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Hi All

The strangest thing happened on Tuesday, I discovered something I was already doing is on trend! Who knew?! After getting really cross that just when I wanted to look something up, my gadget ‘needed charging’ again, I decided enough was enough and I got out my old filofax and decided to customise it and go back to using that instead. Then on Tuesday I went to You Tube and watched Suzi Blu telling everyone about her latest project for altering filofaxes! I noticed a whole flood of videos along those lines. So for the first time ever I’m doing the same thing as everyone else. But I started mine before I found it all online, so I wasn’t copying :)  hehe

Chapters or sections Designed to fit me.

Long ago I had emptied it of its original contents and being low on funds, but with time on my hands I decided to do a custom design job on the filofax.

First up what sections did I want: Diary, Contacts, Blog stuff, websites I like, Wish List, Budgets.

Filofax make over Chapter/section page

Filofax make over Chapter/section page

Pockets would be handy, so to make some storage without needing the holes punched in I made pockets on the back of the chapter pages. If I can get Premier Elements to talk to You Tube I’ll put up a tutorial video but they aren’t on speaking terms since the forced Google + thing, so don’t know how to fix it at the mo. :(

Chapter pages: Something decorative and layered. Elegant and timeless.

I created these using Serif Craft Artist software and a range of digikits.

Filofax make over Chapter/section page

Filofax make over Chapter/section page

Insert pages

Being short on funds at this time of year my DH helped me design a basic template in Word for insert pages for the filofax and I edited these for the different pages I wanted to add. It was simple to change the colours on areas on that, to suit my eyes.

So here’s the reveal so far

Diary pages

Filofax make over Diary page

Filofax make over Diary page

Website pages

Filofax make over Contacts page

Filofax make over Websites page

Contacts Pages

Filofax make over Contacts page

Filofax make over Contacts page

Leave me a comment if you would like to see more chapter page designs in the coming months. The insert pages were created using Microsoft Word.

Have you got an unloved filofax or personal organiser? Dig it out and help it feel loved again, use your favorite papers and make it less office and more personal. It’s a great place to keep creative ideas. I’m working on tabs at the moment, will share what I create when I have something pretty to share. Let me know if you would like tutorials on creating the chapter pages and I’ll see what I can do.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing; Threads;Teach Yourself to sew Season 1

Threads; Teach Yourself to Sew, Season 1

Threads; Teach Yourself to Sew, Season 1

Product Details

  • Manufacturer/Brand; Threads/ Taunton Press
  • Item number: 978-1-60085-370-8
  • RRP at time of writing: $24.99  (from Taunton press) Around £13 on Amazon UK but price varies
  • Run Time: 150 minutes

Reason For Buying

I have sewing books but being dyslexic I am a very visual learner, I found Threads online magazine and website thanks to a sewing forum and when I saw this series it looked brilliant. The postage to buy them individually from their own site was very high but I found them on Amazon UK. More about that later in the article.

I wanted to learn basic sewing skills and to help learn techniques that will help me make my own clothes. I tell you all this as often reviews are based on how well a product lives up to the expectations of the person buying it.

Contents

The DVD covers the following topics

  • Equipment
  • Notions
  • Patterns
  • Stitches
  • Fabric
  • Seams
  • Darts
  • Edges
  • Hems
  • Bias Binding
  • Zippers
  • Buttons
  • Buttonholes
  • Snaps and Hooks
  • Sleeves
  • Pressing

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Clear easy to understand presentation, no background music to distract you
  • Does what it says on the tin.! No frills, no overkill but superb instruction that you will refer to time and again
  • There are some projects along the way, weren’t exactly to my taste but they did demonstrate techniques and processes which was still helpful.
  • A great help to anyone wanting to try dressmaking and bewildered by all the products they see on the shelves of sewing departments.
  • Find out what items you need to get started, and what things you might want to put on a wish list for later in your sewing career.
  • A very inspiring, empowering DVD, after watching this, I felt I could give dressmaking a go.

Cons

I don’t have any

Build Quality

Good, sound is clear, lighting is fine, some camera work moves a bit quick but not so often as to be an issue. No background music makes it easy to hear what the presenter is saying. There is a full menu system so although the DVD works find to play all the way through, you can also go directly to a chapter when you want to review a particular technique.

Value for Money

Excellent. Covers a lot and is a good investment.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes and highly recommend this title and the series to anyone learning to sew without access to other classes or sewing buddies.

Summing up

This series is superb, I have loved every minute of this DVD and have since acquired  Season 2 and 3 as well, but I will review those separately.

Being a visual learner it was so much easier to have techniques demonstrated as they were explained. I have books on sewing and will get more use of them now after seeing the concepts demonstrated. If you can’t get to a sewing/dressmaking class in person, this is the next best thing, with the advantage you can watch it as many times as you like. It is also ideal if your internet connection isn’t up to online classes! A superb series and I highly recommend it to everyone wanting to make their own clothes.

Compatibility in the UK

At first I was put off from buying this DVD from Amazon UK, as they are currently listed on there as Region 1, which I cannot play in the UK. On further investigation, the publishers Taunton list the DVD as Region 0 and playable in all regions.

I took a chance and ordered it from Amazon UK and it  has worked perfectly on our TV/DVD set up. Our set up will play NTSC as well as PAL format DVDs so do bear that one in mind and check your machines before you order if you are based in the UK.

Links

Here’s where you can find the DVD Learn to Sew Season 1.

Have you tried this Teach Yourself to Sew series? What did you think of it? Has it inspired you to sew more and try more adventurous projects? Do leave me a comment and let me know how you get on.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Paisley Doodle

Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share another doodle I have drawn.

Paisley Doodle inspired by Shoo Rayner tutorial

Paisley Doodle inspired by Shoo Rayner tutorial

This one was created after watching a Shoo Rayner tutorial on You Tube. I used Faber-Castell Pitt pens for the outline and their Polychromos pencils for the colouring.

Links

If you are new to the world of doodling and want to learn how to draw a paisley shape check out Shoo Rayners tutorial and channel on You Tube.

Really enjoying doodling, just turn of your brain and let the line go for a walk. I leave the design uncoloured and go back to it another day when I don’t have inspiration to draw but want to colour in. A win win really :)

Do give doodling a try, you only need a little notebook and any pen you have to hand,  great for waiting rooms or long commutes.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Thank goodness for the awesome light DH bought in the Amazon sale, the natural light is far too low to photograph without it.

Welcome Back

Today I would like to share a free download with you. A calendar page for February 2014.

Calendar page for February 2014

Calendar page for February 2014

How to Use

  • Click on the image to open the calendar picture to full size.
  • Click on File, then choose landscape option for paper orientation.
  • Click Print

To Change the size of the calendar

  • Click on the image to open the calendar picture to full size.
  • Right Click and choose ‘Save As’ from the list of options.
  • You can print it as, is or open a Word Processing program and insert the image. (Once it is on your machine.) This will give you more control of the final size of the calendar page.

Feel free to tell your friends about this offer and forward them a link to this site. If you missed this month’s calendar page you can find it on the Calendar Downloads page.

Let me know what you think, of these calendar pages. If comments suggest this is popular…it just might become a regular feature.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Welcome Back

Today I’d like to share a doodle page I created over the holidays.

Paisley Doodle Page

Paisley Doodle Page

I was playing with the teardrop shape of the paisley and noticed that it reminded me of the shape of a bird. The materials I used were;

  • Daler Rowney Sketch book
  • Pens: Stablio; Point 88 (0.4 mm),  Staedtler; Triplus colour 1.0mm
  • Pencils: Faber-Castell; Polychromos (set of 12)

The Triplus pens were very comfortable in the hand as they are triangle section. I struggled a bit with the Polychromos as I’ve found in the past you need to press quite firmly to get good coverage, which my stiff hands didn’t like at all. This time on the DR paper they went on with very little pressure and felt quite velvety smooth. They tempted me into splurging in a set of 36 in Amazon sale.

Links

Have a nosey round You Tube there are lots of doodling tutorials. I just used a teardrop sort of shape with a bit of a curve for my paisley shape.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing the following book; Dressmaking by Alison Smith

Dressmaking by Alison Smith

Dressmaking by Alison Smith

  • Title: Dressmaking The Complete step by step
  • Author:Alison Smith
  • Publisher: DK
  • ISBN: 978-1-4093-8463-2

My Reason for Buying

Having enjoyed Alison’s Sewing Book, I wanted to learn more about dressmaking and had heard there were also patterns in the back of this book. I was delighted when DH gave me this for Christmas and want to share with you how I got on with the book.

I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

  • Tools and Materials
  • Fabrics
  • Patterns and Cutting out
  • General Techniques
  • Garments; The Skirts, The Dresses, The Trousers, The Tops, The Jackets
  • Mending and repairs
  • Customising
  • Patterns
  • Glossary

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • I went for the full size version of the book and it gives nice size print in this format.
  • Clear, easy to navigate layout
  • If you have no prior knowledge of dressmaking/sewing the helpful picture of the items alongside their descriptions help you identify the array of tools and materials available
  • Hard backed book makes it easier to use as with a little added weight to hold pages down, its easy to have the book open next to you as you work
  • The fabric section is brilliant, it lists a range of materials the pros and cons of each them,  gives you tips for cutting out, what type of seams work best, what thread to sew the fabric with. Needle size for your machine, pressing advice and common garments its used on. Ideal if you are looking to use a fabric for the first time and want to know if it would be suitable for the project you have in mind.
  • The pattern reading section helps you understand the information printed on the backs of patterns, all those symbols on the patterns themselves and how to measure your body to choose the correct size garment to create. Read this BEFORE you buy your commercial patterns as pattern sizes are different to shop bought clothes.
  • There is a superb selection of classic garments for you to make at the back of the book, once you have made these you could customise the pattern to your own taste so there is plenty of scope for a whole wardrobe.
  • I like the fact that the book walks you through what to do with each garment in step by step form, if a technique has been explained elsewhere in the book, it tells you which page to find that technique.

Cons

  • Just a niggle but Making a toile section which tells you what to do if your test garment (tiole) is too big or too small, would have been better placed before the pattern alterations, instead of after them. I skimmed through the alterations thinking – ‘That’s great but how would you know what alteration you needed?’ Only to find the information on the toile page at the end of the section?!
  • One thing to bear in mind is that to create the garments in the book you need to print or draw your own patterns from the instructions. Included in the book, there is a picture for each pattern that you can photocopy and enlarge, this has a grid is printed behind the pieces and you are told the dimensions to scale to, so you can re-draw your pattern from that or if you have internet access you can download a PDF of the patterns to print out a page at a time and then stick them together ‘jigsaw style’. So there is what you call ‘Pattern development’ needed. No full size pre printed patterns are included in the book itself. The patterns in the book aren’t to size, you will need gridded paper or need to print LOTS of pages from a PDF.

Value for Money

Excellent, this is a great sewing companion and if you are venturing into garment making for the first time, this and Alison’s other book The Sewing Book are great companions. A lot of valuable information in an easy to find format.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, highly recommended for anyone starting to make their own clothes.

Summing up

Since I already had Alison’s ‘The Sewing Book’, I had wondered if this book would be a waste, with too much duplication of information but it’s not and they work well together. Alison’s ‘The Sewing Book’ is a great reference book if you have a pattern in front of you and you know what technique you need to use and just want to be told how to do it but it doesn’t tell you what order to do things for constructing a complete garment, that is where this Dressmaking book comes into its own.

Even if the thought of the extra work needed to create the patterns from the book overwhelms you, still buy this book as the information about how to construct garments and what order to do things is invaluable. It is a great book when you are new and need some hand holding while you get through the early stages of dressmaking for the first time. A very valuable companion to new dressmakers, I highly recommend this title.

Links

Dressmaking on Amazon Watch out for the book size though it varies on Amazon and on high street. My copy is 28.5 x 23.5 cm

The Sewing Book, here is my review of Alison’s; The Sewing Book which I mentioned in this review.

Alison Smith has her own sewing school and also writes for the Sew magazine

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Welcome Back

So here we are in a brand new year, what will be the creative challenge for 2014? Well as well as getting back to more art when my hands allow my new passion is for dressmaking. I tried last year but didn’t have the skills, so this year I have started again but with books and DVDs to help me learn how to create the clothes I’d like to wear and fingers crossed that will fit me. Now while it’s still dark n gloomy in the middle of the UK winter, what better time than to hunker down with some books and DVD and get learning. So here is my collection for this months stash dive;

Stash Dive: January 2014

Stash Dive: January 2014

I heard about the Threads DVDs thanks to a sewing forum that I’m a member of. Threads has a website and you can preview some episodes from the DVDs and purchase them for download if your internet is kind. I bought season one on Amazon and after finding out it would play on my TV/DVD set up got very excited and DH gave me season 2 and three for Christmas. The Dressmaking book is from him too, isn’t he wonderful.

Fear not, this is still a papercraft/art based blog and hands permitting there will be more of that this year but winter isn’t kind to my dexterity so actually ‘doing’ stuff has to wait for the better weather. So while I’m waiting I’ll be doing lots of research on all kinds of stuff, so I can share it with you in the form of reviews and hopefully more tutorials this year too.

How about you, what do you do with long dark winters? Do you create in the gloom or research to improve your skills and look for inspiration for when the light improves?

Lets hope 2014 will be better than the last four years.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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