
- Little Sew & Sews have this cute pattern to make your own ninja For the little man in your life of course!

2. Pirate Hat - Ahoy! I am currently in the midst of knitting up a couple of these scurvy hats for my land lubbers. Free knitting pattern
3. Pirate Sword & Map - I bought this from Kerry at What-nots for Tiny Tots last year for my eldest. Seriously awesome handmade toy
4. Pool Noodle Sock Horse - Need I say more? Seriously, make one, free tutorial


1. Felt Food - These yummy pancakes are another amazing creation by Kerry at What-nots for Tiny Tots. If you are feeling you have more time up your sleeve, there are heaps of tutorials online for felt food
2. Floss Dress - This stunning dress is by Tam at Dandelion and Boo. I bought one of her beautiful dresses and bonnets earlier in the year for our princess, really well made and one of a kind
3. Super Doll - Another super pattern and tutorial from Little Sew & Sews
4. Ladybug Sun Hat - Yes Pleats and Treats, if you have little ones, they need one of these adorable hats!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Handmade Little Kids Christmas

I have been excited about writing these posts for a while. It's just been a matter of finding the time to put it all together.

Below I have made lists for handmade items you can make yourself, or purchase from a talented crafts person, for the little people on your Christmas list. I have personally selected these items as I have either purchased something from the maker myself, or made it myself so I know that it works.

I hope to get to everyone on the Christmas list, however it seems Christmas crafting and looking after my brood takes up quite a bit of time!

Baby Gift Ideas


1. Baby Block
- Make your own baby block with this tutorial

2. Santa Sack - You can buy one of these gorgeous ones that my own mum has made, or make one of your own by searching tutorials online
3. Taggie Toy - Ever notice how kids just play with the tags on toys? Pleats and Treats make the cutest taggies 
4. Mobile - It doesn't take long to put together a few bits and pieces to make a really effective mobile. I made this one for my little girl

Toddler Gift Ideas

1. Sun Hat - My son loves his handmade Pleats and Treats sun hat
2. Plush Tool Set - I made these for my boys last year (not pictured) using a pattern and tutorial I bought from Little Sew & Sews. The boys still love them and Bel has other super cute patterns to choose from too
3. Crocodile Scarf - Download the pattern instantly from Morehouse Farm and get knitting!
4. Fox Neck Warmer - This free pattern knits up really quickly

Next time, things for the big kids!

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Crochet Cuties

If you've been following my blog, you would know by now that I cannot crochet, I have tried, and tried, and tried, and failed! I have not yet given up, it's just on the back burner. One very talented lady who can crochet, is Elizabeth from Castle Handmade.

Handmade Crochet Rug By Elizabeth

Elizabeth makes the most adorable hand crochet toys, rugs and stool covers. If you are in the Hawksbury NSW area, she also holds classes (lucky you!). Here Elizabeth's handmade adventure;

I first picked up a crochet hook at the age of 8. Mum was always knitting or crocheting and I was always bugging her to teach me. I never really got the hang of it back then, and at that age I never had the patience to complete a project. When I was pregnant with my son in 2011, my Mum handed me the six granny squares I had made when I was 8, and suggested I finish the blanket I had started 20 years ago. So I followed some youtube videos and completed a cot blanket. Suddenly I was hooked! Ever since then I have been crocheting everyday. I read blogs, watch videos, buy books and magazines, anything I can do to learn new techniques and improve my craft.

Amazing Crochet Tea Party
After finishing that first cot blanket, I began working on other little projects for my bub. Beanies and booties, photo props for his newborn photos, toys and items for his room. I soon started getting requests from friends and family to make items for their children or as gifts for others. After my son was born, I started a facebook page, and once I built up a stock of items, I started attending local markets.

Originally it all began as just a hobby to keep my mind occupied whilst being a stay at home Mum. It has now become my day (and night) job. Not only am I making crochet items, but I am also teaching crochet workshops in my own home to help others develop their skills.

I dream of having my own room, full of lovely natural light, with my yarn displayed beautifully, but unfortunately I don't have the luxury just yet. Instead I have my supplies packed neatly into cupboards and my dining table acts as a workbench, filled with finished projects, works in progress, hooks, yarn and whatever else I happen to need. The kitchen bench is my wrapping station, where I package my items ready to post.

Nights are often spent on the lounge crocheting, I like sitting outside to work when I can, and car trips are fantastic for working on projects, provided I am the passenger.

Most of my items are made using existing patterns, making no changes other than choosing my own colour combinations and adding little finishing details. Often I alter the patterns as I go, changing the shape or size to help make it match the image I have in my mind. I also create my own patterns, this takes much longer than following a ready made pattern, but the end result is always so much more rewarding.

Christmas Dachshund? Yes Please!

It's so hard to pick a favorite part about what I do, I can honestly say that I love every aspect of the process. Two things definitely stand out though. The first is when I add the finishing touches to an item, for example adding the eyes to an animal softie, they really come to life and all of sudden with their own unique personality. The second is reading emails and seeing the photos after a customer has has either found a special place for my work in their home or gifted it to a loved one. It is so rewarding to see a child smiling as they give their new friend a warm and loving cuddle.

Looks like Rein... Deer

If you would like to buy or order one of Elizabeth's crochet creations, or find out more about her classes, she has just opened Castle Handmade online, and you can contact her via Facebook and Instagram.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

The Road Less Travelled

This week our Handmade Adventure comes from Debby at 2Roads Designs in Sydney NSW. Debby makes unique custom jewelery pieces, inspired by travel, family and friends.

2Roads Designs Bracelets, made to order

I ordered a beautiful bracelet from Debby just last week for my sister's birthday, and am tempted to keep it for myself. Of course I won't....

I loved Debby's story, and I hope you do to!

Custom stamped initial heart necklace
I was working as a Financial Controller in early 2011. I wanted to try a new crafty hobby to exercise the creative side of my brain after three intense months of crunching numbers. After a failed attempt at knitting, I started stamping metal. It allowed me to be creative and relieve some stress productively. In addition, they made great personalised gifts which my family and friends loved.

It started out as a hobby business when my family and friends encouraged me to sell my creations. Then my husband’s job relocated us to Australia (from our home in Seattle, USA) during 2012 and I saw it as an opportunity to grow it into a day job.

I draw inspiration from what lead me to start designing in the first place: my family, friends and travel. Once I have an idea in mind, I go straight to creating. There are times where it doesn’t work out how I'd like or envisioned, but the process is fun nonetheless.

Family love floating locket
Since we live so far from loved ones, our spare bedroom gets little use and is my full-time studio space. I am also slowly creeping out to the dining room table as a mailing hub, but try really hard to keep my creative space from overtaking!

There are two things I love about what I do - Firstly the flexibility that running my own business brings, especially to travel this amazing country with my husband. Secondly, that selling jewellery and accessories sentimental in nature, allows me to see kindness, encouragement and humour in the orders and my customers every day. I love stamping r
eally funny or unique sayings on pieces, as I know that it’s one of a kind, and will mean a lot to the recipient. It’s very humbling, soul fulfilling and I appreciate that so much.

Now that Australia is looking to be our permanent home, I’d like to continue to grow my brand.  I’m in three handmade collective stores around the country and hope to continue to grow in that area.

My current challenge is fighting the fatigue in my hands from the physical toll that hammering, sanding, polishing can take. Although I look at this as opportunity to make other products.  The most recent is a line personalised luggage tags with my focus on destination weddings.

2Roads Designs Personalised Luggage Tags

If you would like to get your hands on one of these gorgeous pieces, or check out some more of Debby's creations, you can visit 2Roads Designs on madeit, etsy and keep up with the latest on Facebook.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Santa Claus is Coming To Town

It must be Christmas! I have temporarily re-opened my old madeit store. On offer are some gorgeous Santa Sacks in a range of sizes and colours, made by my Mum, Anne.

Santa Sacks have been a tradition in our house since I was a wee thing. My Grandma made sacks for the whole family.

I still have mine, and now my Mum has made them for all of her grandchildren.

Start the tradition at your house!

If you would like to order one, when you check out at madeit, mention in the comments that you saw this blog post, who the sack is for, and I will include matching iron on letters so you can personalise it.

Sample Iron on Letters*

(*Please note that to prevent fraying, it is best to sew around the letters to secure them.)

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Blogger Botox

Welcome to all my new visitors! It's so nice to have you pop by. Please excuse me while I fuss about and give the blog a much needed facelift.

If anyone has any Blogger template knowledge, and can give me some pointers, I'd be ever so grateful. For the moment, bare with me while I try and figure out this technology thing.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Never look a gift horse in the mouth

Pool Noodle Sock Horse!

This is a little project that I made for Felix for his second birthday. It came about because he was 'riding' around on broom sticks in the backyard saying "giddyup", so I figured he'd like one.

I had seen some amazing DIY hobby horses on Pinterest, however as my sewing skills (still) leave a lot to be desired, I didn't bother attempting. I also found plenty of pool noodle horse tutorials, which weren't quite the look I was going for. So I combined the best of both worlds, to the best of my ability, with the help of this tutorial from Dandee Designs.

The end product was an almost no sew, quite sturdy horse, which is still (mostly) in one piece and being ridden around as I type.

I've written up a little 'how to' below for the pool noddle sock combination, or you can download the PDF. I sure would love to see more Pool Noodle Sock Horses getting around, yeeha!

Thursday, 6 November 2014


Another Birthday and another knitted gift ready to go! This fox scarf / kiddies neck warmer, was crazy easy to make. I found the instructions here, the English translation is at the bottom of the page (before the comments).

When I make another, I think I will make the middle section just a tiny bit longer to create a looser fit.

I would like to gift a book along with it, however I believe the recipient already has Fox in Socks and The Fantastic Mr Fox, any other foxy suggestions are welcome.

Friday, 24 October 2014

Make a scarf and make it snappy

I had a blast making these scarves! It wasn't a terribly complex pattern to follow, didn't seem to take very long, and they came up a treat. The pattern is Morehouse Farm's Baby Alligator Scarf. Although living in Australia, I've adapted it to be a crocodile (by changing the name and nothing more about it!)

A bunch O' Crocs

I gifted them to some 2 year olds, along with a copy of Roald Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile which went down really well. I have a large list of other animal related knits I'd like to attempt, and I am certain accompanying children's books would not be difficult to find.

On an unrelated note, looking back at a few of my photos, my next task is to improve my photography skills when it comes to objects. Fast moving children, I seem to have no trouble with?!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Keep it under your hat

In February this year, our little man Felix turned 3. My mum had seen these gorgeous handmade hats by Pleats and Treats on madeit** and suggested Felix might need one. Being a man about town, of course Felix needed one, and it has become his most beloved sun-hat. Which I must say I am secretly very proud of, I would rather he love that, than his hand-me-down Thomas or Bob The Builder hats.

Felix in his Pleats and Treats Hat

I recently (finally) got in contact with Dionie who owns Pleats and Treats in WA, and told her how much we love the hat. I also asked if she might share her handmade adventure, and she so kindly agreed. So without further ado, here is Dionie's story;

Bag made with Amy Butler Fabric
In 2011, we returned to Australia after living abroad, and rather than go straight back to work I wanted to spend time with my young kids. Working full time as a Finance Manager and being a mum to twins meant I hadn't had time to sew for years, but I stumbled across Amy Butler fabrics and fell in love with them. I made a hand bag for myself and also, gifts and was encouraged by my friends to make more, pleats and treats was born at the end of 2011.

Pleats and Treats Owl Sunhat
Fortunately I didn't get into it to pay the mortgage, and while I loved designing and making my own bags, making what you love doesn't always sell and after a year of online selling I had barely reached double figures in my sales. This, combined with a major house renovation, meant things kind of got put on hold until just over a year ago when my friends little girl was having a birthday. She loves owls and I remembered a piece of owl fabric I had in my stash. I had made hats for my boys in the past, so I thought I would make my little friend one too and she loved it, her mum loved it and her mum's friends loved it.

I made up a few more hats and listed them on my website and they started to sell almost straight away. I also bit the bullet and finally got the courage to get a stall at a local market- one bright sunny summers day and I was on my way. I added other things such as my wooden signs and novelty taggies to just widen my audience and use up some of the bits and pieces left over from my home renovation as well as the material scraps I was quickly gathering.

Pleats and Treats Taggie Penguin!

I spent a lot of time on the internet researching things (still do) and realised that not all patterns (or fabrics) are approved for commercial use and as all the bag ones I loved weren't approved I had to come up with my own. A few big bits of flip chart paper worked well for drawing up some ideas and patterns. I also make my own taggie patterns using readily available items to trace around where possible- eg thread reels for eyes. It seemed much easier though, to use approved patterns for both my bucket and cloche hats, so I tried out a couple before finding the ones I now use.

My house is overflowing with my stuff- it is in the dining room, the lounge, the spare room, the laundry cupboards and in the study. I am trying to contain it, but it's a wild beast- I would love a craft room, but that will have to wait until the play room is no longer needed as a play room. I generally set up my machine one end of our large dining table and try to keep to that end. Only when we have people stay do I move to the desk in the study, and I have to move out the moment they leave. My husband thinks that if I get too settled in there he will never see his desk again!

Pleats & Treats have your kid's head covered!

I love the fabrics I use, I love it when a delivery of fabric arrives, especially if it has a new one in it. I love it when a particular fabric works as well, or even better as a hat than I had thought it would. I love seeing my hats walk around the markets, and I love it when people see my signs at markets and it makes them smile. I love it when I get return customers or receive great feedback, because I know that people are enjoying what I make and it is up to scratch- I would hate to think someone was disappointed in one of my items.
Pleats and Treats Bag

Where to from here? I have so many ideas in my head but with such demand for hats, especially at this time of year, I will keep on with them for a while yet. New fabrics keep them fresh and interesting ,and I am always looking for something different. I would like to get into designing my own fabrics as I have got a good idea what patterns people like now.

Anyone know how to get more hours in their week???


** A small disclaimer, I have no association with madeit whatsoever, I do shop on etsy from time to time, however I first check out madeit because as well as handmade, I love Australian made, Karen.**

Monday, 6 October 2014

A Very Handmade Christmas

Yes it's only just October, however if you wanted a handmade Christmas, you should have well and truly started by now!


My Pinterest Boards are filled to the brim with exciting handmade ideas. Sadly that is not going to happen this year with my three little munchkins and the littlest with her heart condition.

One thing I will manage to do, is print off a few of these awesome gift tags by Helen Dardik. She releases a new set at the beginning of December every year. Adorable and unique and free! (apart from the paper and ink from your printer)

If, like me, you have absolutely no time, then there is always the option to buy handmade, which I of course advocate. madeit, the Australian equivalent of etsy, have started their Christmas campaign, you can sign up to receive a newsletter filled with lots of gifty ideas.

Next year, I hope to set myself a handmade challenge that others can take up too if they wish. I haven't thought out all the rules just yet, however it's all about handmade that's for sure!

As long as our little lady gets through her last surgery without any setbacks in December, I shall launch the handmade gift challenge in January 2015.

Until then, you'd better get your skates on if you're thinking about a handmade Christmas!