Tag Archives: craft


I’ve been incredibly busy at work these past few weeks, and even have had to work over the weekend. Therefore I haven’t been free to do any crafts for myself, but I have had a bit of spare time for Google. Here are some great ideas I’d like to share:


Filed under Creating

DIY fish tank decorations

We bought a fish tank, for our large goldfish who previously lived in our leaky, cold pond. I used to think goldfish were dull and stupid, but now I know this is not true. There is a difference between a fish you keep alive, and one you keep happy. They are fun and full of personality, and need stimulation.

Plants are pretty cheap and are effective if you experiment with depth and height. We chose ones with spots or pink leaves for interest. You do have to be accepting that goldfish might eat your plants.

The boy got an old terracotta pot from the back yard and smashed to make a cave for them to swim up through. Be sure to soften the jagged edges and give it a good clean first.

I put one of my coca-cola glasses into the tank. I haven’t been permitted to display my collection in the living room (in exchange for him not displaying items I find unpalatable), so was happy to sneak this in. The glass has turned out to be the goldfishes’ favourite item, as they take turns sitting inside.

I have made some bright sculpi decorations but we haven’t been brave enough to put them in the tank yet for fear it will give the fish cancer. We’re goingt o test it out on some pest fish first and see how we go.

What are strange or pretty things you have seen in fish tanks or aquarium?

1 Comment

Filed under Creating


Moving house has given me the opportunity to do an inventory of all the craft stuff I have accumulated over the past few years. An uncrafty onlooker (ahem, my mum and the boy) would say I have far too much craft stuff, and have a serious case of affluenza, but really, most was purchased over 2 years ago and I still use occasionally.

1 box scrapbooking supplies: purchased two or more years ago when I was doing a lot of travel. I am gradually using this up with each trip, but could probably afford to do a cull of all the bits and bobs I’ve saved.

1 large box fabric: purchased within the last two years, this is quite shameful. I have over-purchased for projects which I am getting better at not doing. I must try to use up all the fabric I have before buying more. I have given away many smaller pieces to the quilter I know.

1 box paints and brushes: bought well over 4 years ago, being acrylic, most are still usable. I only paint about once a year, but no use buying more each time. After a quick test, I throw out a few dried up or separated ones, but keep the rest.

1 box misc items: I throw away magazine cutouts, unimpressive sketches, old half-used note books (recycled) and the like. I keep rulers, stencils, Derwent coloured pencils and other such things I can use occasionally. I donated items such as coloured hair spray, scoobies and safety pins to the Girl Guide district I volunteer with.

1 box sewing items: this includes my sewing box so not too bad really. There are also a lot of random ribbons, buttons and threads, which again, I vow to use up before buying more.

1 box wrapping paper: This is a steady amount and I use and keep wrapping from presents received and given.

As I unpack and find a new home for everything I will endeavour to think of ‘Hoarders’ and ask myself, “Will you honestly use this?”

1 Comment

Filed under Creating


Fun in the day

While in the northern hemisphere it is Spring as we approach Eater, here in Brisbane it is Autumn. We do not have the same array of colour and blossoms. Then again, flowers are not common in Brisbane in general as they are either dehydrated or drowned. In Autumn we do not have the rich oranges and reds of the north, as our native trees generally aren’t deciduous, and those that are, for the most part, just turn death-brown and fall off quickly.

Fun at night

So what can we do to bring some Spring-colour into the Easter season? I like to draw colourful pictures on the footpath with chalk. Those of you with children would be familiar with this one – though it is equally fun for adults. At a party of mine, we brought out the chalk at around 10pm, and my inebriated friends delighted in the task. I’m sure you will be too – if you can brave those judgemental neighbours!


Filed under Creating



My most recent excursion to Archives bookstore on Charlotte Street, Brisbane, was delightful. It was pouring today, and as I jumped onto the front stoop, I could feel the warmth emanating from the store. They are the only retailer in Brisbane that realises that we are having an unseasonably cold Summer and do not need the air-conditioning cranked up. I first visited this store 10 years ago, and still love visiting, as they have the right balance between mustiness and organisation. Located in what used to be a publishing house, it has lovely high shelves, a huge variety, and clunky wooden floors. Picked up and am now reading A Passage to India.


 I have also attempted the book covering that was featured here. It was such a brilliant, simple idea, but one which I have only ever used on notebooks. I do have an issue with larger books as the scrap-booking paper won’t cover it, but I suppose I could find a nice wrapping paper or some old wallpaper.This has added to the consistent aesthetics of my bookshelf immensely, as I like to organise my books by colour and size, rather than alphabetically. I also arrange my wardrobe by colour. Is that bizarre? Fear not, my kitchen is by logical category.


Filed under Creating, Reading

Pins and Needles

I have a giant echidna in my living room. That is to say, my couch tends to function as a giant pin cushion. Now, I don’t stick pins in it while I’m sewing, but I do stick them in it as I find them in the weeks following.


I did warn the boy, before we agreed to cohabit, that this was an assumed risk of living with me. Though, I blame the magnetism of my room-mates and family, afterall, I have never stepped on a pin.

 Unfortunately, I loose the argument. Echidnas do not belong in Brisbane, and pins do not belong in couches. Get a pin cushion, you say? I am too clumsy to have the type that attached to the wrist, and to unsteady to have one sitting beside me, where I would have to stop guiding the fabric for a second. Ingeniously, I attached my pin cushion (hand-made) to my sewing machine. It seemed like a good solution, but I have to say, I still only manage to get 50% of the pins into it. 


I am considering attaching some sort of magnet to the machine, but I fear this would interfere with the digital components. What do all the other sewers do about this problem, I wonder?


Filed under Sewing

Delftware Dress

I had first used this 1957 Vintage Vogue pattern (V2903) to make a Queen of Hearts costume for my sister. I finally had the time and cash to attempt a more wearable version.

This pattern takes 6 metres of fabric, that is a lot, especially when you have a very small working space. I used a quilting fabric because of the beautiful design, which reminds me of Delftware plate motif.

Delftware (Wikimedia Image)

Being quite short, I ended up using only around 5m, as I cut the length a foot shorter, even before hemming. If like me, you find cutting the pattern a most tiresome activity, ready your forearm muscles for this beast. It is 8 large, long pieces, plus facings. Nevertheless, it is really quite a simple sew.

One down side of this pattern is the sleeves, as I learnt first time around. They were designed for a Vogue model, and are only suitable for sitting at a dinner table or standing in front of the sink, no reaching or waving allowed (a lady in the 1950s probably wouldn’t engage in such uncouth behaviour). Needless to say, I left the sleeves off this incarnation. 

1950s Delftware Dress

I added the embellishments of ribbon trim and a button as it is otherwise quite plain. I also wear a tutu/petticoat under-skirt underneath to fluff it out to a truer 1950s style. I didn’t iron in the pleats of this dress, because I quite like the looser flowing feel.

All things considered, I would use this pattern again.


Filed under Sewing

Hip to be a square

Growing up, we didn’t use pot holders to take things out of the oven, we used tea towels. This, of course, resulted in many burns and the throwing of trays onto the bench.

I decided to make pot holders a few years back as a practical way to preserve handsome fabrics (I’m not a quilter). I have now realised that they are far more protective than tea towels against heat, are charming gifts, distinctive kitchen decor, and can be used as large coasters to absorb condensation from beer-steins or cold containers.

Patchwork and Christmas

I use fabrics from deconstructed ‘failed’ sewing projects, and scraps I have lying around.

I cut two squares of the fabric and lay them right side facing each other. I place several layers of wadding on top and sew around 3 ½ edges. I have yet to experiment with binding tape. I then choose a pattern to sew into the middle to flatten it out.

Handle for hanging: Pin long fabric or ribbon between right-side facing fabric pieces before sewing edges. Sew both edges if hanging on a hook. To be slipped through an oven handle, sew one end, make a button-hole on the other end and sew a button in place.

Heat Mat


Filed under Sewing

What to save?

We had to evacuate at about 1am on Tuesday night (Brisbane floods and all). What did I save? My sewing machine, some clothes, pillows, documents, precious jewellery and that’s about it. Unfortunately my little car is not big enough to save much else.

Went for rubber necking this morning and couldn’t get anywhere near the house.

 Supermarkets are empty but my Anzac biscuits are going down a treat.

I am trying to think of a craft project using wet books (as I fear I will have a LOT of them). Ideas so far include making my own paper, sticking them together to make a box, and general collages with the covers.

Stay tuned…

1 Comment

Filed under Creating, Reading

Trinkets and Bric-à-brac

When I was 11 I went with a friend to an activity day at her new school, Ipswich Grammar. I loved the beautiful and historic grounds. Two things from this weekend stick in my memory. The first was learning how to pretend to faint (fall from the feet, not the head). The second was creating a wishing box. We decorated and painted little paper mache boxes with all sorts of Bric-à-brac, and inside put a little note book where we could write our wishes.

Over time, I would put little trinkets and mementos of significant times in my life into this box. It has become quite a congeries, with items ranging from my baby hospital bracelet, pebbles and bells from my childhood, to foreign coins, dice and bottle caps from my teen and adult years. I also wrote down my hopes in the book. Unfortunately it turned out the book guaranteed they wouldn’t come true.

For some time, my little time capsule had been chockablock. I finally bought a large paper mache box and covered it with scraps of one of my favourite fabric remnants. I used PVA, which isn’t the best for fabric, but did the trick. I now have enough room for another 25 years of memories (and broken wishes).



Filed under Creating