15 Dec 2013

30 Ways to Turn Your Craft Into Cash

Last week I launched my new book on Amazon 30 Ways to Turn Your Craft Into Cash. And I am proud to say it is already a bestseller in it's category.



The book goes through 30 ways that you can turn your craft skills or passion in a successful craft business. It makes great holiday reading, if your thinking about starting a craft business in the New Year. Get your strategy right from the start so you can fast track your success for your craft business. The book also comes with a bonus 90 day fast track action plan and a video explaining how to get your business set for success in 90 days or less.

For a limited time there is a special promotional launch price of just 99 cents. To download your copy click here.

If your thinking of selling your crafts online or selling your handmade items in 2014 this book is the best 99 cents you'll ever invest in your business. Grab your copy before the promotion ends.



13 Dec 2013

Secret Santa Gifts that Kids Can Make themselves

My son's Year 2 teacher this year decided the class would do a Secret Santa, but with a twist. The kids had to make their gifts. There was to be a boys gift and a girls gift. Boys make for boys, girls make for girls and then it would be lucky dip on the last day of school.

The lucky dip bit threw me a bit - it was hard to know what to make when you didn't know who would be getting it. So I figured the way to a man's heart is through his stomach so let's bake something.


It was also a project I knew my son could be involved in. So we baked some simple vanilla cookies and before baking studded them with red and green M&M's. We then baked them, and once cooled pack them in a plastic bag tied with ribbon. It was an easy and effective gift that the recipient loved! We also packed up the leftover ones and gave them out to all the boys' cousins.


Next I'll show you some simple Teacher's Gifts.

10 Dec 2013

Easy Christmas Gifts that kids can make for their friends

Every year my kids love to write Christmas Cards to all the friends in their class. Most kids also include a candy cane or chocolate santa in with their cards. This year with two boys at school we need 52 gifts to make sure every child in each class got one.



So I decided to do something a bit different. My son had learnt at school how to make his own sherbet. So we set about making green and red sherbet. If you need a sherbet recipe click here.

We then packaged the sherbet into tiny clip seal plastic bags and included a green or red lollipop for dipping! We tied the whole lot together in a plastic bag with ribbon and attached a mailing label to each one.

On the mailing labels we decorated one side with washi tape and the other side I print out little messages to stick on each one. The message read:


Here's some Yummy Elf Dust,
To spread the Christmas Cheer,
And say thank you for being my friend,
Throughout our first Prep year.
(or other variation "throughout our Year 2 year")

Love from Charlie.

This was a really simple gift, but was much more personal than store bought cards and candy canes.

Next time I'll show you an easy Secret Santa gift.



2 Dec 2013

Let the Gift Giving Begin!

December is usually my busiest craft month. I try and give as many Handmade Gifts as possible. So this month I thought I would just share with you my Christmas Gift Crafts as I won't be doing much blog specific crafting.

Most of them won't be Burlap. However, I hope they inspire you just as much as my Burlap gifts and give you some ideas to create your own Handmade Gifts.


Luckily my Husband never reads my Blog - so let's start with him.

Recently we went to Hamilton Island in Queensland for a holiday. Whilst we were there I was able to do a painting class. It was so lovely to spend 2 hours re-visiting a medium I haven't used in years. Inspired by the class and the beautiful Hamilton Island scenery, I came home and created this painting for my Husband.

He loves sailing and Hamilton Island is famous for it's race week. So I downloaded some photos of the Hamilton Island Race week for inspiration and crated this acrylic on canvas. Once dried I then applied a resin glaze to give it some extra shine and make it really pop. I framed it in a frame from IKEA.

One down, about 20 more to go!

17 Oct 2013

10 Fun Facts about Burlap



Today, I thought I would share with you some little know but interesting facts about Burlap.


  1.   It originated from India which it was used for rope and paper production
  2.  The English brought it to Britain where the Scottish first spun it into yarn
  3. Bangladesh and India are the worlds largest producers of Burlap, closely followed by China, Myanmar, Brazil and Thailand

11 Oct 2013

Burlap Bag Lady at the Brisbane Craft Fair Christmas Gift Workshop

The Brisbane Craft Fair starts next weekend, and I am so excited to have a stand there! The fair runs from Wednesday 16th to Sunday 20th of October at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

I will be running a free workshop at 1.30pm everyday in Workshop Room 4 and I would like to invite you all to attend.

Easy Christmas Gifts to make in 10 minutes or less
Learn how easy it is to make your own Christmas Gifts for Friends and Family. You will learn 3 easy gifts that you can make in under 10 minutes each, that look fabulous and are very budget friendly! One general craft and two easy sewing projects. Includes free online pattern sheet. Never be stuck for a gift again!

Here is a sneak peak of one of the projects I'll be showing you:



9 Oct 2013

Aqua and Cream Burlap Tote for handmade swap

It's swap time again and this time my recipient had Aqua and White as her favourite colours. Luckily I had just the perfect printed burlap to make her a gorgeous tote for summer.

I was in such a hurry to get it made and sent out, that I completely forgot to take photos along the way. So I will make another one soon and post the tutorial then.

Printed burlap is such a great way to add wow to a simple burlap tote. There are so many designs available in printed burlap in the major fabric stores at the moment I would highly recommend experimenting with it to create a perfect summer beach tote!

I hope Jo enjoys her new tote as much as I enjoyed making it!

3 Oct 2013

Heart Shaped Pocket Warmers Tutorial

A couple of weeks ago I shared with you my heart shaped pocket warmers which I made for Mary for the last Handmade Swap I participated in. Even though Spring has sprung here in Australia, I thought these might come in handy for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere who are just about to embark on your cool season.

So here is the tutorial of how I made them:
  1. Cut two heart shapes out of felt. I used a printed felt for the front and a solid yellow for the back.

19 Sep 2013

The History and Origin of Burlap


Burlap is a fabric with a rich history. Whilst it is unknown where the name Burlap came from, Hessian, as it is otherwise known, is said to have originated from Germany. The soldiers from a state in Germany called Hesse wore uniforms made from Burlap. And as such were known as Hessians – hence where the name Hessian came from.



Burlap is made from the fibers of the jute plant. Originating from India, where it was used for rope, it was the English that brought the plants back to Britain in the late 1700’s. It was in Scotland where it was first spun into yarn.

11 Sep 2013

Craft Workshops at the Melbourne Craft Fair

I recently went the the Melbourne Craft Fair. It was so exciting, a day on my own in the world of craft! Time absolutely flew, but I managed to squeeze in 3 workshops over the day. I was very proud to come home at the end of the day with my loot.




At the Brother stand I made a teapot pot holder which was really cute. At the Bernina stand I made an Orange free motion embroidered pillow complete with piping. I would love one of those machines!

30 Aug 2013

Presents in the Post! The Handmade Swap

Last week I received the best present in the mail. It was my gift for The Handmade Swap. I was so excited to open it. Chris made me the most gorgeous apron, which will match perfectly with my new kitchen. Thankyou so much Chris!





If your not a member of The Handmade Swap and you would like to join and send and receive Handmade Gifts 5 times a year, you can join here.

23 Aug 2013

My Swap Goodies! Ready to go for The Handmade Swap!

It's been a busy few weeks with the Ekka and getting ready for my first swap in The Handmade Swap. The Handmade Swap is an organised craft swap in Australia where members send each other Handmade Gifts 5 times a year. It's really cool and lots of fun.

So this swap I had to send something to Mary who lives on farm and loves bright colours. So made her all these goodies and sent them off.



2 Aug 2013

Final Ekka Entry! Baby Burlap Doll Travel Cradle

Here is the last of my entries for the Ekka craft competition this year. For the Childrens Toy section I have made a Baby Burlap Doll Travel Cot.

26 Jul 2013

Ekka Entry Number 2, Funky Fashion and Wearable Art Chevron Burlap Skirt

Last week I shared with you my first entry in the upcoming Agricultural Show Burlap Christmas Trees. This week I would like to share with you my entry in the Funky Fashion Wearable Art Category. My Chevron Burlap Cocktail Skirt.


I just love this Chevron design Printed Burlap, and thought it had great impact and would make a perfect statement piece. So it seemed the natural choice for the Funky Fashion Wearable Art category.

19 Jul 2013

Entries for the Royal Show

Tis that time of year again in Brisbane when the Ekka comes to town. The Ekka is the Agricultural Show when 'country comes to the city'. It's also the most competitive show in the State for Crafters. This year I've opted to enter three categories:

  • Funky Fabrics and Wearable Art
  • Christmas Decorations 
  • Childrens Toy
And for once, I'm actually somewhat organised.

So I thought I would share with you what I am making. The first is the Christmas decorations. Given many people celebrate 'Christmas in July' now is a good time to share with you my Burlap Christmas Trees.

Here's the final product:



If I were displaying them around the home, I would probably sit them on top of wine or champagne glasses at varying heights, but for now, they are just sitting on the table.

To make, they are really simple. Take a large sheet of cardboard (I used old manilla folders) and roll them around using one corner as the point to form a cone shape.


5 Jul 2013

New Tea Cup Pin Cushion for the Studio

Whilst my studio was completed almost 3 months ago now, I still find myself adding bits and pieces to it every week. This week I decided I needed a new Pin Cushion, as I have been storing my pins in a tupperware container for the past few years so they could be stored between projects. Now that I have a permanent studio where I can leave things out, it was the perfect time to create somewhere more permanent and user friendly to store my pins. So I created this cute little tea cup pin cushion.



It was so quick and easy to make. I had found three of these cups in a box of my Grandma's things. The  matching saucers were missing, but I will continue to search thrift stores until I find a suitable replacement.

I cut a circle of Burlap about 10cm wider than the top of the cup. 


21 Jun 2013

The Handmade Swap Australia - It's finally here!!!!!

After several months of hard work, I am pleased to announce that The Handmade Swap has finally launched. The Handmade Swap is an organised craft swap for Australia - it's like secret santa for crafters only 5 times a year!




7 Jun 2013

A Very Special Mothers Day Memory Quilt

It was Mothers Day here in Australia about four weeks ago. And this Mothers Day I was actually ready and waiting with my handmade present for my Mum on the day! It's taken about 2 years to make, but worth every minute.


30 May 2013

Lorax themed 5th Birthday Party - A Burlap Picnic in the Park

As I said April is birthday month in our house, so I thought I would share with you some of the highlights of my 5 year olds Lorax themed birthday party.


We had the party in the park after school. Before the children arrived we set up some tables for food and party bag goodies. We also set up a large picnic rug for the kids to enjoy their afternoon tea on. As usual Burlap abounds in our house, so we recycled the Burlap we used for the smash cake back drop the week before, and laid it down as the picnic area. Then created a table runner out of another length of printed burlap with a crazy red chevron print which looked like a graphic from a Dr Seuss Book! We also hung tissue paper pompoms from the tree over the picnic area.

23 May 2013

Australian craft swap

Don't you just love receiving handmade gifts? I do. That's why I'm thinking of starting an Australian craft swap. Basically If you join, 4 times a year I will send you the name and address of another member and you make them something fabulous, then post it off to them. At the same time you will receive a beautiful handmade gift in post from someone else! Cool huh?

You can bake, sew, photograph, craft, make cards, sculpture whatever you like as long as its handmade.

I'm trying to get an idea of whether there is enough interest in Australia, so if this sounds like something you'd like to do simply leave a comment 'I'm in' and I will post more details shortly if we get enough interest. Be sure to ask any of your crafty friends and family to.

It will only be open to Australian members to minimise postage costs.

So lets share the handmade love!



15 May 2013

Burlap and Lace Table Mats make Perfect Wedding or High Tea Decor

Burlap and Weddings just seem synonymous these days! Burlap just lends itself so well to wedding decor as it is a perfect pairing for white.

Kelly over at Boho Weddings recently featured a tutorial by Becki (a self confessed Boho Bride) for these gorgeous table centrepiece mats.


The table mats are made from Burlap and Lace and are so simple to make. To see the tutorial head over to Boho Weddings where Becki shows you the easy step by step instructions.



They are so simple and yet so beautiful. I think they would be lovely on wedding tables but also for a special high tea or baby shower as well. If you need an elegant touch for your table decor these table mats are perfect.

8 May 2013

Baby Smash Cake Photo Shoot using Burlap as a Photo Backdrop

So April is birthday month in our house. Three out of five of us celebrate our birthdays in April (I'm not one of them), so that means plenty of parties and cake, and planning for me!

Harry was turning one and we wanted to make it a special occasion, so we gave him a smash cake.


For those of you unfamiliar with the Smash Cake trend, you basically make a beautiful cake for your baby and then let them 'Smash it' to pieces whilst you stand by photographing each candid moment! My seven year old was horrified that we would 'waste cake' like that! But as I explained to him, it's not like a one year old really gets to eat the cake so this was a way for Harry to enjoy his birthday in a one year old kind of way.

I made him a chocolate cake with vanilla icing (looks better in the pictures than chocolate!), topped with blueberries, some blue fairy floss, a paper number 1 and a balloon.

We set the stage on the back deck and I needed a backdrop for the shoot. As Burlap abounds in our house, I had just purchased 5 metres of Burlap, which was perfect for the backdrop. I draped it over the deck handrail and down onto the floor and then positioned the cake on top.

The Burlap worked really well as a back drop. It was cost effective, reflected and diffused the natural light really well, and best of all easy to clean with just a hose off. It also provided a really neutral background which allowed the baby and the cake to be the feature in the photos rather than backdrop. I think it would really well in a number of settings. You could use it for weddings or family photos when the photo is about the subjects rather than the location.

Here's how the shoot turned out.





Harry is actually a bit of a neat freak and once he felt the icing on his hands he didn't want to touch it again and was more interested in the balloon, but I think he had a great time anyway, and we have some lovely keepsake photos.



23 Apr 2013

Bendable Burlap Flowers

Well it's been almost 4 weeks now since our phone line went down, and our Telco has just fixed it. No phone line, no broadband, no blogging. So in lieu of being able to blog I have spent some time recently in the studio creating numerous things which I will share with you over the coming weeks.

But to get things up and running again I would like to share with you these gorgeous bendable Burlap Flowers I found on Hani's Blog (before loss of Internet connection!).


Hani over at Craftionary created these beautiful Burlap Flowers. The great thing is, she has used wire to give them structure so you can bend them into all sorts of realistic positions. If you want to get the low down on how to make these gorgeous flowers head over to Craftionary where Hani shares a really simple step step guide on how to create these gorgeous flowers.

Her cousin has used them to decorate a wreath, which looks fabulous. I'm also thinking unique wedding bouquet. So many uses for these flowers!

22 Mar 2013

Easter Egg Lavender Sachets - An alternate Easter gift

With Easter fast approaching, Burlap comes into it's own. Burlap is the king of Easter. What could be a better fabric to celebrate Spring, Nature and New Life than Burlap. Not to mention the meaning of Lent and going without, the humble Burlap fabric is the perfect companion.
Easter Egg Burlap Lavender Sachets
Burlap Lavender Sachets are the perfect gift when you don't want to give chocolate for Easter. These sweet little sachets can be hung in the wardrobe to keep your clothes smelling fresh and bug free all year round - and best of all not a calorie to be seen!

19 Mar 2013

New Pattern Release - Luggage Tags, School Book Covers and Keepsake Keyrings

Burlap is definitely my favourite fabric to craft and sew with. It provides so many challenges and is such a versatile fabric. I do however, on occasion, sew with regular fabrics as well. You may not be aware, but I design a range of simple to follow, fun sewing patterns for beginner sewers.



All my patterns are available in my pattern store (accessible from the Pattern Store tab above). And I am proud to let you know I have just uploaded three new patterns to the store.

16 Mar 2013

Last minute St Patricks Day gift for the boys from a Leprechaun!

This is a great last minute St Patricks Day gift that is quick and easy to make.


My boys are now 7 and 5 and I thought this year it would be nice for them to celebrate a bit of their heritage with St Patricks Day. They are also old enough to start to understand where they come from and the concept of generations past. So I thought why not surprise them this year with a gift from a Leprechaun to get into the St Pats spirit!

13 Mar 2013

Prevent Burlap from Shedding - a Case Study

Here are some tips on how to prevent Burlap from shedding and the print from fading when sewing and crafting with Burlap Sacks.



One of the questions I most frequently get asked is how to wash Burlap and prevent shedding and fading of the print. So I thought I would do a little case study to explain the process.

7 Mar 2013

St Patricks Day Burlap Shamrock Bunting



Inspired by last weeks post, where I featured a paper shamrock bunting for St Patricks Day from Lolly Jane blog, I thought I would create a Burlap version.

Armed with Burlap, Potatoes, Paint and a Knife I set to work.

4 Mar 2013

Burlap Wrapped Mason Jars great gift for Valentines, Mothers Day, Easter

These Burlap wrapped and stencilled mason jars were originally created for Valentines Day, but would be easy to adapt and use for Mothers Day, Easter or any other event.


Janis from Rust blog posted a great tutorial on how to create these gorgeous jars for Valentines Day. But I think they are too cute to save for Valentines and should be given more frequently throughout the year, so use your imagination and add and image or saying you like to create a special gift year round.

To get the low down on the 'how to' visit Janis' blog Rust for the full tutorial, it's super simple and makes for a fabulous last minute gift idea. Thankyou Janis for sharing such and adorable idea with us all!

24 Feb 2013

Burlap Doily Bunting

A great tutorial on a really easy to making Burlap Bunting.

Kelli and Kristi from Lolly Jane blog have created the most darling Burlap Bunting I have ever seen. I just had to share it with you. I wish I had a little girls room to decorate....



Pop on over to Lolly Jane to get the full details on the 'how to' create this really sweet bunting. It's really simple but oh so effective. Be sure to browse around whilst your there, these ladies are really talented!

Whilst I was there I noticed they have also created a special St Patricks Day bunting!


I think by combing the technique of the doily bunting with the design of the St Patricks Day one, you would end up with the perfect St Patricks Day decoration. So with St Patricks Day just around the corner on March 17th, this could be the perfect St Patricks Day craft to create a very simple but effective St Patricks Day decorations. I think I've found my St Patricks Day decoration for 2013.

I will post my results shortly.