Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Attic Treasure: Vintage Suitcases

Since I've been turning out my belongings and changing things in my room again, I've been having a think about my fabric storage.
At present, my fabrics live in two big plastic boxes, underneath the bed. The boxes match my room (purple) but the lids are broken (from cramming too much inside!) and...well, why use modern plastic boxes when I can use these charming vintage suitcases?

These have been in our attic, along with some others, for years. They came from the houses of various deceased relatives; one of them even has the tag on from when it was put into storage decades ago by its previous owner.

Being so old - and well-used - these cases are pretty battered and in a bit of a sorry state in places.

I'm torn between preserving the original interior and using drawer-liners to cover the bottom of the case, or gluing in some new fabric. The bottom of this case is the worst; the fabric has worn/rotted away! (Admittedly, some of it disintegrated when I wiped the case out...oops...)

All of these cases came out of the attic with things in, which I have since relocated to clean, secure plastic boxes. Old photographs, bibles, certificates--the amount of family history within these cases is amazing; I just wish I knew who all the people in the photographs were!

The three cases I liberated from the confines of the attic were mucky (not from our attic, I might add!)  and very worn around the edges, but that just adds to their charm.

I've wiped all of these out and they're currently sitting open in my room to air a bit. At the moment they have that musty attic smell to them, which I don't want getting onto my fabrics!

Despite their flaws, I think these cases are fabulous!

...well, they are British ;)
(Patriotic, moi?)

What would you do with the interior of these cases? Recover with new fabric? Leave as it is? Decoupage? Something else...?

Monday, 30 January 2012

Valentine's Day Craft Recap

Yet again v-day is creeping up on us! I don't have that special someone to send a card to or craft a gift for, but I still like to craft things that are 'Valentine-y'!

This year I've yet to make anything that falls into this category, but here's a recap of my favourites from last year's Valentine season. Back then I didn't have a clue about things like link parties and so on, so they kind of got lost in the internet undergrowth :)

First off, here's a little necklace I made. It was slightly fiddly to make, but turned out well (and even better considering it was made entirely of things I had to hand!)

Let's move on to something small and easy-peasy:

One of my absolute favourites! I've had the beads since I was a child so it was nice to finally find a good use for them!

This was pretty fiddly to put together, but turned out pretty well, I think!
If I make another one, I'd probably make the loops tighter.

Messy Metal Wire Heart
My absolute fave of all my hanging hearts! (Check the valentine's tag to see all of them!)
Making this took a while and it got to the point where bending it was difficult, but it's cute and unusual, and the messy style is very definitely me :)

Little hanging hearts aside, of course there's lots of other V-day crafts out there! I went a bit mad with heart-related crafting last year, as you can see...

Button Badge Heart Picture
This took ages! ...and I took it apart again a few days afterwards. Haha.

Ruffled Heart Wreath
Despite my rather slap-dash approach to making this, it turned out pretty well! Unlike the button badge picture above, it's still in one piece.

I'm still struggling to regain my crafting mojo, but here's hoping I'll come up with something new to share here soon! 

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Naughty Notions Challenge: Finished Clutch!

After struggling with lack of 'crafting mojo', fighting several times with a sewing machine, and lots of cursing (silently at least!) I finally got my clutch bag finished for the Naughty Notions Challenge! Phew!

Zip-a-dee Do-dah...

Since the whole point of this challenge was to use notions, the look of my clutch bag was easily decided for me: zips! Zips everywhere!
Even after sewing this, I still have a while bunch of zips (though my stash has gone down noticeably now!)
I had so many because my Nanny got them from a friend who used to sew.

The zips obviously came from a thrifty person since most of them were used :) It's a feature I love, because it adds personality! I did have to spend ages picking little bits of cotton from them all, but that's fine, they were free!

This bag cost nothing to make. Everything was to hand, either given to me or already in my stash! Here's my middle sister modelling it:

This was my first ever attempt at sewing a bag with a hinge frame. I used the tutorial over at Bag'n-telle for drafting the pattern and for guidance on construction. Those frames are tricksy!

Decided to keep the back of the bag free of extra decoration! I had to trim off some of the zip so that I could slide the top of the bag into the frame (and also so I could sew together the outer and lining sides without breaking anything!)

All the zips were sewn onto a scrap of denim, using cotton from my vintage sewing box since so much of it was the right colour. Hooray!

Although this clutch is pretty small, it's just the right size for a phone, small purse, cards and keys.

Probably space for a couple of lipsticks, too ;)

Here's a shot of the lining fabric! It was a scrap left over from my pillowcase shopper. I love this fabric, and still have one more pillowcase left to craft from!

Somewhen I might post a brief how-to on this bag, though I forgot to take pictures at some stages in the sewing process. *sweatdrop*

Can't wait to see what other people have come up with for this challenge! Some people have already posted their finished clutch--so far what I've seen is amazing.

Edit: Voting is now up! View all entries and vote for your favourite over at Ricochet and Away!

Edit to add: My clutch won the silver! Yay! Congratulations to the other winners--check them out at sew la vie

Linking up here (or check the bottom of the page!) and:
These Peas Taste Funny

These Peas Taste Funny  

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Craftily Inept

Despite saying in my previous post that I'm back to blogland, I've been pretty quiet on the blogging front lately (and haven't even been joining linky parties!)

I'm in a bit of a crafting funk, with few ideas and when it's come to crafting...stuff like this happens:

This was a new needle.
I've been trying to make a little clutch for the Naughty Notions Challenge. In just one day, I cut fabric wrong twice and broke three sewing machine needles.
Bad luck, right?

So I left it for a few days, got on with some other things, and forgot about doing anything more on the clutch until today...I found my lining is too big. Then I had to unpick it twice.

Needless to say, I've put that little project aside again!

But I will try and get some more things posted soon. I just need to find my motivation first!

Friday, 6 January 2012

Giant Curtain Tassel

Happy New Year everyone! I've been a bit MIA over the past few weeks, but I'm back now!

One of the crafts I wanted to do for the Pinterest Challenge was make a big tasselled curtain tieback, inspired by the giant tassels I saw on The Autocrat!
Back then I didn’t have the time or materials to make one.

Until now:

And here’s the awesome tassel that I pinned:

Isn’t it fantastic?! I love the creativity in this; all the extra touches like the beads and luxurious mix of patterns and colours really make it special!

As for me, I had to work with what I had lying around...

It took me a while to work out how I was going to make mine. Hayley at The Autocrat wrote that the giant tassels had a water bottle in the centre, but also linked to a Hobby Lobby how-to.
I looked at Hobby Lobby’s instructions and decided their way wasn’t entirely for me (I didn’t have half of what they said I needed) so I went the water bottle route, too, and muddled along until I got the result I was after!

Basically, I used the top part of a 500ml water bottle:

To make an inner row on the tassel, I cut out the middle of the bottle and made a slit up the middle.

I then stapled it at a slight angle before hot gluing on the strips of ribbon.

After that I hot glued this inside piece to the inside of the first section of bottle.

Note: Plastic bottles don’t like hot glue! I did have some trouble with warping when I glue things together!

The rest of the bottle was made mainly in the way Hobby Lobby explained, but with the plastic bottle instead of the polystyrene ball.

For a final touch, I decided to put more lengths of fabric in the centre. I cut some length of purple cord and tied them to a large D ring.

I then popped the tassels and D ring through the centre of the tassel, from the top, and looped some cord through.

Instead of using a tassel topper I used a metal thing that I found in a box of junk. I threaded the cord through the centre top to bottom and then again bottom to top, to make two loops on the top of the tassel. I tied the ends around the D ring underneath before gluing the metal part down.

My curtain has needed a tie back for 9-10 years. Oops?!
I only made one tassel (rather than a pair) since the curtain on the opposite side of the room goes behind a shelf when I draw it back!

This tassel cost me nothing—everything I used was to hand. The plastic bottle was waiting to be recycled, the ribbons came from my Nanny, the purple cord used to be a skirt and everything else was either left over from old projects or lying around the house! Hurrah for free stuff!

Linking up at the parties in the sidebar!
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