Friday, August 31, 2012

Meet the Maker - My Obsession Designs

It's time to meet the gorgeous Tracey from My Obsession Designs. This lovely lady makes beautiful things (I especially love her mini messenger bags!). Tracey's I Can for Cancer campaign ends tonight, so head on over to her page to help her raise some funds for the Cancer Council in memory of her mum.

Tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Tracey and I am a mum to 4 children - Xavier 5 1/2, Riley 4, Amelia 2 1/2 and Caleb 13mths and wife to Leif.  I have enjoyed crafting from an early age - thanks to my Mum who was always sewing, knitting or doing something crafty with her hands.  I absolutely love being a stay at home mum to my babies (most days! :D )

Other than sewing, what do you do?

My life currently revolves around my family.  I volunteer in my son's prep class room 4 days a week for about an hour each time, take the other 3 kids to swimming lessons every week.  My husband and I are soccer parents in the soccer season.  We love to catch up with friends and family regularly and when time permits get a bit of camping happening for a nice tree change!

Where do you get your inspiration?

Inspiration comes from everywhere.  I love to create items that people will use everyday.  My kids inspire me to create items that they love to play with (my Mini Messenger bags are often dragged along on an "adventure" in our house!).  Crafting has been passed down in my family for generations.  I am inspired that one day I will be able to pass that down to my daughter

 What does sewing, crafting and handmade mean to you?

Sewing, crafting and handmade = LOVE.  My mum used to make our clothes as a kid, always made with love and care.  Recently she passed away after a hard fight with cancer.  The most treasured items I now own are quilts made by her for us (my family), each with a message on the back "those who sleep under a quilt sleep under a blanket of love).  Handmade items are personal and tell a story.

Who is your favourite fabric or pattern designer?

I don't really have a favourite fabric or pattern designer.  I just really love fun, bright, colourful fabrics!  Whenever I need to buy fabric, it's always hard to choose which ones to get this time around!

Who has been your greatest influence?

My Mum, without a doubt has been my greatest influence in the crafting world.  I grew up sitting on or under her sewing table, picking up pins off the floor, sewing buttons onto scraps of fabric.  Mum was never without a crafting project.  If she was watching TV or in the passenger seat of the car there was always knitting or crocheting in her hands.

Where would you like to be in five years?

Happy, with my family - because at the end of the day, family is all that matters :D

What handmade possession do you love most?

I have a few treasured handmade possessions.  The first is a hope chest that my Grandfather crafted from timber for me.  He passed away from cancer in 2001, so that is his legacy to me.  The second is quilt that Mum hand pieced and quilted for me for my 21st birthday.  It contains fabric from a dress she had as a girl as well as fabrics used over the years to make me and by brothers and step sisters clothes.  The third is a quilt Mum made for me and my husband for our wedding gift.  (there are many other hand knitted blankets in our house that Mum made for us that are also treasured).  Mum's quilts are her legacy to us.  My 3 eldest children have one each 
and Mum and I were working on one for my youngest child when she passed away.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's On! - Part 2

More of what's on this week from the Sisters:

Ohana Trends have their 7" Heart Softies for sale again through September via the Facebook page. The entire $5 purchase price will be donated to HeartKids. There are also Heart Shaped Mug Rugs available, also with $5 from every purchase going towards HeartKids.

Exciting times at Skip Chasey - as well as a heap of Ready-to-Post items available for purchase, there is also a Fabric Destash happening with heaps of gorgeous fabrics for sale.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What's On!

My Obsession Designs I Can for Cancer campaign finishes this week.  10% of all sales this month will be donated to the Cancer Council Queensland to help with ongoing support for cancer patients and their families as well as vital research into preventions and cures for cancer.  Head on over to their webstore to make a purchase and help fight for a cancer free future!

Tax deductible donations can also be made online here.

What’s on this week at Handmade By 3 Little B’s? Meet “Little Miss Hoot” trhe newest member to join the dress range. She’s pretty cute and can be custom made in any style and fabric combination! To learn more, make sure you visit the Facebook page. If your looking for something sweet to wear this spring, make sure you pop on over and have a look at our Big Cartel store something might take your fancy!

This week Unique Babeez will be taking part in the WAHM Showcase Market on Friday night at 8pm (AEST) with a special little One of a Kind item. Also the NEW range for Spring is in for Wee-Free Riders! Most are only 1 or 2 of each design available so don't miss out. Order through the website or through our OzHandmade store for these.

The new Supporting Aussie WAHMs items are expanding! Boosters are very popular and currently have a slight waiting list, so please contact if you wish to order to know the current waiting times.

And of course we cant forget the great Cloth Nappy Hunt!! It begins this Saturday! Be sure to sign up ready.

Trinity's Treasures are launching their new soy candle range at the Mandurah Indoor Markets this Saturday, Dower St, Mandurah from 8am - 2pm. There will be candle tins with a long 43 hours burning time, clam-shell melts, shape melts, and oil burners, all available in an extensive range of gorgeous scents. Something for everyone and perfect for gifts!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Meet the Maker - Little Magnolia Button

Tell us a little about yourself?

My name is Bridie and I’m a mum to one year old Imogen and wife to Dave. I love creating things and learning new crafty skills. I’ve done a fair bit of traveling (especially to places that have a beach!!) and look forward to doing a lot more in the future!

Other than sewing, what do you do?

 I’m currently on maternity leave from a job where I get to work with children who have experienced trauma. It’s a challenging job but one that I really love. I’m also studying a diploma of Education, so I’m very busy between looking after (or should I say playing with!) Imogen, studying and making things for Little Magnolia Button.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I started Little Magnolia Button when Imogen came along because I love buying fabric and making things for her. I also love trying new patterns out on her.

But I also tend to find inspiration all around me. At the moment I am working on raising money for SIDS and KIDS Victoria in memory of my lovely friends Sofia and Richard’s baby boy, Laurence, who was born still last year and their friend Tess’s baby Elizabeth who died at birth 2 years ago. Tess and Sofia and Richard’s strength and courage has been such a great inspiration to me.

I’ve been thinking a lot about where I want to travel to next, using this as inspiration I will be working on a line of items using Michael Miller’s Out to Sea fabric.

There really is inspiration and beauty everywhere!
 What does sewing, crafting and handmade mean to you?

 Sewing and crafting is a relaxing experience for me. I love the process of starting with a ball of wool or some fabric and completely changing it into something else. Handmade also means love to me, every handmade thing is made with someone’s time and effort simply because creating brings the maker happiness and hopefully it brings the owner the same happiness!

Who is your favourite fabric or pattern designer?

I love a lot of Amy Butler’s fabrics because they are so full of life but I also find it hard to go past Riley Blake and Michael Miller fabrics. At the moment I particularly love ‘Songbird’ and ‘Out to Sea’.

Who has been your greatest influence?

 Like so many others, crafting and sewing is in my family. My mum taught me a lot about sewing when I was younger and my Aunty Joan is incredibly creative and full of brilliant ideas. My lovely friend Bernie at Tea for Evie is also a great influence, as even though we have very different styles I just love her work and love that her gentle and creative nature comes through all of her products!

Where would you like to be in five years?

To be completely honest I don’t know! Hopefully life is full of wonderful adventures and wherever I am and whatever I am doing in 5 years time it will be creative, bring happiness and be shared with the people I love. 

What handmade possession do you love most?

I’m lucky enough to have known my great-grandmother who we called ‘Little Nanna’ (for those of you who know me, would you believe she was actually shorter than me?!). Little Nanna made each of her great grandchildren a crocheted blanket. I love mine and made sure that I made a crocheted blanket for Imogen when she was born.

The other thing I love is my ‘Mrs Rabbit’ soft toy that my mum made me when I was a baby. I recently searched and searched until I could find the same Mrs Rabbit fabric so that I could make one for Imogen too! As you can probably tell, I love that crafting brings families together and is passed down the generations!

(Photos by Clare Metcalf photography -

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What's On!

This Sunday 26th August, you will find My Obsession Designs at the launch market for Creative Markets.  Creative Markets is a handmade only market.  Catch up with your friends for a coffee and browse the 50 stalls of handmade goodness or bring the kids along for a great morning out.  Free face painting and balloons and a $1 jumping castle should keep them happy!

My Obsession Designs will feature again in the months WAHM Market with a unique patched tote bag and matching wallet.  Market night opens at 8pm on 31st August.  First person to comment sold will win this OOAK accessory set.

And last but not least, My Obsession Designs is donating 10% of all sales to the Cancer Council Qld through their "I Can for Cancer" campaign.  You can view the Authority to Fundraise letter and find out more about the campaign here. Items can be purchased through their Oz Handmade Store.  Custom orders also welcome.

Trinity's Treasures will be at the Mathilda's Market in Perth this Sunday 26th August, from 9am-1pm at the Fremantle Town Hall. They will have lots of gorgeous handmade clothing for girls and boys. 

For all purchases of any of Made for Myah soy candles until the 16th of September, Naomi will be donating the Palliative Care Unit at the Albury Mercy Hospital 15%. They do a wonderful caring job and need the support. Naomi is doing this in memory of her beautiful friend Gavin Barker who recently lost a hard battle against cancer. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Meet the Maker - Handmade by 3 Little B's

This week we are introducing Mel, who is not only talented and creative but also one of the most kind-hearted ladies you will come across. Have a look at some of Mel's gorgeous creations at Handmade by 3 Little B's

Tell us a little about yourself?

Many of the talented crafters that I know, have always crafted. Its in their blood, they could sew and create from a very young age and have continually grown along the way. In fact, I failed sewing miserably at school. The pattern felt like a foreign language, sewing machines and overlockers seemed to have minds of their own, and my goodness, what do you mean, that’s my fabric? Thank goodness choice of fabric goodness has evolved since then!

I’d definitely call myself a “late bloomer” and honestly there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, if it hadn’t been for my children – The 3 Little B’s – Caleb (8), Jaida (6) and Jaxon (4) I may never have discovered that I do indeed possess a bit of a  “creative streak!” It has been a blessing and a very soothing creative outlet (I like to say it is probably cheaper than therapy!) although some could differ in that opinion when they see my hoards of fabric!

So here I am, a mid 30’s something wife, mother, daughter, sister, teacher and friend who lives in Country Victoria on rural acreage. I met the love of my life when I was 18 and never looked back. I have (as I mentioned above) 3 beautiful (ahem .. energetic, stubborn, creative) children, a border collie dog and 3 “chookens” as Jaxon would say. We are in the midst of a major renovation to our home (Mr B, is a builder) so you could say there is a little “creative chaos” in our lives right now!

Other than sewing, what do you do?

I work for the Department of Education and have been teaching since 2000. While raising my family and finding my creative soul again, I took a full 7 years family leave from the Department and in that time enjoyed parenting, sewing and doing relief teaching. I returned in 2011 on a full time basis and work in a small rural school of around 136 children. We have 7 classes and I teach a straight Grade 1. I think teaching in a junior class is very complimentary to my creative mind! I also have a strong IT (information technology) interest and a passion for Welfare.

Where do you get your inspiration?

My inspiration came initially from my own children, as I wanted them to have a unique and individual style. I had to think of durability and comfort too, considering we live in the “country” and my 3 children are ALWAYS outdoors! I needed to create things that would (of course) wash and wear really well! As my sewing evolved, for me it all comes down to the fabric now. Certain fabrics appeal to me, and the designs are inspired from there. I rarely make more than one ‘specific fabric style’ as I always wanted to create something special, one off, that no one else had. We all want to be a bit unique!

What does sewing, crafting and handmade mean to you?

Creative / Relaxation / Therapy – a chance to switch off from the pressures of modern day living and let my soul be absorbed in whatever my fingers weave on the machine. I love handmade and thinking about the love and tenderness that has been carefully invested in each garment. A garment isn’t made in an instant, some dresses take me 1 to 2 days to create and you feel such a sense of pride and accomplishment when you finish, iron it and pop it on your little model! The world of sewing/craft/handmade has also opened up a very special social connection for me as well, from beautiful crafters all over Australia and the world. It’s a special thing to connect with other like-minded souls and be able to share craftiness joy!

It also means (however) that I have a terrible fabric addiction and a need to purchase pretty embellishments. So much so, in our current renovation, we’ve added an entire “sewing” room and walk in robe space dedicated solely to handmade/sewing/crafty BLISS!

Who is your favourite fabric or pattern designer?

When I fist sat at the machine again after so many years, Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner were my FAVOURITE fabric designers. I also loved Sandi Henderson and Carolyn Gavin for their combinations. Saffron Craig (as an Australian based designer) has fabric that is like heaven on your fingertips to work with. As the years have gone by, I do notice that it is Amy Butler that I always tend to gravitate back towards.  I just love her prints and colour combinations.

Pattern wise, 4 years ago, Toni Coward and her flipsy skirt and knot pinafore brought much joy to my little girl’s wardrobe essentials. Now that Jaida is encroaching on “7” I am inspired by Cecilia from Lily Bird Studio who has beautiful stylish patterns for little girls to size 10.

Who has been your greatest influence?

Growing up, I practically had a complete handmade wardrobe. I am sure at the time, I certainly didn’t value and appreciate handmade like I do today. My Mum had the uncanny ability to be able to look at an item in a store display window and go home and draft her own pattern and sew from that. I am positive in the early years she wondered why her sewing skills had not been passed down to me (I’m definitely a late bloomer). But now, it is so nice to be able to share my passion with mum and of course I always have a question here or there about how to do this, or how can I do that? I have an older sister and a niece who are also VERY creative and talented with their sewing machines too, so they (not that they know this) have influenced me as well. I certainly never would have ever envisaged I could create what I have created.

Where would you like to be in five years?

Teaching wise, definitely in a high skilled, inspired and motivating work place. Teaching has always been my life long ambition and I am constantly striving to become the best that I can possibly be in a classroom setting. Even in 5 years time, I would love to be visiting another classroom on the other side of the globe for further enhanced workplace practice. Education around the world and classrooms connecting globally is AMAZING in this day and age. It is awe inspiring from reading so many educational blogs, that many teachers are actually handmade sewers and crafters too when they are not in their classrooms! Creative minds galore!

Aside from that, I hope I am still creating away in my special creative place and taking in regular handmade markets. I would love to have some of my products in a little brick and mortar store too (one can dream).

Regardless of where I am though, even if I am just crafting for myself. I’m so very proud that I put myself out there and had the chance to share my handmade love with others.

What handmade possession do you love most?

My children each lovingly own a hand knitted woollen blanket that fits their single sized beds. Each knitted square was lovingly hand-knitted by the children’s Great Grandmother Rosie. I would give anything to have a Grandma Rosie blanket, it is so soft and divine and I love the use of colour and the way each square compliments the other.

On my wall, I also have a handmade cross-stich framed hanging that a very good friend of mine made as a wedding present to celebrate the joining of 2 souls. I think once I started creating, I appreciated it even more knowing the care and thought that was placed in every small stitch.

Made with LOVE is the epitome of handmade love!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's On!

This week Little Magnolia Button is getting ready for their first market, the Huckleberry Market in Brighton on Sunday 19th August. There will be some old favourites including bibs, playsuits and beanies as well as a couple of items new to the Little Magnolia Button range - shorts, bandana bibs, felt cloche hats and hair clip frames. This market is extra special as it will be raising money for the Special Care Nursery at Frankston Hospital. Please come and say hi!

This week Unique Babeez is restocking Change Mats and the well-loved Wee-Free Riders on the website! Lots of gorgeous new prints so be sure to check the Facebook page Tuesday night to get a sneak peak at prints and they will all be available Tuesday night after 7pm (Brisbane time). Dont forget also we are now on the countdown to the Cloth Nappy Hunt, which Unique Babeez along with many other brands will be a part of!

Sakurako quilts are featured this Saturday 18th August at the Mathilda's Markets at Hunters Hill. Charisma from Belino will have a selection of Sakurako quilts including the new Hummingbird Spring on display, along with two brand collaboration cot quilts (pictured). Belino will also have a selection of hair clips and accessories and hand-made Nepalese felt toys.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Menu Monday

Evening everyone, I'm here to announce an exciting collaboration between my blog Because Everything Counts and The Sewing Sisterhood.

Meal planning is big in our home and I've been doing it for around 4 years, saving my sanity and $$.

Read here the first part in my three part series of Why I Menu Plan.

So every Monday I will share my Menu Plan on my blog and then post two recipes here.

To begin with we have;

Beef Bourguignon with Chive DumplingsPrep 20 mins Cook 2hrs 10mins

2 tablespoons olive oil
1.5kg diced beef chuck steak
20g shortcut rindless bacon, halved lengthwise, cut into 1cm strips
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I use minced garlic from the jar)
3 medium brown onions, quartered
1 cup red wine
1/2 cup bef stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
300g button mushrooms, halved

1. Heat half the oil in a large heavy-based, flameprof casserole dish over medium-high heat. Cook beef in batches for 5 to 6 minutes or until browned. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Reduce heat to medium. Heat remaining oil in dish. Add bacon and garlic. Cook stiring for 5 minutes or until bacon is golden.

3. Return beef and juices to dish. Add onion and wine. Bring to the boil. Add stock and paste. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Reserve half the beef for Beef Stroganoff.

4. Add mushrooms, cook covered for a further 15 minutes or until meat and mushrooms are tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Chive dumplings

1 cup self raising flour
50g butter, softened
2 teaspoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup buttermilk (I use regular milk)

Place flour in a bowl. Using fingertips, rub butter into flour until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make a well in the centre of mixture. Add chives, parsley and buttermilk. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until just combined. Place heaped tablespoons of mixture 2cm apart onto beef mixture. Cook covered for a further 15 minutes or until dumplings are puffed and cooked through. Enjoy!

The recipe sounds big because a half portion is used for another meal ~ Beef Stroganoff. You could just freeze the other portion and use it later.

The second meal we had tonight..very yummy.  Thanks to the lovely chef Kelly from Culinary HQ for this recipe.

Pan roasted chicken thigh with Skordalia

1 red onion sliced
4 pieces of Maryland chicken thighs- skinless and boneless
½ tsp dried herbs
2 tbsp olive oil
1 pc of thinly sliced garlic cloves
10 pc cherry tomatoes
½ preserved lemon
8 slices of coppa or prosciutto
Sea salt
Black pepper

Line a baking tray with baking paper

Marinate the chicken thigh with dried herbs, preserved lemon, salt, pepper and olive oil

Place the sliced onion on a tray and lay over the chicken thigh
Top with the halved cherry tomatoes

Place the sliced coppa over the thigh to cover

Bake in the oven for 35 minutes at 170 degrees

The chicken thigh is cooked when the juices run clear.

2 Potato peeled and diced
1 Parsnip peeled and diced
2 cloves of garlic

½ cup of milk
½ cup of cream
3 tbsp olive oil

Place the vegetables in a pot and cover with cold water, add a pinch of salt and simmer until soft like a mash.

Drain and place back in the pot and mash with the milk, cream and olive oil

Season with sea salt and pepper

Serve with a large scoop of skordalia on a bed of baby spinach, pearl cous cous or chick peas!
Bon appetite!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Meet the Maker - Ohana Trends

Over the coming weeks we'll be introducing you to some more of the makers in the Sewing Sisterhood. 

First up is Naomi from Ohana Trends, a talented crafter who makes soft toys, mug rugs, hair accessories and many other gorgeous finds.

Tell us a little about yourself?

Hello :D My name is Naomi and I am the vivacious and creative brain behind the facebook page that is Ohana Trends.  I am a mummy to two little children, Hannah (Miss H) who starts Prep next year and Oliver (Master O) who is my Heart Kid.  Oliver was born with CHD (Congenital Heart Disease) in April 2009.  He was diagnosed with Pulmonary Valve Stenosis (PVS) and Atrial Septal Defect (ASD).  He goes in for his second heart procedure next year, to close one of the holes in his little heart.  Having had such a special little guy enter into our lives, has seen me and my husband grow and strengthen as individuals, encouraging us to both to more, to go above and beyond, when we can.
We are very blessed to have to gorgeous children in our lives and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Other than sewing, what do you do?

Hahahaha…I am a full time High School Teacher.  I have been teaching for over 10 years and I specialise in many areas, with my main areas being English, History, Legal Studies, Business Studies, Visual Arts and Drama.  It is my full time job and Ohana Trends is my creative outlet and my chance to relax away from work.

Where do you get your inspiration?

Good question….From my son and other children with CHD at present.  I am currently sewing hearts for the month of August and donating the purchase price of these hearts to Heart Kids.  My family and I would not be able to cope as well as we do, if it were not for this fantastic organisation that raises awareness of Childhood Heart Disease in Australia.
Aside from that, I get my inspiration from the colour that I see in the world.  The more colourful and vibrant the fabric the better! I also get my inspiration from my children.  I ask them what they like and they happily tell me…I then make everything that I sell on my page for my kids first…they are my product test bunnies :) 

What does sewing, crafting and handmade mean to you?

Sewing, crafting and handmade are about being unique and in some cases one of a kind (OOAK).  To me, it is about experimenting, creating and playing with a variety of fabrics and notions to make people happy.  At the end of the day, I like to make something that people are happy to walk away with and bring a smile to their face J I also believe that handmade offers a uniqueness, one that you will not get in a chain store and I like to dress my children and give gifts to friends that are unique and different...they show thought :)

Who is your favourite fabric or pattern designer?

Hahahahahahahaha…..Ah……I don’t really have a set favourite persay….but I do love the fabric ranges of Amy Butler, Riley Blake and Saffron Craig.  For patterns, I would have to say Sarah from Dolls and Daydreams….they are so easy to follow and my kids love soft toys!

Who has been your greatest influence?

In crafting…I would have to say my greatest influence in crafting comes from my mum. I have learnt so much from here in relation to hand sewing and finishing my work…having pride in what I create and willingness to give anything and everything a go.
I would have to also say another crafting influence would have to be my close friend Sarah from Skip Chasey.  In fact, Sarah was the one who encouraged me the most to get myself organised and open up a facebook page, to show and share with everyone what I create.  Sarah has such pride in her creations and is so inspirational.  So yeah, my mum and Sarah :)

Where would you like to be in five years?

Hmmmm….well since teaching is my life at present and Ohana Trends is really just a hobby, I tend to see myself moving up the hierarchy at work.  I would like to be a Head Teacher of either English or Social Science and living on the Sunshine Coast.  We presently live in the South Burnett in a town called Murgon.  We are two hours west of the Sunshine Coast and three hours north west of Brisbane.  I would like to be closer to both of our families and moving to the Coast would allow that to happen.  I also see myself probably going back to University to study once more…Speech Pathology.

What handmade possession do you love most?

Hmmmmm…you know what, I have three.  The first one is the baby blanket my mum made for my children, it is still in use today and so beautifully made.  The other favourite possession that is handmade that I love would have to be my key fob made by Sarah from Skip Chasey.  It goes with me EVERYWHERE and people always stop and ask me where they can get one from…I happily tell them to log on to facebook and go to Sarah’s page.  :)  In fact, I think I need a new one! Hahahahahaha.  The final one would have to be the love hearts that I first made for my children.  They still sleep with them every night without fail and when we go away on holidays, they must come with us in the car.

Be sure to check out Naomi's page, Ohana Trends, for information and photos of the hearts that Naomi is making to raise money for Heart Kids during the month of August.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Menu Monday - Quick & Easy

Jade's Bacon & Egg 'Cupcakes' (aka Mini Quiches) 

Bacon pieces

You need a muffin tray, place one piece of bread in each muffin hole, squishing it in to take shape. If bread isn't fresh, heat slightly in the microwave to make filling the muffin holes easier.

Add 1 teaspoon bacon pieces to each bread cup. Add 1 egg on top. Add another teaspoon of bacon pieces and then sprinkle cheese on top. Place in oven on 180 for 20 mins or until egg is cooked.

Add seasonings to taste.

- Jade from Perfectly Piper

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