Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My New Career

as any form of legal eagle is not looking promising.

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to get my head around the changes to VAT.  (Very Angry Tax). It is boring so I'll give you the quickie version.

  • If you sell digital products to anyone in the EU (European Union) you must register, calculate, collect and pay VAT (Value added tax) in the country of your buyer. (yep PDF sewing patterns included).
  • You will need to register for this, in each country separately.
  • You will require two pieces of evidence proving where your customer is from and you will need to keep this information and the transaction information for ten years.

So if I have customers in the UK I must comply to the UK VAT thresholds and percentages, Sweden -different again, France, different again and so on and so forth.
I have followed about eleventy million threads and forums on this topic. I thought I had some answers but they have contradicted and counter-contradicted on a daily basis. 

I cannot see any possible way to make this work - and to be perfectly honest folks, I just want to make stuff. I don't want to be stressing over this crap and keeping peoples private information or spending my time learning about tax law.

As of January 1st I will no longer be able to offer PDF sales to people from the EU.  I will be limiting the locations available within my Big Cartel store to reflect this. 

I am really sorry guys. I only ever began PDF sales because so many people don't have stockists of paper patterns near them or even in their country.
If you want to grab anything from the shop before January 1st, just enter the code VATSUX into the checkout and you will receive 20% off your order no matter where you live.
I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

How's it looking?

You OK ?
Under control?
Did you nab that last virgin goat testicle after driving to seventeen delicatessens? 
Are you festively cheerful or talking through clenched teeth?

I am eating toast  and thinking about squeezing some sewing room time into my afternoon. I hope the next few days are awesome for you - in whichever ways float your holiday boat!

big loves,

Friday, December 19, 2014

truth and lies

 I finished work on Wednesday so this bright Friday morning sees me totally in control of the whole Christmas debacle. The baking is done, The house is decorated and the good-cheer and festive warmth are oozing from every pore. (lies)
In my defense I did go into town yesterday. After eleventy trips around the car park, with hooting cars, swearing pedestrians  and a giant festive Elmo playing bagpipes I gave up and came home.
At least Darla has the housework under control. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I guess if the title is true I must be well loved because I sure as hell am finding blog time hard to come by. Mr Ric Rac (still wearing the busted ankle boot) is back at work and things are back to high-speed end of year normal here and at the day job.

I am working on a supersonically huge new project and am struggling and doubting myself and giving up and starting again and obsessing as I always do. I am completely sick of myself, but don't worry, it's often like this and I'll get over myself once I get my head around it.

Here is the little present that I sent out in my newsletter last week . The pattern is completely free and can be downloaded by clicking on the link HERE. It comes with the whole alphabet, so you could, if you had the time and inclination, make a set for your whole family.

Or you could just print out the pattern and gift it with some felt and make them do it themselves .... 
You know, give a man a fish and you feed him for a day, teach a man to blanket stitch and then he can keep busy while he waits for the fish or something along those lines.

There are a few packs of those coat hangers in my shop if you are keen.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

A little present for you

I wish my creative brain worked like this - all ordered and structured

but it doesn't and so the sewing room is back to looking freshly burgled. 

This evening I will be sending out my last newsletter for the year, full of Holiday wishes, a discount code for the shop and a brand new free pattern. That makes right now just about the perfect time to sign up if you haven't already. You won't get another newsletter untill next year and you can unsubscribe once you get the freebie if you like.
Let your friends know, let your mum know -  I hope you like it !

(The winner of the AQM goodies is Jody Herbert )

Friday, November 28, 2014

You wouldn't believe me,

if I told you that the broken ankle was just the starting point to a month of crazy medical interventions for the Ric Rac clan. We have had biopsies and lumbar punctures and flesh eating parasites. (not all on the one person) It has been bonkers.
Amidst the bonkers was AQM, the last big event on the crafty calendar. A trade-only show, it seems to be as much about showing of new products as it does about everyone catching up. This is part of my little section on the Creative Abundance booth.
It is always fun to get together and hang out with the other crafty folk. This is part of Emma's booth ( and matching arm), showcasing her latest range of fabric , The Linen Cupboard.
Chirpy lola
Rosie's awesome Ikea lamp hack using her range Chirpy Lola !
Of course, there are also goodies at AQM , so I bought a few and begged a few and brazenly snaffled some to share with you guys. To enter, just leave a comment. Tell me the best thing you have made this year, leave a blog link if you so desire.
The winner will be picked at random tomorrow, and no shouting from the mountaintops will increase your chances, but just between you and me, I did aquire quite a few goodies so there is another giveaway on Bookface and one on Instagram as well. ( shhhhh).

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Blog hoppity hoppity hop

 A few weeks ago I was contacted by Stitch Craft Create  to participate in a  Handmade Christmas blog hop  of course, having no idea life was about to head south in a big way, I thought I would join in.
I was offered a range of books to choose from: Washi Tape ChristmasCrochet your ChristmasHandmade Scandinavian Christmas, and Kids Make Christmas.
I chose Kids Make Christmas, thinking it would tie in well with our Christmas Fair preparations at school.
Lickety split they sent me  a copy of the the ebook

I was actually surprised at how many things there were to choose from in this book, from really simple paper crafts, to a bit of cooking and some really really cute practical gifts. 

Some of my little school friends agreed to be my guinea pigs and they chose to make the pine cone birds from the front cover.
My plan was to stay out of the action as far as possible and see if they managed it on their own
(An exercise in restraint for a control freak like me).
Does anything make kids happier than googly eyes ? Well yes , glitter apparently, but I no matter how hard I looked I just couldn't manage to find any. (shame)

The kids totally loved it, improvising as they went along.
Apart from a bit of hot-glue gun action, they did the whole thing themselves and then made a list of all the other things they wanted to attempt. 
(I suggested they take some of those ideas home to share with their parents - aren't I nice?)

Alongside the blog hop, Stitch Craft Create are also running a competition where you can win a gift voucher to their store.

All you have to do is share a picture of your own handmade Christmas decoration with the gang at Stitch Craft Create and you could win £100 voucher Just add your photo to their share board or use the hashtag #SCCXmas on Twitter or Instagram.

I'll see you soon blogfriends.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Going then stopping

This was meant to be one of those "you will not believe all the things I am doing" type of posts.
I have just finished a  secret charity project. It took me forever and included one massive crisis of confidence.
I made a mushroom garland and have eight more (yep 56 mushies) cut out and ready to sew. Don't even bother adding up the number of spots.

I have almost made myself a new froggy friend - one last tweak has been twuck since this photo and I have 11 little crowns finished awaiting 11 little frogs .

 I was going to tell you how I have a new project that I would like to get finished and written before Trade show at the end of the month,
 I was going to tell you I have nine D-is-for-Deer friends in various stages of completion.
 I was going to to rant and rave at my own crazy pants ways.

 Yesterday the Mr broke his ankle. Yep,  I know, I remember it too. As the verdict was delivered in the curtained off room in casualty, I know that our brains both went to exactly the same place .
So now, the one-armed, one-legged man is in a not-too-happy-state with a giant boot and a walking stick and the able bodied woman is breathing deeply and hiring bathroom equipment.
(The able bodied woman is also wondering how long it has been since the bathroom floor got a wash)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

How embarrassment

Sorry guys, I thought you knew each other....

bruce crafty carrier bag

blogfriends, this is Bruce,
 Bruce, this is everyone.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

D is for Deer

A sweeter soul you will never meet. He thinks the best of everyone (people and deers).

This fellow brings my little family of hand sewn animals to six. I love making these !!! I want to make the whole alphabet, so at the current rate of about 3 per year we might get done in about 2021.

This Saturday I'll be teaching a class at The Cotton Factory.  Its a great fun class where you can choose any one of these six little friends to make on the day.
 Hand sewing classes are awesome, very relaxed and apart from the peals of laughter, pretty quiet (in a no sewing machines kind of way).
 The cost of the class includes the pattern, coffee and yummy lunch.
Beginners, novices and never-sewn-a-stitch folk are most welcome.

Which letter will I do next ? Got any ideas? Want to take a guess?

(you might want to check out tomorrow's newsletter as well folks...nudge nudge wink wink)

Sunday, October 12, 2014


 I had been re-writing my Tea-set pattern in a kind of half-arsed manner over a few months. Pattern writing is boring, but pattern RE-writing is even more boringer .

fabric tea set sewing pattern

 Not that there is anything wrong with the original pattern, but it was written a while ago and I have learnt a few things since then, so it was time for an update.

fabric tea set sewing pattern
 When Emma offered me a selection of her yet-to-be-released fabric range, The Linen Cupboard I knew it was the perfect tea set fabric.

fabric tea set sewing pattern

 I bought considerably more than two cupcakes to star in these photos but in the spirit of artistic integrity I ate the photogenically challenged ones.
(let's be honest I ate the photogenic ones too!)

Friday, October 10, 2014

This post will self destruct in 24 hrs.

Psst - the antidote to a day of craptastic proportions is a little sale. (24 hrs only)

Use the code FRIDAYFORTY to get 40% off these little dudes pictured.

You can share it with your friends, 
You can share it with your mum,
You can tell the repairman to stick one up his bum !!

Thursday, October 9, 2014


 Finn and I were on cover-photo duty this morning

We failed !
One of us finds this very stressful

and one of us does not seem to care.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Round the World Blog Hop (yep talking about myself again)

Last Monday I was tagged by Carmel of Solomon Sewing  to take part in the Round the World Blog Hop. A blog hop where bloggers talk about their creative process.
I have to admit to not really analyzing the whole "creative thing" too much, I am more of a doer than a thinker when it comes to making stuff.

What am I working on ?
How long is a piece of string?
 I have two patterns ready to release as soon as I manage to take decent cover photos. 
I have a cute secret charity project that will need a tutorial soon.
I have a freebie for you guys that also needs to be remade tutorial-style.
I have a new friend called Virginia who is but a bee's whisker from design completion (then comes the pattern writing).
I have a creative card in my mind that I have found the perfect fabric for but haven't started yet.
I am rewriting a few older patterns and making new cover samples.
I have at least another 12 items in various stages of design, some will get revisited and some will languish in the line until I get sick of them or give up on them.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think every one's work is different. If ten different toy makers were challenged to make a dog, you will get ten different dogs. I have often said I would like to be able to see my toys through someone else's eyes. Maybe this question is better answered by you guys !

Why do I write / create what I do?

 I guess I have the technical skills to be able to do a lot of crafty things, but nothing else fires me up like toy making. It is frustrating and exciting and the create problem solving of making things work is absolutely what keeps me awake at nights. I become fixated on new ideas and obsessed with figuring things out.
I sometimes wonder what my life would look like if this crafty world wasn't such a big part of it, and I find it really hard to imagine.

How does my writing / creative process work

Sometimes a particular fabric will send me off on a toy making adventure but it can be a name that I hear or even an emotion I want to try and capture in a toy. Did you know when I made Ernst all those years ago my aim was to see if I could make a sad toy?

Other times it comes about because I want to learn a particular technique or try and achieve a new style or shape. I will often spend time just making legs or practising gussets or darts. I love to figure out how things work - I am a sewing nerd!
Once I have an idea - out come the white sheets. All my toys start with white sheets so I can concentrate on shapes (also white sheets are pretty cheap so I don't feel bad about how many drafts I have to do if I am not wasting good fabric).
As I fart about through this stage I will think about fabrics and try and rein myself in as I generally want to add whole wardrobes of crazy accessories for every toy. ( I use kitchen paper to make up clothes for toys in the design stage- again they are cheap so mistakes don't matter)
Sometimes a toy will go from idea to finished in a few sessions, other times it takes months and months of intermittent time, and sometimes the idea just has to be shelved.
I try not to beat myself up too much when an idea is a flop - there are always other things to work on !

To keep things moving I am tagging Emma Scrapbag   

(Emma's latest fabric line - The Linen Cupboard, Pop on over and check it out)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

How to add safety eyes to toys

how to add safety eyes to toys

how to add safety eyes to toys
These are 4.5 mm safety eyes with metal backs - the ones I use for all my toys.
The metal back has a 'flat'side and a side that has two little 'wings'on it.
how to add safety eyes to toys
Align your toy pieces so you can create the eye holes at the same time.
Use a metal meat skewer or a large doll needle to make the hole.
 how to add safety eyes to toys
Using some felt scraps, cutting out two rough circles. These need to be just a bit larger than the metal back. These are our felt 'washers'. Skewer some holes in these as well.
The 'washer'stops the ridge of the metal back showing up on the front of the toy after if it is stuffed and provides a buffer between the metal and the fabric/felt.
how to add safety eyes to toys
 Lay your toy pieces out so you can be sure you will be making a right and left side of the toy.
(Trust me this is important)
 how to add safety eyes to toys
 Place a 'washer'over the eye post on the inside (wrong side) of the toy.
how to add safety eyes to toys
 Place the metal back in place on the eye post with the flat side against the felt. Using both hands press the metal back into position. You will here a little noise as the prongs on the wings grab hold of the eye post.
(I know , I know but I needed the other hand for the camera)
how to add safety eyes to toys
 Press the back as far onto the eye post as possible.
how to add safety eyes to toys
Easy as winking !

Sunday, September 21, 2014

fartin' and faffin'

felt doll dress
 I will not be setting the world on fire in the next two weeks. I have decided to fart about a bit, I am going to lollygag, laze and wander. I may very well include some dawdling, meandering and faffing. 
felt ears
You may find me lingering , loitering and tarrying. I shall do my utmost to be a laggard and a lump.
I plan on hanging out and chilling out.
( currently taking bets on how long it lasts).

Sunday, September 14, 2014

fast forward

In three short working days I will be on holidays. The to-do list has been gently started and I will need three lifetimes to achieve it all. (of course).
I am currently making some fun stuff, just for me, in among all the other stuff and I am getting it wrong and stuffing it up and enjoying it like crazy.
Right at the end of the break I'll be heading back to Warracknabeal to enjoy Stitching in Spring with Rosalie and Melly. (We are like a three woman comedy / stitching act these days - you should book us !).

It is going to be a great weekend and Warracknabeal has one of my favourite junk / vintage shops ever. It has everything !

After Warracknabeal I will be doing a hand sewing class at The Cotton Factory here in Ballarat. You can book online and choose any of these fellows to make. In fact by the time the class comes around there will be a sixth little chubster to choose from !

In the mean time I am going to fit a full working week into three days, go out for dinner with the kids, sew a few more turtles and dream of hind legs and tattoos.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

pattern writing

Today is pattern writing day. 
So obviously I have updated the shop, baked brownies and farted about on Pinterest.
I may have glanced at Bookface and spent some time on Instagram.
I have had eleventy-five cups of tea and answered those emails that linger right at the bottom of the inbox.
I have chatted with the dog, despaired at the mess and eaten cold pizza.

 I also sewed that purple pin right into the seam of the project that of course I am not working on, because I am pattern writing.

Friday, September 12, 2014

On the road

There has been a touch of busy-ness around these parts lately. Just before I was felled by the disease-most-hideous, I was designer-by-invitation at Melbourne Urban stitches.
St Kilda was a fantastic venue - ( even if Lunar Park was closed). We stitched and chatted and laughed for the whole weekend. I got to catch up with lots of crafty friends and I  met some great new ones.

Last weekend saw me jet off to Sydney with Mellly and Me and Rosalie Quinlan for the Sydney version. I haven't been to Sydney for years and I felt a bit nostalgic for those misspent teenage times loitering about the Sydney train stations. 
We had a fantastic time and somehow ended up belly-dancing in the street.
 (photographic evidence on Instagram).

fox toy, felt fox

This little man was my Urban Stitches project and he joins the rest of the little hand-sewn family. I really enjoy these little guys and while I am not planning on covering the whole alphabet , I can tell you I am not quite finished with them yet.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

I'm not ignoring you.

I am a bit sick and a bit feverish and in that weird half asleep state at the moment.

As time goes on, my sewing room and the state of my brain grow increasingly similar.