THE Wedding Dress – The Beginning …

I’m using my Grandmas wedding dress to make my own, through deconstructing it and using the material to make a complete new dress.

The great thing about reusing materials is that they have a past and stories to tell before they can even start telling the stories yet to come.

My Grandma, Frances, was married to my Granddad, William, in June 1954

My Granddad and Grandma on their wedding day

Her dress was later altered for her sister, Joyce, to wear on her wedding day

Aunty Joyce (left) wears the wedding dress, altered for her, standing next to my Grandma (right)

And now, some 54 years after my Grandma first wore the dress, I’m working on making it into my own 🙂

I took some photos before I started cutting.

This is what I believe to be the front of the dress. I only say this because of the changing length of the skirt. 
Button details on the back.
Button detail
cuff detail
zip detail
lace detail
The dress laid out
And with a deep breath, I took the first (of many) cuts into the dress…
This is the lace from the skirt. This is mostly what I have been working with. It was very delicate and had a few holes, so I decided to stitch it to tulle for strength and support.
I cut each pattern piece from tulle, then tacked it onto the lace before cutting it out.
This is a small sample I was looking at ideas for beading. I have decided to use glass seed beads and swarovski crystals to embellish the lace, as well as attach the lace to the tulle.

I don’t want to give too much away just yet, so i’ll leave you with that small taster of whats to come 🙂 I am excited to give you all a big reveal after the wedding!

Now I’m going back to stitching beads all over the lace!

Have a creative week!

Copper Garden Trellis

My weekdays are filled with crafts and work, my weekends filled with landscaping.

The exception for this week is I got to get a little creative with the garden work!

With a tight deadline (we have 6 weeks left to get it all done) we were running out of time to shop for the perfect garden trellises to go out the front of the house.

I’ve always loved working with copper, and have lusted after a copper tube garden trellis for a while now, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to branch into metal working for a day or two!

It was relatively easy, I cut all pipe to lengths of 50cm, and use fittings and Gorilla Glue to attach everything together. We totally sucked at the maths in the beginning, and then extended the measurements to fill the space better, so it took two trips to Bunnings to get all the required materials!

I marked and cut all my tubes to 50cm using a pipe cutter
Then the (not so much) fun part of cleaning the sticky left from the bar-codes off as well as printed markings
I layed it all out to make sure I had enough bits and it was how I wanted it
The fun part! Glueing! I used Guerilla Glue, time will tell if this was a correct choice!
I glued the fittings to all the horizontal pieces first. I had newspaper under everything I was glueing, so not to get it on the floor (managed to get it on the floor anyways! maybe this should have been an outside project…)
Then glue in the vertical tubes

Leave them to dry. The glue fully cures in 24hrs
The lovely Guy installed them. We used small curtain rod brakets to hold them in place and concreted the base into the ground
Installed! All ready for passionfruit vines to climb!

I shopped at Bunnings for all my supplies.

I used:

7 pieces of copper pipe 3/4″ x 1.5m

3 pieces of copper pipe 1/2″ x 1.5m

4 copper reducing elbows 20 x 15mm

16 copper capillary reducings 20 x 20 x 15mm

And a small amount of Gorilla Glue

Each trellis measured 2.5m high before concreting into the ground. Approx 2.25m is visible once installed

This was by no means a cheap DIY, but I did get to make something that’s been on my wish list for a while now and was able to customize it to our space. It would look totally awesome if you used recycled copper tube. Copper only gets prettier with wear and ageing! Alas, I didn’t have the time to source recycled materials for this project.

I’m off to buy the passionfruit this morning. We planted a dwarf apricot tree in one of the bricked up holes (in the photo above, you can see the edge at the very bottom right), and are searching for a dwarf mulberry for the other hole (to the left). Grass goes in this Saturday too! And Guy is super excited to chuck in some nasturtiums for a bit of colour over summer!

Hopefully after this weekend we will be finished with landscaping (apart from planting the veggie garden) for a while, or at least until after the wedding! We have a lovely recycled brick path planned for down the side of the house, that will be a summer holidays task!

Enjoy the rest of your week 🙂

A Glimpse Into My Studio

There’s been so much happening lately that the studio slowly became an unworkable space and I ended up spreading out across the living area too.

Studio before its tidy up.

It was time.

Time for a big tidy up!

And a perfect opportunity to walk you through the space I call a studio!

We moved into our house just over two years ago now. The space which became my studio is a room approx 5m x 4m right at the front of the house. For normal people, this would be considered a second living area, but for me, it is filled with wondrous art and craft supplies!

We built a few pieces from Ikea bases and Bunnings kitchen bench tops. This allowed us to customize the desk and table for the size of the room.

I have an office area with all the officey stuff.

My desk was made from Ikea desk supports and a Bunnings wooden kitchen bench top. We made a shelf for the monitor using cutoffs of the same wood.

A giant table which my sewing machine sits on, as well as a cutting board.

My centre table is made from two sets of Ikea 2×4 cubes, on wheels, with Bunnings wooden kitchen bench tops.
The centre table is the crafting table. This is where the cutting board and sewing machine is set up. I currently have a painting project set up on one corner too. It’s great, I can have multiple things on the go at once, or one big project.

Squeezed into another corner is a multipurpose table. This has been a desk area for Guy, a drawing area, its had the sewing machine set up on it. At the moment it’s a bit of a wool projects area. I have been felting there (before I drifted out into the living room), my blending board is set up on it, and my spinning wheel is close by.

This area is a little bit multipurpose. Currently it is set up as the wool projects area.

And of course, we can’t forget about the Guinea Pigs! Lindor, Iba and Ebonys house runs a fair distance across the room, in front of my beautiful glass doors. They have the best spot in the room! (not even exaggerating, before we got them, this is where I liked to sit!) They are spoilt little pigs! They don’t really NEED this much space, but it allows them to be active. It lots of fun having them in the room I spend most of my time in! I get to listen to their little noises, take a few moments to watch their crazy antics and just keep their company 🙂

The Guinea Pig Castle and all its land sits in the best spot in the house!
Lindor Enjoying her spot in/not so in the sun
Iba hides from me and my scary camera, but still wants to know whats going on!
Ebony pulling off the cover on the ramp into their caged area. They love to hide under the ramp!

This is by no means “finished”. Next year I will hopefully get some giant cupboards with sliding doors to go along the wall. At the moment this has a cube set, draw/cupboard set and a big white cupboard. I’m hoping something with sliding doors will allow the space to work a bit better. I also have a quilting frame that I may need to squeeze in somewhere (no idea how)!

My wall of storage. Hopefully this will get a new look in the coming years, something with sliding doors!

Another thing on my “studio to do list” is make window coverings for the three windows across the front. At the moment they have sheers and then pieces of curtain backing fabric pinned into the frames. I want to make roman blinds for each window, but I also want to sew/applique/embellish them, so each blind is a piece of artwork in their own right.

Just looking back over the photos now, it still doesn’t look all that clean after tidying up! But it feels clean! So that’s all that matters, as I move forward with other projects!

Have a creative week!

How to Make a Simple Felt Flower

As I sit down to write this, I am a little bit annoyed at myself. I was hoping to have all my felting done and dusted. Alas, I am still working away at my bouquet. I showed you all the flowers I had made last week.  I will be at least a week behind schedule when I finish them. With two months until the wedding, this isn’t a massive stress, but with two months until the wedding I had hoped to have at least STARTED my wedding dress.

Everything else is starting to come together. I found the most spectacular necklace and earrings from Mariana. I’m experimenting with beauty regimes that I would never have tried before (can you say manicure?) and the landscaping is coming along – we just need to plant the backyard and we have started the front yard.

So today…

I teach you now how to make a super simple flower.

It basically starts off felting a couple of circles. I draw circles on the back of bubble wrap as a guide to size and shape. Then I layer roving over these areas.

The first layer of wool roving is layed down on top of the bubble wrap, with circles drawn underneath as a guide to size and shape
A second layer of wool is placed on top of the first, with the fibres running in the opposite direction.
A third and final layer of wool is placed on top, again changing the direction of the fibres.
A little bit of dish washing liquid is squeezed on top of the layers of roving.
And then wet down the wool with warm (as hot as you can handle) water.
Gently fold in the edges, so the wool takes the shape of the guide drawn underneath.
Edges neatened so it takes on the circle shape

 

Place another piece of bubble wrap on top and gently massage. This will help the fibres start sticking together and allow you to move it to more rigorous techniques

 

Place your circles on a sushi mat

 

And roll! I tend to count to 20, unroll, move the pieces to a different direction, re roll and start all over again. Continue this until your pieces hold together well.
Then I take the circle, find the centre , push it down into a funnel like shape, then place this back in the sushi mat and continue rolling
Continue rolling your flower until you are happy with how it has felted. I sometimes take mine to the kitchen sink which has that awesome drying area to one side. This is great for being extra rough on the felt and I can get a really nice thick felt rubbing it over this for a couple of minutes.
Then onto the flower centres. I have been making felt balls for this. I take some wool and twist it around my fingers until I have something that vaguely resembles at ball. I then use a needle felting needle to shape this into a nice neat ball
A nice neat ball shaped by needle felting it
I then take the nice ball I shaped by needle felting and wet felt it to make a nice firm ball. I simply add a little dishwashing liquid and run it under the tap (again, as hot as you can handle, don’t burn yourself!) and roll it in the palms of your hands. Channel your inner child from the days of rolling play-dough balls! Make sure you keep checking it so you don’t roll it into a funny shape!
Now you take all layers and sew them together. I find it easiest to sew one layer at a time, starting in the centre and working out.
Sewing the layers together.

I used this technique and variations of this technique to make all my flowers. You can vary how many layers you use for a different look. You can leave out the ball for the centres and just use beads instead. I went to town with the beads, stitching them around the ball in the centre.

These were made with three layers of circles. I added some sari silk to give it some texture.
And these ones have two layers of felt circles

Today I’m madly sewing stems and figuring out if I need to make any more flowers! Hopefully *cross my fingers and toes* I’ll be reporting the beginnings of my dress next week!

Until then, stay creative!