Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Product in Focus: Boobook from Lil Pip

Up next in our Product in Focus series, we feature a 'hootiful' product which makes the perfect newborn baby gift!  This Q&A session courtesy of Jane from Lil Pip.

  1. Name of product: Boobook
  2. What is the purpose of the product? A perfect present for newborns or babies, the Boobook owl ribbon taggy is designed to stimulate babies senses.  The grosgrain, satin, velour or lace ribbons provide texture for little fingers and the beautiful soft minky back is just gorgeous to snuggle into.  The wings have added crinkle to delight a curious baby!  The long ribbon 'handle' can hang from your pram, hook onto rings in the car, bassinette .. many options.
  3. Who can use this product? From newborn to the age of 2 years but they have been known to hang in sewing rooms and I had one customer who bought them as gifts but were quickly taken by her 7 and 5 year old girls!
  4. What is the product made from? 100% cotton, ribbons of all types, minky or occasionally chenille back and crinkly wings are made from recycled plastic.
  5. Where is the product created? In my sewing space at home in Melbourne (usually known as my bedroom!)
  6. How is the product created? Oh this is the fun part - I love to play with all the beautiful fabrics and ribbons, designed just the right combination.  They are all created by me and Maxine - my sewing machine!
  7. How did the product idea come about? Owls were becoming very popular a couple of years ago and I had seen something online.  I made a couple for friends with new babies and had so many comments about them so decided to refine the design and make them myself.  Nearly 2 years later, I have made over 200 of them.
  8. Where can customers buy this product and what is the RRP? Visit my Facebook Page or my website or for the full range visit me at the markets in the inner west of Melbourne. Details are on my blog.  They cost $25 each
  9. Anything else about the product you would like to mention? Each and every one of them has a name. To me they all have their own little characters. Bizarre? Yes I'm now becoming the crazy owl lady :)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Whats On!

The following invitation is issued to  all TSS blog readers…

Make sure you keep an eye on the Or Elsie! Facebook page to be kept up to date with the events of virtual launch party  which will kick off at noon (NSW time) with random games and giveaways leading up to the store going live.

There are a few things already previewing in the store front with more been added right up until opening. Mums are catered for with stock including ladies singlets and peg aprons, and then there are these cute little capri pants for the daughters.

Meanwhile  with all the focus on Or Elsie! not much is happening on the boys side of things.  Fabric has been ordered to make prototypes for the winter range at PuppyDogs Tails and there are a few ideas in the sketchbook for Easter shirts.  A clean up revealed a few unclaimed waterproof car seat mats and these have been added to store – they are an easy on easy off design to help protect your car seat from accidents during toilet training, from wet bottoms after swimming or just from the general mess kids make. 

With school now underway, here at Unique Babeez we are about to re-open for the year. First up you will find me at Little Feet Baby Market at Hillcrest on Sat 4th Feb as well as I will be beginning to restock the website pages with new designs for the year. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page as well to find out when you can catch a custom spot to get your very own personalised item of choice, these will be popping up in the near future.

Menu Monday

This week we have two recipes for you from Linda, one of our independent crafters - as seen in last weeks Sewing Sisterhood Photo Challenge.

Banana & White Choc Chip Muffins 
(adapted from a recipe)  


60g margarine
2 cups (300g) SR Flour
1/4 cup raw sugar
1/2 cup (125ml) skim milk
2 eggs
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup (100 - 200g) Nestle white choc bits
Vanilla Essence
1 tsp cinnamon

Method: 1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
2. Line a muffin tray with patty cases, or alternatively spray lightly with oil cooking spray
3. Sift flour and cinnamon into a bowl, add the sugar and mix well. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients.
4. Add all the wet ingredients including the mashed banana. Mix until JUST combined.
5. Fold through choc bits.
6. Distribute mixture between 12 muffins, bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Lentil Salad
(Apparently from a Jenny Craig cookbook, featured in OK Magazine Australia)


1 cup dried brown lentils
1 punnet cherry tomatoes
Olive Oil spray
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 x 450gm can baby beets, drained and sliced
100gm rocket leaves
1/4 cup parsley and 1/4 cup mint, both roughly chopped (reserve a few leaves to garnish)
1 brown shallot, diced
50gm reduced fat feta, crumbled
2 tbsp toasted walnuts


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to the boil, then cook for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain well and set aside.
3. Meanwhile, place the cherry tomatoes on a baking tray, spray with spray oil, season with cracked pepper and roast for 10 minutes until the skin is just starting to split.
4. Whisk the olive oil and balsamic vinegar together in a small bowl to combine.
5. To serve, place the lentils and the remaining ingredients together in a large bowl, toss through the dressing and divide into four plates. Top with roasted tomatoes and garnish.

Time Saver: Can substitute cooking your own lentils with two x 400g cans of brown lentils.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Follow your passion and find your niche

Starting your own business and making money or even a living is going to take some time (blood, sweat and most likely tears!). That’s why you see everywhere, people telling you to follow your passion. Do what you love, after all you are going to be doing it a while, spending a lot of time and money investing in making it a success, so you want to make sure it is something you really enjoy doing.

It might be worth making a mood board (Pinterest is amazing for this!). Keep adding things that inspire you and check back regularly to make sure you are on track.

So once you have found your passion, you now need to find the people who want what you make! Sometimes it is easier to find your niche, something that is unique to you or a new take on something (I honestly believe nothing is new in the hand crafted world!) and market to a smaller group of people who really want it rather than try to be all things to all people.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

TSS Photo Challenge - Week 3

Its cooking week at the TSS Photo Challenge! Apologies for the delay, things have been hectic this week!

We've had some delicious looking submissions to this weeks challenge of "something you cooked." Some of the sisters have blogged their recipes and I've included links. If there's something here which is just too yummy for you to resist trying, pop it in the comments and we'll get the recipe written up for a Menu Monday post.

Jo - 5 Giraffes & a Cheeky Monkey: Vegemite Scrolls

Melanie - MelliMoo Creations: Zucchini Slice

 Linda - Independent Crafter:  Banana and White Choc Chip Muffins; Lentil Salad

Jane - Lil Pip: Pancakes (recipe on the Lil Pip blog)

Sharon - LiL Moo & Mee - Chili Prawn Linguine

Mel - Handmade by 3 Little B's: Jelly Slice

Sarah - Skip Chasey - Seafood pie - Weight Watchers Friendly (recipe on the Skip Chasey blog)

Leigh - Sakurako - Pear Tart (recipe on the leebee tells it like it is blog)

Next week we'll be taking a closer look at the Sister's craft areas by looking at their cutting tables - see you then!

Monday, January 23, 2012

What's On!

 Over at Ohana Trends we are getting ready for the month of February and we are going to give Cupid a helping hand.  There is an entire folder dedicated to Valentine's Day entitled: Valentine's Day 2012: Heart for Hearts. There are a multitude of hearts in this folder for sale, $5 plus postage.  The best part is, ALL of the proceeds from this sale are being donated to a very worthy cause and one that is important to me, HeartKids.  This money will go towards researching congenital heart disease, and helping out families and babies/children born with a congenital heart defect.

For Easter, there are going to be limited numbers of bunnies for sale.  Ones for bigger girls and boys and ones for babies too :o)  Keep an eye out for these coming up :o)

Crambster Creations are having their first market night of the year on Tuesday 24th Jan @8pm Qld time. We are excited here at HQ to get back into the swing of things after a lovely break with family. We are lucky to also be stocking the awesome zipper flowers so come and grab a couple. Also check out our Hair Accessories Albums on Facebook which are available all the time. 

Holly is busy sewing up a storm for the launch of the Or Elsie! virtual storefront next Tuesday night (Jan 31st).  Mark the date in your diaries as there will be a bit of a party happening on the Facebook page that evening in the lead up to the store going live at 8:30 pm NSW time. 
Included in the new range are these reversible wrap dresses with hand embroidered detail and button embellishments

 But that’s not all Holly has been sewing with several new pairs of the signature range of “Funky Mister” shorts been added to the Puppy Dogs Tails store on Oz Handmade. Also available are swim nappies and board shorts, perfect  for those last days of summer swimming trips! 

The latest issues of Sew Hip and Mollie Makes are in from the UK and are available tomorrow at Oz Handmade. There is also new Sprouts patterns, cool sewing notions and accessories, and chalk cloth in stock at the OZ Store!

Friday, January 20, 2012

What price?

Probably the most common question we see in our group is, ‘What should I charge for this?’

This is a really interesting question and has so many factors to influence the answer. Here are some points to consider:

What is the cost of your materials? Ok an obvious one to consider. What is the cost of your fabric, buttons, threads, glue, hair clips, toy fill, embroidery thread and all the items that go into making up your product. What about your electricity, machine wear and tear and those type of overheads? Website costs, packaging, petrol to get to the post office. It all adds up. Have you ever sat down and really figured out the true cost of your product/s?

What is the cost of your time? I think if all home crafters factored in the true cost of their time, they wouldn’t sell a thing! I guess what I mean by this question, is don’t just cover your costs and add $1 on top. Some go by the rule of double the cost of your materials, some triple. Just make sure that what you add on top of the cost of your materials makes it worth your while.

What are the prices of comparable products? As a general rule, I don’t think you should just charge the same as everyone else does. Not everyone creates in the same way or style. You may use more expensive vintage fabrics and so need to charge a little more to make money. However, doing some research and having a look at what others are charging, might give you an idea of what range you should price your product.

What value do you place on your own work? I think we are the biggest self doubters. We don’t think our products are amazing and often wonder if others would even buy them. Having recently done my first markets, it truly is a thrill when people admire your creations and ask ‘wow, did you really make this?’ (said with a note of awe in their voice). If you price your products cheaply, how does this reflect your brand? Cheap prices to me are cheap quality products. Plus if you price your products cheaply, you simply cannot sustain this and expect to make money. Right?

What do you want to charge? If you spend hours creating a custom designed quilt then you should charge accordingly. What you charge will reflect on your brand. Don’t be afraid to charge what you want. Ok you might loose some people who want a bargain, but in the long run, you will gain customers who appreciate your work.

I hope this helps you to determine what you should be charging for your products. If anyone else has some ideas or points to consider, please comment below. We would love to hear from you!

Jane from Lil Pip 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

TSS Photo Challenge - Week 2

Welcome to week 2 of The Sewing Sisterhood Photo Challenge. This week we are looking at the Sister's favourite spaces in their homes.

1. Angela - Perigren Creations: My favourite room of the house-the hammock on deck centres my soul - how could it not looking at the expanse of sky through the trees.

2. Mel - Handmade by 3 Little B's: My favourite space is currently the view from my lounge-room window. A garden that is alive in full summer bloom. I keep finding myself staring at it and feeling a wave of soothing calm wash over me. It is a good place for my soul right now.

3. Leigh - Sakurako: My favourite room in our house is the boys bedroom. I love the bunting flags on the walls and drawers, and their wooden names which I painted myself. Henry's gorgeous cot quilt was made by his godmother. Oliver has a quilt for his bed too but its still awaiting the binding (*blushes*).

1. Jo - 5 Giraffes & a Cheeky Monkey: My favourite room in the house... The Kid's room.... I never thought I would have ONE child let alone TWO.

2. Tracey - My Obsession DesignsMy bed is not actually my most favourite place - I actually don't sleep much at all - but I love what's on my bed and hanging over my bed. Quilt made by my Mum in Browns, Pinks and Greens- Wall Hanging handstitched by me.

3. Tanya - Pumpkin Snitch Designs: This is our favorite spot. 'Cause it's our cuddles and books spot. ;)

1. Michelle - M's Cute Bottoms: My favourite place, the kids playground it's brilliant kids can go out and play till there hearts content, gets them out of the house!

2. Naomi - Ohana Trends: This is my favourite place in my home. My lounge room and my antique lounge. I get to play with my kids and watch them play from this lounge. Lots of happy times. Also love to read on this lounge too.

3. Melanie - MelliMoo Creations: This is my favourite place its kind of the hub of the house and I always seem to be in it.

1. Belinda - Little Sew & Sews: A place to chill with a good book, a comfy cushion and some Margaret River chocolate close by.

2. Tina - The Sewing Fairy: My favourite room is our bedroom, you can’t see it but we often sleep with the blinds open as there is a hill behind the house & we often spot kangaroos bounding about on there. We have a king-sized bed so there is plenty of room for the 4 of us to jump in & have a family chat/cuddle on weekends 

3. Gill - Frilly's Designs: This is my favourite space at the moment, BBQ for Christmas and outdoor area just set up. Loving this space!

1. Jane - Lil Pip: I tried to think of somewhere else but nope, my bed. The huge print above is from when Amelia was 6 days old. She is laying on top of Oliver fast asleep. I still stop and look at this amazing moment in time. Makes me emotional. Just love it.

2. Sharon - Lil Moo & Mee: This is my favorite part of the house. It's a wall in our open living area where we put Maxx's art work from playgroup or early intervention. It's a reminder every day how far he's come.

3. Holly - Or Elsie: Here is my "fav place" - its my hallway. Simply because it doesn't matter how chaotic the rest of my house it is nearly always clean and even when the toys take over its a quick job to regain the calm.

Next week's theme is something cooked - stay tuned for some yummy looking meals and links to delicious recipes!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Product in Focus: Walkie Chalkie from Skip Chasey

Today's Product in Focus is something clever to put the smiles on faces of children and parents alike! This Q&A session is courtesy of Sarah from Skip Chasey.

  1. Name of product: Walkie Chalkie
  2. What is the purpose of the product: To provide a portable drawing mat while out and about.
  3. Who can use this product? Children that are able to draw with chalk - all the way up to adults.  It is also good for those children that are non-verbal and can write or draw their responses. 
  4. What is the product made from? Chalk cloth fabric and designer cotton backs. 
  5. Where is the product created? It is created here at Skip Chasey headquarters.  
  6. How is the product created? With a sewing machine. The binding on the Walkie Chalkies is all made by hand.  Specialty needles are used to go through the thick chalkcloth. 
  7. How did the product idea come about? I saw some chalkcloth being sold online and thought about what I could be doing with it. There was a prototype that was posted on the Skip Chasey Facebook page that was very well received.
  8. Where can customers buy this product and what is the RRP? Walkie Chalkies are available at market nights on the Skip Chasey Facebook page and retail at $20 plus postage.

Monday, January 16, 2012

What's On!

Sakurako will have a new boys cot quilt listed on Wednesday – 2D Zoo I. A bold, minimalist design showcasing a boyish blue, green and brown animal print and with straight-line quilting, 2D Zoo I is a truly modern quilt for a modern nursery. Available via the Sakurako Facebook page 

Jane from Lil Pip has been busy sewing for her little owlets. 
The joy on their faces when mummy makes something for them is totally worth it (and something that should happen more often!).   Still being challenged, this is the first time playing with stretch knit fabric since high school.  Supposed to be night wear, I have a feeling that they might be all the time wear!
I'll soon be preparing for my first markets for 2012. Keep Saturday 11 February free and come to see me at the Yarraville Markets. Same day as the Yarraville Festival with bands, free kids entertainment, food and of course homemade goodies.

M's Cute Bottoms has enjoyed some time off and is getting back into the swing of things. I've been busy updating all the products on the website and everything is current.  Keep an eye out this week for new items being released, like wet bags and MORE nappies. Head on over to and check out what is available. I’m also happy to announce that I will be a stall holder at The Mummy Tree Market at Morningside, their first market is in February so keep an eye out for more information on that.

It is still all sweet and summery this week at Handmade By 3Little B’s. I will be enjoying a week of creating Sweet Summer Sun Suits in a variety of gorgeous fabrics!
So many fabric combinations whirling in my mind! Watch my wall, this week is all about make and sell. Cheers Mel (Mumma B)
 Pattern design courtesy of Little Lizard King sewing patterns 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Product in Focus: Kids Back Pack from My Obsession Designs

Let's kick start 2012 with a product that fits nicely with the beautiful summer weather that a lot of Australia is currently experiencing!  This Q&A session is courtesy of Tracey from My Obsession Designs.

  1. Name of product: Kids Back Pack
  2. What is the purpose of the product: My kids back packs are lined with a waterproof fabric, which makes it ideal for kids to carry to swimming lessons or a trip to the beach.  Equally as great for a trip to the park or an overnight stay at the Grandparent's place.
  3. Who can use this product? The back pack is designed "kids-size" but can easily be used by an adult also.
  4. What is the product made from? The outside of the bag is made from 100% quilting cotton - lightweight by durable.  They are lined with waterproof PUL (which is the same product used in MCN's to keep baby dry).
  5. Where is the product created? The back packs are created by me, in my home with my kids playing under my feet.
  6. How is the product created? They are sewn entirely with my trusty sewing machine.
  7. How did the product idea come about? My children attend swimming lessons weekly.  With all three of them in the pool (as well as me for the younger ones), I was a bit like a pack-horse heading out every Wednesday morning.  I wanted a back pack that the kids would wear themselves, something fun and colourful, lightweight but big enough to hold their towel, swimwear, drink bottle and a snack.  Something that didn't weigh them down.
  8. Where can customers buy this product and what is the RRP? Customers can purchase my kids back packs from my Online Store at or in person at The Mummy Tree Markets on the Gold Coast (every second month).  I also attend other markets around Brisbane, visit my Facebook Page for updates on where you can find me.  The back pack retails at $30 (AUD).
  9. Do you have a special offer for our blog followers? Mention seeing my back packs on The Sewing Sisterhood Blog and you will receive $5 off!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TSS Photo Challenge - Week 1

Welcome to The Sewing Sisterhood's weekly Wednesday Photo Challenge. Photo challenges are really popular online right now - there are weekly challenges for the less adventurous, photo-a-day challenges for a single month for those who want to stretch themselves a bit, and Project 365(+1) for those dedicated to taking a photo a day for a whole year.

The Sisters have committed to weekly photos to a set theme. This week, to kick things off we are showcasing our machines. There's a huge variety of sewing machines represented in the Sisterhood, but the clear favourite of the overlockers is the Janome Mylock 644D.

You can catch a glimpse of some of the Sister's creative spaces in the photos too - you'll see more detail of those in future Photo Challenge weeks. 

3. Linda - Independent crafter  4. Mel - Handmade by 3 Little B's

3. Kylie - Independent crafter  4. Michelle - M's Cute Bottoms

Next weeks theme is "Favourite room in your house" and I'm expecting lots of gorgeous spaces to drool over. See you then!

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