Sunday, April 29, 2012

A fit and healthy me!

Up until recently, I was posting about my fitness and motivation each Sunday here. However, I found myself wanting to write about that more often - really just a record for myself.  So I set up a new separate blog just for that.
I set it up using Wordpress - just because I've never used it before and wanted to see what it was like and how it compares to Blogger.

All I've done so far is set it up and started writing, but gradually I'll play around with Wordpress options and see what I can learn from it. Any hints, tips and advice is most welcome

If anyone is interested in continuing to follow my fitness and motivation journey - then head on over to 

As for Sundays here - I'm going to start work on my pile of clothes to be upcycled and aim to do a new project each week so will post my progress on that!  
I'll be getting some inspiration from the ongoing
- which is now nearing 300 fabulous ideas!

Hope you're all having a lovely weekend!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rotating ads in my sidebar

On Fridays here I try to post about something I've learnt. Today it's a great blog tip!

A couple of months ago, the lovely Amber from The Pless Press linked up to my weekly Round Tuit party, this post showing how to rotate adverts in your sidebar.

It's taken me a while, but I've finally gotten around to setting my ads to rotate.  Each of my wonderful sponsors now gets time at the top!

At first I couldn't get it to work.  I originally had my ads 3 wide on my sidebar, but once I rotated them they would only go 2 wide.  After playing around with it and trying to Google my problem, I eventually figured out that your space has to be a certain amount wider than the adverts when you rotate - the wider the space, the more adverts to get across.  Unfortunately my sidebar was already at maximum width (500), so not quite wide enough to accommodate 3 ads wide (mine are 150 x 150).  So I had to reduce the width of the sidebar and be satisfied with just 2 wide.
BUT since the adverts rotate, the number at the top doesn't really matter any more!

So thanks Amber for passing on those details! Very much appreciated!  

What have you learnt this week?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Creating Success around the World - Leeanne from The Cabbage Patch

Welcome to

Creating Success around the World
The worldwide blog hop tour, that introduces you to creative people from all corners of the globe.

Creating my way to Sucess

Every Wednesday our hosts on each continent will introduce some inspiring creativity from their corner of the world.
Here's the hosts. Click on the buttons to visit them and see who they are featuring this week:

This week's Australasian guest is Leanne from The Cabbage Patch, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

What do you create? 

Hi everyone my name is Leeanne and I love to sew! My passion for sewing began way back in high school. When most of my classmates were looking for an “easy” class I was looking to learn – and learn I did.
I learnt all the basics from a wonderful teacher who was a dressmaker in her own right and to this day I still have my notes. Amazing over the years how many times that book has been referred to.
I first started with a basic sewing machine, making clothes for my two children when they were younger, then school items such as library bags then progressed to cloth dolls and finally settled on creating gorgeous baby items as all the nieces and nephews arrived.
My shop name came from my husband’s vegie patch as he is always joking he will dig up the vegies and plant cabbages (his favourite).

·Why do you create?

It’s my passion and it’s in my blood. My grandmother could sew and her mother and her brothers as well. Whilst sewing was not my mother’s first love she made beautiful winter jumpers using wool and needles (the old fashioned way) and many gorgeous macramé creations.
So you could say I have grown up around craft of various sorts and not a day goes by that I don’t have a least one machine working. I have four machines all up, one regular sewing machine, one overlocker, one coverstitch and the ultimate V8 the Embroidery machine! If that machine had a speedometer I would be in lots of trouble……

·Do you sell your creations? If so, how?

My creations can be found online in my Madeit store  and also my Etsystore . I love the convenience of being able to work from home it’s the best of both worlds. I set my own working hours and adhere to them whilst allowing a day here and there for coffee/lunch with friends and family. I have plans to do markets in the not too distant future as time and stock will allow.

And is it profitable?

Handmade is a funny thing. People want the best quality fabrics yet are reluctant to also factor in the time that goes into making those creations. I’ll let you know when I make my first million hehe!

·What mistakes have you made or lessons you have learned?

Think twice and cut once! Can’t tell you how many times in the beginning I would cut first before thinking only to throw out good quality quilting fabric.
So hence I made patterns of all my designs which I now use to cut for each of my items.
Make sure you label each and every item that you sell. At the start that thought had not crossed my mind and you guessed it my creations starting popping up in places I had never heard of. Oh well you live and you learn as my mother would say.

·What, to you is success? Have you achieved it yet, or are you on your way towards success?

I am working my way towards success one stitch at a time. My aim is to provide good quality items at an affordable price and I rely on word of mouth as well as social mediums like twitter, facebook etc. I have customers who come back on a regular basis who are delightful to work with, they let me know roughly what they would like and let me run with it. Allowing me the creative freedom to work on a design is both a challenge and an honour as you can see with some of the pictures shown here. 

·So what's next?

I have a stockpile of fabrics which have just arrived and I am dying to get started -well not literally!! Some gorgeous printed minkee fabrics and flannels for winter, along with some lovely shabby cotton all just waiting to be washed and ironed and then the creative process can begin. Stay tuned as winter projects will be revealed shortly.

You can find Leeanne on twitter and facebook too!

Thanks Leeanne for your lovely answers - and for sharing your beautiful work with us!
Do go and visit Leanne's made it and etsy shops and check out more of her wonderful creations!


If you would like to be featured in an interview - then please contact your continent's host! 
Each featured guest here on Creating my way to Success, will also receive one week's free advertising in my sidebar as a thank you for your post!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Personalised Gift Set Tutorial

Here in Australia, the latest craze in books for young girls is 'EJ12'  Stories about a school girl spy who works for the Shine Agency.
My daughter's best friend has a birthday this month, and I thought I'd make something a little bit personal and special for her.

We had to get her an EJ12 book of course - and I thought I'd make up an EJ12 gift set for her too!
It consists of a bag, notebook cover, pencil case and bookmark. All with an EJ12 or Shine Agency logo on!

So here's the tutorial so you can make your own gift set - with whatever logo or theme suits you!

For the logo itself - I found one online, resized it and added it to a word document several times.  I then cut an A4 sized piece of fusible webbing (using a sheet of paper for the size) and ironed it onto some white fabric. 

 This stiffens the fabric somewhat - enough to pass it through a regular computer printer.  So you can print your logo direct onto the fabric - 

and then  you have them ready to cut out, peel the backing off and iron on to whatever you choose! 
Note - I have found that only black and white ink printed onto fabric survives the wash - colours tend to fade and wash out quite quickly.
 I would then recommend stitching the logo to secure it further.  Either use a tight zig-zag around the edge, or the applique setting on your machine if you have one. 

Additional note - after attaching a printed logo - iron the printed part to heat set the ink and prevent it from washing out!

The Bookmark

Cut two pieces of fabric, 20 x 6cm (8 x 2.5") and a length of matching ribbon 10cm (4")
Iron on and stitch the logo to one piece of fabric. Then place the two pieces right sides together with the ribbon in the middle looped in half:

Pin around all 4 edges, leaving a small gap to allow you to turn it right sides out.

Then stitch around the edges,

Clip all 4 corners close to the stitching then turn right sides out through the gap.

Then to finish, topstitch close to the edge around all 4 edges of the bookmark, so enclosing the final opening.

And there you have a bookmark:

The notebook cover

I have a pile of small exercise books that are sold for just a few cents every year when it's back to school time. 
 They measure 17.5 x 22.5cm (7 x 9"). 
This cover is made for these books.

If you have a book a different size - open the cover and measure the length and width of the open book. Then add 4cm (1.5") to these measurements for your fabric sizes.

Cut two pieces of fabric 39 x 27cm (15.5 x 10.5) One for the front and one for the inside.  
Then cut 2 pieces for the inside sleeves, 27 x 14cm (10.5 x 5.5")
You will also need 2 pieces of firm cardboard around the size of the exercise book, and of course your chosen logo:

First iron and stitch on your logo where you would like it on the front piece of fabric (remember when you place the logo this piece will fold in half to cover the book).
Then take the two smaller inside sleeve pieces, and double turn and stitch along one long edge of each.

Then place and pin each of these sleeves onto the inside piece of fabric - as they will look on the finished cover - like this.
Remember to have the hemmed edge you just stitched facing towards the centre!

Stitch into place along the top and bottom.

Now place your outer fabric face down on top of this inner piece and pin then stitch around 3 edges. Leave one of the shorter edges open to insert the card.

Clip the corners and turn right sides out.
Then you need to cut your 2 pieces of cardboard to size so they will slide snugly into the cover. 
 (mine measured 16.5 x 23.5cm (6.5 x 9.25")  
Remember you need to leave space to turn the final raw edges in to stitch the cover closed once you've inserted the card!

Then slide one piece of card in..

..and using your zipper foot so you can stitch nice and close to the cardboard, run a row of stitching down next to the edge of the inserted card. This will form the centre 'spine' of the book cover.

Now slide in the second piece of card, and tuck the raw edges in and pin the end closed.

Stitch along the edge, then insert your exercise book into the sleeves:

And there you have one finished notebook cover!

The Bag

For this you need two pieces each of inner and outer fabric,
 34 x 30 cm (13.5 x 12")
One length of outer fabric for the strap 56 x 10cm (22 x 4")
And  zip at least 30cm (12") long - longer is fine! and some fabric scraps for covering the edges!
For this I wanted a colour logo, so instead of the computer printed one, I traced the logo from a book and transferred it to some coloured fabric with ironed fusible webbing attached.

I placed the pieces on the front part of the bag, ironed them on and stitched around them as for the other logos.

Now to the zip.
First use small rectangular scraps of your fabric to cover the ends of the zip.  Place a piece of the outer and inner fabric right sides together, with the zip in between close to one end of the zip and pin:

Then do the same at the other end of the zip - so you have these pinned just shorter than the width of your bag
(make sure your zip pull is in the middle!):

Now stitch the fabric pieces to the zip:

And then fold the fabric back to show your now covered zip ends:

Now to attach the zip to the main fabric.
Lay your front piece face up and then the zip face down across the top.  

Place one of the inner fabric pieces face down on top of these both and pin across the top.

Using your zipper foot, stitch across the top:

Then pull both pieces of fabric back from the zip and topstitch close to the zip to prevent the fabric from slipping back and getting caught in the teeth of the zip.

Now to the other side of the zip and the final inner and outer pieces of fabric.
Lay your remaining outer piece of fabric face up, and then the pieces you've just stitched to the zip face down on top of that. (you now have the two outer pieces of fabric right sides together).

Then lay your final inner piece of fabric on the top.  Pin and stitch again with your zipper foot - then pull both pieces back from the zip and topstitch.

Now open the fabric out with the zip in the middle and one piece of inner and outer fabric on either side.  Trim the edges of the zip.

Now for the strap. Take your strip of fabric with the short edge at the top. Fold both long sides in towards the centre like this:

Then fold both sides together so the raw edge is completely enclosed.

Then stitch all along both long edges of the strap, folding as you go.
Note - if you like you can fold the fabric and iron it first to hold it in place before you stitch

Now you can attach the strap to the bag.
Pin either end of the strap to either end of the zip.  Make sure that the strap isn't twisted !

Then stitch securely into place, using a few rows of stitching.

Now lay your bag out flat again and open up the zip.
(this is very important!!)

Now fold the fabric away from the zip so you have the two outer pieces right sides together, and the two inner pieces right sides together.  Pin around all the edges, but leave a gap in the inner fabric of around 20cm (8").

Then stitch around the edges, taking care over the bulky ends of zips with the strap, and remembering to leave the gap open in the inner fabric.

Turn the bag right sides out through the gap you have left.

Then pin and stitch the gap closed:

There you have a finished bag!

The Pencil Case

For this you need two pieces each of inner and outer fabric,
 25 x 14 cm (10 x 5.5")

A zip at least 25cm (10") long - longer is fine! and some fabric scraps for covering the edges!
And of course your logo!

The pencil case is made in exactly the same way as the bag, but with no strap - so simply miss that part out of the instructions and follow along!

And at the end, you will have a pencil case!

Now that you have your gift set - you can choose to add pencils for the pencil case, a book for the bookmark -and anything else along your chosen theme!

Pop all the pieces inside the bag..

Zip it up and it's ready to be given to the lucky recipient!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
If you have any questions, please leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer promptly!

There are over 100 more free sewing tutorials for all levels of sewing ability on 
my tutorials page if you're interested.