Saturday, August 18, 2012

Handmade Wedding Flowers

So, with my wedding only a couple of months away, I have been busy as a bee crafting my little heart out. I am now very pleased to report tat I have finished my bridal bouquets AND all 4 bridesmaid bouquets! Admittedly, I do have some handy tools to thank such as these new Francheville punches I bought the other week at Spotlight $10 for the set on sale!!! WIN!!

These punches allowed me to make these....

I LOVE THESE!!! They were just what I needed to complement the rest of the flowers I had made. I was then ready to assemble the 5 bunches I needed so I absolutely covered the kitchen bench in flowers and it took me half a day to arrange them....


There you have it! Do I have a flower-making fetish or what?! I have really enjoyed making all my flowers and I'm still making more for the headbands and table decorations. I would call it therapy for taking the wedding planning stresses away! LOL!

- Love Pinky xoxo

Friday, April 20, 2012

2 Fabric Flower with Stems Tutorials

I have FINALLY put together the instructions for the fabric flowers I was demoing last week at the Australian Quilters Convention. Sorry for the delay Ladies, once I got back to Albury it was go go go! Client work, lesson plans and a busy 1 year old to the end of the week I am DESPERATE for some crafty goodness time. It's after midnight so please let me know if you pick up any mistakes, my brain is threatening to turn to pumpkin :)

 The idea behind these flower tutorials is to give you a project for using up your scraps, creating beautiful everlasting blooms to save on waste,  to compliment your quilts and to give as special gifts. 

Let's start with the Kanzashi Flower...

There are several different versions of Kanzashi flowers out there. This version is very easy and you can use all sorts of fabric and make them in different sizes if you’re feeling adventurous.

Materials & Tools

  1. Yummy scraps of patchwork fabric
  2. Strong thread (such as top-stitch or upholstery thread)
  3. Buttons for the center of your flowers
  4. Needle
  5. Scissors

You’ll need a circle template to cut out your petals. This can be any size but mine at the convention were made with 2” and 2 1/4” circles. If you needed another excuse to buy your quilter’s circle templates this is a good one! Hahaha!

Here is a template with 2 different size circles anyway so you don’t have to draw them if you don’t have templates. Right click on he image below to save it to your computer and then print it out.

Using your chosen circle size, cut out 5 circles from your fabric.

Prepare your needle and thread, leaving a 2” tail after your knot for fastening your gathering later. Take one of your circles, fold it in half and half again.

Run a gathering stitch along the raw edge of your quartered circle making sure that you catch all four layers. If you start the first stitch going through from the back to the front of your petal, make sure the last stitch on the petal goes from the front to the back, this will make your petals more uniform.

Repeat step 3 for the remaining four petals, gathering them as you go.


Leaving your needle attached, tie the thread ends together tightly to draw your petals in creating the flower.

Choose which side you'd like to be the back of the flower. Draw in the hole in the middle by doing a few stitched across it catching the petals.

On the front of your flower, sew your button in the middle covering the hole. Tie off. Congratulations! You've made your first flower :)

EXTRA CREDIT: Go absolutely mental and make a whole bunch while you're watching Gardening Australia (or Doctor Who if you're like my mum). Then continue reading these tutorials for the next type of flower and how to attach your little beauties to stems. 

The Rosette Flower...

This fabric flower is reminiscent of good ol' yo-yos but with one important difference; you use a strip of fabric instead of cutting out a round. So you can use fabric with stripes that will make a pleasing radial effect. This project is perfect for using up left over bits from jelly rolls. 

Once you've made a few in this size, go and experiment:
  • The shorter the length, the more the flower will 'pull up' into an opening bud look, 
  • The longer the length, the more gathers there will be and the flower will become inverted like an Echinacea flower.
Materials & Tools

    1.    Yummy scraps of patchwork fabric
    2.    Strong thread (such as top-stitch or upholstery thread)
    3.    Buttons for the center of your flowers
    4.    Needle
    5.    Scissors

You can use your ruler and rotary cutter to cut a 2 by 8 inch strip or right click on he image below to save it to your computer and then print it out.

Cut out your 2 x 8 inch strip of fabric from your delectable scraps.

Fold your fabric strip in half, right sides together, so that the short ends match up. Stitch the edges together using a 1/3 inch seam. Leave your needle and thread attached.

Finger press your seam open.

Now the slightly tricky bit if you're a fumble-fingers like me; Fold the bottom raw edge up to meet the top raw edge. You should now have the right side of the fabric showing inside and outside your fabric circle. Run a gather stitch all the way around just in from the raw edge making sure you catch both layers. Making your gather stitches as equal as possible will insure a neater looking flower, if you can't don't worry - imperfection adds character (speaking from experience HAHAHA!).

Draw your gather stitched in to form the flower. Tie your threads together tightly to secure but leave your needle attached.

Choose which side you'd like to be the back of the flower. Draw in the hole in the middle by doing a few stitched across it catching the petals.

On the front of your flower, sew your button in the middle covering the hole. Tie off and you're done.

 Crank up the production line because the next part is all about attaching stems!

HOW TO ATTACH STEMS TO FABRIC FLOWERS... and any other crafty flowers for that matter!

I invented this method for attaching stems when I decided to make all the flowers for my wedding. It works for fabric, paper, and yarn flowers alike. So if you're an 'All-Rounder' crafter like me (literally and figuratively in my case) try some other flower tutorials on the net and use this tutorial for attaching them to stems. I did classes at my local Scrapbooking shop (where I learned the basics for the 2 flowers above) so that's somewhere else to check out if the ladies at your patchwork shop are getting sick of the sight of you! Hehehe.

Materials & Tools

  1. Cardstock that matches your stem colour (available from Scrapbooking and Craft shops)
  2. 18 gauge wire pre-wrapped with cotton or paper in green or brown (I got mine from Spotlight and you can also get it from Florist Suppliers)
  3. Fabric Glue
  4. Flower Punch (Available at Craft and Scrapbooking stores)
  5. Small hole punch or Awl or mattress needle
  6. Needle-nose pliers
  7. Fray Stopper or clear Nail Polish

Punch out 2 flowers from your cardstock, alternatively you could just cut 2 circles the same size with scissors to save buying special tools. Use a small hole punch, awl or needle to make a small hole in hte center of one of your cardstock flowers.

Take your wire and bend the top inch to a right angle. Then take your pliers and curl the end round in a small loop. This stops the wire sliding out of the hole and beheading your flower later on.

Use your fabric glue to adhere the cardstock flower WITHOUT the hole to the back of your fabric flower. Let dry.

Slide the cardstock flower WITH the hole onto your wire and push it to the top.

Add glue to the top of your cardstock flower and wire and....

...stick it to the back of your fabric flower on top of the other cardstock flower. Press it together with your fingers until it holds well. Stand the flower face down until the glue dries completely.

The last thing you might want to do is apply a little bit of Fray Stopper or Nail Polish to the end of your wire to stop the cotton or paper unraveling.

There you go! You now have the know-how to make a whole garden full of fresh, fabulous fabric flowers.... and if you use up all your scraps you'll just have to go pick up some yummy fat 1/8s to make some more. SHUCKS!

leave a comment or email me: pinkyhiggs{at}gmail{dot}com if you need any help or if you've noticed that I'm silly :)


- Love from Pinky xoxox

Friday, April 13, 2012


Hello lovelies! I had a wonderful day at AQC today (the Australian Quilter's Convention in Melbourne). I was mostly well-behaved, only buying a few fantastic fat quarters and only one new doo-dad tool for making baskets! I was demoing my Owl and how to make a couple of fabric flowers today at the convention and as I promised to all the wonderful ladies who stopped by to say Hi, I have the pattern instructions and downloadable template here for you all. I will post the flower tutorial tomorrow.

So, here he is, my little Pocha Owl:

I call him my little Pocha Pocha Owl because he's a a cute fat little version of traditional Japanese owl toys ('Pocha' is Japanese for chubby). When I went to Japan a few years ago they had these cute little fellows all over the place. I wanted to make my own when I got home but couldn't find a pattern I liked so I made up my own and added wings and a little heart which aren't traditional.

Like most of my patterns, this little fellow has been designed to utilize your favorite scraps and button stash. I have included variations for the wings, you can either make them from felt (easy) or make them from fabric (intermediate) instructions for both variations are of course included :)


Step 1
Cut out your Tummy, Base and Body from your chosen patchwork fabric scraps. Cut out your Beak, Eye Colour, Eye White and Eye Black from felt scraps. Decide whether you wish to do felt wings or fabric wings, cut out 2 pairs from your chose material using the relevant template. Cut your Base Template out of plastic such as template plastic or a clean ice-cream container lid.

Step 2
Pin and stitch one side of the tummy piece to body piece matching and finishing at the black dots marked ‘A’.  Repeat for the other side of the tummy attaching it to the other side of the body.

Step 3
Fold the body in half and sew the seam between dot ‘A’ and dot ‘B’. Turn the body right side out.

Step 4
Use a needle with strong thread to sew a gather stitch around the bottom opening of your owl’s body. Draw up the thread a little and stuff the owl  but avoid stuffing the top of the owl as this part will fold down to ‘shape’ your owl.  Finishing drawing up the gather stitch and tie securely leaving an opening no greater than 1 & 1/2 inch wide.

Step 5
Sew a gather stitch around your base piece. Draw in your gather stitch just a little, then place your plastic base in the middle of your fabric base and draw your gathered in tight around it. Tie off your thread tightly.

Step 6
Position your base over the opening at the bottom of your owl. Stitch your base down to cover the opening until you get three quarters of the way around. Add extra stuffing if required and then finish stitching the seam closed.

Step 7
Fold the top of your owl down to shape the head. Tack the point in place with a couple of stitches. Now, take your felt beak piece and position this over the point. Stitch in place.

Step 8
Take an Eye White piece and use the paper template to mark the center point with a marker. Position the Eye White on the top of an Eye Colour piece and stitch in place with top-stitch thread. Repeat this step for the second Eye White and Eye Colour pieces.

Step 9
Take one of your Eye Black pieces, place and stitch it in the center of your Eye White and Colour piece. Repeat this step for the other eye pieces. NOTE: You could use black buttons instead of the black felt piece too, I just avoid using buttons on toys intended for children under 2 years or for pets.

Step 10
Pin both completed eye pieces to your owl, positioning them one either side of the face next to the beak. When you are happy with the position of the eyes, stitch them to your owl’s face.

Step 11
Your little owl is almost finished! The last thing we need to do is to make his wings. You can make the wings 2 different ways. The first way is to make the wings from fabric:

Fabric wings
Take two fabric Wing pieces and pin them right sides together. Using the template as a guide, sew around the wing leaving an opening. Trim your seams back by half and clip carefully into the curves so that they sit flat later. Turn your wing right side out through the opening. Press your wings with a hot iron to neaten the seams. At this point, add a little stuffing to the wing if you wish. Stitch the opening closed. Repeat this process for the second wing.

Felt wings
Take a felt wing piece and embroider your desired design. Take another felt wing piece (the one you want as the underside) and pin it to the back of your embroidered wing, wrong sides together. Neatly stitch around your wing with a decorative stitch of your choice and note that the back stitching will be visible on the underside of the wing. Repeat this process for the second wing.

Step 12
Now to attach the wings to your owl. Use a pin to position your wings either side of your owl’s body. You can then either:

  1. stitch the wing straight to the body using strong thread creating a ‘cross’,
  2. whip-stitch the top edge of the wing to the body which creates the best ‘flapping motion’,
  3. or you can use buttons to attach your wings.

CONGRATULATIONS! Once you have attached your wings, your little Pocha Pocha Owl is finished :)

Please feel free to make as many owls as you wish for friends and family. I’m also happy for you to use this pattern to teach sewing students or to sell to make money for charity and school fundraisers. The only restriction is that I don’t allow my patterns to be used on a commercial scale; I’m all about keeping it personal, sustainable, handmade and full of love.

Lastly, leave a comment if you like my pattern or have any suggestions :)

Love from Pinky the Toy Maker xoxo

Thursday, January 5, 2012


I'M AN AUNTY!!!! ....Well, to a fur baby that is. My brother and sister In law finally got their puppy after a looooong wait. He is just the cutest little fluff ball, I reckon he'd fit in a teapot!

To celebrate Cooper's arrival, I baked him a special doggy treat...COOPER COOKIES thanks to Martha Stewart's Dog biscuit recipe on her website.

I did tweek the recipe a bit... I replace wheat germ with rolled oats, and instead of liquid stock I used 2 teaspoons of powdered chicken stock. I also added a Tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese and instead of the oil and to make up for the lack of liquid from the stock I used 2 free range eggs. Then I mixed some more powdered sock with another egg and brushed the biscuits so they browned nicely and were irrisistable for a little doggy.

 Here's the link to Martha's recipe: Homemade Dog Biscuits.

Harrison and I delivered the cookies to Cooper. We think they did the trick because Harrison had him won-over the minute we walked in the door and the two of them chased each other around the floor and drooled on one another until they were both exhausted.

 "This little fluffy thing is great fun mum!"

"Hmmm, those bikkies are good are they Cooper? Glad you like them. Do you mind if I just try a little piece...?" (Yes, mummy intervention was required)

Martha actually has lots of lovely pet crafts on her site, Cooper is going to be a very well-off dog on his birthdays and Christmases. 

- xoxox Pinky