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Visible Mending

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.

Crime Scene Pic

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.

Floppy before mending

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.

Temp tacking- Front
Temp tacking – Back

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?

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Scrub Caps

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.

Bag with lavender sachets made by the kidlets

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 πŸ™‚

Be the change you wish to see in the world – Mahatma Gandhi

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Non Medical Grade Masks

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

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Mermaid Tails

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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.

Latest Mermaid/ Fish Tail Sleeping Bag
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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.

Tracking record

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.

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Scrappies for R & F

I love making my scrappies, always have, from the first time I was asked to make something unique & the idea was born, to now.

Not only, are the scrappies I make, an expression of myself (anything you make always holds a part of you in it, whether you realize it or not) but, I sometimes get requests for custom makes to reflect their adopted owners as well.

R approached me a little while ago to make a couple for her & her partner F. As with any custom request, I asked for a little bit of information & R responded with a lovely table of information that contained a wealth of info. I then used that list to brainstormed ideas & consulted my bins of scraps, assessing what worked together, until I settled on something I felt matched their personalities.

For F’s scrappie critter I focused on black & white colours (New Zealand pride), the colour blue (fav colour), a love of dogs (the scrap of ribbon I had was just long enough), and rainbows (representing LBGTI+ pride). The two hearts are in reference to the relationship that F & R share.

For R’s scrappie critter I focused on favourite colours (purple, teal & emerald green) and a love of nature. I really loved the flower, that I had to attach. The scrap for the face had a nice shape to it & the flower sits perfectly in that little space.

Both scrappie critters have butterfly loops for ears (or antenna) as a nod to connections to the Deaf community. Butterflies are a symbol of the Deaf community, because they’re deaf. I had enough purple ribbon for both of them, which is more of an obvious link that both scrappies share, just as R&F share an obvious connection.

Thank you to R for the privilege of making these for yourself & F, they really were a lot of fun. I love that the creation of each of these scrappies is a puzzle of sorts. My scrappie critters have a certain style to them, but they are also very unique, which adds to their charm both as the maker & to those who receive one.

If you would like me to make one (or more) of these for you, please let me know.

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I’m an Auntie

A few weeks back, I became an auntie, again. This time it was my youngest brother, who had his first child, miss M.

My other half’s brother has two kids, so this isn’t my first rodeo in terms of being an auntie, but there’s something also rather special when it’s your little brother having kids & this is his first. There are announcements online that he has made in public forums,Β one of which went viral with over 18k in likes. If you like hockey give my brother a follow too. He’s a fantastic writer & also does a weekly podcast.

My Brother is a DAD!

The great thing about being an auntie is that you can make all the stuff you wanted to make yours but, were too worn out to to do. So, little Miss M is going to be thoroughly spoilt. It’s a shame that with COVID I am unable to actually get these items to her in person, but maybe in several years time when I do finally get to see her, it will be more memorable? At any rate, I’m happy that the postal system exists.

Playmat for Miss M
Hungry Caterpillar, Flowers & Rainbows themed Playmat/ Blanket

So here’s a little sneak peak of the blanket/ playmat made. I used the Hungry Caterpillar themed cotton spotted fabric I have & some of my lovely smooth minky rainbow & flowers fabric to make this one. It’s just under 40β€³ square, so it’s a decent sized playmat/ blanket.

I had originally planned to have taggies all around this blanket, but because of it’s size & the fact that I wanted it to be multipurpose (both a colourful playmat & a blanket), I opted for a simpler design.

I look forward to seeing pictures of my little niece with it, I just have to be patient, because, for now it’s still on it’s journey over.

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After fixing a recent issue with my site & then noticing how little I post on here, I have decided it’s time for a change.

In the past I’ve tried to be fairly selective with the creativity that I share, but then there are huge droughts in posts & what fun is that? I certainly create more than I am posting, so it’s time to share more of it & honestly, I like the idea of having the ability to look back on it. If others like it cool, if not, no worries.

There will likely be a few creative posts that crop up with the kidlets too. Now, that we are on the homeschooling journey (due to COVID) there’s a fair amount of my creative time that focuses around the kidlets, so there should be a good mix of creativity beyond my typical posts that focus around fibre arts.

So, welcome to this extended journey. I hope that you enjoy the ride. I know I will πŸ™‚