Hello! Sorry I haven’t been around much lately. I’m having a bit of a break. I’m super busy with my new job and a rather ambitious attempt to paint the entire interior of our home… So I’m having a creative hiatus. Well, it’s really just a break from my creative work. I’ve recently started a new crochet project, so I’m clearly not avoiding all creative activities. I want to make a giant ripple blanket for our living room. I finally decided on these gorgeous, warm earthy tones of wool from Bendigo Woollen Mills. I’ve got no idea how much wool I’ll need, but I’m confident I currently have nowhere near enough! I find there’s something really calming and almost meditative about the repetitive nature of this kind of crochet work. I’m really enjoying it, even though it’ll probably take me a couple of years to complete the blanket!

Anyway, back to taking breaks. Aside from my crochet project and painting our house, I’m not doing much that’s intentionally creatively at the moment. I think it’s okay to give yourself a break now and then. In fact, I think it’s not just okay, but is actually quite important. It gives me a chance to clear my head and get some space. Particularly when this work requires me to be creative and coming up with new ideas all the time and translating those ideas into projects that I think will be suitable for my readers. It can be quite demanding and tiring. That’s not to say I don’t love it, because I do. But having a break allows takes the pressure off for a bit and allows me to come back feeling refreshed, revitalised and hopefully brimming with new ideas.

How do you stay refreshed and inspired? I’d love to hear your thoughts! Also does anyone have any idea or approximately how much 8 ply wool I might need to make a crochet blanket that’s going to be roughly queen bed sized? :)

Halloween intrigues me a bit, probably because I’ve never really celebrated it. Halloween is just not as big here in Australia as it is in the US. But when I made this ribcage top to wear to a medical themed birthday party I realised it could also work well for Halloween! Given that Google Analytics tells me that many of you lovely readers are from America, I thought I’d share this project with you!

To make this top you will need a cheap white, fairly thin top (it needs to be pale and thin so you can see through it to trace the design), some contrast fabric for the heart, needle and embroidery thread, a small scrap of fusible web (like interfacing that’s sticky on both sides to appliqué the heart), paper and pencil, cardboard or more paper, some images of a skeleton/ribcage (I just did a google image search and printed off a few that I liked), and the most important tool – a black sharpie, or other permanent felt tip pen.

Start by drawing your design in pencil. You can draw freehand, trace your design from another image, or base it on another design, tweaking it to get it the size and style that you like. Or you can use my drawing, above, and re-size it and print it off. You can see that I re-did several sections of mine until I was happy with it. Go over your design with the black marker so it’s clear and dark.

Slip your design inside the top, line it up so it’s centred and pin through the top layer of the singlet and through the paper (but not through the back of the top). Place a piece of cardboard, or several sheets of paper inside the top, underneath the image, to protect the back of the top from any marker that might soak through. Then you can start tracing the design onto the top using your marker.

Once you’ve finished tracing the design, you can leave it as is, or you can add an appliqué heart to add some colour and texture. To make the heart, cut a small square of fusible web and iron the shiny side to the contrast fabric, with the paper side facing up. Draw a heart on the paper, cut it out and then peel the paper off.

Place the heart shiny side down on your top and iron in place. Be aware that ironing over the marker might smell a little bit. Use the embroidery thread to do a few decorative stitches around the heart.

Your top is now finished! Hooray!