>> Monday, April 25, 2016

Well I keep meaning to visit my blog and do some more posting sometime but I guess Instagram has captured my heart! There's such a great creative community there. Lately I'm all about the dollmaking, and I have a group of dollmaker friends that post every day on Instagram and inspire me so much. I hope you'll visit me @tinyhandmadedolls. If you prefer Facebook, I've started a page that's also called TinyHandmadeDolls and I do send most of my posts there too. I have a mailing list now too for the dollmaking at, also TinyHandmadeDolls. I haven't sent any messages out yet, so you certainly won't get a bunch of emails cluttering up your account!


Tiny Handmade Dolls

>> Thursday, November 26, 2015

Lately I've been all about doll making, it really seems to be the perfect fit for using all my favourite crafty skills. I've loved sewing dolls since childhood, but after re-connecting with the crafty community via Instagram I've been inspired to revisit a perennial favourite. Doll making has even allowed me to use my entire stash of craft supplies, assembled from years of collecting beautiful buttons, ribbons and trim, yarn, fabrics, wool felt and embroidery threads. Hoarding justified!

I've started putting some dolls in my Etsy shop, but most of them will be on offer at City of Craft. I was so happy to be picked for City of Craft 2015, it's my favourite show, and I'm always thrilled to be a part of it, it feels like such a privilege to be included with so much local talent. Can't wait to see you all there!



>> Saturday, August 01, 2015

Vintage sewing table makeover
So as you know I haven't been posting as often lately, and I have missed it. From time to time people mention they miss my posts at craft shows and I'm always very appreciative that people are interested in what I'm up to when there's just so much out there these days.
Mini deer - pattern from Tilda's Fairytale Wonderland by Tone Finnanger  
So lately I've been posting on Instagram as "needlebook" and I'm really enjoying it. This post is a peek at what I've been posting there. I find it makes a journal of my projects and gives me a sense of what I've accomplished which I really like.
"Cradle Me" blanket - on Ravelry
I always have a giant "to do" list of craft and decor-type projects and knowing I'm going to post it once it's done also motivates me to stop leaving projects half-finished. I really thought that blanket (above) was never going to get done...
Clover Make Up bag - pattern by Michelle Patterns
I also find it's easier to keep up with what everyone else is up to as well, and it's very inspiring to see what people are up to. So many new craft projects are on my list now!
Did you miss Francis?
If you're not into Instagram, I do post most of the same pics on Flickr, and I'm certainly not saying good-bye to my blog or anything like that. Anyway, back to that list...


Glitter houses: part one

>> Friday, December 12, 2014

I've been working on another craft project I've wanted to do for years, some vintage style glitter houses. I found a very charming 1968 pattern that is available at Little Glitter Houses. Just scroll to the bottom of the page if you're interested in the pattern which is from a vintage magazine. Instead of drafting the pattern to size it up, I printed the patterns at the actual size to make miniature houses. I've painted them and the next step is to add some glitter.

I'll post the results soon, but in the meantime I just wanted to mention that City of Craft is this weekend! I'm not a vendor but I can't wait to be an admiring shopper.


Crafternoon Tea - pincushions!

>> Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Finally finished a nice batch of crocheted pincushions, with fabric tops and felt flower and leaf embellishments. This time around I dipped into my stash of barkcloth fabric to make the tops and I love how they look!
I've also added some colourful pins to each one, and finally tried out the Wee Wonderful shrinky dink pin tutorial. As you will see this tutorial dates back to 2005 but I've wanted to make them ever since then and this seemed like a good opportunity. Does anyone else have a lengthy craft idea "to do" list that will probably never get finished? It's a great way to get inspired if your craft projects are feeling a little lacklustre.
I couldn't find shrinky dink supplies in Toronto, so ended up with the equivalent, some shrink film from Deserres. It worked out really well, the pins look sort of thin and pathetic but once you shrink them the designs look sharper, the plastic is thicker and they end up very tiny and cute! I've had fun making a bunch of these, mostly just simple fruit and flowers, but a few animals and little anchors for the pincushions with nautical colours.
So each OOAK pincushion will come with cute pins, and makes a sweet present for the sewer on your holiday shopping list!


Crafternoon Tea

>> Tuesday, November 25, 2014

So for this year, my one and only craft show will be Crafternoon Tea on Saturday December 6th 11-4pm. For those who haven't been to this craft show before, it's a chance to find a lovely mix of handmade local wares, combined with an afternoon tea service with a delicious selection of sandwiches and cakes. The show is in Leslieville, here are the details:

Crafternoon Tea
Saturday December 6th
Queen Street East Presb. Church
947 Queen East (S. E. corner of Queen E. & Carlaw)
Toronto, Ontario

I'm busy today working on some cute pincushions so I'll try to post more pics before the show.
I'll have wristlets, needle books, pincushions and various small items such as embroidered brooches, pouches, and the miniature books pictured above.
I hope you can visit!


Spoonflower sewing notions prints

>> Thursday, June 26, 2014

I happened to notice, a bit last minute, that the current Spoonflower contest has a sewing notions theme so of course I wanted to try it out. This is one of those contests where you need to create four fabric designs in a coordinated set. Denyse Schmidt will be one of the judges once the voters pick the top ten, so I felt inspired by one of my favourite fabric (and quilt of course) designers ever!

I ended up creating a coordinates set that has all the usual suspects - the stripe is made from lace:

Lace stripe
Some spools of thread create a check pattern:
Checkered thread
The pins look like polka dots to me:
Polka dot pins
And lastly the floral includes a little vintage toy sewing machine:
It can be a bit hard to see the details in the preview for the contest voting so I did scale the prints up a bit for the coordinates yard to make them more visible. I also created all the fabrics as separate prints in a medium scale. I've ordered samples so once those arrive I can make the fabrics available on Spoonflower.

Can't wait to see what everyone creates this time around! Have a look (and vote!) here.


Winter knitting - Kirju mittens

>> Friday, December 20, 2013

Lately I've been knitting constantly and finding it makes me very happy. I wanted to show off my latest project, these pretty mittens! I love this pattern, it's called Kirju by Viki Wallner. It was just what I was looking for, a fingering weight yarn pattern that creates enough texture so the mittens are nice and warm.
I also have a bad habit of buying (and spinning) variegated yarn then having no idea what to knit with it that I'd actually want to wear. The texture in the stitch really shows off the little bits of colour in this hand-dyed Rhichard Devrieze Peppino (from Purple Purl in Toronto). This was an impulse buy, but worked out perfectly for one pair of mittens with a tiny bit of yarn leftover. 
You can see my notes on Ravelry, and while you're at it, become my Ravelry friend! For years people would ask me if I'm on Ravelry but I wasn't using it very much. But now every time I'm going to knit a pattern I go to Ravelry to see how it looks on other people, what their notes/tips were and even how it might look in my particular yarn. So helpful!

I finished knitting these mittens a few days ago and then lost them on their second day out. I was so disappointed, looked for them at home and knew they were at work, then looked for them at work and was certain they must be at home. Anyway, I finally asked at the staff entrance at the ROM where I was working in-house and the security guard said, "why didn't you just ask?" and handed them right back to me. They were even sitting on a shelf behind him in plain view! So happy to have them back.


Homemaker magazine spot!

>> Thursday, December 19, 2013

So happy to find out this week that one of my Spoonflower fabric designs was featured in the UK magazine Homemaker! They used twelve Spoonflower designs to create a calendar, and my "Snowy Feathers" print is January. More details on the magazine spot here on the Spoonflower blog. I don't have a copy of the magazine, but they asked for my portrait so I guess I'm in it somewhere. The day they asked I was rushing through a deadline so the portrait is just a selfi in the backyard!

Incidentally, did you know that if you like a design, you can also choose to buy it in wrapping paper or wallpaper? I haven't tried it yet myself, but I think it's a great idea.


City of Craft

>> Thursday, December 12, 2013

Artwork by Selena Wong
This year was busy, and with some hard times, and I didn't manage to apply for City of Craft. I've been there every year since the beginning so this doesn't feel right to me but I'm really looking forward to visiting and being able to just wander around and take it all in. Every year I'm amazed at how much talent there is out there and I find the show so inspiring. I also take home treasures that I still love years later. These are things that have the charm, beauty and quality of being hand-made by dedicated artists that give meaning to the term "labour of love".

Please go and treat yourself and your loved ones to the very best!

City of Craft 2013
December 14 & 15, 2013
Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm
Sunday 11:00am-5:00pm
$2 Admission
Children under 12 FREE
The Theatre Centre
1087 & 1093 Queen Street West


Toadstool cottage 2014 tea towel calendar

>> Thursday, November 07, 2013

Just finished updating my Spoonflower 2014 tea towel calendar. It's a nice idea, you can buy a fat quarter to get a single tea towel in linen cotton canvas, or a yard gives you four. I decided to go with the same theme as my previous calendar, and then decided to update that one as well for 2014.


Illustration Friday - robot

>> Thursday, July 25, 2013

I haven't posted in ages, but I've been doing a lot of illustration and thought I'd do an Illustration Friday - last minute! The topic for this one was "robot" and the challenge I gave myself was to try to create something where you could imagine a story to go along with it.


Winter City of Craft

>> Friday, November 30, 2012

I've been on the waiting list but was thrilled to find out I'm accepted to City of Craft! I haven't had much time lately to share my craft projects, but for now here's a sneak peek at the new pincushions I'll be bringing with me. This weekend I'll be making some pompom bird ornaments, and hoping to find some nice branches for my table to display them on!

This year the show is on December 8th and 9th, and there are three locations, 1087, 1093 and 1095 Queen Street West. As far as I'm concerned that's a whole bunch of craft shopping temptation.


City of Craft Spring 2012

>> Friday, April 20, 2012

Here's a last minute post before the show tomorrow!
I have new crocheted pincushions, needle books and vintage jars with sewing supplies.
I also have the cake stand in the picture and another one as well and other vintage odds and ends. Can't wait for the show!


Spring City of Craft!

>> Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Guess what? There's a Spring City of Craft show April 21st! I'm excited to be a vendor, and already thinking about how I will fill my table. For rummage I think I will have some vintage mason jars filled with vintage craft supplies and for the handmade part I will have all the usual goods, wristlets, bags and needle books, and possibly some fresh pompom birds just for Spring. The only problem is how I will manage to stay at my own table. More details and pictures coming soon!


Art Deco Parrot Blue

>> Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My favourite fabric so far is a new version I designed of the Art Deco Parrot, this time in a blue, white and grey colour scheme.

I ordered a yard so I could make a pair of cushions in the cotton-linen blend fabric they offer. Being able to design the fabric myself was great because I actually adjusted the scale slightly so that I could fit two cushions with parrots down the middle of the front and back with just 1 yard.

Here's a picture of the cushions:
I love this fabric, it has a bit of weight to it and the nice feel of linen while the cotton makes it less floppy than pure linen. Incidentally, I also love the new Kona cotton that Spoonflower is now offering for a quilting weight fabric.

So I feel I've finally reached the point where I can design exactly what I want to decorate the home without having to compromise. I'd like to do curtains too, but that's a lot more expensive so it may be a while!


Paris Poodle

>> Thursday, February 23, 2012

This week was busy with illustration work but I did manage to do a last minute entry to the Spoonflower contest with the topic "bicycles". It's called Paris Poodle, a poodle bringing home her baguette. One time, I did actually see someone bicycling home in Paris with a baguette sticking out of their basket, but it wasn't a poodle. I have to be honest. You can vote for Spoonflower bicycle fabrics here.
Last week's contest had the topic "jellyfish". I didn't think that topic would inspire me, but sometimes you can be surprised at what you'll come up with in these situations. It turns out jellyfish are kind of a popular motif right now, I didn't know that. I'm still loving mustard, so that's the colour scheme I chose for my jellyfish design (Jellyfish Drift), but I'm finding I've also veered into loving yellow too. Especially with white and grey. In the case of Paris Poodle I think yellow works because it's a more whimsical design.

I've ordered samples of both so I can put them up for sale when the swatches arrive. There are lots of new fabrics in my Spoonflower shop now, including the Yellow Rose print I've shown previously, and a blue and white version of the Art Deco Parrot fabric, my current favourite. I ordered a yard of the cotton linen to make cushions so I'll show you those in another post.


Camera strap

>> Wednesday, February 08, 2012

I finally made a camera strap cover thanks to this clever tutorial by the lovely Karyn! Here's a link to a post about her new strap, and here's a link to the original tutorial.

As usual I managed to do things my own way, which wasn't really a good thing.  The bit I didn't notice right away is that Karyn used the selvedge to cover the seam which would have been particularly perfect as this fabric has a cute scallop line detail on the selvedge. But I only had a small strip of fabric left from making a tote so I had no choice but to fold the edge over and stitch it together that way. Because I barely had enough fabric I hand stitched the seam so I could make sure it was perfectly snug.

Also I didn't have any Steam a Seam 2 to fuse the fabric to the old strap, but the interfacing kept the fabric from puckering and all the top stitching holds it securely in place.

The end results are wonderful, the strap is just as functional as it was before but sooo much prettier.

p.s. you may notice that the fabric design in my last post has changed! I ended up changing it at the last minute because I thought it was a bit too busy. Anyway scroll down and have a look if you like.


Ditsy sea creatures

>> Monday, February 06, 2012

The Spoonflower contest this week was fun, the theme was "ditsy sea creatures". In case you didn't know, a ditsy print is very small scale, so small that "At a distance, a ditsy print looks almost like a solid color". It's also a scattered print with no obvious repeat.

I always wish you could zoom in a bit more to see the fabrics better, especially with the small scale prints, so I thought would show you a close up of my design "Little Schools" (you can also click on it to see it larger):
The main thing that doesn't show up very well in the preview is that I added a linen texture to the background. I updated my design at the last minute because I thought the first one was just a bit too fussy. I like this one better. I also like how it looks from farther away, as if it's just scattered specks of colour.

p.s. I've been busy sewing too, there are lots of new wristlets in the shop.


Art deco parrot

>> Thursday, February 02, 2012

The current Spoonflower contest has been my favourite so far. The theme was Art Deco with a limit of four colours. I was looking through my books and found a wonderful book I actually forgot I had. It's called Art Deco Textiles by Alain-René Hardy. Here's a link:

I've always loved textiles of course, but now that I'm actually designing them I've been revisiting my bookshelves and finding lots of help and inspiration. This book is absolutely packed with full-colour gorgeous pictures of Art Deco textiles. I bought it for the pictures, but I did start to read it as well and learned that Raoul Dufy created over a thousand Art Deco textile patterns. I was interested to learn that because I have always loved his paintings so much.

I also learned that tropical motifs were popular and decided to use that as a starting point for my design. I think the main reason I love Art Deco designs is that flora and fauna is so prevalent and I never tire of a pretty floral fabric or the charm that animals can add to a design.

I was really happy with my design, but after voting today I'm humbled by all the incredible designs this week. You can see them all and vote for your favourites here.


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