Home+Decor

Lisa and Sarah are the mother and daughter duo behind A Spoonful of Sugar. They aim to Live Creatively and share lots of crafty tutorials and recipes on their blog. They spend their time sewing, baking, and dabbling in a wide range of crafts. Lisa publishes her sewing designs in a number of sewing, craft, quilting magazines in both the USA and Australia. 

Hello Whipup.net readers. We love to bake for our family and friends, and enjoy sharing our weekend baking recipes on our blog each week . Today we wanted to share with you our tutorial for making some fabric cupcake flags which are easily made from your fabric scraps.

Fabric Cupcake Flags

Transform your fabric scraps into sweet cupcake flags to add to add a fun home made touch to your next celebration or high tea.

Materials:
  • Fabric scraps
  • fusible appliqué webbing such as vliesofix or steam a seam
  • wooden toothpicks
  • buttons
  • ribbon
Method:
  1. Cut the fabric and the fusible webbing into strips measuring 1 1/4 inches x 4 inches. (3 x 10cm)
  2. Using your iron, adhere the fusible webbing to the wrong side of the fabric. Remove the paper backing on the fusible webbing.
  3. Position the fabric strips with the wrong side facing up. Position a toothpick in the middle of the fabric strip. Fold the fabric strip in half, sandwiching the toothpick in the middle. Press with an iron to adhere both ends of the fabric together.
  4. Trim the flag into the desired shape. Embellish flag with buttons or lace as desired.
  5. Insert the flags into decorated cupcakes to add a whimsical home made touch.

Bon Appétit!

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Granny Square Love: A New Twist on a Crochet Classic for Your Home by Sarah London. North Light Books (September 2011).

With a riot of gorgeous colour, Sarah London’s book Granny Square Love is for anyone who loves crochet, and loves granny squares in every room of the house.  Welcome to the Whipup.net stop on the Granny Square Love blog tour!

Reviewed by Kate G

Quite often, when someone talks about crochet, they are talking about a granny square.  Granny squares are virtually the foundation of crochet motifs.  In Granny Square Love, Sarah London, a great lover of granny squares, shows how to take the most basic granny square, add fabulous colour combinations, and to add a granny square project to every room of the house.  I know so many people who love the rhythm of making granny squares, and who make them by the dozen.  Most of these squares are destined to be stitched together into afghans, and now crocheters have so many more options for their grannies.

Even if you have never picked up a crochet hook before, Sarah London’s clear instructions will get you started making chains and basic crochet stitches into granny squares in a few minutes.  The stitch illustrations are clear, and the photos of granny square construction are helpful, easy to follow and delightfully retro.

Each project has a clear description, details such as yarn, notions, hook size and measurements of the finished item, row by row written instructions for each round, tips for finishing each project off, and a colour commentary by Sarah London.  So often yarn projects are presented in a dictated colourway, and either the crocheter has to use those colours or figure out another colour scheme without any guidance from the designer.  I really like Sarah’s colour tips, and finding out her motivation for certain colour palettes, and her colour decision making processes.

Another fabulous part of every project is the large scale stitch chart.  For every crocheter that loves to use a stitch diagram, there is another that avoids a pattern with a diagram, with so many people never having had learned to read the symbols that make up a crochet chart.  Here Sarah provides clear diagrams, along with detailed row by row instructions, so that a crocheter of any experience level can follow along with the text and the diagrams at the same time, until reading a granny square crochet chart is second nature.  I personally love using crochet charts, and I’m excited about other crocheters learning to use charts, and doubling the number of patterns available for them to tackle.

The projects in Granny Square Love are divided into projects for each of the rooms in your home.  My favourite projects are the giant floor cushion (loungeroom), stool cover (kitchen), garland (dining room) and curtain (bathroom and laundry).

If anyone ever wanted to move away from the most simple granny squares used in Granny Square Love, to more complicated grannies or to other sizes or crochet motifs, then all of Sarah’s projects would be easy to adapt.  But I bet that anyone who loves granny squares will make these projects, at least once each, and surround themselves in every room with riotous coloured grannies.

About the reviewer: Kate is a busy mother of four with many craft projects on the go, including, but not limited to, crochet, knitting, sewing, dyeing, paper making, spinning, felting and bookbinding. Kate has challenges in the areas of finishing things, saying no and craft supplies storage. She also has a very very patient and tolerant husband.

DISCLOSURE: Sarah London PROVIDED WHIPUP.NET REVIEWER KATE WITH A FREE REVIEW COPY. THE AMAZON LINKS ARE AFFILIATE LINKS.

Join in the rest of the blog tour:

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Di has been blogging at Clementine’s Shoes for quite some time. She started in 2004, and one husband, two children, and one house extension later, she’s still at it, writing about sewing, knitting and trying to lead a more sustainable life. You can also find her pinning all manner of inspirations at Pinterest. 

Whip up has been a regular source of inspiration for me for quite some time. Kathreen and her contributors gather together so many things to look at, links to such a variety of sites and ideas to explore. For me, blogging has always been about finding and sharing creative inspiration with others, so to be contributing here today is wonderful opportunity.

I’d like to share a recent project that has been all about gathering and consolidating: patchwork placemats for our family dinner table. As a young family of four, we always sit down at the dinner table together, and I felt we needed something to adorn our (easy clean) vinyl covered table, something to celebrate coming together to eat and to help instil some more grown up meal time manners (although we’ll be ignoring what the baby gets up to with her food for a few more years I know).

Being in a thrifty, make-do mood, I wanted to work from my fabric stash. It’s not a huge stash, but the box that holds my cotton prints is crammed to bursting. When I pulled the box out and started to muse on my options, I initially struggled. The colours and prints just didn’t seem to jump out as being every day dinner table companions – too dull, too precious to get smeared with tomato sauce, too matchy-matchy, not matchy enough, too small. So I had to play, and draw on some of the patchwork inspiration I’d been pinning, particularly the colourful patchwork of Rita of Red Pepper Quilts and anything featuring varied collections of scraps. I’ve always been drawn to scrap based patchwork, patchwork with a variety of prints and colours within an overall theme, tied together by some kind of overall structure or order.

For this project, I decided to work with strips. Easy to cut, easy to piece, easy to use up little scraps of favourite prints. Using dots as a unifying motif, I gathered all the spotted fabrics I had, weeded out a few colours that didn’t sit right, and cut a pile of 5cm (2 inch) and 10cm (4 inch) strips. I sewed them together end to end, selecting the pieces fairly randomly, to make one long strip for each width. I cut these into 45cm (18 inch) long pieces, and started to play with layouts. Each placement is made from five narrower strips and one wider strip, selected so that they have a gentle balanced disorder. Not too matchy, not too off balance, just comfortably varied.

I sewed them together with 5mm (1/4 inch) seams (I took time to press all the seams open to avoid big lumps in the finished placemats). I backed the tops with plain calico, also sewn with a 5mm (1/4 inch) seam so that the edge strips are the same finished size, and turned out through a 10cm (4 inch) opening.  After a thorough pressing, including pressing the opening edges in, I top stitched in a neutral thread 2mm (1/8 inch) from the edge, thereby closing the opening and giving a neat finished edge all round.

I was too lazy (or perhaps just too eager to put them to use) to bother with any additional quilting, although you could do if you wanted to. They have been in daily use since completion, for breakfast lunch and dinner for our family and visitors. Despite a slight hiccup (I hadn’t prewashed the calico, which shrank dramatically on the first wash, requiring unpicking and new backings) they have been a huge success. They’ve made a great addition to our 4 year old’s table setting ritual, a source of dinner conversation (who has more of the orange multi-coloured spots tonight?), and creatively satisfying too.

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Guest blogger: Colleen Babcock of The Magic Bean

My name is Colleen from The Magic Bean and I am a face-aholic. I’ve always loved drawing faces and I suppose that is at least part of the reason that I love making cloth dolls (my primary craft obsession, but by no means, the only one). I teach cloth doll making all over Canada (where I’m from originally), the US (where I love to visit) and the UK (where I live) and everywhere I go people tell me that drawing faces scares them silly. Incidentally, I am a firm believer that drawing is not an innate talent but a learned skill that anyone can acquire with the right teacher.

However, when you don’t have a teacher at hand, you can always cheat. So when the opportunity to guest blog at one of my favourite blogs, Whipup.net, came along I decided that I would share an easy way for people to draw the profiles of their nearest and dearest and to turn those silhouettes into a set of High Profile Pillows – the cheaters way!

Download the free tutorial and pattern for these High Profile Pillows in PDF format.

So, we’ve established that I love Whipup.net. I love faces. I love drawing. But there is one more thing – I love free tutorials. So in honour of my guest post at Whipup.net, I’ve created another free tutorial for a co-ordinating pillow which you can get at my own blog, The Magic Bean. This second tutorial will arm you with another different cheaters technique to draw full body silhouettes of you and your family. Whoever said cheaters never prosper, never made my pillows.

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Jackie Boucher is a freelance designer (http://www.behance.net/jackieboucher) with past gigs including “Look of the Games” designer for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games and managing the creative department for an NHL hockey team. She’s also a contributing writer for Apartment Therapy’s ohdeedoh. Her current passions include fabric design, blogging, photography, travelling with her family and making healthy, cute lunches for her 7 year old boy. Jackie is an apartment dweller with her husband and son in downtown Vancouver, Canada where they like to play in the mountains and on the sea.

I’m completely new to this sewing thing; sure I’ve dabbled here and there but if you must know, I took industrial arts in high school and missed out on ‘home economics’ altogether. It’s my new love of fabric design that has brought me into the world of sewing. I currently have about a dozen project ideas floating around in my head but with the start of school in the air this particular project floated to the top: a custom lunch bag to carry a new set of stackable, cylindrical lunch containers that we bought at IKEA. This bag could be made to fit a more traditional tiffin or round bento box as well.

What I did:
CHOSE FABRICS I chose a fabric for each of the 4 components: The outside tube, the bottom circle, the pocket (for holding a napkin that I had made earlier) and the lining. I chose fleece for the lining to add an insulation factor. Using some sort of water proof fabric is another option. I chose fleece because I think it will last longer, especially the number of times I think this will end up in the wash. My other fabric choices are from my Robot Gear Garden collection that I designed using Illustrator and had produced at Spoonflower*.

CUT FABRIC Our lunch containers stack up to 6” high and 6” across. Starting with the bottom circle of fabric, I added 1.5” of wiggle room so that the diameter of the circle is 7.5” (plus a little seam allowance). I cut the same sized circle out of the fleece lining as well.

Next, I cut the fabrics for the tube at 11” high. This factors in the height of the lunch container (6”), some extra height so that it can close properly (3“), the folded over part creating a pocket for the drawstring (1“) and some seam allowance (1”).

Finally, I dredged up some grade 8 math to figure out how wide the fabric for the tubes should be. I took the 7.5” diameter of the bottom circle and multiplied it by 3.14 (П) which gave me approximately 23.5” in circumference. So in my case, I cut a 24” x 11” rectangle in both the inner and outer fabrics.

THE NAPKIN POCKET First I hemmed the top of the pocket. Then I top stitched it down each side. I didn’t bother with the bottom because that will take care of itself when I sew on the bottom piece. The finished size of the pocket is about 3” x 3.5”.

MADE TWO TUBES Next I sewed each tube separately. But first, I hemmed the top 1.5” where the drawstring pocket will eventually be. And it was at this 1.5” mark where I started to join the tubes. I actually didn’t bother hemming the fleece because it won’t fray. Note that it’s best if the fleece tube is slightly narrower than the outer tube to reduce bunching. I increased the hem size on the fleece to achieve this.

PINNED AND SEWED BOTTOMS I sewed on each bottom inside out after a careful pinning session. And when I say “I”, I mean my husband did this while I made us some lunch. It’s nice to have a tag team. It’s no accident that I gave him one of the trickier parts of the whole project to do. I’m clever like that. He noted that sometimes you have to do tiny gathers as you go around the circle, especially if the fabric doesn’t have a lot of give.

ASSEMBLED BAG I turned the outside tube so that it was right side out but kept the fleece lining inside out when putting them together. That way, all the seams are happily out of view.

PINNED AND SEWED DRAWSTRING POCKET First I folded the top of the bag over so that about 1” of the fleece lining was showing at the top of the bag. Then I folded about a ¼” of that edge under, as a hem, and pinned it carefully. Finally I top stitched around the hem which made a pocket for the drawstring.

THREADED DRAWSTRING I put a safety pin on the end of the drawstring, inserted it in one hole and slowly worked it through to the other hole. Finally I cut it, being careful to leave enough for tying it off at the end.

*Interested in trying your hand at designing your own fabric? If you can produce an 8” x 8” jpg of artwork, even if it started out as a vector file (such as I did with Illustrator) and you get a handle on how to make the design so that it will ‘repeat’ seamlessly, then you can do it too. If this all sounds new to you but you are intrigued, take some time to pore over the information and supporting links on Spoonflower’s help page.

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