Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A Handmade Gift Needs a Handmade Card

I love to be able to give a gift I've made myself, and even accompany that with a card I've made myself. However, in this day and age, time isn't exactly available in copious amounts! So when I am unable to make something myself, I love to support someone else doing the handmade thing.

If you've gotten a gift from me, chances are it's been accompanied by a card made by the lovely Katrina at Mum & Me Handmade Designs based in Brisbane Australia.

I asked Katrina a few questions about her own Handmade Adventure;

How long ago did you start Mum and Me Handmade Designs? 
I started my business with my mum 9 years ago.  We started attending markets in Brisbane.  Some markets I even have my grandmother help and so it’s a real family affair.  I have 3 daughters ages 4, 7 and 9 and they inspire me to do what I do.

Love Handmade!
What led you to start creating cards? 
I’ve always loved cards and after having my first daughter and receiving lots of beautiful keepsake cards I decided to give it a go.  I started making cards with stamps, cardstock, papers, embellishments and each card would take me over an hour to make each one.  I did this for years before realising I love prints and fonts and so finally decided to give this style a go and it was the best decision for me.  I love love love making these cards. 

Mum & Me Handmade Designs
What is your design process?
Some of my cards are original designs and lots of others are artwork I have purchased. I love to sketch and play around with designs and layouts and to work out how I want my cards to look and what I can do to make my cards modern and stylish.

Where do you work from? 
My business started out in the dining room and I just started taking over the whole house.  I now have a separate area and work benches where most of my stock and supplies are kept.  My craft space is a little dark so I tend to still work at my dining room table!  Each Monday I start the week fresh and I make sure I reorder and stock my workspace and create a list of everything that I need to make.  I also sew so I have fabric everywhere!!!

What do you love most about what you do?
It feels right!!!  I love what I do and it brings me a lot of joy.  It has been a lot of hard work and I have made some mistakes along the way but after 9 years I am very happy where my business is at and I’m looking forward to the next few years. I love hearing from my customers and their beautiful feedback puts a smile on my face each time.

Mum and Me Handmade Designs have the perfect card for every occasion!

Friday, 25 July 2014

A Knitted Necklace

Some more knitted gifts from me. I am now trying my hand at jewelry! I spotted a nifty tutorial in the Mollie Makes Magazine and decided to give it a go. You can find the free tutorial online here.

Mollie Makes Knitted Necklace

I wanted to use up a few of my bits and bobs of wool and of course I had nothing as pretty as the variegated yarn that they used, nor did my craft store have all the pieces required to make one like the above. So I did what I do, I improvised!

Ombre Tones, So Hot Right Now!

I think I could do better, overall though, I'm pretty proud of them as a first attempt. A couple more birthday presents ticked off the list.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Crochet, Still No Way

The lovely Julie from Hooked On Crochet has confirmed my suspicions! I am going to have to put off learning to crochet until I can find someone to actually show me how it's done... oh well on with the knitting.

Here are a few of my latest creations, some gifts for friends with a boy and two little girls. The teether is an embroidered piece of felt. I am thinking of developing this further and making a little tutorial. Stay tuned.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Crochet, No Way

Yarrrgh! No I haven't taken up piracy, although currently it's an option with my scurvy brats sending me loopy.

I have been trying to crochet (again). This is a skill that continues to elude me. I can chain, and that's about it. There are SO many things that look good crocheted and I have pinned about 50 things on Pinterest that I'd like to make.

This doesn't look right

Nope, not right at all...

I've borrowed books, watched online videos, and I just can't get it. I'm even more frustrated as there is currently a class going on at my local craft store that would be perfect, and I can't go. My main obstacle being my little girl won't take a bottle, so I can never go far on my own.

We were given an adorable handmade hat which was crocheted and I have discovered that the person who makes them also has beginner kits... next place to try? It's called Hooked On Crochet.

If anyone has found a brilliant crochet tutorial that has got them going, I'd love to hear about it...

Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Amazing Gingerbread

While looking through some old photos the other day, I found this particular picture of my gingerbread family! A handmade Christmas present, about 10 years ago now. 

My Gingerbread Family C. 2004

I intend for this blog to not only share my own handmade creations, but also the handmade creations of others. A few weeks ago I was at The Handmade Show in Melbourne, and came across some absolutely stunning 'gingerbread'.

Traditional Hungarian Honey Bread

These little beauties are handmade by Edit at Art On Honey. They not only look amazing, they are also delicious (yes I did actually eat one!) I asked Edit for a little more background; She explained that this type of gingerbread is a Hungarian tradition actually called honey bread. Usually these they are considered more of a keepsake than something to scoff down with a cup of tea!

Amazing Handmade Edibles
The icing is lemon and the honey bread is based on a traditional Hungarian recipe. Hungarian honey bread was one of the first biscuits made in Middle Europe, honey was used as a natural sweetener and preservative. First the bakers would carve the decoration they wanted for the biscuit into wood, then stamp it into the dough. Later, when sugar could be found, they were iced.


The biscuits became a symbol of love and the best way of courting. Traditionally people keep this dough forever like you would a card. They can even still be eaten after years because of the honey. (However Edit is bound by health and safety laws to provide a best before by date!)

You can still find honey bread in Hungarian town markets. Many of the decorations in Hungary are simpler, sometimes they come with mirror in the middle of the dough. Edit’s works are different, combining the honey bread with traditional Hungarian embroidery designs, called Kalocsai.

Stunning Personalised Wedding Bonbonniere

Edit can make you some delightful treats to order for your special occasion too, she has made them for wedding bonbonniere gifts, personalising them with the bride and grooms name and date (I would have loved to have these at our wedding) she will even ship overseas. See the Art On Honey Facebook Page for more information.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Baby Block Tutorial

Once upon a time, I had my own little handmade business that sold little iron on letters and motifs, however it turns out I wasn't terribly passionate about it, and I discovered I would much prefer to make things for family and friends than try and sell my wares.

To promote my Iron On Doodahs, my Mum did this nifty little tutorial to make a soft baby block. These make great little baby shower gifts and are perfect for using up scraps. Make one, make enough to build a fort! If you do make one, I'd love for you to share.

Finished Baby Block

STEP 1: Choose a theme or colour scheme and select your fabric.

STEP 2: Cut two 4 1/2" squares of 3 fabrics if you wish opposite sides to match. OR Cut one 4 1/2" square of 6 fabrics if you wish all sides to be different.

Steps 1 & 2 Colour Scheme and Squares

STEP 3: Iron on letters or motif's to your chosen squares. You can blanket stitch around these to make them more secure.

Step 3 Attach Motif

STEP 4: Layout your squares in the pattern you desire.
Step 4 Arrange as Desired

STEP 5: Ignoring the the two side squares for now. Pin and sew the four middle squares together. Use the width of your machine foot, approx 1/2" to 3/8" seams. Then press seams flat.

Step 5 Pin and Sew Seams and Iron Flat

STEP 6: Turn over to right side. Gently pinch side of the middle square matching top and bottom seam and pin at centre. Fold side square in half to find centre and pin.

Step 6 Pin Side Square

STEP 7: Match pins right side together.

Step 7 Match Pins

STEP 8: Flip over so you can see your middle row of four seams and pin from the middle as pictured.

Step 8 Turn Over and Pin

STEP 9: Start sewing at middle seam line and sew exactly to the next seam line.

Step 9 Sew Seam to Seam

STEP 10: Repeat steps 6 - 10 for opposite side of cube.

Step 10 Repeat For Other Side

STEP 11: On reverse side, sew up all edges around the middle square until you have sewn up 4 corners and have the lid remaining. Iron the seams flat as pictured.

STEP 12: Still on reverse side, sew up two sides of the lid. On the third side, sew 1/3 of the way across, lift the machine foot, leave about a 2" gap and then sew the remainder.

Step 12 On Reverse Side Sew Up Lid Leaving 2" Gap

STEP 13: Turn the cube right side out through the hole. Gently push out the corners using a rounded chopstick or pencil.

Step 13 Turn Right Side Out

STEP 14: Stuff the cube with toy filling. Then use a simple neat stitch in matching cotton to sew up the hole! And there you have it.

Step 14 Stuff & Sew

Voila! You're a Cubist!

Monday, 14 July 2014

Charity Crafting

I am a big fan of Charity Crafting! There are so many worthy charities out there, and, when I get the time, I always get a warm fuzzy feeling making something special, for someone I have never, and will never meet.

Recently, while my daughter Sophie was in hospital, she was the unexpected recipient of Charity Crafting. After Sophie had her TGA (transposition of the greater arteries) switch done at 4 weeks, she had complication upon complication. What was supposed to be a 2 week stay post op, turned into a 6 week long haul, which was physically and emotionally draining on all of us.

One day, going about the usual hospital business, our daughter was delivered the most beautiful handmade quilt. It still brings a tear to my eye thinking about it. It was so unexpected, and exactly what we needed to lift our spirits.

Charity Quilt from The Victorian Quilter's Inc

The quilt was a gift from the Victorian Quilter's Inc through their Very Snuggly Quilts program. A record of each quilt is kept by Victorian Quilts Inc. to allow the recipient to acknowledge the quilt-maker if they wish. Which is just what we did. It really did have such an impact on us.

The fact that someone had put so much love an care into something for someone they didn't even know. We will treasure this quilt forever. When Sophie is old enough, we will tell her the story behind the quilt, and perhaps she can even give it to her daughter one day.

Sophie under her Very Snuggly Quilt

If quilting isn't your thing, there are loads of charities for different crafts. Some of my favourites include; KOGO, Knit One Give One, who distribute hand knitted items to numerous charities all over Victoria.

Another is Pillowcases for Oncology Kids, this charity was set up by 15yr old cancer patient Brittany, these guys donate handmade pillowcases to oncology kids in hospitals around Australia. This one is quite personal, as childhood cancer has also unfortunately touched our lives.

So if you have a huge stash of yarn, fabric, or what not, and no project on the go, google for charity crafting in your area, you could really make a difference and help lift someone's spirits.

Sunday, 13 July 2014

The Adventure Begins

I am going to start My Handmade Adventure where I guess it all began, with Grandma, Heather. My Grandma was surely the original handmade woman. She could knit, crochet, sew, embroider, cross stitch and make fondant flowers.

That isn't to say she was a master of all things handmade. Her Easter bread is still talked about in our family, she would never cook the same loaf twice. Yet without fail, every Easter, she'd bake homemade bread, and we could never get enough of it, be it dense or dry or otherwise.

When she was gainfully employed, Grandma used to hand paint black and white photographs for Kodak (before there was colour film) Did I mention she was a photographer as well?

Grandma passed away 8 years ago, never getting to meet my husband, or her great grandchildren. Perhaps my renewed vigor for all things handmade comes from an attempt to introduce my children to their great grandmother.

Grandma taught me how to knit. Although it's been a skill that has remained dormant for a number of years, these days it is my main crafty outlet. Thanks to the internet, I have been able to expand my basic skills and knitting knowledge, and I'm actually getting pretty good at it. In fact when ever it's coming up to a birthday or present situation I start thinking... what can I knit?!

I am desperate to improve all of my crafty skills. I have taken a few classes, however with three young children and my youngest born with a congenital heart defect, My Handmade Adventure has been taking a few unforeseen twists and turns.

I intend for this blog to not only be a way for me to share my handmade adventure, but to make a record for myself, to watch this journey unfold.

Me & My Grandma