Sunday, 27 January 2013

My new best friend: Bernina

I am a very lucky lady indeed and I am here today to introduce you to my new best friend: my sewing machine! I have been on the hunt for just such a specimen for MONTHS, possibly years and hey presto my clever mama and sister found just the machine for the job. On my 30th birthday (eeek!) I was treated to a surprise family party and presented with my very own Bernina. She's a beautiful Bernina in cream and moss and harks back from long before I was born! She is definitely considerably older and wiser than me and we think she is older than my mama! What a beaut'!

She has already proved her mettle - sewing through leather, denim and numerous layers of material. She's a solid workhorse made with Swiss precision and style. Her insides run as smooth as clockwork and she runs like a dream! *swoon* Is there such a thing as sewing machine porn? 'Cause if not I think I might have just invented it! :p

I have one hundred and one different projects and ideas running through my head that need a sewing machine. And I no longer have any excuses! So, expect to see lots of (super simple) sewing projects coming this way shortly! I shall start out simple for sure, but I have some ambitious plans forming in my mind for Bernina and I and I'm not one to shirk a challenge, so lets see where this next adventure take us!

Welcome Bernina and thank you thank you thank you mama, papa and izzy!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

DIY fantastic: Leather Swallow Bag Charm

I have a lovely new handbag, courtesy of my man. It is totally gorgeous and the only thing I could possibly think of that might add that little bit of diy-je-ne-sais-quoi was a cute little bag charm! I used some leather scraps, gold chain and a lobster clasp and got to work...

These are the ingredients for the bag charm:

What you will need:
Some fun coloured leather or material
A template for your charm - I chose to go with a swallow to match my bag
A short length of chain, I used a gold belcher chain
A few matching gold jump rings and a lobster clasp
A leather drill (or hole puncher) if you have one, otherwise you can improvise this step
A pair of pliers
Needle and thread and scissors

Use your template to cut out two shapes in the leather that fit back to back:

Then add your embellishments as desired - I chose to use a stud for the swallow's eye. Then gently sew around the two leather swallows together - I found the teeth on the bottom of the machine were scratching the leather as I sewed, so I used a layer of tissue paper underneath to protect it. This was then peeled away after the sewing was complete. Leave a small gap to stuff your swallow with a little wadding and then sew over the gap to close it. The stuffing really gave the swallow dimension and the light danced off it!

Once you are happy with the swallow you can use the leather drill (or just a sturdy needle) to make holes in the top and bottom of the swallow. A jump ring in each can then be connected to the short lengths of chain and to the lobster claps or key ring fob at the top. I also added a small arrow-head as the final drop on the chain using the same method as above. And there you have it!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Round up of 2012

I know that it's already getting close to the end of January and I'm super excited about what the rest of 2013 has to hold! But given that 2012 was such a big year for Knicker Elastic Fantastic. (Hey, it was the year all this fantastic diy jazz kicked off round these parts and for that reason alone will be a special one for me!) So I couldn't let it pass without a teeny round up of my favourite bits (okay, well most of the parts, but I hope you'll humour me!). Drum roll please.....and here they all are:

As a reminder you can check each of these diys out here:
1. Mr Munch the sock monster
2. Oil tin pot planter upcycle
3. Fabric i-phone case
4. Crystal embellished giant green sweater
5. Studded jean shorts

Thanks for everything 2012 and thanks to you folks for sticking with me! :)

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Wishes: A word for 2013

I came across a great concept at Elise's lovely blog the other day, that of a word for the year. Something to focus the mind and the soul, to act a constant reminder throughout our busy daily lives. I decided against posting a long list of new year's resolution, but this is a perfect alternative - a single word to encapsulate my motivation for the year.

My word for 2013 is: Connect

I want to really connect with the new people I meet, old friends I see regularly or those lifers that are a life-long constant that only pass in and out occasionally. Not connecting is so much easier, it's really easy to 'visit' someone, to 'catch up' or even spend a weekend with them talking rubbish. But to really make meaningful connections is a whole different ball game! Unless I find the connection comes completely naturally I am often guilty of not trying. I found it telling when I was looking through for some inspirational photo for this post that I couldn't find many of people doing things together and creating connections. Well that is all going to change! (And maybe taking photos of people can be a new sub-wish!).

This photo I captured back on a weekend trip to Brighton really encapsulated what I want to achieve - to build up meaningful one-on-one connections with the people in my life. I love the way these deck chairs are in pairs, surveying the world outside, but by facing ever so slight towards each other, as if sharing a special moment. :) I want to be like these chairs, to share moments, create special bonds and nurture and maintain them. I am going to look people in the eye, smile and embrace them (well metaphorically speaking, not physically....I don't want to end up in an institute. Just clarifying.).

Do you have a word for the year? Never to late to come up with one!

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Fantastic fields: Exmoor

One weekend before Christmas we decided on a walking weekend to blow away the cobwebs. Saving up for a house meant that exotic winter trips to far away lands like Mexico and Sri Lanka had to take a back seat and instead we hit on Exmoor. Yes, the land of the fabled Black Beast, livestock and flooding. Okay, the later might just have been from our experience!

We drove down in torrential rain, along roads that turned into rivers (yes, quite literally!), taking numerous detours to avoid the huge floods accumulating. We arrived late and exhausted at our quiet traditional country pub that was to be our base for the weekend with it's flagstones and an open fire. We got a little more than we bargained for when we bundled into the pub in our coats and bags and stumbled straight into the conversation of the few crusty locals sat around the fire!! We joined them for our baguettes (we were so late the kitchen had closed!) and were the gentle but of all their jokes and banter!

Tarr steps, Exmoor

Despite the grim weather predictions of the locals...gales, thunder and lightning, more floods....we spent a fantastic day in the glorious sunshine exploring Exmoor, including Tarrr Steps (above), the wooded valleys, arable land and bogs and open moors. We were incredibly lucky with the weather and enjoyed every minute of it, quite the antidote to our London lives!

The lighthouse at Watchet; our shadows on the moor

On the next day the rain kicked back in again so we drove along the coast stopping to hop out at each vantage point. We visited Watchet, a tiny little marina town just east of Exmoor where I once sailed to with my Uncle Huw - he was a sailing fanatic of the best sort. I have awesome memories of that trip, so I gave Ben the full guided tour and regaled him with all the stories! 

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Wishes: To Paris on a bicycle

It's that time of year again when everyone is pondering their aims and goals for 2013, and I'm no different. I love a good list. A list of things to do, to achieve, to try. I also love to look back on my lists and see them all crossed off, there is nothing more satisfying. I sometime battle against this, I am not here to be a list making and crossing machine. Surely actually doing those things must be more satisfying than seeing the resultant item crossed off??! Not always. But most of the time I find it a massive help in actually getting done the things I want/need to and for that reason I'm going to stick with it!

So on to 2013 and my list of 'wishes' to achieve. This list is LONG, so I'm not going to bore you with the full minutiae of 'make the bed each morning' etc. Rather, I think I shall drip feed the most exciting ones through this 'wishes' feature to keep the motivation running on full.

Very top of the list and something we've been hankering after for quite some time cycle to Paris!

Rosé, une bière et le Tour d'Eiffel! This image will keep me going and will definitely be worth the struggle when we reach the Arc de Triomphe!! May the planning and training commence. 

Monday, 7 January 2013

DIY project: photo transfer canvas

We have pics of all our family and friends coming out of our ears and Im always looking for new ways to showcase them and switch them up. So when my sis handed me an old pot of image transfer goo leftover from her uni days I decided to put it to work!


  • Canvas boards as big as you fancy
  • Image transfer goo - the one we used (Dylon Image Maker) was for transfers to fabric, but it worked brilliantly with the canvas too
  • Photos you want to transfer - printed out on regular weight paper (we chose three fun pics from our trip to Mexico)
  • Regular paint brushes (not your boar bristles, this is no tender watercolour session!)
  • Rolling pin! Will explain later...
Now lets get down and dirty: 

Take your printed photo, cut to desired size and generously apply the image maker to the surface. Remember your image will be inverted in the final product so take care with any words (or graffiti, doh!). 

Once covered gently transfer on to the canvas, face down. We found it easiest to leave the goo coated photo in place and put the canvas on top (upside down), but give it a go and experiment. Also, if you apply the canvas from one side to the other you are less likely to get air bubbles trapped. Well, in theory! 

But never mind - cause this is where the rolling pin comes in super handy! (We were having too much fun at this stage for picture taking, ha!). Once you're happy with the position of your image, use the rolling pin, apply a small amount of pressure and push out all the air bubbles under the photo. Soo satisfying!

Once you're happy you've busted all those bubbles it's down to a waiting game - until the goo is completely dry (according to the instructions), we left ours overnight. 

Take your dry canvas with the photo securely stuck on top and stat to dampen the paper with a sponge and some luke warm water. In fact you can be pretty liberal with the eau, pile it on (just not enough to warp your canvas if it's backed with cardboard like ours). This feels WIERD but it's right, so just fight your instincts and trust us.

Finally, once the paper starts to soften you can literally rub it away with your fingers or the sponge, leaving the image behind! Bingo! Looks simple, but kinda hard work - you think it's all gone but once it dries you find a white sheen has materialised - aka very thin layer of remaining paper. We had to give it about three goes until we were satisfied. (Patience is not my forte, thanks little sis!) 

And that's it, hang or display your homemade canvas print with pride!

Being a renter (pah!) no pins in the wall for me, so I used bull clips and some cord to hang them. But what do you think of the final result - the images transferred waaaay better than I was expecting. Almost half tempted to take some fine sand paper to them to rustic them up a bit, but I'm sure age will give the same effect, ha!

I also recently came across this wicked use of photo transfers on Poppytalk - contributor post of an AWESOME decorated bench - so next time we're thinking BIG! :)

Saturday, 5 January 2013

DIY tools: New year, new tools!

So what better start to a new year thank to have some fun new diy tools to play with (or is that just me?!). I was super lucky to receive some to add to the (growing) collection and thought you might like a sneaky peak! Okay, you got me, I am just too excited to keep them to myself! It also means that I can no longer shirk my diy duties with lame excuses of not having the right equipment - you know I have them now! (Not sure if this will work, but a girl's gotta try right?!)

Check out these plier beauties, *swoon*! There is more - a grand total of six - in all shapes and sizes and they come in a handy little folding case. It's a little black case, so there's another diy project waiting to happen! ;)

I have also been beavering away over the holidays trying to learn a few new things while I have time. Below is my very first animation!! Woop! Okay, don't get too excited, it's super simple, but I am just so  proud it had to go up here! These are my brand new, super sharp fabric scissors. Every discerning diy-er needs a pair dont you think? Well thank you bf! So keep an eye out as I am going to have to put my new tools and animating skills to good use in the new year...