Wednesday, 29 April 2015

straight lines

This week I've been doing little bits of various projects, all somewhat near completion.
I enjoyed doing a little bit of straight line quilting using my trusty hera marker:

If you've not used a hera marker before check out my tutorial for cross hatch quilting to see how I use it. 

I love this Lighthearted Text print and those little penguins on the selvedge!

Tonight I'm back to doing some hand quilting, providing me with some much needed relaxation and quilty therapy.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, 27 April 2015

Green Fairy Quilts Giveaway ~ Gardenvale, Reel Time or Winterberry?


This is such a great giveaway as you can chose from some of the latest fabric collections from Moda!

Green Fairy Quilts stocks an amazing range of Moda precuts, all at fabulous prices and with free US shipping (still good deals for us international folks too!). They have a clearance section with even more bargains and you can find notions, thread (including my favourite Aurifil) and more on the website.

I love that you can see the new Moda lines before they are released and pre-order pre-cuts to be sure you don't miss out on your favourite designs! Check out all the great designs you can order!

Those of you that follow me will know I'm working on hand piecing Jen Kingwell's quilt pattern 'Green Tea and Sweet Beans' and I adore her new fabric line Gardenvale. A perfect mix of retro and modern with great colours:

For those of you that prefer a graphic modern look, Reel Time by Zen Chic is a lovely mix of fresh citrus colours and monochrome prints:

And for stylish wintery prints with some beautiful blenders that would work for any project, the always tasteful and creative Kate and Birdie have released Winterberry:

For this giveaway Green Fairy Quilts are kindly giving away one layer cake and you can chose between these three ranges!


You have four possible chances to win, please leave a separate comment for each...

1. Let me know how you describe your style or taste in fabric!
(If you are totally stuck you could tell me which of the three layer cakes you would like to win and why)

2. Sign up for the Green Fairy newsletter, click here to subscribe or let me know if you already receive it (optional entry)

3. Follow my blog or let me know you already do.  You can follow in a reader using the buttons up there on the right sidebar or click here to subscribe to Charm About You by email (optional entry)

4. Spread the news - share this giveaway on facebook, instagram, blog, twitter, pinterest etc - then leave a comment letting me know how you shared (optional entry)

The giveaway is open internationally and ends 4th May 2015. A winner will chosen by
You can not win if I can't contact you so for the love of my sanity please please leave your email address in the comment e.g. fabric (at) emailkilledletters (dot) com - unless you are totally sure you are not a no reply blogger!!

Good luck :)

Sunday, 26 April 2015


I've been treating myself. I couldn't treat myself to the doughnuts I've been craving since I'm still not eating/drinking processed sugar but fabric and gorgeous soaps work as treats for me  :)

First up this bundle from Patchfinders:

From left to right: Freshly Cut Hyacinths, Meadow by Leah Duncan; Piggy Pirouette #3172 by Benartex; Gentle Breeze Red, Meadow by Leah Duncan; Butterflies and Cat Dream, Catnap by Lizzy House.

I'm planning on doing something with just these prints and I'm hoping they will play nicely together.

Recently I've been neglecting my skincare routine and my skin has felt really dry and sensitive as a result. Now I'm 35 I figure I really need to get back to better habits and taking care of myself. I'm not one of those people that freak out about wrinkles but I know my skin is changing and doesn't repair itself as quickly. I have a lot of hormonal breakouts but mostly very dry skin. I came across the Wild-Olive website and thought some of the soaps would be a nice way to cleanse my skin.

I got a couple of smaller ones to try, I have dry skin on my body too so couldn't resist the Oatmeal and Vanilla. The Coconut Clay one smells utterly incredible. The French Clay Soap is full of minerals and it lathers really nicely, the oils used in this one are Lime and Himalayan cedarwood and it smells so gorgeous! They included a free Bath Tea Bag with my order, I always love getting samples of other products from companies especially when I haven't used their products before. 

Once I've used them for a while I will give an update on how I like them but I imagine I will order more! The company is family run, producing natural and environmentally friendly hand made soaps in Derbyshire. I think they would be lovely gifts and it's nice to support a company that is actually not too far from me!

Molli Sparkles

Friday, 24 April 2015

my lovely Anna pouch

I was lucky enough to be able to test Svetlana's new pattern for this sweet Anna Pouch. I have already made her Lola pouch and I love how well the patterns are written and the lovely way of finishing the zips with binding.

The Anna Pouch has two zip compartments and a little magnetic flap fastener. The pattern uses sew in magnets but I didn't have any so I used the usual magnetic snap closures (where you cut a small hole and fold the metal bits). I reinforced the area where I put the magnets using an extra piece of fusible fleece. If you'd like to make the pattern using these kinds of magnets I will share where I placed them...

For the flap, I placed the magnet 3/8" from the centre fold and on the outer panel I placed it 1/2" from the top. That's measuring from the edge of the magnet not the centre, which makes it easier! 

Wonderclips were a big help in the construction, the pouch is only small so they stopped me pricking my fingers with pins!

The flap is a nice detail and because I used the folded magnetic closures I preferred to do one row of topstitching on the machine and then did a little hand quilting by hand using perle thread.

I found it hard to take pictures that do this little cutie justice, it really is such a pretty bag and the size is perfect for keeping lip balm or any extras you like to carry in your handbag. It would make a perfect gift or little extra in a swap too.

You can get the Anna pouch pattern here. It's usually $8 but if you're quick Svetlana has it on sale for $6 right now!

The outer fabric is Vintage Cheater Print in red by Atsuko Matsuyuma and the lining is Mirrors and Water, Gossamer by Sharon Holland. I get my zips here. The striped binding fabric and magnetic closure are from Patchfinders.

This is my second finish off my Q2 Finish-Along list (it was the number 1 secret project!) and I'm feeling good!

linking to:
at Things I Make this week
and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Thursday, 23 April 2015

the best things in life

like finishing bee blocks:

or in this case making a row for Catherine:

All of the blocks are from Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters. I had to add some sashing to the get the row to the correct size but I like how it creates an abstract look.
Block patterns from left to right: Migration by John Q. Adams; Landscape by Tacha Bruecher; Meeting Point by Tacha Bruecher and Bowties and Blooms by John Q. Adams

Enjoying the sunshine and shadows, playing with paintbrushes and water:

She takes her art very seriously!

The joy of simple games: sink or float?

There is an ongoing problem is our house, those dreaded missing socks!! I feel bad for the lonely ones stuck in a raggedy old bag and today I saw this tutorial to make a bag for mismatched socks, cleverly utilising an embroidery hoop and the cutest embroidery pattern!

Finally fabric sales are always awesome and right now Pink Castle Fabrics have marked down hundreds of fabrics - no coupon needed, just hop over and check out the sale section :)

Live A Colorful Life

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

brewing wips

I haven't done much this week, there's a bright shiny thing in the sky that keeps distracting me and making me want to be outside!! We don't usually get much sun here, not in April anyway, so we're making the most of it and hanging out in the garden.

A good place to work on my green tea and sweet beans blocks though and I managed a little bit more appliqué:

Today I had intended to finish up Catherine's row for Bee A Brit Stingy but that will have to get done tomorrow because today was taken up with playing, cooking and eating. I made some biscuits (cookies if you prefer) from oats, butter, wholewheat flour, almonds, honey, sugar and a linseed mix that had goji berries, pumpkin and sunflower seeds in it. Now I decided to go sugar free for April so I didn't have any but the kids loved them! The sugar free things is going well, I'm losing weight and only cheated a couple of times (may have involved my sister and a small glass of coke and my mum's birthday and a profiterole!!). We've mostly been enjoying lots of fruit - I'm only giving up processed sugar - and Lois happily had a plum.

I did finish one project, a tea cosy that I made for my Nan. We went to see her at the weekend so I wanted to give it her. She had given me an old one that had fallen apart inside but she liked the size of it so I used that as a template. As I picked it apart I realised it had been hand sewn. I wasn't about to do that and made this one by turning it through the lining.

I picked out this sweet floral and hand quilted around the bottom with some variegated Valdini pearl thread. Then I remembered my Nan's kitchen is all white and she actually likes a modern looking kitchen so it's a good job this was reversible because she likes the plainer dotty side :)  

 (excuse the creases. I only pressed the 'outside'!)

That's finish off my Q2 Finish-Along list and a happy Nanny with warm tea!

A reminder in case you missed it, Black Sheep Wools are having a 20% off sale - that includes fabric! Enter code BSW20 at checkout to take 20% off your basket. They stock Tula Pink, Denyse Schmidt and other great designers so jump over and take advantage, the offer ends 9am BST tomorrow (23/4/15). If you miss that you can still use the code CHARMED10 to take 10% off (valid until 20/8/15)!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Black Sheep Wools ~ giveaway winner and 20% off discount code!

Thank you for all your comments on the giveaway!

Before I announce the winner there is good news for everyone Black Sheep Wools currently has 20% off everything until 20/4/15 9am BST with the code BSW20. And if you are reading this in the future and are too late to take advantage of that offer you can use code CHARMED10 to get 10% off until 20/8/2015!

The winner of the £25 gift card is...

Congratulations Sue! I have sent you an email :)

Now all go grab your 20% off - you can find the beautiful fabrics here!

Thursday, 16 April 2015

when inspiration strikes

I have been so busy with the kids off school for the holidays that I failed to document any randomness this week. I did purchase this lovely scrap bundle from Karen Lewis Textiles when she was tempting me on IG.

And then I was suddenly inspired! Nicky recently suggested that some geometric fabric I bought would make a great quilt pattern and so I starting drawing it out and want to English Paper Piece it. I've been think about colours and how to use Karen's bundle, I have an idea of what I want to do but need to think some more and maybe try sketching it out to see if I like it. 

I don't usually spend time planning, I'm more likely to just start playing around with fabric and going with my gut. This one needs a bit of thought though and I'm having a hard time visualising it, so I would love to hear from those of you that plan; how to you decide what fabrics or colour schemes to use? Do you sketch it out, colour in your design or is there some other thing I should do?

p.s. this great paper I'm using is a free printable, you can get it here!

Live A Colorful Life

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

stop the abuse ~ how to clean your cutting mat


NB I must preface this by stating you should always follow manufacturers instructions for caring and cleaning your mat. I am no expert.


Hello. My name is Lucy and I have been abusing my self healing cutting mat. I generally just want to get on with the sewing and have neglected my poor mat. Here it is in it's sad state:

Notice the warping at the top, ironed on it by accident I think - whatever, just DON'T ever put hot stuff on your mat ok?!

After asking advice a couple of weeks ago people gave me some good ideas for how to tackle cleaning it, thanks to everyone that left a comment! And special thanks to Agnes, Corrie H. and Carla who gave directions and a link to this tutorial. So I did as recommended and stuck it in a cool bath with some white vinegar, then scrubbed it with a little washing up liquid.

It came out prune like and the cuts were really obvious, and even with gentle scrubbing a lot of fluff and small threads remained. Not really surprising given how bad it was. Still it was an improvement:

Then Catrin (I think it was you! Correct me if I'm wrong?!) mentioned that you could use the end of a frixion pen to rub the mat and remove all the little pieces. Well wouldn't you know that works perfectly! But my mat is big and I was not about to attempt to rub the tiny end of this pen all over it. Nicky suggested a rubber glove, which I'm sure would work too but I hate them so instead I grabbed one of my kids trainers (sneakers if you prefer) that has a rubber sole and scrubbed it with that. That worked too! So I suggest getting something fairly large, made of rubber and get to work!

That is the fluff I got off, the bottom one with the pen and the top one with the shoe!

And now my mat looks like this:

Still sad and I probably really need a new one but until that time this is a lot better!!

When I do get a new one I will definitely take better care of it by doing the following:

- giving it an occasional soak, these mats do love moisture
- wiping it down after using it and using the rubbing method if there's lots of bits!
- and definitely rubbing it after cutting wadding, that seems to be the main culprit.

Now back to cutting (and subsequent cleaning!)...

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced