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I just love the Olive and Henri range at Toys R Us so decided to make my own canvas as I had recently taken down some wooden frames and wanted to utilise one in the upcoming nursery!

I chose some images I liked from the products for sale at Toys R Us, printed them out and picked my favourite.

Henri and Olive Toys R Us

Luckily, I had some old scraps of material in just the right colour scheme to make my canvas. I chose a piece of fabric big enough to cover the frame then placed the cut out paper images in place to create a design I liked. Next, I cut the characters from the scraps of material and pinned these in place on the canvas.

I used zig-zag stitching around the characters to complete the canvas. Olive and Henri canvasOlive and Henri canvas

Olive and Henri canvasOlive and Henri canvas

Olive and Henri canvas

Finally, I stapled the canvas on the frame. Although there were a few mistakes in places along the way, I really like to overall look and can’t wait to do the nursery so I can hang it in place!

Olive and Henri canvas

Are there any other crafters out there who’ve been inspired by this range? Let me know what you think about my attempt 🙂


I commented in my first post how I’ve always enjoyed sewing. I enjoy it most when I can get a lot of use out of something I have created, but don’t always get round to making such things. As I was rummaging around in the kitchen for a bag to take my lunch to work last week (which I do most days!), I decided I’d had enough and set about making a tote bag. Here’s ‘how to’.

Tote bags are usually a pretty standard size but I just cut mine freely (the result measures 13″x13″) so  you could either use my rough measurements below or make yours to suit its purpose.

  • 1 piece of fabric measuring 14″(W) x30″(H)
  • 2 pieces of fabric measuring 28″x4″
  • matching or contrasting thread (I used green to contrast with the blue)

First, fold the largest piece of fabric along its length so the surface of the fabric is face to face (inside out). With the fold at the bottom, sew up the side seams and over lock (use about 1/4 inch).

Here you can see the bottom of the bag and the seams overlocked.

Next make the handles. Take one of the handle pieces, with the pattern on the outside, and fold both sides down their length to meet in the middle (more or less). Fold the handle in half lengthways again and stitch along the open edge. Repeat to make the other handle. (The raw edges will be sewn out of sight in the next step).

This step requires the handles to be sewn equally on both sides. You could either measure and mark with chalk or tack in place, depending on your skill level.

Now sew the handles in place. With the bag inside out, fold the top seam down roughly an inch. Fold down again. (Now decide whether you want to hand stitch the handles in place or just make a mark roughly 3.5inches from the side seams on both sides.)

With one of the handles pushed up as far as it will go into the fold and 3.4 inches from the seam, start stitching the line of stitching furthest from the top of the bag first. (REMEMBER you should have measured where the handles should be so they are the same on both sides, or have them handstitched in place. Make sure the handles are straight and not twisted before you sew them in place!).

Starting at the side seam again, fold the handle back up on itself and start the second row of stitching (nearest the top of the bag). This will sew all the handles in their correct position.

Turn the bag so it’s the right way. Sew a cross to make the handle secure, and also go over the top and bottom rows of stitching for the width of the handle-see image below. (You could do this in one by creating an angular figure of eight).

If you start top left and make an angular figure of eight, you can do the strengthening stitching all in one.

Here you can see how the handles appear from inside the bag. The raw edges have been sewn under the top fold and the cross secures the handles so you can buy more without worrying about the handles breaking 🙂

Repeat to all other handles…………

………And voila! Hopefully you will have a new tote!

Final product!

It would be nice to know if you have any success making your own tote! Please leave a comment if you can’t follow my instructions (unfortunately I didn’t take any pics whilst making the bag but could help out further if you’re not sure on any of the steps).

Happy shopping 🙂

I got quite excited last week when I came across my first competition at Just Inspirational Challenges. Using the purple as my main inspiration, I was initially thinking something floral, but then focused on what I could create using a rich purple. I decided upon a prom dress, with a tiara to add a bit of sparkle.

Purple prom dress with sparkly tiara

I sewed the dress on the  machine, using silver ribbon to create the bodice, and then glued a blue flower with thin silver ribbon to contrast. I sewed the initial shape of the tiara on the machine in white. I then hand sewed a silver metallised thread through the white stitching, adding stars as I went. In the traditional style of my cards, I sewed the dress to the cards leaving the stitching visible.

The tiara was stitched in white first. Here, the silver thread and stars are being added.

A close up of the starry tiara

I hope you like my final design!

A close up of the dress shows the true purple colour

Since I joined Twitter and started this blog last week, I feel like it’s all taken over my life a little bit! There are sites to join; people to tweet; links to follow; companies to e-mail; documents to read; people to tweet…..oh wait I did that already!!

I’ve also been busying making new cards:

From all of this action, I have got a few links to share with fellow card makers.

If, like me, you are new to the business of selling handmade cards, you may like to take a look at this site: There’s a host of information to advise what you should (and shouldn’t) be doing. I found it particularly helpful to be directed to two greeting card magazines: Greetings Today or Progressive Greetings.  Both are free publicity for new ranges of cards. Let me know how you get on!

Another useful link for “Resources is our free comprehensive information centre for anyone interested in the greeting card industry. Whether you are a fledgling publisher, an artist or a writer, a student or a journalist we have lots sections here to inform or help you get involved – this is free service and available to all.”

I think that’s all for now! I’d like to know, What do other crafters out there do to drum up business?

Ok, so it’s June and we’re half way through the year, so is it too late to make a new year’s resolution??

I spoke in my last blog about finding inspiration for new card ideas. The ‘need’ for a card is the most obvious source of inspiration: a friend was emigrating for example, so I created my Bon Voyage from this need; at Easter, I created my Easter bunny.

Other times, I will have an idea of  the type of image I need, and will look online for inspiration. The black cat on my Good Luck cards is such an example, inspired by the cat on a lady’s blog I came across.

I have no idea where a lot of my designs come from. Sometimes the hands just take over!

As I will need to expand the range, I figure that I can’t rely soley on my hands for everything! I decided to make a concerted effort to record my inspirations.

So, as I am a highly visual person, my New Year’s Resolution is this: carry a camera around AT ALL TIMES to ensure I can capture anything that inspires me, whether at home or out and about. With only 6 more months left of the year, surely I can’t fail?!

Here’s my first lot.

One for the ladies. Glamour puss? Birthday wishes?

Another for the ladies. Party girl? Birthday wishes?

I have no idea on this. I just like the little guitar!

A packed suitcase….another candidate for Bon Voyage?

For as long as I can remember, I have always loved cutting, sticking, sewing  and gluing anything that wouldn’t get me into trouble!

As a young child, I would make my Barbies new outfits from old scraps of material. I attempted knitting clothes for my dolls too; scarfs was the best I managed! When I was 11, my mother (I still don’t know what possessed her!) allowed me to use her sewing machine for the first time: I have never looked back!!

As a teenager I would redesign clothes that had been donated by family members so they fitted me perfectly. I would draw around my favourite clothes to get a rough template and make numerous skirts/outfits in different fabrics. I was asked by my CDT (Craft Designer Technology) teacher if I’d had help at home with my sewing project!

As an adult, I satisfy my crafty urges whenever and however they arise.  I decorate and make curtains, cushion covers, shopping bags, pencil cases, a garden gate!!!!!

I have now combined my love of crafting with my love for sewing by creating a range of cards: Material Moments This range of cards is not completed and will be added to as and when I become inspired. I hope you follow my progress, and maybe you could be my next inspiration!! (Follow this link for ideas!)


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