Thursday, 30 May 2013

Say it with Flowers

Welcome to my stop on the

Say It With Flowers Schedule

I am delighted to be taking part in another of Madame Samm's inspiring Blog Hops. This time round our super-efficient cheerleader is Carol of Just Let Me Quilt, now that is a sentiment I can relate to :)

If you are new here, please feel free to take a look around and explore my little corner of Blogland.

When I signed up for this Blog Hop I thought that I hadn't actually completed many projects that were flower-related, but it turns out that I am more of a floral girl than I realised. I hope my DH is taking note of that as it is our wedding anniversary today, and I am keeping my fingers crossed that I am not the only member of the family "saying it with flowers" today :)

So here are some of the flower-themed projects I had forgotten about

Curved Seams summer quilt back

The flower back of the summer quilt made for the Curved Seams Challenge blogged  here

Origami fabric flowers

Origami fabric flowers from a tutorial and kit by Knotted Cotton

Lots of floral bags! 

Bee blocks and brooches.

My favourite flower projects though have been the Dresden plate Sunflowers that started as cushions 


Dresden Sunflower Cushion

Sunflower Cushion

Then progressed to a quilt

And now as my project for the Say it with Flowers Blog Hop have been incorporated into a bag :)

Dresden Flower Bag

I know it is not yellow, so technically not a sunflower, but you get my drift. The fabric for the body of this bag came from this pair of my son's shorts!

Regular readers know by now that my sons and husband's wardrobes are frequently raided for my projects :) The ripped shorts were no use to him, but the cotton/linen mix fabric was ideal for my bag body. 

I used the Scalloped Dresden Bag pattern available free at During Quiet Time for the bag, and was delighted with how easily it all went together. The fabric for the scallops was part of a package I received from the lovely Jan in a Friendship Bag Swap, so it was a very economical bag to make.

My version of the bag is slightly different from the original pattern as I wanted to have interchangeable bag straps, rather than the cross-body fabric straps of the original. So, instead of adding straps I added a strap loop with a split ring to each side of the bag. The heavier strap above is actually a necklace that had a broken catch, whilst the lighter chain in the first photo was an extra chain that came with a clutch bag bought in a sale. Very little goes to waste in our household :)

Now that I have my flower bag all I need is the opportunity to go out somewhere smart with it. Fingers crossed that as well as saying it with flowers, DH takes the hint and will be whisking us off somewhere nice to celebrate this evening!

Don't forget to check out all the inspiring posts from fellow Blog Hoppers today at

May 30th

There will be loads of amazing projects for you to drool over I am sure!

If you have used a Dresden ruler or made a bag for the first time this month, or tried anything new to you this month there is still time to link up to 

The link up will close at 12.00 p.m. GMT on May 31st so you can still sneak a link in to tell us what you have tried out in May.

Linking up to

Bag Brag Tuesday 125 x 125 pixels

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Blocks of Iron

I am getting way behind on Bee and BOM blocks so as the end of yet another month approaches it was time to try and catch up. The emphasis is on the word try :)

Fortunately I am due to receive blocks this month in the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee, so I only had one block to make for this one. The request from Jenniffier, my fellow May Bee recipient was for a block for the High Five quilt in the Sunday Morning Quilts Book. Jenniffier intends to hand over the quilt from the Bee blocks to a little boy who has been very ill, so I really needed to get this block off to her sooner rather than later.


We were asked to either make a block with 16 5"x5" blocks or one with 12 5"x5" blocks and one 9.5"x9.5" block. As you can see I went for the latter. I was so pleased too to use as the centre of the large block, one of the blocks I received before Christmas as part of Quiet Play's Say Cheese Polaroid Block Swap! I knew it was worth hanging on to the extra blocks after I had made the Doll Quilt for my niece.

And speaking of Quiet Play, I still hadn't tackled this month's block in Kristy's And Sew On BOM, so that was next on the list. I am already one block behind on the BOM, so I really didn't want to go 2 behind or I might never catch up.

This month we are tackling an iron and ironing board for the Keep Calm and Press On block. Kristy hosts a link up for the BOM blocks every month and having seen some of the lovely blocks already completed I was encouraged to get my act together and get mine finished. The lure of prizes in the link up might also have had something to do with this sudden burst of energy :)

Of course it wouldn't be a paper-pieced block if I didn't have some (self-inflicted!) problems. This time I managed to completely mess up the only piece in the block that didn't require any additional piecing, the triangle in the top right! I have no idea how I managed to cut out the piece in such a way that it was a wedge of fabric short at the top, but I did :) 

Fortunately it was not difficult to fix.

If you have tried paper-piecing for the first time, or anything else new this month there is still time to link up to the May 

We have had some great projects posted already this month, so if you are looking for something new to try you should definitely check them out.

 Linking up to
Quilter in the Closet

Saturday, 25 May 2013

New to Me in May!

It is the 25th of the month again, which means it is time for

 This month my New to Me projects have all been about freedom!

Seagull cushion cover

Free form Machine Embroidery on this Seagull Cushion and the Birds on a Wire below was definitely a first for me!

Peg birds

I enjoyed the Free form Embroidery so much that I attempted some more Free form but this time FMQ lettering, another first!

Rioja quilting

If you look really closely you can see "Rioja" spelled out in the quilting above!

So that's my New to Me activities this month, now it's your turn to show what you have tried that is New to You this month.

Link them up below and share your triumphs and/or disasters.

As ever please help to spread the word by linking back to this post in your post and/or adding the blog button to your sidebar.

Check out the other links and leave a comment along the way. The emphasis of this link party is to celebrate the trying of something new, whether it works out exactly as planned or not, so a little encouragement here and there would not go amiss! 

The link will remain open until May 31st so if you haven't already tried something new you still have time :)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Wine, weddings and quilting

A few weeks ago our eldest son proposed to his girlfriend and, fortunately as he had already bought the ring, the answer was yes :)

Wedding planning is, therefore, featuring heavily in their lives at the minute and more specifically wedding venue hunting. As they live in London and the wedding will take place further afield they wanted to keep a record of their search by pinning locations on a map. However, as they currently live in brand-new rented accommodation they weren't keen to pepper their shiny, new walls with pinholes. Their solution was to ask Mum if she could sew something suitable!

So I got my thinking cap on and decided that this was the perfect excuse to cut into some of that bargain fabric.

They were looking for a padded mat to keep on their desk that would be thick enough to pin a map to without marking the desk. I decided that the wine bottle fabric would be ideal for the front of the mat with the pink birds for the back.

As we were meeting up with the happy couple a week after the request was made time was of the essence, so piecing was out!  I knew that wadding wasn't going to be thick enough for the pins but I wanted to do more than make a pillowcase for the 1/2" thick foam sheet that I had ordered. I decided to make a quilt sandwich for the front of the mat and then add the foam sheet as a filling.  So I took a deep breath and quilted the wine bottle fabric top with FMQ lettering in appropriate wording!

Cheers quilting

I quilted the bottom row of the top with their names as I was getting really carried away by then, but I forgot to take a photograph of that! I made the quilt with an envelope back so that when the map is no longer needed they can take the foam pad out and be left with a quilt. Although quite what state it will be in when they have finished pinning things to it is anyone's guess :)

Wine bottle table topper

Son's faith in the ability of Mum to "sew something suitable" is still intact until the next challenge! Our youngest son has put in a request for patchwork Pyjama trousers, but I am still working up the nerve to tackle them. Fortunately he is very patient :)

If like me, you have tried something new this month share your successes and failures at the Link Party for

The link opens tomorrow (25th) so come back then to link up your New to You posts. I would love to see what you have been trying out in May.

Linking up this finish to 

Crazy Mom Quilts



Thursday, 23 May 2013

Food, flags and folding

When our youngest son was very small we took him on holiday to a small fishing village on the East Coast of Scotland. We were told that it was possible to buy live lobsters from a small stall at the harbour, which would then be cooked and ready for collection later. Naturally we were not going to pass up the opportunity to tuck into freshly cooked lobster so off we headed to the Lobster Shack to pick our lobster.

Whilst his brothers were happily deciding which lobster to pick, our youngest was a bit hesitant but we didn't think much of it at the time. It was only when we went back to pick up the cooked lobster and he refused to hold his father's hand that we discovered that in his words he "didn't like food that moves!" 

Twenty plus years later we were at the same Lobster Shack and he is still being teased about not liking food that moves! It looks like he will never grow out of that joke in the family anyway :)

On the same trip we came across this flagpole where apparently the houseowner changes the flag every day to reflect some national event happening on that date.

After risking life and limb clambering up the bank to try and read the sign on the flagpole we discovered later that the gate at the front of the house had a notice telling you which flag was flying that day.  Why didn't we think of that first? This one is Hawaii I think.

Did you know you could make an elephant just by folding two towels? Well you can and here is the proof.

I think they were there to distract from the fact that the hotel decor was very definitely on the shabby side of shabby chic!

So which family jokes have lasted the longest in your family?

Linking up to Really Random Thursday

Monday, 20 May 2013

Giveaway and a winner

Thanks for all the lovely comments on the the seagull cushion and Birds on a Wire for

Here is the Schedule for Its for the Birds 

Mr Random has now done his stuff and the winner of the Bustle and Sew patterns is 


What a perfect gift for your family members---a seagull cushion to use in a lovely setting. The birds on the wire are so cute and what a neat way to up-cycle clothing bits.

I visited Bustle and Sew and while there is a lot of real cool stuff up there (bookmarking!) I love that exotic hobo bird tote. Love stitcheries and the bag is just cool. THX for the opportunity for your giveaway.

Linda I have sent you an email separately to arrange for the patterns to be sent to you directly.

If you weren't lucky this time you can still win some  Bustle and Sew loveliness as Helen is running a giveaway for an adorable felted cashmere bunny softie and is willing to send him off anywhere in the world. The giveaway closes at midnight BST on 21st May so you will have to be quick to be in with a chance to win though!

Thanks again to everyone who entered I wish you all could have been winners!

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

It's for the Birds Blog Hop and a Giveaway

Here is the Schedule for Its for the Birds

It is finally my day to join in the fun on the It's for the Birds Blog Hop organised by the superbly efficient Madame Samm of Sew We Quilt and Mary of I Piece 2-Mary,  the cheerleading head of the flock. Thanks ladies!

If you are new to my blog, welcome, I hope you enjoy the projects I have today and feel free to wander around and explore my little patch of Blogland.

I have been itching to try my hand at Freehand Machine Embroidery for a while but hadn't plucked up the courage. So when Madame Samm announced the It's for the Birds Blog Hop I decided that the time had come. I already had the perfect bird-themed projects thanks to Helen at Bustle and Sew.

We recently spent a lovely weekend with my brother and sister-in-law at their chalet on the East Coast of Scotland. Amazingly the weather was kind to us so we were able to enjoy these glorious views.

I wanted to make a special present to thank them for their great hospitality and Bustle and Sew's Seagull Cushion fitted the bill perfectly.

Having never tried Freehand Machine Embroidery before I was a bit wary but it couldn't have been more enjoyable, thanks to Helen's lovely pattern and great instructions.The embroidered seagull was really straightforward to put together, even for a complete beginner like me.

Seagull applique

Having tackled the first challenge of this cushion, the second was to try printing on fabric for the first time. I used this Transfer Artist Paper.

I printed the lyrics out in reverse and then ironed the image onto a piece of plain blue cotton. The text transferred perfectly.

I hadn't realised just how stiff the fabric would be as a result of the image transfer, which meant that any needle/pin holes remained after the pins were removed as you can see below.

I might try another method of image transfer next time, and there will be a next time as I was so thrilled with how this cushion turned out that I plan to make one for myself.

In the meantime though I can enjoy the second bird project made for the Blog Hop, which was from another pattern by Bustle and Sew

Emboldened by the success of the Freehand Machine Embroidery on the Seagull Cushion I decided to have a go at "Birds on a Wire".

These were so much fun to make. As regular readers will know I love to upcycle fabric, usually from my husband and sons' shirts, so you can guess where the check fabric came from for the birds! Just for a change this time I also raided my own wardrobe; the aqua fabric was originally the pocket of one of my old dressing gowns!

The body fabric pieces were backed with fusible web and then ironed to felt and then the outline of each bird was traced on with an air-erasable marker.

You can just see the outline in the photo above.

The wing fabrics were backed with fusible web and then attached to the body fabric. The machine embroidered outline was completed and then the bird shapes were cut out. This was such an easy way to manage the potentially fiddly bird tails.

Glued to wooden clothes pegs and they are all ready to perch. Don't they look like they are having a good gossip on the line?

These will be so handy in my sewing room, but I think they would look great in a girly bedroom too.

Thanks to the lovely Helen, they could be decorating your sewing room or bedroom too. Helen has generously donated three Bustle and Sew  PDF patterns for one lucky winner.

The winner will receive a copy of the Birds on a Wire pattern, Seagull Cushion Cover pattern and, in keeping with the It's for the Birds Blog Hop theme a copy of this Summer Birdie Bag pattern too!

summer bag square.jpg

So what do you have to do to win these great patterns?

Simply fly over to the Bustle and Sew website and check out Helen's patterns then fly back to leave a comment telling me which Bustle and Sew pattern you would like to tackle. If you are a follower tell me that in a second comment for an extra chance to win.The winner will be drawn randomly on Monday, May 19th at 18.00 GMT.


Please leave your email address in the form commenteratgmaildotcom in your comment if you are a no-reply blogger. In the event that the winner is a no-reply commenter and I cannot find a way to contact you I will redraw, sorry!

If you try something new this month don't forget to come back and link up to my monthly New to Me in 2013 link party on May 25th!

Check out these other Blog Hoppers posting more great bird-themed projects today too.

Good luck!

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