Friday, 8 November 2013

Crafting - Make Your Own Gorgeous Twist Ties!

These are awesome! I came up with idea when I saw some red and white candy striped twist ties on a party site online. I didn't need several thousand of the same ones so decided to try and decorate some plain twist ties I already had. Now I can have them in any colour I like! They are so easy to do even the kids will enjoy this activity. They are perfect for decorating small gift bags or tying up a biscuit or two for lunches.


Plain twist ties - plastic or paper (leave them attached together)

Markers -  Permanent markers are best for plastic, almost anything works for the paper ones (I used sharpies and bic pastel permanent markers)

Ruler - if you prefer not to draw lines freehand


Draw stripes on the front first, then copy the lines in the same place on the back. My twist ties are slightly transparent so that makes it easy to follow the same pattern on the back. Diagonal and horizontal stripes work really well. It does not matter if the lines are not perfect as you won't even notice after the ties are separated.


I decorated this  lot of twist ties with alcohol inks. (The Tim Holtz Ranger inks are the ones I have. You can purchase them at scrapbooking stores.) These are much quicker to make than the marker ties above and don't even matter if the front and back do not match.

These new twistie ties are perfect for tying up party bags or even add a little fun to school lunches or tiny gifts placed in a small gift bag.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Recovering a Childs Chair

After many years of being loved this child's chair really needed recovering. I put it off for ages as I knew it was going to be a project that once begun it needed to be finished or it would never get done. So much work needed to be done to restore this little chair.

Here are some photos of the before, during and after process.


Fabric and padding had perished or torn in many places due to all the love it has received in its time.  At one stage our two little chihuahuas had even claimed it as their own. Much of the chair was originally just nailed together and this would not work if it were to survive another decade or so, and one chair leg was broken with another at an awkward angle.

As we pulled the perished fabric off the chair I took photos in case we needed to refer to them when putting the new cover on. We found all sorts of kids small toys and pencils that had been lost inside the chair over the years. There was even a pair of scissors! Yikes! I don't want to even think about that one.

The arms of the chair needed to be removed to allow easy access to the rest of the chair for recovering.
They were only nailed on so this was an easy job with a mallet and some muscle.

We added new padding before stapling on the new fabric covers. 

The feet have now been fixed and screwed into place. Hopefully they will stay in place longer than they did being nailed on.

The fabric for the arms needed a little sewing to fit properly, but the rest was stapled before we attached the arms back on the chair, with screws.

A new back on the chair, I photographed this upsidedown as we then added a base to stop any critters making their home in the bottom of the chair.

 The finished Chair!



Sunday, 8 September 2013

Watch this space! Posting will be resuming shortly.

After building and moving into a new house I finally have my own room dedicated to sewing and crafting. I am still in the process of setting everything up, but I will be sharing photos as I set up my space and try to organise my supplies.

I have a few tutorials almost ready to share and a few makes to show you. Feel free to follow my blog or subscribe to read the latest updates as they are posted.

Monday, 7 January 2013

How To Tutorial - Printing and Organising My Cricut Cartridge PDF Handbooks

Printing and Organising Cricut Cartridge Handbooks

I have had a number of requests for more details on how I print and organise my cricut handbooks, so I have put together a tutorial on how I did this for you. (Click on the images for more detail)

I only wanted to print out the pages that showed all the different cuts on the cartridges and did not want the instructions or different languages. There are two methods of doing this, the quick method and then my preferred method. My preferred method includes the title of the cartridge and allows you to choose the orientation of the pages and how many pages you want to a sheet.



These files have already been organised in a handbook style but many do not always include the title of the cartridge of the first page when you print them out.

Printing and organising cricut cartidge handbooks

1) Visit the cricut message board to this link here. Find the cartridge you are after and locate where to download it from. NOTE: this method automatically print 6 pages per sheet

2) Download and save to your computer, then simply print out.



1) The cricut cartridge library is no longer available on Provocraft's website. However, if you go to cricut website shop you can download the handbook there with a few steps. Search the cartridge you are looking for, click on details link, at the end there will be a "digital handbook" link to click and download. Save it to your computer.

Click on image to enlarge.

NOTE: Some cartridges either do not have a handbook or are not made available. The handbooks are now watermarked to protect provocraft's copyright.

2) Open the pdf handbook you need. NOTE: For printing the handbooks Do not look at the page number on the actual handbook pages but rather the page number of the actual pdf file at the top as the title is really page1.
Note the page number for the title page (page 1), then search through the handbook for the first page where the cut images begin (note this) and the last page number (note this too)

Printing and Organising Cricut Cartridge Handbooks

On this example here for Teardrop the first page number we need is 24 but on the handbook pages itself it is noted as 23.

Printing and Organising Cricut Cartridge Handbooks

The last page of images we need is page 74.

Printing and Organising Cricut Cartridge Handbooks

3) To print multiple pages per sheet. Choose to PRINT PAGES then enter the pages numbers you took note of in the previous step.

PAGE SCALING - choose multiple pages per sheet
PAGES PER SHEET - I choose 2 by 4 to save paper but you can 2 by 3 if you want to.

Printing and Organising Cricut Cartridge Handbooks

I print my handbooks in portrait mode but you can do them in horizontal mode if you want to make the pages larger and easier to read but that will use more paper.

Check the preview is correct then click OK to begin printing.


Place all the handbook sheets into clear pockets and then put into a file in alphabetical order. I always begin the first page of each cartridge in a new pocket then then place the following pages back to back.

Printing and Organising Cricut Cartridge Handbooks

Cut the tabs from Tags, Bags Boxes and More it is cut at 1 and 3/4 inches. It is the mirror tab shape on page 34 of the handbook. I used my gypsy but you can use your cricut to fill the page, Design Studio or Cricut Craft Room. I cut as many as I could fit on a 12 x 12 sheet of each colour:

I colour co-ordinated mine to match my cartridges

Orange/peach tabs are for font cartridges

Blue for shapes cartridges

Green for lite and seasonal cartridges

Printing and Organising Cricut Cartridge Handbooks

If you label the tabs like on my photo here and then tape or glue to the first page of your handbook, you will be able to see the names from both sides as you browse through your file.

Printing and Organising Cricut Cartridge Handbooks


Print out your own Cutting guide sheet with your own cricuts settings to keep in the front of your folder. You can find it here. I use mine all the time as the settings on my cricut varies from the standard settings.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Inexpensive Valentine's Day Crafts and Gifts to Make

 I have been searching and found some fantastic Valentine's Day crafts and tutorials. Most of these are really quick and easy and many are suitable for kids of varying ages to make.

From Top left to right

Origami Heart box from Robin Glynn Pdf instructions here 
the video part 1 and part 2 

Heart Bookmark Easy for kids to do. Looks great in patterned paper too

Another fancier heart bookmark

Sequinned Bookmark from this blogger This would look great with other sequins too

Paper Streamer Rolled Rosessettes simply gorgeous, scroll down on the page for the instructions

Various origami roses I especially love the kawasaki swirl rose

Dollar bill Roses So quick and easy to make. Think I would like this in double sided paper rather than money.

Gorgeous Glycerin Heart-shaped Soaps These look just like sweets

Surprise a loved one with this in the morning!

Waxed Paper Wrapping with embedded Hearts I have made this a long time ago and it looks great!

Tea Bags how sweet just seconds to make

Cute Candy Cane Hearts from leftover Candy canes from Christmas

Candy Heart and Chocolate lollypops

Heart shaped Chocolate biscuits

Cute Kids Handprint Heart

Shrinky dink Heart Necklace

Delicious Chocloate Coated Strawberries

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Laptop Skins for Cricuts and Other Machines

This is an update to my 5 minute Cricut Makeover post found here.

Many of you have asked about the Butterfly  laptop skin that we used on out Cricut machines.

Unfortunately at the moment the store where I purchased this one from is out of stock. I am looking for other sources as a number of you have placed orders.

However the store has small numbers of some other designs in stock at the moment. (see below)
Cost for each skin is $3 AUD plus postage and packaging to send to you. Payment via Paypal.

These photos do not do these laptop skins justice. They are much nicer in person. Click on each image for a closer view.

Blue Metallic Paisley Design - The finish on this one is raised

Black Glittered Leafy Design

Black Glittered Leafy Design - Close Up

Ferns and Swirls - The swirls that look black in the photo are actually a silver foil finish
Butterflies and Bead - This Design has crystal types gems on it

Winged Guitar - This one has a metallic/ foil finish on it

Email me if you are interested in any of these skins and wish to purchase.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

How To Clean Old Antique and Vintage Sewing Machines

This is my Singer 201K from the 1950’s. When I bought it, it had only been used as a hall table for many years and the machine itself was never used by the owner. The table was in really good condition and clearly had been polished regularly. The machine however needed cleaning and the power lead, pictured below, needed replacing. Thankfully after a good clean and service I ended up with a great working machine. This tutorial came about because I could not find much information on cleaning these old sewing machines. Here I will share with you how I clean my machines, no matter how old they are.

Things you will need:
  • Newspaper - to sit your machine on and protect the surface underneath
  • Rags - lots for cleaning and polishing
  • Paper towels to sit cleaned items to dry
  • Toothbrush or paintbrush - to clean stubborn areas
  • Cotton tips
  • Vacuum cleaner with a Computer attachment (it allows you to reach small areas easily)
  • Kerosene
  • brass or silver cleaner
  • good quality sewing machine oil
  • gloves to protect your hands from the dirt and chemicals
  • notepad and pencil or digital camera to make notes as you take things apart
How I Clean My Old Machines:
Remember to only do one section of your machine at a time to make it easier to put back together!!!It can help to take photos or takes notes as you work. If you have a manual for your machine keep it handy, just in case you need to refer to it.

Computer Attachment for Cleaning Sewing Machines
Do Not Remove any Red Felt you find
  1. Remove the needle from the machine as this makes cleaning easier and safer. Remove and the shiny parts and clean with brass or silver cleaner. I was told by my local sewing machine repairer that brass cleaner is much softer on the metal parts and will cause less scratches and wear in the long term. 
  2. Remove lint from the bobbin case and under the machine. I use my vacuum cleaner with a tiny computer nozzle attached to make it easier. Some people use canned air but I don’t like the dust blowing around getting into places that may cause damage later. I prefer to get rid of it completely with the vacuum. NOTE: If you find something that looks like a piece of red felt, LEAVE IT THERE! It is felt and helps to lubricate things. It is meant to be kept oiled. Do not take it out. The model in the photo below is a Singer 66-1 
  3. Clean areas under the faceplate and underneath with some kerosene on a rag, paintbrush or cotton tip. This is also safe to use on decals but I would be careful on worn areas anyway to help preserve them. Don’t forget the feed teeth. Wipe away any excess. 
  4. Oil the machine on all the moving parts where metal touches metal. It also helps to refer to the manual if you have one for your model. You can find out the model number of your machine at ISMACS using the serial number which is found on the front base plate of the machine. This site will also tell you approximately when your machine was manufactured. 
  5. Replace all removed parts. Worn bobbin winder tires and belts should be replaced with new ones, especially if you intend to use the machine. Keep the originals. 
  6. Once you have finished cleaning, the whole machine can then be given a polish with some machine oil or a wax and polish with a gentle car wax. I just used sewing machine oil as I didn't have any car polish. Just be careful over the decals. Do not allow any oil to come into contact with the rubber bobbin winder tyre or belt. This will cause them to perish quicker, and will make them slip if you intend to use the machine. 
  7. Any gears on the machine will need to be greased. I use grease from my local sewing machine repair shop. Follow your manual for application points as grease should NEVER be used like sewing machine oil and the oil should NEVER be used in place of grease 
  8. Inspect any electrical wires and cords if your machine has them. Damaged ones should be repaired or replaced by a licensed electrician. A power cord that looks like this really needs replacing, even if it does work! This one has perished from being in the same coiled up position for years. I usually give this job to an electrician. 
  9. Polish the wooden table or bentwood cover if you have one with a quality wood polish. I used marveer.

Perished And Damaged Cords Need Replacing or Fixing

More information can be found here my post on Helpful Links on Antique and Vintage Sewing Machines,  ISMACS  and Treadleon.

If you find this information useful or something is not quite clear, please feel free to leave a comment.

***My Original blog post on this topic has been now been restored and can be found here. *****


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