Saturday, 29 June 2013

Fluttery Florals

$3 for material and beads
$5 for headband

Amy here, I had so much fun making these beautiful flowers even though I must have burnt my fingers about a million times. These are really quite simple to make once you have the technique down. Fortunately I did all the experimenting for you so I now know the best way to make these gorgeous flowers. I have chosen to add my flowers to a headband to make a floral crown but the opportunities are endless with these flowers. I think they would look amazing on a small bag or as a pin, even just to brighten up a room. 

Fabric-  it must be 100% polyester or else your flower petals won't melt properly. I have used a selection of fabrics, the top pink is a chiffon, the middle lilac is an acetate and the bottom pink is a lining fabric. The fabric must also be very light, a chiffon is perfect, as is the lining. 
A headband


A candle
Needle and thread
Glue gun


Begin by cutting circles out of your fabric. I cut three circles for each flower I wanted to make. These don't have to be too perfectly round. 

Next, snip into your circles at four even points, almost to the middle.

This is where it gets a little tricky. Light your candle and take one of your cut circles. Separate out each of the pieces of your circle and one by one "burn" the raw edges. I say burn but that's not really what you are wanting to achieve here, although I did achieve this, more than once. In the picture below you can see that I'm holding the petals slightly above the flame, this won't burn it but it will melt the polyester slightly and it will curl, giving your petals a perfect edge. 

You can see in the picture below how the heat from the flame is slightly melting the material but not burning it, it is just beginning to curl and fold. This technique will take some practice to get right but it is worth it. 
Make sure that you do this in a well ventilated room, I didn't and the fumes from the melting fabric gave me a bit of a headache. I would also recommend doing this on a sturdy surface, like a bench top, not a chair as in the picture below. 

Lay out your petals in the order that you would like them. 

Place your petals on top of one another. I ensured that I had the smallest petal on top so my flower would look nice and even. I also tried to have the petals evenly spaced and made sure they weren't right on top of one another. 

Sew the three lots of petals together, right through the centre of the flower. 

Sew your beads into the middle of the flower. I tried to get mine overlapping and piling up on one another for a more organic look.

 You're finished! Make as many flowers as you would like. 

One last step...

Using your hot glue gun, glue the flowers onto your headband.

You have a beautiful floral crown! 
Wear your floral headband with bare feet and a floaty dress for an extra whimsical effect.

Embrace your inner hippie! 

Friday, 28 June 2013

My Favourite Furry Family

 Hello there, Ali here! The time has come for me to tell you a little something about my lovely home in little old Rongotea. 

It's the university holidays at the moment, so Amy and I have ventured up the country to our respective homes in the North Island.

Last week Amy shared with you some of her favourite things here, and I've been spending the past few days wondering what to tell you about in this little section. Happily, after some pondering, I realized that the answer was sitting right on my lap! 

The thing I enjoy most about being home and miss most while I'm at university in Dunedin is, of course, my family members. 
You've already met my lovely mum in our mother's day post in May, so I'm going to introduce you now to the rest of my colourful family, weee!  

This is the ever lovely Aiko. 
Meaning "love" in Japanese, Aiko distributes hers in a sparing and on her own terms manner. Being so very pretty everyone always wants to cuddle her, but she has a quite strict "out of arms reach" policy. 
Luckily this policy generally doesn't apply to me and here she is staring lovingly (sort of) into my eyes from her favorite spot, on the end of my bed. 

Next up is Kuni. Sister to Aiko, and named for her likeness to a Kune Kune pig in both colour and eating habits, Kuni is the self appointed king of our castle. 
Here she is making a belly shaped dent in the top of mum's soft top car, much to mum's contempt.

These two are ever so helpful with anything craft related, particularly if it occurs on the floor or involves paint. Aiko, like many cats, enjoys sitting in the single least helpful position possible. You're lucky this post makes any sense at all because she has been trying to settle on my keyboard for the past half hour. Cats. Kuni is less passive aggressive, more aggressive, her party trick being that she will pull sewing pins out of my pattern pieces with her teeth and run around with them in her mouth, mewing victoriously. 

Next up and not to be forgotten is Hunter, the gentle pooch. Having made his blog debut here last week, he has proven to be a highly photogenic hound. German Shorthaired Pointer by breed, Huntey was destined to become a drug sniffer dog at the airport, but was soon found to be lacking in maturity and restraint. Thus he was rescued and has since become a beloved member of our family, now a bit more dopey and grey around the chops. 

And it doesn't end there! We also have four clucky chooks in our back yard; the taller one is my mum, proudly holding our bantam's first green egg!

So there you are, a little taste of my home life via a cacophony of furry and feathered friends.
All in all they make for a bundle of laughs and, at times, a great need for coffee!

 So here's to home comforts and happy days,

Saturday, 22 June 2013

These are a Few of my Favourite Things...

Ali and I are both home at the moment and it is fantastic! We were both fortunate enough to make it home just before one of the worst winter storms in 20 years hit New Zealand. Luckily, we could fly to our North Island homes, no problemo, but some of our friends have been stuck in Dunedin, their flights delayed or cancelled by heavy rain, gale-force winds and snow flurries down to sea level!
Needless to say, Ali and I are super glad to be in our warm homes with all this going on and so we thought we would do a post each about our five favourite things from home. I am going first this week, and Ali will do the tutorial and next week we will swap.

1) Baking and Tea

When I go home I love to bake. There is an endless supply of ingredients and I don't have to pay for them; thanks Mum!  Being home for me is all about the small luxuries, using the best tea set or erring on the side of extravagance with the butter and jam.

2) Cosy places to read and endless cups of tea

Mum always stocks up on books for me before I come home and I love to spend my days curled up somewhere reading, keeping multiple cups of tea on the go at once. This is one of my favourite places to read, I can snuggle up here all day long. 

 3) My bedroom

This is my room and I think it's super cute! I have amazing views across the valley and I get wonderful afternoon sun. If you look closely you can see my electric blanket control. I would have taken a photo of this as my all time favourite thing about home but it wouldn't have made as pretty a picture. 

4) Baths

This one is obvious. Who doesn't enjoy a steaming hot bath with a good book on a cold winters night? I'm currently reading "Freakonomics" and I can't believe I haven't gotten around to reading it sooner, it is so good. 

5) Sewing corner

This is my mum's sewing corner and it is brilliant. It has everything you could need stocked away in the cupboards, endless amounts of fabric and threads of all colours. On the table is a shirt that my mum is currently working on. 

We hope all our New Zealand readers have managed to keep warm and safe over the past few days! 

DIY Hair bows - Denim scraps tutorial



Hair clips - $3 for 6

A while back Ali had a small obsession with denim cut-offs. She cut, bleached, studded and ripped many pairs of old jeans, and ended up with lots of left over denim. The picture below is a stack of some of the pants legs left over from her creations. 
Denim is a nice, sturdy fabric and is cheap and easy to find in op shops or hiding, sad and unworn in the back of your closet. 
So this tutorial is the first of a series in which Ali will show you some cute things you can do with an old pair of jeans.


Hair clips/pins/ties


Sewing machine
Needle and thread
Bleach (optional)


Start off by cutting a rectangle of denim the height you want your bow to be, and twice the length. I made two sizes, big ones which were 22x8cm and small ones which were 17x4cm.

Then you can leave your denim plain, or bleach it like I did with some of mine.

For the bleaching you will need:
A bottle of bleach - I use the cheapest stuff I can find, and usually get the lemon scented one in a vain attempt to mask the bleachy smell a bit.
Newspaper, a container and disposable gloves.

First you need to decide what sort of bleach effect you would like. 
Then pour the bleach into the container and place your denim in accordingly. You could dip half in the bleach for an ombre effect, put the whole thing in for a lighter coloured denim, or use scrappy pieces of denim to twist and tie your rectangle with before you place it in the bleach for a tie-dye type effect.

I also painted some of my rectangles, one with polka dots and one with stripes. Just make to use an old paintbrush because the bleach will cause them to disintegrate a bit.

Leave the bleach on for about half an hour, or until you like the look of your denim.
Then pop the rectangle in the wash, or give it a good hand wash with some vinegar first and then soapy water and let it dry.
Then it's time to start making the bow!
Start by folding the two ends into the centre, right sides together as shown below.

Then sew along each side separately.

So you end up with a wee square like this.

Next turn it in the right way through the opening in the middle.

Then pinch it in the middle, folding it until you get the desired bow shape. 

Then hand stitch through the middle to hold the bow in place. Make sure you do lots of loops and stitches so it doesn't pop back open. 

And there you go, you're done! Now you can hand stitch or hot glue a hair clip, bobby pin or hair tie onto the back and you have a super cute wee hair bow, yay!
You can see below that I experimented with lots of different types of bow, from bleach ombre, to spots and stripes. I also stitched some pretty pearl beads which I found in my stash onto a couple too. 

All of these bows can be made from less than one pant leg, and would make adorable gifts with clips of hair ties sewn on the back. 

Happy clipping,

This is Ali's lovely pooch Hunter, looking dapper in his denim bow tie.