Delightful squares

Many a sewing enthusiast will agree that over the years a lot of little pieces of material, unused buttons, embroidery thread and ribbon accumulate in various places in a hobby room, with the intention of saving them for the next project! It usually looks like this:

Material pieces for cover  Bits and bobs for cover





While going through all my ‘left overs’ during December, I thought it would help to use up some of these items by making a new cover for my sewing machine. I decided to do applique so that I can sew it by hand one block at a time.

I started by measuring the size of the cover, and then cut out various squares from plain white material. I drew some ideas on paper of what each block can look like, and then started cutting out the various smaller pieces for the applique work:

Applique pieces for cover








I just embroidered the edges of each piece of applique, and then added some buttons, ribbon or beads as final embellishments.

Once all the blocks were completed, I sew them together:

Cover panels sewn together








The front and back are mirror images of each other, and I used some floral material for the two sides.

And here is the finished cover, looking delightful in my hobby room:

Sewing machine cover Sewing machine cover top view


Revamped bedside tables

Here is a nice idea of revamping two different bedside tables to create a more uniform look in your own bedroom or guest bedroom. These bedside tables I placed in our guest bedroom.

The one was brown with light brown wicker baskets, and the other was white in some areas and then the bare wood was showing in other areas:

Bedside tables before







I decided to buy pale white and a light brown colour spray paint to update the bedside tables. The wicker baskets and door I wanted to spray with the darker colour, to add a bit of interest to the tables.

It is important to choose an area that is well ventilated before starting, and use enough ground cover sheets as the spray paint will travel during spraying. Those paint ground sheets are quite big and works well.

1. First I removed the door from the one table and the baskets from the other. I also removed the handle from the small door.

2. I prepared the wood by lightly sanding it down, and then used a damp cloth to wipe off all the dust. Clean the baskets with a brush to ensure all the dust is removed.

3. Then I sprayed the tables with the white spray, let them dry a bit and sprayed another coat. I recommend two cans of spray for these size tables.

4. Then I sprayed the door and the baskets with the darker paint, let them dry a bit and sprayed another coat.

5. I have a stencil with a pretty pattern, which I used on the tops of the tables, which added a nice final touch to the tables.

Bedside table top stencilling







5. Once everything was dry, I placed the baskets back and screwed the door on again. I also added a new knob to the door.

This is the final outcome:

Bedside tables finished

Bedside table smallBedside table big


From canvas to inspiration board

There are so many inspiring images of inspiration boards, that I decided to make one for my crafts room to ensure I never run out of ideas! I looked around the house a bit and then thought of using a canvas that we had – which we used until recently as our projector screen – to use for the board.

It is a nice big canvas with plenty of space to add images and inspiring elements. I also used the following:

– Cork board sheets x 3, bought at a local craft shop for R60

– Wood glue

– Various images found on the internet which I printed

– Photo stickers we had left over

– Then the canvas off course, approximately 90cm x 150cm

Canvas and cork for inspiration board







1. I started by cutting the cork sheets to size and then pasting them onto the canvas with the wood glue. Make sure the edges join together tightly to not show the seam. I then let it dry a bit. You can use pins or needles to keep everything in place if you want to, or place books on top.

Inspiration board canvas and cork






2. After cutting out the various images, I started arranging them on the board. Once done, I used those small photo stickers to paste the images onto the cork. Here you have various options of how you can add the images onto the board – you can use double-sided tape, thumbtacks, glue for more permanent items or pins, whatever you prefer.

3. Now you just need to find a space to hang your new inspiration board! Easy as that!

Inspiration board

Rope basket

Here is another idea if you have plenty of scraps of material that you want to use instead of throwing away – make a basket. All you have to buy additionally if you don’t have it at home, is rope. I used cotton rope that is about 6mm thick, but you can decide.

Gather all the material that you have available, and then cut them into strips of similar size. Then the work starts! For the complete tutorial please visit this website:

Rope basket final







Just a hint, if some of the material you are using frays a lot, just fold over the edge before twirling it, this will help. The more rope you use, the bigger your basket will get. My basket came out quite big, approximately 50cm high, so I am able to store all my bags inside it!

Rope basket final 1

Rope basket inside


More soup please…

I received a soup set from my parents which they bought early on after they got married in the 70’s. The colour of the set has faded over the years, so I decided to repaint the set so that I can also use it. The colour I chose was tuscan red, and I just bought paint specifically for ceramics.

Soup set before








After cleaning all the items, I simply painted each one and let it dry for a while. In total I painted three layers, and it has to stand for a couple of days to dry completely, or it can be baked in the oven. Just follow the instructions of the paint you are using.

Soup set during







Now the set is looking new again and ready for the next bowl of soup!

Soup set after

‘My hart se punt’ cushions

Nowadays many shops are selling cushions with words or sayings on them. These can be quite expensive, so I decided to take some material I didn’t know what to do with, and make two of these ‘words’ cushions.

I used an Afrikaans description that is quite fitting for bedroom cushions: “Jy is my hart se punt” – which just means that you have a special place in my life! I used satin ribbon which I first sew onto the material, and then used some embroidery thread to add blanket stitches around the edges.

'Hart se punt' cushions

Quilted placemats

This is just another idea of what you can do if you have some left over pieces of material that you would like to use somehow.

I cut squares of 11 x 11cm, including a seam allowance of 1cm, and just bought some extra material for the back of the placemats, as well as some thin batting for inside to give the placemats some body. You can make the placemats square, rectangular or even round, whatever you prefer!

Placemat squares







After cutting the squares, arrange them as you would like to use them and then simply sew the squares together. Cut the batting 3cm bigger than the size of the quilted top all around and place both pieces on the material that will be used for the back.

Pin all three layers together to keep everything in place. Cut the back material, right side down, with a seam allowance of 4.5cm, then fold the back material over the batting and turn the edges over. This should then cover the edge of the quilted top material. Sew the edge all around and ensure the edge of the quilted top is nicely tucked in as to not pull loose over time.

Placemat finalised








Sew over the horizontal lines of the top material to bind the three layers.

Your placemat is then ready to be used!

Placemats finalised