Saturday, May 29, 2010

Creating my way to success - but what is it?

Since Michelle and I decided that we have too much creativity for just one blog, and we decided to have one EACH! I've been trying to think hard about what my blog is to be about. Up until now, I've been enjoying going with the flow and my random thoughts and ideas. I'm loving being able to make things, then have people to show them to. Every day I seem to find more wonderful blogs with hundreds of amazing creative ideas that inspire me to create even more!! I could easily spend all day every day in the blogging world, but since I do want to do other things in life, I figure that maybe I need a plan! or at the very least a list! (I'm a big believer in writing lists!)
So it got me thinking about the title of this blog - Creating my way to success. What is success? Well, for me, success, in a nutshell is being able to enjoy life with my family. Simple enough? Yes!

Already we live in, what for me is paradise! Tropical North Queensland, where it's always warm, and there are palm trees and beautiful rainforest and beaches all around. The people are friendly and we are lucky enough to have a beautiful home. My daughters are both now in school, which they love, and they are the most beautiful little people ever! I'm married to my best friend, who works very hard, while I look after the kids and home. But now that the kids are in school, I have free time to be able to earn some money!

Now I know money isn't everything, but we do have a mortgage, kids in school, and we like to go places, do things, entertain friends...all of which requires some of the green stuff!  Now I know I could go out and get a job, but honestly, I would much prefer to work for myself, on my own terms, doing something I love - creating things!!

So really, why am I creating?

  • For my own personal satisfaction!
  • To improve our home - in small ways, like making things prettier, making useful things, gardening, and cooking, and also helping the environment by reusing and recycling things!
  • Making things for my girls - just because they love it! - toys, clothes, anything!  The things they like most are the things I or someone else has handmade!
  • To find a way of earning money from home, doing something I love.

Growing up, I remember my Mum sewing anything and everything, and Dad making things from wood, or anything else he could find.  If my brother or I wanted anything, we'd ask Mum or Dad if they could make it!  That was always the first thought - never to buy it!  I love that philosophy, and with that in mind, I have just taken the handmade pledge!

I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.orgNow I know I can't do this for EVERYTHING! For instance for my daughters' birthdays this year they both got stinger suits and snorkels and masks. (Sorry can't handmake them) - but I did handmake a reef bag each for them to put them in!  But I will do my best to go handmade whereever possible!

My ultimate dream is to find such success with my creativity that my hushand doesn't have to go out to work, and we can both follow our dreams and spend as much time as possible together as a family.  But I want to enjoy every day now too! (not spend all our time striving for a better future, only to forget the present)

I'm enjoying the variety of creativity - sewing, crafting, gardening, baking, cooking, writing.....  Maybe one day I'll be a famous published author?? Maybe one day I'll have that unique creative idea that revolutionises our lives in some small way! 

I enjoy life, and getting to spend it with my wonderful family brings me happiness every day! 
But I'm also a big fan of reaching for the stars, and having many dreams and aspirations!!  Of those I have many! some crazy, some a little more sensible, but I'll give all of them a go!

So, I'm off to write my list of what I want to achieve, and how I can use this blog to help keep me accountable to that and enjoy it as much as possible!!

Have a great weekend everyone! and thanks for sharing your creativity, help, advise and general ups and downs. I'm proud to be part of this community! 


Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Creative Space

This week I've been doing a few different things:
 made a reversible dress for the good cause highlighted by the Craft Gypsy at Dance for Cheese.
I'm not too hot on making clothes, but was pretty happy that this one turned out to fit my daughter!  So hopefully it will make a little girl in Kenya happy!

I've also been busy making up Children's Chef's hats and aprons this week for a JeMbellish order:

....I finally got my first red tomato from my hanging plants! We quartered it and each savoured our small piece at dinner on Sunday!! 
And there's another one nearly ready!!!!!

And just because I like it, I thought I'd add a picture of some interesting flowers in our garden just now.  One of our spiky plants shot up a massive stalk about 12 foot into the air (the plant itself is only about3 ft high.  And this is what its flowers look like!

Finally I've been trying to learn how to make myself a button.  Yesterday I succeeded!
(or so I thought) and made a header background for my blog to match!  You can see the button sitting happily there in my sidebar!
I was very excited at my new technological skill, until a friend tried to 'grab my button' and I discovered that the html code doesn't work!!!
So it's back to the drawing board again.  If anyone can see what I've done wrong, please let me know!!!

Hope you've all had a fantastic creative week, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's Creative Spaces over at Kirsty's place (


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Fabric pizza or pie box

After making several items out of old siver car windscreen shades recently, I was asked if I knew of a tutorial on how to make a ' pie carrier' - something to take a pie to a picnic in.  I didn't but liked the idea of this, and so decided to have a go at something myself!  And here is what I came up with - a fabric pie or pizza box!
It is padded and lined with ... what else?....a silver car windscreen shade, which provides insulation to keep your pie or pizza warm, and can also be wiped or hand-washed clean!

So, here's how I did it:

First I gathered my materials:
Silver car windscreen shade (the last one in my stash!!)
Outer fabric
Fleece for batting
2 Plastic chopping boards
Pie dish for size

First I cut the plastic chopping boards into 2 squares that the pie would fit on (mine were 28cm square)

Next I cut 2 squares of siver car shade 5cm bigger on each side than the plasic board.
I cut 2 pieces of fleece the same side as this and machine stitched one to the back of each silver square. (I used my new overlocker, but you could just plain stitch as the edges will be covered in.
Then cut 2 outer squares 2cm wider again than the silver shade.
So now you have 3 squares for each box like this:

Now you make the silver inner box.
Pinch up the corners around the plastic square, and pin

Do this for all four corners so it's starting to look like a pizza box!

Then stitch each corner where you have pinned it.  I stitched over the line 3 times for strength, then cut off the pointy end.

Lay this box on top of the outer fabric (right side up), and pin the corners of the outer fabric into a box too.
(keeping the plastic square inside helps you know where to pinch the corners and keep the shape even- but you need to take it out to stitch!!!)

Pin all four corners, and stitch as you did for the silver square.

Then stitch 3 times along the pinned corners and snip the pointy ends off, just as you did for the silver part.
Turn right sides out.
Now you have the inner and outer boxes ready to join together.

Place the plastic square under the silver box, inside the outer fabric.
Turn the top edge of the outer fabric double over the edge of the silver box and pin down.

Top stitch around the edges to join all the layers together.

You're done!! One box is completed, and you can place your pie dish inside it!

Now repeat with your second set of squares.
I found with my second box, that I cut strips off the remaining pieces of plastic chopping board and inserted them along each side of the box to give those sides strength.
The box with strengthened edges then became the bottom box, and the floppier one worked well as the lid as it stretched over the edges well. (Love it when things just work out like that!!)

You can see what I mean here the floppy one is on the left, the strengthened one on the right. 

Of course you could strengthen both boxes, and just make one very slightly larger than the other so they fit together!

So now the only problem left to solve is how best to carry this to your picnic!!

The answer?

A furoshiki!!

What is a furoshiki? I hear you ask!!

It's a Japanese wrapping cloth.  Basically a square of fabric with finished edges, that you can tie in various mindboggling ways to carry things, wrap presents, make bags....... (Go on, google it and see!!)

So, take a nice large furoshiki and place your fabric pizza / pie dish in the centre:

Then tie opposite corners together over the top of the box:

Then fold the remaining corners over and tie them.  Just use a double granny knot, and tie the second corners on either side of the first knot for extra stability!

Then just pick it up, and off you go to your picnic!!!


I hope you liked this tutorial!
If you would like the PDF downloadable version with measurements in both cm and inches,
Happy picnicing!!


Monday, May 24, 2010

Helping others

Today I've been making a reversible pinafore dress for a very worthy cause. 
The Craft Gypsy at Dance for Cheese, has been highlighting a project undertaken by some lovely ladies at a Spotlight store in  Bayswater.  They are making reversible pinafore dresses to be sent to Dago Dala Hera Orphanage in Kenya.
I'm not too hot on making clothes, but wanted to try and help out, so I Googled a tutorial, and came up with this, and gave it a go!  I think it turned out ok. Tricky to tell for sure on my lovely model here (a wooden frame wearing my daughter's clothes stuffed with newspaper!).  Here's the front (got my pictures a bit mixed up!! - the previous picture was the back!):

And it's reversible as I said, so here's the other side:

So I just need to pop that in the post, and hopefully in a few weeks it will be on it's way to Kenya and some little girl will be happy to wear it!

So, if you can sew, even a little, why not join in?  The store has asked for dresses to be sent by the second week in June. See Dance for Cheese for more details.


Linking to Follow Friends Sunday at Women who do it all
Motivate me Monday at Keeping it Simple
What's your Sunday Scoop at I heart naptimes at Chocolate Sundaes
Sunday Showcase Party at Under the Table and Dreaming
Make my style Mondays at Avid Accents

(All the pretty buttons are in my sidebar)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Reach for the stars, they're closer than you think!

This is "The Pyramid" a mountain just under 1000m which every year people race up and down.  It started as a bet between two men in a pub 50 years ago, and has grown into an annual event and festival! 
Last year, my husband and I decided to join in the race.  Now until 3 months before the actual race, we hadn't even climbed the mountain, but it was something we wanted to do, so we set our minds to it, and completed the race (at the back of the pack, but we did finish!).
It was immensely satisfying, and we're doing it again this year, aiming to beat our time from last year, and this time, a good friend is doing the race too, inspired by our efforts last year. He's writing a blog to chronicle his preparations: Mounting a Challenge

I've told you this little story, to illustrate my thought for the day, which is that :
Our biggest limitation is our own belief.

There's another smaller hill near here, that is a very popular place to run and walk each day.  I have been trying recently to run all the way up the steps to the top.  I finally succeeded last week, on my birthday by following my daughter's birthday theory (When I'm 5 years old, I'll be able to....)
So last week I said, "Now that I'm 37 years old, I'll be able to run all the way to the top."  And I did!  I went back today, a week later, and did it again.  It seemed much easier this time somehow, just knowing that I could do it!

So it got me thinking about what else I would like to achieve and do, but there's always some excuse, or reason why I've not done it yet.  It's time to set my sights a bit higher, and believe in myself some more!

Something that reinforced this today too, was seeing my tomatoes starting to turn red!!  I've had little to no success growing tomatoes over the past few years, and this year decided that I was going to make it work!  So tried upside-down tomatoes!! 
I was determined to grow tomatoes - and LOOK!!  I'm so excited, there's not one but 2 just about ready to eat, and lots more green ones growing!!

I've also gained inspiration from my 5 year old this week, who moved up a level in her swimming lessons, and found the new class 'really tricky'.  We had tears and lots of frustration, but this past week, she faithfully 'trained' every day doing 10 laps of our swimming pool at home to build up her strength.  She did this even on the days she was tired and didn't feel like it (She's a very determined little lady!)  Anyway, yesterday was her big lesson again, and she swam the whole time, every length, every activity!!  She did it all, making me, her instructors, her sister, and most of all herself very proud!!

So, go on:

Reach for the stars!  They are closer than you think!!


p.s This post has given me an idea for a button for my blog.  I've decided I'd like to have a groovy one, like so many other wonderful blogs do, and I'm in the process of figuring out how to do it.  If anyone has any tips, hints or advice on how to make a button, I'm all ears!!

Linking up with Favourite Things Friday

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Creative Space

So I'm down to my last silver car windscreen shade!  Having made bags, coasters, place mats, snack pouch and a Space JeM so far, I have one more idea.....

Unfortunately it will have to wait another day as today's job is spring cleaning my house (even though it's autumn here.....)


For more wonderful creative spaces, hope over to Kirsty's place @ kootoyoo

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All change!

My business partner Michelle (on the left) and me (Jill - on the right), have been discussing this blog recently, and have come to a decision to change things around a bit.

 Until now this blog has been for both of us to share our creativity on as we endeavour to "Create our way to Success".  We are however, constantly learning and changing to what seems to work best for us and our families (which was the whole point of trying to set up business working from home!).

So, we have decided that as of now, this blog will be mine (Jill's) and Michelle will concentrate her efforts on her own blog: Pink Paper Paradise.  That way we can both post as and when the mood or creativity strikes, and not be limited to our allocated days for posting!

So there you go -  for anyone who has noticed the profile picture change and other small alterations, now you know why!

Do hop over and check out Michelle's awesome blog.  We'll be linking up lots in the future (as we slowly figure out how to!) and still have our online website, JeMbellish, and our monthly market stall which we still do together.

Now we just have all the more space to express our creativity - ooohh a whole blog to myself.......I'm excited!

A big welcome to all my new followers too.  I'm having so much fun exploring the Blogging World.  It's so easy to get lost out there, hopping around..........


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Roman Blinds - a story

When my daughter was born,
Her room was forlorn,
With curtains so plain and so drab.
So out came the fabric,
I whipped up some magic,
Coloured fishes and seaweed looked fab.

Now my two princesses have grown,
And are sitting on their throne,
Issuing decrees to make everything pink!

The fish are no more,
Having been labelled a bore,
So it's back to my sewing room I think.

Pink fabric of course,
With Spotlight the source,
The discount rack as always keeps me sane.

More stuff from the Op Shop,
To lay pretty on the top,
And hey presto, the Princesses reign!!

By Jill

Linking up with:



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