Welcome to the Handmade blog!

Right now we’re well into production for some of our favourite issues – Christmas!
Don’t forget to head to ISSUU for sneak peeks of each new edition of the magazine.

 Stay tuned for regular updates and let us know what you think!





Win a copy of X-Stitch by Sarah Fordham!











For you chance to win, simply tell us in 25 words or fewer, what’s the weirdest thing you can think of to cross stitch?

Answer in the comments below.

A winner will be announced on Friday November 7!


Information on how to enter forms part of the conditions of entry. The competition is open to Australian residents only. Only one entry per person will be accepted. Employees of Express Publications Pty Limited ACN 057 807 904 (“Express”) and their subsidiaries and families are not eligible to enter. The prize is not transferable or exchangeable for cash. The competition commences 17 OCTOBER, 2014 and closes midnight, 6 NOVEMBER, 2014. The winners will be chosen at 50 Silverwater Road, Silverwater NSW 2128 at 12pm on 7 NOVEMBER, 2014 after the competition ends. There will be 3 winners. If the winners are not present when chosen they will be notified by Instagram. The winners will be decided by a panel appointed by Handmade Magazine. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. This competition is a game of skill and chance plays no part in determining the winners. All entries will be judged individually on their merits based on creativity and originality. The total prize value is worth approximately $90. The prize value is subject to change after printing. The promoter is Express Publications Pty Limited, 2 Stanley Street, Silverwater NSW 2128 (02) 9741 3800. Express will pay for the delivery costs of the prize to the winners and deliver the prize to the winners. Express will not pay for any other costs associated with the prize. Entry forms submitted will not be returned to the entrants. By entering the competition you consent to Express reproducing and publishing in whole or part throughout the world your statement which you provided to us on the entry form which we may use in all media formats including print, electronic or any other publishing medium. Entrants agree and acknowledge that by entering the competition they consent to any activity the performance of which would otherwise infringe their moral rights by Express. All entrants’ contact details may be used for promotional purposes by Express. Our privacy policy can be found here.

Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair

The Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair is back again and in full swing and Handmade editor Elizabeth was among the first in line to experience the new venue and excitement of Sydney’s most anticipated craft event.

My first impression of the new set up was the positive buzz that emanated from the little queue waiting to get on the free ferry to the brand new Exhibition Centre at Glebe Island. With the arranged transport – ferries to Darling Harbour and Circular Quay and buses from Pyrmont and Central – running perfectly to the schedule, getting to the Fair was incredibly easy. The stunning Sydney winter sunshine made the short ferry trip incredibly pleasant.

All visitors were in remarkably good spirits, and show ambassador Shelley Craft was all smiles at the Fair’s entrance.

With thousands of people through the door on the Fair’s opening day, I kept thinking how wonderfully organised the event is. There’s plenty of room for movement in the aisles, nothing feels cramped and the facilities and there was hardly a wait for service or facilities.

Both stallholders and visitors were all in great spirits, and with lots of demonstrations and workshops taking place, there was always plenty to keep everyone occupied, no matter their craft of choice.

The venue is also wonderful for the Sydney Quilt Show. Not only is the light-filled space perfect for viewing the detail in the hundreds of quilts, but the space also allows the displays to have ample space between them.

Patricia’s Peacock by Brett Bridger and Ouch by Heather Middleton

Big congratulations also go out to Janet Treen, whose Coxcomb and Currents deservedly won a swathe of awards, including Best in Show. The reproduction quilt is a magnificent example of needle-turn applique and exquisite hand-quilting.

The Sydney Craft and Quilt Fair is on until Sunday July 13, make sure you head along to see all the magnificent quilts, visit some of Australia’s premier craft stores and suppliers and see all the latest and greatest products.

AQC Challenge Entries now open!

The 2015 AQC Challenge theme is True Blue!

Held in conjunction with Australia’s premier event on the quilter’ calendar, The Australasian Quilt Convention Challenge celebrates its 7th year in 2015, and there’s a bit of a change in store. Entry quilts are required to be 90cm (36in) square – a little smaller than in previous years!

What does True Blue mean to you?

“Seeing the True Blue interpretations will be interesting,” says Organiser Judy Newman. ”There are a number of things that immediately come to mind with this theme and it lends itself to both traditional and art interpretations.”

Get stitching soon, as email entries close on February 27, 2015.

10 Together equals Teamwork by Alison Withers, winner AQCC 2014



Don’t forget the exciting cash prizes:

First prize $3500; runner up $1500; viewers’ choice $500.

CLICK HERE for entry forms, rules and everything else you need!

Camping indoors

With my nephew’s 3rd birthday looming, I was on the hunt for a simple handmade gift with a difference. Wanting a quick DIY project, I decided to make a kids play tent. I’d seen a few images on Pinterest, and knew I’d be able to knock something up from scratch.

First up was a trip to the hardware store, followed by the local craft store.


1800mm x 50mm wood moulding x 2            1200mm x 18mm wood dowel x 3

Size 19 (20mm) spade drill bit                        Water-based clear matte varnish

1/2m 10mm-wide white elastic                       112cm x 2m quilting fabric


Drill                                           Protractor

Measuring tape                        Pencil

Wood saw                               Saw horses

Clamp                                     Paint brush

scrap of MDF                          Fine grit sandpaper

Sewing machine                    Hemming foot

White thread                          Scissors

I decided to make the process as simple as possible – and the whole project as cost-effective as possible – so chose the size of my tent according to what materials were available. I determined the length of the tent by the width of the fabric, and the height of the tent by the length of half of the moulding.



First, find the centre of each moulding piece and rule a horizontal line though it.




Measure 2in from the end of each moulding and mark a dot in the centre.





Place the mouldings on a sawhorse and saw through the centre lines.


You will now have four 1400mm lengths.


Clamp one of the moulding pieces to your sawhorse near the end with the marked dot. Use a scrap of MDF or wood to stop the clamp from marking your work.








Insert the spade bit into your drill and drill straight down through your marked dot.



Repeat with the remaining three pieces.




Use your protractor to measure a 30-degree angle from a corner at the opposite end of each piece to where you drilled the holes. Mark a line along this angle from the corner to the opposite edge.



Re-clamp the wood and saw along the marked lines of each piece.

Measure 1in from the angle on the shorter side and place a dot in the centre. Using the spade bit, drill a hole at each mark.



Give each wood piece a good sand with fine-grit sandpaper. Then make sure all the pieces fit together nicely.

Coat each piece, including the dowels, with the varnish. Leave to dry for at least two hours before sanding lightly, then wipe clean and apply another coat.




Remove the selvedge from your chosen fabric then sew a small hem (I sewed a 1/8in hem) on each side.




Cut six 3in lengths from the elastic. Double them over to form a loop then sew one to each corner of the fabric, on the long sides.




Fold the remaining two in half and sew at the centre of each short side.





Cut two 4in lengths, loop as shown and sew to at the centre of each long side.





All wrapped up ready for the birthday boy.




Lots of excited unwrapping!





The angled ends of the mouldings go to the bottom. Cross over the top ends and insert a dowel. Then spread the fabric over the top. Secure the elastic loops at the centre of each of the long sides over the crossed pole tops and around the protruding dowel.



Slide the other two dowels through the two bottom centre elastic loops before fitting them into the bottom holes of the end poles. Finish by looping the corner elastics around each tent foot.



The birthday boy couldn’t have been happier with his brand new playtime abode!


Out Shopping

A few months back, a couple of us here in the office had the pleasure of attending the opening of the Achieve Social Enterprise in Meadowbank in northwest Sydney. Previously housed at Crowle Home in Ryde under the Vintage and Value brand, the store was relocated to allow for a mass expansion of the site around the heritage-listed Crowle building.

The opening was a lovely occasion, attended by members of local and state parliament and hosted by the tireless volunteers who had the unenviable task of setting up the new premises.

Along with those who had arrived for the opening event, there were also quite a few customers – who were quickly joined by many who hadn’t considered shopping, until they witnessed the outstanding array of incredible craft supplies.

The Social Enterprise is stocked entirely by donations, in which the store is never lacking; there has never been an occasion when I have visited when someone has not delivered some goods, be it a small bag or a carload.

The store is staffed by volunteers as well as some intellectually disabled people as part of Achieve’s social program.

Last week I took a sneaky trip to the store during my lunch break and came away with this little pile of treasures, for not much over $20.

Olympus threads (often hard to find, and which I’m always on the hunt for thanks to my current sashiko obsession), mini stitchery frames, linen, a gorgeous tartan fat quarter and cheap-as-chips quilting pins – you can expect to see most of it used in my upcoming projects!

It’s incredible just how much fits into the unassuming little space. Behind the cutting and sorting bench are aisles of fabrics in just about every material and style. In the back corner is a whole wall of yarn, which is right next to a wall of embroidery threads. There are stashes of doilies, vintage dressmaking patterns, cross-stitch kits, tapestry frames, fat quarters, shelves upon shelves of buttons and even a whole collection of UFOs. By the windows, a couple of bookshelves offer a variety of popular books and novels.

The constant donations, exceptionally low prices and quality control of the products put out for sale mean that it’s worth visiting the store regularly.

The Achieve Australia Unique Social Enterprise is open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11am until 4pm.

Mossy Tortoise art and cozies

Tortoise enthusiast and crochet extraordinaire Katie Bradley’s extraordinary creations reflects her passions for reptile rescue and crochet alike.

“I currently have six tortoises,” say Kaite. “Four Russian tortoises (testudo horsfieldii), one Greek tortoise (testudo gracea), and I am fostering an additional Greek tortoise for the International Reptile Rescue.”

Her tortoise rescuing led to an incredible hobby – crocheting tortoise cozies.

Katie takes inspirations from just about anywhere for her colourful designs;

From sharks:

to tacos

and everything in between…


The finished cosies are available to buy from the Mossy Tortoise Etsy store, and you can find the crochet patterns to make them yourself here.

You can also follow all Katie’s reptile pursuits via her blog.

The Bedford Mystery Quilt Challenge

A little while back I found out about the Bedford Mystery Quilting Challenge. The brainchild of Faye Packham, the biennial event, which began in 2008, raises funds for Bedford Group, which provides support, training, employment and residential services to people with disability or disadvantage.

Faye and her team have once again worked tirelessly to supply quilters around Australia with complete kits of precuts – made from donated, often vintage fabrics – to make a full size quilt top.

 I was so excited to open my parcel, which was filled with all manner of perfectly cut and lovingly packed vintage fabric pieces, as well as full instructions and a sealed envelope enclosing pictures of the completed project.






I couldn’t wait to start playing, and the precuts meant i could get sewing straight away.



The first step involved a bit of line-ruling, easy piecing and pressing.







Then I had the opportunity to play with all the colours and piece together the prints however I liked.





I’m now up to joining all my bits and pieces together to see what the mystery block looks like!

There was plenty of excitement at this recent Bedford Mystery Quilt workshop.












Stay tuned for when we reveal the finished quilt!


Inspired by our latest craft room reorganisation post, we’ve collected a bunch of dreamy creative spaces for you to drool over.


As always, you can find lots more inspiration on our Pinterest board.

Tell us what you love about these spaces, and share pictures or your own rooms with us on Facebook!

My new craft room

Last weekend I decided to prepare for the coming winter – less light and warmth, and more time spent indoors – by overhauling my craft room.

I’m a little embarrassed to be sharing this, as I can’t believe the state I let it get to before I couldn’t take it anymore and had to reorganize, but it’s amazing what a huge difference a little furniture moving and storage adjusting can make.

Do you think I have enough supplies?

I kept wondering my I had my desk in the room’s darkest corner when this is the view out the window.

I had so many projects on the go that, long after my ironing board had disappeared under piles of fabric, the back of my sewing chair also started to feel the weight.









My go-to stationery was stuck in a not very convenient corner and my ironing board was against a blank wall – so much wasted space!



These are the UFOs that were relegated to the floor when I had ironing to do!



My bead stash is so big that I couldn’t even get my drawers shut and my scraps box was a recycled gift box on the floor under the desk, ripped wrapping paper and all!


I started by cleaning out two 1-metre tall shelving units that were sitting under the window. They were restocked with fabric, now organised by size and range. There was even room for a shelf of batting and a cupboard for wadding.

The two units stand one on top of the other against that blank wall. On top are my paper and gifting supplies and my patterns and notes folders.







Small fabric pieces, felt and embroidery and cross stitch linens and Aida pieces were relegated to a 2-drawer unit that I dug out of the garage.

This went on top of my beading and scrapbooking chest of drawers, which was cleaned out so the drawers now close.


I inherited the room with shelves already built in so I put these to good use.




On the same wall I’d put up shelves in the corner, so thought that the space under these shelves was a much better place for the ironing board.




My sewing table moved under the window, so now I can enjoy the natural light and the view!

My UFO’s sit in a tub next to my sewing table, so they’re neat and tidy but not out of sight and out of mind!

I hope your craft room is never in as dire straits as mine was, but that you found some inspiration for creating your perfect crafting space.