Goodbye 2013

I have been looking forward to this for such a long time. A year's round-up in pictures with all the items I have made in my first year of blogging.

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This isn't of course everything I have made this year. For a start it doesn't include the 300 odd items I made for my Etsy shop customers, most of them personalised (I like to keep shop 'stuff' separate from blog projects so if you want to see all the hundreds of bunting, dolls, hats, bibs and various other items I have been making for clients, head over to the Facebook page where there is albums and albums full of pictures).

And to fully round up 2013, here is a quick peek at something I made for Alice in this final week of 2013 - a pair of crochet shoes (two pairs in fact, also in aqua). I will show you more photos soon.

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To me this was the best part of 2013 though... Watching my kids grow up from babies into two delightful independent little people. It's hard to believe Alexander can now ride a bike and Alice is walking! My husband and I are so proud of them, and of the fact that somehow our little family not only survived this crazy year, but thrived, with lots of special memories.

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Thank you so much for being part of my journey in 2013, my very first year of blogging, and I wish you all the very best in 2014. In the words of Allan Chalmers, may the new year bring you all "something to do, something to love, and something to hope for". And something to craft!

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Happy new year dear friends!

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Jingle bells...

We had a lovely Christmas day here in South Australia on a beautiful sunny summer's day, the kids had a ball opening and playing with their new presents (and in the case of Alice, with all the Christmas decorations), and the adults got to enjoy a rather good bottle of bubbly!

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The madness of the present unwrapping and Christmas feast now over, I just wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for all your love and support in 2013. It means so much to me! For those celebrating Christmas, I hope it's everything you could ever wish for!

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Tutorial: Gingerbread man ornament

I am back! I am so sorry for my extended absence from this blog - I have only just come up for air after a crazy three months of being busy with my two (very active) young kids, Etsy shop, and life in general. And just in the nick of time to share this pattern and tutorial for a felt Christmas ornament (a tradition I started last year). Last year I made a gingerbread house ornament, so I thought I would keep to the same theme and complement it with a gingerbread man.


You will need:
- The pattern (download it from here as a PDF and print it to A4)
- Felt in brown, red, white, and green
- Embroidery thread in colours matching the felt
- A few sequins / felt balls for decoration and a beading needle if you are using sequins (thinner than an embroidery needle)
- Two black beads for the eyes
- 20cm of white ric-rac
- Ribbon or string for the loop on top
- Stuffing material (e.g. Hobbyfill)

1. Cut out each pattern piece leaving a small margin of white paper around the pattern. Pin or staple each pattern piece onto the felt (I personally prefer to staple rather than pin, as I find pins distort the felt/pattern, but it's a personal choice). Cut each piece out of the felt, using the small curved scissors for smaller shapes like the eyes and bow
2. Applique the red felt buttons onto the front body piece. Embellish with a sequin held in place with a small glass bead (optional).
3. Applique the eyes onto the face. Stitch the black beads in the middle of each eye.
4. Make the green bow following the instructions in the Easter Chick tutorial. Attach to the front body piece.
5. Cut the ric-rac into pieces approximately twice the size of each arm/leg. Place the ric-rac on the arm and machine stitch it onto the arm. Turn the piece over, fold over the ric rac and secure together with a hand stitch (this doesn't need to look pretty as it won't show once the ornament is finished. You can also cut the excess ric-rac off rather than folding it back in this manner, but ric-rac frays badly when cut, and with this fold-back method you won't get any frayed edges on the arms and legs).

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6. Using back-stitch and 6 strands of red embroidery thread stitch a smile on your gingerbread man.
7. Embroider name and date on the back body piece if desired.


8. Put the front and back body pieces together, then starting on one side of the body, and going clock-wise, blanket stitch the two body pieces. When you get to the top of the head make your hanging ribbon/string into a loop, insert into the opening and continue blanket stitching the felt, trapping the ends of the loop inside.  I used baker's twine for the loop but you can use ribbon, packing string, or even ric rac.
9. Continue blanket stitching until you have a 2cm gap on the side of the body, lightly stuff the gingerbread man with your filler material, then finish blanket stitching.
10. Decorate your top candy cane piece with any embellishments you like (I used red felt balls but you can also use sequins or buttons), then blanket stitch the front and back candy cane pieces together. Stitch onto the gingerbread man's hand.

And here we go, a cute gingerbread guy for your Christmas tree!


I am also going to make a gingerbread woman for my little Alice over the holidays - I will add the pattern for it here soon.

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A doll for Alice

My little baby girl is going to be 1 tomorrow. Sob. Growing so fast, she is our little miss independent now, and has everyone in the house wrapped around her cute little finger!

I wanted to make her something to mark this very special birthday, and when I came across an adorable doll pattern by Hopscotch Lane, I knew I had found just the thing.

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The pattern is a great one, very easy to follow, takes about 10 hours. I added a ruffly skirt (my own pattern) and also used a smaller flower for her brooch. I love the fact that her hair is so lush and can be put into any style, not just pigtails.

I posted a picture of her on the Down Grapevine Lane Facebook page a while ago. She was such a huge hit that I have been inundated with requests since! Here are two more versions I have made, one is a caramel blonde with a vintage pink dress, and the other is a red haired little miss with a mint dress. Which one is your favourite?
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Bunting love - 2

I am finally starting to catch up with life! I can honestly say that I have never been so busy before (and that's saying something coming from a 90-hour-a-week-ex-banker!). I am glad to say that I am finally finding my groove, and dare I say it, even finding time for a few personal projects. Will share them with you real soon.

In the meantime, here's some more bunting love for you. This red, grey and white bunting is a particular favourite of mine. I love the bold colours and even though it has been quite popular for boy names so far, the design and the fabrics are quite gender-neutral.

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And here is the same bunting again but this time with teddy and puppy end flags.

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And in the pink corner, I present you this special pink and apple green bunting which was designed for a friend of mine to fit with her nursery decor. So bright and cheerful and the perfect colours for spring.

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Next week we will be celebrating Alice's first birthday - she has turned into such a wonderful little lady and I am so very proud of her. I started Down Grapevine Lane when she was only 3 months old and I can't believe how fast time went!

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On the cover of Homespun

This week was the most thrilling and proud week for me. I had my first magazine feature published in Homespun (leading Australian crafts magazine for those overseas). And not just published but actually on the COVER of the magazine - squeal!!

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Remember my french knot Easter bunny project? Back in March I got contacted by the editor of Homespun magazine after they saw it on Pinterest. They had loved the concept and wanted to commission a piece using the same french-knot-sprinkles technique. After some brainstorming and a little graphic design we finalised the drawing - an umbrella and a pair of gum boots.

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I took pictures at each step during construction so it could be turned into a full photo tutorial for the magazine.

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The article has a little profile piece on me and Down Grapevine Lane as well.


The September issue of Homespun magazine is now in the shops, if you wanted to get a copy of the project tutorial for yourself!

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Bunting love - 1

Long time no post! August has been an insanely busy month here at Down Grapevine Lane headquarters. I have been designing and sewing bunting - the new product line in my Etsy shop. And working on my second project for Australian Homespun magazine which I only completed and submitted yesterday. Also dealing with regular customer orders and keeping two pre-schoolers happy, clean and fed. No wonder I am exhausted!


I wanted to share some of my bunting designs here on the blog so you can see what has been keeping me so busy. I had no idea I would enjoy designing bunting as much as I do - the part I like best is the mixing and matching of fabrics. It's like patchwork, but on a bigger scale! Sometimes I cheat and use coordinating fabrics from the same fabric line, but most of my bunting have fabrics from all sorts of designers. Makes it more fun!

I have already shared two designs in previous posts (here and here). I will have to spread the bunting love over a few posts as there are quite a few different sets now and it would be too many photos in one post! Hope you enjoy these two - a girl's bunting with Lecien Princess Rose florals and a transport themed boy's bunting.

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