Archive for the ‘DIY’ Category

Gift Wrapping

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

It has been forever. That second child . . hey! Woahhhhh. I have the attention span of a gold fish and little energy.

I have put on a ban of buying anymore craft supplies of any kind. Having said that, all the time and money I had already spent, I have amassed a great inventory of products to utilise when the need arises.

This was one such need. I did however have to buy a box at a two dollar shop. In the recent past I have let standards slip and used, please forgive me, gift bags! Not nice ones at that. The super tacky ones.

I wish to show you what I achieved for a family member’s milestone. I shouldn’t be making excuses, but I know a lot of my readers also find themselves in the same shoes, young kids, too many commitments, lack of time, indecisive, like nice things, procrastinators yadda yadda. It was my Aunty’s 50th and DID NOT HAVE A CLUE WHAT TO GET HER and I left internet shopping too late, not that I could decide on anything. She also hinted at not wanting actual ‘things’.

Which I think a lot of us feel like this too. How much stuff can we actually have? We all seem to be attempting to declutter in one way or another.

So what do you get someone who has everything?

I always feel that flowers can never go astray. People moan that they die. Yes, they die. You enjoy them for the days you have them. The lift the mood and create energy. Then hey presto you pop them in the green bin! Not hanging around haunting you forever. They are perfect.

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If they drink alcohol, a bottle of something is good too, possibly even something they enjoy often, you know it will get drunk and not sit around collecting dust waiting for some elusive special occasion. Life is short! Drink the good stuff, drink the regular stuff.

I recently enjoyed a west coast cooler. It was fun! You know it is not precious to not be consumed. It can just be a bit of fun! Let’s not take everything so seriously. Or you can splash out on something grand, just make sure you just agree to open it and SOON!

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I decided to create a gift with whimsy. Fifty and whimsical.

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Let’s see what I put together. I bought a white gift box. Raided my ribbon stash for a classic wide black satin ribbon. Handmade washi paper from Japan and a torn watercolour paper tag.

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 I printed out little circle discs to also adorn the balloons but, alas, the sun was setting and I needed to get in the car and GO. So I had to ditch it.

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I filled the bottom of the box with her favourite chocolate. I suggest finding out something they enjoy and grabbing them.

I covered them over with tissue paper.

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A cinema did a recent renovation where the whole cinema is like a giant gold class and the recipient likes to frequent this place so I bought a voucher. I know it will be utilised and it is a fun outing. But I didn’t just hand over a voucher shoved in a hallmark card. I dressed it up a lil’. I wrapped it up like a little present with ribbon.

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Next up was another voucher. (I know, I am so lazy!) It would have been MUCH nicer if I actually went and got an actual voucher from that shop but it is quite a drive for me from my place and I have young children and to go all that way for a voucher seems a bit disproportionate. If I was getting something AMAZING, I would definitely make the trek. A voucher though, ughhhh no. Plus the voucher probably is ugly.

I decided to make my own voucher. This is also a great idea if vouchers don’t exist with what you want to give.

I whipped this card up in no time flat. Cut two slices in the paper and thread the cash through. Luckily we have plastic money as I folded it on the back and sticky taped it down.

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Then I made a teeny tiny little hand written card. I popped it in an equally teeny tiny little handmade envelope with hand made paper. So sweet!

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A popped a little hemp cord black bow on the front. The top left is the framing voucher card wrapped up. These three things were wrapped in tissue paper and the chocolates were placed into the gift box.

With just one more chocolate on top to greet you when you first open it for a little bit of whimsy.

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The gift box was then wrapped.

The card I made, the round discs and that hand torn label were all made of watercolour paper off cuts that I have kept for times like these. Waste not, want not!

The whole gift made for an enjoyable unwrapping experience. That, in my opinion, adds to the gift.

Maybe consider trying some of this next time you get attack of the guilts just giving vouchers as a gift.

:)

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There was a fifth balloon but I popped it with florist wire! I wanted this little arrangement to be really cool. I was thinking of adding tiny bows to the wire ‘strings’. To add the text discs on more wire. Possibly tulle covering, foliage etc. . . . but even just the 4 balloons were too heavy for the wire and even several strands of wire. I threaded them into a straw too. I tried quite a few things. This is something I wish to conquer on another occasion. Possibly Isabel’s first birthday.

Hope to be back to blogging. I miss it. I miss documenting things that have happened in my life or my dreams and aspirations. I miss other peoples blogs. Lots of migration to instagram and snapchat. I am on snapchat and share some tutorials of things I am making. Film in real time. Warts and all. #swearing!! Frustrations etc which appeal to some people. The smoke and mirrors removed.

Although I really miss the gloss. The polish. THE EFFORT!!!!

Please share any last minute gift ideas that you think are a hit.

Much appreciated.

Laura

x

Queen Bed Head D.I.Y Upholstery Tutorial

Monday, May 18th, 2015

After close to 10 months, I am here to FINALLY do my bed head tutorial.

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To start with I sketched the shape of the bed head on some paper. Full disclosure, I was heavily inspired by a Hickory chair company Fifth Ave bed.

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LINK

I decided to do a piped edge instead of nail head, like in the picture. I love nail head, but at the time, the interiors world was saturated with nail heads and I didn’t want the bed head to be too trend based and look sad shortly after. But I definitely LOVE nail head. I also have a chair in the room that has nail head trim.

I chose to make mine taller and not do the border. The border is waaaaayyy out of my amateur upholstery skills.

Then I handed over my drawing with measurements to my husband. My bed head is about 170cm tall and about 5 cm wider on each side of a queen mattress.

He then drew it out in his CAD software and sent it to the factory to be cut out.

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The 3 beams were 45mm thick from bunnings. The plywood backing is 9mm thick and the fancy shape top are 9 mm thick ply stacked up on top of each other. All glued and screwed together.

This step is obviously not an option for everyone. So you can get out rulers, protractors and pair of compasses to draw the fancy curve shape. It is definitely not impossible and how things use to be done back in the olden days!

Then use a jigsaw to cut it out.

Luckily my brother works at a factory and he ran the project on a CNC machine. He also constructed it for me.

Then my husband also sent his file for the inner part of the bed head for the foam shape to a foam shop who accepts .dxf files and they cut it out so the fit was perfection.

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Again, this is also not necessary. You can cut foam to shape like you cut plywood with a jigsaw. You just use an electric bread knife for the foam. This doesn’t even need to be exact. It is going to be inside the bed head, not visible and it is a squishy product.

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Once you have the wooden frame constructed and the foam inside. The next thing to do is to cover the rest of it.

Lay it horizontally on a couple of work horses which can be picked up fairly cheaply at Bunnings.

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I covered it with a foam mattress topper from Target. I got this for half price when a target was closing down.

The packet says “Foam underlay” and the price is $39 (I paid $19.50) for a queen bed size. But I can’t see it on their website. (They have similar stuff, but it is memory foam, mine is not memory foam) Moving on. You can use a thin foam all over. 2 or so centimetres thick.

You don’t have to use foam here though (as it is expensive!) You can use high loft batting here which can be purchased from spotlight. But use 2 layers.

I went with the thin foam. Lay it on top

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The pointy side down. Then with a staple gun (I STRONGLY recommend investing in an electric staple gun, due to the amount of stapling you will be doing. Unless you’re fond of hand cramps or have amazing palm strength then you can use a $20 manual one)

Staple around the perimetre of the bed head minus the legs. Use your fingers to push the foam to find the edge of the timber.

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Then trim the excess foam off with good scissors.

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Next, lay your fabric over the top. Make sure it is ironed and free from wrinkles. I laid my fabric on its side. So the selvedge (self finish edge) of the fabric is at the top and bottom, not the sides of the head board. As the fabric width was not wide enough to accommodate my bed head. So if you are using patterned fabric, keep this in mind. If pattern is not directional, i.e works in any direction it is then that is fine, but if it needs to go a certain direction and is not wide enough the way it is, you will have to sew pieces together and you will have a seam or seams. So make sure you measure and line it up so that it is centred to the bed head.

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You can see the selvedge edge at the top there and just resting on the bed head leg. Then begin to staple! I started at the bottom of the bed head. I just put a few staples in. Then I went to the top of the bed head and pulled the fabric smooth and firmly taut. Not overly taut though, just smooth the fabric up and over the edge and pulling slightly, put a staple in a few places to anchor it. Then move to the sides and place some there. Once you have the fabric stapled on all 4 sides, make sure it is smooth, free of ripples or loose fabric. If it is nice and tight, move in. if you’ve got issues, use needle nose pliers and pull some staples out and try again. Then go around the fill in the gaps with staples.

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Obviously, this complies with all the known OH&S regulations.

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Close up

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You may need to cut the fabric to ease it around the pointy parts. Then trim the excess fabric off.

We next move on to covering the legs. For this part. Cut fabric that is big enough to cover the leg the whole way around.

For this part you will need cardboard backtacking strips. These are sold per metre strips. $0.45 per metre.

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I bought them from here

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Cut the strips to length. BUT DO NOT USE DRESS MAKING SHEARS HERE. Under no circumstances use your scissors for paper/cardboard.

Place your cut fabric so that the wrong side of the fabric is facing up. My picture is too cropped. But you place your piece of fabric on the body of your head board. So the edge of the fabric is lined up with the trimmed edge of the body fabric. Not sitting on the bed head leg. Then place your strip and put a few staples in it. You use the strips to get a nice straight edge. Then you pick up your cut piece of fabric and it folds over the backtack strip and conceals it and you can then drape it over the leg. Staple it in place on the of the leg. There is not foam or batting used on the legs, it is not necessary in my opinion.

Next we move to the sewing machine. (I was scared of this part, but trust me, YOU CAN DO IT!) You are going to make the piping/cording.

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I bought my cording from Spotlight. You can get a vast range of thickness for your cording. I chose something quite thick. I wanted it to be prominent. I can’t remember the size number though. Sorry. This is cotton cording. If you are going to do piped edge on something that you will wash, I have been advised to stay away from the type of cording I chose. As it takes FOREVER to dry. In that case you can use soft hollow core plastic.

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Measure the perimetre of your project for the amount of cording to buy.

Change the foot on your machine to the zipper foot.

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Cut long strips of fabric that is wide enough to wrap around your cording and have over hang. This youtube video shows you how to do it.

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I am certain that I didn’t cut my strips on the bias though. I just cut straight strips and it worked fine. In the youtube video it shows you how to sew the strips together so you have one big long continuance piece of fabric.

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Wrap the strips of fabric around the cording and line the cut edges up. Make sure your cording is in there snugly and sew with your zipper foot as close to the cording as possible. You don’t want it loose in the channel. I had to move the needle on my machine over to get closer. Once you have it right, it is super easy. Just sew the entire length in one straight stitch. EASY!!!

Then you have piping!!!

Find the middle of the long strip of cording. Place that at the top middle of the headboard. Secure it. Then follow it along the edge of your bed head to the bottom of the leg to make sure you have made enough. Do this on both sides. You don’t want one leg to have a puddle of piping left over and then not enough of the other leg when you get to it. You can’t just cut it off and add it to the other side without a bad obvious join.

Then start to staple the piping in place. You want the piping to rest just on the front edge. You are stapling into the over hang of the fabric.

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Continue all the way down.

Cut more strips of fabric. This is to cover the top and side edges of your head board. You may have to sew 2 or more together. I have 1 seam. Be smart about it. place the seam/s somewhere inconspicuous. You don’t want them to be too visible. So lining them up with other joins is best.

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Next up. You will need your cardboard backtacking strips.

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We are going to be covering up all the staples and raw edges of fabric from the piping to make a nice finish.

Lay your fabric the wrong side up, just like we did with the legs and place your cardboard strip butted up with the piping/cording.

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Place staples into the cardboard.

Next up, cut strips of high loft batting. I purchased this at spotlight. Cut strips slightly bigger then the depth of your head board. You need this so you don’t feel/see the staples,the cardboard strips or excess fabric under the finished fabric edge. To give it a nice smooth finish.

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Fold back the fabric you just attached. Place the strip of the batting there. Lift a layer of the batting and place the staples inside it. You don’t want to feel these staples or see the bumps when you attach it.

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As you can see in the picture above, I am placing the staples in the middle of the batting. Just separating it with my fingers.

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Go the whole way around.

Then fold your fabric back over and staple it on the very back of the head board. VOILA! A piped edge that is concealed and the top edge looks beautiful.

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Trim excess hanging fabric.

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Stand it up and be all like, f**k, I am a f**king GENIUS! Bask in the glory of being an amazing d.i.y QUEEN!!

Lay something over your work horses to protect the front of your bed head. Lay your bed head face down to close up the back of the leg fabric that you can see hanging in the above picture.

I used this metal back tack strip to close the leg fabric over so there are no visible staples.

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And to close up the back up, I purchased shark trim to do it neatly, so that there is no visible staples.

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I attempted to use it and became frustrated and then I came to my senses – “It is the back Laura, no one will ever see it. Just staple it!”

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I purchased an off cut of fabric from the upholstery store that was enough to cover the back for like $4. It doesn’t matter what it looks like.

AND THEN IT IS FINISHED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Then insist on nagging your husband the minute he walks in the door from work to help you bring it inside the house and place it behind your ensemble mattress. The weight of the mattress and base has been enough to keep it in place for us. I did not attach it to the wall at all. It is simply just leaning.

You can make bed heads minus the legs and then hang them on the wall, but I have no idea why you would do that. You can see it is missing legs and it looks kind of silly and then you have to go to the trouble of hanging it on the wall with brackets and hardware, I would just make your head board with legs.

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Then snap a picture because you are proud as punch!

Materials and Cost:

Timber beams: Around $30 from bunnings.

Plywood: Free.

Frame cutting: Freebie.

Foam: $50 for 50mm medium density foam.

Foam Cutting: $120 for cutting. That is pretty expensive and I did “umm & ahh” over doing this. I could have cut it myself and it would have cost $0 but I wanted to make a professional looking head board and that meant it was guaranteed to be the right and perfect shape and I didn’t have to mess around trying to cut it myself, so I personally thought it was worth spending money on. But It is definitely doable. Make a template and trace in on the foam with black texta.  Then cut it out with an electric bread knife.

Thin foam: $19.50

Fabric: $200 (I think it was around $50 a metre and I used around 4 metres) Remember, you need upholstery fabric, you can’t/should go to just spotlight or lincraft and buy any ol’ thing.

Staples: ~$10

Cording: ~$20 (I can’t remember, but something like this)

It was around $450 to make it. You can buy bed heads for this price. . . maybe, but it won’t be anywhere near as nice. The fabric will be sad, there won’t be piping and the foam will be thin and hard. My husband questioned me making this one when the price was mounting and slightly begged me to have someone else make it. I was shocked. I trusted my ability, especially after doing the diamond tufted banquette and the professional upholsterer who made the cushion cover for me praised it to no end. Once I completed it, My husband was really pleased with the result and did admit he had made a mistake in not having faith in me. To have someone make this bed head up for you in your own custom shape, you are probably looking at $1200 at least. I think I did well.

Time: This bed head took me around 2.5 days to upholster. I was the primary carer of my 1 year old whilst doing it too. I did it on my own. (besided the construction of the frame)I got my husband to help me put it on the work horses before he left for work. But when it came to flipping the bed head over onto its front. I did that on my own and I could have really used another set of hands, but I am too determined. And I have plastic work horses and a couple collapsed as I was exercising poor judgment and restraint, but I managed to get it on and get it done because it was so close to being finished.

If any Aus peeps want to give making a custom shaped bed head a go and need some assistance getting the bed head frame made, you can speak to me, even if your aren’t in Sydney.

LINK TO THE ORIGINAL REVEAL OF THE BED HEAD

Merry Christmas

Monday, December 29th, 2014

Wah!

Hi, remember me? I use to occupy this space! I just paid for another year of hosting, so I better do something with it.

Let’s do a little back capture shall we.

I took a weekend off and went on a trip to Byron Bay for my cousin Becky’s wedding.

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Source

Woot Woo right?

We stayed at Byron at Byron and it was LOVELY! Very nice indeed. I would like to go back. (because it was kind of a fizzer because I got sick and spent last day seeking a doctor which I found at Ballina emergency department:)

My daughter turned 20 months.

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Gone are the days of photo shoots! It means I better quickly learn to take great pics at very short notice with very little time. The working 5 days a week compared to 3 is the difference between crafting and santiy and no crafting and stark raving mad lunatic. But, I do what I have to do for my little family and my expensive taste!
Gee, why couldn’t I just be happy with generic and mediocre?

Which brings us to my next point. JULISKA! I J’ADORE!!!!!!!! So HARD!!!! So $$ but so beautiful and creative! I love it all. I love the ethos of the company and the design and the way they can mix and match it all with such flair. High end with low end, plain with intricate. patterns with other patterns. Sourcing and utilising artisans throughout the world. Czechoslovakia, Mexico, Portugal. THE WHOLE DAMN LOT.

I am seriously considering a new dining setting, well 2. HA! (Casual and Formal)

Which rounds us out to my next point.

Christmas Eve Dinner. My Christmas table was SAD FACE. Very non inspired at all. Maxwell and Williams white dinner setting that was gifted from my Aunties storage cage to help me out when I first moved out 8 years ago does not make for an amazing display. Next year, Next year it will be different. But I said those very words last year when I put this dinner setting together,

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I did the same setting this year, but there was no cookies on the plate. (No time for those special touches) I didn’t bother taking a picture oft this years table. Plus I had a moment of weakness at the flower markets where I bought a bunch of candy pink roses because I somehow thought it would look good. But of course in the light of day, it was a terrible lapse in judgment. At least my Calligraphy has improved leaps and bounds.

Next point, I went to the flower markets on the 23rd. I went to bed at midnight and woke up at 3.45!!!!!!!!!! My friend from mothers group came with.

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^^^^^ THIS THOUGH, Oh This ^^^^^ This, I was happy with.
A BIG improvement from last years flowers

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This is my mantle. I didn’t have a mantle last year, So I was super chuffed this time around.

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I also made a fresh Christmas wreath for the front door.

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So yes, I think now is the time to commit to a new dinner setting. I rationalise the cost now that I have a daughter, Oh but one day it will be passed down to her. (But she will probably hate it and think it is the ugliest thing on the planet) Only time will tell. I also would like glasses for the table. I have a mix match of err stuff. But the setting I would like is not discounted in the boxing day sales like I had hoped. . .  . . . And I just can’t pay retail.

Here is my tree

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I loved it!

My wrapping.

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I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and Bring on the new year…………… no……. this year went by WAY TOO FAST. My daughter is growing way too fast and I am spending more time at work then I would like too which I keep agonising over and I really don’t know what the right thing to do is. And what I should prioritise higher, of course, my daughter and this precious time, but time is precious and this is the time to be working towards a nice future! Hmmph.

Having said all that. I have 2 weekends leave coming up! I think my husband I just need to make a point of taking more leave and more time off. It is important to not stress the hell out. Work is important but not that important!

Iced sugar cookies

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

I made sugar cookies.

I have wanted to try making these since my first attempt. Which was over a year ago for my daughter’s christening.

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This time I made the icing properly!

Except my piped border was a too thick is consistency making it hard to get smooth lines and it has visible edge. Never mind, there is always next time.

I used this recipe for the cookies

And this recipe for the royal icing

(pavlova magic in lieu of meringue powder)

There is still plenty of room left  for improvement!

And gee golly, the skies the limit in terms of what you can achieve on a cookie! I don’t think I will attempt any of that though.

xoxo Laura

D.I.Y Bed Head

Monday, July 28th, 2014

I did it!

I am so thrilled with this bed head. I took all progress pics and I can make a tutorial if need be. Let me know if you want a tutorial.

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Sneak peek!

I did a piped edge

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It is 50 mm deep and simply leaning against the wall with the weight of the mattress ensemble holding it in place.

I was going to do a piped edge on the back edge, but thought it didn’t need it.

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Tah Dah!

What do you think?

It is nearly 170 cms tall. (taller then me)

 I made it that tall to accommodate European pillows which I haven’t purchased yet. I want to make covers up for them in LUXE fabric. Embroidered etc. .  all the bells and whistles.

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My curtain rods that I want to replace. I want to have one single rod that has a right angle bend/curve to go around the corner and possibly bend back into the wall! I have found a brand that can do this for me.

Plus I want to make new curtains. Thick fabric, block out lining and wide trim tape!

And that is my ikea rast hack bed sides. I quite like them too.

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I’m really happy with the outcome.

NeoReverie Diamond Tufting Tutorial Banquette.

Friday, April 18th, 2014

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Welcome everybody. There is a wealth of information and guidance available for this process, but I still thought I would do my own version.

I’ve graduated, master upholsterer, from the University of YouTube based on all the videos I watched and information I absorbed.

Supplies

Medium density foam: cut to the shape you require. This stuff is expensive. There are more savvy ways to acquire foam, like foam mattress or other end products made of foam from big box stores like IKEA or target and cutting it down with an electric bread knife. I have a history of getting stroppy with a D.I.Y that doesn’t go to plan. So my personal philosophy is to start off on the right foot with the right products. Just pay the money and get exactly what you need. I bought the foam at the Foam Booth in Surry Hills. You can also get Foam at Clark Rubber and I am sure there are others. I needed 2480mm x 380mm and this cost me $80

MDF/ply wood/peg board: I used 3mm mdf which I believe was too flimsy. Hence why I braced it which you will see later.

Batting: I bought it on a roll from Spotlight. I needed 3 metres

Fabric: Thickish in weight and upholstery grade. You will need more fabric then you think. I cut 3.2 metres for my 2.5 metre long banquette. Because my projects had really long rows of buttons, it just ate the fabric up

This YouTube video shows how to measure your project to determine the right amount of fabric you need. I didn’t bother doing it, because I was talked out of it by this blog post.

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As she casually mentions that it doesn’t take up much more fabric. To be fair, I had a lot more buttons on a row then she did and I should have realised. It left me to sew on more fabric on either side. I had the half tufted banquette on the floor and the sewing machine on the floor while my husband pressed the pedal and intermittently moved the 2.5 metre long piece through the sewing machine.

I bought my fabric on clearance from Bargain Upholstery in Seaforth. I wanted a light blue grey fabric that was a linen look-a-like and not a fabric that they needed to order in (So I could get started right away and If I needed more that it wouldn’t be a drama) I also wanted it to be easy to clean and have stain reducing properties. Like my couch. I am not a fabric expert or anything But it has 2 colours in the fabric. So one direction has the first colour of treads woven and in the other direction it is the second colour of threads woven. It helps to mask stains. (Well, in my experience) In a perfect world I would have loved glazed linen. I am into that so hard right now. But this fabric has man made properties and it gives the fabric a nice sheen, so I was happy with that.

And I will be scotch guarding the crap out of it on completion too. You have worked too hard to have it ruined by a wayward glass of red with a girlfriend or a naughty rugrat.

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 So because I had the diamond tufting bit half done and it was just leaning there and the bare base seat cushion foam there and I haven’t got around to finishing the project because I needed another set of hands and free time with my other set of hands (husband) doesn’t come around often and when it does, he sure isn’t helping me with this project. It was sitting there for some time. Unfinished. I was trying this new thing. Not leaving anything on my island bench. So I picked up my paint palette from doing calligraphy with highly pigmented MAGENTA gouache paint. And I went to place it on the foam base cushion and right before my very eyes the paint just LEPT! LEPT I tell you out of the palette and make a big splash on the diamond tufted part and then dribbled down. MY LIFE FLASHED BEFORE MY VERY EYES. Why God? Why me? I’m a good person. I tried. I’ve sincerely tried. What have I done to deserve this? F***ing panic town. Population ME!

ANYWAY. Blah Blah Blah. I got the stain out the best I could after 1 hour of frantic scrubbing and it is only just visible. . . to me. I can live with it. I died, but I have been revived. Then after my daughters party there was another stain. But I got that out too (on the base cushion). So yes. I need to scotch guard it.

Upholstery Twine: This is a nylon twine that is quite thick. I looked for it at Spotlight and they only had upholstery weight thread for your sewing machine, for when sewing covers. This will not be strong enough. I bought my roll from here. LINK I am sure there are cheaper places to get it. But this was what I came across and was easily accessible to me.

Upholstery Needle: I bought a packet of Doll needles by Birch from Spotlight. In Hindsight I should have bought a proper upholstery needle from an upholstery supply shop as the eye of this needle was still a bit too narrow for the twine to pass through. I soldiered on and managed though.

Self-cover buttons: The consensus is that you can make them yourself, but it will be the most monotonous and annoying part of the project. I didn’t want to lose momentum or enthusiasm, before I even got to the tufting part. One blog post mentioned that she outsourced them. So I did too. I couldn’t even find the self-cover button packs at Spotlight. They sold 2 self-cover buttons in a pack for $6 and that seemed very expensive. So I took my fabric to this place and got Number 36 buttons made up for me.

They did it in a few hours.

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Staple gun: I own a staple gun and just as I was gearing up to start, I asked my husband where it was. He has been pottering in the garage recently and he said that he has never came across it. So I had no idea where it was and part of the garage had blocked access. I wasn’t going to go and look through boxes. So I scooped up my kid to go and buy another one. You could put a regular staple gun for $20 to $50. But this job requires doing a lot of stapling and will be taxing on your hand muscles.

We have the RYOBI One power tools with the interchangeable batteries and I was looking at that brand to buy an electric one, but they currently don’t cater for it (And besides, I am not too keen on all this cordless get up. I would hate to run out of battery when I am full of steam, how annoying to have to stop prematurely)

So they had a cheapy OZITO branded electric stapler that is corded. SOLD.

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(Bosch had one too that was $99 but it was cordless and the battery would have needed charging before I could start and I wasn’t waiting for that)

Batons, liquid nails & screws: For bracing and forming around the bottom architrave of my window. Not necessary if what you are attching to is flat.

Scissors: Dressmaking shears. For snipping the batting and trimming the fabric.

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Mark out where your tufts will be on your mdf. I had 2 rows of 14 buttons and 1 centre row of 13 buttons. They were 17 cms apart horizontally and 8.5 cms apart vertically.

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Drill through the mdf where you marked for the holes.

Brace your mdf with your batons, by gluing and screwing them. Making sure not to place them over any holes. (You don’t need to do this if  you use thicker wood. The stuff I used was pretty flimsy, plus I need to brace it and pack it out to go around the bottom window architrave that I didn’t want to remove.)

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Put your mdf on top of your foam and with a marker push it though the holes to mark the foam. Remove.

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With a knife, cut out channels in your foam for the button to go down deep when you tuft. I used a serrated steak knife. Stuck my fingers through and yanked out the foam.

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Place the mdf on the bottom. Then the foam. Drape over your batting over the foam and mark where the holes in the foam are and with scissors. Snip the batting in a x shape to make a hole.

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Drape your fabric over the batting.

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Now you are ready to tuft.

This is what I did, which If/When I have my time again, I would do some things differently, which I will mention throughout this. Start with your centre button and work out from there. Doing the one above, the one below the one to the left, the one to the right and out you go. From the front, use your thumb to push the fabric into the hole. Pass the needle through the foam until it pokes out the back of the mdf. I had trouble doing this, as it was hard to keep the needle straight and was going in blind and found it difficult to find the hole. What I ended up doing was from the back, I passed the non-sharp end of the needle from the back through the eye and up through the foam and the fabric. My fabric wasn’t a tight weave. So if your fabric is, I don’t think you would have had much luck with it.

Thread the needle with the twin and then pass it through the back of the button and tie and double knot. I used my teeth to make sure it was nice and tight. Then I pulled the needle back through to the back. Only when it was all completed did I realise I had done this step a bit funny as I was pulling the knot through the fabric. Again, if my fabric was tighter I would have had buckleys chance of doing this. It also at some points caused my fabric to snag. But I smoothed it out with my hands from the centre and it wasn’t visible. And some times because I was pulling on the knot, the knot would come undone, causing the button to pop off and for me to start the process again.

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What I should have done was. Thread the twine through the back of the button and tie a double knot onto the button. And then with the 2 tails of the twine, thread the needle. This would have been very difficult for me as I had trouble just threading the needle with one length of twine, let alone two.

Then from the back, you have the knotted twine poking through. From the front side, fold the fabric, by rubbing/rolling it in between your thumb and forefinger to make nice pleats in the fabric. Then from the back, you pull with all your might to make a nice diamond tuft. You staple the twine in a zig-zag like pattern. Give it about 4 to 5 staples.

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And that is one button done. Move on to your next button

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Once all the buttons are done.

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Staple the excess fabric right around. Trim it off and if you wish. You can cover the back with inexpensive fabric for a professional look.

I didn’t do this, as I would like to still be able to access it if I ever need to repair it.

Last step. Outsource the base piped box cushion to an upholsterer. I can bring myself to diamond tuft, but not sew a cushion cover. Let it go and call it a day.

FINISHED

reflections

The only thing that needed improvement was the depth of each button is inconsistent. But as a first timer, I am happy with it and I will do better with my next diamond tufting jaunt if I so chose to take one upon me.

I wish I had centred the banquette with the window above it. The reason I didn’t do this is in case we wanted to put a heater to the right (their is a gas outlet) or a tall narrow cabinet in between the 2 windows. But I think it would have looked really flash and we could have made a feature of the window (that still needs repairs and painting) with a nice roman blind and trim tape and flanked it with Oly San Fransico candle sconces. Always in hindsight. . . .

Another thought I had was finding a really nice demi lune table to go in between those 2 windows and placing a nice piece of art above it. But I always suffer from cramming so much furniture into a room.

before_afterWho doesn’t love a before and after?

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After

Next thing. I think I am gearing up to do a headboard. But probably not diamond tufted. I just can’t settle on a shape.

FINISHED!!!

Friday, April 11th, 2014

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In the end the party deadline was looming and I just did NOT want to sew that damn box piped cushion cover. Nup. No thanks. Over it. I googled upholsters near me and rang one up in a panic, because it was 5 days out from the party. But Greg came through for me and wasn’t shy on the compliments for the diamond tufted back seat. Shucks. Thanks. They thought I had done an upholstery course.

My new motto. JUST PAY PEOPLE! Honestly just pay them.

Having said that, I did not for one second regret doing the diamond tufting on a D.I.Y basis. Proud of it actually.

Stay tuned. My diamond tufting tutorial won’t be too far away!

5 friends can fit on it or 4 non friends LOL. It is the perfect solution for the space I had.

Audrey turns ONE & we throw a party for her!

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

My little girl is now one and two days shy of her birthday we put on an almighty birthday party at our home.

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The sweets table.
You can pay professional companies to do this for you or buy specialty glass jars and platters to make it happen. Then buy scallop printables with pattern paper for all the tags and the skies the limit.

But personally, I just wanted to keep it simple and on budget. No cake pops, iced cookies, no macarons etc. All these are a couple of dollars EACH. Budget blown. Another budget blower is a fancy, tiered, fondant covered, 3D model animals, give a wedding cake a run for it’s money birthday cake. No Thanks. They don’t even taste nice, cost hundreds of dollars and need to be ordered MONTHS in advance. I may appear organised, but I am not that organised.
Besides all that, it would have been hard to mix in the homemade sweets that my mother in law wanted to make and I wanted to have. I went the rustic approach.

I didn’t even do anything on the computer for this. No printing either. I used my cutting mat, ruler and blade as well as a compass to create it all. Lastly I used a pointed pen and dipped the nib into white gouache paint.

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Sweets made my mother in law. Precision cut by my brother in law. Arranged by his girlfriend.

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mini cupcakes

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White chocolate cake. Purchased with the mini cupcakes.

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I made this little cake! I am SO proud of it. I have always wanted to ice a cake like this. Just needed a turntable and a scraper. Placed on top of the small Donna Hay cake stand. (17cm)

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$60 slab cake to feed the masses. Sponge with custard and fruit.
(This cake was placed close the edge and a kid or two had a cheeky swipe at it pre-emptively)

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I made these 3 cake toppers. Small skewers. Fabric mod-podged onto card board. Wired balloons.

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LOLLY BAGS! I was originally going to put in choc chip cookies in there. But I needed to buy little plastic bags for them to go in then close them off with ribbon and a “Thank you from Audrey” Blah. Too hard. I made all the cookie dough. Rolled them into balls and froze them in freezer bags. Ran out of time. At the eleventh hour I just bought a whole bunch of lollies from Coles.

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Cheese table. I forgot to pull out some more dips that were suppose to go on top of those wood blocks.

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Mumma bear and Birthday girl.

I did all the flowers for the party. I stayed up until 1.30am Saturday Morning. Went the flower markets at 5 back home in bed at 6.30am for some more zeds. Just chucked all the BLOOMS in the laundry tub filled with water. I am getting better at going to the markets. Knowing what I want. In and out and not buying every damn flower there.

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LOVING the carnations. Never in my life would I think I’d breathe that sentence. But there it is. 5 bunches for $10. Right up my alley.

I started the clean up and prep of my house on Thursday and my sister helped me clean up over 2 days. She drew the line at scrubbing my toilets! Boo!

We had to hire a marquee (budget blown) because the weather was not favourable.

The weather on the day wasn’t too bad. Not like my baby shower. We were joined on the day with 70 guest. Yep. SEVENTY! What the actual?? I don’t know how that happened. When I was doing the invites I counted 72 and we had some regrets and then I invited people from my mothers group and Robert invited some from work and then I was putting Audrey in the high chair so we could sing her happy birthday and I was busy prepping her cake and lighting her candle and then I turned around to see 70 people crammed into my kitchen.
TOTALLY OVERWHELMING but at the same time I felt so honoured.

I remember my wedding day. Blow by blow. But this day was a total blur! It was full on. But I loved it all.

I was anticipating 40 guests. So I completely under-catered, but thank goodness to my European in laws who always bring way too much food! I have never been more thankful. In the end there was more then enough food.

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We all sung her happy birthday and she steely faced stared back. Then I attempted to do the smash cake with her . . .

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Not digging it one bit. And then she cried. Her only tears of the day.
My plan went well. On the day of her party. I woke at 6.30am. I woke Audrey up. She didn’t want to get up. But I had a plan! I fed her breakfast and then I let her run around the house like a maniac while I was cleaning my gas cooktop and oven and my husband was picking up all the food. At 10am I put her in the high chair and gave her a bottle. At 10.20am I put her down for a nap. Right on schedule. She slept right through until 12pm which was the start of the party. Put her in her party dress, shoes and headband. Party started. She was such a good girl. She played nicely with her friends and kicked the soccer ball in the backyard. Mud all on her WHITE designer dress. And because it was on the long side. We just used a peg to hem it all. (Breathe a sigh of relief. The dress is back to pristine condition)

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Ava Poppy to Audrey Eloise: “Oh I love your smocking! Where’s it from?”

There was quite a few kids at the party and a few pregnant women too. My best friend was to make an appearance if she had not gone into labour. Her due date was the day after, but she had! And gave birth today after MULTIPLE days of pre/early labour! Mammoth effort.

Audrey partied all the way until 4.30pm

A BIG thank you to my family and my husband’s family. Their help was really appreciated!

Quite a few guests are asking “Same time, same place next year?”

Even in the pouring rain, guests were happy to sit inside the marquee and drink shots of rakija. I didn’t know this was happening until I found all the shot glasses in my dishwasher the next day! Too funny.

Audrey awoke from her nap and just my Brother in law, his girlfriend and my sister in law who is back home for a holiday were still here and we drank some wine and ate some left overs while reflecting on the party and they helped me write the list of who was here because I was honestly intrigued as to how many people came.

It is now a week since I started party prep and then had the party and then went to work and only NOW. NOW! Am I getting the chance to just sit down. WOAH. Intense. I don’t think I can do it again for baby number 2. But we will see. Mother guilt may kick in. I wasn’t going to make a cake for the party, but in the end I did.

Oh P.S who wants to come and mop my floors because it hasn’t happened as yet?

Christmas Preparation

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

I have worked myself into a stressed induced rash that looks like chicken pox, but I am still going.

This is my house for 2013 and, frankly, I couldn’t be PROUDER!!!!!

Plenty didn’t get done, but I know in my heart I have done my best and there is no better then your best. So let it rest!

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Couldn’t resist a bunch of these at the flower markets.

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My red and white themed tree. I never made clay ornaments that would have been stamped with the rubber stamps I ordered. On the plus side, those rubber stamps did get a decent work out and at the very very least, they got ordered.

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Still not sure on this star tree topper I sewed and beaded. Wishing the backing fabric was different.

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My hallway

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I went to the flower markets on Saturday before work at 5am. I had a mission. To make something resembling these images from this book:

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I started with this vase (yes it is chipped) and chicken wire. I got this helpful hint from this link.

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It is not as loose as I would like, but that is due to my plant selection. Also let it be known that holly is SHARP!

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The stockings never got labelled either, but the lining fabric is different in each. I am little green trees, she is festive bells and he is gold splatter!!

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This is probably it from me before Christmas. Wishing you all the very happiest Christmas and a joyful festive break. Thank you so much for tuning into my ramblings and leaving a comment here and there. I really enjoy it. In late November this blogged turned 4 years old! So proud I have stuck with it and never let a month go past without a post. I was suppose to organise a giveaway, but that too also didn’t happen.

I will have one soon.

To anyone else that is working on Christmas day like me. I’ll save you a piece of cherry clafoutis and pour you a glass of champagne and virtually cheers you!

I’ll be back with more pics from Christmas Eve and Chrissy day if I manage to capture any on camera. My table is nearly set with my toile tablecloth that is not hemmed (who cares? No one will notice) and my gorgeous Juliska Christmas plates and I am full of glee. Also, Peters of Kensington are selling JULISKA!! I nearly fell off my chair. Consider that a Christmas present from me to you. It is only a very small range, but Juliska none the less.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Christmas 2013

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Well it is December 17th. . .  I think. I’ve lost track.

I think I am burnt out.
Husband is too. We haven’t had a breather in months.

I can’t take days off and he won’t and we’ve reached this point of despair.

We work really hard and towards this Christmas break as his office takes the 2 weeks off. Yet, in that time I will be working and there is a total of 3 measily days left that we can spend together (not even in a row). Kind of feels like a kick to the teeth.

I miss him. I miss family time. We don’t get that, because our schedules conflict.

Everything came to a head yesterday when he was overseas, I had a super rough and exhausting time at work where everything was offline and I needed to be in 3 places at once and do what takes 3 hours in 1.

I have tried to console myself by taking some pretty snaps on my camera. . .

That is fatiguing me too. I somehow have it set in a mode and for the life of me, I can’t clear the setting. So It is taking 3 photos a time. (It is in HDR mode and I have figured out how to set it up, but no one shows you how to clear it. DOING ME HEAD IN AND I WANT TO THROW THE CAMERA AT A WALL)

I feel stupid.

I have been on my husbands back about the mantle that he fucked up. I started the fixing up process by inhaling toxic shit with a heat gun to remove most of the paint while Audrey was still little and you could leave her alone. . . but nothing else since has happened with it. . . then we did a kitchen renovation and now it is Christmas.

But sometimes, you just got to let it go.

The mantle won’t be done by Christmas and that is just life. Oh well.

I’ve sewed all those gorgeous stockings. . . for the mantle and . . . no mantle.

So I am just going to be the great optimist and problem solver I like to be and hang them from the bay window, like I did in this pic from the baby shower.

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Talking about stockings. I think this is my favourite one. Now happily re-homed.

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This picture brings me to my next point. One of my fav Canadian interior designers has used my handles in one of her recent works.

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I mean, what does that make me? A trend setter?? So chuffed.

Talking about chuffed!!

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We grew garlic. No more imported Mexican shit for us! Totally organic (non-certified)

In other Christmas talks. I have a Christmas to do list and some things aren’t going to get done. One of them is the banquette. I also need to sew a table cloth. The fabric is just sitting in a crumpled heap on my floor right now. I was just going to hem the sides of the fabric (the selvage) so I had a straight edge because most fabric is 140 – 150 cm wide on the roll which would be perfect for my table and only have to cut the other 2 sides. . . . OHHH BUT NO. I somehow bought a double width roll fabric . . . which in any other circumstance is a bonus but not this time. Nothing seems to be going my way.

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At least the tree is up. And that is a truly terrible photo.

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And another thing that got finished at 2am. The need to craft can strike at anytime and I wasn’t going to bed until this was done. I want to make another one, now that I have experience. This one is very amateur. But I am sure Audrey won’t mind nor notice.

Now to leave you. Here are some of the happy snaps I managed to take. They are of this years wrapping aesthetic. I’ve kept it extremely simple and crafty. Kraft cards, ribbon & Christmas stamps from Spotlight. Butchers paper from Kmart. And some custom designed (by me) stamps.

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