Thursday 26 November 2015

See you at Sew Mama Sew

I am a guest curator over at Sew Mama Sew today as part of the Handmade Holidays series being held throughout November.

My theme for the day is Gifts for Grandparents, so if you are looking for inspiration in that department look no further :)

If you have been inspired to make your own Christmas gifts or holiday decorations this year there is still time to link them up to this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party over at Rose and Dahlia.

 This lovely fabric is up for grabs by one lucky linker!

You have until the end of the month to link up, so plenty of time to be inspired :)

Wednesday 25 November 2015

New to Me in November

Welcome to another New to Me Link Party!

Where we celebrate and commiserate with our attempts at new experiences and activities and maybe help each other along the way :)

My New to Me activities this month are a bit of a mixed bag.

First up

My Friendship Galaxy Table Runner from Leanne's newly released pattern! I really enjoyed testing this pattern for Leanne, and hope to use it again in the future.

Next up a new pattern added to my Craftsy Pattern Store

My Highland Fling cushion pattern, which I originally created for Sewing World, is now available as a standalone pattern just in time for Hogmanay! I have dithered about adding this to my Craftsy store given the VAT implications but have decided that as nearly all of my sales on the site are from US based customers, then I will cross the VAT bridge when/if I come to it. I may live to regret that decision!

Today I am at a sewing class at Just Quilting to make a bag for sewing accessories, which in itself is not a New to Me, but this time I am there with my daughter-in-law, which is very definitely a New to Me! I am so thrilled to have someone in the family to share this with :)

And my final New to Me is another new destination!

It is the time of year for my annual Christmas Market trip with my daughters-in-law and this weekend we are heading off to Cologne. There will be 7 markets to visit so that should keep us busy :) not to mention lots of opportunities to indulge in the odd glass of Gluhwein! We can't wait.

So that's my New to Me's for this month, now it is your turn to link up and share your successes or failures as we celebrate the trying of something new.

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 too and, maybe, leave an encouraging 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 23.59GMT on November 30th, so you have some time to try something new and link up and join the party :)

Of course, if your New to Me activity this month involves a Christmas or Holiday make then be sure to link it up to this month's Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Party over at Rose and Dahlia

One lucky linker will be the winner of this lovely fabric!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone has been up to.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew - getting closer!

Well you probably don't need me to tell you that that big holiday starting with a C is not too far away, so I shall just say that there are only two more Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Link Parties before the big day!

This month's Link Party is hosted by Joanne, who blogs at Rose & Dahlia. Joanne is a knitter of the loveliest shawls and is becoming quite the avid swapper with fabulous mini quilts and bags winging their way to very happy swap partners in recent months! Check out her brilliant idea for hanging up your handmade Christmas stockings here

If you need a bit more than inspiration to kickstart your crafting then, of course, there is another wonderful giveaway to tempt you too.

Last month's giveaway of  lovely Liberty fabric generously donated by Sarah at Duck Egg Threads was won by Vicki, who linked up her fabulous snowmen.  This month we have this lovely Christmas fabric, Lost and Found Christmas by Riley Blake designs to help you with those last minute makes, and as usual all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is link up your Christmas and Holiday makes this month to the Link party at Rose & Dahlia.

Whilst I have a couple of Christmas craft projects underway this month, I have only one finish so far, which is the table runner for my son and daughter-in-law that I made whilst testing Leanne's Friendship Galaxy pattern

If you have made any Christmas or Holiday gifts or Home Decorations this month head on over to Rose & Dahlia  to link them up and you might be the lucky winner of that bundle of lovely Christmas fabric, you know it would be a great addition to your stash :)
The Link Party will remain open until the end of the month so you have plenty of time to get crafting!

As ever, these lovely sponsors deserve a big thank you for their generous support of the link party.

Crafty Trimmings

Logo Sew Hot

Plush Addict Logo

Quilting Fabric at the Fat Quarter Shop

Friday 13 November 2015

My (virtual) neighbourhood

Many moons ago I joined the Star of Africa Bee and found myself being challenged every month to come up with blocks like this

Rennie Mackintosh Rose block

and this

Applique Pheasant block

My creative muscles were really stretched! The time limits were too (for everyone) so it was only a couple of months ago that I received what I am assuming will be the last blocks for me from this Bee.

SoA Bee blocks all

So, they hung about in my sewing room whilst I decided what to do with them. I knew from the outset that the final quilt would end up in France, but whether as a wallhanging or a throw I hadn't decided.

Then I went to the Festival of Quilts and these fabrics leaped off of the shelves and into my basket :)

A plan was formed!

SoA top complete

and here is the result. The sashing is Kona Jade Green, the borders are Jolly Farm Trees by Makower and the corners are paper-pieced patterns by Kristy at Quiet Play

My Bee mates did a wonderful job with their blocks, I am delighted with how this quilt top has turned out and I hope that they are too.

The backing fabric for the quilt has been waiting patiently in my stash for the top to be completed, it is the result of another virtual friendship as I bought it from my fellow blogger Karen , who occasionally sells vintage fabric finds. I knew as soon as she listed this fabric that it would be perfect for the back of my SoA quilt so I snapped it all up :)

I am now psyching myself up to the hated task of crawling over the kitchen floor on my hands and knees to get this basted. Ideally I would like to have this finished before my son and daughter-in-law come back for a visit in a couple of weeks so I need to get that basting done sooner rather than later.

As well as being a testament to the creative diversity of Quilting Bees it is also a great reminder of the friendships that can be forged through those same Bees. Although I did not receive all of the Blocks that I was scheduled to from the Bee, those that I did were from ladies that I am delighted to call friends, who have enriched my virtual life in so many ways.

Thanks BentaIrene, Janine, Jen, May, Nicky, Patti and Veena

Linking up to  Crazy Mom Quilts


Thursday 12 November 2015

Once a piecer, always a piecer!

On our recent trips to Wales for the Rugby World Cup games I discovered that even in the middle of a horde of rugby fans there is always something patchwork related to be found :)

Aren't these patchwork tweed caps great?

There were a couple of stalls selling gorgeous Donegal tweeds at the Festival of Quilts show, I was wishing that I had bought some of it when I saw those caps!

Just outside Cardiff Central station I came across this painted building. Naturally I spent a while standing looking at it wondering if it would be possible to piece :)

Clearly I am obsessed!

Linking up to

Really Random

Friday 6 November 2015

Family finishes

A while ago Leanne, who blogs at Devoted Quilter asked for pattern testers to test her forthcoming Friendship Galaxy pattern. Having previously tested a pattern for Leanne before, I was more than happy to volunteer.

Leanne's pattern is for a baby quilt measuring 45" x 45" and when I volunteered that is what I planned to make. Needless to say life got in the way a bit with late holidays and unexpected guests, so the original plans were scaled back. Fortunately for me, as well as providing the instructions for the baby quilt, Leanne also provided instructions for two smaller quilts so that is what I eventually came up with.

At 29.5" x 11.5" my Winter Stars mini quilt is destined to become a gift to my son and d-i-l as a Christmas Table Runner.

The fabrics are all from the Holly's Tree Farm range by Sweetwater, which I fell in love with as soon as I saw it in my LQS, and needless to say bought enough to make at least one more Table Runner for myself :)

As well as providing instructions for four different versions of the Friendship Galaxy quilt, Leanne also provides a colouring page to help you work out fabric placement, which is a really welcome addition to any pattern I think.

You can find more details about how to get a hold of the pattern here as well as see how the other pattern testers tackled the pattern too.

I am not the only one in the family to have a sewing finish to report though!

A while ago my d-i-l mentioned that she would like to try her hand at sewing, well you can imagine how delighted I was to hear that :)  Armed with fabrics from my stash she took to it like a pro and has since made lots of new clothes for herself and others (including me!) like this lovely sundress.

As if the dressmaking skills weren't enough to cause a twinge of envy, her latest venture ramps that up significantly - her very own Etsy Store selling her own design purses!

Aren't they lovely, the button bow closures are inspired! Check out Pesky Designs for the rest of the range and send some sewing sisterhood love her way. I am so proud of what she has achieved. The early birthday present sewing machine is definitely getting well-used :)

Thursday 5 November 2015

Spicing it up!

When my daughter-in-law was here recently we treated ourselves to a cookery demonstration with lunch at The Secret Ingredient 

I had attended one of Judy's demonstrations last year with a friend so knew to expect a very slick demonstration and a delicious lunch, and we were not disappointed! The theme of the demonstration was All Things Spice, so we were both looking forward to seeing some New to Us spices in action to add to our current recipe repertoire.

As a pescetarian my d-i-l was particularly keen to see and taste the Creole Fish Stew and it was delicious. It tastes as good as it looks!

Indeed, all of the dishes that were demonstrated that day were so tasty that we both decided to cook them all ourselves for our husbands and in-laws that weekend :)

So, although it took us a lot longer than the 90 minutes that Judy and Christine demonstrated the dishes in, as well as the Creole Fish Stew we managed to produce

a hearty Moroccan spicy chickpea soup.

I got to use a definitely New to Me ingredient in the Smoky Chicken Mole with green rice

as well as finding another use for some of those nigella seeds that have been lurking at the back of my spice cupboard.

Naan breads, handmade in minutes (who knew?) and butternut squash in sweet tamarind masala completed the savoury part of the meal.

We still found room for a slice of the Cardamom, Pistachio and Rose Petal cake accompanied by some fresh pineapple with red chilli and mascarpone though :)

It was a brilliant day out and even better to find that the recipes all worked just as well at home for us as they had in the demonstration.

Next week I am going back with a friend to the "Getting ahead for Christmas" demo, so I am looking forward to adding a whole new host of recipes to my arsenal!

Linking up to

Really Random
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