Friday, 11 July 2014

TUTORIAL: French Knots

See the red love heart on top in the first picture below? Well, just that little love heart was formed with 77 French knots, so, let me warn you, working with French knots is something that needs patience and it needs a good amount of it. However, it is somewhat satisfactory and addictive too.

Here, I will be taking you through how to make French knots with baby steps, in case you are totally unfamiliar with it. However, firstly, I would like to share some brief information on this particular type of stitching.

French knots are a type of knotted stitches and are a basic element of embroidery. They are also classified as 'detached stitches'. 

Now, lets move onto the step-by-step instructions. 

1. Thread your needle. Make sure there is a knot at the end of your thread/embroidery floss.
Step 1: Thread your needle
Step 1
2. From the back of the fabric, put the needle all the way through the front of the fabric. 
Step 2: Pulling needle up through fabric to the front
Step 2
Step 2 (b): Needle is at the front.

3. With the needle-free hand, hold the end of the thread while gently pulling the thread up to cause some tension or a firm grip.

4. Wrap the thread around your needle twice (depending on how thick your thread is or how big you would like your knots to be, this number can vary. The more wraps, the bigger knots).
Steps 3 & 4: Wrap your thread around your needle twice with a firm grip
Steps 3 & 4
5. While still holding the thread with the needle-free hand with a firm grip, pull the needle back through the fabric to the back of it from right next to where it came up from. I like to use the same side for my knots. For example, I generally push the needle down, say from the right or left side of the original hole for each knot. 
Note: Do not let go of the firm grip until all the thread is at the back, forming a small knot at the front.
Step 5: Bring the needle back down the fabric while still holding the thread firmly
Step 5
Keep repeating until you form enough amount of French knots for your project.
Ta dah! Here is your first French knot!
French knots tutorial by Home of Homemade Treasures

Repeat instructions 1 to 5 to make as many French knots as you like for your project.

Tutorial: french knots

French knots tutorial

French knots tutorial by MADE BY Y

What you can make with this technique is endless. I hope this tutorial inspires you to come up with your original designs and unique projects. Below are some of my designs for MADE BY Y. Enjoy!

French knots bib and reversible shoes set by MADE BY Y

A personalised bib with French knots by MADE BY Y

A colourful bib by MADE BY Y

Bunny apron by MADE BY Y

Blogger Tricks

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Sight/Oxford Words

My son started school this year and he is now officially a 'Preppie'. He is currently enjoying the first week of his second school term holiday. I must admit, I do look forward to school holidays even though a part of me gets a bit anxious. It has only been a few days and so far so good. 

Both my son and I love routines. We both adapt a new routine whenever our current one is broken and we feel the urge for it. A part of our routine since he started school is that he has some 'concentrated work' time pretty much everyday. One part of our routine these days is that he practices the 'sight/Oxford words' list that was given to us by his school. 

At our school, it is the school's aim that Prep students learn the first 100 words out of a total of 307 words by the end of their first year of schooling. If they go beyond it, it is a bonus and they try to work at their level with those students too.  They give a list of 10 words each week once the previous set of 10 words is tested and the student has achieved it. The words are chosen not necessarily on the basis of simplicity but rather how often they are used in daily life and in books here in Australia. 

With the sight words, in case you are not familiar with it, it is different to 'reading' or 'sounding out' a word. Sight words are the words that students are expected to know as soon as they see. They are tested on the basis of whether the children can read/tell the word within 4 seconds of seeing the word, without hesitating, without making an effort to work out the word. Each set of 10 words is colour coded and parents and children are encouraged to practice the words with their children on a regular basis, using various strategies and games such as flash cards, go fish, matching games, snap, etc. 

If you would like a head start or are simply interested in some extra work for your child in English, here is the full list of 307 sight/Oxford words that my son's school uses.  

Enjoy your time with your little one(s). 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Recycled Garden Art

Tyre art - recycling in the garden

How original and cheerful is this? It couldn't have been cuter, could it? It is made using recycled items and is a perfect garden art piece to enjoy, in my opinion.

If you visit the original source of the photo (, you will also see that there are step-by-step instructions to making one of these.

Have a fun weekend!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Two People to Smile

With the hope of making someone smile while adding some excitement to the business, I would like to offer two $15 vouchers from my MADE BY Y handmade business. It means a giveaway of two vouchers vaued at $30 in total. I hope that makes someone smile!

The rules of the game are as easy as can be. 

-No requirement of 'sharing' my business page or items on your Fb page, even though it would just be lovely. 
-No requirement of a 'like' on the MADE BY Y page, unless you'd like to do so and are looking forward to the updated designs and posts to appear in your newsfeed. 
-You don't have to let others know of the giveaway, despite how wonderful it would be.
-No hassle, no stress, only have fun! 

What you do need to do though is
1. Go to MADE BY Y, browse through albums and decide on one particular item as your favourite.
2. Under the picture of the item, comment saying why it is your favourite MADE BY Y item (and let me know that you are there for the giveaway too). 
3. You are in!

The giveaway will end on Wednesday (11th of June 2014) at 9pm (VIC, Australia). The vouchers to be used by the 30th of June, 2014. The winners will be contacted shortly after. Thank you all for playing!

Have fun!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

One Wedding, Three Languages and Lots of Handmade Goodies

I met a young lady over 10 years ago in Melbourne and she has become one of my dearest friends ever since. We have joint memories and some mutual friends. We used to go to different cafes to try something new whenever we had a chance, we had a great holiday together once, and she was the first person to introduce 'chai latte' to me. 

She is fun and smart, she is hardworking and responsible, and she is inspirational in many ways. Since I met my husband and formed my family, she has become a family friend and we would enjoy one another's company whenever we find a chance. She moved interstate a while back which made it hard for us to find the opportunity to get together much, however, she has always remained as a valuable person and a dear friend in my life. 

Handmade paper bags
Over a year ago, she found a person that she knew she could see herself with for the rest of her life. They became best friends and partners soon after. As time went by, they decided that it was their time to form a family together.

My friend was understandably very excited about the news and when she shared at the time not-yet-publicly-announced news with me, I naturally and very happily shared her excitement and was very happy for her. You know how you say 'you deserve happiness' to some people at times, she is one of those people that really deserves to be happy and she surely has the right attitude to pursue it.

Origami bags

A few months ago, she was asked for a hand in marriage by this special person in her life and of course her answer was 'yes'. We were thrilled to hear the news and also be invited to share her special day with them. The big day was on the 26th of April, 2014.

Handmade paper bags from origami

As a family, we decided to drive to their current location, the city of churches, Adelaide (SA), a few days in advance to have a little holiday. We stayed at an apartment in the CBD and our children shared a room for the first time. It was also our daughter's first time to sleep in a 'big bed' too. It was so much fun hearing all that giggling in their room until late hours, especially the first night. They talked and giggled for hours, thinking we could not hear them. The giggling became much less the remaining nights as they couldn't fight off sleeplessness anymore. However, almost every morning, we found our little daughter, who is 3 years old, in his 5 year old brother's bed. It was such a heart-warming experience and a picture for us.

While in Adelaide, we had a chance to go around in the city a bit and also met the famous pandas, Wang Wang and Funi, at Adelaide Zoo too, of course. However, the highlights of the place weren't any of them for us. It was when we went to some surrounding suburbs such as the German town Hahndorf, we were quite impressed. We also enjoyed the local farmer's market at Willunga. I cannot explain how tasty the sultanas we bought from that particular market was! We so regretted not buying so much more of them after we tasted them on the way back to Melbourne!

Peruvian wedding souvenier

The wedding was at a place in Clarendon, another beautiful place that reminds you of the words serenity and calm. The wedding started with an outdoor setting and everything felt so romantic, so well organised, so 'wedding-like'. After the ceremony and some photos etc, we went inside for some drinks followed by a meal and lots of fun. I must admit, I don't ever remember of laughing so much at a wedding before as much as we did at this wedding. It was pure fun!

Japan and Peru

The bride originally comes from Japan. The groom is Peruvian. The immediate families came all the way from Japan and Peru for the wedding and they knew almost no English. The speeches were made in three languages (there were interpreters to read the speeches in Japanese and Spanish). However, the family members communicated with us so much more successfully than many English speaking people that we get to meet at times in our lives. The communication is not limited to language, definitely not.

Origami on the go

Throughout the whole wedding, I thought that they used their multilingual and multicultural backgrounds to their advantage very successfully. They acknowledged and valued them really well. 

Everything was planned well and their organisational skills were exceptional, yet everyone was very relaxed. In fact, I haven't seen so many professional, great to talk to and fun-loving people together for a long time. By the way, I still don't know how it happened but at some stage we were all on stage doing the 'macarena' dance. It was a great laugh! There were Japanese dancing, Latin dance shows, fun personal video clips and more. Who said wives don't come with a set of instructions? My friend did! The groom, who had a great sense of humour, had the pleasure (!) to read out the instructions in public (while sweating) and cannot claim that 'he didn't know' in the future. 

Origami toy for kids

I have always found my friend to be talented. It looks like it runs in the family. Her dad is an ex-school principal and he surely knows how to communicate with kids well. My children's Japanese is pretty much limited to counting to 5 and saying a few words like hello and thank you. The father's English was quite limited also. Regardless, he made my children (and us) laugh so much so many times. He even taught my son some magic tricks and my daughter a few dance moves!

Her mum was very talented too. She came up with so many origami objects and toys in such a short time using some of the paper that my children were using to draw on. She even asked for permission to use their paper using no English whatsoever. Beside the point, it was amazing to watch her fast moving fingers and determined face with a confident but warm smile. See the funny looking paper object above? It is one of the origami pieces that she made and when you throw it forward, it works like a propeller. Brilliant! Better yet, the little colourful bags in the first few pictures are also her work. They had some lollies in them and had our names on the back. Every guest had one and she had made them all by herself! I think we were about 60 or 70 people in total and she made one for each one of us. Incredible! Very precious!

wedding souvenirs

The wedding was special. fun, relaxing, inspirational, and had lots of handmade goodies to enjoy (and I met two other friends of mine there too, what a bonus!). It was such a great pleasure to be there. Wishing the newly weds a 'happy ever after' ending!

Saturday, 17 May 2014

DID YOU KNOW ...? (77)

Photo Source
Have you ever had the pleasure of watching a flamingo feed itself? In case you haven't, the way flamingoes eat is quite unusual. They feed themselves with their heads upside down due to their anatomic structure.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

What A Woman Wants

Here is the secret: we want to feel loved and cared for. We want to love and care. We want to achieve and accomplish. We want to make our loved ones smile and we want to smile. We want to share and we want to be spoilt. Not so hard to please, are we?

Crafty gifts
Add caption
You are looking for a gift for a special woman in your life (daughter, mother, wife, friend etc) but are clueless? Well, here is the good news: you can easily make a woman happy without having to pay an amount that you cannot afford to pay. Even putting a few things together with some love and extra attention would easily please most women. Just make sure to pay extra attention to details. Us women love details!

Gift ideas for knitters

Here are a few photos of some crafty gift ideas for your inspiration. You can pick and choose items to customise for your special person according the person's interests or your budget. 

Knitting and sewing gifts

Gifts for crocheters and knitters

Gifts - flowers
Add caption
Wishing you a day when you can make someone smile!