• Baubles before my eyes!

    Thursday, 18 December, 2014

    You remember last week when I said I hadn't done any shopping or writing of Christmas cards - well - I still haven't started the cards - but fortunately my husband has - and all the cards that need posting have been written! I have bought some presents - so I'm still fairly confident that I can sleep sometime between now and Christmas eve.
    So this is my final offering for quick makes for Christmas - using another die designed by Tim Holtz  - Retro decorations otherwise known as Christmas Baubles  -
    and I've used it on a place mat for the dinning table and also on a hand towel - which can either be the finishing touch to your festive decorating - or an easy small gift for an emergency -
    I used the same die and method for the towel and the place mat - fusing web to the back of the cotton fabric before cutting using the die and Big Shot.
    For the place mat I pinned and stitched some narrow white and silver ribbon in place -
    and then positioned the baubles- fused them in place and stitched around the edges. to complete I tied 4 small bows with the ribbon and stitched in place at the top of each bauble.
    For the towel I only used the 3 oval baubles and placed them along the non looped border, fusing and stitching them in place, and then added a small bow to the top of each one.
    So that is my last pre Christmas make for this blog - I hope you like these simple ideas.
    Now I have to layer up and quilt a lap quilt for a friend and them make 3 dressing gowns for my grand-daughters - the kettle is on!
    I hope you all have a lovely Christmas, and manage to relax and enjoy this very special day.

  • Christmas present

    Thursday, 11 December, 2014

    Is it really only 2 weeks until Christmas? yes it is and I haven't really started my Christmas shopping, or written a single Christmas card yet. At this point I have the choice to panic!! or roll up my sleeves and get started. Seeing as the first option will take me to next week with nothing done my sleeves are being rolled up and the fun begins - but first I have to help my colleague Kayleigh with a cushion for her niece for Christmas.
    To begin we cut the fabric for the cushion front - 45cms by 35cms from Little Red Riding Hood fabric. For the back we cut - one piece of red and white spot, and one of plain red - both measuring 45cms x 30cms.
    We ironed fusible web onto one side of the plain red fabric before cutting out the letters, once cut Kayleigh positioned the letters onto the cushion front and ironed them in place - now because Kayleigh hasn't done any sewing I stitched around the letters for her.
    We cut 4 circles of plain red using the 2" circle on die 659845, to use to cover 4 buttons for the back fastening.
    A double 5cms fold was pressed along one long side of each of the fabrics for the back of the cushion. Using the red spot piece we marked the position for the 4 buttonholes -
    Once the buttonholes were stitched, through the double fold of fabric, the buttons were sewn onto the double fold of the red fabric, to match the buttonholes (the fabrics overlap by 5cms).
    The cushion back and front were pinned right sides together and Kayleigh, carefully machine stitched around all 4 sides, and then turned the cover the right side out.
    Here is the cushion - and Kayleigh's smile just shows her sense of achievement ( next year she might attempt a small quilt!)

    A good evenings work!
    Now this only took a couple of hours for Kayleigh to make - and if you are confident sewing then it could be made in about an hour - so their really is still time to make that special gift.
    Now where is my pile of Christmas cards to write?

  • Snowflake placemat

    Thursday, 4 December, 2014

    It's December - and the Christmas quilt is complete -  not only am I pleased with myself for completing it - I also really like the quilt -
    and so to these little cuties -
     - as you can imagine  the excitement is growing - I think the Christmas tree might have to be put up and decorated this weekend!!!
    So now the adrenaline is flowing and maybe just a touch of panic can be felt - how about a really quick easy present to make?
    I have 'discovered' this beautiful snowflake die - - which cuts fantastic snowflakes -
    So I have bought some ready made place mats, and a table runner, and with the aid of some fusible web, and my sewing  machine I have embellished the mat in a matter of minutes -
    Now if this colour co-ordinated with my china I would be keeping this and not giving it as a gift!
    If you can't find the colour you need in ready made then there maybe time to make it all - it depends just how crazy your life is at the moment!!
    I love this die so much I'm going to play with some other ways of using it.
    We also have another snowflake die that I have used to make some bunting - -

     This is again a very quick make - I fused to layers of fabric together to make it double sided - and then I stitched them together using  machine - stitching down the middle of each snowflake and leaving a space between each one.
    Honestly I could just keep using these 2 dies over and over again!!!.
    So next week I  hope to have some more quick makes for you to enjoy - until then I think it's an evening with some mulled wine and soft candle light -mmmmm can't wait!!!


  • Scandi Star Christmas quilt

    Thursday, 27 November, 2014

    Hello there - I'm happy to share that the Christmas quilt is coming along very nicely - and here's the photo to prove it -

    and here is the complete top -
    As each block is 16 1/2" this quilt only needed 12 blocks! and so the quilt can be cut and pieced in a day -add another day or a couple of evenings and this quilt will be complete - there is still time before Christmas!!
    I used 12 different fabrics from Scandi Christmas fabrics and needed 40cms of each, and there is some left to create a pieced binding.
    Cut the following pieces from each fabric using
     1 x 8" square die, , and the Big Shot Pro ,

    With the Big Shot and die 657520 - 8 x half square triangles - ,

     4 quarter square triangles,

    and 4 squares -

    Mix and match the fabrics - I used dark reds with light greys, light reds with dark greys - so that each square is different.
    The piecing instructions are on my blog for 13th November.
    When the 12 blocks are completed, and pressed, lay them out in 4 rows of 3 blocks each. 
    Join the blocks together to complete the 4 rows and then join the rows together.
    I will probably machine quilt for speed and then make a pieced binding to complete - I hope to have it ready to show you completed next week - and maybe some little girls snuggled up under it.
     Well that will be another first for me - a Christmas quilt - hope you like it.

  • Blog hop - Advent cones

    Thursday, 20 November, 2014

    It’s that time of year for the blog hop – and as I prepare my contribution I start feeling excited about what our other bloggers will make – I can’t wait to see.

    Here's our Blog Hop line-up:
    Monday 18th November: Jo Carter 
    Tuesday 19th November: Katy Jones
    Wednesday 19th November: Jessie Fincham
    Thursday 20th November: Angela Southey
    Friday 21st Trudi Wood 
    Saturday 22nd November: Mercedes Jiménez Campuzano

    ... And to celebrate this festive Blog Hop, we have a giveaway with a selection of fantastic dies and the Big Shot™ Machine up for grabs! Click here to enter 
    So here’s my contribution – I’ve been thinking for a long time about making an Advent Calendar – but wanted to make something slightly different – this year I had this idea – hope you like it – I know my grandchildren will!
    So here they are! 

    Advent Cones
    You will need about 75 cm of fabric for the circles and about 1.25m of fusible interfacing.
    For the numbers you will need about 15cm of contrasting fabric.
    You will need 10m of ribbon cut into 20cm lengths ( you will need 48, two for each cone).
    I used the Big Shot Pro and die to cut 24 circles in Christmas fabrics and 24 in fusible interfacing. I fused the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric circles.
    I used Tim Holtz Word Play die to cut all the numbers 1 -24 , for the numbers I fused some fusible web to the wrong side of some Michael Miller Fairy Frost fabric and then cut out the following quantity of each number ( remember to lay the fabric RS down to cut out ),  -2 x 0, 13 x 1, 8 x 2, 3 x 3, 3 x4, and 2 each of numbers 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
    Fold,  the circles in half to create semi-circles, press the fold and then fuse the numbers in place - 

     (as these are only used for a short time I haven't stitched the numbers in place but you can if you want to)
    Pin 2 lengths of ribbon to each semi- circle  - and zig-zag stitch around the edge, and across the ribbons.
    Overlap the straight edge of the semi circle, by about 4cms/ 1 1/2", to create a cone, pin and straight stitch in place photo 4

    Your advent cones are now ready to fill and enjoy, and they are large enough to put more than one chocolate in!!! I have made the ribbons to be tied for hanging so that you can hang them anywhere you like - so if you don't put your Christmas tree up until part way through Christmas you could hang the cones around the house - in a sort of treasure hunt. Have fun.


  • Quick Scandi Christmas block

    Thursday, 13 November, 2014

    How are you - I hope you're enjoying the build up to Christmas and that you have a lot more fun and enjoyment than stress.
    Last year I thought it would be nice to start a family tradition - a quilt for Christmas eve - when the grandchildren can snuggle up under the quilt, in their Christmas pyjamas, and  enjoy watching a film together.
    So we are only 6 weeks away from Christmas and I'm just starting the blocks for the quilt! Well that is progress, and even though I might not get it finished for this Christmas, I am moving in the right direction.
    So I have chosen these lovely Scandi style fabrics, and plan to keep the design quite simple -
     I just love these colours and designs.
    I have used the following dies for my star block -
     1 square in red with white stars.
    With the Big Shot and die 657520 , and red with cream heart outlines, I cut
     8 half-square triangles.
     4 x 4 1/2" squares.
    To begin I stitched 2 half square triangles to each side of the quarter square triangle -
    and then I stitched these to opposite sides of the 8 1/2" square -
    and then I joined the 41/2" squares to each end of two of  the pieced triangles -
     To complete the block these were stitched to  opposite sides of the centre square -
    So that is my quick make for Christmas - it is a 16" finished block - so it could be a cushion or a table centre. I am still hoping that I can make a quilt for Christmas - and so I plan to use the same design for all of the quilt blocks, and mix and match the various fabrics I have from the range.
    Will it be finished for this Christmas? - I have no idea, but, for the first time ever, I have the beginnings of a quilt for Christmas - I feel quite warm and cosy inside!
    That's all for now - have fun.

  • Layer cake quicky

    Thursday, 6 November, 2014

    Where has this week gone? Well I was in Dublin at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the weekend - so I think that has made the time seem to disappear. I was demonstrating the Big Shot and Bigz dies for Abakhan , and teaching a workshop using the Butterfly die - to decorate a needle case.
    So now I'm back and trying to complete the Downton Abbey quilt - my idea of completing it with a plain background just doesn't work - so I am going to have to piece together some more 'whirligigs' to make a small lap quilt - but as I've only made that decision today I can't show you the results this week - but I can let you know that you can cut 28 half hexagons from a fat quarter, with die - but you have to lay the fabric all the same way - R.S or W.S up - and do not fan fold
    Each fat quarter will make 4 complete 'whirligigs'.
    So far I have used 288 half hexagons and my top measures approx. 52" at the widest point and 42" at the narrowest - just to give you an idea of size.
    Sooooo - Downton is delayed again - and it could be a couple of weeks before I can finish it - but in the meantime I have something else to show you -
    Do you remember this from a couple of weeks ago?
    I said I would let you know  how big a quilt top I could make out of this Layer cake pack of fabrics.
    Now I'm pleased to be able to give you the answer and show the started top -
    Using this die I can make a top approx. 40"/1m square. Obviously if you use a smaller die the size you can make will be reduced.
    What can  you look forward to next week - well it won't be Downton or this small quilt - but it will be a quick make for Christmas.
    In the meantime enjoy your sewing.

  • Downton continued

    Thursday, 30 October, 2014

    Hello again, are you enjoying the cosy autumn evenings now we have turned the clocks back?
    I'm enjoying the autumn colours in the trees, and the fallen leaves - which I still enjoy kicking my way through ( even when I haven't got my grandchildren with me!!)
    Talking about colours - I received a wonderful box of  'Art Gallery' fabrics last week -
    sent to me by for a whole heap of projects - now this is a little unfair, as you won't get a glimpse of any of the projects until later in the year or even early next year - but these fabrics are so bright and beautiful to work with I just wanted to share the photo.
    Before I show you the latest progress on 'Downton' I just show you a couple of photos from the workshop I taught  yesterday at The Sewing Room in Cinderford, Gloucestershire, the shop - for Anita - you can see her in the second photo below

     We had fun making quick and easy Christmas decorations, using hearts , and stars
    Christmas decorations will feature in my blogs next month - when I hope to have finished Downton.
    So here is the next instalment -
    I finished laying out the triangles and then joined them into strips - here you see all the strips joined together - to make a large central hexagon.
    Now I really want this to be a quilt that I can snuggle up under while watching Downton Abbey - so I'm going to add a neutral fabric - maybe calico to make this into a rectangle, and then maybe add a border to create the size I want - so that will be the final instalment - and then I'll give you the fabric requirements as well.
    Meanwhile enjoy the cosy evenings and keep sewing.

  • Downton part 3

    Thursday, 23 October, 2014

    Have you enjoyed the last week?
    I've had great fun, playing with the grandchildren, shopping for a holiday later in the year and choosing some fabrics for new projects.
    But I've also had  moments of wanting to scream or just cry - why? because of my Downton quilt!!
    I had stitched lots of half hexagons into triangles but when I came to lay them out in strips somehow they didn't match!!! Even my husband couldn't see how to  make it work - so after a while of unpicking I proceeded to lay them out again - but the cautionary note to this tale is pin the half-hexagons into triangles -
    and then pin the triangles into rows -
    and as long as you're careful as you stitch them it should become quite straight forward!
    This is how far I've got -
    and this is a closer look at how the 'whirligig' looks -
    I now have a clear idea of how to complete this quilt - but it means that I need to order some background fabric -  maybe from the new 'downstairs' range in Downton fabrics!
    As usual I think it's time for a cup of tea, and then it's time to start planning for next week.
    Enjoy the weekend.


  • Downton dilema resolved

    Thursday, 16 October, 2014

    I'm home again from working at the Knitting and Stitching show at Alexandra Palace, and what a difference a week makes - lights on, heating on, curtains closed. But then candles lit and cosy evenings with lots of lovely fabrics to piece by hand - or machine - maybe Autumn isn't so bad after all.
    On my way to the show I called in at the lovely Village Haberdashery shop - , which is a shop I've looked at on line but this was my first chance to visit - it's a small shop but it's full of beautiful fabrics - so I bought just one bundle of fat quarters, which was very restrained. It's  Fly Away by Phyllida Coroneo for Dashwood Studios, and I love the way Kona plains have been added to the bundle - it's a project for the spring - just what project I'm not sure of.

    Now back to Downton - I have decided to make the piecing easy and so have started laying out the fabrics and stitching the triangles together - I cut all my16 fat quarters ( Lady Edith and lady Sybil ) into half hexagons using die 658880  and started to lay out the 'whirligig' design -
    then I added the surrounding colours -
    then I separated the shapes out to leave me with 6 triangles to stitch -
    I then stitched the triangles together - but left the centre 1/4" unstitched -
    this is to enable stitching the other piece in (known as a Y seam) to complete the triangle -
    Repeat this until you have stitched all 6 triangles -
    After this you just keep adding triangles to complete each whirligig - this is how far I have progressed -
    When you have stitched all your triangles you can then join them into rows and then join the rows together - I'll show that next week.
    Now the question is will I finish the quilt before the end of the series?

    I enjoyed working at the show as always - meeting customers,  seeing new fabrics, new projects and I always think that I'll come away without buying anything - this time I was attracted to 'Flexi-frames'
    for closing bags - so there will be some bag projects coming up.
    Whilst working, on The Cotton Patch  stand  ( ) I decided to see what size quilt I could make out of a layer cake - so using the Big Shot and
    Bigz die 659853
    I only cut the full triangle not the half, and managed cut 6 from each 10" square

     so I now have 252 triangles to make into a quilt for the grandchildren - I'm not sure how big this will be but I'll show you next week.
    Until then - enjoy the Autumn colours and keep stitching.

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