Thursday 20 December 2012

Buttons, Blocks and Bows

On my recent visit North I managed to have a rummage around in my mum's button box. There were buttons in there that had belonged to her mum. So with a bit of encouragement on my part I "acquired" some of them to add to my own button stash :)

Mum's buttons

They came in very handy when I had a go at making some Origami Fabric Flower brooches from Knotted Cotton. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of a kit for three flower brooches from the lovely Catherine, but they were so quick to make that I whipped up another one in no time.

Origami fabric flowers

If you are looking for a really quick, last-minute make these definitely fit the bill. You can find Knotted Cotton's tutorial here.

This month sees the final blocks of the Sunday Morning Quilts Bee and this month's colour is pink. I discovered that pink is not a colour that features heavily in either my stash or scraps, so all I can say is thank goodness for fabric swaps!

SMQ  block Dec 2

SMQ Blocks Dec

This was the first Bee I ever joined and it seems like ages since I nervously put together my first blocks, although it was only 6 months. Round 2 kicks off next month when we are making blocks for specific quilts from the book. As my book is still somewhere in storage I will need to get a move on and find the box soon.

The first Bee request for Round 2 is for low-value fabrics, which I have discovered I do not possess, so some fabric shopping will be called for in the New Year sales!

In the meantime I am planning to get some last-minute sewing done before my son comes home and reclaims his room :)

Hope you are all having a relaxed run-up to the Big Day, or if not that you are at least enjoying some festive spirit!

Friday 14 December 2012

Handmade gifts and Happy Post

I haven't been having much luck lately with swaps and Bees. I still haven't received anything from the HoopLaLa swap although the deadline was November 9th! My Sunday Morning Quilts Bee blocks for October and November haven't been seen either, so there has been a lot of anticipation when the postman rings but not much in the way of realisation. Until today!!

MSB swap rec'd

This lovely package of goodies arrived this morning from my partner, uberstitch, in the Modern Scrappy Bits swap. Apparently this is Pam's first attempt at a zipped pouch, I would never have guessed it is absolutely lovely.

MSB swap scraps

It was even lovelier when I unzipped the pouch to discover that it was packed with more scraps. On a miserable, wet and windy day this was a real ray of sunshine, thanks Pam!

We had a quick trip up to Scotland this week but only had a short glimpse of this

Largs Bay

and this

Largs Ferry

before delivering the doll quilt and heading South.

I have, though, managed to make another couple of Christmas presents and even roped in my OH on the handmade gifts front.

Last year I made Christmas snowman earrings for my DIL, son's girlfriend and myself using kits from Jillybeads but this year I decided to have a go at making my own. I discovered some seasonal charms at a local bead store and it took me all of 5 minutes to make this year's earrings.

Christmas Earrings 2012

So another two presents can be ticked off the list. My OH has even got in on the act by making these CD clocks, which again took him all of 5 minutes each.

Clock for ES

For eldest son

Clock for MS
For middle son
Clock for YS
For youngest son

The clock mechanisms were just over a pound each and we used their own Cd's so all in all it was not only quick but inexpensive too. The clock parts were sourced from here

Actually they don't know that we have used their Cd's, but as we are constantly telling them anything that has been left behind when they moved out is fair game!

That Christmas gift list is gradually being whittled down, next up is toiletries and jewellery rolls.

Hope you are having a productive, handmade time this year too.

Linking up to Do Something Crafty and Happy Hour Friday and

Monday 10 December 2012

Handmade Christmas - Part 1

Now that our youngest son's birthday has passed (last week) we are officially allowed to mention Christmas in our house!

So I decided to get a start on some of the handmade presents I am hoping to give this year. I have had lots of ideas spinning around in my head, but it is now boiling down to what I can get the appropriate supplies for locally and what I actually have time to do.

First up some pineapple chutney for my foodie son and daughter-in-law,

Before the big day I will search out some Christmas fabric and my pinking shears to make covers for the jars I promise!

Next up a bracelet from memory wire for my eldest son's girlfriend

This was actually a kit that I bought a couple of weeks ago and was so easy that I will definitely be out buying more memory wire soon. It must have taken all of 10 minutes in front of the television to do - definitely my kind of project :)

Finally I got around to using up some of my blocks from Quiet Play's Say Cheese Polaroid Block swap to make a doll quilt. The doll and quilt are for my niece's daughter, I am not quite sure what that makes me to her or her to me!

I had great fun sorting through the blocks I received picking out the girliest ones!

Now that I am finally reunited with my stash I had the ideal backing fabric - bright pink and flowery, not something I would normally use but perfect for this.

I hope she enjoys playing with this quilt as much as I have enjoyed making it.

Just in case you are thinking that I am really on top of things I am admitting to this disaster, a stollen that didn't rise!

 It wasn't entirely my fault as I went to what was billed as an "Edible Christmas Gifts" cookery class and we ran out of time to prove our stollens for the second time, which meant taking it home and having to leave it overnight to prove. I think the freezing cold journey home didn't do my poor stollen any favours and it could have doubled as a brick the next day!

Unfortunately the stollen wasn't the only disaster in the kitchen this weekend. I dropped my Christmas pudding when taking it out of the steamer (I know it should have been made weeks ago!) and the pudding basin cracked in two! Cue a hasty switch to another bowl, but I will only know on Christmas Day whether it survived the fall or not. I am hoping everyone will be so full of the festive spirit they won't actually notice that the pudding is a rather strange shape :)

Hopefully the next bout of handmade activity will be less disaster prone!

I hope your weekend was productive too.

Friday 7 December 2012

The Winning Number is

And the winner of the Sew Mama Sew giveaway as drawn by the Random Number Generator is

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2012-12-07 21:00:50 UTC

Comment 126 was from one half of the duo behind the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop

I'm hoping for some a new cutting mat!

Alyce I have emailed you for your address. 

A huge thank you to everyone who entered and an even bigger thank you to all of my followers it has been a real pleasure to discover so many new friends.

It seems that we are an easy to please bunch as gift cards for local fabric stores and chocolate will keep most of us happy! Family take note :)

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Swaps, Boots and WIP's

Last weekend my daughter-in-law, son's girlfriend and I nipped off to Dusseldorf to sample our first German Christmas market. Last year we all went to Copenhagen for some Christmas market retail therapy and spent the weekend dodging howling gales and rain, so we were hoping for a better experience this time. Well, whilst there was heavy rain on Saturday night it didn't put a dampener on our fun as there were places like this to shelter in!

My lovely blogging friend, Fiona, had explained the deposit system for the Gluhwein glasses before we went so we didn't waste precious shopping/drinking time working out what to pay :)

As you can see we were so taken by a couple of the wine mugs that they managed to sneak into our bags for home! The Gluhwein was pretty good too.

We would have loved to have fitted one of these fun bird boxes in to our bags, but just couldn't make the space :(

And whilst space wasn't a problem with the biscuit cutters from this stall, narrowing down the choice was!

Aside from indulging myself with the odd Gluhwein there has been some sewing in progress too this week. Today is the deadline for sending off my package for the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap. As well as scraps participants are asked to send a handmade item, so I have been having a go at a pouch pattern I found in an old issue (12) of Making magazine.

The Christmas one will be ideal for the OPI nail polishes I have as stocking fillers for my fellow market shoppers. My partner in the Modern Scrappy Bits Swap has said that she likes linen and text fabrics, so I am hoping that the second pouch will be to her liking.

This is what is going in the package today.

The pouches used a construction method that was new to me. You attached the zip by making two tubes, one with the lining and one with the exterior then turned it lining side out to stitch the ends before turning the pouch back right side out. It makes more sense probably when you see this photo!

It was a neat way to do it and quick, although it does mean that you have a raw seam at each end on the inside.

More stocking fillers are on the agenda with my Origami Liberty flower brooch kit that arrived in the post yesterday from the very talented Catherine at Knotted Cotton.

I am really looking forward to having a go at these and they may not all make their way into stockings! If you haven't already check out Catherine's tutorial for the Origami flower brooches here they are lovely.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

There is still time to enter my entry in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway, you will find all the details here or vote for my entry in the Ring Your Neck scarf challenge.

Vote: Ring Your Neck Scarf Challenge

Monday 3 December 2012

Christmas Giveaway and Challenge Vote

This week will be a blur of blog hopping and commenting as the huge blog event that is Giveaway Day by Sew Mama Sew has arrived, and I am delighted to be taking part again.

Last year I made these Christmas stockings for my daughter-in-law and son's girlfriend with Christmas linen/cotton mix fabric from my favourite linen shop in Tallinn, Estonia.

This year my giveaway will give you the chance to do the same.

Today's giveaway is 0.5m of the Santa and Reindeer linen/cotton mix fabric. Each fabric length is 150cm wide, which will be enough to make one similar size stocking to these from each length and have enough left over for some small ones too.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is tell me what you would like to find in your stocking on Christmas Day. If you are a follower leave an extra comment telling me for an extra chance to win.

The winner will drawn at random on December 7th at 20.00 UK time. International entries are, of course, welcome!

Giveaway now closed, thanks all for entering!

The entries for Ricochet and Away's Ring your Neck scarf challenge are now complete and you can vote for your favourite here

Vote: Ring Your Neck Scarf Challenge

Here is a quick reminder of my entry ;)

There are lots of wonderful and inventive creations on show in what has been a really great challenge. I can't wait to see what Rikka comes up with for the next challenge.

Linking up to Christmas Stocking Hang Out

Good luck with the giveaway, I shall be hoping for some of that myself too :) Check out all of the giveaways here

Thursday 29 November 2012

Knotted Celtic Neckwear

So remember this sneak peek of my current project? 

Well here it is in all its glory - my contribution to the Ring your Neck Challenge organised by Rikka.

I have wanted to have a go at Celtic-style applique for a long time, so I am delighted to finally have used the technique. Beth Ann Williams' book Celtic Quilts has been on my bookshelf for years, so it wasn't difficult to know where to look when I finally decided that this was the technique that was going to be my challenge.

The background of the scarf is a purple dupion silk and I have backed it with some purple linen that I just happened to have bought on a recent linen shopping trip to Lithuania! The batiks for the applique were some of the first FQ's I ever bought, when I went to a patchwork and quilting evening class many years ago. It feels good to have finally done something with them.

Although the applique is far from perfect, I had trouble with remembering my "unders" and "overs" at times, I am so delighted with how this turned out that I will definitely be tackling some of the gorgeous cushions in the book in the not too-distant future.

This is the first of Rikka's challenges that I have taken part in and it really spurred me on to tackle something different so I will definitely be keeping an eye out for her challenges in the future.

There are some fabulous scarves already posted but there are still a couple of days left until the entry deadline on November 30th, so if you were quick you could still enter :)

Linking up to Make it Wear it and Threading my Way

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Old/New WIP

A couple of weekends ago we visited a local antiques fair and market. The market is held every weekend in a local overground rail station and is always a nice morning out.

To my delight one of the first stalls I came across was selling vintage linens. Not only that though, as the stallholder had had such a good day at a big antiques fair the previous week she was keen to offload her remaining stock so was slashing her prices with gusto! Now that is my kind of stall :)

It would have been wrong not to help her destash wouldn't it?

 I have bought some jewellery for Christmas presents for my SIL and DIL so will be using the linen napkins to make jewellery rolls for them. No plans as yet for the rest of the linen but it was too good a bargain to be passed up!
I also bought this vintage embroidery transfer for 50pence! I am a member of the Hoop Love Vintage Transfers Flickr group but have never had anything to upload. Hopefully, this will be my first contribution, although I think I need to do some research to make sure it is out of copyright first. If you have any idea where this might be from I would be delighted to hear!

My final purchase was the Old WIP referred to in the title. These abandoned EPP hexagons were calling to me.

They look like they have been a WIP for considerably longer than I have been sewing, and they are now my latest WIP. The fabrics are a bit of a mix but I am sure I will be able to do something with them!

It has been a few weeks since I last updated my WIP list so here is how it is looking at the moment.


  • 7 blocks of In Color Order HST BOM ( 4 blocks behind schedule)
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt basted
  • Teatime quilt pieced, backed and basted 
  • 5 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed and fabric cut for remaining 5 blocks
  • 14 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (3 months behind schedule) 
  • Sunday Morning Quilt Bee blocks completed and sent (on schedule)
  • Star of Africa Bee blocks completed and sent (on schedule just!)
  • Travelling Pic Stitch Blog Hop project (not going to make Nov 30th deadline!)
  • Modern Scrappy Bits Swap item to be sent by Dec 5th
  • Ring your neck Challenge scarf completed 

  • Indigo and violet rainbow cushions
  • Last block of Sampler quilt
Hoping you have had a productive week.

Linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday

Tuesday 27 November 2012

Random picks a winner!

Thank you for all your comments on the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop it has been a pleasure to read them.

The Random Number Generator has done its' thing and picked

True Random Number Service

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2012-11-27 19:41:49 UTC

And the winner is:-
 Bea Lee

great pillow, I don't think I've quilted with unusual fabrics. hmmm I once long arm quilted a customer's quilt that had minky on the back, it turned out great! you didn't see the threads on the back but your saw the pattern of the quilting.

I'll be popping these in the post as soon as you let me know your address.

I shall certainly be looking at more items around the house for their potential in future quilts, there is no end to the creativity in blog land! Speaking of which check out today's Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hoppers, there are some amazing interpretations of the pattern today.

Tuesday November 27
Insanity Defense ) not up yet

I shall just leave you with a sneak peek of my current project, no upcycled fabric there (yet!).

Thanks again for taking the time to comment and follow, I really appreciate it.

Monday 26 November 2012

Polaroid Post

A few weeks ago I was allowed to be an "honorary Aussie" to participate in Quiet Play's Say Cheese, Polaroid Block Swap. I think my devotion to the cause of Australian wine was a crucial factor in the decision:)

I sent my 50 blocks off and on Saturday my return blocks arrived.


There is a lovely mix of fabrics in the blocks, which are destined to become a doll quilt for my niece. Fortunately her birthday is early in the year, so if this doesn't get finished in time for Christmas to accompany the doll I have already bought for her, then it won't look too tardy to be giving her the quilt for her birthday!

Don't forget there is still time to enter my Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop giveaway for 6 Christmas FQ's here. The giveaway closes Tuesday, November 27th at 18.00 UK time.

Check out today's stops in the Blog Hop too

Thursday 22 November 2012

Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop and a Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop.

This is the first time I have taken part in one of Madam Samm, Sew We Quilt's Blog Hops, but from what I have seen she is definitely the Queen of the Blog Hop! This is the last one of 2012 for Madam Samm, but she has some exciting Hops already lined up for 2013, apparently, so keep your eyes peeled :)

The Cheerleader for this Blog Hop was the lovely Pauline, otherwise known as Quilt 'n Queen. Poor Pauline has been fending off the flu bug and coping with a laptop in its' death throes, but still managed to keep everyone on track, that is dedication!

The Hoppers on track today are

Thursday November 22
In all there are 95 Hoppers taking part, that is a lot of pillows (or cushions for we Brits!). 
As ever, and despite my best intentions,  I took this project right to the wire. The photo for the Blog Hop didn't really give me an idea of the actual size of this pillow - it is big! The pattern is by Jill Finley of Jillily Studio and is available here, but be warned this pillow eats up stuffing :)
The original pattern calls for a black background, but as regular readers will know my plain black fabric is currently skulking in a storage unit. So, yes you have guessed it, the son's shirt came into play again for the applique door! Instead of a night scene then I went for a dazzling blue Northern sky, just like the ones we loved in Latvia. Although you can just see a sprinkling of snow in the air with some quilted snowflakes dotted around, as it wouldn't be Christmas without at least a little snowfall :)
Now if you would like to make your own Holiday Lane pillow, today's Giveaway might just help to get you started. 
To win 6FQ's of Holiday themed fabric, all you need to do is leave a comment telling me what unusual fabric you have used in your patchwork. If you are a follower leave a comment telling me that too for an extra chance to win. 
The winner will be drawn randomly on Tuesday 27th November at 18.00 UK Time. If you are a no-reply blogger please make sure you include your email address in your comment, so that I have some way of contacting you should you win. International entries are, of course, welcome!
Giveaway now closed, Congratulations Beaquilter!
I shall look forward to seeing what other things I can requisition for my sewing until I am reunited with my stash :)

Monday 19 November 2012

Storks and Scenery

One of the bonuses of being back in the UK is that we can nip down South to visit our boys whenever we like. Another bonus is that they might just happen to live near charming fabric shops like this one!

Of course it would have been rude to take a photo without making a purchase, so a few FQ's might just have found their way into my bag :)

Our trip wasn't all shopping themed though, we manage to fit in a riverside walk at Henley on Thames, scene of the renowned Henley Royal Regatta, too. (There was an excellent fabric warehouse there too but I will tell you all about it in a later post!).

In the lovely village of Wallingford in Oxfordshire we had fun poking around an antique and vintage arcade. We were amused to find that free cereal bowls that our boys collected when they were younger, and still use when they come home, were for sale on one of the stalls. Perhaps we should have a look through our cupboards to see if there are any hidden gems!

I came across these vintage needlecraft magazines at one of the stalls too.

The Good Needlework was tempting but it didn't seem to have the embroidery transfers listed with it so I thought better of it. My knitting skills are not up to attempting any of the patterns just yet.

I did though attempt the paper-pieced Stork pattern that my lovely, blogging friend Kristy drew up for me for this month's Star of Africa Bee block. Nicky, whose month this is, asked for blocks based upon fairytales or folk tales. The pattern was really straightforward, any mistakes are entirely down to me! You can check out more of  Kristy's fabulous patterns in her Craftsy store

As my stash is still hidden away at the back of the storage unit I had real trouble finding some black fabric for the wing. In the end I resorted to cutting a piece out of my son's shirt! I am hoping he doesn't read this blog :)

In Eastern Europe storks are considered very lucky and people go to great lengths to ensure that storks return to the same nests year after year.

We were always delighted in our drives through the Baltic States to spot stork nests, especially in the Springtime with hungry chicks peering over the top.  The nests were often surprisingly close to the roads, so stork-spotting was never that difficult.  There are apparently black storks in Latvia but they are much more elusive!

Nicky has also asked for a signature block made to resemble a book spine so that is next on the to-do list.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend too.

Linking up to BOM's AwayMonday Link-up and  Sew Modern Monday

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