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!


  1. The pillow is so cute and the fabric perfect.

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  3. Sorry for typo above...just saying this was a super cute pillow. Very fun fussy cutting!

  4. Lucy, I am DYING over this pillow!!! I couldn't love it more! And yes, I must write down every single thing that comes into my head these days if I want to remember it. :) Can't thank you enough for being on the book tour, my friend!

  5. Wow, so beautiful,the fussy caught my eye,Great job!

  6. Love this cushion so much - includes two of my all time favourite things - fussy cutting and pom-poms! ;) :) When I woke up this morning it was the 2nd photo in my IG feed (reposted by Heidi) and I must have stared smiling at it for a good couple of minutes. Love it! Thanks for sharing the link to my tutorial and I'm so glad it helped! <3

  7. I'm going to try your oven tip . I used lemons before to clean a microwave but never an oven . Usually when it gets horrendously dirty I hope it breaks and I buy a new one !
    Ps love the cushion

  8. Your hexies are beautiful - really love the fussy cut ones in your cute pillow!

  9. Love your hexie pillow! I am seriously thinking of making a similar one- it is the perfect use of "Lighthearted'! AND the pompoms of course! You are an inspiration Lucy!

  10. Oh gosh, I love this too and was thinking of making one with lighthearted as well!! You may have started a trend!

  11. Lucy, everytime I read your posts, my creative mojo just takes off, seriously! SO I just sprayed my oven, bagged my fruit & veggie snack packs for me (since the hub doesn't care for raw ones) and now I'm in my sewing room, yeah!!!
    BTW love your selvedge edge pillow back...I've done that too , your's looks much more professional tho. Thankyou for sharing your hexi pillow.

  12. This is so cute! Love the fussy cut hexagons.

  13. I love the touches, and what a great way to marry Ayumi's yummy fabric with Heidi's super design. Your quilting added softness, like you say. Definitely keeping that oven tip!

  14. Love your pillow, and centering those cute novelty prints is great and I love your rainbow effect too. And great tip on cleaning the oven: I don't do it often either because the cleaner warnings are so scary!! Hugs, H in Healdsburg

  15. Really? Could anything be more adorable? Love the fabrics and the added pom pom detail. I just cleaned my oven two or three weeks ago and I have a chemical burn on my arm. I was wear tall gloves but a bit splashed up near my elbow. It burned and the skin bubbled - yes bubbled, and blistered. So I would love to use lemons next time!

  16. I love your cushion! Thanks for the tips about the did you know mine needs cleaning?!

  17. that oven tip is awesome!

    i love your pillow! i have resisted buying lighthearted only because i dont need ANY more fabric, but this is making me waffle again. darn it! that quilting pattern you came up with is just wonderful. really lovely! you are so creative.

  18. That is such a cute cushion!! Lighthearted seems designed for hexies. I have a stack of it waiting for me to use, but I just like looking at it for now.

  19. Succumbed and bought the book ! Now just have to make time to read IT

  20. ushion is great. I haven't made Hexies before cause I don't like hand sewing but seeing all this cuteness may change my mind

  21. This is beautiful and I LOVE the pom pom trim.