This little piggy

A friend of mine asked if I’d make her daughter Kate one of my wool owl cushions, except not as an owl, as a pig. Also not a pink pig, but a blue one. Kate is turning thirteen and is obsessed with pigs. I found this a little challenging for a while as I didn’t want her piggy cushion to look too babyish or too girly as she is not a girly girl. Eventually I did what I often do and got out the materials to play with. I make my wool cushions from pure wool thrifted jumpers which I wash on the hot cycle. This causes the wool to felt and makes a lovely soft fabric. I chose a navy blue body, pale blue face and a soft dusty pink for the ears and nose. The eyes are two black buttons and the tail is embroidered on with soft pink thread. I was quite pleased with the finished piggy and am waiting to hear what Kate thinks of it when she gets it for her birthday in August.

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The owl cushion that is not an owl.

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I think he has a very enquiring expression on his face…

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The unfortunate stain

Our lovely family Christmas went for three days. We started on Christmas Eve with carols and dinner with my Stepmother and Father. It was a lovely evening but I think our singing, with the exception of our Stepmother, left a lot to be desired. As she teaches singing I think she may have needed a lie down after that experience! On Christmas Day, lunch was spent with my sisters, Mum, Stepfather and little nephews. A lovely feast. On Boxing Day everyone from my husband’s family came to our house for lunch. There were nineteen of us so thankfully the weather was kind and we could eat outside. Lots of eating, laughing and sharing of gifts.

For the last few days we have had no commitments, which has been lovely after the busyness of Christmas. Finally I have had time to do a little craft project that needed doing. On my grey cardigan, in an obvious spot, I splashed coffee on it the second time I wore it. And of course, it stained.

Deciding to rescue it from my gardening clothes pile, I tried out various colours and arrangements of vintage buttons. I liked them all really but ended up choosing a  pastel selection which reminded me of colours popular in the 1950’s. Then I used some embroidery thread and sewed a simple running stitch in a circular pattern. I didn’t try to make the stitches exactly the same size as I wanted it to look hand rather than machine made. The final result looks like a brooch and best of all, no stain. Hopefully, I won’t add further stains to this cardigan as I think there probably is such as thing as too many buttons, but then again, some of you may disagree!

The unfortunate stain

The unfortunate stain

Grey buttons

Grey buttons

A colourful mix

A colourful mix

Blue vintage buttons

The choice made

The choice made

All stitched up

cardigan full shot watermarked

The stain vanquished

Christmas garland

Yesterday in Melbourne it was hot and sticky.  A perfect day for staying inside and making a quick Christmas garland. We certainly won’t be having real snowflakes here for Christmas so I thought the doily shapes I cut out were a good alternative. I love red and white for Christmas, it’s just so festive. Here’s how I made it if you want to make one too!

You will need:

Old buttons (with reasonably large holes)

An old doily or scraps from one

A few old book or music pages

Embroidery thread, wool or string

A large needle with a big eye

Scissors

First of all cut star shapes from an old book or music pages (mine came from a Mills and Boon book “Outlaw Heart”), not Christmassy but something I didn’t mind chopping up!

Next gather buttons of different sizes but make sure they have big holes so you can thread them easily.

Cut up an old doily (this is a good way to use up a stained one).

Choose your thread for stringing (initially I was going to use Jute or kitchen twine, but my needle eye was too small so I chose red embroidery thread).

Cut your thread longer than you want your finished garland to be so you can tie a knot at one end and/or make loops to hang it by.

Lay out your buttons, paper stars and doily snowflakes in a row until you are pleased with your design and then tie a knot or loop at one end.

Simply thread through buttons, and stitch through doily and star pieces with a little space in between each one. Tie a knot at the end and make a loop if you want one.

Hang up and enjoy your up cycled Christmas Garland!

red plate

Vintage buttons and doily pieces

Christmas doily

Christmas doily

stars watermarked

Don’t look too closely at the text!!!

red buttons watermarked

Red vintage buttons

close up

Threaded up

close up star

Detail

christmas garland

Completed Garland

light

Light up your Christmas

Being neutral

It’s interesting how we respond to colour at different times. Sometimes I feel like a lot of colour, wearing an orange cardigan, with pink top and green skirt(you can’t miss me). And then, at other times, just looking at a lot of colour feels overwhelming. I went through a stage where yellow made me feel ill, but recently I’ve been craving it. Why? I don’t know. When colour feels too much it’s nice to turn to neutrals. I don’t think I could ever be disciplined enough to limit myself purely to neutrals, although I do love looking at homes that are all neutral. It’s very restful on the eyes, such a calm environment to live in.

I’d like to share two neutral owl paintings that have flown recently into the Winter Owls  Shop. The first owl is entitled “Bookworm”. This is a sweet-faced owl who is obviously a big reader. My younger son said it looks like it is wearing an owl costume. Well why not? The second painting is “And as handsome as I am”, this is quite a self-assured fellow, who really is a looker I must agree.

A post about neutrals also had to include some other lovely neutral objects. One of the things I noticed when looking at the photographs below, was how texture and little details of the objects really stood out, when eye-popping colour wasn’t present to take over.

I hope you enjoy these neutral photographs and have a relaxing and calm weekend.

“Bookworm”

“And as handsome as I am”

A creamy Iceberg rose

Pacific Ocean Cowrie shells

Cowrie shell

Buttons in an old printers tray

Neutrally vintage

Buttoned neutrally

Naughty neutrals

Beautiful vintage buttons

Dreamy neutrals

The button hoarder

I have a large glass jar filled to the top with buttons, most of them garnered from charity shops. Some of them are beautiful old Bakelite, glass or simply taken from yesterdays holey clothes. Occasionally, I have been blessed with someone’s old button tin. I don’t want to become a button hoarder, though I perhaps, already am one. I do use them sometimes, I promise.

I love rummaging around in the jar, imagining all the possibilities for these little treasures. A bit like a miser with coins I suppose! All sorts of wonderful things have been created using old buttons. I thought it might be nice to share a very simple necklace I made from some of my collection.

You can easily make one of these necklaces yourself. All you need is a supply of pretty buttons with reasonably  large holes so you can thread them with out too much difficulty.

I layered my buttons in stacks of three, a larger one in the middle and two smaller ones on the outsides so your necklace looks lovely which ever way it hangs. If you have buttons which look lovely from both sides you may not need to layer them, but I quite like the layered look.

Organise the buttons first so you can see how it will look when finished and lay them in a row in the order you want to thread them. To thread the buttons you could use cotton or silk cord, string or anything else you like that will fit through the button holes.

Measure how long you want your necklace and then add some extra length so that you will have enough length to tie a knot and remember that threading through the layered buttons will take up some of the length of the cord. I can’t tell you exactly how much extra length you will need, but remember you can always cut it shorter, but you can’t make it longer! Also, don’t forget that you will need to make it long enough to fit over your head unless you are clever enough to put a clasp on it, so measure generously.

When the necklace is complete, you can add a small dob of glue to the knot so it can’t come undone. I used PVA which dries clear.

This is the first “how to” I have written so my apologies if it is difficult to understand. I have included lots of photos so they will hopefully make things clearer!

Vintage button necklace

Vintage button necklace

Shell and glass vintage buttons

Vintage buttons

Lovely vintage clear button and red flower

Vintage buttons

Shell and clear buttons

Vintage buttons

The finished product

Friday I’m in love

It’s Friday, the sun is shining, the air is sweet, I’ve got my coffee, all is good in my world today.

Ruby and her vintage pal

I think this is my best side

Modelling, so tiring

A tale of two tails

Groovy ears

Groovier tale

It’s Friday, I’m in love

Miss Ruby loves my latest find, a home-made vintage dog. I think you might like it too?

I hope  that  all is good in your world too, enjoy your weekend………………….

Crazy Owl Lady

I am very excited(and slightly nervous) because tomorrow I am having my first stall at Sisters’ Market in Brunswick. It has been an owl factory in my house lately and my eldest son has started calling me “Crazy Owl lady”.

There are owls everywhere and they seem to be taking over the house. I have been busy making owlets from up-cycled pure wool jumpers which I felted in my washing machine.

I think they are very sweet. What do you think?

I will also have prints of my original paintings there. I love this painting “Darling”. It makes me feel happy and peaceful whenever I look at it.