Schnauzer dog
blogging, craft

Making a Råtta Dog Toy

Some of you may know that we have a new puppy in our house and like all new puppies they are a bit of work, but bring lots of joy and happiness. And must be amused!

The new puppy is not directly mine, but my daughter’s. Due to the pandemic, we are frequently required to help out training, feeding and puppysitting. Which is no problem at all.

We all know puppies like to chew and this little puppy is highly animated, energetic and intelligent so she needs lots of stimulation.

Being a schnauzer, she likes the stuffed rat toys in IKEA’s range of toys.

Maybe it could be because that was their original purpose – i.e. as ratters on German farms. Whatever the reason, Schnauzers develop an affinity towards toy rats!

To this end we went to purchase an IKEA ‘Råtter,’ to keep the pup amused, but Ikea had no stock! The råtters are too popular!

No problem, I thought.

I can make something similar. Dogs aren’t too fussy about what kind, shape or colour their stuffed chew toys are? Surely?

My homemade solution included finding scrap fabric for the rat’s body,felt fro the dubious looking feet, wool for the eyes and whiskers, a string handle from a cardboard merchandise bag for a tail, (I think it came from Ella bache cosmetic purchase), and 5 to 10 minutes on the sewing machine.

It ain’t pretty but it is functional.

This is the result of the Råtta experiment:

Instead of being a furry rat, my home made version looks like a mutant platypus but what does it matter?

The puppy really likes it. Humans attach meaning to stuffed shapes, so as long as it keeps the pup away from chewing my socks, toes, shoes, furniture etc. Then all is good.

Butter would not melt in its mouth.

Environment

DIY Recycled Fashion Skirt

Reducing Landfill Waste

In my bid to make this a sustainable living year, I decided to re-purpose an old item of clothing and up-cycle it to a new piece. This helps reduce landfill and provides a new item of clothing to wear and enjoy.

With a small piece of elastic, a skirt like this can be made in less than half an hour!

I took an old wrap around skirt, now completely out of fashion, and an infant girl’s dress, and up-cycled them to make a fashionable one size fits all skirt for the modern young girl. Suitable for ages 8 to 20 something, I think.



What you need:

A large rectangle of remnant fabric or older piece of clothing large enough to re-model into a skirt of the length you desire

20 mm wide knitted black elastic

Sewing machine and matching thread

What you do:

  1. Take a measurement from your waist downwards to where you want the hem of the skirt to sit and add 2 inches or 5 cm to this measurement (for a hem and seam allowance).
  2. Ensure the piece is at least 1.5 times the width you want the final skirt to be (this allows for gathering), and cut.
Cut a long rectangle of fabric to the desired width and length.

I like to be different and a little bit lazy, when it comes to sewing, so I chose to use the old wrap around skirt for the fabric piece. This lent itself to cutting into one long piece. I thought great- there would be less hems to come apart later. In my case, the length was 1.8m long. Therefore, if cutting two pieces they would become a front and back piece, each at 90 cm wide plus seam allowances.

3. Sew the side seams wrong side out, press and turn right way out.

4. Hold the 20 mm wide piece of black elastic around your waist to get an idea of how tight or slack you want the waistband to be. Add 1 ” or 2.5 cm to this measurement and cut to length.

5. Join and sew the ends of the elastic with a solid stitch. I overlapped them as I wanted less bulk at the side of the skirt where the join would sit.

I also used a second fabric, a former child’s dress to make another one of these skirts.

6. Using a long stitch length, run around the top of the main skirt fabric. Then pull the ends to gather it in to your desired width.

4. Divide this edge of the waistline, into quarters and mark with pins. Pin between marker pins adjusting the tension and gathering evenly.

5. Do the same with the joined piece of elastic. Then match corresponding pins to each other, so that the bottom edge of the elastic is pinned to the right side at the skirt top.

6. Sew using a strong triple stitch around the bottom of the elastic where it was pinned to the skirt edge.

*Make sure the elastic is sewn to the right side, otherwise the elastic will try to flip over and not sit flat when wearing it. See below.

7. Sew the hem if you haven’t done that already.

8. Voila… skirt in less than 20 mins….

The Prototype is revealed.

sewing

Cost: Electricity for the machine, 20 minutes of my time, 80 australian cents for the new elastic…

Benefit: Fashionable skirt that will fit a primary student/teen/twenty something…

Satisfaction: Clearing some fabric from my scrap basket!!

I then began to wonder what other kinds of potential upcyclable clothes may lay hidden in my bundle of unwanted clothes. Either that or I will be making a whole lot of Dog bandanas!

That gives me something to ponder about…

More recycling ideas on using scrap materials

stpa logo
Green Bag
Community

Upcycle Tutorial – Environmental Bags

Say No to plastic! That is our new mantra, right?

When we think Green bags, what comes to mind? Those ugly, bland ones in garish colours, with some corporate log stamped all over it, offering fresh promotions to someone other than you. They might be practical, but more often, ugly. Or they get dirty and you can’t erase the marks, no matter what detergent you use.

Furthermore, I am inclined to prefer to drink my own ‘home-grown’, filtered water, rather than tap water, at my workplace, and thus, carry several drinking flasks to work, which becomes unwieldy in a regular handbag. My local, liquor store carry-bags have several interior compartments that are just perfect for holding bottles of wine, or, in my case, stainless steel drink flasks. Normally I carry 2-3 of these water flasks, which clank around noisily as I walk, and get dented or scratched in a normal tote bag.

However, carrying Liquor store carry bags into work each day, gives out the wrong message to my colleagues. “Look at her: she just can’t keep out of the Liquor store!!” I could almost hear it whispered about in the corridors of my workplace, each day. There had to be a better approach, I thought.

I have already shown you how to create a new shopping bag out of old clothes and fabric scraps here in this tutorial, but another solution to going plastic free and reducing plastic waste is to “Upcycle” the ‘green’ bags, by adding a pretty fabric cover which is machine washable. This gives me the chance to use some pretty fabric from my stash and get a stylish tote bag in the process. Here is how I did it:

Step 1

Grab some iron-on batting or interfacing, and a piece of pretty fabric (slightly larger than the bag’s measurements) or two, that is if you want to add a pocket on the outside to hold keys, phone etc etc.

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Step 2

Try out a few combinations until you are happy with the contrast of fabrics and colour schemes. Keep in mind they should complement the colour of the green bag itself.

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Step 3

Cut a piece of interfacing the dimensions of the bag. Now cut the fabric to fit the bag not forgetting to add a 1/4 inch hem allowance on all sides. I find it works better if I iron the hem allowance under, before I sew it. Tacking also helps keep the fabric in place. It will be impossible to sew the complete four sides of the bag, with the machine, as the bag is already assembled. So some hand sewing will be required in those places that your sewing machine foot cannot reach.

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Step 4

If you are attaching a pocket, cut, trim and hem before you sew the fabric to the front and or back of the bag. Iron on the interfacing etc…. you already know how to do this….

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Sewing in progress.

Tip: Use a strong/thick needle for sewing this bag. They make them tough and that will break a #80/90 gauge sewing needle.

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Step 5

Repeat on the back side of the bag. As I said, use a strong/thick needle for sewing this bag. They make them tough and it will break a #80/90 gauge sewing needle.

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Step 6 (optional)

The pocket looked  a bit plain, so I added a heart motif applique, for contrast.

That’s it…. all done, and I do like to take this everywhere now. Holding my lunch and water allowance for each and every work day. The bag fits in at the workplace in a way the Liquor shop carry- bag did not!!!

I hope this gives you some ideas to ponder about.

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designing bags red work
Community

Kicking out Plastic – Tutorial Signature Shopping Bag

embroidery hack
Design penned onto calico shopping bag

I really hate using plastic bags and avoid them at all costs. As supermarkets here are phasing out single use plastic bags, there is even more need for consumers to have their own environmentally friendly and sustainable shopping bags.

And it is not just reusable bags for groceries. Even when buying a new outfit, I will carry a clean cotton bag for my purchases inside my regular handbag, rather than use a plastic variety that is not only bad for the planet, but also advertises companies who make absolutely no effort to take care of the future of the environment and wildlife. Why would I want to promote them?

In less than ten minutes, you can create an individual environmentally friendly solution. A solution, so easy, that even the children can get involved and create their own reusable, plastic free shopping bag.

Back in 2012, I began making a variety of D.I.Y, “plastic free” bags: in Redwork embroidery, painted Norwegian Telemark and floral designs, and also with a pen and painting technique.

Here are a few samples from my existing bag stash.

But I needed more bags to have on hand, and as plain calico is rather plain, and ‘Redwork’ embroidery makes such a pretty and easy adornment. My initial plan was to embroider some designs on the new calico bags, in redwork technique, with a needle and thread. However, I am not the world’s neatest hand sewer ( far from it, really), and embroidery takes me for-EVER to complete, as I have an aversion to sewing, itself!

Solution: Enter the Evanscraft craft and cross stitch pen…. a permanent, acid free pen in a Barn red colour, that can simulate cross stitch or other types of embroidery. Wonderful! With this technique, you can create a pretty cottage garden or folk art design on fabric, (or even wood), and the result is something unique, and useful, created in a matter of minutes.

More time for plastic free shopping!!

It just might inspire others to take up plastic free shopping as well.

flower pattern

You will need:

  • A Calico or Cotton bag in a light colour from your local haberdashery store, ironed flat.
  • A pattern such as the one above, which you can trace over in thick black pen. NB. If you aren’t feeling particularly inspired to draw your own design, you can find plenty of free ‘Redwork’ or other embroidery patterns, (there are some here on Pinterest); in colouring books or even on google image search, itself.
  • A permanent pen, preferably in barn red or a dark red colour, but any colour will do, as long as it doesn’t bleed or run when you wash the bag. I used an Evanscraft Craft and Cross Stitch pen but please patch test the pen of your choosing, on a hidden corner, to check its colour fastness and suitability.

Instructions:

  1. Tape the design on a glass window to create an impromptu light box and trace your selected pattern in thick black pen.
  2. Tape the traced design on top of a piece of cardboard and slip both inside the bag, centering horizontally. The calico is fairly thin so it is easy to see the traced design through the bag. Mounting the design on the cardboard prevents any bleeding of the penned design, through to the rear side of the bag.
  3. Then it is just a matter of re-tracing over the pattern with the chosen pen, and adding a few embellishments of your own, within and around the design.
  4. A final press of the bag, with the iron seals the design and you are ready to shop!

Tip: A ruler may be used to keep long lines straight, or you may prefer to keep them loose and rustic, as I did in the border design. Use the ruler turned upside down to prevent smudging on to the bag.

A major complaint of those who continue to use plastic bags, is that they forget to bring the re-usable bags, along with them, when they shop.

I purchased the plain cotton shopping bags from Lincraft for a dollar each. Not only are they strong, bu they can be scrunched up to a really small size, for carrying inside my handbag, (see in photo to the right above).

In this way they are always on hand, for my use just when I need them.

No more forgetting the bags!!

What design would you choose?

Something environmentally friendly and creative to ponder About.

Community

Stitching Problems – Trouble shooting common problems

I am often called upon to make a soft splint in my job and thus have to engage the services of a sewing machine, something that I have developed an intense Love- hate relationship with!!

It constantly surprises me that young girls do not know how to use or operate a sewing machine! There are many instructions guide out there but most problems in using the machine fall in to the following categories, and thus I am sharing these with any beginner sewers out there.Blog pics 006

 

Looping stitches on underside of fabric

  • Incorrect threading can cause this
  • Upper tension too light

*The presser foot is not positioned correctly or laid down before sewing

  • Wrong needle size or thread type for fabric sewn

Bobbin under thread breaks

  • Lower tension too tight?
  • Bobbin has been unevenly wound ( vary the machine speed when winding bobbin)

  • The bobbin has been over wound and is too full

  • Puckered Fabric

    • Both upper and lower tension is probably too tight
  • Presser foot is not resting fully on the fabric

  • Fabric is being pulled through the machine

  • Machine is threaded incorrectly

  • Thread has been wound on bobbin unevenly

  • Wrong needle size or type

  • Machine not feeding properly

    • Reverse is engaged (believe me, it CAN happen)
  • The feed dog may be lowered

  • Insufficient pressure on the presser foot

  • Guide fabric through until machine feed dog can grip fabric securely

  • Incorrect threading of machine

  • Incorrect threading of bobbin – usually threaded clockwise

  • Common sewing problems are something I ponder about

     

     

     

    Community

    DIY Bathing Towel Apron

    Fantastic idea for Mums of little ones. And a wonderful recycling/upcycling idea as well!

    Diary of a Mad Crafter

    I saw this idea on Pinterest (of course!) and thought what an awesome idea! When pulling babies and kids out of the bath, you can just cuddle with them and dry them off at the same time! I took a good look at the pic, and figured out how to make it. It’s super simple, and a GREAT baby shower gift!

    I used a towel I had from home. We have collected way too many towels in this house and no room for them, so I figured I’d give one a good use other than sitting in the closet. I loved this print with the light blue (which was actually a pillow case–same thing, we collect this stuff without realizing, I tell ya)! You can either purchase 1 or 2 yards of the cotton fabric for this project (I’ll explain in the second step).towelapron1

    The top part of my apron…

    View original post 238 more words

    Community

    New Needle Book for Me – thanks to Very Berry Handmade

    VeryBerryHandmade  has a great tutorial on making a new needle book. 2013-07-01 12.56.54

    And I really need to make a dent in my voluminous remnant collection. This equals a marriage made in heaven. Destiny. Except for one thing and that is my less than average sewing skills.

     

    Needle book, sewing, crafts

     

     

     

     

     

    Nevertheless it was fun matching and using up scraps. And finding my needles is an easy job now, something I won’t spend much time pondering on….

    Thanks so much VeryBerryHandmade

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Community

    Up- cycling DIY Tutorial From Tired Placemat to Pretty Tea Cosy

    What can you do with an old fabric place mat, that feels too good to throw away?

    Use the extra thermal padding and pretty fabric as a Teapot Cosy!

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    15 minute up-cycling project, that will leave you with endless cups of hot tea,( or as much as your teapot holds) and you will be helping the planet. Waste less, enjoy more!

    In all seriousness,  this only took me 15 minutes to complete. And I am not on friendly terms with my sewing machine, so it may even take less time for experienced crafters!

    Tutorial: Up- cycling project. Place-mat to Tea Cosy

    You will need:

    –   1 fabric place-mat, of a standard size, table setting.

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    Mine was 44cm x 30cm.

    –   Complementary ribbon or bias binding for edging of cut side and loop.

    (Simply double the width of the placemat and add extra for tucking under at start and finish)

    I needed 0.75 metre.

    – Sewing machine with complementary coloured thread.

    Instructions

    1. Measure place-mat and mark half way  along its lengths on both sides.

    2. Cut carefully in half.

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    3. Pin a short length of ribbon to form a loop mid-way along the wrong side,  of what will be the top edge, of the tea cosy and secure with sewing.

    This is useful for removing the tea- cosy to pour the tea, or hanging up to air or dry!

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    4. Fold over the ribbon 0.5 cm at the start and pin bias binding or ribbon along cut edge.

        Sew to secure. As I used a ribbon, a zigzag stitch was best;

       But you could use a triple stitch or anything to secure the edge to stop it from fraying. Tuck in another little piece of ribbon at the end of each side.

    ( I didn’t really need to tell anyone that, did I?)

    5.  Finally pin the place-mat, along the edges, wrong sides together.

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     6.  Sew along the three outer sides of the two halves of the place-mat.

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    Now you are ready for a hot cup of tea, or two or three. And the padding on the reverse side of the mat, means your cuppa stays HOT!

    I really wish I had this makeshift teapot cosy, on hand when my kids were little, as I was forever drinking cold or lukewarm cups of tea.

    I hope that you can recycle some of your pretty place-mats in a similar way. Do you have any lurking in the rag box? Something to ponder about today.

    Check out Natasha’s Linky party too for more craft inspiration.

    Poofy Cheeks

    Community

    Upcycling using Fabric Scraps – DIY Scrap floor mat/ rag rug

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    We all have a collection remnant fabric scraps, don’t we, but who saves the small off-cuts? They are useless, right? WRONG….

    There are a number of useful ways to create something quite unique, out of very small fabric scraps, and one way is to make a durable floor mat/rug that is soft on our feet. Perfect for the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, it is time to think of keeping our toes warm, now that winter is approaching. Rag mats first originated  in the depression years, when every single item had to be used and re-used. Whilst there is no need for us to be so frugal today, why throw away something that could be turned into a functional and pretty item? It is free and uses no pre-purchased materials, apart from a small piece of hessian, which most crafters would have sitting in their stash, anyways.

    In years gone by, many families purchased their potatoes, flour, sugar or salt  in hessian bags, and once the contents were eaten, gave the sacks second lives, around the home.

    You will need:

    1 piece of hessian or burlap, cut and hemmed to the size of the mat you desire. The hemming will stop the hessian from fraying.

     A selection of fabric scraps, cut into strips -1cm w x 12 cm long and upwards.

    You don’t have to be especially neat with this, but I do prefer to use pinking shears to cut a zig zag edge, otherwise the  scraps do tend to fray.

     

    Now you are ready…. this technique does take some time, so be patient, or do this whilst watching TV, a little each night.

    Using an old crochet hook, or knitting needle, lay a fabric strip on the hessian and push one end of the cut strip through to the other side of the hessian.

     

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    Do the same on the underside, so that there are two ends showing through on the right side of the hessian mat.

     

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    Tie a simple “criss cross and under” overhand knot. No need to double the knot.

     

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    Repeat with more and more fabric strips.

    Continue in this fashion until the mat is covered to the desired thickness and fullness with fabric off-cuts.

    If you have a limited amount of one colour of fabric, I like to distribute it evenly over the mat, rather than finishing with a conglomeration of colour, on one end.

    Then I just fill in all the gaps…..

      Until, one day… hey presto>>>>

     

     

    A cosy, environmentally friendly rug to keep your bare feet warm when the weather cools that has cost you nothing but time.

    The under side of your hessian mat should look something like this:

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    Once complete, the mat would be washed in very hot water to make the hessian skrink, and the holes in the base fabric contract, thereby locking the fabric strips/scraps into the hessian. If you use this method, you probably don’t have to knot the ends of each fabric strip together.

     

    How many scraps make a rug? Definitely something I will NOT ponder about today.

     

    Community

    Recycle an Ikea Cushion

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    A quick up-cycling project

    One old Ikea cushion was getting a bit tatty and needed some TLC and renovation. Using some pretty quiliting fabric and co-ordinating remnant, I made 2 smaller cushions that look new and trendy!

    Blog pics 028I only had to add some extra stuffing. and Voila….

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    The larger one I take in the car as a lumbar support.

    The smaller one,  measuring around  30 x 15 cm so is nice for my daughter to snuggle up with, at night, as she is past the point where having a teddy in bed with you, is cool.

    Do you have some remnants and an old cushion that could do with a facelift. In less than the time it takes to ponder this question, you could have a few extra cushions to co-ordinate the home furnishings.

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    craft

    Scrap bags – You can never have enough Bags.

    I have an urge to do more recycling. I have a fabric wasteland. Read: my fabric stash, and I do not even claim to be a sewer (as in sew-er person, not the drain!), of any repute, yet I seem to have amassed a lot of fabric. So time to put it to functional use. Shopping and tote bags… here they come:-

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    This is the first truly recycled bag that I made. The front and back and handle are from Recycled girls pyjamas, the border around the top is from a child’s dress, the applique is from an old teatowel, and the lining, well from my pile of unwanted stash fabrics, so the lining was really the only new-ish part. I kind of like the way this turned out. Even reused some lining that was in my cupboard.

    These two bags are from scraps of curtain fabric, (obtained from Ikea) Pattern: courtesy of tinyhappy bags.


    I incorporated a loop for attaching keys and the like and somewhere to stash your mobile phone or other important things.

    Then the piece d’ resistance, is the large tote bag and the handy bag. This is designed on a plastic shopping bag: yes they have to be good for something!

    Then it folds up into a tidy little pouch that sits in the bottom of one’s larger handbag and weighs next to nothing.
    Then it open up like this:


    Then there was the T- shirt bags… my daughter liked this one as it was all kind of stretchy, and you could stuff a big jumper into it, or just a few odd shaped things.

    The Christmas version

    Finally, you can decorate one of the indestructible synthetic bags with some art, draw or paint on a design of your choice.

    Now that will give you something to ponder about…..