Tuesday, 29 January 2013


Do you remember Jama's post on how to organise fabrics? It was quite useful to many and it has been shared on facebook by some readers several times and it is on Pinterest too. There various ways to keep our fabrics nice and tidy and Jama was kind enough to share the way she does it here. Now that our fabrics are in order, I thought it is the time we move on to the endless amount of threads that most of us people who are into designing, sewing and crafts at an amateur or a professional level have.

diy craftroom organiser

Here is a great looking and easy to achieve handmade storage idea for you from a non-English blog, which I have recently discovered. I was given permission to share this idea and the photos for you from the generous original writer. You can visit her blog by clicking here and browse through all those beautiful crafty ideas and projects. In most cases, just the photos are good enough to tell you all about it even if you are unable to read the writings.

All you need for this organiser idea is a frame, a soft canvas base, and some pins. Isn't that a great idea?

Handmade storage for threads

Note: You could substitute the pins with some nails if you are concerned that they may not hold your threads well. 

Saturday, 26 January 2013

DID YOU KNOW ...? (56)

loudest land animal
Photo Source
The loudest land animal is the howler monkey. Its calls or growls can be heard up to 5 kilometers away.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

GUEST POST: Sewing on a Budget

Here is another valuable contribution from another guest blogger, Toni. She has lots of great ideas, tips and experience on how to sew on a budget. Enjoy!

Update: She now has her own blog, addressed sewjereli.blogspot.com, where she shares lots of great tips and tutorials. I love her blog and you will be missing out on heaps if you don't check it out for yourself!


Hi all, my name is Toni and I live in Western Sydney, as far west as you can get before calling it the Blue Mountains. I started sewing over a year ago. I borrowed my mum's Brother BM2600 and couldn't get enough. I sew for my two little boys and some friends' children also :)

This post is all about your sewing budget. Personally, my budget for sewing is pretty small. Sometimes I really want that beautiful new fabric, all those patterns, a new fancy overlocker.. But I have to deal with the reality that it isn't going to happen for me while my children are small. I love being a stay at home mum and I'm not ready to give that up just yet. But that doesn't mean I can't sew!  So here's how we finance my favourite hobby.

I heard someone say once, they were "too poor to be cheap". Huh? This was the first lesson I learnt while sewing.

I sewed up a beautiful Oliver + S Sketchbook shirt. I loved it. The pattern cost me $22, so I went with a cheaper option $6pm fabric from a shop with no content labels etc. I was trying to save money! I thought that if I just kept using the same pattern I would save money on buying nice button up shirts for the boys.  But what happened? The fabric pilled and went funny looking. Ruined! My sewjo also took a beating with that one, and I haven't sewn the pattern again. So I am too poor to be cheap, because I should have bought quality material, then my project would not have become a waste of money.

Good quality material will wash and wear for years. So now I endeavour to buy quality, when I can. 

Each month spotlight has a $10 voucher in thier Get Creative magazine and I use that to bring down the costs of my purchases. I watch for sales on things I know I will use.  You can also save a lot with bulk orders at the online store, fabric.com, and that's where I will go when I can justify spending >$100.

But... The absolute best way to find good quality material at a bargain price, is to UPCYCLE!

Upcycling basically means that you take an old item of clothing, cut it up and make it into something new.
Toni's upcycled singlet
Blank Tank from a thrifted 50c tee!
Look in the local op shops/thrift stores for good quality items, check the brand label and care label for fabric content. You can find absolute bargains this way. For example, I purchased a 100% linen shirt in a size XL. That linen would have been costly to buy new, but I got it for 50c! It became some run around shorts for my son.

Just think how much fabric is in a woman's maxi skirt? Or a large pair of men's pants? More than enough for my two boys, and more than enough for most small projects.

As you are cutting up your bargain, don't forget to pick out zippers! Save yourself $2. Also, collect buttons! They can be an expensive part of a project. If you are browsing a second hand store, and you see an item with fabulous buttons for a couple of dollars, grab it! There is every chance that in Spotlight, similar buttons would be more than $1 each. 

Buy some older patterns for $1. With a bit of Google research you can modify any pattern to make it look more modern.

Also, warn your family members not to donate clothing without letting you pick through first! Try and adjust your eye to just see the fabric and not the shape or style, with a bit of creativity you can make something fabulous.

While you're in a thrifty mood, why not check your own wardrobe for things you don't fit in anymore or you never wear, and turn them into something your kids will love. Hmm and that handbag that's due to go in the trash? Well pick out the magnetic clasps and zip before you throw it away. You never know when you might need these things and I'm sure you could dream something up as you are doing it.

I want to add that your sewing machine budget, is a whole different matter. It is an investment. You want room to grow.  If you use good quality thread and regularly maintain your machine, it is a tool that can last for a long time.

When I think about a sewing budget, I also think about how I sew the item. What am I sewing to equal? Target? Myer? A boutique store?

Things such as fit, technique and seam finishes add value to your product.

upcycling ideas
Clean slate shorts, upcycled from thrifted pants

First of all, taking the  time to make design changes to make sure the pattern fits first. This automatically puts you above Kmart/Target because their clothes are designed to fit a wide range of bodies, not YOUR body or your child's body.

Then, what techniques do you employ? Do you try new things, or avoid the zipper or buttonhole you have always dreaded  in favour of something easier. Trust me the time you take to perfect technique really adds value to what you are making.

What seam finishes do you use?  Overlocking looks much more professional than pinked seams. But a French Seam can look better than overlocking.

The reason I think about these things is because they cost nothing, they just cost time. So, maybe you splurged a little and bought a fabric for more than say $20 p/m. Are you going to sew roughly so that your garment looks unprofessional? Or take the time to do things right? If you do things right, then your garment will save you money even though you did spend big on your fabric choice.

Example: Woman's Dress - Unlined

Material 3metres x $20 = $60
Matching Thread               $4
Buttons /Zip                       $5
Pattern                              $10

Investment = approximately $80

You didn't test fit, so it looks a bit funny in areas, maybe you sewed the zipper in a rush and it doesn't look quite right.  You can get a nice dress around the $60 - 80 mark at a big chain store, meaning you didn't save any money, really, you should have just bought one.

Now imagine the dress you sewed fits like a glove, seam finishes look clean and professional - that dress would cost $100 at the very least. So score, you saved $20. :) (If not more!)

upcycled shirt
Sketchbook shirt
I have sewed a few shirts for my sons. We attend regular Christian meetings and they need a few more styles. If I want a nice one from a suit shop, they start at minimum $40, which is too much for me. And to buy them anywhere else they are not made to be worn tucked in or sometimes not made to be worn with a tie. So if I get a pattern, lengthen and make fit adjustments, omit any details such as pockets, to make it look like a proper men's shirt. Then I am equalling the $40 shirt, therefore saving me money.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

DID YOU KNOW ...? (55)

It is believed that the first toothpaste in history was made of wine and ground up rock.

toothbrush and toothpaste
Photo Source

Wednesday, 16 January 2013


A good friend of mine was to the rescue once again. She is a very practical person and is quite knowledgeable too. The other week, she told me on the phone that she had found a new bread recipe and after trying it for herself, she shared the recipe with me as well. 

I cannot thank her enough for this recipe as it is such a winner. Easy to make, hard to go wrong with and is delicious. We have been enjoying our homemade bread on a regular basis since trying this recipe for the first time almost a month ago. 
Ev yapimi ekmek

Here is how we make our bread without the use of a bread making machine these days. 

4 cups of plain flour (or you can mix it with some wholemeal flour, which is what we have been doing recently)
2 cups of warm water
1 tablespoonful of olive oil
10g of yeast (or one and a half sachets)
1 small teaspoonful of salt
1 large teaspoonful of brown sugar
Seeds (optional) (linseed, pepittas, sunflower seeds etc)

Ekmek tarifi
White Bread: Plain flour, warm water, yeast, sugar, salt and oil

Homemade bread with seeds and wholemeal flour
Ingredients: Some wholemeal&some plain flour, warm water, sugar, salt, olive oil, yeast, linseed, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds
Mix all the ingredients together and make a soft and non-sticky dough. Place it in a bowl or a container, put a clean kitchen towel on it and leave it to rest until the dough doubles the size. Since it is nice and sunny here in Melbourne these days, I just leave it outside in the sun for a few hours and it works really well. 
Ev yapimi ekmek hamuru

Once it doubles the size, work it just a little bit once again and put it in a container that you will be baking it in. Don't forget to lay some baking paper under it. I also make some little cuts with a knife at an angle at this stage because it adds to the professional look of it at the end.
Homemade bread

Put a cover over it again and leave it to rest once more. Again, I have the luxury to put it in the sun. However, if you don't, you can turn on your oven for a bit, then put it in there leaving its door open. The warmth of the oven will work just fine too.
Bread making in the oven

Once it is ready, which is when it grows as big as you would like it to grow (it generally takes 2-4 hours for me in the sun), bake it in an oven set to high or 180C until the top is nicely pink and then turn down the heat (to low or around 160C) and let it bake until it has a beautiful bread colour.
Easy homemade bread recipe

The smell that it gives away while cooking is priceless. We enjoy every step of it and are definitely happy with the result we have each time. Mr. Junior has been involved in the process as well and for the last three times, he has been the main cook and I have only been helping him with little bits and pieces. Believe it or not, my four year old son, also known as Mr. Junior, now knows how to make bread and does a pretty good job of it even though there is some room for improvement! Here are a few pictures from one of Mr. Junior's bread making experiences.
A kid making bread

Ev yapimi ekmek
Lunch with Mr. Junior's bread

Note: Depending on the type of flour you use, the water absorption level may differ. You may have to alter the water amount depending on your needs. Make sure that your dough is soft but not sticky.
Appreciate something homemade/handmade today!

Monday, 14 January 2013


To clean some small and mild stains on your carpet, use half a cup of water and two table spoonsful of salt and clean the carpet with this mixture. Leave it to dry before vacuum cleaning the area.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

DID YOU KNOW ...? (54)

By raising your legs slowly and lying on your back, you cannot sink in quicksand.

(If you would like to learn more on how quicksand works, here is a good read for you.)

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

TUTORIAL: Making Fabric Appliques

There are different methods and materials that can be use in applique making. Today, I will be sharing one of the easiest and most efficient methods that I use with you. This method requires some double sided fusible interfacing that most craft stores sell.

Using double sided fusible interfacing, it is very easy to make appliques. Here are some simple instructions for you.

Materials needed: 

  • Double sided fusible interfacing
  • Fabric of your choice
  • A shape/an applique pattern
  • A pen/pencil
  • Scissors
  • Iron
  • A needle (optional)


1. Draw a shape/a pattern on the 'paper' side of your double sided interfacing (It has two sides; one shiny side and one dull and smooth side which is I will be hereafter referring as the 'paper side').
How to use double sided fusible interfacing

2. Cut your shape out roughly.
Tutorial on how to make an applique

3. Place your shape on the 'wrong' side of your fabric ('wrong side' refers to the side that doesn't have a pattern and is the size that will stay inside). Don't forget, the paper side of your interfacing needs to face you while the shiny side touches the fabric.
Double sided fusible webbing

 4. Turn on your iron. Fusible interfacing comes with instructions and it is best to follow them. Otherwise, set your iron to medium to high heat and start ironing (dry iron). It should not take long. Mine takes less than a minute (or perhaps half a minute) to work. Don't forget to give it a break though. I generally do mine about 8-10 seconds at a time and I do it only a few times for it to work.
instructions on how to use double sided adhesive

5. Cut your fabric. This time, you need to cut carefully and cut the exact pattern/applique shape. 

6. Using a needle, peel the paper backing from the applique piece. 
Fusible interfacing webbing adhesive

7. Lastly, place the wrong side of your pattern/applique where you want it to be on the main fabric and iron it on, again for less than a minute. Some interfacing allows (or requires) you to sew on as well but with my double sided interfacing, you don't have to. It is only optional.

Here are a few examples for you to enjoy.

Monday, 7 January 2013

GUEST POST: Getting Started with Container Gardening

Container gardening is a great way for many to get started with gardening. You can start a container garden whether you have a big yard or no yard at all. You can start a container garden on your porch or patio. You can even start one in your living room.

Container gardens also offer convenience. You can control the quality of the soil entirely, so you don't have to spend a lot of time and effort trying to improve the soil in your yard if it is poor. Weeds are also not a problem in container gardens, requiring less maintenance than a traditional garden.

If you are considering trying a container garden, here's what you need to know about how to get started:

Choose What to Grow
You can grow pretty much any crop in your container garden. The key is to be sure that you have a container that can accommodate the full reach of the roots. Therefore, you need to determine what crops you would like to grow and study their root needs before deciding which ones will be best for the container garden you would like to have.

Large crops like watermelon may be prohibitive since you may not want to get a container that is big enough to hold the patch or you might not be able to afford it. Crops like corn or tomatoes may require multiple containers to accommodate the full amount you would like to grow.

Get the Right Containers
In most instances, any container that is big enough to hold the plant's roots and that has some drainage will be fine to use. You can use old tupperware, empty paint buckets, kiddie pools, or even old tires. However, some containers can make maintenance more challenging. For example, metal and ceramic containers can heat up and dry out your plants more quickly. Clay pots can soak up water and dry out plants, as well. Typically, plastic containers are the easiest to maintain.

Place Plants in the Right Location
Whether your plants are in a container or in the ground, they need to get the right amount of sunlight. The great thing about a container garden is that it can be moved to wherever you need it based on the seasons of the year and the sunlight patterns. However, it is worth taking the time to research how much sun each of your plants will need and to plan out the best place in your house or in your yard to get that much sun.

Plant in the Right Soil
Here's where you may need to do a bit of research. Each plant may require different growing conditions and soil. You may not be able to simply dig up some soil from your yard and plant your seeds. Soil has to be properly nourished and have the right balance of nutrients in order for your plants to grow and thrive. You can check in with your local cooperative extension office for testing or guidance if you want to use your own soil.

You can also start with potted soil that you buy from a local nursery or home improvement store. You can add compost or fertilizer, as well as plant food. Again, talk to an extension agent for guidance or do some of your own research at the library or online.

Give the Right Amount of Water
Most container gardens will only need to be watered once a day, but if you live in an especially hot climate, you may need to water twice a day. However, you must be careful not to overwater or you may drown your plants. The key is to keep your soil moist but not wet.
Container gardening is a great way to get started with gardening, and it makes growing your own produce easier if you don't have much experience or if you don't have much space to grow a garden. These tips can get you started so that you can have lots of fresh fruits and veggies or beautiful flowers for your enjoyment.

Do you have a container garden? Share your tips for success in the comments!

Kay Winders is presently the resident writer for badcreditloans.org, where she researches the best way for people to pay off their debts without damaging their credit. In her spare time, she enjoys freelance writing, the beach and gardening.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

DID YOU KNOW ...? (53)

Photo Source
The diamond is the hardest natural mineral substance found on Earth. 

Wednesday, 2 January 2013


Lemons act as a natural garment whitener. You can use lemon in whitening coloured clothes as well as whites. Here are a few recipes for you. 

Photo source
Try boiling some water with a few slices of fresh lemon. Once it boils, turn the heat off and add your garments to be whitened (eg. socks, linen, table clothes etc) (The lemon mixture should be approximately 5 sliced lemons or 1 cup of lemon juice for 3.5-4litres (1 gallon) of water). Leave them to soak for up to an hour and then wash as usual. Drying your garments in sunlight also helps whitening.

Alternatively, you can rub some lemon into the stains directly before washing them. If you add some 
salt to it, it will perform as a scrub and may work better if the stain is tough (eg grass stains).