Saturday, October 22, 2016

Even more Halloween foods and crafts to inspire!

Just over a week to go until Halloween - so time for some more features from the Round Tuit party to inspire you.

First of all some Halloween Foods.

And some Halloween Crafts.

I hope you enjoyed this week's features and that you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Crochet Dishcloths and a new page

I've been doing a little crochet practice lately - just straight lines, and made a couple of dishcloths.

Although they were both just to practise straight lines, I did them slightly differently, The yellow one I crocheted in just one of the top loops, but the red one I put my hook under both top loops for each stitch.  The result was a slightly different look and one softer yellow cloth and a rougher red one!

I was really happy with the yellow one. I just chained as many as looked wide enough for a dishcloth, then carried on adding rows until it was about square.

The red one however, I started to crochet one night after a couple of glasses of wine, and this happened!

I think my chain at the start was tighter than my subsequent rows!

Then when I continued it the next day, I managed to drop a couple of stitches here and there - so I have a kind of step at one corner and a couple of wiggly bits in other places!

Still - it's more like a square then my first attempt at a dishcloth last year - the smaller one on the right!

I'm really happy with my woolly dishcloths. They are just the right size and abrasive enough to clean my non-stick pans without scratching!

I might make another couple of these in different colours, since dishcloths do get used daily and I could do with a few spare!

A new page

Since I'm learning to crochet at the moment - I thought I'd create a crochet page for this blog to keep all my crochet posts and creations together and easy to find. I often want to look back and find which tutorial I used for something, or what it was that I learned from a project....and have subsequently forgotten!

So all my crochet learning and projects can now be found on my crochet page here.

If you are a crocheter - please do let me know if you have any recommended tutorials to try out or things to make as I continue my learning. I'm having fun learning this new skill and am willing to give anything a go!

I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Who needs a fancy treadmill?

Many years ago I read a story in a glossy women's magazine about a lady who wanted to get fit and lose weight. She asked her husband if he would buy her a treadmill so that she could run at home while their baby slept. He didn't believe she would actually use it so he bought her the cheapest second hand treadmill he could find - a non motorised one!
The magazine article showed the lady's before and after pictures showing how she had transformed her body through hard-work on her cheap and basic treadmill.  
Once she had achieved this and proved to her husband that she did indeed use the treadmill a lot, she asked if he would buy her a new fancy treadmill. He replied to this that no, he wouldn't as clearly you didn't need an expensive fancy treadmill to get results - a cheap one does the job just as well!

This story has stuck with me as an example of using what you've got - rather than needing to spend lots of money on the latest and greatest!

Just buy a....

Most people buy things when they find they need something. The answer is generally to 'spend money' instead of using what you've already got.  

You don't have to have a 'gadget' to do everything for you.  So many things are unnecessary and overkill.  My kitchen is one that has definitely been cluttered and filled up over the years with all the latest 'gadgets' and 'tools' that friends and family and myself have bought - things that 'make your life a little easier' !  

But do we really need them?  No!

I remember as a student at university, we were good at using what we had - thanks to our poor finances - 
for example making pizza and not having a rolling pin to roll out the dough - so we used a wine bottle!  It worked perfectly!

If it's broken...throw it out and buy a new one!

Things get replaced when they are no longer 'perfect' or 'new' when actually they are still good to use.
Mugs are a great example of this. On my parents' last visit to us, they asked if they could buy us a new set of mugs as they'd noticed a lot of ours had chips in them.  
I had to stop them being so 'helpful' as I'm quite happy with our mug selection - chips and all.  A chip doesn't make a mug unusable!

Made to 'break'

These days things are often not made to last - how many times have you bought something that broke just after the 1 year warranty was up?   Things are not created to be fixed and repaired, they are made to be thrown away and replaced.  Some of this is because technology is progressing faster and faster and people don't want to repair an old model of something, they are happy to just replace it with the newer fancier model!

The frustrating thing I find, is that even if you try to fix or repair things, unless you can do it yourself, it costs more to repair something that it does to buy a new one! 
I found this recently with my waterproof watch, the cost of replacing the battery and a tiny broken seal, wasn't worth it as it would have cost more than the watch did in the first place! Crazy!!

Even more crazy is something like a computer printer. At times I've looked at the prices on offer for the basic printer we use, and it would be cheaper to buy a whole new printer that comes with ink than to buy a new ink cartridge for the old one!  

Use What You've Got

To use what you've got is a skill that kids need to learn. It requires creativity, problem solving and practical skills that can be useful in so many aspects of life. It is also better for the environment and our often our own personal finances too.

For years now I've been the one that people come to when they need something.  I've used a band aid to temporarily fix the strapping on a hockey stick so a kid could play, held costumes together at the last minute for a school play with safety pins. I keep things with me in my handbag or car that may be useful, but also am aware of what is around me that can be put to use too.  Our girls now also do this - with things like safety pins kept in their school bag for emergencies!

I know I gained these skills thanks largely to my upbringing. Mum and Dad were always making things from wood, fabric or whatever we had on hand.

A couple of years ago, my Dad was visiting us here in Australia and went out for a bike ride. He got a puncture and rather than replace the inner tube he decided to try something he'd read about. At the time he was passing a field of grass that had just been cut. He stopped and used the cut grass to stuff his tyre full and then rode home with it like that!  He said it wasn't great but did work - definitely a possible bike fix if you get a puncture and don't have a spare inner tube with you!

More than one use for stockings!

Something else that has stuck with me from years ago is this TV advert, where a lady uses a stocking to replace a broken fan belt in her car! No mobile phones back in those days to call for help - you had to be resourceful and able to help yourself!! Take a look.

Old Fence and Walls Repurposed

Around our house, there are so many things I've made, using what we had on hand.  When we moved into the house, we removed part of the main fence around the property, which gave me lots of wood to make things with!  We also knocked a couple of walls out inside the house, providing a few concrete blocks which we then used to make garden beds with! And we also had drainpipe left by the builders when they added our patio roof - this was perfect for a drinks cooler holder!

In my sewing, as you may know if you follow my blog - I also use what I've got - sewing with whatever I have on hand.  The majority of the fabric in my stash is from charity shops or given to me by friends who have been clearing out. I use old clothes, especially jeans for fabric, and also things like old pool toys and car windscreen shades.

Christmas Shouldn't Cost the Earth

Last year I started a page on my blog to share ideas for Christmas crafting that doesn't cost the Earth - both in terms of money, and eco-friendly things that are upcycled, repurposed and generally made using resources we already have rather than buying new.

There are ideas for decorations, cards, bags, advent calendars, gifts.... anything you can think of for Christmas.

This year I'm continuing to add to these ideas and also together with some other bloggers will be hosting

12 Days of Christmas DIY Challenges

where we will be 'challenging" and encouraging people to use what they've got to create things for Christmas! It all starts on November 2nd - so watch this space! I do hope lots of people will join in and share their own creative ideas for using what you've got!

How about you?

Do you 'use what you've got'?  Do you make full use of the resources you have available to you? Or do you prefer to just buy what you need?  I'd love to hear your stories too!

Monday, October 17, 2016

A Round Tuit 332

Hello again and welcome to a new week at Creating my way to Success.
Last week I finally published my new tutorial for the 
Upright Zip-it-up Pencil Case I was working on,

I also sent and received packages for the Pincushion Swap I joined in this year. 
I've never joined in a swap, so didn't know quite what to expect. It was so nice to 'meet' my swap partner and exchange packages. I'll definitely be participating in more swaps in the future!

I also did lots of work on an upcoming big Christmas Project I'm working on with some other bloggers. That all starts in November, and I'm having fun preparing the posts, tutorials and videos for that!! Stay tuned for more - it's going to be lots of fun!

But now it's time to see what you've all been up to. Let's get this party started and find out!


Welcome to this week's linky party. A place where you can link up your posts and creations, and be inspired by others.

Tuits are very hard to come by, especially the round ones. For years people have been saying, "I'll do it as soon as I get a round tuit". Well now you can have one of your very own, and all those jobs that have needed doing will finally get done!
Here's my favourites from last week's party:
First of all, this adorable Crafty Little Fox Coat from Sew Can Do.

For those featured, feel free to grab a 'featured on' button here.
Creating my way to Success
Now it's your turn:
Link up your own projects - old or new - no rules - just share your creativity and inspiration!
I'd love if you grabbed the button - then you can have your very own Round Tuit!
And of course we all love visitors and comments so do visit some of the other links!
By linking up here you're giving me permission to use photos from your post in features here on my blog.
I will feature my favourites on this post and my Saturday Spotlight feature post next week.

And I'll also pin each feature to the Round Tuit Pinterest Board.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

More Halloween Crafts and Foods

Only a couple of weeks to go until Halloween, and the ideas for Halloween crafts and foods are filling up the Round Tuit party just now. So here's some more spooky features!

First of all Halloween Foods.

And Halloween Crafts.

I hope you enjoyed this week's features and that you have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

My Pincushion Swap

This year I joined in with my first ever 'swap'. I've seen them mentioned here and there but never really looked into them.  Then this Pincushion Swap with The Scrappy Girls Club popped up and I was inspired to join in!

I've only ever made a couple of pincushions but have been pinning lots on my Pincushions Pinterest Board as there are so many cute ones out there!

I was matched up with a lovely lady called Jenny right here in Australia.  We had filled out a form detailing what colours and fabrics we liked and had been matched up by the Scrappy Girls Club. 

I browsed through lots of Pincushion patterns, eventually settling on this one for a Mini Pouf Pincushion.
Mine didn't turn out quite the same as the picture from the original tutorial.

And when I tested it out with some pins - I felt bad that poor Humpty Dumpty was spiked so much!!

So had to move the pins a little!

I packaged the mini poof pincushion up with a few extra goodies.

A set of fabric coasters I made using scraps of 'Great Barrier Reef' Fabric I was given by a friend.

A small but cute Zip-itself coin purse, which I learned how to make last year.

And then a couple of upcycled denim goodies - because that's just 'me'!
An elephant keychain..

And a boxy denim zipped pouch.

In return, I received the most wonderful package from Jenny.

With not one but TWO gorgeous pincushions!

A beautiful Selvedge Zippered Pouch,

AND some beautiful fabric too!

And all the little details - buttons, zips and tags were just lovely!

I think it's such a lovely idea to connect with other crafters and exchange handmade gifts. It was so exciting to receive my package and I hope my swap partner likes hers too. Hopefully it has arrived now!

I'll definitely be joining in another swap - maybe next year's Pincushion swap - but want to practice making Pincushions before then, so I can come up with a fabulous one to send next time!

Have you ever joined in a swap? What did you swap? And what extra goodies did you send or receive? I would love to hear other swap stories!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Upright Zip-It-Up Pencil Case Tutorial

This upright pencil case is one I first saw earlier this year in a store in Japan and loved the design. Then last week I found this tutorial online to try making one. While this was a great tutorial to get me started, I failed in making the pencil case! But I hate to be beaten and then spent the next few days trying again and again to figure it out so I could understand how to make one. On my 7th attempt I finally got it!  I took lots of photos and copious notes, so thought I'd share my version of how to make this cute 
Upright Zip-it-up Pencil Case. 

I've added all the small details and instructions that I need when sewing, with photos of EVERY step - it may seem like overkill in explanations to some, but I'd like to be able to come back to this tutorial at any time in the future and be able to make it without having to 'remember' anything! I changed a few things and added a lot more detail than the original tutorial. I'm hopeless at binding so changed that, and also made the pencil case smaller, as that was more like the one I was looking at and had wanted to make originally. I also took out the padding, to avoid the thick layers to sew through. The plastic sheet holds the shape of the pencil case well, and some of the fabrics I chose were very thin and still worked. It depends what you're looking for. 

So here's my tutorial, as simple and straightforward as I could make it!

Materials you will need:
Outer and inner fabric. I'm all for sewing with whatever fabrics take your fancy - but I found here that one of your fabrics needs to be reasonably firm to help the case hold its shape. I used denim from an old pair of jeans and this seemed to work fine. Also the fabric you use for the base of the bag needs to be fairly thin, as you'll end up sewing through a lot of layers. I tried a double denim layer for the base and broke 2 machine needles sewing just a few inches of it!
1 Zip - at least 40 cm (16") long. Longer is fine, you can cut it at the end.
Plastic - I used a piece from an old kids plastic placemat, you could also use an old plastic folder or book cover, or buy a piece of thin flexible plastic from a craft shop.
I haven't used templates to make this pencil case - just measurements and simple cuts to curve the edges where needed! Trying to keep it all as simple as possible.

1 Piece Outer and 1 Inner Fabric 20 x 22 cm (8 x 8.75")
1 Piece Inner or Outer Fabric for plastic sheet pocket, 20 x 10 cm (8 x 4")
2 Pieces of your thinner fabric for the base 8 x 16 cm (3.25 x 6.25")
1 Piece of either fabric for small pocket on base 7 x 8 cm (2.75 x 3.25")
1 Piece thin flexible plastic 8 x 17 cm (3.25 x 6.75")
1 Zip minimum 40 cm (16")
1 Scrap fabric for zipper pull tab

The main pouch
First take your plastic pouch pocket piece (20 x 10 cm (8 x 4"))
Fold it in half lengthways.

Then measure down 2 cm (0.75") from the top left corner - the open end. And lightly draw and arch up to the top folded corner like this.

Then cut along your line.

And open out flat.

Now take your piece of plastic.
Mark on either short side 1 cm (0.5") down from the top, and also mark the centre top of the long edge. Then draw a curve from side point to side point, through the top centre mark.

Cut your plastic curve. These two pieces are now ready to use!

Putting it together
Lay your main inner fabric piece face up with the longer sides on the left and right. Place your pocket piece on top of this lining up the bottom edges. Pin along the bottom and sides, but only to within about 2 cm (0.75") of the top of the sides of the pocket.

Stitch where you have pinned. I used small 2/8" seams when sewing this pencil case. I found that smaller seams worked better to keep the fabric layers out of the way of the zip. Now it's ready to slide your plastic piece in.

The plastic piece should fit in the pocket easily with room to spare around all sides. This is important,  I found if I kept the plastic smaller, then I could always 'push' it aside when stitching so I never stitched through it and added it to the layers to stitch through. 
Fold the top of the pocket under and pin to hide the raw edge.

Stitch across the curved top and the remaining top side parts of the pocket.

The Zip
Now it's time to add the zip!  Open your zip up and lay it facing upwards on either side of your inner piece with pocket like this.

Notice the pin in the top centre of the inner pink piece in the above picture?  This is marking the centre of the top. To find the centre, just fold your piece in half and pop in a pin.

Now to start pinning your zip. Start at one of the bottom corners. Place your zip with its outer edge in line with the edge of your inner fabric piece and place the bottom metal zip end about 1 cm (0.5") up from the bottom edge of your inner pocket piece.

Then continue to pin the zip along the edge up towards the top.

Curve your zip around the corner and towards the centre of the top where you marked with your pin. Place your last pin about 1 cm (0.5") before the zip. This is where you will stop stitching.

Now turn your fabric piece around and repeat to pin the other side of the zip in the same way.

You need to make sure that both metal zip ends are the same distance up from the bottom so they match up when you zip up your pencil case!

And the other end of your zip - make sure you've left about a 2.5cm (1") gap in the middle where you don't stitch!

Now stitch around the 3 edges where you just pinned, remembering to leave that gap in the top centre.  Stitch as close to the edge as you can, this is just to hold the zip in place before you add your outer fabric.

At this stage, you can zip up your pencil case to make sure everything lines up. This is how it should look so far.

Now open it out again.
You need to tuck the end of your zip out of the way. Put your hand through the gap in the zip at the top and pull the end through and down so the zip lies flat down the centre of your inner piece. Make sure the zip still lines up with your central pin to keep things nice and even.

 Place your outer fabric face down on top of this piece, matching up the edges.

Pin around the sides and top and just a little on either side of the bottom seam.
When you get to the bottom edges of the zip, fold them out of the way like this when you pin the two pieces together.

Now you are ready to stitch the main inner and outer fabric pieces together - remembering to leave most of the bottom edge open to turn it right sides out after stitching.

When you stitch, keep your seam as small as possible again - about 2/8" if you can. The further away from the zip teeth as you can go the better to keep the fabric back from the teeth and also to allow space for you to attach the base afterwards without it getting to close to the zip and obstructing it from opening and closing (I did that on one of my attempts at this pencil case!).

Once you have finished this stitching, clip the corners,

then turn right sides out carefully through the gap in the bottom. This does take a little manipulating of the plastic piece, so just go slow and careful.

You can press with an iron now if you like, then turn the bottom edges in on themselves and pin.

Now topstitch around all 4 edges of this piece. Here's what it now should look like from the front and back.

The Base
Now take your 2 base pieces and small pocket piece.
Place the two main base pieces on top of each other. 

Fold in half widthways.

Then slightly round the open edges by cutting in a curve from the folded corner to the open outer edges.

Open your pieces out. They should now both have the same rounded edge like this.

Now take your small pocket piece.
You need to finish off the top edge (one of the longer sides). To do this, double fold the top edge and stitch.

 Place this little pocket face up on one of your base pieces, near the top, straight edge like this. Leave enough space at the top for your seam.

Now flip the pocket down and over.

Until it's flat once again but facing down.

Slide it up very slightly and pin into place.

Stitch across where you have pinned, then flip the pocket back up into place. Pin along the sides, then stitch.

Now place your other base piece on top of this one, so both right sides are together.  Pin around the edges, leaving a gap so you can turn it right sides out after stitching.

Stitch where you have pinned, once again using a small 2/8" seam. Then clip the corners, 

And turn right sides out. Make sure and push the seams out flat all around. Press if you need to. Pin your gap closed with the raw edges turned inwards.

Then top-stitch around all the edges. Your two pieces are now ready to join together.

Joining the base to the main part
Find the centre points of both your main case part and your base curved edge, Mark with pins and match up as shown in the picture below. The small pocket on your base section should be facing upwards.

The layers are now too thick to pin comfortably, and it's actually easier to just try and manipulate the pieces together as you sew them slowly.
The base needs to wrap around the corner kind of like this.

Place your matching centre pieces under your machine foot and make a couple of stitches to start and secure. I found it best to use a denim needle for this as there are a lot of layers to sew through!

Now just stitch slowly just a few stitches at a time, turning and lining up the base piece on top of your main piece as you go. Try to stitch on top of the line of stitching already there to keep things neat. This will also mean your thick layers of fabric are kept away from the zip teeth so they won't obstruct the zip when it opens and closes.

Your base should finish at around the top of your plastic pocket on your inner fabric. 

If you lift it up, you can see the 3D base taking shape now.

Now to stitch the other side.  This time start from the top end, matching it with the top of your plastic pocket just as your other side matched so that they are even.

Then carefully stitch the first couple of stitches with your machine to hold. Slowly stitch the remaining part of the base to the main piece, turning and matching the fabric as you go and again following the lines of stitching. Keep checking you aren't pulling or stretching your fabric, so that when you reach the centre point you don't have any folds or creases! The last part you stitch will be very curved as you can see in this picture!

That's your upright pencil case almost finished!

Adding a zipper tab
All that remains now is to finish the zip off and add a pretty tab.
First cut your zip about 5 cm (2") from the top of the pencil case.

Take your scrap of fabric for the zipper tab. This should be a rectangle wider than the zip and a little more than twice as long as you want your tab.

Using your iron, fold the edges over and press,

 then fold the sides in and press to make it the same width as your zip.

Then press in half lengthways to complete your tab.

Slide your zip into one side of the tab so that you can't see the edges of the zip.

Then pin into place

And top-stitch around all four edges.


You now have an Upright Zip-it-up Pencil Case of your very own!

Well done!  This is one of the trickiest things I've made. I hope you found the tutorial clear and detailed enough and you managed to make one for yourself successfully!

Here you can see the three usable pencil cases I ended up with after all my trials and many errors! A mixture of fabrics on the insides and outsides

If you liked this tutorial, I have over 100 more FREE sewing tutorials for all levels of sewing ability and for making all manner of things, from bags to pencil cases, a Penguin costume, some clothes and some interesting novelty gifts.
Do go take a look on my Free Sewing Tutorials Page.

And to keep up with all the latest here at Creating my way to Success, and get your 3 FREE bonus sewing tutorials exclusively made for my subscribers,

click here to subscribe to my newsletter!

Thanks for reading, and do let me know if you make one of these pencil cases, or if you have any questions!

I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and direct links can be found on my linky party page.