Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Decoration Hanger

Maybe you've seen these before but seeing as this is my first kindy experience as a mum, this is new to me and I thought it was a great idea. We were asked to make a tinsel covered hanger that would be used to hang any decorations that Max makes leading up to Christmas. It's super easy to make and quite effective.

- 2 wire coat hangers
- Sticky tape/string
- 3-4m tinsel (this varies depending on how tight you twist it)

1. Place your 2 coat hangers in a cross shape as though they were hanging at right angles to each other. Tape or tie them in place at the top and at the bottom when the wires crosses.
2. Bend the hook of one of the hangers so that both hooks face the same way.
3. Tape one end of the tinsel just below the curve of the hanger at the top and start twisting it around the wire. Cover one coat hanger and then the other.

4. If you run out and need to start a new piece of tinsel, just tape the ends and twist the tinsel over them to cover up the taped part. Tape the end once you are done.

That's it! Super easy.

Here is Max with his. He was very proud of it. I can't wait till he brings it home with all his decorations.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Emma's Bears Free Teddy Bear Pattern and Tutorial

One of my good friends, Emma, is the most amazing teddy bear creator. She has been making bears since we were in high school and now she sells them as well as bear making supplies. I received a few bears as Christmas presents way back then.

Emma has just shared a fantastic free bear pattern and tutorial on her blog and I wanted to share it with you. This is the gorgeous bear you can create from her pattern.

Emma's bear supply store is called Fur Addiction and features beautiful furs and other bits and pieces. She dyes her own fur and even paints her own eyes. They are just gorgeous! It's certainly worth a look! She also sells her creations and supplies on Etsy. Almost all of Emma's creations are one of a kind. There are bears and other stuffed animals, patterns, kits and more. If you want to get into bear making, this is a wonderful place to learn.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Sewing with Stitches and Love

Tonight, I sat down at my sewing machine for the first time in about 6 months. It was a special moment for me. I have had post natal depression since Sam was born and sewing, something I love, was just too hard to touch. I didn't have the energy. It seemed too stressful. I didn't have the patience to sit down and sew even something simple. My desk was constantly messy piled high with random stuff. It was just too hard to clean it up and sew something.

Tonight I was making soot sprites from My Neighbour Totoro for Sam's 1st birthday party. Can you believe he's almost 1 already?!?!?! I lost my embroidery scissors which were the only scissors I have that could cut through the wool while it was tight against the fork. (I followed this great little tutorial I found on Pinterest) It drove me absolutely mad that I couldn't find them and I ended up cleaning up my whole desk area in the hunt. Even after I found them (in a plastic bag on my desk chair...I totally don't recall putting them there!), I was somehow still spurred on to continue cleaning until everything was off my desk.

And then I set my sewing machine up. It was still in it's case after a long overdue service it received earlier this year. I hadn't even tried it since I got it back. It felt so good seeing my sewing machine back on my desk ready to sew. I even tidied up my sewing box!

In my clean up, I found some partly made pants I had started for Sam long ago when it was starting to get cold. I'm really not sure if he'll still fit them now but I really wanted to get them finished. All I had done was cut out the fabric and sew on a little applique patch. I hadn't sewn a single seam. The applique really is not some of my best work. I don't know what I was thinking at the time but the satin stitching around the patch is uneven and too wide. Anyway, those unfinished pants were something special I was trying to make for my bubby and I really wanted to finish them, no matter how dodgy they may turn out.

It was actually thrilling to sit down and sew again. I had to pull out my sewing machine's manual to remember which were the stretch stitches I used to use. It had been such a long time since I had sewn anything. But somehow, it all just came back and I was doing things automatically. It was so exciting sewing those seams and neatening edges. It was so wonderful to feel my love of sewing coming back after such a long time. I ended up stopping at the elastic in the waist because I need to check Sam to see how much elastic to use (and there's NO WAY I'm disturbing him to check that at this time of night!) but I am so happy with what I achieved tonight.

These pants, although the applique is messy, I discovered I had actually sewn it onto the back of the pants, and I got so carried away with sewing the casing around the waist I forgot to leave a hole and had to unpick it, represent how much I love my little man. They are far from my finest work but I am making them with so much joy and love for him. They represent a milestone in my healing from depression. No matter what, I will finish these pants. Somehow they are important. I know every time I see them, I will be so incredibly thankful to God for my precious baby boy, my ability to sew, and for the healing and joy that they sparked within me. They really will be made with stitches and love.

I imagine it will be slow going as I get back into sewing and crafting. But at least I have begun. And often, that is the hardest step.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Free Christmas Ornaments Plans from

One of my favourite websites for wooden toy plans has released a fantastic free plan for wooden Christmas ornaments. It is available for a limited time only so go and check it out and get in quick! You will see the information on how to get the pattern near the top of the home page.

I was very sad to hear that Toymaker Press had it's website's domain name hijacked last week so they have now changed their name to They are still exactly the same except for the name and they have created loads of gorgeous new plans since I posted about them so long ago. They are definitely worth following and their emails are regularly full of fantastic new plans and specials.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Finally My Free Fabric Ball Pattern is Here!

I'm very excited to finally be able to share my fabric ball pattern with you!! It only took me 8 months (eek!!) to get around to putting it into a pdf and posting it online! My wonderful husband helped me to create a pattern piece based off a perfect sphere which has produced lovely, round, fabric balls. Last night, he taught me how to use Illustrator so I have a lovely little pdf pattern to share with you all. I hope you like it!

You can find the free fabric ball pattern posted back in the original tutorial here.

PS: There are also a couple of new tips in the tutorial that I have learnt after sewing a number of these. Have fun!! xx

Monday, March 5, 2012

I heard a little saying...

Sometime during the past week, I came across a saying about sewing that I LOVE!

'Housework only comes before the dictionary!'

That's pretty much true at my house. I do love to have a tidy house but so often when I have free time, I choose sewing or some other craft activity over the housework. Unfortunately during the past week and a half, sickness has decided to jump ahead of sewing and come first in our house. :-( I was so looking forward to 3 kindy days to myself this week and was hoping to finish off a teddy softie I'm knitting for Sam. I may still get to it...I am feeling a little better each day. 

Here's a little...and I mean, LITTLE! pic to show you what it will look like. (I don't have the energy to go take a photo right now...maybe I'll be able to get some progress pics when I'm feeling better. I've done the body/head/legs and am working on the arms now.)

The pattern is in this book...

The teddy is the only thing I've knitted from the book but I'd have to say I'm very happy with the pattern so far. :-) It seems like a great book for baby stuff and has some lovely designs. If you are interested in getting it, you will have to have a look for people selling it second hand online (I've seen it on ebay and etsy) as it seems to be out of print...I can't find it in stores anyway.

Well, I never intended to get onto knitting bears but there you go. :-)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sewing With A Twin Needle

Today I finally tried out my twin needle that I got last September...sad I know! I have NO idea why I waited this long because it is amazingly easy!! I always thought it would be fiddly or difficult but it isn't!!! It's crazy how fear stops you trying something and then once you try it, you wonder why you didn't try it sooner.

I needed to take up the hem of some track pants I bought for Max and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try out the needle. You can see the lovely row of neat, double stitching along the bottom. I would love to get a few twin needles in different widths as I would have used a wider needle if I had one but am still very happy with how these turned out.

I thought I would include a bit of a how-to on using twin needles and some info on stuff I figured out along the way. I spent a lot of time pinning and reading these tutorials and posts over the last few months to help me figure out what to do so I definitely want to give them credit! You will probably even find extra info and tips too! I'm sure I read more than these 3 but these are the only ones I can find right now.

Here's What I Did - How To Sew With A Twin Needle

In a nutshell...
  • Buy a twin needle.
  • Put it in your machine.
  • Pop 2 spools of thread and your bobbin in.
  • Thread the needle.
  • Sew!
For those who need more details... :-)

1. Buy a twin needle from your local sewing shop. I bought a Klasse Twin Stretch needle, 4mm and size 75 from my local Spotlight store. These needles come in various widths ranging from 1.6mm to 6mm, various sizes, and for various fabrics or threads. You can view the range here. I am sure there are other brands out there but this will give you an idea of what types are available.

2. Put the needle into your machine. They can be used in pretty much any normal sewing machine and you put it in just like a regular, single needle.

3. Put a spool and bobbin or 2 spools of the same colour on the spool holders/pins on your machine. Some machines have 2 permanent spool pins, 1 permanent and one temporary, or only 1 standard spool pin. My machine has 1 permanent pin and 1 temporary pin as you can see below. If you have 2 permanent spool pins, then just pop 1 spool/bobbin onto each pin and if you only have 1 spool pin, go here to see how to put them both on the same pin.

4. Take both threads and thread your machine just as you normally would with 1 thread. It really is that simple with the threading. Don't stress about the threads getting twisted or just works! When you get to the needle, separate the threads and thread one through each needle. 

5. Make sure you have a bobbin in the bobbin holder. It doesn't really matter what colour this thread is because it stays on the back side of the fabric quite easily due to the zigzag that it does along the back.

6. Sew!! It is worth doing a few practice runs to make sure the tension is right but once you get that, you just sew like normal! If the fabric seems to pull into a ridge between the 2 rows of stitches, loosening the top thread can help with this. Also ironing can help it to sit flatter. You can back stitch to secure starts and ends and just sew like normal! It really is that easy!! You just have to keep in mind that you can only ever sew with the right side of the fabric up because the underside doesn't look the same as the top.

So that's it! Using a double needle is super easy and can make a big difference when hemming knits or just to add more interest and detail to woven fabrics. I hope that you won't feel so scared to try this now!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Self Cover Buttons Order Arrived!!

A little while ago, I stumbled across a tutorial on how to make fabric covered button hair clips. Even since then I've been so curious to try making some because they looked heaps easier than I thought they would be. Well...I finally got around to putting an order in and all my bits and pieces arrived! Here's what I got!

What you can see above is:

  • E6000 glue. I got the 29ml tube and it seems huge!! You save money overall if you buy the larger tubes (it comes in 110ml, 29ml and 5.32ml) but I really think it's going to take me awhile to use this up! It's apparently the best stuff for this kind of thing as it is still flexible when it dries and super strong. I was a bit shocked though to read on the back of the tube that it is known to cause cancer so I will be taking every precaution when I use this stuff including a face mask, gloves and using it outside.
  • A set of tools for all sizes of cover buttons (figured I may as well get them all and save money as I would like to use these for various things in the future). These are the newer clear tools so you can line up your fabric more easily if there is a picture you want to centre.
  • 2 prong alligator clips
  • Bobby pins with glue pads on the end
  • Round magnets to make covered button magnets
  • Sterling silver plated surgical steel earring studs and backs with glue pads
  • Packs of covered buttons in 3 different sizes...12ml, 15ml & 19ml
  • Lots of brightly coloured snap clips with glue pads. I just LOVE the pretty colours. I bought a sampler pack of the 21 different colours available so it included silver and other similar colours too. If I buy any more in the future, I think I'll stick to buying the bright, coloured clips only because you can buy individual colours.
  • A fabric cover button snap clip kit with everything you need to make 10 clips plus instructions

I ordered all this stuff from a great Australian store called Jackobindi. They have all kinds of stuff to do with self cover buttons. A little tip TOTALLY pays to like their Facebook page cause they have amazing sales and offers on there! I got a couple of free bags of buttons with my order which was awesome!!

I thought I'd show you a close up of the kit. It's a really fantastic way to learn how to make the hair clips and they have a few different kits for different covered button projects. All I needed to add to the kit above was a pair of flat nosed pliers and a hot glue gun (the glue gun was can make them without it). 

With all my goodies, I'm planning to make some fridge magnets, earrings, and a few different styles of hair clips. I can't wait to see how they turn out!! I'll have to show you what I make and let you know how it all went. :-)

(((Please note: I don't have any affiliation with Jackobindi...I just think they are a cool cover button store that I would like to share with you...and they're Australian which is even better because it's so hard to find good Australian craft stores!!)))

Monday, February 13, 2012

Clover Quick Yo Yo Makers!

Last week, I finally got some of the Clover quick yo yo makers! I have had a heap of fun trying them out and thought I'd let you know what they are like. I bought the extra small circle, small circle, small butterfly and small flower. I got them from because they worked out to be almost half the price of buying them in store or online in Australia. It's ridiculous how cheap stuff is from the US!

Here is a pic of the circles. The extra small one is really tiny!! After trying these out, I think I'd like the medium size too. I've made the standard circle yo yo's before with only a cardboard circle template and it worked ok but these quick yo yo makers make it much less fiddly for the circles. I still found it a little fiddly to get it sitting the way I wanted at the end but I thought the stitching part was much easier...and the cute little guides just make it fun! ;-) My first few turned out pretty well but I felt like it took me a few to really be happy with them and get the hang of it. I think it's definitely easier to make them in larger sizes. You also have to be careful to get the right tension when pulling it tight.

Below are the butterfly and flower. With the flower and butterfly, you actually sew 2 separate sections that gather up separately. They take a little more work but turn out quite cute! I did find it hard to get them to sit in a really good shape, especially the butterfly, but I guess it all depends how picky you are. I will definitely have to work on getting the butterfly to be a bit more even though. I pulled one side tighter than the other. I also found the instructions a bit confusing when it came to pulling up the gathering stitches for the butterfly but managed to figure it out ok.

Each yo yo maker comes with detailed instructions....VERY detailed instructions! What you actually need to do is quite simple once you figure it out but it takes careful explanation to learn it that first time. I found the circle instructions were pretty easy and clear to follow and I just needed to go a bit slower with the flower and butterfly. After you do them all once or twice, you don't really need to follow the instructions though...unless you don't make them too often and forget. I'm sure I'll forget how to do the flower and butterfly! Here's a couple of pics to give you an idea of how detailed the instructions are.

The butterfly instructions.

The circle instructions.

I'm hoping to use mine on some hair clips with covered buttons and maybe on some gifts for friend's children. :-) My first order of supplies to make covered buttons is in the mail!! I can't wait for it to arrive!

Backs of the yo yo's, butterfly and flower.

If you would like to watch a video on how to use these, I've found one that show it well. This lady shows you pretty much every step and takes her time. When you're making them yourself, you can do it more quickly. She does finish it off a little different to the instructions but it works. :-)

Monday, February 6, 2012


Welcome to Stitches and Love!

I'm so excited to finally get organised and be able to share all the fun things I make for my boys, myself and family and friends. I have previously been blogging over at Make It For The Boys but have decided to gather everything here in the one place. Please bare with me while I finish importing posts and get to work on posts about all the crafty things I have been dying to share over the last few months. You will find that this welcome post will end up in the middle of old and new posts due to importing my posts from Make It For The Boys that are older than this one. I hope it isn't too confusing and I will add links to important things like tutorials that you can find at the top of the page. :-)

Life has been very busy with our new little addition to the family but things are starting to settle down now that Max (my eldest) has started kindy and I finally have some decent chunks of regular time to myself!! I am very lucky that Sam sleeps quite well so having Max at kindy is as good as a child free day. :-) I am finally starting to get everything organised so that I can get into more sewing so I am hoping to have quite a few sewing and craft projects to share with you this year as well as dozens of wonderful tutorials I have discovered in some awesome blogs.

I look forward to sharing with you and always love to hear from you so don't hesitate to leave a comment!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Simple Bottle Maze by A Bit of This & A Bit of That

I came across this great idea for a simple bottle maze today. I think it would be great for Max! It's super easy to make and inexpensive...and you get to recycle too! You could do so many variations and difficulty levels. I know I loved mazes as a kid and would have thought this was awesome. You could even get the kids to help you make it! Will have to try it out before Max starts kindy in a couple of weeks. Eeek!

Anyway, go and take a look!

"A Bit Of This and A Bit Of That: amazing bottle maze....: Ebi-kun LOVES mazes so I whipped up this to keep him busy for a while...."
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