September 25, 2016

Fox Brooch Instagram Giveaway

Hello!
My new fox brooch

This brooch will be available from my Etsy shop on Friday 30th Sep 10am AEST.

To celebrate this, I am having a giveaway over on my Instagram page, and the winner will be drawn on the same date as the release.
This fox has been a pendant necklace for a while, and I kept getting requests to make it into a brooch, so here we are! I have remade her bigger to suit being a brooch, and here she is, all snuggled up and sleepy. I promise you, she will not eat any chickens!

Hope to see you over at Instagram.

Jules :)

September 20, 2016

Overdue Room Revamp

I'm drumming up motivation to finish decorating some more of our house. I have finally inspired the husband to get on board helping me inside the house! He is usually just focussed on outside projects :)
My chosen main colour for upstairs Dulux Linseed.

Upstairs is currently yellow! It is an open plan type area consisting of our kitchen, dining and lounge. I am going with a more neutral colour, it looks light here but it's a mid- tone grey on the warmer side of the greys. I nearly went lighter but that made me nervous. It's funny how I feel nervous with lighter standard colours, but I feel completely at home painting my walls dark colours. I'm actually still a little nervous about grey! I would actually prefer a colour but have met my husband half-way with the decision, with some small walls to be painted colourful instead. Plus, some wallpaper has been ordered!
Our chosen Piet Hein Eek wallpaper

I also have some painted lights going in. This one I have just finished, it's not actually going in the room we're currently working on, but it's a finished creative project just the same and I will have it installed at the same time as the other lights.
It used to be black. I painted the main part with terracotta colour spray paint, then threw some builders sand onto it whilst it was still wet. I then got some oil paints that I thinned down (raw umber and a bit of yellow from memory) and dabbed it on here and there. The beads were removed and spray painted a metallic blue, which I had to undercoat in a lighter colour first.

Here's a particularly grainy picture showing some of the yellow being covered up. And kids keep pulling pom poms off my light shade! 
I can't wait to get my wallpaper delivered and finish the job off. We have a list of about 20 things we want to complete for upstairs. 

And when I'm tired at the end of the day I will keep working away at this rug hooking project I've been working on. I'm sure it will look good somewhere upstairs against my new grey walls.
I'm really enjoying working on the revamp. I'll show some progress shots as we go along.

Jules :)

September 16, 2016

Pattern Design & Spoonflower Fabric

Hello creativity lovers! I'm talking surface pattern design today.
Fairy House- My first ever pattern design

My second; Vintage Flamingos

I recently ventured into the world of surface pattern design. Of course if there's a new thing out there I have to learn it. Mastering the pattern design basics in photoshop wasn't going to pass me by.

I had a trial subscription to Skillshare and I took a class in Surface Pattern Design. It's pretty awesome. You just have to have the time to watch the tutorials and complete the given tasks. But there are so many things you can learn to do there. I really think it's worth the money if you have the time or have something specific you'd like to learn.
The flamingos in creation stage

I learnt a new easy method that uses a minimum of maths, which is fantastic for the 'mathematical failure' that I am! So, it's not the 'traditional' way of learning this skill, but it works, and I found it not too tricky to learn.

The class was created by Agnieszka Kobylinska. So I completed her course and got stuck into creating some patterns right away. I really like the method she uses, I didn't even bother learning the traditional way of doing it (which she also includes in the class), it seems technical but I'm sure I'd get the hang of it if I gave it a shot.

I uploaded my new designs to Spoonflower to get them printed onto some fabric. I also made them available for purchase through my new Spoonflower shop.

I placed an order with them and received my package in the mail. Honestly, it was the most exciting package I received in the mail for a long time! I was even scared to open it I was that excited!
My fabric! I've never had my art transformed into fabric before. I was really happy with the quality. Such a great new medium for me with so many possibilities. See the dark blue fabric? That is destined for some new cushions. Stay tuned for those...

Time to start a new pattern?

Jules :)

September 13, 2016

Inspiration on Instagram

luurve Instagram <----- That link unashamedly goes to my Instagram page!

I find for creative people, and people who love creativeness and pretty pictures, it's definitely at the top of my list as far as social media goes. I find it a 'nicer' space. People seem to be more interactive and kinder there than say, Facebook. But that's just my humble opinion. I haven't got into Twitter so can't comment there.

Sometimes I get so excited by pictures I see on IG. It's so inspiring. I thought I'd share a few today of my latest favourites. Every time I see photos from these creative Instagram accounts my heart skips a beat.

So today I'm sharing the love. Enjoy!
I love the eclecticness and pure creativity that channels through Magpie Ethel's Instagram feed.
These house photos are scrumptious goods for my eyes. I wish that Lisa Loves Vintage would come to my place and style the whole thing for me.
Colorful SparkleColour. Colour, colour, colour! Happiness, home life and inspiration. That about sums up this Insta feed.

Part Shade Full Sun is homely and crafty. Down to Earth with lovely family-life sentiments. 

Liz PayneCrazy cool crafted art, so modern and fresh. I love everything in this feed and wonder if she makes it all herself? So much work!

Happy Instagramming. Yes, that's a real verb now.

Jules :)


September 09, 2016

Scrap Skirt Sewing Tutorial

I have a skirt sewing tutorial for you today.
This one was made for my Miss 8, but I have included instructions to cater for other sizes.

I love eclectic, crazy and colourful looks, but you could certainly use whatever fabrics suit your taste.

The beauty of this project is that you don't need to print anything out, you can easily draw up your templates and just get going straight away! Plus, it's a great stash-busting project ;)

I made my project for a girls AUS size 8-9. Here's a conversion chart if you don't live in Oz. Material lengths are given for this size. You may need more or less depending on your size choice.

You'll need an overlocker and normal sewing machine. But if you're clever you can probably make the whole thing on your normal sewing machine.
Materials:

- 4 different scraps of fabric measuring 15" (length) x 20" (width)
- Piece of ribbing or similar stretchy material, such as cotton lycra 4 3/4" (12cm) x 10 1/4" (26cm)
- A couple of small pieces of pretty fabric for the pockets, plus plain fabric such as calico for the back of the pockets.
- Matching sewing thread.

Instructions:

You are going to be using 8 panels of fabric for the skirt, and we need to draw up our template. Work out your measurements using this method:

Measure child's waist then add approximately half that measurement again. I measured 27" around the waist, so 27" + 14" (rounded up) = 41". Now divide this 41" by 8, which equals 5.1". For simplicity's sake, let's pretend that means 5 1/8". I added an extra 3/8" (1cm) to this measurement because I used exposed seams on my overlocker/ serger and that way does not take up much fabric. If you are using a normal sewing machine with hidden seams you can add 3/8" (1cm) to both sides; so add an extra 3/4" or 2cm to that 5 1/8" measurement.

So I have my top measurement at 5 1/2".

Measure how long you would like your skirt. We wanted a 14" length skirt so we added 1" to that and got 15".

Our bottom measurement was an approximate double the top width to 10". You can go larger or smaller, it doesn't really matter, the wider you go, the more twirl your skirt will have.

Now draw it all up to make your template. I marked the centre of my template so that I could measure 5" from either side for the bottom measurement so my template didn't end up being wonky. Add a slight curve to the top and bottom of your template, then cut out following the curved lines.

I used a mix of upcycled fabrics taken from old garments, and new fabrics. 

Cut out eight panels. I used four different fabrics, so cut two panels of each to make up my 8. Work out which fabric you would like next to each other and sew them together using a narrow overlock hem, with wrong sides together.  

Hem to desired length or use the narrow overlock stitch around the bottom of the skirt.

Next cut out two pockets. Work out your template by drawing a rectangle the size you would like your pockets. Draw a gentle curve for the bottom of your pockets to give them a rounded shape. Add some seam allowance around the whole shape. I added 3/8" (1cm). My finished pocket template measured 6 1/4" (16cm) x 5 1/8" (13cm).
You need to cut out two pockets using your template with your chosen pocket fabric. You will also need to cut two pieces of fabric for the insides of the pockets. Place one pocket fabric and one lining fabric, right sides together and sew around the pieces using your 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance leaving an opening around 2" (5cm) in the top to turn right side out. Turn right side out and iron flat, making sure the top edges are tucked in evenly, and top stitch the opening at the top of the pocket close to the edge. Repeat with other pocket.

Pin your pockets to your skirt and stitch in place close to the edges of your pockets, backstitching at the start and the end.
Next, work out how much stretch fabric you will need for the waist. Make sure to place your fabric so the stretchiest part is going around the waist. For a 2" (5cm) waistband you need to cut a 4 3/4" (12cm) length of fabric. That allows for doubling the fabric plus a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance. Next, work out your how much you will need to go around the waist. We used 10 1/4" (26cm) which includes 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance. You may need to place your stretchy fabric around your subjects waist to work out your width, remembering to add your seam allowance. Cut out.

Fold over so that the short ends match up, right sides together. Sew. Then fold over down on itself so that the seam is on the inside of the waistband.

Once your stretch fabric is sewn stretch it out comfortably to see how far it can comfortably go for when you sew the skirt to the waistband. You can see below I needed to get my skirt fabric to fit in between the yellow lines. This is how far I wanted to stretch my waistband whilst sewing it on to the skirt. 

Using the longest straight stitch on your sewing machine, sew around the top of your skirt, close to the edge. Backstitch at the start but not at the end. Don't sew over the stitching where you started.
 
Pull one of the threads (the bobbin thread usually works best) to start gathering in your fabric. Once you get your fabric to the size you need, tie off the thread ends to secure, and even out the gathering all around. I straight stitched around the top again just to help keep everything in place.
Here is my skirt top gathered in to the size I need.

Next, mark with pins the centre back and front of the waistband and the skirt, plus mark out with pins in two the sides. Match up your pins on the waistband and skirt, right sides together with raw edges matching, and pin it all together, using a pin for the front and back centre, and the two sides. Place in your overlocker at one of the points removing the pin first, and stretch out the waistband to fit the skirt whilst sewing around the edge, remembering to remove the pins before you reach them!
The waistband sewn in.

Then, turn right side out and present to your chosen fashionista!
The finished skirt.

Then enjoy!

Let me know if you make the skirt, and if there are any oversights in my instructions please let me know and I will do my best to help you!

Jules :)



August 31, 2016

Illustration Fail

I have an 'illustration fail' to share with you today!

I recently submitted my entrant to the illustration competition, the Global Talent Search 2016 run by Make Art That Sells. The competition was to find an illustrator to be represented by Lilla Rogers who represents some of the most awesome illustrators I've seen.
My probably-disqualified-but-I'll-never-know entry

I had a lot of fun making my entry (which was to illustrate a tea cup and napkin), and the day I submitted I had been up since 4.30am for some crazy reason. I think I forgot to leave the heater on that night and I woke up like a frozen ice block. I am very permeable to the cold!

I had been procrastinating about submitting. I had checked all the requirements in the illustration brief... or so I thought. There was this extra bit that I missed about a bit further down in the text that I overlooked.

For some reason.
Me procrastinating. These items were on my desk and so of course you arrange them in a pretty way and take a photo, right?

I pressed the 'submit' button. I went to check out other entrants pieces on instagram, and went, "No... no... I didn't forget did I!? Noooooo!" I checked the brief. I found the part where it said to put your name and/ or logo ON your piece. I didn't double check the brief well enough. It was like watching the car door close with the keys still inside in slow motion. Wham! Done! Over. No going back.

I had forgotten to put my name on my artwork.

My name. 

One of the things they look out for in an illustration competition is that you can follow a brief. 

I hadn't followed the brief.

I lost about two nights sleep from kicking myself. I'm sure my piece was disqualified.

I have been reminded that 1. I am a human being. 2. Mistakes happen, and 3. Probably don't do important tasks if can be avoided with a freezing and sleep deprived brain.

Can I also add that my husband had been away for almost five weeks and I was holding fort with two kids!? Or are they just excuses, excuses!?

So, I'm ok with my stuff up now. There's always next year. I'm aiming to do one of the Make Art That Sells Mats Illustration courses one day. And I think my entry was better this year (I think last years totally sucked), and I'll possibly think this one sucks soon enough, perhaps next years will be a little less sucky again!

But all is not lost. I have a new illustration piece and I'm now making it into a print to pop in my Etsy shop.

Life is full of fails, and that's just normal, right?

Jules ;)


August 24, 2016

Two Wonderful Children's Picture Books

This post contains affiliate links. This means that when you click through to buy the product, a portion of the sale goes to me.*

I wanted to share today two children's picture books that have recently caught my eye. The first one is called "Virgina Wolf" by Kyo Maclear & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault.

Isabelle's illustrations have caught my eye in the past before, so I just had to check out this children's book. This was published back in 2012 and I love the illustrations in it. I found this book quite poetic and it could be used as a springboard for discussion of different emotions with children. It reads sisterly love, as one sister paints "Bloomsberry", which is a garden-like forest where her 'wolfish' sister wants to go. This was a winner in our house because of course sometimes you turn into a wolf, of course sometimes you feel dull, of course we paint all over the house, of course we do nice things for our sisters when they are in a 'funk', and of course we ALL loved the illustrations! Beautiful.
The page I opened the book up to when we got it... gasp!

"I want my Hat Back" is a clever picture book by Jon Klassen. Normally I go for books that are more elaborately illustrated, which is just my personal preference; but I do have respect for a well- designed book, and the wit with which this book is written makes it a definite stand- out.

It's a simply (seemingly) illustrated book. I say seemingly because there's often a lot of thought and design that goes on in the early stages of creating such a book. I think it's really well designed and my kids Miss 6 and Miss 8 loved it and asked for it to be re-read again and again.

There was one page around about the middle where, and I don't want to give anything away, but the main character of the story has a reaction that induced a lot of squealing and laughing. It's a witty, clever story that we all enjoyed. Well worth getting one for your bookshelf!
I want my hat back

Have you read any of these books? I just love kids books! If there's one you'd like me to check out, please let me know.

Jules :)

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