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mani the whale

Hello again! Thanks for reading today – makes me feel great, knowing that someone actually wants to read what I’ve written.

Anyway…  I’ve been sewing. And loving it! I must tell you all about my new sewing machine sometime. Remind me if I forget. But this is about some sewing I did before Christmas.

I can’t remember whose blog said it, but someone said that it’s always hard sharing sewing projects around Christmas, because so many of the presents are gifts, and obviously you don’t want people to know what you’ve got them… And this year, I decided that I was going to make presents for my niece and nephews, rather than buying them – much more fun for me, and hopefully, something a bit more special for them. This is one of those projects, and I can finally share it, because Christmas has passed.

A while ago my SIL was talking about a denim whale she saw on Pinterest that she loved and hoped someone would make for her kids. I filed the idea away, because I had NO idea what to make for my ten-month old nephew. I wanted to make him something, but something that would last, not a toy for a ten-month old.

So here it is:

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I roughly (as usual) used a pattern that another blogger had provided (Thanks Lacey from ‘all my friends are flowers’!) I couldn’t print the pattern, because my computer wasn’t working, so I traced it on my ipad, so the size isn’t the same, and I wanted the front to have a bit more texture, so I broke the pattern up a bit. I also added some stitching to the fins and tail to give them a bit more 3d shape. But the pattern worked great, and I’m super happy with the result!

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I ended up not having any jeans that could be cut up (having just moved across the world), so I ended up going to the thrift store to find the cheapest ones possible – why not? Randomly, the cheapest jeans were a pair of light denim Armani jeans, and thus, Mani the Whale was born.

The only really tricky part of Mani was the top-stitching to give him a lip. I (stupidly) decided that if I was going to top stitch the lip, that was a good place to close him as well, so I didn’t have to try to hide stitches elsewhere. WRONG! It took so, so, so many pins to hold the stuffing back enough to get him into my machine… There was some blood. Mine, not Mani’s. And I had to enlist a helper (thanks hubby) to help feed him through the machine.

But he’s done, and he’s amazing. And, most importantly, loved by his new family!

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-Jamie

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applique tote bags

Hey, it’s me again. I know, I know – it’s been ages.

But I’m back…

And, very exciting, this is my 100th blog post. Only took me three years to get here. Let’s celebrate.

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Okay, that’s enough!

I’m very excited about some of the projects I’m going to share with you. In fact, I’m going to write 5 (!) posts today. Which is obviously because I’m dying to share things with you, rather than because I know otherwise it will be ages before I blog again.

So, today’s project to share: personalised tote bags.

When I was leaving my job in the UK, I decided I wanted to do something special for the amazing ladies that I was working with. One thing, as a teacher, that I never have enough of is tote bags. I am (was) forever carrying work back and forth, and there’s nothing as nice as a cute bag to carry things in. So I thought I would make my three colleagues (my year group team) matching personalised tote bags. First, I found out the favourite animal of each of them, then I created these:

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The bags are 100% cotton and are fully lined, with French seams (luxury!), and I even managed to get my bluedaisyz labels into them.

I cut out each of their favourite animals, then cut it out on cotton poplin ironed onto medium interfacing. Then I attached them to the front of each bag.

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As a final challenge to myself, I figured out how to sew the handles on with the box and cross, making sure I didn’t go over my seams twice – tricky! Didn’t get a closeup picture of that, though.

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Anyway, I’m please with how they turned out. Even had some other friends wanting me to make one for them, as well! I made one for me, too (needed to do a trial bag), but didn’t take pics of it, for some reason. It has an elephant on it, as well, but it’s a different, more cartoon-y elephant. I think it’s cute.

By the way, if anyone was wondering – dolphins are horrible to sew around – too many intricate shapes.

What do you think? What would go on the front of your bag?

-Jamie

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nintendo mushroom card

I was looking through photos of old projects the other day (now that I have access to the images on my computer again) and I saw this cute little card I made for my brother-in-law last year.

I rarely make cards, but enjoy it when I do – I suppose I need to make more cards. The problem is, I always want the perfect card for the person, not just any old nice card, which means I would have to custom make each card for each occasion. I should though… they turn out great!

My brother-in-law likes games and things like that, which I know virtually nothing about, so I decided to go old school gaming (by which I mean back to my own childhood). What do you think?

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-Jamie

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halloween 

Hi all! Just wanted to share a couple things with you from Halloween yesterday. I love Halloween, and was very excited to spend one back in Canada!

My sister-in-law and I decided to do some pumpkin carving together, so I went to their house to spend some time carving with these little monkeys!

I’m pretty proud of my pumpkins this year – my best yet, I think. I wanted to do something a little different to the ordinary pumpkin faces, so after a few google searches, here’s what I came up with: 

FUN!!

We decided to carry the Halloween theme on to the food – my SIL’s idea. We made these cute stuffed peppers, decorated like jack-o-lanterns. Very fun! And tasty too! I’d love to see some of your Halloween fun, too – please share!

-Jamie

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needle book

So, this is something that I made before moving to Canada. I’ve got a couple of things like that, which I made and brought, and I’ll try to share them over the next couple of weeks. I’m also hoping that our container will be shipped soon, so I have all the other things I’m wanting. It’s annoying not having all my ‘stuff’.

In good news, I’ve got my new sewing machine. It’s amazing and I can’t wait to tell you all about it, but I’m going to wait til I’ve had a bit more of a play with it, then I’ll write a proper review.

Anyways, this is a little needle book that I made a while ago. I was tired having to pick through a box of needles – my fingers wanted not to be pricked and poked all the time. So I found a little needle book online and made this one:

I’m going to try some quilting in the next little while, so I thought this was a good chance to try putting a few squares together. I ended up with one inch squares. It was way more effort than something like a needle book should be, but was a fun thing to try.

On the inside, I used felt to make the six ‘pages’ and put circles of cotton on top to hold the needles. I think they are quite cute – I’ve only shown three, as the other three are the same, with 2 of each fabric. There’s a little ‘pocket’ that extends across the front and back – as you can see I’ve got a little sewing kit in the front. I added the ricrac just for fun – thought it looked nice!

And have I showed you these before?

I made a bunch of labels for my sewing projects, and thought this looked cute in the back of the book. The only problem with the labels is that I keep forgetting to put them in. I remember after the project is past the point of adding a label. Oops!

That’s all for now – let me know what you think!

-Jamie

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so… minor problem

I was and am so very excited to get back in the world of blogging. If you’re not sure why I wasn’t around, check out my last post here. For some reason, it didn’t go live on Facebook.

But… I’ve hit a pretty annoying snag in terms of being able to blog about much: our computer has died. {sad face} Well, the computer hasn’t really died, but the power cable has, so while I’m waiting for the new cable to be sent from China, I’m computer-less. Which isn’t that bad – I’m on my iPad now, but… ALL the photos of my craft projects from the last year are on my computer, so I can’t access them to share with you. And the project I just finished is, sadly/happily, a gift, so I can’t put pics on yet.

I will be able to share some of the things that I’m making though. Here’s a pic of a knitting project I’m working on at the moment (I have been for awhile):

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excuse the grainy photo – iPad camera isn’t great

Almost exactly a year ago, my mom and grandma came to visit me in England, and I took the opportunity to relearn knitting. I had never really properly known how to knit (someone would cast on and off for me, and I only knew the knit stitch). Since that I’ve done a few little projects – nothing too amazing, but I’m pretty proud of this hat. It’s going to be a slouchy hat, and is made using the daisy stitch. I found the daisy stitch pretty difficult to master, especially as I like to keep my knitting very tight and this stitch needs some space, but on this, hat version 3.0, I think it’s going pretty well. I’m almost to the decrease, so maybe I’ll make it this time!

In other news, I should have a new sewing machine in the next few weeks, which is really exciting. I’ve been using my mom’s beautiful old Pfaff, but have been saving for years to buys a nice new machine for me. No clues, but I will tell you all about it when I get it and I’ve had a go at some of the features! Super exciting for me!!

I think that’s all for now – I’ll keep you updated on what I’m working with, while I’m waiting for my new sewing machine, a computer cable, and then our shipping container from the UK, which contains my fabric stash and most of my crafty tools!

-Jamie

10

hello? it’s me…

I was going to jump into a whole Adele thing, but that’s as far as I’m going.

Is anyone still there? It’s been a year – a whole year, but I’m hoping to start the blog back up again.

Let me explain: last year, I was working as a teacher in the UK. It seemed that every year I worked there, my workload got heavier. As a teacher, you always expect that your first year is going to be crazy, but that then it will get easier from there. But last year, I was averaging 60 hours a week, and regularly worked up to 70. Stupid! And unfortunately, it meant that I had to ditch other things in life. So the blog – and most of the fun crafting that went along with it – got ditched for awhile.

But, here’s the thing: I’ve moved back to Canada! And I’m starting my blog back up again, assuming you’re still wanting to hear from me. I’m finally feeling settled enough to get back to my crafting, so yeah, here I am. 

I have got some things that I made last year to show you – I’ve had a new nephew since I blogged last, so as you can imagine, I managed to get the sewing machine out a few times. And I sewed a new dress that’s actually wearable. How exciting is that?


Anyway, that’s all for now – please say hi if you’re still there!
-Jamie