Sunday, 14 September 2014

a start not a finish - le challenge

This is the fifteenth challenge link at le challenge, which means I've successfully finished fourteen makes since we started, but this time... well you've probably already guessed... I have no completed project to share.

I was exciting by the theme 'era' and had lots of ideas but it's been such a busy summer (blah, blah, excuses, excuses!), I had grand plans but as time ran on I realised they were not feasible and I just couldn't find the love for hurriedly cobbling something together.

So instead I made a start and finished the first block of the Green Tea and Sweet Beans pattern by Jen Kingwell

The fabrics I'm using are mostly 1930s reproduction, though I think this block looks a bit 1950s too. The fabric on the bottom left corner was given to me by my wonderful cousin in America, I absolutely adore the print and have been saving it for a special project. I think this hand sewn pattern is the perfect way to use up my most loved vintage scraps.

So there you have it, the first fail for me. Ok not a fail but this wouldn't count if I was actually linking up to le challenge. Since Nat will be having her baby towards the end of this year, we've agreed we are both allowed a couple of passes and this is mine.

I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's actual finishes and if you've made anything over the past two months that fits the theme 'era' in any way then feel free to come and link up your finished project. A random winner gets a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop as well as a special giveaway this month of 10 FQs of vintage sheets from Mary Emmens.

Hop over and check it out!

Le Challenge

Friday, 12 September 2014

fast approaching

We had an extended challenge over the past two months and now the time to link up your finished 'Era' projects is nearly here! The Le Challenge link party opens on the 15th and you can link up for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop as well as a beautiful vintage sheet bundle of 10 Fat Quarters from Mary Emmens. Check out the blog for more details. It is NOT a competition, the winner is random and it's just a fun way of showing your finished makes that tie in with the theme - the best thing for me is seeing how creative everyone is and the cool ways people interpret the themes!

Here's a sneak peek of my project:

Your don't need a blog, you can link up a picture of your finished project from Flickr or Instagram. Please be sure to link back to the le challenge blog or use #lechallenge. 

If you haven't linked up with le challenge before maybe you could sew a little something this weekend and join in the fun!

How would you interpret the theme 'Era'?

Thursday, 11 September 2014

I love a good headband

You know the kind that stays on, doesn't give you a headache after an hour and obviously looks cute too!

Well I whipped some up and you can see my tutorial tips on the Simply Solids Blog. There is also a code for 15% off the fabrics I used, so check it out (there may also be a picture of a freaky glass head, you've been warned)!

I picked fabrics that I think are really wearable and each headband only uses 1 fat quarter. They have a cute retro look and are really comfy. I am loving wearing them and as the weather turns cooler they'll be nice to keep the tops of my ears cosy too, bonus.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

in a pastel mood

Maybe it's the summer ending or the fact that it was actually warm and sunny today but I've developed a sudden crush on all things pastel. Evident in the fact that I'm going to be quilting a small English Paper Pieced project and, rather than pick the dark navy or black I was originally intending, I've pulled some pretty pastel shades of perle:

There's lots of lovely bright colours in the Cotton and Steel lines (available here and here) but there's also some soft and beautiful pastels so I'm hoping these are going to play nicely together.

Pastels often feature in 30's repro fabrics, which I'm a huge fan of, and I am joining in the fabric swap hosted by Missouri Mel. You can see all the details and join in the swap here (if there's still any places left!).

I've noticed my follower numbers have been creeping up so I think a thank you giveaway (international) will be in order when it's a nice round number and I've got a really great giveaway coming up (just for UK and Ireland) peeps very soon too!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Nordic bee blocks

Nicky was queen bee of Bee a Brit Stingy last month and asked us for Nordic inspired blocks for her mostly red and white quilt. I had lots of ideas but not lots of time. I knew my blocks would be a little late but I still wanted to do something special for Nicky. They aren't the most adventurous blocks but I enjoyed doing them and think they'll work well with the blocks she already has.

The one at the top is a 6" block called Pentagon Flower by Brioni Greenberg from the book Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters. You are supposed to enlarge the templates by 200% to make a 12" block but I hate enlarging and thought it works well as a small block as is! It is English Paper Pieced and then machine appliqu├ęd onto the background fabric. 
The two smaller 3" blocks are Cross Stitch blocks, made using this great tutorial by Pile O'Fabric. I have wanted to make them since she did the first tutorial and I love them so much I will definitely make more! Thrilled that the crosses line up too, phew!

I hope you like them Nicky :)

It seems to be turning into a last minute panic each month but since I've had two months to prepare you think I would have started my 'era' project by now wouldn't you?! But no, I haven't. You've got seven days before the Le Challenge link opens, this month you could randomly win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop and a 10 FQ bundle from Mary! She's also offering a 15% discount code to her shop until 15th September, read her post here. Find out all about le challenge and how to join in here!

Better get cracking on my project now!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

I need to write it down

Thank you to everyone that sent me some 'ade' yesterday to help battle the lemons, I appreciate the kind support :)

I'm deviating from my usual sewing posts to show you a little of my first love... stationary.

September fills me with joy, I'm a natural organiser (though baby brain has trashed that of late), and to quote one of my favourite films it makes me want to buy "a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils" (You've Got Mail). With a brain like a sieve I have to make notes about everything and, even though I've tried the technology method (iphone calender, reminders and the like), the best way for me to stay organised is to write things down. 

I've seen the 'bullet journal' system (that Trudi is proficient in!) and it appeals to me but since I already have a organiser that I love it makes sense to me to use that. I have used Filofax organisers since I was a teenager and my very favourite thing growing up was stationary. I still love stationary shops and all things cute and useful. Before I had kids I treated myself to a beautiful Smythson Bijou Organiser, small and perfectly formed. I carry it around with me all the time, it's chucked in my bag daily and it's still looking good. The twist closure is one of my favourite things about it, as well as the gorgeous orange colour. All the rings close perfectly and the original card dividers show no sign of wear or tear, which is pretty amazing.

So armed with my organiser I came up with a way for it to work best to suit my needs; a realistic way for me to keep up to date with what I need to do and my schedule. I came across one of the nicest online stationary shops I've seen, full of gorgeous things at reasonable prices: The Journal Shop. I shopped the sale section and got this cute Mnemosyne note pad, which has graph paper perfect for to do lists! The yellow first page has now been been torn out (and kept because it's nice!) and I love that I can open my organiser and see my 'to dos' straight away.

The only thing my organiser was missing was a 'today' tab/bookmark. I thought about getting a Filofax ruler page marker but they're so boring (I totally would get a clear one if they made them for pocket size though). It was fun to find these cute Midori Arrow Magnet Markers and they work perfectly as tabs at the top of my organiser so I can find the important stuff like what day it is! (...reminds me of Reality Bites where she hasn't used her filofax for years!!). I also couldn't resist buying a super sweet Midori Otegamo Memo Pad, notes that turn into hexies?! Yes please! They also have bows, fish, hearts and more. It also meant I had just more than £10 in my basket so I got free delivery, I love that! The Journal Shop offers free UK delivery on orders over £10 and has free delivery worldwide if you spend £75.

I already had a photo sticker of Fred as a baby on the front of the diary and decided just to go for it and make it more personal with kawaii stickers from this Etsy shop and washi tape. I've been using the stickers as a fun way of adding cuteness to my schedule and to do list.

I adore the quality of the Smythson paper but since I'm not working full time and now have 3 kids there's no way I can justify buying the refills. Instead I have used the Filofax diary refills in the past (the pocket size fits my organiser perfectly) but while googling alternatives I came across the Paperchase own brand refills so I snagged a pocket week to view refill for £4. Total bargain considering it comes with divider tabs, some note paper, graph paper and spare address pages. I'm not using the dividers because obviously I like the Smythson ones and also since I have a pocket size organiser I really don't have space for an agenda, planner and diary (nor time to write all those things?!). Obviously you get what you pay for and the quality of the paper isn't great but it's not terrible either and it will do the job. I really like the plain layout of the pages, not full of holidays etc that aren't relevant to me and I can just add those dates in myself. My organiser also has two slip pockets, which I have kept sweet notes and pictures of family in. 

It's early days but I'm hoping to stop scribbling notes everywhere and really use my organiser to the full. By having my to do list in there I might even remember to keep my appointments as well, that is if I can get out of the rabbit hole that is watching YouTube videos of how people organise their organisers... really Lucy get a life!!

*just so you know I bought all this stuff myself and I've provided links should you want to go get yourself some new stationary, this is not a sponsored post.