Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Homemade Placemats

Its going to be a very frugal Christmas for me and my elderly pensioner parents.  I just had to buy a new car battery and the South African government just started tolling the highway that I have to take to work. So I am broke. So now my poor parents are getting homemade gifts this festive season. I decided to make my mother placemats.

I used the ruffled placemat tutorial from I don't like ruffles and I didnt have enough fabric to make bias binding so I used ribbon over the seam between the main fabric and the contrast fabric instead. As usual the fabric and ribbons come from my stash.

I hope she likes it and that it isn't too tacky and cheap looking.
If anyone actually reads my blog pls leave a would be so awesome to hear from you!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Origami Clutch Bag

I made a clutch bag following a tutorial on

I used light weight batting instead of interfacing and I added a credit card holder inside.

I made this using scraps out of my stash so it cost me nothing. I made it for a secret santa gift instead of using wrapping paper (which I think is wasteful and not ecologically friendly).

Friday, 22 November 2013

Homemade cream deodorant

I'm a big fan of natural products and I refuse to use aluminium, parabens, EDTA etc on my skin. I find most organic deodorants don't survive my active job and lifestyle so after looking at various recipes on the internet I developed my own recipe.
You will need:
  • 2 tbsp. (organic) shea butter
  • a dash of organic carrier oil (I used Boabab Oil and now have lovely moisturised arm pits!)
  • 1/4 tsp. citric acid (the kind you buy in the baking section at the supermarket
  • 1/4 cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 cup of (organic non GMO) cornstarch
  • Essential oil of your choice

You're supposed to melt the shea butter in a bain marie but I just nuke the shea butter in the microwave until its liquid
Add the bicarb and cornstarch and stir well to mix
add the citric acid (this is going to act as the "preservative" - its my own idea, none of the sites I've seen mention it but I reckon a little bit of natural preservative is probably a good thing)
add the oil to get a nice creamy consistency - you want this to have the consistency of thick body butter so that you can rub it into your arm pits.
add the essential oil according to how strong you want it to smell. I used spearmint this time but I usually use lemongrass. A lot of the internet recipes advise tea tree oil for its antibacterial properties but I leave it out and the deodorant still does its job.

When its at the consistency you desire, spoon it into a sealable container
It will have a grainy texture from the bicarbonate of soda - this is normal. The bicarb is what kills the bad smells.
Just remember this is a DEODORANT and NOT a anti-perspirant . You will still sweat but the bicarb and cornstarch will kill any funky smells.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Easy Christmas Wreath

I have a confession to make: I'm mad about wreaths for my door... and seeing that it's almost Christmas I thought I'd make a Christmas Wreath.
My mother had one like this when I was a child, made by one of my aunts. Of course it got old and faded and she may even have chucked it out but it obviously made a big impression on me.

Its ridiculously easy to make. I haven't even bothered to take step by step photos. (actually I wasn't sure it was going to work out so I didn't bother).

I raided my scrap bag so it cost me nothing to make. It took about 45 mins, the longest part being the stuffing of the tubes.


you will need:
green, red and white scraps of fabric 4" by 35".
polyester toy stuffing

  1. Sew a tube, leaving the one end open for turning. I've allowed 1/2" seam allowances
  2. Repeat for all 3 colours of fabric
  3. Turn right side out.
  4. Stuff the tube lightly with polyester toy filling.
  5. Slip stitch the end of the tubes
  6. Pin the three tubes together at one end
  7. Plait the tubes
  8. Join the ends of the tubes with hand stitching, matching the colours - i.e. stitching the ends of the white tubes together, the green together and the red together
  9. And there you have it!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Purple floral dog collar

NessaRose needed a new collar because, being a very active and nosy doggie, she has totally trashed her Rogz collar. They are very expensive and they don't last all that long - Sammy has been through 3 already (and he's only seven).

I found this really awesome tutorial on Sew-it-love-it

I used a scrap of fabric from my stash and I used the clasp, the D ring and the slider from one of Sammy's old collars so it cost me nothing!

So here's the finished product:




Sunday, 13 October 2013

Imitation woolworths headband

Headbands seem to be the fashion where I work - I think its because I work in a hospital and a lot of us have long hair. We have to keep our hair tied back. I have my favourite headband that I bought from Woolworths. I examined it very carefully and decided to make a copy.

The blue one is the shop bought one

So here is the "pattern":
Basically it's a rectangle 20cm by 36cm (8in by 14in)
and then the ties (I've  allowed for a 1cm seam allowance)

You need to cut four ties with the fabric folded right sides together. So you cut the pattern piece twice.

You should end up with this:

Take the rectangle and make narrow hems on the long sides.

Now make a whole bunch of pleats:

Sew the ties leaving the short straight edge open:
Snip the sharp edges of the tie.

Turn the ties right side out. I use a chopstick to push the corners out.


Fold the raw edges of the open edges in and press
Tuck the pleated ends of the main piece into the open end of the tie and pin:

 Sew to secure, going over it a few times:

Repeat on the other side.
And there it is: an imitation Woolworths headband!

I made another headband but I used wavy pleats this time:

Monday, 7 October 2013

Topsy turvy knitted doll

I made a topsy-turvy doll ages ago and it's been sitting on my spare bed in a plastic packet while I contemplated what to do with it. Then one of the girls I work with decided to pledge for santabox shoebox thingy where you fill a shoebox with (specified) presents for an under privileged child. So I donated my doll.
I'm quite proud of her - she took me quite a while to knit and I made a witch on one side and a princess on the other side.

So this post is just really to show off and to preserve the pics of my doll (which took me months of knitting on and off).
A topsy-turvy doll is a doll with two heads and long tube for a body.

I got the pattern from:

Knitted Toys by Jean Greenhowe published by Hamlyn in 1989
I bought the book second hand years ago.
I made the dolls' wigs using : Knitted Pirates, Princesses, Witches, Wizards and Fairies (with outfits and accessories) by Annette Hefford (published by Search Press in 2010)

The Princess:

OMG - please excuse the dirty bed linen in the wash basket - I only saw it now!
The Witch:

I put a bit of hat elastic on the witches hat and tucked it under her hair to keep the hat on.

how to make t-shirt yarn

I saw this really gorgeous idea for a rug on facebook:
and I had some old tshirts that I was going to throw out because I didn't know what else to do with them so I did some googling and learnt how to make tshirt yarn from watching a youtube video so I thought I would put up a tut because not everyone has enough data bundles to watch youtube videos.

1) You need old tshirts

2) Cut the tshirt just under the sleeves:

so that the bottom part of the tshirt is now like a tube

3) Now you're going to fold it like so:
4) Now you're going to cut strips into it, but not all the way. I made mine about 1 1/2 inch wide

5) Now you're going to open it up and you'll have this weird ribcage like thing

6) Cut diagonally to get one long piece of "yarn"
Then just roll it up and use it as you like - I've started plaiting (braiding) mine using three balls of "yarn" to make a rug:
Now I just need some more tshirts to get old and worn!