Thursday, October 27

market makings for Christmas

BIRCHseed will have a stall at 3 upcoming christmas markets. so i am making some festive trinkets to sell along with much of the usual BIRCHseed stuff.

i found this really great idea for embroidered fabric baubles over at the amazingly creative prints charming site. perfect for the blockprinting process i use and just so sweet don't your think?

here's how i made this bauble....
begins with a few sketches in my art journal

then out comes the silk cut....
drawing the design onto the pre cut lino and carving

inking up and test on paper, then fabric..

(the fabric i used was a scrap piece of linen tea towel i had left over from another project)

to complete the bauble, i hand stitched different colours of embroidery thread into the fabric print.

then i cut a nice red & white dotty contrast backing....sewed the two pieces of fabric together leaving a small gap to add some stuffing inside....

 hand stitched the gap closed and threaded some cotton twine through the top to hand the decoration on a tree.

and thats it done!

my aim is to make 6 different bauble designs that i will sell at the markets in kit form (where you can add your own colourful stitches) and quite a few more that i will complete and hang in a branch on my stall table.

:: do you think i should add them to my online shops for a bit of festive fun? would you sew & embroider some yourself too?


ps:  if you love markets & live around northern nsw...

 the first market is on the 26th november, in a little quaint town called stokers siding. its an old fashioned craft market held in a 100 year old hall. some of my friends will be there too - helle of gooseflesh /  kathy of oiko.

the second market is to be held on saturday the 3rd of december at the stunning tweed river art gallery. this gallery is worth a day trip in itself... a gorgeous contempory space set high on a hill, overlooking the tweed river, amongst some of the most stunning rural land you will ever see.

the third market i was invited by my friend ruth, to share a true 'christmas spirited' market run by the city church in brisbane, held on the sunday the 11th of december.

Thursday, October 20

DIY - handmade bias binding

want a chunky, organic-looking bias binding? 

this DIY takes your through the process of making continuous bias binding from bits of fabric you have at home in your stash or upcycle some old pillow cases / sheets / table clothes etc.
(i chopped up a 100% cotton curtain left over from cushion making project...)

1. grab your piece of remnant fabric & fold in half (good sides together)... now draw a square, probably at least 10 inches wide...
2. my squares measure 14 x 14 inches
3. cut squares out
4. pin squares together and sew 3mm in from edge all the way around the 4 sides. use a straight stitch set on 2.5
5. draw a diagonal line across from one corner to the other like shown...
6. lay fabric back on table
7. flip the fabric and do the same on the other side - BUT you actually want the two lines to form a 'X' when peeking at both sides - so just lift the other side and check
8. snip off 1cm from all 4 corners - this is so the scissors can be inserted in the following steps
9. snipped- corner close up

10. now cut across the diagonal line on one side...
11. flip the fabric and do exactly the same on the other side - BUT when you get towards the centre of the line, be careful not to pick up and cut the underneath layer, have a peek when you get to the middle just to make sure
12. with both sides now cut, begin to open the square from the centre
13. keep gently pulling open the square till the square begins to look like a tubular rectangle
14. lay the rectangle tube flat on the table
15. iron open & flat all sewn seams
16. close up of ironed seams
17. with your fabric tube flat on the table, draw a vertical line 6 or so inches in from the left side as shown...
18. with your ruler and chalk, mark and trim the top and bottom edges to neaten

19. now draw 3cm (1 inch) horizontal lines all the way down the right side of the 6 inch vertical line
20. begin cutting the lines all the way down
21. till you have a piece of fabric that now looks like some deep sea jelly fish!
22. open your fabric from the 6 inch side until you have the un-cut section of the fabric tube centred on the tabel
23. now, this is where the continuous bias comes into play... draw and match up the lower left side cuts with the upper right side cuts
24. until it looks like this...
25. begin cutting along the lines from the top - & trim the irregular top edge off square
26. keep cutting the lines all the way down... i inserted a piece of A4 paper in between so as not to accidentally cut into the underneath layer
27. cutting, cutting cutting....

28. when you get to the bottom, trim the irregular edge to make square
29. and viola!! you should now have a lengths & lengths of bias binding!
30. a great way to keep your bias binding flat and neat is to make a holding spool... i used an old ikea cardboard box cut into this shape
31. tape one end to the cardboard spool
32. now just wrap the bias around the spool & store till you need to use...
33. the binding put to use as a raw edge around a cotton singlet
34 - 36. you can now make bias binding in any colour / fabric to add to your handmade apparel.


once you have mastered this technique, watch out... it becomes a tad addictive!

:: would love to hear what sewing tips and tricks you use at home to help make your things 
just that little bit different....

more goodness over at our creative spaces today

Thursday, October 13

Q: what does a native australian tree and a baby rattle have in common?

A: .... they both feature in v.2.0 of the BIRCHseed organic fabric APPLE softie baby rattle.

 this rattle is now 100% unique to any other baby rattle sporting a timber teething ring.... how? because the rings are hand-turned by a local wood-turner near my home town in northern nsw. 

wood-turning is one of those forgotten crafts of high skill (and bravery)....  a block of of timber is cut and centred into a super fast spinning machine called a lathe. 

the wood-turner then uses various sharpened carving chisels, held down hard with two hands, to progressively carve away the timber until the desired shape of the item being made is achieved. 

depending on the item being made, this process can take days/weeks/months. to give you an idea..... it takes roughly 1 week of production time to source the timber and turn out 10 rings for my rattles. its a slow process (kind of like my blockprinting really...) & whilst they cost 7 x's more than a curtain ring made in China, i think its worth it!

... and what is the timber he uses?

it comes from the native Australian tree .... Grevillea robusta, commonly known as Silky-oak. 

it is the largest species in the genus Grevillea.... its a massive version of those common bird attracting native shrubs often found in most gardens around Australia. it is found in eastern coastal, subtropical environments..... and lucky for me it is found in my local area, making this a sustainable choice for the BIRCHseed rattles. 

it produces a stunning bloom of golden flowers in spring that last for many many months....

not only is the tree beautiful... but the timber is equally stunning, with a unique grain that is only seen in this species of tree. it is prized timber for fine furniture making, and wood turning of course!

its fine grain is a perfect match for using with the rattles. 

oh and they still feature organic fabric, that sweet sounding bell and compostable corn fibre stuffing inside and double all stitched for added safety.

so there we have it....the BIRCHseed baby rattle is a totally unique, more sustainable and eco friendly product than before. 

perfect gift as for baby showers, new baby arrivals or just a tad irresistible not to get for you own bubba. 

:: available in red and green... do you think other colours could be popular too?

more over at our creative spaces today

Thursday, October 6

Kanelstrand blog: BIRCHseed Giveaway

This weeks is all about sharing my first GIVEAWAY!


to enter head over here to the Kanelstrand Organic Living....a blog that helps make the world one shade greener and walks the organic path 

good luck!

:: would love to hear what other BIRCHseed products would rock your world as a free giveaway :)

more at our creative spaces today....
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