Saturday, 5 October 2013

Eraser Stamps

For a while now, I've wanted to create a shirt with a goldfish on it. I've thought long and hard about it, and I decided that I wanted a pattern made up of a number of goldfish. But how would I get all of the little goldfish the same? A stamp, of course! But where the hell do you get a goldfish stamp?
Well, if you're me, you make one.

After consulting my mother, in all of her infinite crafting wisdom gained from years of being an art teacher, she recommended that I craft a stamp from an eraser, as it was the simplest way of doing it. And, so, I did.
Here's how:

What you'll need:

  • Eraser
  • Cutting knife
What to do:

  1. Draw your desired image onto the eraser.
  2. Use the knife to cut the outline of your design into the eraser (vertically), and then cut into the eraser horizontally, cutting away the edges to leave only the design.
  3. Ensure that your edges are defined and that your shape is cut out properly.
  4. Use your new stamp to create your own designs.

This method of stamp-making should work for just about any design, so you can go wild with what you choose. Hopefully I'll get to use my goldfish stamp for the top I want to make soon, but unfortunately it's back to university after the weekend, so painting won't be happening in the next few weeks.

Thanks for reading, and let me know if you have a go at making your own stamps. 


Sunday, 29 September 2013

Mercat Brooch

A few months ago, I was browsing through the blog Tails of a Mermaid. Run by Natalie Roos, a fellow South African, it is testament to Natalie's obsessive love of good food, exciting lifestyles and, above all: cats.

As usual, The Muses tend to strike from the strangest of places, and I couldn't avoid the temptation to create something combining the title of her blog with her ailurophilia. And thus, the mercat brooch was born.

Here's how to make your own:

What you'll need:

  • Felt (scraps will be enough)
  • Acrylic and fabric paint
  • Brooch pin
What to do:

  1. Cut out two of your cat shapes and two of your tail shapes. I didn't make a pattern for this, as it's very simple - just cut out the basic outlines.
  2. Start painting your felt pieces. Be sure to concentrate more on the front, as the back won't be seen. Add the face detail to the cat body piece, and consider using metallic paint for the tail (I mixed light blue, light green and silver paint to get the colour for my tail).
  3. Add some glue to stick together the cat body piece and the tail piece. Repeat with back pieces. Add a line of small stitches to secure.
  4. Add a button (I used a starfish-shaped one) and some paws. Glue on, and secure with a few stitches.
  5. Attach the brooch pin to the back piece of the cat.
  6. Attach the two pieces together, using cotton that matches the pieces.

I mailed off this little kitty to Natalie as an early birthday present in July, and I think she liked it, which was a wonderful feeling. Somehow, giving away the things I make to people who appreciate them is a far better feeling than keeping them hoarded up in my cupboard back at home.

This project is also available over on Cut Out + Keep
I'd love to see your version of this project if you give it a go, so be sure to comment if you make one. :) 

Thanks for reading, and apologies for my irresponsible hiatus. 

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Stormtrooper Cut-Out Shirt

Just before our university vacation, I thought about making a Star Wars cut-out shirt of some sort - I wasn't sure what I wanted, but I thought that doing a Darth Vader cut-out on a black shirt and a Stormtrooper cut-out on a white shirt would be pretty cool. I didn't get around to the idea straight away because I had to finish my exams, and I had so many other crafty endeavours to pursue that is got a bit lost in my messy mind. I also didn't have any nice t-shirts I wanted to cut up, so I decided to leave the whole project for another time.

Now, my dad doesn't live in the same city as I do, but he always calls on the last day of my school or university holidays and asks if I'm ready and the general parent-y questionings. And somehow, every time, when he asks what I've been up to over my break, my usual answer is, "Well, not much for the last <length of entire holiday>, but today I started making-" and I proceed to ramble on about some craft or another that I've just fallen in love with. Over the last few holidays, I've tried my best to keep busy from the beginning, and although I did pretty well at crafting right from the beginning of my holiday this time, I knew I couldn't let the vac slip away before I'd finished this shirt I had stuck in my head.

I rifled through my craft cupboard (which is actually my normal cupboard, but it's just filled with craft supplies instead of things that would usually occupy a cupboard, such as clothing and sanity and such) and found an oversized t-shirt I'd bought forever ago with some craft or another in mind but never got around to using. I cut up the shirt a bit, removing the sleeves and neck to make it more comfortable. I stitched down the raw edges and used that as my shirt to do my Stormtrooper cut-out on.

What you need to make your own:

  • A white t-shirt
  • A pair of scissors
  • A printer or a good eye for drawing 
How to make it:

  1. Print out the template you want to use. I printed mine on two pieces and sellotaped them together. You can find the one I used here (though I take no credit for creating it - I just found it online).
  2. Cut the template to A4 size if necessary, and laminate it. Cut out the parts of the template that will be cut out on the shirt.
  3. Tape your laminated cut-out onto your shirt, and trace the cut-out areas with a tailor's pen.
  4. Cut out the traced template on the shirt.
And you're done! I found that I had to be very careful with which areas I cut out, so make sure the gaps you leave aren't too massive, or the soft t-shirting fabric will sag down when you wear it. 

This is a very simple but effective project, and I'd love to see if you make one of your own! Please leave a comment below and send me a picture if you do!


Friday, 19 July 2013

Sheldon the Dinosaur Plush DIY

For about a year now, my friends and I have adored the Sheldon the Dinosaur comic by Amburgered. Sheldon is a tiny dinosaur who thinks that he is a turtle, and uses an acorn for a shell. Whenever I know one of my very close friends, Abi, is feeling down, I make a point of finding a recent Sheldon comic and sending it to her to cheer her up.

I decided that, because of this love Abi and I share for Sheldon, I ought to make Abi a little Sheldon of her own.

If you want to make your own, here's how to do it:
  1. Download the pattern here.
  2. Sew your four leg pieces to the leg holes on the inside body.
  3. Sew the dart at the back of the inside body.
  4. Sew the two outside body pieces to either side of the inside body piece.
  5. Sew around the neck and head area and at the back, bottom area, making sure to leave a space for turning and stuffing.
  6. Turn the body right-side out. Put the safety eyes in on the face and stuff. Close your stuffing hole.
  7. Cut out your upper shell pattern.
  8. Hand-stitch your shell (right sides together) as close to the edge as possible. Add in a small scrap of felt in the centre of the shell as the acorn stalk.
  9. Stitch the upper shell to the shell base and stuff it.
  10. Paint small Xs onto the shell.
  11. Stitch the complete shell to the back of the body.
  12. Take your own little Sheldon on adventures with you! 

I'd love to know if you also read the Sheldon comics, or see if you make a Sheldon of your own, so please leave your comments below!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Humans vs Zombies Sock Bandolier

My university is hosting a game of Humans vs Zombies in August, and since I'm only in first year, this will be my first time playing the game. I'm resigned to the fact that I'm not athletic enough to survive very long, and our game won't be using guns, so balls of socks are the only way to ward off the zombies. I decided that the best way for me to survive would be to ensure that I have socks within reaching distance at all times for protection, so I figured that the best way to do that would be to make a sock bandolier.

Want to make your own? Here's how I did it:

What you'll need:

  • Nylon-like strap 
  • Elastic (mine was 2cm wide)
What to do:

  1. Start by deciding how long you want the strap to be by wrapping it around your body as you will wear it. Cut the strap and use a candle to burn the ends to stop fraying.
  2. Sellotape the two ends of your strap together.
  3. Stitch ends together and remove sellotape.
  4. Stitch ends together and remove sellotape.
  5. Mark along your strap and elastic where it will be stitched down. I marked my strap into 8cm spaces, with 1cm in between each space, and my elastic into 11cm spaces, also with 1cm between each space.
  6. Stitch down the elastic to the strap at each 1cm gap, forming loops for socks with the elastic.
  7. Stitch down a 13cm strip of elastic to the bottom of the strap in the centre of each 8cm space.
  8. Flip each strip up over the main elastic and stitch it into the centre.
Fill it up with socks and be prepared for the impending zombie apocalypse! 

I'm simultaneously nervous and overwhelmingly excited for this game of HvZ - as I said, it's my first time playing, but I've no doubt it will be awesome.

Let me know if you make your own sock bandolier, and if you've ever played HvZ before and if you have any tips for my first game!

Thanks for reading.LDP x 

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Live Slow, Die Whenever

For ages now, I've wanted a fox scarf. No, not a fox stole; there's something painfully morbid about having a dead animal wrapped around your throat. A fox scarf. I remember seeing the Lazy Oaf fox scarf a few years back (though it doesn't seem to be available any more) and absolutely setting my heart on it, loving the way it managed to be cute while still being slightly macabre. I remember it being out of my budget (everything is out of my budget) and reminding myself to make one in the future.
Fox scarves! Fox scarves everywhere!

  1. Donna Wilson
  2. Boondock Studios
  3. BeeLicious Crafts
  4. Lazy Oaf
  5. Eugenia Kim
  6. Prudent Baby (This one's a DIY!)

Although I do still want to make a fox scarf at some point or another, I decided to add a twist to this style. So, since we've established that my sloth obsession is no secret, I might as well carry on flaunting it, right? So much for "The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem".

What you'll need to make your own sloth scarf:
  • Fur fabric
  • Felt
  • Safety eyes and nose
  • Paint 

  1. Cut one long strip of your fluffy fabric , about 32-35 cm wide. I made mine as long as I could, using the entire length of the fabric. Make it shorter or wider to your own liking. Cut out a piece of fluffy fabric the size you want the head to be. Repeat this shape on another piece of fluffy fabric, then cut out a piece of felt for the face.
  2. Paint the face using acrylic and fabric paints.
  3. Ensure that the safety eyes and nose fit appropriately on the sloth's face.

  4.  Sew the two fluffy head pieces together, then turn right-side-out.
  5.  Place the head where you want it to be on the scarf.
  6.  Sew the face and head onto the scarf, and add the safety eyes and nose. Sew down the length of the scarf and close the ends, sewing foot shapes at each end. Leave a section in the middle open to turn it right-side-out, then turn and close.
Aaaaaaand you're done! Wear your scarf on any lazy day you choose. 

I actually wore this scarf to my first exam on Wednesday, because the exam hall we write in is freezing. He kept my neck super cosy while I concentrated on Linguistics. 

I also posted this scarf with one of my outfits on Chictopia, which you can see here

In other news, I am this week's featured member on my favourite website, Cut Out + Keep! Click here to read the interview. 

Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Map Backpack

For most of last term, I was lugging my university books around in a shoulder bag that just didn't suit academia - it was cute, but definitely not built to handle the battering of books which it received. Over my brief vacation at home, I decided that it was a better idea to invest in a backpack - but instead of finding one I liked only to meet someone else with one identical, I opted, as usual, for a DIY.

While the lovely Annika was moving house this week, I provided a guest post for her blog on how to make your very own map backpack.
I've received loads of compliments on it already, and I've only been back for a week, so I'm incredibly happy with how this turned out!

I'd love to see your version if you try out this DIY.


Friday, 29 March 2013

Sock Sloth

I can't be certain why, but recently, I've been slightly besotted with sloths. I don't know when or how this started, but seriously, have you seen how cute baby sloths are?! (Spoiler alert: they're really freakin' cute).

One of the first noted occasions that this obsession showed its prominence was when I found this picture:

I don't even know where I found this, so I don't know to whom I ought to credit it.
Blame the internet.
After I'd finished making my "Thrift Sloth" jokes, I happened to be looking around the Sock Dreams website for some inspiration for the sock-craft contest that Cut Out + Keep is currently running, when I stumbled across these:

Look at them! Just look at them! They are incredible! Exclamation mark!
Also, you can find them here.
These gave me some much-needed inspiration for a contest entry. I would make a sock sloth!

(I also wrote a tutorial on how to make your own, so keep reading for that.)

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Moustachioed Goat

Over my last six weeks at university, I have been watching a lot of the show Community. And by "a lot", I mean unhealthy dosage a lot. Now, for those of you who don't know the show, the second episode of the first season ends with two of the main characters rapping in Spanish. I can guarantee that if you haven't seen it, you cannot possibly conceive how incredibly awesome it is. Therefore, if you haven't seen it, you should watch it here. And if you have seen it, then I've no doubt you'll watch it anyway.

Now, because of this Community-obsessed state in which I've been wallowing, I, naturally, took it upon myself to make something Community-related. This is a bit difficult, considering that the show has actors rather than animated characters which would be easier to convert into crafts. So, I made a goat with a moustache.

Unfortunately Cameron Diaz was unavailable, so I made his moustache out of felt, just like the rest of his body.

It was pretty simple to make this cute little guy, but if you'd like to make your own, you can find a full tutorial, as usual, over on Cut Out + Keep.

In other university-related news, I essentially abandoned my photography project thanks to a to-do list constantly clawing at my sanity. I'm now at home for vac, and I'm only returning to Grahamstown next Sunday, so I'm enjoying some crafting time while I can before the work starts up again - which is going to be fairly soon, as I still have vac homework to get done.


Sunday, 3 March 2013


As the first assignment for my journalism course, we were required to create a PostSecret. Now, while I understand that the whole point of the exercise is for the secret to remain, well, secret, I felt it was something worth posting about, and that I'm not longer afraid to share.

As it's meant to, I think that the card pretty much sums it up. For my twelfth birthday, my mother bought me a sewing machine, insisting that it would be useful and that sewing was a good skill to learn. Now, I don't know about anyone else, but I was never a particularly "cool" kid, and in the fragile social hierarchy of junior school, I just wasn't willing to risk my already low rank over a stupid, old-fashioned birthday present. A sewing machine? Really, Mom? I managed to convince any friend who asked that I "just got money", and whenever they asked how much, I mumbled something nondescript to avoid having to discuss the subject any further.

Now, as you can tell from this blog, I've come a long way since then, embracing my hobby rather than concealing it. I'm now proud of the fact that I can sew, and openly admit it to people - and, unlike grade 6 me would have expected, they usually seem pretty impressed. At the risk of sounding painfully narcissistic, I'm incredibly happy with the person I've become, and I'm glad, not only that I can sew, but also that I'm no longer afraid to admit it.

If anyone out there has a similar story, I'd love to hear about it and if you managed to overcome it.


Monday, 21 January 2013

Tardis Kindle Cover

I'll start with a confession: I am not a Doctor Who fan.

Now, before you throw the "fake nerd girl" accusation, it is probably worth taking into account that other than about 3 episodes of 4th Doctor, I haven't actually watched Doctor Who (though I do intend to, as soon as I can get a hold of any more recent episodes).

Although not a Doctor Who fan, however, I am an absolute sucker for a challenge. For the last few months/years, and essentially my total time on craft sites, I have seen loads of projects related to this popular show. I know some of the basic story line, and I must admit, this craft-fandom has been slowly but surely dragging me in. So, while I was in a particularly inspirationless state, when a friend suggested I make a Doctor Who-related Kindle cover, I couldn't resist the challenge.

Although I was reasonably happy with how this project eventually turned out, making it was a little bit of a disaster. I initially tried to do the "Police Box" sign and note on the door with a paper-to-fabric transfer stuff on leather, which failed miserably (twice). I eventually resorted to simply Modge Podging the paper onto the vinyl that I made the case out of. On the top right corner of the case, there are a series of puncture marks from where I tried (unsuccessfully) to sew the hem down about three different times before my double needle eventually gave up, and was reduced to four pieces of one double needle. During my first attempt at sewing the hem, I also ended up backstitching over the button, shattering the side of it. So, not my most successful tale of crafting.

Mishaps aside, I've put together a tutorial on how to make your own Tardis Kindle cover.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Blue vinyl (it's that faux leather-type stuff)
  • Lining fabric
  • A print out of the signs
  • Modge Podge
  • A button
  • Elastic
  • Some white leather scraps
What to do:

  1. Cut out the basic shape of your cover (this will be determined by the size of your gadget). Cut out your signs and Modge Podge them onto some vinyl scraps. Leave to dry, then cut out, leaving a thin border.
  2. Cut out 5 squares from the vinyl for the door panels (the 6th will be formed by the sign you Modge Podged) and stick them on, then sew down to secure.
  3. Cut out 12 tiny rectangles from white leather scraps, then glue and stitch them down. Also stitch down your "Police Box" sign.
  4. Add a thin strip of vinyl down the middle, and sew down to secure.
  5. Pin your two cover pieces front-to-front and sew them together. Repeat this with your lining fabric.
  6. Turn the cover right-side-out.
  7. Add the button to the top front, and a piece of elastic to the top back.
  8. Insert your lining, and then fold down a hem at the top. Sew down to secure the lining.
And you're done!

(In this photo, you can see on the top right how my needle savaged the vinyl... Eek.)

If you want, you can also find this tutorial over here on Cut Out + Keep.

I have also been making some cushions for my university residence room, but I'll be making a university update post soon!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

The Day of the Grumpy Cat

I don't know about anyone else, but I really don't enjoy Sundays. Mondays, I can handle. But Sundays? No. It's a pretty serious dislike: if it were any more serious, there would be a Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats song about it. Every Sunday, I am inevitably miserable about something or another.

In honour of this week's unhappy Sunday, I made myself a Grumpy Cat brooch, based on the meme.

He's pretty simple, made from felt and a little brooch pin. If you want to make your own, here's how:

You'll need:
  • Felt in various colours
  • A brooch pin
How to do it:
  1. Cut out your pieces of felt (I cut up a picture of Mr Grumpy Cat himself as a pattern).
  2. Use a bit of glue to attach your ears to the head pieces. Secure with a few stitches.
  3. Glue down your eye pieces and muzzle piece, then secure with stitches.
  4. Sew on two tiny blue felt pieces for eyes, then stitch on pupils, and a nose and very grumpy mouth.

    Set the face aside for now.
  5. Sew the legs onto the front of the body.
  6. Sew the brooch pin onto the back of the body, and sew the two body pieces together, adding stuffing.
  7. Sew the two head pieces together, through the neck area, securing the head to the body. Add stuffing and close the head.
And then, your grumpy cat brooch is all ready to wear!

If you want to see it elsewhere, this tutorial is also available here on Cut Out + Keep.

Happy grouching. :)

Saturday, 5 January 2013


My friends often joke that I have mermaid hair, because my hair is long enough to cover my chest. And this suits me just fine, as I love the idea of being a mermaid. On that note, a while ago, I saw a top online (by Wildfox) that had a set of shells over the chest, like a mermaid's shell-bra.

Wildfox "Ariel" Tank
I fell in love with this idea, and, (in a shocking, unexpected plot twist) decided to make my own.
I picked up a tank top at Meltz for about R20 (on a buy-two-get-one-free special) and got a purple fabric paint tube at the local craft store, then set about my work.

It was super simple to make.

What you'll need:

  • A plain tank top
  • A tube of purple (or any colour) fabric paint
  • A tailor's pen (if you feel you need one - I always get nervous about doing something directly in permanent paint)
What to do:
  1.  Print out shell templates from the internet (it's easiest to google "shell outline" or something to that effect). It's easiest to print out two of the same, rather than just using one. Decide how large you want them to be.
  2. Put on your top and decide where you want the shells to be placed.
  3. Pull your shirt over a pillow, placing the templates underneath the shirt. Trace over the templates with a tailor's pen.
  4. After tracing, take your templates out and put plastic underneath (I just used old plastic filing sleeves).
  5. Use the tube of fabric paint to paint over the lines.
  6. Follow the packaging instructions to set the paint (often to iron the reverse side).
You can also find the full tutorial here on Cut Out + Keep.

I've been a bit uninspired lately, so this was a lovely, quick project to get me crafting again. :) I'm hoping to get some fabric tomorrow so that I can make cushion covers for my new university residence room (I'm going with a newspaper/typewriter theme).

Please let the fabric shop be open on a Sunday - I need to work to get my mind off of existence.