Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Doily candle holder

I saw this beautiful candle holder using a stiffened doily on

Now, I can't read German, but someone suggested using Sugar Starch to stiffen the fabric. I googled the recipe, stole a balloon from my teaching resources for my childbirth classes (yes, really I use balloons and ping pong balls in my classes) and made the syrup.

Sugar Starch recipe

1/4 cup water
3/4 cup granulated sugar
Mix water and sugar in a small pan. Stir the mixture over low heat (do not boil) until clear and not sugary. Remove pan from heat, and let mixture cool.

Once the mixture had cooled down enough, I dipped the doily in it and smoothed it over a partially inflated balloon placed upside down in a noodle bowl. I really mooshed heaps of the mixture over, which is a bit messy and takes longer to dry but I wanted to make sure it would really get stiff.

I left it to dry overnight. In the morning when it was harder, I popped the balloon by sticking a couple of layers of sticking tape on the balloon then poking a couple of holes in the balloon through the tape. This stops the balloon popping suddenly and especially good when you have delicate media you are working with.

I was left with a mostly dry product, which I then left to dry near the window to fully harden.

Once hardened, I used a clear glass candle holder in it and a tea-light candle. I did this as I wasn't too confident that the direct heat of the wax in the candle wouldn't soften the starch. If it did, I guess the beauty of using the sugar starch is that you wash the doily and start again.

I have seen tutorials where PVA or clear-drying craft glue is used in the same way, and I think that would be a better option for more permanent projects!

Making something out of scraps

I was second hand shopping for fabric yesterday and managed to find some beautiful vintage style fabric. I got a supermarket bag full for $4! Only problem is - one of the bits was a curtain.

I took it home and cut the main panel of fabric out for future use. There was still the ruffles and the top of the curtain left over. I decided to strip out the material in the ruffles so cut the seams off. I was amazed at how much fabric I could get out of it!

We have little kittens in our house at the moment and they are just at that preschool age where they are into everything and developing their chasing skills. Using the seam strips I had left over, I wound them up (the strips, not the kittens) into balls nice and tightly, then tucked the tails into the ball strands.

What a hit they are! And a great way to use up strips of scrap fabric! Nice and soft for sharpening teeth, and small enough for little paws.

I think next time I will add some catnip or wind the fabric around a little bell.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Valentines cards

It's that time of year agin and everyone is thinking about what to do or get for their special person.

Forget the commercial grade cards spouting cheesy poetry - this year I hvae made my own cards to give to my beloved, and a few extra's for friends and relatives to give to theirs.

Using just plain white cardstock, a sewing machine, red thread and either vintage fabric or vintage styled scrapbooking paper these are super simple! I just cut out a heart shape (the easiest way is to fold the medium and cut a half heart shape, much like making paper snowflakes. This means your love heart is nice and perfectly shaped. You could use a heart template if you wanted)

Then, using a plain straight stitch sew the heart onto the cardstock. It took me a couple of goes to get it looking really good, so have a couple of spares up your sleeve. Then I just zig zagged across the heart.

As a little added extra, the sewing machine I am working on has fancy stitching patterns so I just ran a line of hearts down the envelopes.

I've left the insides blank on these ones, but you could always add in your own message or poetry.

Happy Valentines!

These are a few of the first attempts!