Posts Tagged 'handmade'

Pintuck pillows and what we put into handmade objects

I have a bookmark folder named “craft tutes to try”. It contains exactly that. And admittedly it is ever-growing. It almost took a life of its own, so much so that I had to subdivide it by crafts : paper craft, sewing, patchwork, crochet, etc. Just writing about it, my heart goes just a little faster. Sigh. Crafty goodness and possibilities all over the place !

So when my sweet mum got tired of her old, sad, forest green pillows, I knew I had just the right project on hand to free her couch from these floppy things nobody in the house dared to call pillows any more (just a little bit of drama thrown in for good measure).

To my (and the couch) rescue, came the talented Ellen of The Long Thread and her great pintuck pillow project. I unearthed some home decor fabric purchased a couple of years back…just because it was pretty (I do that sometimes, yes), and followed the well written instructions. Being a beginner at anything sewing, I was curious to see if I could come out with a decent result, and I think I did pretty well. It’s far from perfect, but I’m still happy with them ! Thank you Ellen !

I did one pillow exactly as suggested, and for the other one, I put more and more space between the pintucks, resulting in a slight gradation.

I sewed these pillows just a few days before leaving home and going back to Japan (I arrived a few days ago, still enjoying the jet lag induced  fuzziness). The last days home are always filled with mixed feelings. Somewhat happy to go back to my other home, but so very sad to leave my family and friends behind. Especially my mum, because I know her life is not so easy. So among others things, I made pillows for her. I hugged, cooked, talked, and made pillows. Because I thought it might cheer her up when she looks at them. Because they’re not store bought pillows, but handmade pillows, that I took the time to make especially for her, her couch, her living room. To bring just a little bonus hint of happiness. For me, that’s what the pillows, and handmade in general, is about. I do believe these objects we make with our hands, especially for those we love, have this very special added value. Something that says : I did it for you, because I think of you and you’re well worth the time and the effort, because you’re that special to me.

So, I’m going to stop there before I start crying in front of my computer screen 😉 , but these are my thoughts.  What about you ? What do you put in your handmade objects ?

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Simple beaded present : seed beads bracelet

My first beading this year is a present for one of my cousin. I have to admit I lacked a bit of inspiration and imagination when I first decided to sit down with this project, but I did have fun choosing the colors and that’s what kept me rolling !

My original plan was to make this beaded bracelet. A pattern called Fordan, provided by Mu, a much talented, prolific and generous french beaded. If you don’t know her yet, go pay her blog a visit, you’ll have dozens of pretty patterns and ideas to browse through. Pretty amazing if you ask me.

I ended up changing the beading path just a bit, and finally stopped before the last two rows. The result is a more classic, slightly less wide, less decorated bracelet. Exactly what I had in mind for the recipient (Hi G. !).

Talking about beading, I would like to start working on a group of pieces to…maybe…finally setting up a little shop. Probably on Etsy. I’ve been thinking and dreaming about it for a couple of years now. The idea itself completely overwhelms me, but still hasn’t left my mind or my heart. It’s really something I’d like to give a try one day, so why not try and start working on it now ?

I’m thinking clean lines, simple and modern pieces, pretty colors with an accent, a bit of texture. Versatile pieces. Pretty much the type of jewelry, especially beaded jewelry, that I love and am passionate about !

We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.  But in the meantime, if you have some advice about this particular endeavor, maybe because you’re doing it yourself or would like to do it or have tried at some point, or just because you’re in an advice kind of mood, feel very very free to leave a comment, drop a line, send an e-mail. I’ll be more than happy to read your messages !

Beautiful day to you all !

Handmade Colorful Messenger bag !

December is here, with Christmas just ahead, and I am wondering : does time actually roll even faster during the holiday season ?! It sure feels this way as I’m getting ready to go back home next week.  I’m so excited ! I haven’t seen my folks in more than a year, so it’s going to be really nice to catch up and just be together !

Getting ready involves a lot of organizing, making, shopping, cleaning…and a few pep talks to myself : the idea of a few hundred tons  object actually flying…with me inside… is still a bit difficult to take in. Hum.

In the midst of all these preparations, the crafting frenzy is still well and alive, and a few projects are on the roll, while a few others have just been finished. One of those is a messenger bag…let me re-phrase this…one of those is my first attempt ever at a bag more complex than a tote !

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A few months ago, the Boyfriend and I went to Ikea in Kobe to pick up a few items for the apartment, and we both ended up buying fabric. How I love Ikea fabric lines ! The boyfriend picked up a colorful  mid-weight cotton he really liked, thinking he’ll eventually do something with it.

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Then a new crafty friend came to our house and the destiny of this colorful fabric was sealed : it was to become a bag. And my destiny was sealed too : I was to make the bag. The beginner seamstress in me got all excited : such a good opportunity to try something new !

The Boyfriend explained what kind of bag was on his mind and from there, I gathered the sewing and bag making information and material  I needed to dive right into the making/sewing  (check the links at the end of this post).

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Let me tell you that this bag was a bit of a stretch from my actual sewing ability ! From drawing the pattern, choosing the interfacing, putting the pieces together, top-stitching, adding the little magnetic snap closure, every step involved something new, and this was so.much.fun ! I took my time, went step by step, didn’t aim for perfect, and I really learned a lot. I guess there is nothing like actually trying  !

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So the result is here : a colorful messenger bag, fully lined, slightly padded, with an adjustable strap and a magnetic closure. Oh, and it goes with a zipper pouch made with the fabric remnants ! I think the Boyfriend is happy, and I sure am !

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Here is a list of the tutorials and how to’s I went through before making this bag :

– A nice and clear messenger bag tutorial here (I didn’t do exactly as in this tutorial, but it was a really good guideline to draw my own pattern and assemble the pieces)

– About interfacing : guide to choose the right interfacing for your project here

– To make fabric handles : here (see step 3 of the tutorial)

-To make an adjustable strap : very easy to follow instructions here

– To add a magnetic snap closure : clear instructions and helpful photos of the process here and here

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A few of the tutorials above come from Lisa of U-Handblog. She has many advices and tutorials on anything bag-related and her instructions are always very detailed and clear. Her “bag wisdom and tips” category is a must-read for anyone thinking about making a bag, and the many bag tutorials she wrote and shared are worse seeing.

The crafty blogosphere is such an amazing place. There are no other way to put it. So many people willing to share their knowledge, their experience, isn’t it just amazing ?! A big thank you to all of you  !

On to the next project !

2009 New Year Handmade Greeting cards : templates and tutorial !

Has the rush for Christmas presents – handmade or else- and New Year celebration plans already begun in your house ?!

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To keep up with the preparations for the upcoming New Year celebration, here are a few templates that I made for some handmade greeting cards (cards like these !). There are six templates :

– 2 square-shaped cards,

– 2 rectangle-shaped cards, those four with square windows, then

– 1 rectangle-shaped card with rectangular vertical windows, and at last

– 1 square-shaped card with round windows of different sizes.

Here they are : 2009 handmade New Year greeting cards templates

To use these templates, simply print the one you want to make a card out of, then cut out the windows and the outline of the card with a cutter (Xacto type) knife. Place this template on the paper you want to use for your card and draw the windows lines with a pencil. Cut those out carefully (if your paper is thick, don’t try to cut it in one go : applying too much strength on the blade of your cutter knife makes it difficult to cut straight and you may injure yourself. So keep it safe and pretty, cut once, then again if needed.)

The templates are only for the face of the card, so if you want a card that folds, don’t forget to include the fold before you cut the contour of your card !

If you want to give these cards a go, you can find a very simple tutorial I made for them a little while ago here, towards the end of the post.

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I’m on my way to make some more !

Feel free to use the templates and make your own cards, so many variations are possible ! If you feel inspired to give these a try, let me know, I’ll be happy to see your take on them !

Have a beautiful day everyone !

Indian colors Herringbone bracelet

Another unfinished project down !

I started this simple bracelet a while ago, in need of color and texture.


It is a simple herringbone band, decreased with brick stitch on each side.

I used different shades of Miyuki triangle beads, fuschia pink-orange-soft pink-crystal gold, all of them inside color (meaning that the color is dyed inside the hole of the bead, the body of the bead itself being a transparent color). I wanted the mix of color to be a bit Indian-like and playful, yet not too much so that the texture of the weaving still shows.

And here it is !


I’ve been wondering for a while how to finish it (finishing always seems to be a source of hesitation !), and finally kept it simple with just a crystal rondelle (love the cute chunkiness of those !) on one side and a loop on the other.

Unlike Toho triangle beads, which are more…well, triangle-like, Miyuki triangle beads have soft angles, which results in a soft overall texture in the weaving. I really like that it didn’t turned out too geometric.

Aaaa, cute triangle beads, how I love thee !

I have to say I’m a bit curious to see how the finish of these beads hold on. For an estimate on the duration of seed beads finish, you can go and check here.

I uploaded other pictures (different angles, and closer shots) on my Flickr account, here, feel free to go and have a look !


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