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I am so excited to be able to bring you a true quality all Australian handmade brand called “Fourteen Poplars”.

Firstly, a little about the person behind the brand. Mum of 3 little lovelies (I can say that with certainty because they are my niece and nephews) simply loves to knit. I recall sitting in the lounge room as kids, rugged up in our dressing gown with the fire roaring and my sister clicking away with her knitting needles. Even as a child I recall thinking “wow! her knitting is so perfect”. Never an uneven tension, never and tight cast off, absolutely stitch perfect knitting. So when last year she started making head wraps, hats and now other knitted products I was not at all surprised at the demand for her gorgeous items.

Karina, also chooses to use superior quality Australian wools, primarily from Bendigo Woollen Mills in Victoria. Combining these quality wools with her quality workmanship and new age designs, you can be guaranteed of a superior woollen product.

Last year Winnie&Clem was able to offer a couple of headwraps, but I am so exited that this year I will be bringing you many more, plus new products like luscious cowl neck warmers,  such a stylish addition to your winter wardrobe.

Firstly these products will be available on our facebook page, so please click over here and make sure you like our page to get all the details. Further details of product releases will also be available on our facebook page.

 

 

 

Fabric Scrap Collage, Scrap Bundles for Sale

It is about 3 years since the virtual doors of Winnie&Clem were first opened and in that time I have estimated I have made thousands of items and purchased many more thousands of metres of fabric.

Now this is not hard for me because I love to both sew and definitely love to buy fabric. However what is proving somewhat difficult for me is what to do with all the scraps that have been accumulating over the years. I have off-loaded some, I have used some myself but the pile never seems to get any smaller.

So I called in my old pal “Pinterest” in search of some suggestions as to what I might be able to do with all these scraps, and I was naturally very inspired by what I found, however time is scarce. So I decided it was time to share, both my “Pinterest” inspirations and my fabric scraps.

I have about 10 x 500gm packs of designer fabric scraps up for grabs for only $6 + postage (Shop Here), and to get your creative juices flowing check out these great ideas below, or visit my Pinterest Board – Fabric Scrap Ideas here.

 

Check out the instructions for this Fabric Envelope at Craftlog.

Some funky Band-Aids for the kids perhaps, very simple instructions here.

And I must make myself one of these adorable pin cushions featured at Country Living.

Note: Approx 2 yards of designer fabric weighs around 500gm and prices would range from $15-$28/ yard

 

 

 

 

 

Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls

I love the fact that I am a busy person and that my need to create extends beyond my sewing room and into my kitchen, my garden and sometimes when time permits into the shed!!

Lately I have been cooking quite a bit. I think it started as therapy to deal with my hubbies accident. I recall being the same just after the kids were born. A big change means I cook!!

And I am still at it, while I am typing this post there is a yummy smell of fresh banana bread coming from my oven, but perhaps being slightly over powered by the fresh citrus smell of the lemon and passionfruit syrup sitting on the stove top, waiting to meet the top of the nice warm banana bread…..so now that I have you drooling, its time for me to share my recipes. Since posting some pics on facebook I have had many people asking for my recipes. I will try and do at least one a week, maybe more if I get the chance. But for today its a simple one.

Simple Scrolls

These are so easy and perfect for the kids lunch boxes. They can be made with a savoury or sweet filing. I would suggest your choose and prepare your filing before you make your dough.

These are some options I have tried:

1. Vegemite and Cheese – simply spread the dough with vegemite and sprinkle with grated cheese

2. Pizza – simply spread with dough with a small amount of tomato paste, chopped ham, capsicum and cheese

3. Herb and Cheese – Sprinkle with a mixture of cheddar and parmesan cheese and either dried mixed herbs, or fresh chives.

4. Sun Dried Tomato and Feta – chop some semi dried tomatoes very finely, sprinkle on the dough with crumbled feta.

5. Something sweet, I have made a mixture of grated apple, cinnamon and brown sugar. I did think some stewed apple may have been better than the grated though.

6. I haven’t tried this one but I have been going to. A sprinkle of frozen mixed berries, or even raspberries and some white choc bits!!

Its as easy as finding your favourite scone recipe, mine is from “The Commonsense Cookery Book”

Ingredients

2 cups SR Flour

1.4 teas salt

2 tbls margarine

1 cup of milk

Method

1. Heat your oven to about 200 C.

2. Rub the butter into a mixture of the flour and salt with your finger tips until it resembles bread crumbs.

3. Working quickly, but do not over mix. Add your milk and mix to form a sticky dough. I use a bread knife to mix my scones so that are not over mixed and too tough.

4. Turn your dough out onto a floured board and roll to about 1cm thick, in a long rectangular shape. It doesn’t need to be perfect.

5. Now spread with your topping, not too much, enough to add the flour but not make it impossible to roll up.

6. Starting at the long side roll your dough enclosing the topping. It should now look like a big long sausage. Cut approx 1 inch pieces, turn the on their sides on a tray lined with baking paper. Leave enough space around them to allow for expansion.

7. Brush the tops with a little milk and pop them into the hot oven for about 10 minutes.

These are divine fresh from the oven. But I do also freeze them and pop them in the kids lunch boxes. Hubby also likes to defrost and warm them up in the microwave.

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I must admit I have been so frustrated lately. My motivation has been lacking and its not like me to float from one unfinished project to the next. So I decided today things MUST change!

On my to do list for sometime was to recover our bland lampshade in the living room. So I decided today it just had to happen.

But at the same time the kids have been pestering me to make them a loaf of fruit bread. So I decided that I could do both and while the bread making is not essential to the success of the lamp you will see that there are some advantages to doing the two simultaneously :)

You will need:

1. Lampshape, this one was a K-Mart cheapy, basic plain cream. I simply cleaned if over with a slightly damp cloth

2. A good spray adhesive

3. A gorgeous fabric, I love this Amy Butler Fabric!

4. Lead Pencil, scissors and old sheet

How to do it!

1. Make sure the lampshape is clean if it is not a new one.

2. Iron your fabric and lay flat on a large work surface

3. Lay your lampshade on its side on your fabric. Make a small pencil mark on the lampshade where it meets the fabric. Then trace a line onto your fabric close to the lower edge of your lampshade as you roll the lampshade carefully along the fabric. Continue this until you meet the small pencil mark on your shade. Without lifting or moving the lamp shade, repeat this process for the top of the shade rolling it back to its starting to position.

4. Draw a line to match up the top curve line with the bottom curve line on both ends of the fabric cover.

5. Cut out your fabric cover 1- 1.5cm larger than the lines you have drawn on your fabric.

6. Head outside with a drop sheet, lamp shade, cut fabric and spray adhesive. Lay the sheet down on a flat surface. Place your fabric with the wrong side up. Also have you lamp shade on the drop sheet sitting on its bottom edge. Holding the can about 25cm from the fabric spray a thick even coat of adhesive onto the fabric. Repeat this process for the lampshade. Leave these to sit for approximately 2 mins. This allows the tack to form in the glue and will give a better adhesion between the shade and fabric.

7. Now carefully pick up your lampshade, holding the frame inside. Place you fabric over the lampshade working from the pencil mark around. Smooth out the fabric as you go, making sure you keep the fabric even with an overlap of 1-1.5cm at both the top and bottom edges. Work your way around. When you get back to the pencil mark you will have some fabric overlap. Trim this to a 1.5cm overlap. Fold this edge under. Carefully apply some spray adhesive to the underside of this fold. Wait 2 mins then press down.

TIP: to ensure you fabric stays smooth, I found rubbing my fingers in circular motion was the most effective. I also found giving the fabric a slight tug toward either the top or bottom of the shade would stretch it out and keep away any bubbles. If your lampshade is straight, not angular like mine, this would be much easier.

8. Sit your shade on a flat surface and make a small incision in the fabric either side of the wire frame on the inside of the top surface. Then turn your shade upside down, making sure the excess fabric is all sitting flat. From the inside of the shade spray the adhesive onto both the excess fabric (wrong side) and the inside rim of the top of the shade. Allow 2 mins before smoothing this fabric over and pressing around the wire frame. I used the point of a collar turner to do this neatly.

9. Now place your shade on its side. Spray adhesive along the bottom excess fabric and inside of the shade. I found this easiest way to do this was by rolling the shade again, spraying as I went. Allow 2 mins again. Then fold over the excess fabric, and press around the wire frame as we did for the top of the shade.

10. Now leave your shade outside to let the glue dry and to air. The glue is very smelly, so walk back inside to smell your freshly baking bread and wait for your shade to “freshen”.

So simple, yet so effective…..

Now to whip one up for my daughters room.

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Oh the curse of being a creative person! The wish list grows on a daily basis, the supplies and fabric purchases grow and grow, but if only we could just have the time we need.

After this very shaky start to the year I have decided it is time to clear the shelves, mentally and literally. I am saying good bye to some “projects” that time is not permitting and moving on with what is manageable given our current family juggle.

So for you this mean lots of goodies to get your hands on and to get creative with.

I have some top quality nickel purse frames on the website (click here to shop), so why not browse these great tutorials here, grab some frames and get making!

This gorgeous purse is so simple to make up by following this Martha Stewart tutorial, but why stop at one, pick some fabrics to coordinate with your wardrobe and you will never be without a purse again.

I had so hoped to find the time to add these funky little glass purses to my range, but it is not to be. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a go. These frames are very hard to come by (trust me I spent ages trying to source them) so make sure you grab one (or 2 or 3) from the website. Also if you prefer to work with a pattern you can buy this downloadable pattern here.

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Can you feel the chill in the air? Certainly where we live here in the southern tablelands our nights are getting cooler and our mornings ever so brisk.

It won’t be long and our sunny days that shed some warmth will soon be gone and it will be time to bring out the cozy coats. But if your kids are like mine its almost guaranteed last years coat will present with much shorter sleeves than you recall and possibly buttons that don’t quite reach their button holes! So for me it’s time to get organised.

After clearing out my rather large corduroy stash (which I am so graciously sharing with you all) a quick browse through some pdf sewing patterns on www.etsy.com has me inspired to whip up some funky little coats for my kiddies…..but now to decide which one?

This gorgeous little belted Annabelle coat  by Peekaboo PatternShop is practical yet so cute….I have some pale pink cord that would work well for this.

But then this Raglan Hooded Coat from the Cali Faye Collection might suit Ella’s age a little more, maybe in a nice off white cord with an aqua liningso hard to decide.

And of course something for my little man of the house.

This is a great unisex pattern by OwlyBaby, however I do like the idea of this in navy cord with red buttons for Jackson. Mind you I know he will want a red coat!

How clever is this “Krew Coat”? I love the concept of using pockets from out grown cargo pants and hoods from out grown hoodies, very clever indeed lilygiggle. My kids don’t like to part with their favourite old hoodies so this might just be the answer.

If you are feeling inspired, make sure you check out our range of corduroy and cotton velveteen I have just listed on the website, perfect for any of these coats. But the more challenging task….which one?

 

 

scarves

Thank you to everyone for all your comments, support and stories to my last post.

For now life is moving on, but not life as we had known it. Our weeks involve 2 trips to physiotherapy. Unfortunately our rural location means these facilities are not available close by so we travel 4 hours in a day to see a special hand physiotherapist. On top of this we have at least 1 other day out a week to squeeze in doctor visits, other appointments, and of course the weekly grocery shop and other chores.

This leaves me with 2 days at home during the week,  and the weekend. My days are taken up with the usual household chores that come with a 2 child family, all the outside chores of a farm home and on top of that the extra care for my hubby. I am now massaging his skin graft scar 2-3 times a day, and helping him with anything he would normally need to do with 2 hands, and of course driving him where ever he needs to go!

So needless to say if there is a spare 5 minutes I am exhausted!!

I mentioned in my last post that I had spent quite a bit of time planning over the holidays the year ahead for Winnie&Clem. Clearly now I am watching the year move quickly by and my goals and dreams for Winnie&Clem lay untouched.

For those of you who have ever run a handmade business, or even been a crafter at home, you will know the frustration that comes from so desperately wanting to do something on your wish list and just simply not being able to.

I had planned for my Autumn/ Winter 2013 range to include some woollen cloche hats, funky canvas totes, soft cotton voile scarves and some divine hand knitted/crochet hats and head wraps by my sisters brand “Fourteen Poplars”. I was also planning to launch of a range of funky geometric printed bags (for which I have mountains of fabric sitting here).

But this pesky little thing called reality is…. well…just that….reality! And that just means I will not be able to make these ranges this year. In fact the reality is that the brand of Winnie&Clem will have to undergo some changes to even exist during this time. So I have decided for now that I will move forward with one product only, which I will most likely be making and selling only as ready made stock.  And my hope is that it will be “Scarves”. With any luck  I will have a bit of time to experiment over the next 2 weeks and decide how to move forward with them. So would you be interested in purchasing some luscious cotton voile scarves? If so what are your must have scarf features?

 

 

Four weeks ago today was the start of 2013 for us. It was my daughters first full week back at school, it was the start of swimming lessons for my little man, and the return for my daughter, it was the start of my business year I had spent the 6 weeks of the holidays planning, it was the start of working in our newly renovated house/ sewing room set up.  My husband had even said to me that morning, that it felt good to be finally getting in control of so many things.

I spent that day, washing, cleaning and cooking (as I had planned for my mondays). I picked my daughter up from the bus at around 3.30, together with my son the 3 of us had a nice afternoon tea and read Ella’s home reader. I had begun dinner and was folding the washing, everything was on track……..

Until a knock on the front door just after 5pm!

Around 4.30pm my husband received a delivery of fertiliser to the farm. It arrived in a semi trailer tip truck. The truck tray was raised to empty the load. Once emptied the truck tray hydraulics were set to lower the tray back to the chasis. During this time my husband was asked to answer some questions for the paper work of the delivery. He simply lent on the truck with his right elbow with his forearm and finger tips pointing up toward the sky. The truck tray lowered and crushed his arm.

The driver lifted the hydraulics back up as soon as he could and my hubby was able to free his arm and get it wrapped in a towel. Unfortunately with no mobile phone service the truck driver had to drive my hubby to our house so we could call an ambulance. The ambulance took 50 mins to arrive, but fortunately a helicopter was dispatched at the same time and arrive around the same time as road ambulance. My husband was conscience the whole time and in significant amount of pain. It took about another hour to stabilise my husbands pain, assess the injuries, canulate and load him into the helicopter. He was airlifted to Sydney and arrived at the emergency rooms in 30 mins (just for the record hubby, this is not my idea of a romantic helicopter ride!!), which by road would have been a 3 hour drive. He has since had 2 operations, firstly to assess the damage, repair his tendons, and remove significantly damaged muscle mass and skin. The second operation was to place a skin graft over the injury site to improve blood flow and aid in healing.

After 2 weeks in hospital and another 2 weeks at home with me, his arm is healing well and we thank our lucky stars every day that he has is arm, and that the nerve was not damaged which means he should regain most of the movement back in his hand. However his biggest challenge is going to be diminished strength due to the removal of a large part of the muscle from his forearm. He currently has very limited movement in his fingers, he cannot write or even hold a pen, he cannot drive, he basically cannot hold anything in his right hand. It’s scary but at the same time I am grateful for every single little positive step, no matter how small.

The past week I have had a little bit of time to stop at home. So I did what I always do, check out the handmade industry on facebook, pinterest etc. I will be honest, it is incredibly hard to see everyone moving on with their lives, their creativeness and businesses are flourishing, and for me well everything is on hold. Not just my business but also my husbands businesses. The reality of both being self employed and essentially losing 2 incomes due to an accident is now sinking in.

I had hesitated to write this post, but decided I should for a couple of reasons. So many people who follow my business, people who have never met me or my husband have come forward with messages of concern and support. These messages have meant so much to us and I felt that I needed to explain to you what has actually happened. I have also chosen to write this post to explain why I have so suddenly up and left my business and customers hanging. I really would like to be working but it is simply not feasible, essentially all responsibilities are on me and it doesn’t leave much time for my business.

And finally, but certainly not least, I send a big thank you to everyone for their support. Please keep your families safe and hug them tight each and every day. Never miss an opportunity to be grateful because everything we have, our families, our kids, our bodies, our skills, our abilities are all gifts and should be cherished.

Anita xx

 

 

Dream Big in Twenty Thirteen

Hello and Welcome to 2013….perhaps a month late but I am easing into it this year:)

I am ready and excited about the year ahead for Winnie&Clem.

2012 was a great year for Winnie&Clem but there were some significant challenges along the way. All of which I am very proud to say I have learnt a lot from.

Last year I built a website, and whilst looking back it seemed crazy to have put so much time into something that in hindsight was not the best option for me, it was a great way to improve my knowledge in this area so I could better manage this side of my business in the future. Unfortunately I ended the year with some major glitches in my website so the holidays have been spent working with the wonderful Simone from Websites For Artisans to bring you this super simple and easy to navigate website. (If you are a small business looking for a website/ shopping cart make sure you have a chat with Simone, she is an absolute please to deal with).

I am so excited to have my website back up and running.

I am also excited that my new sewing room is now finished. It’s been a bit of a slow process but it has been well worth it and I am so happy that I will be able to have the space and organisation I need to create. Stay tuned for some sneak peeks of the Winnie&Clem HQ.

So with 2012 behind us what does 2013 have in store for Winnie&Clem:

My dream for Winnie&Clem in 2013 is to be a top handmade accessory label. A dream will be just that without hard work to make it a reality. I am looking forward to working hard, working smarter, and creating products that I love and you will love. This label is no longer just about kids hats, its very much a label for woman also. Woman who dare to be different and embrace the individuality that comes from purchasing a handmade product made by me, a Winnie&Clem handmade product.
I plan to introduce a range of beautiful handmade scarves, some new styles of hats, and I will be offering some gorgeous gift wrapping options.

I hope you will join me this year. The Website is set up for you to leave feedback and interact with me and other Winnie&Clem customers. I will be blogging more and a nice new newsletter will be hitting many mail boxes on a monthly basis. Please leave your comments below, what do you think of the website, is there anything missing?, would you like to receive a newsletter, what products would you like to see, any questions?

Happy 2013….lets make it the best one yet!