Take a grandparent’s pillowcase…..

A different sort of creative post today…

My youngest niece turned 1 last week, and the week prior I suddenly had inspiration as to what to do for her birthday.

Popping up all over the internet are pillowcase dresses. Just do a search, there are blog posts, youtube tutorials, you name it! And they all say how easy it is to do. Using vintage pillowcases with pretty patterns look so cute and girly, and it looked like there were only a couple of seams to sew up. Surely I could do that!

The op shop that I usually go to doesn’t have much in the way of vintage prints and fabrics, plus it is still closed for it’s Christmas/New Year break. But I remembered seeing a pretty pillowcase somewhere in my travels around our home.

Perhaps I shouldn’t say this, but it was being used as a rag in the garage.

So I gave it couple of days soaking, then washed it, and it actually turned out all right ūüôā

All the tutorials I saw were made from a standard pillowcase, but this was a boomerang one. And it had *ahem*¬†‘garage’ stains on it. So I looked at it carefully to find the best bit to use. Luckily my niece is still a toddler, so it didn’t need to be too big!

So, after procrastinating as long as I could, I took the scissors to it, cutting off the end I would use, and unpicking the frill to use around the bottom of the dress. I pulled my trusty, but underused, sewing machine out of the depths of the cupboard, and started work.

I procrastinated some more, but got it all done in 3 hours (including procrastination time!).

Then I looked at it, did a little happy dance for completing it, and thought about where I’d found it.

So back it went into a bucket to soak again. Then it got washed again. And all was good…

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I was worried that it would be too small, but it turns out it is still a bit big for the little poppet. I hope she will get plenty of wear out of it.

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As for where the pillowcase originally came from Рwhen my mum saw it, she immediately recognised it as one my grandmother bought for my grandfather (her parents). My grandmother died in 1988. I hope they look down on their great, grand daughter and appreciate her wearing something so special.

Have you seen or made a pillowcase dress? How did it turn out for you?

Ready for school?

No sooner¬†are Christmas and New Year celebrations over, and it’s almost time to start thinking about a new school year here in Australia.

Starting school, pre-school or even daycare can be a bit daunting for some children…and their mums! Luckily when my son started school 2 years ago he started with a good friend from pre-school, so they settled in nicely together.

I saw some very sweet ‘mummy and me’ bracelets on Pinterest last year, and loved them so much I knew I had to do something similar. So now¬†it’s the perfect time of year to do that!

In most schools here you are not really supposed to wear jewellery, so I decided that keyrings would be a more useful option. Kids love hanging things off their school bags, but they could also be hung from a pencil case, a lunchbag, or even a zipper.

Here is an example of one set of keyrings I made:

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I think I might make a set for my sister and her daughter (my eldest niece) who will be starting high school this year. But in her favourite colour of blue, of course!

Then I did make a bracelet set, because sometimes that’s what girls like to wear! Perhaps she is going off for her first sleepover, or maybe a school or guide camp:

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This was the poem I saw on Pinterest, but I have of course adapted it for what I am doing…and the fact that we start school in summer here ūüôāImage¬†It’s from http://www.tiedyedivadesigns.blogspot.com.au/2011/07/free-printable-mommy-me-first-day-of.html

Now I will have to create a boy version of the keyring! I think the heart will have to go!

Do you have children starting school this year? If starting school years are behind you, did you do something special for your children?

Simple but effective Christmas gifts

I have a beautiful group of friends¬†among whom Christmas cards are shared. I’m not much of a Christmas card sender, but I do try to make an effort ūüôā

Most of them are interstate or in New Zealand and, for the most part, we have never met in person. We were/are members of a particular website, and ‘met’ via the forum where we found we had similar interests, likes,¬†and values.

So, my goal was to find something that I could make, that was flat and easy to post, and was a bit special.

I decided on these cute little star ornaments, then thought the ornament hangers would be a perfect accompaniment. I have to finish up the last few, then I can finally get them in the mail.

Star ornaments with matching hangers. Something Special by Fiona

I know quite a few of the girls will read this, sorry to ruin the surprise, but I hope you enjoy them x

Do you have a special group of friends that you send cards and/or gifts to? What do you find is a popular item to send or receive?

Last week’s projects

I thought I would share two necklaces I made last week. Both very different, both appealing to different people no doubt.

The first one is a modern look, made with gorgeous agate stones. Some time ago, my friend saw an agate necklace and said she would like one too. I told her if she found beads she liked I would make one for her.

Recently I visited my favourite bead shop and¬†said I would look to see if they had any beads that she might like, since she hadn’t found any herself. Several poor quality phone photos and phone calls¬†later, I made an executive decision and picked a strand.

Agate beads. Something Special by Fiona

Then we had to work out what the necklace was going to look like. My friend told me she wanted just the beads in a simple, short design. But I knew they wouldn’t sit properly or look their best like that. After much negotiation and showing her several options, we finally agreed and the necklace was made!

Agate and variations. Something Special by Fiona

Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo before I handed the finished necklace over, but I did catch her wearing it a few days later…

Agate necklace. Something Special by Fiona

I have another friend who loves pearls and pink. She didn’t ask to have this necklace made, I just ‘used’ her as inspiration!

I wanted a multi-strand, luxurious looking necklace, with a mix of colours and textures. I also wanted to use a rose as a feature, meaning I had to work out how to combine the 5 strands into one to accommodate that.

I think it turned out quite nicely! I know the rose comes in other colours, and I think black and white would give this necklace a totally new look…I might try that another day ūüôā

Pink and pearls. Something Special by Fiona

Which look do you prefer?

Christmas Spider Story

December is almost here, so it won’t be long before we can put up our Christmas tree and decorations!

But have you considered hanging a spider from your tree?
There is a beautiful story from Germany (or the Ukraine, depending who you ask) explaining why we put tinsel on the tree:

CHRISTMAS SPIDER LEGEND

A long, long time ago, a gentle mother was busily cleaning the house for the most wonderful day of the year … Christmas Day.¬†¬† Not a speck of dust was left anywhere.¬†¬† Even the little spiders had been banished from their cozy corner high up on the ceiling.¬†¬† To avoid the housewife’s busy cleaning, they finally fled to the farthest corner of the forgotten attic.¬†

Finally, it was Christmas Eve.  The tree was decorated and the children delighted.  But the poor spiders were frantic,  for they could not see the tree, nor be present for the magic of the season.  The oldest and wisest spider suggested that perhaps they could wait until everyone had gone to bed and then sneak through the crack in the door to see the wonders of the tree.  The little spiders silently and carefully came down out of their attic corner and across the floor to wait in the crack on the threshold. 

Pretty soon all was quiet, so the spiders quickly crept into the room.¬† The tree towered so high that they couldn’t see the ornaments on top.¬† In fact, the little spiders’ eyes were so small that they could only see one ornament at a time.¬† They all scurried up the trunk, out along each branch, filled with a happy wonder at the glittering beauty.¬† The spiders loved the Christmas tree.¬† All night long, they danced in the branches, and every place they went left a trail of dusty, grey web.¬† When at last they had inspected every bit of the Christmas tree, it was shrouded in the dusty grey of spider webs.¬†

Santa smiled as he thought¬† of the happy spiders seeing the tree and how much they liked it, but he also thought of how sad the little mother would be over the dusty tree.¬† He reached out his hand — and just then the sun came through the window and touched the tree.¬† All the webs started to sparkle and shine turning into shimmering, sparkling silver and gold.¬† The tree glistened in greater beauty than ever before!

According to legend, ever since this happened, people have hung tinsel on their Christmas trees.

Thanks to www.santalady.com for that passage.

Here’s the pink sparkly spider that I made that¬†I’m going to be hanging from our tree

Christmas spider. Something Special by Fiona

Would you hang a spider from your Christmas tree?

I can make you one similar to this, or in another colour for $11 plus postage ūüôā

DIY Giftwrap bling

It’s coming up to Christmas, and while I can certainly¬†provide you with many options of what to put in¬†your presents, this is a little DIY on ‘glamming’ up the outside of your gifts. And making your gift look gorgeous on the outside can be just as special as what’s on the inside.

This is a very quick, easy and cheap DIY!

You will need:

DIY giftwrap1. Something Special by Fiona

* Fine craft wire. You can find this in a craft store, or eBay is good too. Here I am using a copper coloured wire, but you can get this fine wire in many colours.

* A selection of small beads in your choice of colours. Here I have used large clear seed beads, and 4mm glass pearls. Varying the size, colour and shape adds texture and interest to your final product!

* Pliers for cutting the wire, but really, this wire is very fine so scissors will do the job too.

Here’s what you do:

DIY giftwrap2. Something Special by Fiona

Cut a length of wire, 1 metre is a good length to work with without getting too tangled up.

On one end add your first bead and twist to secure.

DIY giftwrap3. Something Special by Fiona

I then threaded on my beads in the order that I wanted them, in this case alternate seed bead and pearl. You can make a pattern or make it random, try it and see what you like!

Leaving a space of around 5cm (don’t bother measuring or even making sure they are all the same distance apart. It won’t make any difference) give your first bead a couple of twists to secure it in place.

DIY giftwrap4. Something Special by Fiona

Continue with the rest of your beads until you come to the end of the wire. Finish the last bead the same way you did the first one.

All done!

Now make some more…

Beautifully wrap your specially selected gift, then wind around the beaded wire.

Finished DIY giftwrap bling. Something Special by Fiona

The first little box has just the one strand made above folded in half and wrapped around the plainly wrapped white gift. Then I added the pink ribbon for some contrast. The bottom 2 photos show another set I made, this time there are 3 strands of red wire, with clear crystals and the same white glass pearls.

Give it a go and let me know how you go!