Keyka Lou purse patterns

I stumbled across Keyka Lou's cute little purse patterns on Etsy one day. You can buy them in pdf form (always helpful) very cheaply and create to your heart's content.
I bought patterns for the business card wallet, small satchel and the zip clutches that come in three sizes. They all include some tips to improve your sewing, like how to neatly slipstich an opening closed and how to create fabric zipper ends. Keyka Lou's blog also has a section of sewing tips and some free tutorials too.

Here are some pictures of the small zip clutch made using Kokka ballerina fabric. (it's the tiny one so it looks more like a coin purse than a clutch!) In the second picture you can see the little fabric zipper ends. I use them all the time now as I prefer how they look.

Here are some pictures of the small satchel I made for my good friend Mandy for her birthday. I really like the shape and the flap. I am also a big fan of fabric covered buttons. This button matches the lining.

I am in the process of finishing two more of these sachel style bags for little girls using kokka ballerina fabric and denim. Cute. :)  

the purse

I love fabric purses and bags. They are pretty much the first things I started sewing. I found lots of really helpful tutorials in books, online in blogs and on you tube. I find that looking at different ways people create the same thing helps me to work out what style I like and which method is going to work for a particular project.

My first purse came from 'Meet me at Mike's' by Pip Lincolne. I learned how to make a clutch style purse with a magnetic clasp. (no zips... yay!)
I have given away all the purses I have made from this book, but i'll post a pic of one if I ever make one again.

Next step was learning to make lined zippered purses and pouches. I found a few helpful sets of instructions, but the one I used in the end was from Skip to my Lou She has fantastic tutorials with lots of pictures and really easy to follow instructions. (she has a degree in Art Education so she explains things like a teacher.... helpful!) I recommend it for beginners who are keen to get started but are a little afraid of zippers (like I was). The zippered purse tutorial can be found here.

There is a variation on this style also on her website called the pleated pouch tutorial. I love this one as it introduced me to making pleats, and it's a really cute design. The pattern can be downloaded from her site as a pdf. Yay!

Here are some pictures of my versions. 

I love the fabric, it's a brand called Echino.

this one I made for a friend's birthday

More purses and bags to follow!

Zing the polite cat

I love cats. All of them, even the cranky ones you wouldn't dare try to pat while their tails are swishing. I have two of my own, Claude and Madeleine who were named after friends of ours who are sisters (that's a long story). Mr Claude and the Kitten make me and my husband Karl so happy every day, just being themselves. Anyone who has owned a cat (or dog for that matter) can understand just how special owning a pet is. I'd be lost without my babies!

Anyway, "Zing the polite cat" is a cute cat softie you can make from Pip Lincoln's book, 'Meet me at Mike's'. Isn't he adorable?

Zing the polite cat

Meet me at Mike's is a lovely little shop in Melbourne, Australia. The book has lots of great projects for novice sewers, with really easy to follow instructions. You can learn to make a purse, softies, baby yoga pants, an Obi and plenty more. They also have a blog which has lots of inspirational stuff and links to some good tutorials for making cute things. Check it out! Meet me at Mike's blogspot

'Meet me at Mike's' book

To make Zing, I cut up a pair of jeans for his body and used a patch of cute goldfish fabric for his belly. (I thought it was quite fitting for a cat softie to have fish in his tummy. hee hee.)
He was fun to make, and now sits on my bookcase with a babushka doll softie and a retro fabric owl.
 I love him!!

Here is a photo of my cat Madeleine having fun with Zing. He sat politely while she gnawed at his leg and disrupted the photo session. Cute.

                                                                 Yay for kittehs!

gluten free banana bread

I am a fairly ordinary cook. This is because my husband is great at it and enjoys it, so I get to sit on the couch with a glass of wine while he is in the kitchen cooking up a storm. I am left with a mountain of dishes at the end (mostly, because he likes to chop all his ingredients beforehand, putting them in every tiny glass bowl we have) but I don't mind because it means I don't have to do much in the way of cooking. Ever. This may backfire at some point....

Anyhoo. I am gluten intolerant and LOVE banana bread so I decided to venture into the kitchen for some baking after finding this awesome recipe online.

Some variations:

ditch the lemon and icing sugar topping, I make it without and it's great
I use 1 cup rice flour and 1 cup all purpose gluten free flour for some variety
I use brown sugar (it just calls for 'sugar' which is a little generic)
The recipe calls for one whole cup of butter, but I used half butter half vegetable oil
I add some cinnamon too.

It helps to buy some very ripe bananas and stick them in the freezer until you're ready to use them. But make sure you let them thaw out prior to using (yes, I was silly enough to try to mash frozen banana).

It was easy and fun to make and is DELICIOUS toasted with butter..... It actually tastes like real food which is nice for gluten intolerant people! Enjoy!

Baby headband tutorial

I am now at that age when my friends are starting to have babies, which is great for me because I can visit, ooh and ahh at their cuteness and hand them back when the crying starts. :)

It is also a great opportunity for me to use some of the adorable fabric i have picked up, and with the help of some online tutorials, I have learned to make bibs, burp cloths and baby headbands. I'll put some links to the bibs and burp cloths later (I recently gave away all my new cute bibs without photographing first... smart). In the meantime, here is my first tutorial for how to make a baby headband.

Here it is, modelled on the ever so sweet Audrey.


You will need:
- 30cm (12 Inches) of stretchy lace (for 2-4 month old baby, approx, measure the head if you can, adjust if necessary)
- yo yo flower fabric, (circle diameter twice the intended diameter of your yo yo)  Here, my circle is about 14cm (6 inches approx) in diameter.
- button for centre of flower
- sewing machine (optional)

Step one: make head band

- put the ends of the lace right sides together. use a machine basting stitch or hand sew the ends together with a 0.5cm (1/5th inch) seam, leaving long tails of thread at each end.
- Pull the bottom thread to gather the seam a bit and tie the ends into knots to hold. Cut thread close to the knot. Set aside

Step two: make fabric yo yo

NB: for this step, I used a yo yo maker, but if you don't have one, they're easy to make without one. Follow a tutorial from Heather Bailey here
- After making your yo yo, sew a button to the centre. Here I used a vintage flower button.

Step three: attach yo yo to head band

- stitch the yo yo to the head band over the gathered seam. If you want it to look extra neat, you could cut a circle of felt and sandwich the headband in between the felt and the yo yo, stitching them together around the edge of the felt circle. (I guess you could hot glue gun it or fabric glue it if you trust it to stick!)

Step four: admire your work and the cute baby.
Done!! A super easy hand made gift you can give to new mothers and customise any way you like.

This is my first tutorial, so feel free to make comments if it needs improving!


I hold myself accountable....

... I am full of 'the talk.' 'One day I will......' ..'Yes, i'm going to....' 'tomorrow I am...' etc etc etc. So I am going to try and hold myself hostage with this blog in an attempt to shame myself into following through with some of my grand plans. Now it's out there in cyberland, i'll simply have to do the things I say I will or the whole WORLD will be able to see i'm just a lazy dreamer.

Anyway, a tiny bit of back story- About 5 years ago I decided i'd like to buy a sewing machine . About a week after I had that thought, someone dumped a fantastic Janome my excel sewing machine (in perfect working order with all the feet etc) right outside my apartment block, in the spot where you normally find rubbish, old lamps and broken patio furniture. It was a gift from the universe....... but I wasn't quite ready for it. So I carted it around to my next two houses, faithfully knowing one day I would be ready to approach the scary, unfamiliar thing. (Going to a performing arts high school, I completely missed home ec type classes.... being impatient and unco in my youth, it's probably for the best.)

So now I have done a couple of classes and have started making bits and pieces like bags, purses, bibs and burp cloths. I have had lots of fun (and several tantrums) in the process, pouring over blogs and marvelling at the generosity of people so willing to share their patterns and tutorials. One day (when I can actually sew things properly) I'd like to do my bit and give back too.

Now i'm at the point where i'd like to try more complicated things, so this blog is here to document the process and give me some incentive to keep track of my progress- no matter how smal the steps!

This blog is really just for me, but if anyone else is reading along, I hope it's not too boring. x
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