Thursday, 28 May 2015

all ears

It is half term here so I've been busy with the kiddos this week. We went to see my Nan in Chester and my Dad came too. He found this picture of me when I was little, we were on holiday in Malta:

I believe I contributed to the popularity of the onesie. I vividly remember doing this, those beautiful pastel coloured tissues! I also remember not being able to sleep and walking through the tiled corridor (which amazingly enough was hexies!!) to find my Nan, and her singing me to sleep. She remembers too, she told me she used to sing songs like 'Daisy, Daisy' and 'Chick Chick Chick Chick Chicken', which I sing to my kids :)

My lot had fun in the local playground:

This week I bought myself these stud earrings from, they are really small and perfect for everyday:

They have this great Andralok closure, which means they are super comfortable and easy to put in. I like wearing big earrings sometimes but generally I just like earrings that will go with everything and I can forget about. I can sleep in these with no discomfort too. Bonus, they are made in Britain!

I have reached over 1,000 followers on Instagram so I am having a giveaway over there (sorry to those that don't have an Instagram account but I do plenty of giveaways here on my blog too!). I cut 60+ charm squares from my stash, a mix of modern, 30s, low volume and general gorgeousness. The giveaway is open internationally and ends 4th June. Head over to my Instagram and see the giveaway post to enter.

Live A Colorful Life

Monday, 25 May 2015

Busy Girls Sews - hexagon cushion and time saving household tips!

I am so thrilled to be part of the Busy Girl Sews book tour for Heidi Staples new book Sew Organized for the Busy Girl: Tips to Make the Most of Your Time and Space

This book made me smile, from the gorgeous projects and beautiful layout to Heidi's honest and fun approach. It is an inspiring book with small and larger projects, some of which are perfect for gifts and others that are great for when you want some selfish sewing. There are brilliant tips for organizing from Heidi as well as other quilters and the whole book felt to me like a good friend giving great advice. It's warm, real and hugely motivating!

I could have picked any of the projects to make for this tour but my love of English Paper Piecing won and I chose to make the 'Dotty Hexagon Cushion'. Turns out I had just got the most perfect fabric to work for this pattern and I immediately fussy cut hexagons from Swedish Kitchen, Lighthearted by Ayumi Takahashi...

and then created a rainbow from my stash using mostly 30s reproduction fabrics:

I love how fast glue basting is! I laid them out according to the book pattern and stitched them together. Once I was ready to quilt it I kind of wobbled, should I echo the hexagon shapes? Straight lines? And then I decided to do something different, a kind of scallop effect that makes those fussy cuts look like flowers and softens the angles. I used a spool of thread and matched the curve of the spool to the corners of the hexie. Then used my Sewline Styla pen to trace the shape and perle thread to hand quilt it.

Once those blue lines were rinsed away it left a subtle and pretty texture:

I deviated slightly from the book pattern (which has instructions for a zip closure) and I decided to add a touch of whimsy with a pom pom trim, which I had never done before but this tutorial by Angie has great tips to make it easy.

I used Swedish Text, Lighthearted by Ayumi Takahasi for the back and even used the selvedge to finish the envelope edge and did some simple straight line machine quilting. 

I am thrilled with my cushion and will certainly be making more projects from Sew Organized for the Busy Girl: Tips to Make the Most of Your Time and Space! This was another check off my FAL list :)

Here is the tour list so you can blog hop:

March 30 - Lynne of Lily's Quilts
April 6 - Jodi of Tales of Cloth & Angela of Cut to Pieces
April 13 - Lindsay of Craft Buds & Debbie of A Quilter's Table
April 20 - Leanne of She Can Quilt
April 27 - Fat Quarter Shop
May 4 - Erin of Why Not Sew?
May 11 - Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts
May 18 - Svetlana of SOTAK Handmade
May 25 - Lucy of Charm About You 
June 1 - Maureen of Maureen Cracknell Handmade
June 8 - Becca of Bryan House Quilts
June 15 - Beth of Plum & June
June 22 - Jessica of Quilty Habit
June 29 - Caroline of Sew Can She
July 6 - Heidi of Fabric Mutt (Tour Wrap!)

I thought I would share a couple of little things I do around the house to stay organised and save time (so I can sew more). My sewing isn't often organised and I still need to sort out my scraps (great tips in the book for that!) but with three kids I have to try and stay on top of the household stuff! I can also enjoying my sewing more if I know the house is in order.

Usually I do one bigger weekly shop and when I'm putting the food away I wash all the fruit and separate it into small resealable bags. This means I can grab snacks for the kids quickly or they can help themselves without eating it all! I do the same thing with 'grown up' snacks, sometimes adding some Bombay mix and always nuts and seeds. Yum! I try to buy nuts in larger portions because they work out cheaper but then separating them into portions means I don't eat the lot!! 

I generally enjoying cleaning and have got a good routine going thanks to Clean Mama - check out the free printable calender

Recently I realised it was WAY past time for me to clean the cooker, which is not a job I enjoy and, having started making my own cleaners using white vinegar, I really did not want to use conventional chemical oven cleaner because that stuff stinks, even the warnings on the packaging put me off using it! My sister mentioned putting lemons in the oven and after a quick google I found this site for how to clean an oven naturally. So I cooked lemons for half an hour and then once the oven was cool left baking soda sprayed with water sit overnight... I was sceptical but in the morning I literally just wiped it away and all the grease/gunk was gone!! I couldn't believe it, it was SO bad, embarrassingly bad, hence no before and after pictures. After cleaning it naturally (and cheaply) it was sparkling! Just trust me, if you've been too busy sewing to clean your oven try doing it naturally :)

My final tip is one I live by everyday. Write it down. Pen and paper makes all the difference for me. To do lists, sewing lists, my planner. If I write it down I don't have to spend time thinking about things or remembering stuff (I only have to remember to look in my planner!).

Happy sewing busy people!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

my last day

Dropping in to tell you it's my last day taking over 52 Quilters - head over there to read my final post for the week and see the block I made for the project!

I will be back here tomorrow with a different finished hexagon project :)

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Star Crossed Blog Hop

The latest pattern by Fat Quarter Shop and It's Sew Emma is the gorgeous, vintage-inspired Star Crossed and I'm sharing my progress for the Blog Hop.

I have decided to go with a monochrome version. It's not something I have ever done before and I thought it would suit the star pattern - like gleaming stars in the night sky. I also wanted to keep it modern. Those that follow me know I adore vintage (patterns and fabric) but I am working on a couple of other quilts with vintage fabrics so I needed a change. Cue some Cotton + Steel and Doe to make my Star Crossed Night Sky quilt:

Here's my first block finished and I have to say I love it even more than I thought I would!!

The Petite Plus fabric really makes the star pop and the white Doe print makes it look like a shining star. I'm excited to get this one finished!

It's Sew Emma patterns are always so well written and easy to follow. The Star Crossed pattern gives you the sizes to make a Lap, Twin, Queen or King size. It also has the requirements for one block so you could easily make a quilt to suit any size and even make coordinating cushions or other accessories from just one block.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Hop:

Daisy of Ants to Sugar
Lucy of Charm About You - you are here :)
Julie of the Crafty Quilter
Angie of Gnome Angel
Dana of Old Red Barn Co.
Natalia of Piece N Quilt
Heather and Megan of Quilt Story
Jodi of Tales of Cloth
Amy of Sew Incredible Crazy

What fabrics would you use to make Star Crossed?

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

** I have taken over 52 Quilters this week, check out my post about WIPs **

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

discounts and awesomeness

Just wanted to share some really great deals and fun goings on...

Black Sheep Wools are currently offering free shipping to literally everywhere, just use the code FREEDEL when you checkout! You can get Amy Butler, Tula Pink, Tim Holtz and much more!

The Fat Quarter Shop will be starting the 8th year of their Designer Mystery Block of the Month Program. 12 Moda Designers have designed a block for the quilt and this year’s quilt features the Snowman Gatherings II Collection by Primitive Gatherings for Moda Fabrics. The program is from June 2015 to May 2016 and you can find more details and sign up here. Limited spots available!

There are some gorgeous fabrics in the sale section at Fluffy Sheep Quilting, scoop them up fast!

Green Fairy Quilts always have amazing deals and their clearance section offers even more savings, including the beautiful bundles above! They also have free shipping in the US.

At Pink Castle Fabrics there is 20% off all solids, including yardage and bundles. Enter code SOLID20 at checkout. Great time to stock up on colours you use a lot, neutrals or to add more colour to your stash!

I could do with a Tuesday treat myself... happy shopping!

This week I'm taking over 52 Quilters so come and follow me there :)

Monday, 18 May 2015

52 quilters

and I am #20!

This week I am taking over the 52 Quilters blog and you can find my first post here - it's the one where I show you the quilts that actually get used in our house!

You can also follow me as I take over the 52 Quilters Instagram feed and Twitter too. 

Hop over and check it out :)

Sunday, 17 May 2015

just because and plans for selfish sewing

Sometimes I buy fabric 'just because'. When Pink Castle Fabrics had a sale on their Japanese fabrics I scooped this up mostly because they are pretty (I had my eye on the Hiding Cats one for a while!):

Top to bottom: Mini French Cheater Print by Suzuko Koseki; Daisies in Grey, Live Life by Yuwa; Deer and Cherries, 30's by Atsuko Matsuyama; Hiding Cats, Cocoland by Kokka and Language of Flowers, 30's Collection by Atsuko Matsuyama.

I adore the Language of Flowers print, I love retro text prints and how cute is the Hiding Cats selvedge?!

After making this drawstring tote the other day I knew I wanted one for myself so I got some canvas and twill ribbon from The Village Haberdashery:

Neon Clouds in orange and navy by Hokkoh; Scattered in neutral, Mochi Canvas by Rashida Coleman-Hale and some twill ribbon.

Selfish sewing ahead :)

Molli Sparkles

Thursday, 14 May 2015

wood ~ le challenge ~ drawstring tote bag

This one was cutting it fine, but I made it... here's my finish for the le challenge theme 'wood':

Since I don't have loads of time to sew I like to try and check a couple of things of my 'to do' list when I can. My eldest daughter has an upcoming birthday party to go to so I thought I would make a bag for the birthday girl. 

I used Svetlana's Drawstring Tote Bag pattern and some bird/tree fabric I have had in my stash for a while - the recipient's name begins with a 'S' so I thought it would be perfect - and the trees are my link to the theme 'wood'.

I picked out the lime and pink from the feature fabric and it works well, the pink is a cotton canvas that was given to me and it adds a nice weight to the bottom and I used it for the handles and lining too. I only quilted it every 2 inches but the canvas gives it added strength and I was pushed for time!

The pattern is fantastic, so quick to make and nice details like the casing for the ties and the outer corners sewn in to the seam:

I used ribbon rather than making fabric ties and happened to have two colours of ribbon that matched nicely. I would love to buy something I could use for ties like this, something studier than ribbon that would work for a drawstring - does anyone in the UK have any recommendations? I would happily stock up on neutral ties because I am definitely making more of these bags and I don't really like making my own ties from fabric. I have ordered some twill ribbon from The Village Haberdashery because I think that will work nicely but please leave a comment if you have any suggestions or let me know what you use!

This bag is easy to make but looks fancy and I will be making one for Fred and one for myself! I might make some for teachers gifts too.

See how other crafters interpreted the theme 'wood' and if you have a finish that fits the theme come and link up, one random winner will get a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop!

Le Challenge

Monday, 11 May 2015

bag of fabric winner!

Again huge thanks to everyone that entered my giveaway, the answers were so hilarious - the pressure is definitely on for the next giveaway ;)

There can only be one winner (though stayed tuned because I'm nearly at 1,000 Instagram followers and I cut extra charms to giveaway when that happens!)...

who is

always nice when a friendly face wins! Congratulations I have sent you an email :)

Happy Monday everyone, hope you have a wonderful week and let me know if you won any of the other Sew Mama Sew giveaways! I've been so busy I think I only got round to entering a couple!!

Thursday, 7 May 2015

I am really random

First I just have to say a huge thank you to everyone that's already entered my giveaway, I LOVE reading your comments and sorry I can't reply to all the comments during giveaways. I like to ask questions that are positive and since I do read them all I want something interesting and that might make me laugh. Previously I have asked things like 'what made you smile today?', 'who's your favourite muppet?', something about my son having chocolate for his birthday etc. This time round the question is oddly random and I am so pleased you all have just gone with it and I have been laughing so hard. So thank you all for bringing me joy :) and it was husband who provided the inspiration for the random question this time.

I actually haven't done any sewing for a few days, it feels very odd. It's not for lack of mojo, I have been feeling really creative and have written a couple of patterns. Now I just have to find time to make them!

I couldn't live without my planner and I am trying to get through so many things and stay organised. My party of 5 always has so much going on and I have to write everything down (and look at it!) to remember all the stuff!

The weather this week had been gloomy and rainy (not complaining, rain is my favourite) and our cat Amber has been hanging out inside...

on top of the chest of drawers in the girls room and in the drawer too:

I just posted over on the le challenge blog, with inspiration for the theme 'wood'. We would love you to join us in our creative challenge, just make something based on the theme and link up on the 15th May for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop! It doesn't have to be a big project so head over there to check it out!

Rose Red Woodland Doll pattern by Lella Boutique

Hope you are having a happy week!

Live A Colorful Life

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

a bag of fabric ~ giveaway!


I adore piles of pretty fabrics and I'm sure you do too! Today I'm joining in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day and here's what you can win...

This Triangles bag I made, which featured in Issue 4 of Quilt Now (baubles not included)...

and I will fill it with lovely fabric - charm squares and scraps from my stash.

I have lots of beautiful modern prints, pretty repro and of course low volume. I will try and include a large variety of different styles and fabrics so you will have plenty to enjoy!


You have two chances to win (please leave a separate comment for each):

1. Leave a comment telling me who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp?
(there is no correct answer to this so don't feel the need to google search!)

2. Follow my blog or let me know you already do. You can subscribe using the buttons up there on the right - optional entry

The giveaway is open internationally and ends Monday 11th May. A winner will be chosen by
As usual if you don't leave an email address in the comment and I can't contact you then you will not win so please be kind and make yourself easy to find! e.g. aquilter (at) sewingspace (dot) com

Good Luck!