Thursday, 30 August 2012

It's give away time!

Yesterday I got one of the best presents from myself ever. I received my first ever full size sewing machine! I did have a mini one but I don't class that as a real sewing machine. I finally decided to give it up and get a good one. After weeks of umming and arghing over which to pick (I now know the perils of sewing machine shopping!), I decided on a Janome SMD1000. It has lots of bells and whistles but not overwhelmingly so. I'm am still sooooo excited about it as I have lots of projects I'm itching to try but needed a machine to do. I told my other half last night that he may not be able to get in when he arrives home because of sewn produce everywhere, and I wasn't far off! I will be reviewing the machine soon because I couldn't find any reviews on it so choosing was very hard. I had to trust my instinct. So far though it is really easy to use. Even threading it is a doddle which I found so refreshing after fighting and rethreading the mini one constantly. I have noticed as well that I can sew in a straight line effortlessly with this one. It only cost me £149 including delivery, and with that I also got 50 spools of excellent quality cotton, a scissor set, spare needles and bobbins and a tape measure. I bought it from www.sewing-machines.co.uk and it arrived 24 hours after ordering. Watch this space for a full review when I've had chance to try everything out, but already I think that it was an absolute bargain.

Last week I had an interview published by another fellow blogger, all about me and my business. I loved taking part and getting the chance to share my knowledge with other small business owners or even those not yet started out. I felt very important! You can read the interview at http://handmadeharbour.blogspot.co.uk/2012/08/tea-and-chat-with-kirsty-devine.html.

Last Tuesday I entered a Cath Kidston store for the first time. Despite my absolute adoration of all things Cath, my "local" store isn't very local so I had never been. Last week was a necessity as I needed fabric to make tiles, but I was very good. The only extras I bought were a knitted elephant for my nephew (only 11 weeks old) and a coin purse for my two year old niece who is very girly so I need to start her Cath obsession training while she is young. To say there were so many things I wanted to buy I was very proud of myself for not even touching things. Well, my other half did bring me over the book Sew! and I was very tempted but as I still have another sewing book to work my way through yet so the sensible me said "Not today." I will be going back for it though and one day I will be well enough to go all the way there on my own. For now, here is a round up of what is new at Cath Kidston, and the matching items I have in my store.


For the young boy in your life, get this amazing Dinosaur Duvet Set. We have matching wall art available here.



Or is your youngster a bit too old for this one? Perhaps the Football Set would be better?
We do matching wall art for this one just here.
Maybe you don't have boys. For little girls bedrooms we have this lovely Ballerina print. Our matching wall art is here.

 
For your room, how about this beautiful Antique Rose duvet cover. It is just so pretty, so you had better buy two of them so you are never without it. You guessed it, you can adord your walls with this print too with our
wall art available here

To follow on with the Antique Rose theme, these towels in the same print would lok gorgeous in any bathroom. Here's the wall tiles to match as well.


For the kitchen, don't break the bank and get these pretty little canisters for just £16 and they will brighten your room in an instant. Finish the look with our fridge magnets at £5 for four for a cheap way to bring shabby chic to your home.

Or how about a pack of two tea towels in Royal Rose? At only £12 they are at a reasonable price, and we can do you a picture to match here, or how about wall tiles?


Whatever your decor, you're sure to find something in the vast array of Cath Kidston goodies, and if it doesn't have a matching item listed on my website www.simplydivinethings.co.uk, then just get in touch with me because the chances are I can do something.

Last of all, I think the time has come to do another give away. Rather than have it on Facebook this time, I have found that it is a more flexible process to do it through here. So one lucky (extremely lucky) person will win a single gang light switch plate in Ikea Rosali, just like this one.

This is a one off opportunity to be one of the first owners of this amazing light switch. It measures approximately 8.5cm square, and is two way which means it can be used on a light that another switch serves too (like an upstairs light that can be switched on/off from upstairs or downstairs). It is made to last with it's cleanable coating and comes with the relevant fixtures and instructions. It is a full plate though, not a cover, so it needs fitting by an appropriately qualified electrician. 

To be in with a chance of winning simply comment "I want one" below, and come back here on 14th September 2012 to see if you are the winner.

Terms and conditions

Open to UK residents over the age of 18. A winner will be chosen at random at 8pm on 14th September 2012 and their username will be posted in the comments below shortly after. You will be required to provide your email, name and postal address if you win, which will be treated within accordance to the Data Protection Act. The winner will have seven days in which to claim their prize, otherwise another winner will be picked. No cash alternative.

Good luck!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Monkey business

Last week I became addicted to a site I have used for some time, but never really used to its full potential - pinterest.com. After making the effort to sort out my "boards", I now proudly display things I want to make, eat, buy and wear. It is a great place to keep track of all the guides I find online for making crafty things, but never seem to have the time to make! It is also a good place for grouping together things for my dream home, which I'm hoping to buy within the next 12-18 months. Speaking of which, I cannot wait to move. I'm in a two bedroom property at the moment which is perfect for my son and I, but if you bring a third adult in to the equation it would just be too small. I haven't even mentioned my fabric habit and breeding scrap collections! When we buy our new house we will make sure there is space for my own crafting room, so no more working from the lounge. Hurray!

Anyway, I digress. You can see my Pinterest boards by going to www.pinterest.com/simplydivine1 and you can choose to follow everything I post, or posts within specific categories. I really do recommend it for inspiration and sharing ideas. It has also inspired me to get into refashioning clothes. While I have had osteitis pubis, I have gained two clothes sizes. Going for a perfect 10-12 to a 16 is a big shock to the system, and what is worse is that I cannot wear all my beautiful clothes (and believe me I have a lot!). I am reluctant to buy more clothes as now I am starting to recover and increase activity, I hope that the weight will drop off me. Luckily I have clothes that I always wore as baggy with a belt to nip in the waist, so I have continued to wear these. I am normally so girly. I love skirts and dresses and spent a lot of time in this type of clothing. Deep down I still am, so the boring clothes I now own in bigger sizes need a revamp. In a previous blog I decorated a dress with appliques, but after finding all these people on Pinterest who refashion regularly, I have learned that it can get so much better than that! There is a girl here http://refashionista.net/ who refashions all the time. She shows you what can be done with a little imagination and a sewing machine, to items found in charity shops. It was this girl who made me want to go out and buy an old fashioned long skirt with buttons down the front (the kind you can find in abundance in charity shops!). Read her blog to find out how even those can be made fashionable! I have started on redesigning two black tops that are tshirt material but with polo necks. Once I have done them I will share what/how I've done. So, in a nutshell, get on Pinterest!


A few weeks ago I took on an order to make basket liners. Under normal circumstances these would be fairly simply to make, except I wanted to make them two layered. I kind of used this pattern http://projectsbyjess.blogspot.co.uk/2011/02/basket-liners.html, except the basket I was making them for needed to be really wide at the part that folded over the top. Instead of doing two sides gradually getting wider, they had to be straight up the sides and then suddenly get wide. Even this though shouldn't have caused many problems. The main issue was my sewing machine breaking! It took me three whole days (10am until 11pm) to hand sew the liners. I never wanted to see a needle and thread ever again! I do a lot of hand sewing and am quick and neat with it, but even this did not help. In the end it all turned out ok, and while giving the liners a final run over with the iron, I felt bursting with pride! This is how they turned out, so what do you think?















I also did a light switch plate to match which I thought looked fantastic, but I'll let you be the judge of that. Once again Blogger has decided to turn my picture on its side!

As a regular reader of Craftseller magazine, I always get free craft papers with it every month. As someone who has only tried to work with paper once in the past and failed miserably, I have been giving the papers to my mum who makes her own cards. I have been thinking more and more about getting involved with paper, and I think where I went wrong was that I tried to integrate it with my style, which is purely designed for fabric crafts. I bought some little craft knives a few weeks ago for making the light switches, and I have 14 6 x 4" frames that are empty, so I printed out the words Home Sweet Home and plan to cut it and use my decorative papers. I'll let you know how I get on with that. If it works I may start getting more involved with paper cuts and start designing my own. I don't think I will ever be able to compete with some of the amazing ones I see on Facebook or Etsy.

Last Friday I went to Knowsley Safari Park with my son and partner. For anyone who is able to get there, you absolutely MUST go! Despite it raining for a bit, we had the most amazing day. How close you get to all the animals is just unreal. My partner even decided he would risk his car through the baboon enclosure. There are lots of horror stories of windscreen wipers being expertly removed and we did see a few on the floor! Here are a couple of photos to show you how cheeky they are!

 As you can see, they did have a go at a windscreen wiper! I did not stop laughing all the way round. They were just so naughty!















Anyway, I shall call it quits for now. One more thing before I go though. Tomorrow I am being let loose in a Cath Kidston shop! I'm fit to burst with excitement as I have never been in one of their stores. I'm only going because I need some fabric and can't wait for delivery from online. I will have to curb my spending in there and leave my credit cards at home! For those who can't get to one of their stores, you can shop their new ranges at Cathkidston.co.uk. They have some amazing new things in.

Speak soon x

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

I have loads to share this week!

Hi everyone! I've been so busy once again and I've got lots of craft things to share with you that I have come up with in an effort to use use all this excess fabric I have! I still have scrap bags for sale and this will be listed on the website soon in 300g bags for £2 and 200g bags for £1.50. They are rammed with lots of fabric and all bags have at least one very large piece in. See www.simplydivinethings.co.uk to purchase.


My first try and using up scraps was something I have been meaning to do for ages - coasters. Not just plain, sewn together coasters, oh no! Braided ones! As a trial I just used random strips of what I came to first, and that is used for my afternoon cuppa! Any length of fabric is fine, but I have found 1-1.5 inches wide is best. Simply pin three pieces together at one end and start plaiting. As you get towards the ends, feed in more stripes to the plait. It can take a bit of practice putting in more strips but you will soon find a way that works for you without having sticky out bits! Once you have a decent length (I used approximately 90 inches of each strip) you can start to roll it up.

Keep it tight as you roll and I put E6000 glue on to secure every bit together. As it got bigger I found that sticking pins in the sides to hold it in place while you roll, very helpful as it can start to slide out of shape until the glue is dry. When it was all done and I had a width of 3.5 inches, I put 4 pins in round the edges, pushed in as far as they would go, and left it to dry over night. When it's dry, pull out your pins and voila! A unique coaster. Once I got to grips with them I made beige and white ones, black, grey and white ones, and now I'm making lots of other colours too. If you don't have enough spare fabric to make your own, you will soon be able to buy them in my shop for just 99p each!


 I also wanted to make a braided headband with my scraps. For this I used strips around 1.5 inches wide for a thick (ish) band. I braided three together to fit round my head with a 3-4 inch gap between the two ends. I then got an old elastic hair bobble and wrapped the ends through the bobble and sewed it tight to hold in place. That was literally it. The whole process took no more than 15 minutes!






Next up, storage. I have a small house, and my lounge is rammed with craft stuff. It needs organising and the sooner the better before my other half kills me! So, first off I need boxes to keep things in. I am starting with boxes for photos and paperwork. A few months ago I was eying up some magazine files but they were expensive. I have been looking at all the cereal boxes that get thrown out for recycling and I kept three to make magazine files. I got some old and plain curtain lining to cover the boxes by wrapping it round and securing with pva glue. This was fiddley and messy but after three layers, the boxes were covered. After leaving them over night to dry, I took some scraps of Prestigious Maple fabric in Teal, that I had used to make my bin (guide in an earlier post). As I only had a little left, I cut strips 1" wide and put them on the boxes on the back which would be cuddles. That was it really. Very very easy and it just looks so much tidier than piles of Craftseller magazine and bank statements! I have no idea why all my photos end up on their sides on here!





Yesterday morning, while enjoying a relaxing Sunday morning in bed, I was going through yet more guides for using scraps. I've done the braided bracelets before but I wanted bracelets that were a bit different. I came across this guide http://sewcraftcreate.com/2011/05/rope-bracelet-tutorial/ that I liked the idea of. I had time to whip up a very quick prototype yesterday before we headed out for the afternoon, and I liked the principle. The only mistake at that point was using a 100% cotton fabric. It didn't work and was just thick and kept fraying to the point there was no fabric left! This morning I decided to have a proper go at it with some polycotton strips I had in my scrap box. I must say, I'm super happy with the result. I love my new bracelet, it cost me pennies to make and around 30 minutes of time! Here I am in my scruffy clothing that I craft in (I have a tendancy to get glue on my clothes!) and I have insisted on keeping the bracelet on my wrist. I'm definitely going to make more as I have loads of strips of polycottons that I'm glad I kept. There were a few things I decided to do differently. After messing up the slits yesterday and only doing two across not three, I drew lines on my widest strip to divide the fabric onto four. I also did my slits with 1" inbetween them going down as 1/2" wasn't enough. I finished the ends by covering them with hemmed plain fabric and putting a button on one end and a little hook on the other to fasten round the button.


















On Friday a customer got in touch with me about making a lampshade. This is something I have looked at in the past but the kits are so expensive, so I never did it. I'm now thinking that covering an existing shade might be an option. I have a shade on a lamp in my bedroom that's really outdated, so watch this space for a revamp! I can't wait. I just love finding new craft projects that I've not done before. Making things by hand is so satisfying, and I always get a warm happy feeling when someone buys something I've spent hours making.


Last but not least, there has been some developing going on and I am proud to announce that we now offer shabby chic lightswitch plates handcrafted by my own fair hands using Cath Kidston, Clarke and Clarke, Tanya Whelan, Harlequin and many more fabrics. The front can be cleaned and there is no fabric inside the plate as this could be a fire hazard. How amazing do these look?! They are available to buy at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk. 
I have finally got round to sorting my Pinterest albums properly so I can share the things I want to make and guides on there. You can find my albums at www.pinterest.com/simplydivine1.

So, that's all this week folks. I'll speak to you soon and hopefully have some more fabric scrap stash busting, and unique ideas to make!




 Kirsty x









Sunday, 15 July 2012

A little out of sorts

Last Wednesday I started a new treatment for my SPD. The downside is that it had kept me mostly horizontal for a week. The upside is that my specialist is confident it will make me better, so in the long run this is fantastic news for me and my business.

Due to all this going on I've done a lot less crafting, but I do have some new things to share.
Firstly and most importantly, my mum is getting married today and I am on route as I type. I'm very excited on her behalf. Given that SPD has caused me to go up two dress sizes, I have been having major clothing issues! I wanted to wear navy and have two stunning (and very expensive) dresses in my closet that would have been perfect. Unfortunately I cannot get into them so I have had to buy. This occasion for buying new on a tight budget has been rather new to me. Once a full time worker, I wouldn't have thought twice about spending £150 on a dress if I really liked it. I have always known instantly if an item of clothing is exactly what I'm looking for. This time my budget has been closer to £25 for an entire outfit, so I knew it was time to get crafty.

After researching I knew I wanted a tea dress. I mean, really wanted a tea dress. They were all so expensive though and I needed one with stretch in it and no buttons as my chest is two clothing sizes bigger than my waist (always been a major problem). I also needed a low neck line and the latest fashion is almost a crew neck, which makes me look huge! So I decided to buy a plain dress. I went with a navy skater dress. Tight on top with elbow length sleeves and a scoop neck. Nice flared out skirt. When it arrived I was very pleased as it has quite a lot of weight so it hangs beautifully. It also has a black patent belt too.









After choosing my dress I started to draw out my design. I had issues deciding on tight and shoe colours. I found some dark blue denim pumps with a round toe and the top is a nude colour. My original plan was for plain shoes and I was going to decorate them with flowers but these are just perfect as they are.


It was yesterday morning when I eventually decided on my final design. I knew I wanted a flower for my hair, one for my bag (which is upside down!) and butterflies on my dress but I could settle on a flower design or fabric. In the end I went with a simple layered flower with two colours and a fabric covered button. I already had butterfly and flower outlines on my computer and simply put them onto a sheet in different sizes. When they were printed I just cut them out and pinned them onto the fabric to cut round. I've never used a template in this way before as I have tended to use cardboard and drawn round it. I found it very easy though and it saves a lot of time. I chose Cath Kidston Spray Flowers in grey and matched it with teal.


I did a flower with a rectangle of fabric on the back to slide a hair grip through, I sewed one onto a large black clutch bag and I added a butterfly to the right of the neckline of my dress and three at the bottom. I used Mod Podge to put on the edges of the flowers and butterflies as the small size made them delicate and prone to fraying. My total cost (excluding the bag which I already had) was £14.95 dress ( Ebay), £7.98 shoes (Ebay again) around 50p worth of fabric (the teal was left over from some cushion covers and the Spray Flowers was direct from Cath Kidston) and that's it! £23.43 spent and I have a completely unique outfit that not one other person will ever have!

Something else I have turned my hand to lately are two plant pots. I coated them in emulsion and I had some Cath Kidston fabric hearts in Province Rose and Tea Rose that I stuck on. They look really pretty and I'm in two minds as to whether to sell or keep. If that is something you want to have a go at, I have a few tips. I used plastic pots because they are cheap, they are light and not as fragile as pot and I already had two spare ones lying around. I wasn't sure if the paint would stick so I put two coats of pva glue on first as a base. I probably could have done with adding another. I had to do three coats of paint and I used Dulux so it wasn't cheap stuff. I used pva to add the hearts and coated the top of them to seal and protect. This stuff isn't waterproof though. I also found the top and bottom bits hard to paint neatly although I used a very small brush. In the end, I used a baby wipe to remove any excess paint after it had dried. Bonus of emulsion! I will get a picture up soon.

Aside from all the above, I have been having a huge clear out of fabric because I cannot use all the scraps I have. I am selling 300g bags of scraps for £4.50 including postage in my Ebay store. There are currently 6 available but I may add more. They all have some really large pieces of fabric in, and very few small bits. There's a good selection of colours in each, and I'm sure you could have as much fun as I have making jewellery and hair accessories.

Alas, my time is precious once more. This coming week I will attempt another post, I promise. It will largely be dependant on my health though as I have more painful injections on Wednesday. Boo :-(

Speak soon x

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

This week I simply must start by telling you that Cath Kidston have a sale on and it's awesome! I bought quite a few things from it last week, but I have had to rein myself in with not going crazy with all that flowery goodness! Given half a chance I would fill my entire house with her stuff because it would make me smile every day. You can shop the sale too by using this banner. Cath Kidston (UK)

I have been really busy at Simply Divine Things headquarters of late. I seem to have an addiction developing for making wooden plaques and now sell four different designs with more to come.

We have this one in lime green and Cath Kidston Mini Boat fabric that has been dust protected. It is 11cm tall by approximately 38cm.

Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk


This one is in Ikea Rosali and is 11cm x 51cm. The letters are blue on the back and the frame is cream.

Photobucket

This one is in Cath Kidston Mini Spot fabric in red and blue, and a cream frame. It is 11cm x 39cm.

Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk


This one is in Cath Kidston Mini Shooting Star and vibrant pink. It is 11cm x 39cm.

Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk

They are all ready to hang with jute string, which finishes the shabby chic look, and you can purchase them at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk with prices starting at just £11.95.

The other thing I have finished is some cushions, that have to be the nicest pattern I have come across yet. All you need is a 20" square piece of fabric, a button, some elastic and co-ordinating thread.

Hem each edge using at 1/2" seam allowance and fold three corners into the middle like this, securing down each hem and adding a button.

Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk

Attach elastic to the other corner that will be used for fastening.

Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk

This is what it looks like from the front with a 12" cushion pad inserted.

Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk

Fantastic right?! And so easy! This really is the easiest cushion I have ever made and it looks gorgeous.

As part of my on going quest to try my hand at making lots of different things, I also made the decision to make an elasticated waist skirt. Again, it was super easy. All I did was sew two lengths of fabric together with the wrong sides together, turned it all the right side out, sewed along the the top, about 2.5" down, in order to create a section for elastic, threaded the elastic through, and joined the ends of everything together. Here it is.

Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk

The whole lot took two hours tops and I did it all by hand (my pelvis has been too poorly to use my machine). It really made me think about how easy it is to make your own clothes.

I have begun clearing out my stash of fabrics because I have a very large quantity of scraps. Therefore I am currently offering 300g bags for only £2 plus postage. They can be purchased on my website.

A short one this week. I am hoping to get another craft guide up before the week is over though so watch this space. Over and Out!

Kirsty x

Thursday, 14 June 2012

I want...

I want a Cath Kidston dress. I want one I want one I WANT ONE! More importantly I want one to wear to my mum's wedding on 13th July. There is one major factor though, I don't know if I am able to go to my mum's wedding because I start prolotherapy on the 4th and apparently I will be completely out of action for the best part of three weeks. That's how great my life is right now. SPD has not finished ruining my life just yet, it wants to ruin even more. I was supposed to be able to walk for the wedding, now not only am I not any better, but I might miss it all together. All I have is my crafts to keep me going, and Skins (because I have started watching every episode from the beginning).

This week I haven't had any motivation for much at all, but last week I got lots done. I have new cushions for sale, like these, that match a Next bedroom range.







Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk I've also been on a scrap usage frenzy, making hair clips and bracelets to my hearts content. First I made bobby pins from Cath Kidston's Classic Rose fabric wrapped around buttons.









Then I made lots of round flowers from fabrics such as Ikea Rosali and Clarke and Clarke Bird Trail, and finished them with a fabric covered button. They are so easy to make. All you do is cut four circles of fabric, fold them into quarters and stick them together with strong glue. Sew on the fabric covered button (guide for these is in my last post), and glue a strip on the back to slide a kirby grip in. I simply love these and they back a great hair day from a bad hair day. The lady who helps out with my cleaning has bought quite a few too!


Bracelets have been plaited using 3-4 long strips of co-ordinating pieces of fabric no thicker than 2cm, sewed at each end and either a snap fastener sewn on or the ends are sewn together. They're gorgeous bracelets.






 I also made my first order for Clarke and Clarke Bird Trail ceramic coasters. How would you like these in your home? A snip at £19.95 and you will be one of very few to own them. Very shabby chic homeware indeed.








This week I have received two new Cath Kidston fabrics for pictures. This one is extremely rare and I have seen its cute elephant and giraffe print kicking around a few times. The picture is 16" x 16" and I only have one. Once it's gone, that's it. There will be no more.






Photobucket This one is Birds and Roses. The picture is 10" x 16", and will also not be repeated.










Untitled
I have also started on wall plaques and new magnet designs. My first is DREAM in blue Ikea Rosali, on a cream frame and ready to hang with jute string. Each letter is 11cm tall and it is 52cm long, so big for a plaque. It is all wooden and priced at only £14.95, is a bargain.



Available at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk In the wooden letters, I have also done LOVE fridge magnets. These are finished in Cath Kidston Mini Spot in blue and red. They would be perfect on the fridge with our co-ordinating pan stand in the same room too. A great way to bring Kidston to your kitchen, without spending a fortue as the magnets are just £8 and the pan stand is £7.95. A good house warming gift too for a shabby chic fan.

As ever, all items advertised are available to buy at www.simplydivinethings.co.uk.

Today I came across this
http://howaboutorange.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/make-gift-bow-from-magazine-page.html?showComment=1254517997847&m=1#c2874241455273344438
And I have to say I am not buying gift bows this Christmas because I will be making these. Not only do they look fantastic made from magazines, but imagine how they will look made from fabric! I may have to have a trial run next week to practice.

That's all this week folks. Catch ya later!

Kirsty x