Saturday, October 31, 2015

Saturday Spotlight - last minute Halloween Inspiration

Happy Halloween!
It's finally here!

So of course the features from this week's Round Tuit have to be Halloween themed. Some last minute inspiration for you.

First of all some costume ideas.

And some Halloween Treats!

I hope you enjoyed this week's features, and that you have a Happy Halloween!!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Witchy Messenger Bag

One of the last clothes upcycles I did for my daughter's carnival stall was this cute Witchy Messenger Bag.
I made it from a pair of jeans and an old shirt and used my own messenger bag from jeans tutorial here.

I was really happy that I found a great use for the collar of the shirt - as a skirt for the witch.

 I think this collar-skirt works well and will definitely be using that idea again in the future!
 I also love that I found another use for the green and black socks. I made a sock monkey from the main part, 
but there was still some of the socks left over as they were quite long - that's what I used for the witches socks appliqué!

And the purple shirt fabric works really well for the lining of this bag. And the rustic look of the worn jeans pocket is another feature I really like!

Well that's my final Halloween project for this year!
I shall share a final few Halloween features from the Round Tuit party tomorrow - in case you want any last minute spooky inspiration!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tomato Pincushions

When browsing the internet, deciding what kind of pincushion to make for my girls, I found lots of pictures of tomato pincushions. I'd actually never seen one before, but have since learned that many original pincushions were tomato shaped, and many people still have tomato pincushions passed down through generations of sewers!

So not only are they a traditional type of pincushion, but I also learned that a red tomato at a window helps ward off evil spirits, and one on the mantel piece attracts wealth and abundance! (Source)
So this definitely seemed a good choice of pincushion to make for my girls.

I found this brilliant video tutorial from Martha Stewart showing how simple it is to make one. Take a look...

Aren't they just the cutest, simplest pincushions ever?

I made one each for my girls 

as part of sewing kit bag gift sets that I made for each of them

I gave them these gifts to say thank you for being such awesome pattern testers for my new e-book.

Have you ever seen a tomato pincushion? Or do you have one of your own perhaps?

I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose buttons and links can be found on my linky party page.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween Drinks Coasters

With Halloween fast approaching, I'm getting out our spooky decorations etc in preparation.

One thing that comes out every year is our Halloween Drinks Coasters. I made these a few years ago. They each have a silly Halloween joke on them, and since we only get them out once a year - we all seem to have forgotten them and still get a giggle out of them!
If you'd like to make some Halloween Drinks Coasters of your own - you can see the tutorial here.

I'll have to make a few of our regular Halloween decorations too - like these mummy candle jars..

And I'll be making my girls favourite - marshmallow eyeballs!

Do you have a favourite Halloween decoration or food that you make or cook every year?  Tell me in the comments!

I shall be linking this post to many of the fabulous linky parties whose pretty buttons and links can be found on my linky party page.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Upcycled Life - school carnival stall report

Last weekend was our annual school fair - The Coconut Carnival.
I've spent the past few months upcycling clothes into things to sell at the carnival.

What was I doing?

I wanted to show a way to create things from the resources we have to use as a fundraiser at the carnival - an alternative to buying plastic trinkets and sweets for the lucky dip or bottle stall! And it was a way to promote upcycling in general!

I've had enormous fun creating things over the course of the year from this pile of clothes I got that were left over from last year's carnival stall. Go here for more details of things I made.

I've shared what I've made here on the blog and on my Facebook page - also creating and sharing many new tutorials to help others upcycle clothes too. So before the carnival even started I feel like I've already achieved a lot!

School carnival day, and my stall

I set up my stall and was really pleased with the finished look. I had over 150 items for sale (someone did ask!) ranging in price from $2 to $30. 

Plus all the gorgeous unique wrist cuffs that the kids helped to create.

The Coconut Carnival is a huge affair each year - with so much going on. I had a lovely view from my stall.

I could see the rides and the helicopter taking off and landing!

But back to my stall...


Things sold slowly and steadily throughout the day and I had plenty people coming over to comment on things and show an interest.

In the end I made $150 profit for the school, which I think it pretty good from a bunch of old clothes! 
I've done a few market stalls over the years and think this was actually the best I've ever done in one day!

Reflections and thoughts after the day

Overall, I'm glad I did this upcycled clothes stall for the school. I learned a lot and am really pleased with what I produced and that I could help raise some funds for the school.

However, I won't be doing the same next year. 

I want to make a difference, but I don't think an upcycled handmade stall at the school carnival is the way.
I will continue to upcycle clothes, and this week will be opening an etsy shop stocked with all these upcycled goodies I now have!

But at the carnival, watching and listening to people I found that - there were those who commented that my things were overpriced, as you get often with people looking at handmade goods. They cannot compare in price with things churned out from factories in China for example.
I totally get this. I mean why buy a handmade soft toy at my stall, when round the corner you can go to the white elephant stall and find decent donated cuddly toys for $1?  
People want a bargain - and when kids are buying things themselves with their pocket money - of course a $1 bear is going to be their choice rather than a $15 handmade turtle, or sock monkey.

I was also asked as the evening wore on, when I was going to start reducing my prices, to clear things out. Well I didn't. For a start it's not fair to those who have just paid full price, but it also devalues what I and others have spent time and effort making.

As I mentioned, this carnival is a huge affair. Sadly - I was only too aware of the waste produced by it - not just the endless food and drink containers and bottles that are just discarded and not recycled, but also the huge amount of plastic toys, glow sticks and other plastic fantastic won in games and bought for a dollar or two.

People come to the carnival to have fun, play games, go on the rides and eat and drink. I don't believe it's the ideal place for a handmade stall. People don't really come to 'shop'.

So what's next?

So I shall have to get my thinking cap on for next year. Something that fits the bill better, but is still eco-friendly and has some upcycling in there somewhere. Any suggestions welcomed!

For now - I shall continue to share on my blog my upcycled and sewing creations, tutorials and ideas. It's always rewarding to have comments and emails from people who have used my tutorials or been inspired by what I do to upcycle their clothes!

An encouraging story

One of the best comments I had at the carnival stall was from a friend whose daughter did some pattern testing for me recently of my new 

The other day her daughter had come out of her wardrobe carrying the old pair of jeans that still fit her Mum, asking if she could cut them up to sew with! Needless to say Mum said no, but took her to the charity shop where she bought an enormous pair for $1 and is now looking forward to making lots of things with them!

It's nice to know I am inspiring others to "Use What You've Got", which is really what I'm passionate about and feel that society as a whole needs to do more of and move away from constantly buying new and spending money. We need to make full use of the resources we already have, rather than using them once and then discarding them.

Thank you if you've read to the end of this post, and to those who have followed this clothes upcycling challenge of mine this year.  It's been a lot of fun and certainly a huge learning experience.

Now it's time to set myself some new goals and challenges!
I shall leave you with a picture of the fireworks that ended the night at the school carnival - and ended my clothes upcycling challenge for 2015!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Saturday Spotlight - More Awesome Halloween Ideas!

It's Coconut Carnival Day!  
I've been working all year on upcycling clothes for my daughter's class stall for today - I'm excited and nervous that I'm putting all my work out there to hopefully inspire and sell lots to raise funds for the school! I shall be sharing pictures and updates throughout the day on Instagram and Facebook if you're interested!

But while I'm off doing that, I just had to show you one last lot of Halloween Features from the Round Tuit party.

So first of all some Halloween crafts:

And some Halloween foodie treats!

I hope you enjoyed this week's features. Have a fabulous weekend!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Final preparations for the upcycled stall - another pair of jeans upcycled.

Tomorrow is our school carnival - The Coconut Carnival.
All this year I've been upcycling clothing that I picked up at the end of last year's carnival - some of the unsold clothes from the second hand clothing stall.

I've made heaps of things from sock monkeys to bags and turtles to mini notebook folders.  I still have a few clothes left over and some bags of scraps, notions and seams etc. But I've now run out of time and will just have to save those for another time - maybe next year's stall!

All this week I've been promoting our stall at the school, by upcycling a pair of jeans, a shirt and a pair of socks little by little each day and displaying another one or two items made every morning in the school office window to show what our class stall will be all about.

I first made a sock monkey

Then a pencil case and tissue pouches.

A witchy messenger bag

A turtle 

and a pretty necklace with some scraps and buttons.

The kids at school helped make lots of pretty unique upcycled designer wrist cuffs.

My girls and their friends made the main stall sign yesterday, using fabric scraps and a hot glue gun!

So today and tomorrow morning will be spent labelling and pricing and sorting out the display.

I've spent so much time working towards this carnival stall - to show what can be made and done using the resources we have.
I hope I manage to inspire some people tomorrow and sell lots of upcycled goodies to raise funds for the school!

I shall be posting pictures and updates throughout the day on Instagram and Facebook if you're interested!

Wish me luck!