From the other blog…..

April 13, 2013


Two slightly different photoshopped images woven back together.


A ‘re-pixalated’ necklace.

You can see more of the process at Art is cheaper than therapy….. my other blog….. if you are interested.


Holiday doona cover.

April 4, 2013


The upcycled doona cover.

Over the holidays, while her sisters were doing drama and aerialize  weeklong workshops, 9 year old and I had sewing camp together. She is the most keen daughter when it comes to sewing. 14 year old will do some, 13 year old runs a mile, and 6 year old …well I’m not sure about her yet.

9 year old was given a little Ikea sewing machine for Christmas, so we thought it was an excellent opportunity to give it a run. I am planning to review this little machine now we have given it a run.

We decided together to make a doona cover from my stash of fabrics and old clothing in the cupboard.


The finished cover.

Many of the fabrics are significant to her as they are from different parts of her life and  ours lives as a family.


Close up of tags fabrics etc.

This close-up shows fabrics from a baby dress of hers (lace), a shirt she wore when she was a toddler (heart print) and the blue and white spotty left overs from her Alice in wonderland dress I made for her for her 7th birthday.

We tried as much as we could to keep labels too.


Sleeve tabs were kept.

Here you can see fabrics from a shirt of Tim’s (light blue stripe), lace-edging I bought at a garage sale (with my Mum) when  I first moved to Sydney about 25 years ago….. so I guess that makes it vintage ….., and a shirt of mine (blue flowers).

We tried to keep the garments detailing as much as we could….. like the sleeve tabs. 9 year old then hand-sewed buttons (taken from the shirts we had used) opposite the tabs so treasured toys could be held by them.


The finished poduct.

We finished it off by using a flat white sheet to form the back of the cover.

Every single thing….including thread…. we got from the stash!!

It is not quite a standard size 😉 and I did help a lot, but she was amazing and now is planning her next project!

Can’t wait to share it when she does.

Two shirts become one skirt.

November 21, 2012

An adults tunic dress and peasant shirt into a skirt for 6 year old.

Some of you may have already seen her in this.

A super comfy fun favourite.

….and so super easy …..

Sorry it’s been so long since an upcycle!

Monsters Upcycled.

September 5, 2012

Monster Madness at my house.

If my mild case of madness wasn’t evidenced before now…. I think this weekends making will confirm it solidly.

A large A4 size green monster and a pencil case size white one.

I had so much fun making monsters from upcycled chenille bedspreads that a friend gave me, months ago. Thanks Belinda.

Large monsters big enough for pyjama bags or music bags…. or just monster pencil cases.

They are mostly for the upcoming school fete, and are quite addictive to make. I’m hoping some more chenille bedspreads will be donated (yes that’s a hint if you have any kicking around).

Ipod size and DS size monster bags.

The girls gave suggestions like…. try making them just with a zipper mouth, and how about DS size or as a handbag.

Originally I was trying to come up with things boys might like, as there is always more craft items on the stall for girls and very few for boys.

Pencil case size monsters.

I’m also trying to only use what I have in my cupboard, or donations from others.

They are dead easy to make.

Mini Monster….

Would you like a tutorial?

Watch this space……

Monsters have taken over the cubby!


Yes, heavy enclosed shoes and protective eye wear needs to be worn at all times!

Ok, so the still life really didn’t give a lot away.

The flowers and bottle of ‘joker’ wine and an apple for the teacher were all waiting for me when I arrived home from my first day of work.

The story is…. I have a part-time sessional lecturing job at the Australian Catholic University.

This session I will be teaching first year students a subject called “Designing with Textiles”. So far, it is really a glorified sewing class, but will move more into the areas of design as the weeks progress.

Every student who wants to be a TAS (technology and applied science) teacher in the high school system has to cover textiles, so I have mostly non- textiles students in my classes (or labs as they are known). Yes, woodwork and metalwork boys as well as the food tech students.

It’s pretty scary as I am not a trained teacher and I haven’t worked for someone else for about 13 years….. and as you can see from the photos from the lab, it’s super dangerous!*

So far it has been really enjoyable and exhausting.

So, because all the readers who commented got part of it right, but no-one picked it, (I know it was quite obscure) I will be sending you all a little harrysdesk love.

Thanks for commenting, or thinking if you didn’t get to commenting.

Dyeing and printing is even more dangerous.... mask and gloves get added to the apparel.

* I don’t think the job is dangerous at all. I think the stay at home mothering was much more hazardous! Let’s hope OH&S doesn’t come and access our homes.


1. Button Cards by Martha Stewart.

2. Downloadable Gift Tags by hello, Good Gravy.

3. Paint Chip Wrapping by D sharp.

4. Pop Up Christmas Cards by Martha Stewart.

5. Nature Packaging by Justina Blakeney.

6. Stitched Wrapping Paper by Redefining Creativity.

7. Fabric Giftwrap by Chewing The Cud.

8. Recycled Fruity Packaging by Tokketok.

9. Threaded Christmas Cards by Bleach Black.


10. Paper Bauble Garland by Kidspot.

11. Filled Baubles by Country Living.

12. Felt Doves by Elsie Marley.

13. Photo blocks via Screen Print Blog.

14. Pomanders via Ohdeedoh.

15. "You mean the world to me" Ornaments by Maya Made.

16. Wire and Twine Star Garland by The Handmade Home.

17. Paper Christmas Tree Ornament by Elsie Marley.

18. Chalkboard Wineglass Tutorial by Just short of crazy.

19. The Gumdrop Garland by Martha Stewart.

20. Lego ornaments by Chris McVeigh via Ohdeedoh.

21. Christmas Tree Mobile by Not Martha.

1. Chalkboard Necklaces by Henry Happened.

2. Felt Ball Necklace by Purl Bee

3. Twig Necklace by henry Happened.

4. Sewing Kit in a Jar by Martha Stewart.

5. Paper Clip Earrings by Evie-S.

6. Recycled Woven Rug by Craft Passion.

7. Fold-over bag by Noodlehead.

8. Little Letter needle Book by Emaykayee.

9. Silhouette Jewellery by Less than Perfect Bliss.

10. Feather Hair-clips by Henry Happened.

11. Clay Necklace by Henry Happened.

12. Embellished Resin Rings by Tatertots and jello.

13. Beach Towel Tote by Redefining Creativity.

14. Swatch Portraits by Purl bee.

15. Vintage hankie Pillow Cover by Noodle Head.

16. Fabric Beaded Jewellery by Make It and Love It.

17. Dip Died Scarf by Henry Happened.

18. Love letter Corsage by Less Than Perfect Life Of Bliss.

19. Confetti Earrings by Evie-S.

Book Week Parade

August 29, 2011

8, 5 and 11 year old dressed for the school book parade last Friday.

I know I am a bit of a freak when it comes to this sort of thing….. but I love book week parade. To make it a little less stressful … and thriftier …only one child gets a costume made each year. The others scrounge from what we have or call friends and borrow bits and pieces.

5 year old got in on the act (unnecessarily dressed up) as Felicity Wishes… from the Friendship and Fairyschool by Emma Thomson. I made this costume for 11 year old for her kindergarten book parade six years ago. The crown was always a little odd!

8 year olds went as EJ12 from ‘EJ12 Girl Hero Pyramid Puzzle’ by Susannah McFarlane. She has just got to the ‘Colour Fairy books are not cool’ stage….YAY!!!… EJ12 is like a female Zac Powers. She pulled this costume together with things from her sisters (and her) wardrobe and phoning an adventuring adult she knew for the bits she was missing. Thanks Heidi for the binoculars, shoes and rope.

 11 year old was the one to have  her costume made this year. She is Hatshetsup from the Ramose series of books by Carole Wilkinson. The white dress was in our dress-up box and the other bits I made. We were enlightened about egyptian makeup here. She was delighted to be unrecognisable by some of her school mates. A lot of people thought she was Cleopatra….but she was prepared for this! Hatshesup was the first female Pharaoh of Egypt. She stole the throne from her nephew. Male Pharaohs didn’t like the idea of female ones so spent the years after her reign trying to remove any historical trace of her….. just a quick history lesson for the uninitiated (me included before I started making the costume). I even went fabric and bits buying with a totally different Pharaoh as my inspiration. Oh, the shame of it!!

As it turned out, 12 year old had a multicultural day at school on Friday as well! She went as an English punk. Sorry about the dreadful photo…. but I couldn’t leave her out.

Well book parade over for another year. Sniff. Still time to add your comments to the book week giveaway. I will announce the winner soon. Don’t miss out!

Image from the Sydney Design 2011 site.

As I write this The Powerhouse Museum is hosting Sydney Design 2011 .

A fortnight of exhibitions, activities and workshops all around the theme Is old new again.

I am planning to pop into the Powerhouse Museum tomorrow (with two preschoolers in tow) and now that  Zoe’s Place is not there anymore (sniff sniff)…..might get to see some of what they have on show. If anyone would like to  join me…. yes once again no previous notice…. I’m making a habit of that (or is it a personality type D for disorderly)…. I would love to have some adult company. Turns out I will get some adult company…. just remembered I have a coffee date tomorrow so won’t get to go this week. If anyone wants to go next week shoot me an email and maybe we can work out a day.

Disclaimer: I do not guarantee that you will see any of the exhibitions with me. You will however see the toilet more than once and the outdoor playground….both beautifully and thoughtfully designed, and be entertained by two delightful characters.

Someone who did get engage in the fun…. the lovely Taire Wilson for Maitland (and her Mum) ….. agreed to write a review for the blog, after attending an upcycling workshop last weekend.

Thanks Taire.

She blogs (when she feels like it)…. at The Black Crow

Purple button up shirt/dress made from 3 button up shirts.

Woollen poncho made from two wooly jumpers

Last Saturday my Mum and I ventured from Maitland to the Transparent Seams Upcycling Fashion Workshop, held at the gaffa
in Sydney as part of the Sydney Design Festival. We were told to bring a handful of unwanted/un-used clothing, this was surprisingly tricky considering the stupid amount of clothing we have between us. 

The Gaffa is a funny space, separated into mini galleries and work rooms shared by artists, designers, business people and even a ping pong society. The ladies who lead the workshop were incredibly creative when it came to finding new uses for clothing, they could see potential in anything. Kelly Elkin and Betany Dirks are the designers of A.L.A.S (, a socially and economically responsible sleepwear line sold throughout Australia. They have been working as a team for a few years now and have recently been in the UK producing upcycled clothing for the vintage line of Top Shop.

Some of the pieces Kelly and Betany had made for our inspiration. (click to enlarge)

Knitted stretch skirt made from jumper. Shirt made from tracksuit pants

Some of the tips they gave us were:

  • When combining pre-existing garments, in order to produce something new, try to use garments of the same fabric type.
  •  If at all possible use a friend or dummy to experiment on. Often finding a new design within something pre-existing requires allot of experimenting. When you have someone to put your item on, you can see how things drape and gather, as well as potential uses for that extra arm hole etc.
  • When in doubt, turn the garment around. A T-shirt sleeve makes a great turtle(ish) neck and a head hole can be used very easily as an armhole etc.
  • Try and use the fixtures that are already there. If your pre-existing garment has a zipper/buttons/Velcro try to incorporate that into the design rather than making more work for yourself.

Skirt with back feature made from much longer straight skirt.

inspiration sketches

The workshop itself was very laid back, after a short intro we got to work on the items we had brought while Kelly and Betany walked around and shared their wisdom. I chose to use an old purple singlet that has a big hole in the front and no sleeves (I hardly ever wear anything without sleeves) and a grey and white striped t-shirt that I don’t even like and have no idea why I bought.

maroon singlet with a hole

grey striped t- shirt

Finished product.....front

Finished shirt from the back.

I have always been interested in adjusting clothing to suit me or using an awful piece for its great fabric etc. but the workshop encouraged me to reinvent rather than being limited to just shortening the hemline or fixing the zip. After all, it will save you money, you will need to consume less in your lifetime and it’s fun!

Have a go.

The quote of the day certainly goes to Mum with, “I love this! I’m no longer a hoarder…I’m an upcycler.

Well done and thanks again Taire.

Image from ‘My Spinning Wheels’

Shirt quilt tutorial by My Spinning Wheels.