Spring is upon us & what better way to celebrate than to make some fabric art to capture the season.
This piece was created from a drawing, which I then disassembled (tracing each piece onto a scrap of paper from the recycling pile). Then, I rummaged through my BIG pile of small scraps & not so small (for the background) to find the right pieces. To stabilise all the fabric, I used scraps of interfacing, left over from masks & other projects & attached it to the backs of all the fabrics.
I love that a few scraps that most would throw in the bin, turned into this lovely little piece of art.
These two little scrappies have been a favourite in our house, since I completed them on Saturday, February 6th. I honestly didn’t expect the enthusiasm I’ve had from the kids for these two, but every day since they were made, they have checked on them to make sure they’re ok & hoped that no-one would buy them.
The one on the left is comprised of a heart shaped piece of fabric that I came across in velvet (it was given to me with some scraps a friend had) & given that it’s February, I thought that it would be perfect to finally do something about it. I had thought of adding it to a much bigger scrappie, but decided to embrace the heart as the full shape. It was an instant hit.
The little red scrappie with a heart was also popular, due to it’s size, colour & the heart on it.
They really did make the perfect valentines day gifts to my kidlets today, who were incredibly relieved that no-one had bought them from my site. I am so happy that the kids appreciate gifts that are handmade, the way that they do.
I knew that in order for me to actually take the plunge though, I would have to get rid of the wrapping paper we had. I donated much of the wrapping paper we had to the school that the kids were attending at the time, as well as gifting some to a friend who helped run a youth group & also had her own childcare. It was important for me to donate it directly to those that would use the wrapping paper etc, rather than to just randomly donate & hope for the best. I know that most of it has ended up in the rubbish, it was wrapping paper after all, but I felt better about the process.
Once the wrapping paper was donated, I had no choice but to proceed with reusable wrapping options.
The first thing I had to address, was what to do about Santa for the kids. That wasn’t really a huge problem though, we resolved it with a “bag from Santa” that the kids helped organize & then they wrote a letter to Santa, asking if he could use it, instead of wrapping paper for their gifts, as it was better for the environment. Prior to this we had a huge roll of Santa themed wrap that I used every year for their gifts (only gifts from Santa came in that wrapping). I always wondered when they might find it though, so switching over was a bit of a relief in that regard.
For everything else, I searched the web for ideas & discovered that the beautiful silk scarves I had from my grandmother, made awesome material for Fukoshiki wrapping. I cut up a Christmas themed flannel sheet, that tore so badly it had to be retired, & made some bags, sewing in some of the bits of scrap ribbon I had to be upcycled, to tie them. We still ended up using pillowcases for most of our gifts that year, but it felt good to make a start.
Even though the execution wasn’t as smooth as I envisioned, everyone loved the lack of waste & the easy clean up (fold up everything & put it away, ready for the next event). We went from a HUGE box to store all our wrapping paper & heaps of rubbish created to no rubbish & being able to fit all our wrapping options into a little pouch. It was also amazing to have everyone on board.
The next year (2020), I decided we needed to sort out some tags for gifts, so we knew who was receiving what.
I had thought of sewing some tags from scraps, but we also had some little round disks for other craft & art projects that were perfect. They could be decorated, have a hole drilled in them, some thin yarn threaded through, tied & voila you had a gift tag. The kids personalized them not only in their own art, but with names written on them too, something that would’ve been a little more challenging with hand sewn tags, not impossible though.
This year, our 3rd Christmas, I feel like we are more in the groove. We made a couple more bags & some more tags (as pictured), to add to our little collection. The tags from last year have been fun to look back on & next year, we will enjoy looking back at the last 2 years.
We use our reusable gift wrap year round, but they definitely get more of a workout at Christmas time. Our reusable wrapping materials, are a mixed collection of drawstring style bags, silk scarves & hemmed pieces of fabric. There are some Christmas themed fabrics, but we don’t have different themed wrapping that only comes out at certain times, in fact the Christmas ones have been known to be used for birthday’s. You could do themed if you wanted to, we just don’t care enough to do that.
Whilst I wish that we had started earlier, instead of getting hung up on the wrapping we had yet to use, I’m glad that we actually did it. So, if you’re on the fence like I was for years, you should just do it, you won’t regret it, I promise. 🙂
Each scrappie, I create has a story behind it. I have had a few people mention how they appreciate it when I share the stories behind my creations, so I am going to try do that more, starting with this newly adopted one.
As with all my scrappies, no design choice is random. This one was created when I had requests for pink & purple scrappie critters.
The butterfly “ears” (ribbon) relates to my connection to the Deaf community. Did you know that butterflies are deaf & are used a symbol of deafness? Whilst I am not Deaf, I have several friends that are. In fact, one of the reasons that many of my Scrappie Critters didn’t have any “ears” related to my connections to the Deaf community. Of course, I have since changed to including “ears” on many of my scrappies, with the belief that just because one has ear’s, arms or legs, does not mean that they are anything more than cosmetic & that we should not just assume that everyone has the same abilities because they look outwardly the same as ourselves.
The firefly motif relates to summer & the joy that they bring. I’m glad that I have been able to share the joy in catching & releasing fireflies with my children. There is something quite magical about a bug that has a butt that lights up, don’t you think?
This one has 2 legs, but no arms, this design choice happens often & it has to do with the fact that my arms are a frequent source of pain, due to chronic issues with subluxations etc, as a result of having EDS. My arms are often a cosmetic & yet very painful feature, so they are often a lacking feature on my scrappies. This one has legs, but don’t be fooled, it doesn’t mean they work any better.
The choice of patterned materials, for the legs, hold personal meaning too, especially the strawberries.
Strawberries are a wonderful sweet dessert, which are such a treat. I love going strawberry picking with my kids & the desserts & fresh jam that follows. My husband’s parents used to own a strawberry farm in Australia & when my mother in law passed away after a long battle with cancer, I inherited not only her sewing machine, that I still sew on, but several other items that she created with strawberries emblazoned on them. So, now when I create something with strawberries on it, I think of Caryl & the love the she showed me, in the short time I knew her for. The memories of those that we hold dear in our lives, do in fact live on.
The leg that features flowers, mostly daisies, in a hippy style, is very much a reflection of me & my the love of nature that my family & I have, something that I like to think my scrappie critters also share.
I love that each & every scrappie critter I make, is made to be uniquely imperfect, with their differences embraced & celebrated. They truly are a joy to create.
Farewell little scrappie, may you bring much joy to the little one you are destined to be with & may you both enjoy the adventures that await. 🙂
Those who know me reasonably well, or have followed me on IG (Instagram) & to a lesser amount on FB (Facebook), no doubt already know that I like to mend items. I have been doing it for years, mostly for us, but every so often I will do so for others too. I particularly enjoy mending that isn’t trying to be entirely invisible too. When you mend something, you are adding to the story that it carries. Making that story more apparent to everyone who see’s it, is actually a lot of fun. Of course with mending, often comes increased lifespan, which is really important, especially if you are trying to live in a more sustainable way, as my family is.
What follows is a mending project that came about with a simple message & an image.
A couple of weeks back I received what was described as a CRIME SCENE pic. I recall laughing as I waited for the picture to upload via FB Messenger & then let out a gasp so audible, that my youngest came over to see what I was looking at. Crime Scene pic was definitely accurate.
The toy (a treasured possession of her son’s) was a cat, called Floppy, who had, had an unfortunately incident with a family pet, ironically a dog. I didn’t want to promise anything, but I said I would have a look & see what I could do.
I mentioned that I couldn’t match the fabrics exactly, but as I had made a set of memory scrappies for their family & still had the fabric available, I could perhaps use that to mend Floppy? At which point, I was offered some baby blankets & clothes that had been kept of her son’s, to incorporate if I could, instead, which was absolutely perfect.
I lost count of the times that I took Floppy out of his little plastic bag to peruse the damage & build up the courage to mend him. A little boys treasured toy, was in my possession to fix. He had already been told that Floppy would be different, but his mum had told him that if anyone could do it, she thought that Miss Eva would be the one. So, clearly failure was not an option (hahaha). With each moment spent looking at him, confidence grew, as did a plan of action. One just had to just get over the initial shock.
I had been sent a picture of Floppy’s “brother” a rabbit, which helped greatly, because at least from that, I knew the general shape to aim for. I cut up a couple of the baby blankets given to me and set to creating a pattern. It took a bit of fiddling around, but once I felt that I had a big enough piece of fabric, I tacked it in place with some black thread & then used a quilting pen to outline where the edge of Floppy was in relation to the fabric. I would then use those markings to refer back to when the fabric was pulled out. That way I could trim the fabric a little more to create an actual pattern rather than have too much extra fabric tucked up inside. I chose black thread, because it would be easier to see, snip & remove.
Here are a couple of pictures of the tacking. I didn’t take any pictures of the piece that I inserted before it was sewn in either time, but this gives a bit of an idea of what I’m talking about.
As you can see in the pictures above, he was starting to look whole again. I carefully unpicked a section of the pattern, included a piece of fabric from a little top, cut out the shape required from the new piece to be inserted, ironed on some interfacing to give the fabric more stability (& hopefully increase lifespan) & sewed it all up by hand. This time, I did so with a matching thread colour, to the main colour of Floppy. The extra tears (from teeth) were simply sewn together with the matching thread. I didn’t cut flaps of “fur” only added fabric to Floppy where needed, to make him whole again.
I’m so happy that I was able to revive this little guy, he has a bit of extra character to him, which I really like. Mending Floppy has added to the story that he carries & I hope that his little owner loves him at least as much as he did before.
Here are few pictures of the end result. What do you think?
Recently, I was approached by Nurse J, to see if I could make her some scrub caps. We had connected last year, when I was making headbands for medical personnel & I made her a pile for CHEO to share with her colleagues. Now, with COVID patients being shipped around the province (Ontario), including adults going to CHEO, she was looking for some scrub caps to protect her hair.
I decided to incorporate the kidlets into the process, just as I did with the hundreds of headbands made last year. They researched different patterns that they could find online (I already had a pattern, but I wanted them to understand the research process), then they picked out some fabrics, which were then ironed, cut & assembled.
My oldest still boasts about how he is an expert in sewing buttons, because of all the headbands they helped with last year, and really enjoyed attaching more to these caps too. I’ve loved seeing their confidence grow with each project we do together, so really appreciated working on these with them.
Here are the scrub caps we made, what do you think?
Hopefully, the scrub caps, we’ve made, bring some joy not only to Nurse J, but to everyone who see’s them. I can’t even begin to image how hard it is at the moment, to be amongst it all.
I am a strong believer that the little things in life count & that doing things for others, brings happiness. Whilst, it would be lovely not to be re-enforcing those values in the current state of the world. It would also be remiss, not to. NOW, more than ever, I want my kids to understand the value in the little things. Every action, after all, has an equal & opposite reaction, even if they don’t notice it immediately.
In this line of thinking, as a little added surprise, the kidlets made some little lavender sachets (we confirmed Nurse J likes lavender) on their own & my youngest decorated a little bag to put it all into. A little parcel of joy 🙂
Be the change you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi
A few people have send enquires as to whether I am still making non medical grade face masks, (amongst other things), mostly I think due in part to the lack of posts for long periods, sorry about that.
I am still making them, but the posts about masks have waned as I grew a little tired of posting “another mask made”. I am well aware that not everyone wants to see masks and have a constant reminder that this has been our life for over a year now.
For those unaware, here is a little bit about the non medical grade masks that I make.
They are made with 4 layers; 2 x 100% cotton 2x non woven interfacing (also called polypropylene by some, I just call it interfacing) Note: the interfacing is between the layers of cotton
They also have; Polyester Elastic (same elastic used for disposable masks for hospitals, so softer than most) Cotton loops for the elastic to thread through Wire (with a plastic coating on it to reduce wear & tear on the mask) for over the nose
The design for the masks, is a combination of several ideas that I liked, when I was researching “best fit” overall. I realize that the style/ sizing might not work for everyone, but with various sizes available & the design features incorporated, I have had a large number of repeat customers, who are adamant that it’s the most comfortable mask they’re found. It’s a nice piece of feedback, because I played with so many design ideas, before settling on this one & I know that for us, it has been the best fit too.
Some of the design features that I think make it stand out for improved fit are; Wire over the nose – ensures less gaps Darts at the sides – snug fit at the sides Loops for elastic – more flexibility in terms of fit & ease of adjustment/ adding more once elastic wears out.
Being immunocompromised, I went with 2 layers of non-woven interfacing from the start, as a filter of sorts, because it was the safest option I could offer. I started making masks a little later than most, because of all the research I did, but it was around the time when people were cutting up furnace filters and adding all sorts of weird things into their masks to work as a filter themselves.
The non woven interfacing or polypropylene works as a filter of sorts because unlike cotton which is woven, (so therefore has gaps), a nonwoven material makes it harder for some particles to get through. Is it medical grade filtration? No, but it will give you more protection than a simple two layer (non medical grade) cotton mask does.
If you are washing in a washing machine, I suggest cold to warm wash to ensure a longer life & line dry, as opposed to popping them in the dryer. A delicates bag when washing can help to prevent the elastic from prematurely wearing out, which is good use for any mask type you might have, especially if it’s sewn in, as some mask designs have, when you would likely just toss the mask.
I supply a decent length of elastic with each, usually enough to go over the ears, but I can also supply extra if you wish to secure it around your head instead. I also generally supply a little extra in the event that something happens & you need to swap out the elastic at the last minute. Some actually prefer ties, as you can get an even tighter fit (shoelaces are actually great ties). Personally, my family all prefer over the ears, as it’s easy to flick them off & into a bag for dirty masks, to be cleaned later.
Be sure to remember to cut up all elastic when it has reached end of life, as it can still pose a risk to wildlife.
Please note: ALL my non medical grade masks, are not a failsafe & users should still exercise caution when in close proximity & practice distancing, handwashing & other precautions as well.
I mostly do masks, as custom order requests, but from time to time you will see them pop up on my site or via social media
It’s been a while since I have been asked to make a mermaid tail/ fish sleeping bag. Their popularity seems to have fizzled out the last couple of years. They were hugely popular in 2016/ 2017. They might not be as popular these days, but I still get the odd request, which is fun. They require a fair amount of fabric, but every time I make one, I get a little excited, because then I have more “scraps” for my scrappie critters. WOHOO!!!
They’re pretty fun to photograph too, they often look like a big ‘ol fish 🙂
The colour in the picture makes this one look a little pink, but this one is actually purple & blue, with a lovely soft minky lining to go with it. The small image (within the larger one, below), shows all the fabrics used, both inside & out. I make the tails so you can put your feet all the way into the very end, because it adds to the fun 🙂
This one was made nice & big to give a lot of growing space (it’s large enough for an adult) & it’s not to tight either, to allow space to move about. From what I’ve been told this tail was a huge hit last night, when it was used for the first time too.
Some people might wonder why some artisans like myself, insist on posting items tracked & insured. Most of the time things get to their destination no worries, so why the added expense? Is this just a cash grab?
Personally, I do it because you never know when things might not go to plan. In March, for the first time, I unfortunately had to address a non-delivery situation, for the first time in years.
I posted these two scrappies to Australia at the start of the month & within a few days, I received a successful delivery notification, which was extremely weird. My heart sank when I realized that they had been marked as successfully delivered to an address in Vandreuil-Dorion, Quebec, not even close to where they needed to go.
Fortunately, because I had tracking, I caught the error within a couple of hours, which allowed me to log a ticket & start the process to get them back into the mail stream ASAP. I hate to think what would have happened to them without that tracking though.
Here is a little screenshot of the journey they took, after the fact. Many of the updates only showed up several days after the dates posted, which was a little stressful, but I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have arrived at their destination without tracking & my ability to flag them as going missing.
In the end artisans like myself have no say in cost to post/ ship items with insurance & tracking. Posting with tracking & insurance protects you & myself.
I’m grateful that in this instance, I didn’t have to go down the route of making a claim & remaking the scrappies that I created, as each one is unique, so it’s near impossible to recreate them exactly, but if this hadn’t ended well, at least there would have been less than a financial burden for myself & my customers.
In the end you try to plan for the unexpected, because you never know when the tables might turn.