Tiny House Pincushion

Tiny House Pincushion

As I mentioned in my last post, the guild that I belong to held our biennial quilt show this weekend.  Part of the show was a “mystery challenge” which members entered anonymously, and this year the theme was “pincushions”.  This was my entry, a little house pincushion.

I was inspired by the wonderful teacup pincushions made by Mimi Kirchner, a fibre artist with a blog called “doll”.   She calls her pincushions “Tiny Worlds”.  Her little houses look like storybook cottages, with high peaked roofs, (as well as the occasional lighthouse) but I wanted mine to look more like a typically Australian house.  This tiny house is based on our first home, a very suburban, triple-fronted brick-veneer.  Australian suburbs are full of them.  I added some eucalypts (which surround our current home) made with needle trunks.

Our Old Home

This is a photo of our first home which was used on the sales brochure when we sold it (the real-estate agent added the photoshopped blue sky).

Tiny House Pincushion close up

The hill of the pincushion is made of an upturned peanut butter jar-lid, covered in felt and stuffed with poly-fill.  The rest is made of felt, and embroidery thread.  The trees and bushes are simply shapes cut out of thick felt, with old needles through the middle, as trunks to fix them in place.  All the felt is 100% wool from Winterwood.

I am looking forward to using this as my pincushion, until now it has been a secret project, hidden away.  Some of the other entries in the challenge were fruits, a sewing machine, a hamburger, a turtle, an elephant and various patch-worked shapes.  The winner was a wonderful witch, stirring a cauldron, with pins stuck in her ample backside.  Do you have any elaborate pincushions?

Peacock Finery

Way back in February, I bought a lovely floral bib-style necklace on Etsy, which is much admired when I wear it.  Admirers usually ask if I made it myself, and it slightly embarrasses me to admit that I didn’t. The embarrassment is due to the feeling that I certainly could have.  Yesterday I decided that the time had come to have a go myself.

Here is what I started with: some thick felt from my stash, 1 meter each of five different ribbons and 2 metres of a thinner Grosgrain ribbon to be used for the neck ties as well as in the flowers.  I picked up the ribbons at Spotlight for $13.77 to give you an idea of cost, if you want to try making one yourself.

There are many, many tutorials online for making floral flowers.  I looked at quite a few, and then dived in and tried it, (there was no one particular tutorial to send you to) using the materials I had on hand.  I was out of my comfort zone, using heaps of glue to make the flowers, which felt very strange, (oh a pun).  I used that tacky, stringy, clear craft glue to glue the ribbons to the felt backing as I twisted and turned them.  After the glue was dry, I cut the excess felt backing away from around the roses.

Sewing (as opposed to gluing) the beads and tiny buttons on to the centres of the roses felt more natural (there is that pun again – Dad would be proud).  It was great to be able to bust out the tiny button stars for a little dash of whimsy.  I also sewed the ribbon ties on, after applying fray-stopper on the ends.

I would love to show it on me, but I will have to wait for better light, and another grown-up to take the photo.  I am taking a class with Kellie (Don’t look Now) tomorrow, at our Guild’s Symposium, so I plan to wear it and someone can take a snap for me.  I am really looking forward to the class – I have not seen Kellie for ages, and apart from being very talented, she is really lovely.

This project was really fun, and easy to finish in an afternoon.  Are you going to give it a try?

Things I have done this week, other than post

Sometimes the weeks are so full, that if you take the time to post, you will have nothing to show.  In no particular order, here are some of the things keeping me off the computer……

On Thursday I finally had 3 hours of delicious “alone time” and spent it with my felt, a hot cuppa, and the CD of Les Misérables.  It has been years since I listened to it, and I loved it all over again.  This time I made one of my flowers a little larger and turned it into a brooch.  I also made a couple more of the hair clips, all in my cherry blossom design.

The Chocolate brown one may even have to be for me.

While I was looking up some felt things on the great and mighty inter-web last week, I found this amazing array of work that defies description.  Take a look, if you have a few minutes, it is quite inspiring.

Thursday was a whole lot better than Wednesday, when I had yet another of my children sick on the couch all day.  Luckily Michaela improved by the next day after a bit of TLC, and was not as sick as Rory had been.

Thursday night I went along with my friend Debbie to North Of The Yarra Quilters Guild for the first time.  It was fun, and I sure need a regular night out midweek.

This is a Wooden “A” that Amelia was given for her birthday, along with some lovely scrap-booking paper and cut-out flowers. Today we mixed up some paint to paint the edges and the flowers.  Tomorrow we are going to cover the front and back face with the paper.  Such a lovely creative gift, (thank-you Kyra).

Yesterday was the last day of term, and the kids finished an hour early.  Instead of 3 kids, I brought home 5 for the afternoon.  The kids played really well together, and all four of the older kids allowed Michaela to join in, rather than complaining to me about her pestering, so there were happy people all round.  Let’s hope the next two weeks of school holidays continue on in the same vein.

Finally here is a Baby sized T-Shirt for a yet to be born baby on the other side of the world.  This is the Aussie native that I managed to sketch and stitch – hopefully tasteful rather than kitch.

What’s keeping you busy at the moment?

In my garden

Blushing Bride (Serruria florida)

This, my friends, is a Blushing Bride (Serruria florida).  It was a purely sentimental purchase of mine at the plant nursery a couple of months ago, and this is the first of the blooms to open.

Almost a year ago I had one of these in my hair, and my friend Suzie had several, as we walked through the gardens on the way to meet her groom, for their second wedding ceremony in 2 weeks, but their first on Aussie soil.  It was a magical day, and I felt honoured to be part of it (I had never been in a bridal party other than mine) so I just had to buy one when I saw it.

This flower is a native of South Africa, and has the beautiful form that other Proteas have.  I would love to create a complex form like this out of felt, but that may just be beyond my capabilities or available time, so instead today I made this little bloom.

A friend of mine recently asked me if I might make these for sale, which I have not done before.  I don’t really know how to put a price on one of these.  I use mostly hand dyed, pure wool felt, which is a lovely material, but the main cost to me is time.  They take about 30-40 minutes to make (the cutting out is very fiddly).  The flower is just under 6 cm’s (2 3/8″) in diameter.  It is such a hard thing to do, put a price on your work.  Anyone out there want to suggest what they think is a fair price, or what they would be prepared to pay.  I’ll consider it market research, and it may help me with an awkward conversation ;-).

Here is something else from my garden, a lovely Aussie native this time.

I have been taking lots of photos of flowers and birds lately.  I have been thinking of stitching a simple Aussie native animal or bird, if I can manage to draw one that doesn’t look too kitch.

I have also always dreamed about designing a few modern Australian Motifs that could be used as a range of patchwork fabrics, because I strongly dislike the very kitch range that is available in stores currently.  That one will perhaps remain a dream for a few years more, unless someone gifts me with more hours in the day.  There are a few people on the case though (or improving Australian themed stuff that is available). I find lots of the hand screen printed fabric that is being produced by the Aussie Fabric Mafia very exciting, and particularly love this new one of Lara’s.

Today I almost finished my beautiful “Mexican Ladies” apron.  If I finish it in time in the morning, I will have to take it along to Playgroup to get another adult that can take a picture of me in it, during the daylight hours.  This apron really needs a photo on a body, as it is really flattering.

Stay tuned.

Super Busy Weekend

Hawks CakeSaturday found us at an enormous play centre, celebrating Rory’s birthday with his friends.

The party was a great success, and Rory was particularly impressed with the cake.

Of course, It had to be baked in someone else’s oven (thanks Leigh!), but it was the Hawks decoration that Luke put on the top that won Rory’s praise.

As Amelia put it, “That was so good of you Daddy, to make a Hawthorn Cake, when your team is Carlton“.*

Sunday was quieter, but no less busy.


We spent quite a bit of time in the garden, planting my birthday plants, pruning, and enjoying the plants that we already have. Michaela was busy pulling the buds off the Camellias, and wanted to make sure I got a picture of her treasurers

Michaela with the flower buds

In the photo above, you might be able to see a peek of another flower, of the felt variety, that I made this weekend.

New Felt Flower Hair Clip

These clips were heavily inspired by a motif that is often seen on Asian textiles, the cherry blossom. I made one in a coral colour and another in purple.

New Felt Flower Hairclip 2

This one is actually a little present for a birthday girl – I am looking forward to seeing what it looks like in her hair.

Finally, some late afternoon sewing – an unfinished project. Can you guess what I am making?

Unfinished costume for Rory

*These teams are Australian Rules Football teams, for those of you who have never heard of the Hawks or the Blues.

Autumn Flowers

Amelia\'s felt flower

The girls and I have spent part of the weekend making more felt flowers, woolly blooms that are most suitable for this cooler weather. That is to say, I spent the time actually assembling them, and the girls helped me with colour choices (I had a bit more influence over Michaela’s choices, truth be told). They also both loved sifting through the button treasure trove, that Amelia won, for suitable buttons (Amelia is a very good sharer). I love the way the colour of the felt brings out the colour in Amelia’s eyes.

Michaela with her hairclip

This darker purply-blue one of Michaela’s is my favourite.

Michaela wearing Maddison\'s clipThis was one that we actually made for Michaela’s friend, Maddison, who is having her 3rd Birthday party tomorrow. She is a big fan of pink and purple, which was something we kept in mind as we were selecting her felt.

Michaela agreed to model it for a photo, but was keen to make sure that we were putting it away for her friend.

Today I sewed up a lovely little “handbag” for Maddison, that I hope she will like. Tonight Michaela decided to model it as well, even though she was in her PJ’s.

Michaela with Maddison\'s Bag

If Maddison likes it as much as Michaela, I think it will go down just fine. I think I will have to get started on one for Michaela next.

Flowers and a Butterfly

Amelia with a new flower

Here is a look at my beautiful daughter (but reluctant model), Amelia, sporting my latest felt creation.

Unfortunately it is not in her school colours, so she only put this on after school, (I am one of those boring mothers who do not let their children bend the uniform rules, even when they would get away with it). I can feel a maroon and gold flower coming on.


The butterfly is just a test for the Butterfly Library bag for Brooke, and the Butterfly Doona cover for Michaela. It is not too bad, but a tad too small, and the colours for Brooke will be different, her bag is going to be pink.

Lastly, a Magnolia flower.


The Magnolia tree in our backyard is just wonderful. It has lovely dense shade and when the weather turns you can sit under it for about 5 minutes before raindrops get through .

It flowers in late winter/early spring, when there are no leaves on the tree and then it seems to flower again a second time when it is full summer, with the leaves. There are no downsides with this tree and I love to sit under it almost all year round. Thank you to the lovely person who planted it about 40 years ago.


Michaela with felt flower

I have been thinking about felt.

I love the texture and colours of good quality felt, but have not attempted to make much with it as yet. But I have plans. Amorphous vague plans, but plans none the less. This hair-clip is something I have made with beautiful felt from here. I think I need to start off by making some more of them.

Winterwood Felt

This is a stack of the felt (100% wool, hand dyed) that I got on that particular shopping trip, about a year ago this month. My mother and I ventured into unfamiliar territory to go there, as we needed cheering up – my little sister had just had brain surgery and it was a time in our lives when everything seemed pretty grim.

This beautiful stack of colour was just the ticket, but I have been reluctant to cut into it.

I got some more felt in Loch last weekend at the Quilters Barn. It had no details on it, but it does not feel like it is 100% wool, although it does still feel pretty nice.

Loch Felt

There was a good reason to get so much brown. I have plans (yes more plans) to make some gingerbread men for our Christmas tree at the end of the year, but I have no intentions on starting on that little project just yet. What are you making with felt?