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.