Monthly Archives: June 2013

Buy, Cutting files, Papercuts, Pop Ups

Loving you is easy cos you’re beautiful

Did anyone see The Voice finals at the weekend? I didn’t watch the series but caught the end. I thought both Andrea and Leah were sensational. And Leah’s cover of Minnie Riperton’s ‘Loving You’ – just f.a.b.u.l.o.u.s!

I got carried away by it all and made, what I think, is a beautiful pop-up card insert. Why couldn’t I have come up with this for Valentine’s Day? At that time  I had Martin Crane’s (Frasier) ‘She’s such a groovy lady’ going through my head … :

: I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I don’t mean to quibble but it seems like her heart is always going heidi-hiedi, ringy-dingy, or scooby dooby.

Martin: Look, I don’t need another critic.

Niles: Fine, perhaps a cardiologist?

Despite having seen repeats more times than I ‘ve had hot dinners, I still laugh out loud at  the numerous one liners AND still cannot watch the scenes where Niles – finally – tells Daphne he loves her on the eve of her wedding to Donny – without tearing up. It’s so poignant …. so  gorgeously romantic…

Anyway, head full of Loving You  I sat down and designed the heart.  Too late for Valentine’s, too late for anniversary and too late for birthday. So, I’m putting the heart pop-up insert up for sale. Maybe you’ll find it perfect for an occasion or can make up a card and keep it safe until the occasion comes around. I will just have to get in the mood and design another for Mr Tree next year.

It’s €5.00 for the heart pop-up insert in SVG format – please note it doesn’t include the toppers on the front of the card.


Loving You heart pop-up card insert SVG  June 2013: Loving You heart pop-up card insert SVG (€ [price])

You will need a cutting machine that can use the SVG format, eg,  Silhouette, Cameo, Black Cat Cougar, etc, to make use of the file. Your template will be sent to the e-mail address of the PayPal account holder responsible for making the payment unless otherwise directed.


Thank You for looking



3D, Buy, Chat, Papercuts

Tealight house with gabled and flat roof

Here’s a tealight house (sideview) made some time ago but never posted until today. Am thinking ahead for Christmas already, mainly because I want to get The Cake made and put away to mature with regular glugs of brandy or other spirit. And that the summer solstice has just passed. We’re now starting the run down to the winter one and with each successive day, the hours of light get shorter and shorter. It made me think of the paper tealight village and how truly lovely tealights are, glimmering, flickering and glowing in the gloom.

I might remake the actual model and do a better job of using contrasting papers for the frames and the main bits of the house. Still, you can see the shape and the numerous little cuts to let light shine out prettily on a dark evening (battery-operated tealights only though!).

It’s made chunkier than I normally like but I know some people like their kiddos to help make them and they prefer things a little bigger for small fingers.

It’s easy to make, no tricky folds or difficult apertures to slot together.

A front view …

A view of the roof showing the ‘scallops’ opened out (can’t see it very well on the right but they have the scallops, too).

The SVG file for the model is on sale at €4.00.

Gable_Flat Tealight House (June 2013) : Flat_Gable Tealight house SVG (€ [price])

You will need a cutting machine that can use the SVG format, eg,  Silhouette, Cameo, Black Cat Cougar, etc, to make use of the file. Your template will be sent to the e-mail address of the PayPal account holder responsible for making the payment unless otherwise directed.

Thank You for looking.


Chat, Other, Tutorials

Free-motion sewing

Woo Hoo! I finally let my inhibitions go the way of a stripper’s knickers! My dogfeeds are down and my needle is  fast and loose. I have let myself go with my sewing machine and dipped my toe into the choppy but surprisingly friendly waters of free-motion sewing.

I You-Tubed (am verbing as well cos that’s how wild and rebellious this new freedom has made me) and found all sorts of tips and techniques but my creative blockage seemed to be very basic. How to start?

So, here’s what I did:

1. I drew a simple picture onto tracing paper. For info, mine was 65 gsm so very thin and light.

2. I got some masking tape and taped the picture onto a piece of calico:


3. Then to the machine! From all the advice given by the Internet People, the basics are to drop the dog feeds (although one said not to bother but reduce the stitch length to zero). I dropped the dogs:

The first icon on the left is the one to press to drop the dogs on my machine (Janome Memory Craft 11000).


4. The Internet People then say to use a darning foor or embroidery foot. I used an embroidery foot.

Here’s mine. See the dogs are down? Out of the way like this, they can’t drive the motion of the fabric. You do!


5. Here’s my darning foot. Might try it next time to see if it makes much difference. It has a happy smile on its little face, doesn’t it? Can you see?


6. Make sure you have plenty of thread on your main spool and bobbin. You will NOT want to have to stop the joyride to rethread or bobbin-wind. Some people fill their designs in with lots of colour but I only wanted the outline.

  • Be prepared to go fairly fast – slow and steady is not the way.
  • The best rule of thumb is to treat the design as one, continuous flow of the needle. If you were to draw the vase, flowers and leaves, you might draw each separately. Resist! Imagine you cannot put your pen down but must draw continuously – now treat your needle as a pen. It’s tatooing the design onto the fabric. You don’t want perfection – you want the quirky, wobbly knees look that only free motion can give you!

Now, get set, go! Stitch out your design!

7. Peel the tape off and rip away the tracing paper (a PITA, I must say. Next time, I’m drawing directly onto the fabric).

The end result was worth the pain!  It may be the kind of creation that only a mother could love I just know that  I do. It has a primitive, childlike sophistication; oxymoronic, possibly, but  true. I am rockin’ and dancing and rejoicing!

Finally, I got out my acrylics and fabric paints and coloured the shapes in. I will cut the fabric edges properly straight later and fray them.

Am almost rapturous with how easy it was to do and how much fun it was. Do give it a go – you will love it! In the words of Roald Dahl: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” I believe!!!

Other, Sewing

Patchwork pincushion

It’s not s.t.r.i.c.t.l.y. patchwork… but had to call the post something.I don’t always plump for something alliterative but I did today and that’s all my tired head could come up with. I think it’s the paint fumes.

Mr Tree is filling cracks with Polyfilla and caulking and wandering round the place with his caulking gun like a ghost buster armed with an ectoplasm blaster. We’re both doing some painting and decorating and I swear, if it was any more exciting, my foot would drop off.

In between painting and decorating and leaving things to dry there’s always time to do a bit of sewing and use up a few more fabric scraps. Praise be. I was on the verge of livening things up by poking myself in the eye with a pilchard. How hard do I have to hint for a fish eye lens??

This pincushion is a little smaller than a postcard and is made from a basic rectangle of a linen/cotton mix. It’s made in two pieces; each one is decorated with scraps of material and zig-zagged in place. I even machine stitched one piece with a couple of the installed stitches on my machine and then zig-zagged that down. Life on the edge, I tell you! Fast lane living!

The flower is made from three contrasting roughly cut circles of scraps, left raw and trimmed with pinking shears. I used a pretty button to form the middle (stamen?) and secured it through the layers and onto the pin cushion thereby attaching the flower layers and button in one fell swoop. A superb demonstration of engineering brilliance. Okay, maybe not. But fairly sensible and practical. Give me that.

A view of the back. Just a nice hodge podge of scraps. See the needles? The small one is your all-round hand sewing needle – just so you get an idea of how big its neighbour is. THAT is a doll maker’s needle. Longer than a Victorian hatpin. Brilliant for sewing buttons through padded cushions and upholstered headboards.

Mr Tree isn’t remotely excited by my pincushion and I’m not even slightly interested in the technicalities of Polyfilla and the vagaries of its material properties or that of the surfaces it may be applied to. It ain’t big and it ain’t clever. It’s not Modge Podge, you know?!

Anyway, we’re stuck in with tins of paint and filler and the house has funny gussying up smells that go with paints and stuff.

The rain and sun seem to be on some sort of alternate cycle and occasionally overlap (the devil is beating his wife as we like to say here) . And so quick. It’s strobe-like in its frequency. Outside is not welcoming today.

Maybe you’re having a better time of it – make the best of it while you can.


Other, Sewing

A-tisket, A-tasket my new wicker basket

Hello to the lot of yers! Having more Mrs Doyle moments than ever these days. Kittens and cushions! Well, no kittens, sadly but plenty of cushions. Been making lots of scatter cushions. These little sweeties are the cushion equivalent of the scented candle. They serve no useful purpose but they make things look nice. And the fabrics are so, so sweet. It was such a pleasure to make them. The button in the middle of each of them are those silver nudey ones you get from haberdashers. They comprise of a button front with a backing plate. You cut a circle of fabric, pull it taut behind the button front where a circle of serrated teeth (sounds very nasty but it’s really not) bite into the material to hold it fast. You then press the back plate in to make it secure and ready to sew on. I usually cheat a little bit and smudge a tiny squinch of PVA glue or Modge Podge onto the front to keep the fabric centred while I pull and fold it round the back.

Talking of sweeties… I used some more of the pink floral to cover a bolster pillow like a bon-bon! I have been practising with my happy feet again – the little foot that gives the quarter inch turned hem. If you master it, it gives a beautifully neat, trim and tidy turnover. I only had a couple of wobbly bits so I’m improving in that department.

I made the dandelion in the middle using a cording foot to stitch over a length of floss for the dandelion stem and seed stalks. The irridescent sheeny stuff is Angelina Fibre. That  magical fairy wing fabric! It’s so beautiful and I absolutely LOVE it. It is sold in bags of loose nests of fibres. You simply pull some of the candy floss off the nest, tease and press it with your hand into as fine a gossamer ‘mist’ or dense clump as you wish, sandwich it between two pieces of greaseproof paper and iron it.  It fuses together to form a ‘sheet’ of magical wonder which you can then glue or sew with. And it comes in many colours. If you Google for it and see the full range of colours, have the smelling salts handy. You might just swoon.

You get a better view of the Angelina Fibre in this shot.


I also got this gorgeous material. It has a very seventies feel with those Smarties colours and funky graphics.  More hearts. Somebody stop me!

The red basket and the bottom lining are more functional. I bought the basket at a … yes, you’ve guessed, a car boot sale. €2.00. It was *new* and lovely but I spray-painted it Balmoral Red (Rustoleum) to match the laundry basket I posted recently. This will probably go in the bathroom to keep rolled up handtowels in. I won’t take the scatter cushions out yet though. That little job can wait. I don’t want to disturb the bunny.


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