Monday, September 8, 2014

Recycled Dolls House Kitchen Appliances

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Earlier in the year I shared the  Dolls House reveal, the renovated Dolls house for my little ladies 2nd birthday. The idea was to use recycled materials where possible, and I'm pretty chuffed (UK slang for happy/impressed) with the finished rooms.

Before (house furthest away)

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A sneaky peak at the after

 

I fully intended to make all the furniture until it dawned on me that whilst I can boast some skills with Fabric, despite coming from a family of very talented Joiners, anything to do with woodworking and I am a complete idiot. Honestly at Woodworking classes as a teen I was so scared of the high speed sanding machine I waited until the end of class for the teacher to do mine.

 It's not so much that I'm scared of power tools, I'm just really, really, really clumsy and I know my limits. Yup call me a big girls blouse if you will, but I'll take your simple sand paper sheets over those high speed, whirring discs of death any day.

So I was certain that I needed the furniture to be made of wood but waiting for my lovely hubby to cut some for me was proving frustrating to say the least.

You know the joke "Ladies, if a man says he's going to do something, there's no need to remind him every 6 months" totally my husband, and to be honest we have a property that is knee deep in renovations so I get his reluctance to cut me some wood furniture.

Cue a very handy Garage sale buy, a bag of Wooden kids building blocks, plain sanded wood in useable cube shapes. $2 later, some Acrylic paint and I have all I need to get cracking.

I started with the oven, the backs of Safety eyes was perfect for the burner rings, add some Mod Podge dimensional medium over a metallic pen and I had something resembling a Cooker!

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The dishwasher was even easier, a few dots for buttons and a line with a black sharpie worked wonders for the door. Anything that I wanted to appear 3D I added a drop of the dimensional gel and it dried glossy, with the 3 Dimensional look I was going for.

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I don't profess to be a talented painter, but what the heck, they were fun to make and they passed muster with the little lady, too big for her to eat and heavy enough for her not to break! winner winner Chicken dinner!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Grannys no Square - Crochet Blanket




So I kinda just helped myself to a big ole blog break over the Summer, a sneaky trip back to Blighty to catch up with the folks and soak up some of the amazing history, style and culture of my homeland was just what I needed, the kids got to meet all of our family members and get a taste of a real British Summer, which surprisingly was actually sunny, for two whole week!.

It wasn't until I came back from England that I pulled myself together and vowed to finish the mountain of half finished, half started, nearly finished projects I have languishing in my crafty space. This blanket was the first contender. A generous donation from my husbands work colleague, thank you Heather! of a ton of white cotton was just what I needed to unify the colours and spruce up the blanket.

Relaxed and fully recharged I'm raring to get started on sharing all my new projects with you lovely people.



So this project I've had in the works for erm (shuffles feet) about 2 years, yup I raced through the Granny squares then hit a design wall. I wasn't even sure if the Purple, Neon Green, Aqua colour scheme was even going to work. In fact, on reading this, I'm still not sure it does work on paper! oh well!



This blanket started the way most of my blankets start, what yarn do I have in the same gauge and fibre content?, I had a bit of Cotton kicking around so I basically threw it all together. I know, I make it sound so haphazard but I really love to be surprised by the outcome.


Crochet tutorial: joining granny squares 1

I used a new joining method thanks to this awesome tutorial from Carinas craft blog which I really enjoyed, it uses the same stitches as the Granny square itself and because of the spacing, a 35 block granny square blanket ended up a generous twin size instead of a lap quilt! (The bed in the pic is a Queen)

Just for fun, here is the funny, sunny little lady, Gabrielle my muse for all things bright, colourful and cute <3



So much more to share, I'm back to blogging and it feels great!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Drape Drape 2 - Book Review

 
 
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Alternative title for this post (and my personal favourite) Drape Drape 2 - Electric Boogaloo! Not quite as informative but equally entertaining.

Okayyyy back to business, so  I've been sewing, A LOT recently, and pushing myself to try new things. That's the beauty of Me Made May (glut of posts in the pipelines still) you get caught up in the creative spirit and this year it led me to draped patterns

Pinning one evening led me to Drape Drape, a series of 3 Japanese pattern books by Hisako Sato. The premise of the first book is to produce draped clothing with one piece of fabric using tucks, slack, gather, twist and draping of fabric.

Flicking through the book there is the usual Artsy Fartsy Japanese photographs of trouserless bored looking models staring at each other, looking like they weren't paid enough and displaying the look you have when you run upstairs and then forget what you went up there for, to then remember the moment you got downstairs, you know the look ;)

Photography aside, what really sells the book is, as expected, the designs. So intriguing that you want to trace, cut and sew immediately just to see how the pattern works. 

Not simply interesting, at least 10 of the 14 patterns are actually WEARABLE, by REAL people, with JOBS and LIVES!. Of the 4 that I would not wear myself, the designs are still attractive, but simply more avant garde than a 36 yr old mama of 2 can get away with on the school run, without being mistaking for someone stuck in a discarded parachute in a freak accident... but perhaps you like that look!

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My photos show No. 2 One piece side drape top, the pattern was fun to sew, just one pattern piece produced a stylish draped garment.
I like the easy comfortable fit and it worked exactly as the instructions suggested.
I was nervous about straight stitching the binding on the neckline
but I did what the book said and lo and behold no problems.

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Cons of sewn pattern?

The pattern was truly problem free, the instructions are basic but elsewhere in the book additional info on hemming and binding necklines is all you need to successfully finish the garment.

Would I sew this again?

Absolutely I would attach the binding facing outwards to match the neckline but no other changes would be made, this is just my style preference.

Tips: Go slow on the neckline top stitching, the finishing touches are ALWAYS worth taking extra time over.

 Reviewing the whole book a few more cons arose, overall I loved it and would purchase and recommend it to others, it's reasonably priced and far cheaper than trying to track 14 draped patterns, it will flex your sewing muscles and provide some serious wardrobe candy.

Downsides of the patterns

Many lines, few pages:
 
14 intricate patterns, on 4 sides of paper, in the same colour ink, you do the math. Tracing the patterns is likely to give you a headache. With more lines than a Hollywood blockbuster you'll need good light, very transparent paper and a can-do attitude to get the job done properly.

Pattern sizes:

If you're touchy about your dress sizing this is not the book for you, as a UK 8 (US 4) I expected to be a Medium since it's a Japanese book. Alas no, I am an XL, the largest size in the book. Presumably XS is for unborn foetus or miniature breeds of puppies?

Summary:
* Available in English translation
* Interesting wearable designs you will be dying to sew.
* Intermediate/Advanced level sewing
* Great intro to draping


So check it out, loan it through your library like I did or treat yourself to a copy, through Amazon for a pretty sweet price



Note: No remuneration has been received by the Author, Publisher for this post, it's all my own opinion. The Amazon link is for your viewing pleasure only and not an affiliate link.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Refashion: Plain Gingham to Embroidered Loveliness


 
 
At the last Value Village sale I picked up a cute but very plain little Gingham dress for $2.50 for my little lady and just knew exactly what it needed, don't you love those simple refashions where you just know at first sight?


 
 Now my little one is a bit of a tomboy so it's a struggle to get her into anything without trouser legs, short of rolling her in a blanket and sitting on her. I showed this off to her the next day and she ASKED ME if she could try it on, and (gulp) she even wore it for half a day, yes it even lasted through two meal times which is an all time record. I failed to get a non blurry photo of her, (usual story) but the fact she wore it and loved it is a winner for me.

It was a quick turn around for this refashion, I know the stitching looks complicated to the untrained eye but it's nothing more than a handful of stitches. Running stitch, cross stitch and an easy peasy woven stitch. Yep super simple but it looks so fancy and adds a little vintage flavour to a plain expanse of Gingham.
 
If you're wondering what this kind of embroidery is it's called any of these names Chickenscratch/Broderie Suisse/Snowflaking and I absolutely love it. From afar the stitching looks like Smocking but it can be applied to a finished dress unlike Smocking which has to be completed first.
 
 
Want to see more of my attempts at Chicken Scratch? 
 check here for links to tutorials and here for more.
 




Anyone else notice that I did the stitching on the back of the dress? Good job it won't take me too long to do the same on the front too!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Kaftan to Maxi dress Refashion

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I have been completely obsessed with my Me made May pledge, I've stuck to wearing a me made garment every day and even taken a (mostly crummy and sometimes headless) selfie for Instagram, which is big for me.  Every day seems like too often for me, I am just not a pc/laptop/social media every day kinda gal.

In fact if it's ever quiet around these here parts you know I'll be on a creative kick, hiding away rustling up something in my sewing room (formerly the 'lady cave' until I realised this sounds kinda, sorta, erm Gynaecological!) ok, (cue nervous giggle) moving on!

I picked up this beaute at a local thrift store for a princely sum of $5, now you know that I am super cheap so it must have spoken to me.
 
 
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Excuse the awkward photos of me, Instagram has me on Selfie overdose at the mo, 19 days into Me made May and still haven't got into the selfie groove, hmm is that aging me? using the words 'selfie' and 'groove' in the same sentence? nah I'm still down with the hip cats :)

Ok wanna see the best bit about the dress? wait for it, wait...for...it
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Bam! Party in the back!

Unnecessary bunching around the hem is me stepping on the dress, hubster is so reluctant to take a photo of me that I have to 'hop on it' anytime I think he might be willing.  He did pretty good, three shots and none of me a, looking like a troll b, sniffing or sneezing and only one unfortunate shot of me bending down adjusting my cleavage, all in all an A* for my man.
 
 
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So can you see where I made the bust part from? The triangle sleeves worked perfectly when I hacked them off and used the underside seam, the straps were even reused as it originally had a waist casing score!

So what's next? some little girl sewing, if I can just wrangle my little Tasmanian devil into a non blurry shot in time for the next post.


XOXO

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Me Made May 2014 - My Pledge

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Every Spring time I get the urge to sew sew sew, putting away the Sweaters and Boots, then taking them out again 3 days later because it snowed, repeat to fade until Spring really does appear.

No joke, I write this as we've had Shorts and Swimsuit weather and Snow in the same week, Sirrrrously Canada?! sort it out!

Despite receiving snow on my otherwise Springy dress parade, this year Me Made May has totally got me revved up for adding some  more Ruby Murray flavour to my wardrobe. I am pledging right here and now to wear something made by me every day of May. With the unpredictable Alberta weather some days it could be just a Hat and Scarf, but nonetheless something made by my fair 100 year old Seamstress looking mitts.

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To kick off day 1 I dusted off some gorgeous, psychedelic Border print I'd been hoarding, the pattern came from the book "Chic and Simple Sewing" (book review to follow)and with a few alterations I love it.


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Friends of RMR will know I love me some 70's business, so this ticked all my slightly odd requirements of a fabric print all in one ball of Starburst Pink Red and Navy loveliness.

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Super pleased with how it turned, the hubby tried to convince me that their should be a starburst pattern on each boob, but whaddyaknow there wasn't quite enough fabric for me to make this happen :)

 
 
 
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Lots more sewing in the works including Refashion Fridays where I'll be whipping this beauty into shape.
 
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Yep, pulling out all the stops this year, flexing my sewing skills and dusting off the cobwebs on Big Bertha my industrial beast of a machine.

Wanna see my creations day by day? follow me on Instagram (RubyMurraysmusings) or my Facebook Page for more pics or to shoot me a message.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

By Hand London - Free PDF Sewing Pattern

 

I know you guys love a freebie pattern and if sewing something fun to wear for Spring is on your radar then look no further than this super cute Polly top at By Hand London.

At this time of year I've taken as much as I can handle of this cat and mouse, is it? isn't it?, Spring vs Winter power struggle we endure here in Canada, and I start looking towards making some new Springy clothes.  Even if I do have to smother them in a snuggly Cashmere sweater, until I'm good and ready to officially come out of Canadian hibernation.

There is still snow on the ground, and Mittens and Scarf are a constant when leaving the house, but I'm daydreaming about sewing things, gulp, without sleeves, and shocked gasp, maybe even showing off my pasty English "Are those white tights you're wearing, no that's my skin!" drumsticks. True story!
 
Whilst you're checking out By Hand Londons Polly top, look for their Georgia dress, love this and both the variations of straps would work so well for day or night.

 

Until such times as the temperature is again above 0, I'm going to be working on my refashion pile and maybe even trying out this awesome pattern in a beautiful Silk I've been holding on to.

Who's up for some Spring/Summer refashioning? are you getting excited about Me-Made-May yet?
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