Thursday 28 February 2013

Random thoughts and winners

Last weekend was very much sport focused in our family, but as an antidote to all that heaving and grunting (and that was only the spectators!) my son's girlfriend and I took ourselves off to savour winning of a different kind.

Oscar winners and Academy Award winning Costume Designers to be precise. Bizarrely the local Woodhorn Colliery museum is currently hosting an exhibition of Academy Award winning UK costume designers, so with the Oscar ceremonies then still to be held, we braved the blizzards to feast our eyes upon some fabulous costumes.

And feast we did.

Woodhorn Colliery Hamlet Costume
First up Laurence Olivier's costume for the 1948 film of Hamlet. Random facts - Laurence Olivier won Best Actor, the film itself won Best Film and the costume designer, Roger K. Furse won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

Check out the quilting on those sleeves!

Another winner was Michael O'Conner the costume designer for the film "The Duchess" starring Keira Knightley.

Costume from the Duchess

There were several costumes on show from this film and they were all wonderful.

In all the exhibition had over 40 costumes on display from films as diverse as "The King's Speech" and "Gladiator". We had a great time and it was the ideal preparation for the Sports Fest that was to come.

Curved Seams Challenge Homepage

I have just discovered that the voting has been finalised in Rikka's Curved Seams Challenge and I have been awarded the Silver Badge! The Gold deservedly goes to Pam's gorgeous Curved Seams dress, which I voted for myself! Rikka's next challenge is to get us dusting off those strange feet that came with the sewing machine and have yet to see the light of day, so if you fancy joining in check out the challenge here.

Finally, tomorrow all will be revealed on this recent sneak peek

So don't forget to check back then!

Linking up to 

Live A Colorful Life


Wednesday 27 February 2013

Beeing happy and winning!

Well you certainly carry around a strange assortment of items in your handbags ladies! With the amount of cash found at the bottom of bags I think many of you need new purses and wallets as well as a new bag :)

Mr Random Number Generator has done his stuff and the winner of the Sew Sweetness pattern pack is

True Random Number Generator Min: Max: Result: 44
Powered by RANDOM.ORG

LindseyAnne22 February 2013 17:25
I love the bag. I once discovered the partially chewed leg of a Barbie doll in my bag when out for the evening. I think the dog rather than a daughter had done the chewing but I'm not certain.

LindseyAnne I will be in touch!

There has been lots of inspiring and fun link ups in this months

The link up will remain open for a few more days yet, so if you have tried something new this month link it up and inspire us!

There hasn't been much in the way of sewing done this weekend as a crucial rugby game in Edinburgh was in the schedule! Ireland v Scotland is always a tense game in our household with both sides equally represented in the family.  This year instead of shivering on the terraces though I was snuggly settled in front of this in Edinburgh.

A much cheerier outlook than 30 muddy men! It turns out too that the champagne was well deserved. For a change the Scottish side of the family were the happier at the end of the afternoon. and that wasn't just due to the champagne and cakes!
Another shot of cakes to whet your appetite :)

A pleasant surprise arrived in the post yesterday.
The October blocks from the SMQ Bee, which means I now have the full set!

These will, hopefully, now become one of my finishes this quarter in the FAL.

she can quilt

Fingers crossed.

So this is what my WIP list looks like now
  • In Color Order HST BOM - Top Completed
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt basted
  • Tsatime quilt pieced, backed and basted COMPLETED
  • 5 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed and fabric cut for remaining 5 blocks
  • 14 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (way behind schedule) 
  • Sunday Morning Quilt Bee blocks all received
  • Sunday Morning Quilt2 Bee blocks sent (on schedule)
  • Star of Africa Bee blocks completed and sent (1 month behind schedule now!)
  • Friendship Bag Swap - Bag made ready to be filled COMPLETED
  • Modern Scrappy Bits Swap 3rd Round Bag made ready to be filled
  • Triple Zip A Long pouch  COMPLETED
  • Curved Seams Challenge signed up COMPLETED
  • And And Sew On BOM - first block completed
  • Just my Type paper-pieced block  COMPLETED
  • Everything but the Kitchen Sink SAL - 2nd block designed ready to be sewn
Linking up to


Monday 25 February 2013

New to Me in 2013

It's the 25th of the month, which means that it is time to see what you have been up to that is New to You in 2013!

Here are my New to Me in 2013 projects this month.

Knitting with wire blogged here

Wire-knitted bracelet

Whipping up bath goodies blogged here

Pattern testing blogged  here

Creating my own paper-piecing pattern

This one is still a work in progress!

Now it is your turn to share whatever you have tried for the first time in February.

Add your link below, check out the other links for inspiration and leave a comment or two for encouragement. To spread the word please link back to this post in your blogpost and/or add the New to Me in 2013 Blog button to your sidebar or post.

The link-up will remain open for 7 days to give us all plenty of time to be inspired.

Friday 22 February 2013

Owl Notebook Cover

If you are looking for the Sew Sweetness Bag pattern Giveaway, you will find the post here
The Giveaway closes Sunday 24th February 12.00 p.m. GMT so you have plenty of time to put yourself in the running for a pack of fabulous bag patterns!

Now that I know my partner has received her package I can show you the Owl Notebook cover that was part of my Friendship Bag Swap package.

I really enjoyed putting this together and fortunately my partner likes it too!

The notebook was a small pocket notebook purchased in the local supermarket and the paper-piecing pattern for the owl is available here. Any 3" block or paper-piecing pattern could be substituted for the owl if owls are not your thing!

To make the notebook cover in addition to these two supplies you will need two small beads for the owl eyes, although you could also stitch the eyes if this was intended for a child, and scraps of fabric for the cover and border and a piece of fabric twice the width of the notebook plus 5" x the height of the notebook plus 1" for the lining.

Using your paper-piecing pattern create the Owl front for your cover.

Add borders to your block in the background fabric to make the block equal 2x the width of the front cover of the notebook plus 5". Make sure that your paper-pieced block is centred on the right-hand half of the block allowing for the overlap.

Add border strips to the top and bottom of your block to make the block equal the height of the notebook, again centering the owl.

Add beads for the eyes or cross-stitch eyes instead.

Cut your lining fabric to match the dimensions of this block.

Add a 1.25" border strip in contrasting fabric to the top and bottom of your cover block.

Right sides together pin and stitch the lining fabric to the top and bottom edges of the notebook cover.

Press the lined block centering the lining and notebook cover to create a contrast border on the top and bottom edges of the lining and outer cover.

Pin and stitch one side edge together, then repeat for the other edge but leave a gap to turn the cover right sides out.

Turn notebook cover right sides out through the gap and slip stitch the gap closed. Press.

Centering the paper-pieced block on the front cover fold the excess cover at each end to the inside of the notebook. Pin folded fabric to the front and back of the cover at the top and bottom edges. Remove the notebook from the cover and slip stitch the inner folded fabric to the outer cover using matching thread at both top and bottom edges.

Slip book into cover and you are finished!

Linking up to TGIFF! which is hosted today by Gingersnaps Quilts, Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts and LAFF.

Don't forget too if you have tried something new this month that the February link up of

will be up and running on Monday, 25th!

Thursday 21 February 2013

A sneak peek revealed and a Giveaway

It isn't in my nature to be secretive so I am happy to be able to share with you the outcome of one of the sneak peeks I posted about on Monday.

The vintage buckle slider - 

was part of the equipment needed for my bag pattern test for Sew Sweetness. The pattern is available for sale today so I can now show you the bag in all its glory. (Check out the end of this post if you would like to win some bag patterns!)

And here it is

I used an embroidered wool fabric that I picked up in a sale in Riga for the exterior and the lining fabric is from the 1001 Peeps line, and was also picked up in a sale in Riga. I knew those fabrics would come in useful someday :)

The twist lock I used for the bag is slightly different to the one Sara recommends in the pattern, but as I had this one in my stock of bag supplies already it made sense to use it instead. This one is screwed together unlike the recommended lock, and is slightly bigger, but it worked out just as well. It is available here

You can see it more clearly here. I love these twist locks they definitely add something to a handmade bag, don't you think?

Sara's pattern was very straightforward to follow, so I really enjoyed my first bag pattern test. Check out her blog to see the wonderful variations of this pattern, and to see the rest of her brilliant bag patterns. She is really churning out patterns at a rate of knots! She is also such a generous soul that she has offered to giveaway a five-pack of patterns for one lucky winner on this blog.

So if you would like to revamp your wardrobe with some fabulous new bags, just let me know the best/strangest thing you have discovered at the bottom of your handbag!

Each comment will be entered into a random draw and the winner will get five patterns from Sew Sweetness' pattern range. The patterns will be sent by email so make sure I have some way of contacting you.

As ever tell me you are a follower for an extra chance to win.

The draw will close at 12.00 p.m (GMT) on Sunday February 24th, when the winner will be randomly drawn.

I look forward to reading your comments. Good Luck!

Monday 18 February 2013

Sneak peeks

Although I have been busy ticking off projects this weekend, I have very little that I can actually show at this time, so instead I will content myself with sharing some sneak peeks!

We visited a local Vintage and Collectors fair at the weekend, where I picked up some (as it turned out essential!) sewing supplies.

I can never resist a button bargain and at 20p for the packet, they were definitely a bargain!

I had a vague idea of using the vintage buckles in a handbag and as it turned out they were used much quicker than I thought they would be.

The smallest of the three I bought was the perfect fit as a slider on an adjustable strap, which was just waiting for supplies to be delivered for finishing. Serendipity indeed :)

Having signed up for The Littlest Thistle's Everything but the Kitchen Sink SAL and not made any attempt to tackle the first block, when she posted the details of the second block recently I thought I had better have a go. Katy gave instructions on how to design a paper-pieced block in Word, which was definitely something I had never even known was possible. The SAL block is for mugs hanging from a mug rack, and I did manage to produce a pattern that vaguely resembles hanging mugs. I haven't gotten around to actually piecing the block yet as I was so taken with the possibilities of producing a pattern in Word that I had to have another go.

The theme for January's month's block in the Star of Africa Bee is shoes and I have had an idea in the back of my head for a while of what I would like to do, but until now not the capacity to actually do it. However, here is a sneak peek of my very first Word generated paper-piecing pattern.

Paper-piecing and zips I must be mad!

Thanks Katy for putting me right on the numbering :)

Finally here is another sneak peek of an exciting upcoming project that I have been working on with the lovely UKMUMINUSA.

I think I have teased you enough for now. Hopefully all will be revealed in the not-too distant future!

Linking up to Let's Get Acquainted Monday Link-Up, which this week is at Weekend Doings.

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Friendship and Fabric

Another project completed before the deadline, this is in danger of becoming a habit!

Filled Friendship Bag
My quilted bag for the Friendship Bag Swap has been filled with goodies and posted off. I really enjoyed putting the bag and package together, and given the cost of the postage to the US I am really, really pleased that I didn't make a bigger bag :)

One package out, another one in.

Vintage fabric package
I ordered the blue vintage fabric with houses from Karen's Etsy shop and look at all the extras she included in the package!

I have had my eye on the vintage blue fabric ever since Karen added it to her shop, so I am delighted to finally have some in my stash. It may not be there for long though, as I have asked my fellow Star of Africa Bee members to make house blocks for my month in the Bee and this fabric will be perfect for the quilt backing.

So this is what my WIP list looks like now
  • In Color Order HST BOM - Top Completed
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt basted
  • 5 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed and fabric cut for remaining 5 blocks
  • 14 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (way behind schedule) 
  • Sunday Morning Quilt Bee blocks completed and sent 
  • Star of Africa Bee blocks completed and sent (on schedule just!)
  • Friendship Bag Swap - Bag made ready to be filled COMPLETED AND SENT
  • Modern Scrappy Bits Swap 3rd Round - partner details received
  • Triple Zip A Long pouch  COMPLETED
  • Curved Seams Challenge signed up COMPLETED
  • And And Sew On BOM - first block completed
  • Just my Type paper-pieced block  COMPLETED
  • Everything but the Kitchen Sink SAL - no progress
 Maybe, I will manage to get around to some of these long outstanding WIP's soon, but then again maybe not!

Hope you are having a productive week.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday  and We Did it Wednesday .

Thursday 7 February 2013

Beside the Seaside

Aren't these fun?

These are seats on the promenade at Whitley Bay, where I went for the Wire-knitting workshop. The shelters were designed by Richard Broderick and are definitely needed at this time of year!

I don't think mine or my sons' sandcastles were ever as impressively straight-sided as these.

Wire-knitting was my second workshop in a week at Made.

The first was called "Get Gorgeous" and involved lots of grating, melting and mixing to produce these.

We made a chocolate-flavoured lip balm, variously scented bath melts, scented bath salts, a brown sugar body scrub and a lemon and lime hand scrub. All in the space of two hours too!

So if you are anywhere in the North East of England and come across a very fragrant and buffed to within an inch of her life female licking her lips, say hello won't you :)

Linking up to Really Random Thursday

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Knitting with wire

Last weekend I took a workshop on wire knitting and yes it is as strange as it sounds!

Although I can knit I am not the most proficient so I did wonder whether I had bitten off more than I could chew. Being someone who tends to cast on stitches rather tightly I was convinced I had gone beyond my abilities when trying to knit the first row. Fortunately, the groans coming from the more experienced knitters reassured me that I wasn't the only one who was struggling, and after the first row knitting with wire did get a bit easier.

Wire-knitted bracelet
The wire used is 0.5mm and for this size I cast on 26sts and knitted 6 rows adding a bead every other stitch on alternate rows. As with knitting with wool and beads, the beads are threaded onto the wire before the knitting is started. I used 39  beads in this bracelet.

 To make the bracelet you need to roll the knitted piece back on itself (or in on itself if you want the beads encased) and then "sew" the raw edges together with more wire. The end caps have jump rings looped through with wire that is then secured to the end of the bracelet.

Next time I will definitely cast on the stitches more loosely, but apart from that it was all pretty straightforward, if a little sore on the fingers!

Once my fingers have recovered I will definitely have another go at this, it was quick to do and I would like to think that I will get neater and quicker with practise, but then again maybe not :)

As far as sewing goes I have been paper-piecing away to get a block finished for Quiet Play's Just my Type quilt. My allocated word was Comfort and I could certainly have done with some of that after the wire knitting.

QP Text block

The letter blocks came together really easily and apart from the self-inflicted error of a mark (chocolate??) on the white of an O block, which had to then be replaced,  it was a joy to do from start to finish.

So this is what my WIP list looks like now
  • In Color Order HST BOM - Top Completed
  • (Almost) Irish Chain quilt basted
  • Tsatime quilt pieced, backed and basted COMPLETED
  • 5 blocks of NY Beauty QAL completed and fabric cut for remaining 5 blocks
  • 14 blocks of Craftsy BOM completed (way behind schedule) 
  • Sunday Morning Quilt Bee blocks completed and sent (ahead of schedule!)
  • Star of Africa Bee blocks completed and sent (on schedule just!)
  • Friendship Bag Swap - Bag made ready to be filled
  • Modern Scrappy Bits Swap 3rd Round signed up
  • Triple Zip A Long pouch  COMPLETED
  • Curved Seams Challenge signed up COMPLETED
  • And And Sew On BOM - first block completed
  • Just my Type paper-pieced block  COMPLETED
  • Everything but the Kitchen Sink SAL - no progress
I have pulled out my Craftsy BOM blocks and even printed out the instructions for the remaining blocks so, who knows, maybe it will see some movement soon.

Hope you have had a productive week.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday and WOW

Tuesday 5 February 2013

Mine's a triple!

This week I have been a bit of a bag lady, in the nicest possible way of course.

I signed up for the Triple Zip A Long at a Quilter's Table, which kicked off last week. As my zip order arrived on the first day of the ZAL I had no excuses not to tackle my first ever Triple Zip pouch.

Triple Zip A Long pouch

The last step for the pouch really had me puzzled, but a quick look at the discussions in the 3ZAL Flickr group where an alternative for the last step was posted and hey presto! a Triple-Zip pouch. I have already cut out the fabric to make two more of them!

There are over 70 pouches posted to the group already so it is definitely worth checking them out if you haven't already seen them. There are some brilliant combinations of fabrics and zips. Patti's  mixed-up zips will have you looking at your zip stash in a whole new way!

In my quest to keep ahead of things and not be frantically trying to complete projects just before the deadline I have been trying my hand at a quilted Friendship Bag for the Friendship Bag Swap I signed up for recently too. The bag is quilted before being made up so I took the chance to try out quilt marking with a Hera marker for the first time. The marking itself was fine but I had some difficulty seeing the marks under the glare of the light on the sewing machine. I wonder if it is time to finally admit that maybe glasses are called for!

Quilted Friendship Bag

The instructions for the Friendship Bag are available here

It was a joy to put together and I am really looking forward to seeing what my swap partner has come up with for me.

Speaking of partners my blocks for November for the SMQ Bee finally arrived a couple of days ago despite the best efforts of the US and UK postal system! The first time they were sent they were returned to sender but they managed to make their way through unscathed this time. Now all I need are the blocks from October, and they are apparently due to be sent out soon, and I will have the full set.

November block1

The voting is now open for Rikka's Curved Seams Challenge, which turned out to be more of a challenge than I had anticipated. You can check out the challenge entries here (Pam's curved seams dress is just lovely!) and maybe cast a vote or two whilst you are there ;)

Linking up to Fabric Tuesday and Sew Cute Tuesday
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