Thursday, September 29

organic hemp and cotton tea towels... a scrumptious new textile for BIRCHseed

:: time to show you my new cream-de deluxe BIRCHseed tea towels...

they are made from a blend of hemp and certified organic cotton. 

these are the type of tea towel that you will have in your home for the next 20 years.... they are heavy weight and strong, because hemp is the strongest natural textile of them all, its even stronger than linen!

i have predominantly printed my tea pots so far in these colours

... and chookies in green and brown

(... the piggy chopping board was handmade by my pop some 25 years ago)

i feel a bit funny about selling a tea towel around the $30 mark.... i had to save long and hard to be able to purchase a bulk amount so i could print on them. but if you could reach out right now and just touch these.... 

you would see why i have gone to the effort to include them in my BIRCHseed range, as they feel and look amazing. and they only get softer and sweeter with each wash.

.... oh and did i mention they are certified organic? and made in Australia!!

so there you are... my new tea towels will be added to my madeit and etsy store this week.

 i will post alerts via my facebook page when i list each one (oh and i will continue to sell my $12 tea towels too, as  i know paying $30 for a tea towel is not for everyone :)

:: have you ever paid $30 for a tea towel for your self or as a gift for someone special?

more creative spaces today here

Thursday, September 22

tutorial - how to make home made cloth labels for clothes and products

:: lots of people have been asking me... 'do you make your own cloth labels?'

the answer is... yes i do! 

... & here is the tutorial i have been promising for many many months!!!....  making your own labels can save you money (who's got a spare $600 to get them manufactured when you are just starting up a small home-based business?!)

using the method below, you will end up with about 55 labels (depending on your logo size per A4 printed page) that measure approximately 6 cm wide and 1.8cm high. here is the method to my madness:


Materials you will need:
  • a computer with basic software like microsoft word or publisher
  • a basic inkjet printer 
  • tshirt transfers for inkjet printer (i use the avery brand which can be purchased at BIG W for around $20 for 5 pack) 
  • natural cotton or linen fabric - about the size of an A4 piece of paper
  • an iron
  • some scissors or cutting blade & mat
  • a few basic graphic design skills to make your own logo (or a file with your logo from your fav graphic designer)

1. Setting the layout for the t-shirt transfer sheet
  • on your computer, using word or publisher (i use microsoft office publisher 2003) open a new 'blank document'.
  • go to the 'page setup' (which is in the FILE MENU BAR at the top)... then click the layout tab...  then click the 'custom' option in the 'publication type' drop down menu.
  • .... within this same 'page setup box', make your 'width' - 6cm & the 'height' - 1.8cm

  • make sure that your page 'orientation' is set to - landscape
  • click on the 'change copies per sheet' tab and select 'print multiple copies per sheet'
  • also while here your need to make all the 4 categories of 'spacing'* - 0cm (zero) * the spacing should now say you have 5 across and 11 down
  • click OK twice & this completes your 'page setup' process

2. Designing your logo
  • design your logo by selecting things like the font, size colour until your happy with the layout
  • or use the 'insert' menu > 'picture' to add a jpeg or giff of your logo
  • make sure you have at least 1/2 cm of space at either side of your text - as this empty space is where you will sew your label to your clothes  / products

  • click SAVE when your happy with your logo design
*** NB: if these 3 processes above were way too confusing, you can go to the Avery website here and use one of their simple address label templates (you will have to register first, which is quick and easy).

3. Run a test print 
  • make sure your printer settings are A4 size paper

4. IMPORTANT - NOW YOU MUST MIRROR your logo / text now! otherwise when you iron on the transfer it will read backwards, and no one likes that! you can flip text a few ways...

  • use your design software and look for a commands that say 'flip', 'mirror' or 'reverse'
  • within your printers properties setup look for 'flip horizontal', 'mirror image' or paper that says 'tshirt transfer'.
  • DO ANOTHER TEST PRINT NOW ONTO PLAIN PAPER (to check that its now flipped!)
  • your printout should look something like this now...

5. Printing onto the transfer paper
  • make sure your printer is set to 'transfer paper'... you will usually find this option when looking at your printers 'properties' or 'page setup'.
  • if you can't find this option i recommend setting the printer to the 'best print quality' output. yes it will take a few minutes to print the page, but what this does is lay down a good amount of ink that gives the text on your labels a solid base to go through many many washes and not fade.
  • when inserting the transfer paper into the printer paper tray, have the back of the transfer paper facing up, this means your print will come out on the correct side (i am assuming all printers will be like mine, so please correct me if i am wrong)

  • ok so now your printed transfer paper is ready for ironing....

6. Ironing the transfer onto cotton fabric or cotton tape
  • read the simple instructions (included inside the pack) before you begin this stage ... or go here for a PDF of instructions
  • cut a piece of white or pale coloured cotton or linen fabric to A4 size and iron it so its nice an flat. let cool down.

  • lay your transfer paper over the cotton, making sure that the Avery logo is facing you and the printed side is face down onto the fabric.
  • Iron across the fabric, applying good pressure using two hands, for approximately 3 minutes. do not leave the iron in one spot for 3 minutes, otherwise it will scorch! just move it slowly for the 3 minutes back and forth. 

  • once done, let the transfer cool for 2 minutes or so
  • then gently peel the top paper off the fabric surface in one smooth motion

  • if your transfer is lifting off the fabric simply place the paper back down and give it some more time with the iron

7. cutting your labels ready for sewing
  • you now have a sheet of labels
  • using a Stanley knife and mat (or scissors, like me) cut your labels out in strips to store, or singles to sew onto your handmade products

  • i go fairly free hand here, as i like my labels to look non-perfect and a little raw edged. sometimes i will pull a few stray strands of thread and fray them a little. other times i will leave them more clean cut looking.

  • if you are using cotton tape to make your labels, simply cut your A4 label sheet across in strips and iron on each individual strip. this takes longer, but the labels are perhaps the best looking this way (if you want that really professional finish). 
  • nb: if you are making labels on a dark coloured fabric, you will have the purchase transfer sheets for this purpose and follow the directions, which are slightly different.
  • could try experimenting with other base cloths (as more chunky hemp / linen fabric labels can look really nice too).

  • and if you have a rubber stamp made up with your logo (i hand-carved mine from lino), you can experiment with printing straight onto fabric - just make sure you use fabric ink/paint and heat-set them afterwards.


& there you have it... a way to make your own labels at home. its a bit of a process... and yes, you need a good few hours to do this for the first time... but after doing the whole process once, it is much quicker the next time round!!

:: if you can't get your head around certain parts of this tutorial, or you have more improved and easier ways to do things, then pop up a comment (or email me) to chat and share :)

ps: if you would like to be notified when i post up new tutorials like this ( & my 1st giveaway is happening very soon too).... then subscribe here!

oh & dont' forget that there is more fun and games found over at our creative spaces today!

Thursday, September 8

other things i make -- indoor tent for kids

 i make lots of other things apart from my BIRCHseed products.... 

i started this series a couple of weeks ago with a post about some bespoke flower girl dresses i made for my neighbour....  & today i am sharing a cakies treat i found on the grossgrain 'free pattern a month' project.

its such a simple project.... the bug fabric i designed and screenprinted myself -- black ink onto a fresh cream cotton base-cloth.

i bought the timber and dowel from the local hardware store -- sanded the edges and drilled a few holes to fit the frame together.

next was sewing the fabric seams on my singer, tacking on a few ties and throwing the fabric over the frame, (adding a few pillows and teddies inside) to make the tent complete.

... my son is at the age were he just loves creating his own cubby house spaces everywhere! so, with this tent being portable and quick to throw up, its a perfect playtime addition for a 2 year old toddler. it's also a great space for mum or dad to squeeze into with our son to do bedtime reading!


:: I would love you to share any blogs or websites you know of that have some great kids ideas.

more great stuff over at our creative spaces today!

Thursday, September 1

handprinted organic canvas totes - part 2

back a couple of weeks ago, i wrote a post about some wonderful organic canvas bags i was printing as a custom order for mel @ the organic mamas. so, now i happily announce.... that my printed versions are ready and listed for sale in my shop here


... here are some more snaps if bags are your thing?

the 'victor lawn mower' man bag

'pea pods' tote

the 'apples' tote in red, green, blue or orange

pair of 'pears' tote

'apples' shopping bag in red

'apples' shopping bag in green

'chookies' shopping bags in brown, blue or orange

 '2 tea pots' in red

'2 tea pots' in orange

'2 tea pots' in yellow

did i say how wonderful the texture and feel of these awesome organic canvas bags are? and how totally 
suited block printing looks on them? 

another fun & great collaboration between BIRCHseed and The Organic Mamas :)

:: i would love to hear from my blog readers what YOUR favourite print is?

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