Not long after deciding to do 52 projects, I came across a friend’s post on facebook promising the first five respondents a hand-made item if they posted the same on their wall… thus joining a ‘Pay-it-forward’ movement of sorts. Since I was going to do a project each week, I thought I might as well give it a go and have five people to give some of my creations to. Responses tumbled in quicker than I expected!

I contacted my first five respondents and asked them to email me snaps of their favourite things: accessories, ornaments, home decor, clothing, hand-me-downs, artwork, fabric, jewelry etc. – anything really! I wanted to get a feel for their taste.  I also asked them to tell me about their favourite colour-schemes and if there were any colours, materials, etc that they particularly hate (eg. I hate anything animal print. I have a friend who hates pictures of butterflies).

Over the past year, these are the gifts I created as part of the Pay-It-Forward movement:

1. Mama A described her taste as classic, yet modern … “Audrey Hepburn” … The images she sent were of chandeliers, pearls and big shiny beads around a lamp-base. Since this woman always looks absolutely gorgeous, I decided to make her a piece of Carrie Bradshaw-inspired jewelry.

Of all the crafts and creative projects I attempted during my 52 Creative Projects, this was by far the hardest project I attempted. Little did I realise that merely enjoying wearing jewelry did not make me a jeweler! Making jewelry is so fiddely! It was a good thing I had mum-in-law on hand to help me with this mission!

2. Mama G likes pastel colours, yellow, lace, vintage. Easy! Me too! Since I knew this friend has her hands and heart full with a toddler and a bub, I decided to hand-bind a journal for her – with a vintage dress pattern on the cover – to pour her thoughts, dreams, fears and joys into.

3. Mama N said she like modern things with bright colours. Her house is extremely stylish and classy and I wanted to make something that would go well in her place. I took a while on this one, as our styles are quite different. Then recently I went to a curtain off-cut shop with mum and found the most lovely lush woven fabrics in black, beige and gold and decided to make her a tablecloth for their big diningroom table that features in all their big Jewish celebrations… A perfect house-warming present for her new home!

4. Mama L (yes another mama!) was going through a pretty hectic time after a recent break-up so I decided to spoil her with some home-made soup and a set of stitched stationary to brighten her day.

Unfortunately I never heard back from number 5 as she was busy saving lives (literally!)… One day I’d like to make her something special.

I quite enjoyed doing this pay-it-forward project inside my 52 Creative Projects… I wish I knew what other creative gifts were passed along through this lovely initiative! [If you have been part of a similar movement I’d love to hear your story too!]


All dressed up – in a tablecloth.

Spending time in Melbourne over summer meant frequenting craft markets with my brother and his wife: Warrandyte market on Saturday, and both Williamstown Craft market and Abbotsford Shirt & Skirt market on Sunday. I’d say that is a pretty good effort for one weekend!

As we strolled around I kept wondering what it was that drew us into some stalls – totally enchanted, why we perused others from a distance with a soft ‘hhmmm’, and others still were left completely ignored…

About half of the stalls sold baby goods: mostly little dresses, cute bibs, pantaloons, headbands, hairclips and accessories for little girls, as well as blankets and knitted toys. Had I not recently attempted my very first little girls’ dress and frilly pantaloons from a 1970’s pattern and polkadot fabric my grandma had sent all the way from South Africa, and found it a simple and quick task, I would have indulged and bought an insubordinate number of little frocks to doll up my daughter! Instead, I was keen to get back and get sewing on my latest project! (okay, and maybe find out where these stall holders sourced their gorgeous fabrics from!)

Earlier in the week – before embarking on the market spree – I had been given a vintage hand-sewn table-cloth. It had beautiful embroidered detail in the corners and stains in the middle. I realised that with a bit of tweaking I could probably turn it into a lovely pinafore for my little girl… I grabbed an old tea towel (which was headed for the bin) and cut that up as a mini test run to work out the pattern. Still not satisfied, I grabbed a very old pillowcase (which was headed for the bin too), and had another go with mum’s help, and some advice from my sis-in-law [I love how sewing projects tends to become a group effort!]. We worked out a plan and I started chopping up the table-cloth into four quarters: Three for the skirt and the fourth for the bodice.

I added some vintage gingham that I found in mum’s fabric stash from a distant aunt, which I used to tie the top and skirt together and for the straps. I then added some buttons and just like that project 53 was done (in the nick of time)!