Thursday, April 30, 2009

Free stuff = good times

So my friend Deb gave me a great present, oodles of leather samples for upholstery. I have an array of colors and textures. Free stuff always inspires me to try different things and when I buy expensive fabric I try and conserve it a little more. So I jumped into the leather samples and found a nice big piece and made a little pouch. It was fun and my old sewing machine didn't die - that's a good thing. Now I just have to think up different projects to use up the rest of the leather.

Thanks Deb!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Nesting Tables finale!

Sorry I've been lame and haven't gotten pictures up of the nesting tables. I just finished them yesterday; it was so cold out the paint didn't want to dry. Here's a teaser photo of the finished tables. Click here to read the full story.

Do you see the worn blue sofa and the two chairs behind the table? These are my upcoming projects. I just have to learn how to upholster (minor detail).

2nd time's a charm!

I love recycling and making new things out of old things. The idea of saving tin cans and decorating them isn't particularly new, but sometimes forgotten. I found this photo via Daisy Pink Cupcake of re-dressed recycled tin cans, and it just so happens that last week I re-dressed a tin can in scrapbooking paper and put it on Cam's desk to collect all his pens.

Behind the tin can is Cam's Peace Lily which helps filter and purify the air and sucks up the emissions that the computers and monitors give off. Check out other detox plants in this article from Tree Hugger.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Origami Crane design

image from snorkiesnork!

I was looking at one of my new favorite blogs today and I noticed her admiration of origami and I thought it would be easy to try with fabric. So I make up a pattern and I used an iron on adhesive to stick the crane onto another piece of fabric, and then sewed over the top where the folds in the origami would be. It was also my first attempt to make a pouch - the result wasn't uber successful, but I think I'll try it a couple more times before I give up.

I had so much fun putting the crane on the pouch that I decided to make a pillow too.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Great weekend!

Cam and I live right next to the city train, and today is the first day since we moved here that we've taken advantage of it and we took the train to the city. We used our 'buy one entry get the next one free' coupon at the Melbourne Aquarium. They just got some new King and Gentoo penguins in their Antarctic exhibit and boy are they cuuute! We pushed all the little kiddies out of the way to get right up to the glass and see the penguins (must have been baby and grandparent day at the aquarium because there were swarms of them!!); then we went through the whole aquarium and went back to see the penguins before we left. My souvenir for the day was a year membership to the aquarium - I'll be back to see the Antarctic exhibit on a hot day.

We didn't get that many pictures because I forgot to charge the camera batteries before we left. Oops.

what up, got any fish for me? I'll do a little dance

Friday, April 24, 2009

My worst Nightmare

Our master bedroom is huge! There's a lot of wasted space, but our guest room is tiny, so anything that can't fit in it goes to our bedroom. Cam's desk was too big to put in the guest room so it's living in our bedroom. I'm not really happy with that; in Russia his desk was in our room and it was in constant disarray and it was the first thing that you saw when you walked into the room. So now the saga continues and he keeps on bring home computers!!! A few days ago he convinced me to get a large flat-screen monitor and he told me it would be great for my graphic design projects. Yeah right! The first thing he does is plop it on his desk and use it as a second monitor for all his geeky IT things.

see his cheeky grin? He knows he's doing something bad.

But to right his wrong this morning he put together a bunch of pug pictures for me to wake up to. So when I looked at that huge monitor on his desk it had an adoring pug looking right back at me. Thanks hon, but you're still in the "dog house".

(image from

Nesting Tables

I snagged these nesting tables from an Epilepsy Op Shop (Thrift store) for $40AUD. Seems a little expensive, but when you divide that by 3 that's approximately $13 a table, not bad, and it's going to a great cause. I'm painting them up in my favorite white paint, called Princess Bling. One of the tables is missing its glass inlay, so I'll go to the local hardware store and see if I can get a piece of tempered glass cut to size.

You can see that they needed a little bit of sanding and puddy-ing but in the end it's all worth it.

Here are the Before photos...

... and finally the After photos!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

*Owl* love you forever!

This is a graphic that I made up for Valentine's day 2009.

This little diddy (below) is for a special baby. One of my friends is having a baby and her theme for the nursery is owls and birds, etc. I think her colour scheme is going back and forth and they don't know if they're having a boy or a girl so I hope this gender neutral owl makes his home in the new bub's room. I like it and I had a blast making it. I made a pattern so I'll post it when I buy a scanner (soon, I hope). I used some scrapbooking paper that I had and a cheap canvas from a discount store.

all discombobulated in the process.

Different buttons for the eyes makes it a little quirky. I like the texture that the paper gives when cut up in different pieces. That's why I chose to make up the body of different pieces with jagged edges to give the illusion of feathers.

Here's the final product with the little flower coming out of the tree (with a button center). It's taking up temporary residence on my dresser with my matryoshka dolls.

I'm in love with this bike... I mean trike!

Cam and I took a walk in the neighborhood to see an $850,000 (AUD) house that's for sale and, woooeee, it's nice. A little out of our price range, but really nice nonetheless. On our way back we stopped into Neco, a green living superstore with everything from showerheads to bicycles. I found a really cool tricycle made by Cargo Bike that has a cargo compartment in the front of it. The model that I looked at had dark wood for the cargo box and two seats. I can just imagine myself in a couple of years with a couple of kids going to the local farmer's market in that trike. It was amazingly easy to maneuver too! I'm putting it on my birthday wishlist (along with some other things).

images from

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


In a fit of creativity furry this afternoon I all of a sudden got the idea to make a canvas with moustaches on it. I got a small canvas a couple weeks ago from a discount store and I had some scrapbooking paper lying around, so I decided to cut moustaches out of brown polka-dotted paper and stick them on the canvas. I think the result is very cheeky and looks great in our bathroom.

*In other news, I finally finished the second bed-side table for our master bedroom. Looks great! I'm off to find a new project.

Guest room goodies!

I think I'm among the many who has a combo home-office / guest room, and when I get the guest room ready I try and make it as inviting as possible and a personal space for the guest. Because our guest room isn't much bigger than a match box we have a futon that folds out into a double bed for our guests. There are some essentials that guests need and some that are just fun to have there.

  • towels
  • clean sheets and duvet cover. I dry our laundry out on the line and it gives it a fresh smell.
  • bar of soap. I buy a big pack and give one to our guests. I often wrap it up in tissue paper and put a little string or ribbon on it. My favorite soap is of the oatmeal variety.
  • bottles of water. Nothing is more refreshing after a long drive or flight.
  • facial tissue. The last time we had guests here the weather was really cold and one of guests got the sniffles, so it really helped to have some extra tissues for him.
  • Bed side table
  • Lamp
  • Curtains to block out any unwanted light (your guests might have jet lag and need to nap during the day to stave it off).
  • Welcome card. I put a nice little greeting the welcome them to our house and I might also mention what time we get up (written in a nice way) like saying "Breakfast is served at 8:30", or something like that.
  • A Chair that they can sit in when they're getting ready, or just to have an extra place to set things on.
  • Space in the closet for their things. Our guests have to compete with all my arts and crafts projects in the room, but I clear a space for them in the closet so they can put away their things and store their suitcase during their stay.
  • linen spray: different scents create different moods/atmosphere. My favorite combination is to add a Vanilla essential oil and a little Rose essential oil to a bottle of water and spray the linens with it. (let linens dry completely before putting any blankets on top). Vanilla is a very calming scent and can help people sleep, but I add a little rose scent to it as well because I like to put fresh flowers in the guest room and if they aren't very fragrant the rose oil will allude that they are.
  • Post cards for them to send to friends and family
  • snacks; I usually go for a local sort of candy or chocolate that they might not have at home, i.e. I don't put M&Ms because they can get those anywhere.
  • Hand lotion and sunscreen.
  • Neighborhood guide. Many times our guests don't need to be entertained all the time and they like to get out and explore things on their own. Putting together a binder of bus and train time tables and walking trails in the area lets our guests be more independent. A collection of retails stores and cafes in the area is also appreciated.
  • Wi-fi internet. We have wi-fi in our house and our guests are welcome to use it while they're here. If you don't have wi-fi in the house let your guests know where they can connect to the internet. For example, we have a McDonalds/McCafe down the street that has free wi-fi.
Here's a guest room I wish I had (and our guest probably wish we had), found on House Beautiful. For even more Guest Room tips check out this article from House Beautiful.

This is also an open invitation for our friends and family to come and visit!
We'll leave the light on for you.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Already dreaming about Christmas

The weather here in Melbourne is getting colder and to me, being North American, it feels like Christmas is coming. We've had plenty of roast dinners and mashed potatoes that my body is tricked into feeling like it's the holiday season already. So, I've been dreaming up craft projects for Christmas and I plan to get started on making some Christmas stockings to decor our house. Here are the stockings that I made last Christmas while we were staying at my parents' house.

we chose the fabric that we liked and we chose some buttons that we liked. The stocking above is mine and the stocking below is Cameron's.

Cam actually chose 6 different elephant buttons but he was forced (nicely) into getting only one. After our honeymoon in Indonesia Cam has adopted a love for all things elephant

I put our stocking on our bed in hopes that little "nisse" (Norwegian for elves) would come and in give us some nice treats

And to go with the Christmas theme, I wanted to share some snowy pictures of my parents' house from Christmas 2008. We had just come back from Russia where there wasn't any snow, to a winter wonderland in Seattle!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter tweets

This year the Australian side of the family will get these little tweets...sorry... treats. I picked up some noodle take-out boxes and some Coconut Fiber (from hardware store in the garden department), some little chicks and some chocolate Easter eggs and put together these little beauties. They turned out a lot cuter than I thought, so I might have to make one for myself. I slapped a little card with a handwritten Easter greeting on the top to make it extra festive.

I suggest putting these together outside because the Coconut Fiber can get a little messy, but it's really authentic looking.

Happy Easter friends!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Chateau couture - pleated pillow

Here's the second design of the day - a pleated pillow. It looks like a couture blouse to me. When I was putting it together I almost went as far as to put a pair of sleeves on it and wear it to a cocktail party, but I think it will look just as fashionable in our guest room.

The fabric is a really nice gray and white striped silk.

The fabric was purchased at a thrift store near our house.

Chateau couture - ruffled pillow

I had some design ideas for pillows that I tried out today - I'm quite happy with the result. My inspiration was the avant-garde ruffles that have been influencing fashion lately like this ECI Ruffle Top found at

I got the fabric at a thrift store near my house; it's a nice thick navy blue linen.

Monday, April 6, 2009

For the birds

Last year I found a pattern on Spool Sewing that I had to try. I varied the pattern a little and made a plush animal out of it. Here's the original bird pattern (in the side bar of the page). This little beauty is going to be a gift for a special little baby. I bought the fabrics at a second-hand store.
I'm currently using an old Singer sewing machine that was handed down to my mother-in-law. It's a great machine that works better than a new machine. I love it!

Here are a couple variations of the end product. I was trying some different designs.