Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fashionable Fabrics

I can never get enough of fabric shops - particularly this one:

Here's some of the gorgeous fabrics they have in just now:

And who could resist this
Isn't it fabulous???

And how about this one I found in the sale section:

With a flat shipping rate throughout the US, Fashionable Fabrics is definitely a great place to shop!

So why not go and have a browse through their lovely shop:

Creating Success around the World -Elbie Sparks

Welcome to

Creating Success around the World
The worldwide blog hop tour, that introduces you to creative people from all corners of the globe.

Creating my way to Sucess

Every Wednesday our hosts on each continent will introduce some inspiring creativity from their corner of the world.
Here's the hosts:


Today's guests are Vaughan and Nic from Elbie Sparks 
    in Western Australia

Elbie Sparks is the handmade designer range of greeting cards, art prints and posters by Vaughan and Nic Ransley. From retro inspired pieces, crisp contemporary items to bright cheerful children's designs, our work reflects our eclectic range of inspirations and interests.
We've always enjoyed crafting original cards and prints for our family and friends. People kept urging us to make our designs available for sale and we started doing just that in late 2010. Coming up with new ideas then making those ideas come to life is enjoyable for us. Having a creative outlet like this has been great for us as a family. We have a studio space in our home and the whole family often ends up in there, each working on their own creation, be it a greeting card design, a painting or in the case of our youngest, his current favourite, cutting up paper into as many pieces as possible.

In our home town of Busselton we sell at markets and we have our range available at the local art gallery. Online we sell our designs mainly through Madeit and we have been so pleased by the response we've received. We've tried other venues and have recently decided to focus mainly on Madeit and it is a decision we haven't regretted.


One of the first things we had to learn was not to be apologetic about our pricing, we had to price our products realistically and take into account our supply costs and time. We realised very quickly that we couldn't possibly compete with the price of many greeting cards in stores. Our product is made by us from concept to final product and customers who buy our cards appreciate and understand that.

We also had to learn to divide our time up more reasonably. When we first started Elbie Sparks we spent every waking moment on the computer working but we quickly realised it wasn't something we could maintain. At the moment Elbie Sparks is not something we can do full time, we have day jobs to go to, a household to run and two children with ASD to keep happy and healthy. We have become much better at time management and fulfilling all these aspects of our lives.

People often buy our cards and tell us exactly who they are going to give it to, "This is the perfect card for..." and this is a success for us every time it happens. When people appreciate our design and love what we do we feel successful. We're very serious about our brand and we're going to keep growing and building Elbie Sparks. Hopefully one day we'll be able to be creative all day every day and that would certainly mean the ultimate success for us - having Elbie Sparks be what we do for a living. For now though we celebrate each little success.

We've so many plans and the ideas board is bristling as always. We'd love to start working on selling our designs in more retail stores. There are dreams of a range of children's stationery i.e. notebooks, pencil cases etc. and also fabric, duvet covers, cushion covers and more. Vaughan is painting again and is planning to exhibit his work in the near future, so there is a lot happening in our studio. There have been discussions about children's books too so we'll see what happens, one day at a time.

Thanks Vaughan and Nic for your lovely answers - and for sharing your beautiful work with us!
Do go and say hi to them at their website and check out more of their wonderful creations!

If you would like to be featured in an interview - then please contact your continent's host! 
Each featured guest here on Creating my way to Success, will also receive one week's free advertising in my sidebar as a thank you for your post!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Looking for a gift for a little someone special?
Then why not visit Madwestdesigns

Look at the cute little Maryjanes:
Handcrocheted with love and so snuggly soft and warm for little feet!

This simply gorgeous handknitted Baby Jacket:
With special Pink Glitter Buttons!

And just for the fun of it - why not get an Apple Cosy!
Not only does it make your apple look super cool, but it protects it from bumps and bruises in your lunch box or bag! Great for both kids and adults!

So go and take a look at the lovely handmade items on sale at Madwestdesigns!

Personalised Swimming Bags - a tutorial

Last week I made these swimming bags for my 2 daughters - and here is the promised tutorial - how to make them !
I chose to add the mesh in the bottom to allow the wet swimming gear to dry a little - and avoid smells!  

Materials needed:
Waterproof fabric - I used Ripstop Nylon for one, and an old shower curtain for the other!
2 pieces for main bag 48 x 42cm (19 x 16.5")
1 piece for drawstring strap 90 x 10cm (35.5 x 4")

1piece different colour waterproof fabric for name, and fusible webbing: 
30 x 10cm (12 x 4")

Mesh Fabric netting for base of bag.
 (I used an old mesh laundry bag)
42 x 20cm (16.5 x 8") 
NB I forgot to include my drawstring strap piece of fabric in this photo!

First you need to cut the name letters out of the second coloured piece of waterproof fabric.
Now I would highly recommend using fusible webbing to attach these letters to the main bag. Iron one side of the webbing to the back of the fabric - then you can write the letters on the paper backing and cut them out.

I was lazy and just drew the letters direct onto the fabric, cut them out and pinned in place.

Unfortunately this means the letters slip around a lot when trying to stitch them into place!

If you use the fusible webbing - you peel off the paper backing and iron them onto the main bag using a damp cloth over the letters.  This holds them in place and makes it much easer to stitch around the edges in either a tight zig zag stitch or the applique setting on your machine!

Now you're ready to put your bag together!

Pin the long side of the mesh/net fabric to the front main bag base - right sides together and stitch:

Repeat this with the other long side of the mesh/net fabric and the other main part of the bag:

If you have an overlocker (serger), it's a good idea to finish off the seam edges to prevent fraying.  If you don't have an overlocker (serger) you can use a zig zag stitch and trim the raw edge outside that.

You should now have a large rectangle with the mesh part in the centre.
It is a good idea to finish all four edges of this rectangle to prevent fraying.  Again if you have an overlocker (serger) use this around all edges. Otherwise you could turn the edges under twice and stitch with a regular machine to hide the raw edges.

Now you need to form the casing at the top of the bag for the drawstring.
Fold down both top edges - wrong sides together about 5cm (2").Pin and stitch along the edges.

Now fold the rectangle in half - right sides together to form your bag (inside out) Pin down the sides.

When you stitch the sides of the bag together - only stitch up as far as the casing. At the top, run some stitches sideways too and backwards and forwards a few times for extra strength:

Turn your bag out.
Now it's time to make the drawstring strap.
Take your long strip of waterproof fabric.
Fold both long edges in towards the centre, then both sides in again to completely enclose the raw edges. Then stitch down the edges to hold in place.  At either short end, fold the end under too to hide that raw edge.

Now all that's left is to add the drawstring to the bag!
Use a large safety pin or a nappy pin to push the strap through your casing Then tie the ends together:

And there you have one personalised swimming bag:

All ready to fill up with swimming gear:

And take to the pool..

Then you'll have to make one for sisters, brothers..friends...

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

I hope you liked this tutorial.  
There are many more on my tutorials page if you'd like to take a look!

If you like making bags, then why not sign up for my weekly newsletter and receive a free copy of the Kathryn Bag tutorial 
(see picture on top right of my sidebar)

I'll be linking this post to many of the wonderful linky parties whose pretty buttons are on the bottom of this page - and the names and links are on my linky party page.
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