Craft, stitchin' and sustainable living

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sweater critter

Boyfriend gave me this great book - Sweater Surgery - for my birthday last year. It is full of projects to make out of old knitted sweaters (but let's call them jumpers from now on, because I am Australian). I had been saving up some old jumpers, ready to tackle one of the projects. So with my lovely friend S due a little baby boy in 3 weeks, I decided to make one of the critters pictured in the top right corner of the book for him.

I loved this jumper until I accidentally shrunk it in the wash (oops!). I choose this fabric to match, thinking the apples would make for a good puppy belly print.

The pattern and instructions were super easy. In fact, I didn't really even use the pattern - I just looked at the pictures and cut the fabric in shapes that looked the same. That's the beauty of things like toys - they don't need to 'fit' anyone.

I made some cute little ears...

and a cute little nose... (damn night time photos! Will I ever get you right?)

and you end up with a pretty cute little puppy guy! I hope my newest friend likes him.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A simpler life

Lately I've been thinking about my childhood, and how the way we lived life 25 years ago seems much simpler, and less consumptive, than today. Although my parents did instill in me an eco-conscience, the way we went about life wasn't necessarily 'to be earth-friendly', it was more the product of growing up in a rural area and making use of what we had.

When I was little, I used a hanky, not a tissue. Especially not for just little sniffles or eye-waters.

Lately I was lucky enough to win a package of vintage goodies from The Posh Op Shopper, including these sweet little hankies. They are going straight into my handbag for future use.

I remember we had a 'rag bag'. It was just that, a bag of old, worn out clothes, manchester etc which you could grab a rag from to wipe up a mess, polish your shoes, or any number of dirty old tasks. These days we buy mass-manufactured chux wipes to do the same thing. Why?

When I was little, we fed the food scraps to our chickens.

Now I feed them to my guinea pigs : )

I also remember meals being simpler. Why does every meal these days involve marindating, searing, roasting, seasoning and a side salad? My parents used to make simple corn fritters, and they were great. Quick, nutritious, and very tasty.

What do you remember about your childhood that was simpler?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Men's shirt refashioned

I had this men's business shirt, practically new, from when my boyfriend's friend cleaned out his wardrobe last year. It had been on my to-refashion pile for months and months.

As you can see, it was massive on me. However I didn't have the length to make it into a shirt-dress, so I decided to make it into a women's work shirt.

I very soon found out that this was not going to be as easy as just taking the shirt in. I learnt some important lessons in stitchin' here - especially that men's shirts have more room in the back, and that women's shirts have more room in the front. So, a whole lot of shaping ensued.

I took the sleeves off, and hacked a whole heap of length off them.

I put darts in front...

then in the shoulders...

and eventually all over the place. Finally, after much pinning and many sleeve re-attachments, I got it to fit!

It even looks good with a belt!

The cuffs were built for cufflinks, but instead I sewed on some buttons and joined them with elastic.

Nice, huh? It'll definitely be getting some wear now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Super Easy Tips - tip #2 Vegie bags

One of our household goals for this year is to reduce the amount of rubbish that goes into our bins. We're actually quite good at not putting much into the regular bin, but our recycle bin is usually totally full by the time the council comes to collect it. And while recycling is good, having less rubbish in the first place is even better.

One small, easy thing I did recently was to make some vegie bags for taking to the supermarket. We use 'green' bags for our normal groceries, but then you always get stuck with the little plastic bags for fruit and veg. So I made a variety of these little drawstring bags in voile (which I got from Reverse Garbage - cheap cheap!) to use instead. The voile is see-through, so it's easy when going through the checkout.

Can you see our little mushrooms in there?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Stitchybritt's 2010

As many other bloggers have been doing (such as Veronica Darling and Fritzi Marie), I wanted to write a 2010 wrap-up post. Unfortunately my ‘puter has been out-of-order the last few days, so this post comes a little later than I anticipated it would. Nevertheless, here is (or perhaps, this was) my 2010...

In January I visited Australia’s red centre with my good friend, Anne. We started in Alice Springs and visited the real heart of Australia in Uluru, King’s Canyon and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta National Park). An absolutely brilliant part of the world, get there if you can.

My interest in refashioning old clothing into new was growing rapidly, so I went along to the Social Studio in Melbourne to learn some basic techniques and get some inspiration. Throughout the year I ended up refashioning quite a few things from my wardrobe, and a few op-shop finds, a habit that will definitely continue.

In the first quarter of the year we (boyfriend and I) packed up and moved from Melbourne to Sydney. Melbourne, though not my birthplace, is very much home so was hard to leave. It’s funny how the small things can make you feel welcome in a new city though, like this awesome graffiti we found close to our first Sydney home.

Around the same time I launched my ‘For the love of tea’ range of tea and mug cozies. I made a lot of mug cozies in 2010. And sold some too, thankfully : )

Come mid-year and we were off to Denmark and Sweden for a Scandinavian adventure. Man, do I love that part of the world. And their berries. Oh the berries.

In August I turned 30, so we headed to Byron Bay with a few friends to celebrate. Here we are (with birdy friend) looking windblown up near the lighthouse. Oh yeah, did I mention that I have a thing for lighthouses?

As the year went on I stitched more and more. I sewed clothes for myself, gifts for friends and loads more tea cozies. And I drank many cups of tea.

Late in the year we also got a cat. Her name is Snork Maiden (from the Finnish show, the Moomins) and we adore her. We *might* have dressed her up as a lion for a fancy dress party we had. As you can see, this didn’t bother her in the slightest.

Our goal to become vegie gardeners (and not just snail feeders) has been slow to come about, but finally, finally...

And the year ended with our happy Christmas tree (that came all the way from Melbourne with us), trying where we could to make it a sustainable Christmas. I've just spent the last week cooking leftovers into new meals, freezing leftover meat, and making stock from the bones of the turkey. Our freezer is kinda full.

If you think that was a lot of stuff to do in a year, just wait till you hear what I've got planned for 2011...