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My Poppet : your weekly dose of crafty inspiration

My Poppet : your weekly dose of crafty inspiration: April 2011

My Poppet : your weekly dose of crafty inspiration

Saturday, 30 April 2011

A little experimental crochet...

Whilst my computer was on 'holidays' I started a little crochet project destined to be a cushion cover for my couch.
It is based on a Log Cabin quilting design. I'm still not convinced if I like it or not.
Conceptually I love the idea of growing a 'block' of crochet as if I was piecing fabrics together, but as it gets bigger i'm not loving the overall look as much.
Maybe its the colours, or combination there of, that I've chosen? I must admit, I did not put much thought in, just grabbed them out of the basket as i went along...
I will finish it, sew it up and reserve my judgement until it's nestled amongst all the other cushions on the sofa.

Would love your you love it, hate it, or somewhere in between?

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Friday, 29 April 2011

Animation Friday - A royal wave!

It seems the whole world is going royally crazy! I've tried to avoid buying into all the hoopla until now, but it seems my defenses have weakened and I too will probably watch the wedding tonight. It's either that on every channel or the football, so unless Mr Man commandeers the remote, wedding it will be.

I will not be donning a tiara to watch, but I may have a Pimms (or two) to toast to the couples happiness...any excuse for a Pimms!

Thanks to Kellie from Mini Must Have for suggesting this weeks Animation Friday Theme - A royal wave, via twitter. I hope I've done it justice Kellie?

This is the best I could so animation-wise till my computer is repaired, I've really got my fingers crossed that I'll get i back today...I'm having withdrawals!

Make an animation if you fancy. I'd love to see some of your royal wedding celebrations if you are having a party.
It's really easy. Here are some simple instructions on how to make moving pictures...have a go, you've got all week. Post it to your blog and link here so we can all see. Remember to link back to this post so your other readers can join in to.


Thursday, 28 April 2011

♫ Happy Birthday Miss Two...♫

As mentioned yesterday, Miss Emma turned Two this past weekend. I wasn't really even planning a party, just a cake and maybe some balloons...the non-party wasn't to be, because it turns out my friends and family don't believe in 'non-parties' and invited themselves round anyway.
It was a good excuse to string up the bunting and get the pretty tablecloths out for a pretty floral themed afternoon tea...
Not much cooking involved, just the cake and some sweet treats from a local Greek cafe.
I was pretty happy at how the cake turned out, even though it wasn't from scratch (i used some packet mix and a couple of tubs of ready made frosting), I handmade the icing decorations myself.
It was a little bit tricky, because I should have done some research first, but essentially I kneaded icing sugar with a bit of water and food colouring till i had a mouldable paste. Created my little flowers and set them to dry whilst the cake was baking. Apparently adding glucose makes the paste more malleable and less crumbly so you don't get any cracking, next time I'll be more prepared and buy it ready made.
Emma was very happy with all her guest's attention and lovely gifts, which included a scooter (from mum and dad), a black board, a Thomas the Tank (that we will eventually find batteries for) a groovy retro toy cash register and (the big hit) a card that plays Queen's 'Another one bites the dust'.

Lots of cake still left if anyone wants a piece? I think I'll go and have some now, my sugar levels are getting a bit low...

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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

A Sugar Fueled Frenzy...

A story about what we did on our holidays...
I'm only just recovering from the five day sugar frenzy that the 'Easter Bunny' has bestowed upon us all - I know you can relate!

But for us it was a double whammy, my little Emma turned Two (sob!) and being the luck girl that she is, their were two parties thrown in her honor...

So Saturday night at nan's, party No. 1, with international guests joining us on skype...Emma having a ball here digging into her cake...
Sunday morning out hunting eggs, and then enjoying the fruits of her labour. I'm still wondering how much foil was ingested before she worked out how to peel it off properly!

Yesterday we had a little afternoon tea at home...I'll share some more photos later this week...Do you like the cake? I made it.

The last picture says it all, in fact most of the photos of this weekend were just a blur...

What did you get upto this longest of weekends?


Friday, 22 April 2011

Animation Good Friday...

I'd Like to wish all of you a very safe and happy Easter break.
How ever you choose to celebrate this time, religious or non, it is a perfect opportunity to slow down and reflect, enjoy the company of family and friends, and eat a little too much chocolate.

I'll be taking a forced vacation from my computer till next week when hopefully it can be repaired after a minor breakdown. Too much blogging? But will be kept busy hunting eggs and celebrating Emma's birthday.

Hope the Easter bunny pays you a visit wherever you choose to spend your 5 day break.

x Cinti

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Thursday, 21 April 2011

How To: Retro-tastic garden markers

I've been sowing my winter veg garden, and because I'm a little on the lazy side I usually throw the seeds straight in to the soil and wait for something to happen. Fair enough you say, not lazy just practical. But the problem is, by the time anything sprouts I've totally forgotten what I've planted. So I had a brilliant idea!
Waterproof, recycled, retro-tastic mini garden markers made from stuff I had lying around.You will need:
An old school DYMO label maker and some tape
Plastic tub lid, this ice-cream tub made eight
Utility scissors

How to:
Make your labels, this is my fave part. Turn-click-turn-click!
Cut your tags plastic tags from the lid, these were about 1.5cm wide and 9cm long (3/4"x3 1/2")
Make one end pointy
Stick on your labels firmly
Get out in the garden!

I've always been fascinated by these little label makers, but until now haven't found a perfectly practical use for them. You can imagine my amusement when after making this project i discovered that the labelling device was originally marketed to make pressed metal garden markers! Read the interesting article here.

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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Hush, Hush!

I've finally finished my 'top secret, can't say anything or I'll have to kill you' project. As you can see it's very technical as it involves fancy rulers and such. I don't know why it has taken me so long to actually get it done, I took procrastination to the next level on this one!
Can't say who or what it's for, but you can probably make out what it is...but keep it under your hat *eyes dart around* it's very hush, hush!

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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

What a Hottie!

It's certainly cooling down in the evenings, and there's nothing I love more than cosying up in bed with a book and my hottie! (Don't tell Mr Man)
Have never been one to trust electric blankets, and in this day and age, it's just not the done thing.
So by popular request from my facebook likers, I've made some cosy covers. These are made from my latest haul of thrifted vintage blankets.
I've written a tutorial on how to make your own, but if you're not handy with a sewing machine, just can't be bothered or like mine much better, you can get one here.

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Monday, 18 April 2011

Crafting a little blog of your own?

I received this email last week from a Jody, a lovely reader and customer:
"Hi Cinti,
I have been following you for a long time now, I love your shop, your blog and all your tutes!
I have found you to be so inspiring I have decided to create my own blog! It is
something I have wanted to do for a some time now, but have just never had the time to do it!
I am unfortunately not as creative as you, but endeavour to be. I would like my blog to
be about me, my beautiful children, things I make, like and dream of doing. I guess what I am trying to say in a rambling way is, do you have any advice for a newbie?
what software do you use? do you blog from your pc or phone? how did you get your blog to be so pretty? Also what are the rules when it comes to posting things you like from other peoples blogs?
can you link them? I'm sure you must get emails and questions like this all the time, it must drive you crazy, I'm sorry, I just don't have any one else to ask."(Of course I asked Jody permission to publish this)

I was more than happy to help Jody out, but thought it would be fun to write a blog post so everyone could benefit...
Firstly I'll preface this with - I'm not a bloggy/techie expert and everything that I know I've learnt from google, asking helpful friends and trial and error. I've been blogging for nearly 4 years but am still learning new things every day. Lots of questions here, lets start at the beginning. What software do you use?
There are a few blogging platforms available, the most common ones are Wordpress, Typepad and Blogger. When i started my blog all that time ago, I chose Blogger because I felt it was the most user friendly at the time. I'm not endorsing blogger over any others, it can be temperamental at times, but it serves it's purpose and its free.
I write my posts directly into the blogger window, but as I found out recently from
Leni and Rose you can use Windows Live writer to post to your blog. I'll give it a try one day.

Do you blog from your pc or phone?
I write my blog from my laptop, usually in the evenings when Emma is asleep. I recently learnt how to schedule posts so I can write things like tutorials when i have time and post them at a later date. Here is some info on how to schedule posts on blogger

Blogger does have a free iPhone app BlogPress Lite hat will help you post from your phone. I have probably only used it whilst on holidays. Its handy for quick posts without much text but will only upload small photos. You can see one of my phone posts here.

How did you get your blog to be so pretty?
That took a didn't always look like this.
There are a few options available.
1. Use a ready made template. Blogger has a new design function now that lets you choose your colours, layout and background image. It will also let you preview how it will look without making any permanent changes.
2. There are thousands of free templates you can download and uses as your blog. They will often have the designers link at the bottom
3. You can engage a designer to design your blog template for you. There will be a cost.
4. You can chose the most basic template - Minima and mess about with the code yourself.

At the time of starting my blog option 1 wasn't available, I couldn't find anything pre made that I liked and option 3 was much less accessible, so that left me with the Minima template. It has been the best thing I could have done as lots of HTML coding tutorials are based on the minima template.

I suggest keeping your design simple. In my opinion I'd rather my readers focus on my content than a really busy layout or background.

Start with an nice header image - You can easily create one using Picnik a free online image editor which allows you to overlay text and graphics over photos, make collages and then resize them to your required size.

Background - you can choose a basic colour or image in the blogger design function. If you want to have your own custom one you will have to host it somewhere like photobucket. this option and will take some fiddling with CSS (cascading style sheet) in your HTML template. This is the tutorial I used.

Note: before you start fiddling with HTML code on your template, make a backup!

Pictures - Take and post nice bright pictures. Use some photo-editing software to crop, brighten and make your images more attractive. Blogger will only host and post images upto 400px max. If you want nice big photos you will have to host them on photobucket or Flickr and then upload the url link. I use photobucket which allows me to have 600px wide photos.

Side bar - I created some of my cute buttons using Picnik, uploaded them as photos and then added links.
Add interesting links, like blogs you like to read, where to find you on other social networks (lots of cute free buttons around for these), about you and don't forget to include a way for people to easily follow you like an RSS or google follower widget.

Tinker with your blog until you are happy with it. It should evolve as you do.

Also what are the rules when it comes to posting things you like from other peoples blogs? can you link them?
OK, pay attention people!
It is the height of blogging rudeness and could infringe on copyright if you don't credit other bloggers or websites content. It is always best to get permission to use someone's original images and if you find something through another blog or website, give credit to them as well.
Design sponge has written some excellent posts on blogging etiquette
Because reposting images can be a complicated minefield, I tend to use my own original photos. I think that's what makes it my blog.
You may have noticed a little disclaimer at the bottom of my side bar --> about how I allow my original content to be used and re-posted. You may want to think about how you would like your content to be used by others (if at all) and clearly state that on your blog.

So I hope that answered some of your questions, and has made you think of so many more! Feel free to ask more questions, or topics you would like me to expand on in the comments and I'll try to answer them in future blog posts. Enjoy your blogging!

BTW: Vintage trims are from L'uccello in Melbourne

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Saturday, 16 April 2011

How to: Create a Crafty Business Card

I'm off to a Melbourne bloggers meet hosted by Danimezza tonight and Shock! Horror! I just realised that I'd run out of business cards.

So even though I hate the idea of make your own cards, I sort of had no choice.
I'm pretty pleased at how these turned out for a rush job, they are all cut a bit wonky but I think that adds to the charm!

If you want to make your own, here are the 4 easy steps:

1. Print your business details onto some card stock. I used a free online business card generator which I won't recommend because it wasn't very good (I think it was trying to hack into my computer!). If anyone knows of a good one please leave the link in the comments.
2. Iron your chosen fabric and glue to the back of the card.
3. You can stitch some zig zag lines with your sewing machine to make it look even more crafty.
4. Cut out cards with scissors, blade or guillotine and you're done!

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Friday, 15 April 2011

A busy morning...

No animation Friday today, am feeling a little uninspired, sorry. It's a bit cold and drizzly this morning, and because we have no place in particular to go, I've made the 'executive decision' that we are staying home in our pyjamas all day.
Not to say that we'll be laying around like couch potatoes, little Miss Emma just wouldn't allow that.
This is what we have been up to so far...all before 9am
Brushing our teeth, and doing some 'painting'.
Reading lots of stories.
Playing with dollies and sending some e-mails.
I'm pooped already, the couch is looking like a pretty attractive option today after all...
What have you planned today?


Thursday, 14 April 2011

How To: Yarn Wrapped Egg

I'm almost embarrassed to call this a tutorial because its so easy!
You will need:
Styrofoam egg
Glue or double sided tape
crochet hook

How to:
Cover your egg with some glue to hold the yarn in place (mine wasn't very strong so I also used double sided tape over parts of the egg).
Make a little hole in one end and poke the start of your yarn in.
Wrap your yarn around the egg, you can use a couple of colours if you like. Make sure you keep the oval egg shape or it will end up looking like a ball.
When you are finished pull your loose yarn end through the layers with a crochet hook for a neat finish.

I recommend these for display/decoration only as they may unwind will too much handling.

I hope you enjoyed this little series of decorated egg projects.
♥Enjoy your Easter ♥

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Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Open for business...

As you can see over on the left sidebar there <---- I'm now accepting ads on my blog. I like to call them sponsors, because it's not about revenue raising from random plugs for things that we can't relate to or don't want, it's about partnering with like minded small businesses that would like to gain some exposure.
If you have a little enterprise and enjoy reading my blog, why don't you consider becoming a sponsor. I have put together some really reasonably priced packages, and lets face it, when you have a little business every $ counts.
From my own personal experience with My Poppet, I have found that advertising on blogs has been a really cost effective form of promotion. I often get approached to advertise in print media and wow wee, its expensive! I'm talking thousands of dollars to have an ad in a glossy and even hundreds for a local paper! I'd rather spend that money supporting fellow bloggers to do what they love and reaching a really targeted audience that loves the things that I do. You can contact me on for more information...

Now to everyone out there I truly value your readership and will do my very best to keep the sponsors as relevant to the values of My Poppet as possible. I will clearly indicate when a post or giveaway has been sponsored by an advertiser because I believe in full disclosure. No cash for comments here Lol!

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Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Charley Harper - An Illustrated Life

Browsing in my local Readings book shop on Sunday morning I was gob smacked to find this most amazing book filled with the beautiful artwork of Charley Harper on the bargain table. Written/curated by Todd Oldham, who I'm sure would have had a difficult time deciding what to leave out, this book is essentially a collection of Harper's best work, from his first commissioned book illustration to his final commissioned work in 2006. It also has a delightful interview in which Harper discusses his artistic and technical processes, his youth and experiences in the early days of his career.

This book is a feast for the eyes with over 300+ pages of stunning illustrations and artworks.
My favourites are some of the ones which have preliminary sketches, it's amazing to see how a few scribbles develop into a finished product.Ford Almanac cover sketch - 1961
Ford Almanac cover - 1964

I've shared a few photos from the book of his less commonly seen work here for your enjoyment.

Illustration - The giant golden book of Biology 1961 (leaf section & micro-organisms)
Birds & Words - Scissor tailed fly catcher 1956
Ford Times - White breasted nuthatch 1954

Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two cook book 1958
Ford Times - assorted illustrations 1954-1961

Ford Times - Drive thru Redwood 1954
Gay Forest gift wrap 1953

Ford Times- cover 1954
Illustration - The giant golden book of Biology 1961 (volcano gasses)

Words and Birds - Flamingo 1958
Painting - Box Seat 1983

Illustration - The giant golden book of Biology 1961 (crab, jellyfish, tadpole)
Mosaic - Space for all Species 1964

Advertisement- Libby's deep minted pineapple chunks 1959

Painting- Serengeti Spaghetti 1979

There were just too many beautiful images to choose from, I look forward to spending hours with Emma pouring over the pictures, identifying all the animals and making up our own little stories.
She already calls it the "Special Big Book"

If you want your own copy Readings Malvern have a couple left for only $39.95

CHARLEY HARPER—An Illustrated Life
by Todd Oldham
ISBN: 9781934429372

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Monday, 11 April 2011

How To: Needle Felted Easter Egg

This little project is a good introduction to needle felting as you don't have to worry about shaping the egg, just the surface decoration.
If you are new to the concept of needle felting, have a read of my Needle Felting Basics tutorial.

You will need:
-1 x Styrofoam egg shape
-wool roving in your chosen colours, You will not need very much
-felting needles, and foam pad
1. You will need to cover the surface of the foam egg with a layer of wool. Lay small pieces of wool roving over the surface of the egg and needle as you go. Its best to criss-cross several thin layers to make an even coverage. The wool will felt to itself not the foam core so don't stab too deeply or you risk breaking your needles.
2. Once you are happy with your coverage and density of the wool layer you can start to decorate. I've chosen spots.

3. To make spots, take a small amount of wool and roll it between your fingers to make a little ball. Place it where you want the spot to be and poke it until it felts/fixes to the base layer

I hope you enjoyed that easy project. If you cant find a foam egg you can try making the core out of wool roving, it will take a little longer but it will be worth the effort.

Make a whole bunch of these in loads of colours. They are safe for babies to play with as long as the decorations are firmly felted on.

Look out for the next tutorial in this series later on in the week...

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Saturday, 9 April 2011

A day at the park...

Emma and I spend some time at the park most days. Sometimes it's all about the swings, or the ducks, yesterday it was about the flowers. The sunshine was so delicious and the sky impossibly blue, I couldn't resist using my phone to snap some of these autumn blooms...

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Friday, 8 April 2011

Animation Friday - Rain of many colours

Imagine how much more cheerful winter would be if the rain clouds were full of colour!
A little bit of fun with some vintage fabric scraps and Picnik photo editor...

Make an animation if you fancy.
It's really easy. Here are some simple instructions on how to make moving pictures...have a go, you've got all week. Post it to your blog and link here so we can all see. Remember to link back to this post so your other readers can join in to. Feel free to grab a little button for your sidebar

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Thursday, 7 April 2011

More than just a shop...

I've been pondering for a while about this blog, how it has changed my life in a significant way, how it has changed over it's three and a half years and what it will become...
I almost cringe now when I look at some of my first blog posts, they were forced and clunky, and so obviously just to market my business. At the start I never felt very comfortable about sharing my personal story, feelings and thoughts, and I almost wonder now if it was because I thought no one would really care?

I never considered myself a very good writer. The fact is my worst marks at school were for English. A+'s for Chemistry, Biology, Maths etc...English mmm a not so respectable C. But practice makes perfect and writing every day has helped me develop my own writing style, not a very good one maybe, but a style none the less.

Over these years, writing the blog has become part of my daily routine, and especially since Emma's arrival, a defacto journal of how she and I have changed. I lie in bed at night writing the next days post in my head, I take photos where I normally wouldn't have, so I can share little fragments with you and my future self. It feels natural now.

So see that little tag line just under the blog header "A story about a girl and her shop"?
I don't think it applies any more, I think I need a new one.
I will take my time to figure out what my story should be about...more than just a shop...

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