Friday, 27 February 2015

if you go down to the woods today...

you might find a pretty pink bear zippy bag!

I made this cute zip bag using the Art Gallery Fabrics pattern by Melissa. It was a present for my daughters friend but I know all of my kids would like one of their own!

This year my bee mates and I are making rows in the Bee A Brit Stingy Bee. It's really fun to see all the different ideas we've come up with. I have asked for flying geese blocks, all sizes but set the same way so they look like trees. Here's my first row that has arrived with Sheila:

Yesterday I was teaching a class at Patchfinders and one of the ladies had taken two of my previous classes, one to make the quilt and one to learn big stitch quilting. She perfectly combined the two and brought her finished quilt in to show me:

Tean and her stunning quilt!

Tean picked a great mix of fabrics and her stitching looks brilliant. She also added some adorable appliqué hearts with roses she had cross stitched. I love the whimsy and pretty touch they add:

I would love to add some cross stitch to my quilts too! Thanks for letting me share your work Tean :)

Linking up:

at Persimon Dreams this week

**There's a couple more days left to enter my giveaway, open worldwide, ends 1st March**

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

having creativity

**Be sure to enter my GIVEAWAY! Open worldwide, end 1st March** Thanks to all of you who have left such nice comments so far, I have been giggling at some of the stories!

Inspiring words from my favourite poet. My sewjo tends to fluctuate but when I'm in the zone I have so many ideas I could burst and I just want to play with fabric!

I finished this Day Lily block for my Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt:

And have had a lot of fun picking fabrics while planning my next couple of blocks. I think creating eclectic and beautiful (to me) combinations is my favourite thing to do.

I have also been working on some quilting for a cushion I am making, simple but effective:

Wishing you all a creative week!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, 20 February 2015

memory quilt

**If you're looking for my giveaway click here! (ends 1st March)**

I was given a box of adorable baby girl clothes and had a lot of fun cutting them up (though it felt a bit wrong). I enjoyed focusing on pretty details and tried to create lots of interesting elements, like keeping this ruffle:

Little popper detail of the baby grow (I hand stitched it closed) and cute pockets:

More fun ruffles and a peek of my hand stitching in the top corner:

I couldn't resist this sweet bib top:

You can see it was a total mix of fabrics; denim, cotton, jersey, knit. The bits of the clothes I wanted to use were cut out using pinking shears and I fused everything except the denim with lightweight interfacing. I then rotary cut the pieces to the size I wanted and used a superior topstitch 90/12 needle to piece them. I hand quilted some of the plainer panels and around the poem (printed on photo fabric), added a little embroidery and then hand tied the quilt with perle thread. 

Although that is a quick summary, it was a lot of work and I struggled with the layout but got there eventually and I am so thrilled with it. It is such a rewarding job to be able to save these memories and create a pretty quilt in the process! It was very well received by the lady that commissioned it and I know it will be treasured.

This is my second finish from my FAL list - I'm glad I kept it realistic, it feels good to only have one project left to finish (despite my actual mountain of WIPS!!).

Linking up:

at The Carpenters Daughter Who Quilts this week
and finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Thursday, 19 February 2015

1,000+ followers - GIVEAWAY(S)!


As promised I'm having a little giveaway to celebrate reaching over 1,000 followers on Bloglovin! 

I would like to thank everyone who visits me here, reads about the projects I sew, follows my progress and quilting journey and takes time to comment. It means a lot to me. I adore this community, it provides me with so much inspiration and encouragement and also motivates me to challenge myself and keep on learning.

To show my appreciation I am giving away some of my stash and having two different giveaways! One here and one on Instagram. You probably know fabric and stationery are two of my favourite things so here's what you can win...

6 fat eighths of brilliant low volume prints - Triangularity Stardust, Chromatics by AGF studio; Sprinkled Morning, Meadow by Leah Duncan; Smile and Wave, Koi by Rashida Coleman Hale; Teensy Weensy Lotus, Littlest by AGF Studio; White Tint Dandelions by Santee; Linen Closet Bees by Makower, a fat quarter of Crystal Arrowheads, Arizona by April Rhodes and some fun glittery Hema stickers!

They really do make a beautiful bundle:


You have three possible chances to win:

1. Leave a comment telling me about the best party you have been to.
(my son chose this question, though his first try was to ask 'is your ear all right?', then 'is it 12 o'clock yet?' but then he picked this one and I think it's fun... oh he also asked whether you have bought him chocolate for his birthday?! Actually feel free to answer any of those)

2. Follow my blog and leave a separate comment letting me know you do (optional entry) - bloglovin / gfc / feedly / email - click one of those buttons on the right sidebar 

3. Share this giveaway on twitter, facebook or your blog and leave another comment telling me how you shared (optional entry) - NB Instagram does not count since I am having another giveaway over there!

Please, please, please read those options carefully and if you are a 'no reply' blogger I am afraid I don't have time to hunt you down to tell you if you win so please leave an email address with your comment e.g. spongebob (at) yahoo (dot) com.

The giveaway is open worldwide, it ends 1st March 2015 and the winner will be chosen by and announced here.

Good luck!

p.s. don't forget to check out my Instagram giveaway too :)

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

happy stitching progress

I finished my hexagon panel for the Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt, I decided to English Paper Piece this panel because I'm faster at it and it is easier to get all those neat points!

I love the totally random (yet lovingly chosen) mix of fabrics:

I also completed all the Orange Peel blocks:

I'm so happy I decided to mix the modern fabrics with the 30s repro ones, I really love how they play together!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, 14 February 2015

dots ~ le challenge ~ printed jersey scarf

This months challenge was to create something with a 'dots' theme and it was the perfect opportunity for me to make a jersey scarf, which I have wanted to do for a while. 

I ordered 2.4m of 64" wide cream jersey and a pot of Dylon Fabric Paint in Gold from Minerva Crafts. I wanted to make a long scarf so it could be worn in lots of ways, wrapped round a couple of times in winter and as a shawl for those cool summer nights.

I started by cutting the jersey in half lengthwise (which means I also get to make another one!) and ransacked the house for things to use for printing. I have seen a couple of tutorials that use corks so I grabbed one of those, I had a spare foam mini roller refill (the kind for painting walls) and then some random toys that had fun shapes...

I cut a test strip from the extra fabric and had a play:

This is well worth doing if you plan to make your own. Some shapes looked good the first time but subsequent stamps not so great. I didn't like the cork at all (on the right) and the wooden shapes looked cool but not neat enough. The plastic bobbin made such a great shape (reminds me of the steam punk pattern) but wasn't what I wanted for this scarf. I loved the pizza shape made by the watermelon and that led me to cut the end of the foam roller, a really simple way to make your own shape!

You have to cut away the foam quite far down so that it doesn't ruin the shape when you press down. A did a few tests and made a triangle shape. I practised dipping it in the paint and printing a couple of times. Turned out I preferred to dip it in the paint every time I stamped so that I got a really good amount of paint each time. I also pressed down lightly and sort of rolled the stamp around so it created a nice shape. If it didn't work out I just went over it!

So I was happy with the triangles but the theme is 'dots'!! I didn't want to use the cork and everything else seemed too big... then I had a revelation and grabbed one of my kids pencils, the rubber on top was perfect!

Here's my printing station (aka dining table), the laminated table cloth was perfect and I didn't use anything else underneath (you could use newspaper if you want to protect your floor, table etc). You can also tell I didn't wash or iron the fabric before starting, I'm reckless like that.

It's hard to see in the photos but the gold Dylon fabric paint has a beautiful shine to it in the light. Once the paint was dry (after about 4 hours) I used a cloth over it and set the design with a hot dry iron. It did feel a bit stiff but a quick cool wash softened it up and I threw it in the tumble dryer (not sure if you are supposed to but it was fine!). It really is the most snuggly scarf and I'm thrilled with the design. The dots make it a bit retro and the triangles look 80s but the gold keeps it modern. 

I adore jersey. It's so easy to wear and the fact it just rolls up at the edges so you don't have to sew it means it's super easy to make your own scarf! Minerva Crafts stock great wearable colours of this jersey and you can order in quantities of .10m (minimum .5m), perfect to get the right length of scarf for you.

Here's some bad selfies of me tying it in different ways:

I love my new scarf!! And this is the first tick off my FAL list :)

If you have made anything with dots or dot themed in the past month come and link up your finishes at le challenge for a chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop

Le Challenge

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

stitching and saving

If you didn't know already I am totally addicted to hand sewing and have made more progress on my green tea and sweet beans quilt. These blocks have all been hand pieced (no paper), apart from the odd bit of English Paper Piecing where I chose to change up the design.

My second tulip block:

Rather than use the appliqué shapes in the original pattern (they just look too egg like for me!?!) I decided to do English Paper Pieced shapes for the flowers in the appliqué blocks. So here's my first finished block:

I am working on the orange peel appliqué blocks now, I have been using trusty Aurifil 50wt #2600 to piece all the blocks and it works beautifully for the appliqué too:

Fancy seeing my progress so far? Obviously this isn't how they'll look together in the end and you can really tell that I've just been picking fabric and working on one block at a time. I might need to work more dark fabrics into it to balance it more:

It doesn't help that the light comes through the window at the top of this picture! I'm exciting to make more blocks and see how it progresses. I would like to think I could envision it as a whole but I really am just choosing fabrics that I love for each block. In the end I know I will adore it because of that, regardless of whether it 'works' in terms of value, colours etc. in the accepted theory sense.

I've joined the drop for 100 Wonder Clips at Massdrop, I use Wonder Clips so much and love a great saving:

If you use Wonder Clips you know how fabulous they are and if you haven't this is such a great way to get them at a brilliant price! I use them when I'm hand sewing binding, they really help stop my hands from aching and keep everything in place. They are super handy just to use like paper clips too, I keep my sewing organised by clipping my cut pieces together. I realise you could use bulldog clips or pegs or whatever but honestly Wonder Clips are one of those products that just work better. They are strong, don't damage your fabric and are perfect to hold things in place when you sew. Head over to Massdrop to get yours :)

While you are there also check out the quilting voting page, where we can all vote on what products we would like to see at Massdrop and even make suggestions!

Also I've been browsing Amazon a bit recently and there's so many fabulous quilt books out and coming soon, check my sidebar over on the right to see what I'm loving!

Oh and I noticed this the other day...

which I think calls for a giveaway! Thank you to everyone that's following my blog, stay tuned :)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, 8 February 2015

messy space, new stash

Well this is the mess that it my sewing space (it's just a desk shoved in the corner of our dining room). It's no surprise really since I've been doing so much hand sewing, things just get dumped here. I need to get back to some machine sewing though so this will have to get sorted out sharpish!

Over the past couple of weeks I've added some lovely additions to my stash and I have plans for them all so you'll see them popping up here and there!

First this divine bundle from Miss Matatabi:

Swedish Kitchen in teal, Lighthearted by Ayumi Takahashi; Swedish Text in mint, Lighthearted by Ayumi Takahashi (available here); Floral in cream and mint, Lighthearted by Ayumi Takahashi; Shibuya in Linen, Tokyo Train Ride by Sarah Watts and Irome in Winter, Color of the Seasons by Kokka (currently sold out but Spring is available here).

And then no prizes for guessing why I had to get this adorable Tickle Pink Cats, Hello Petal by Aneela Hoey print! Fussy cutting ahead!

More gorgeousness arrived from Pink Castle Fabrics, I had a hard time choosing which First of Infinity panel to get but chose the pastel because I love the soft colours - this print is so gorgeous I would happily have them all!

Top row: First of Infinity Book Panel

At Patchfinders we have a great selection of fabrics that are only £6 per metre so I snagged some of this pretty Stof print:

I've had that horrible stomach illness that all three of my kids had last week so this weekend so far as been exhausting but today I feel better and am ready for some serious sewing (and maybe some tidying up of that mess if I can be bothered... probably not!!).

I will be back to show you more progress on my green tea and sweet beans blocks, I finally have another quilt finish to show off and next weekend it's time for the DOTS le challenge finish, so a busy week ahead!

Le Challenge

If you have been working with dots and have a finish that has a 'dots' theme, join us next weekend and link up for a random chance to win a $25 gift certificate to the Fat Quarter Shop!

Happy Sunday all!

Molli Sparkles

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

love the improvements at Minerva Crafts

Minerva Crafts have been hard at work updating their website, considering the thousands of products they stock that is no small feat! I spend a lot of time on websites, checking out products, searching for items and of course the odd bit of shopping ;) 
I am so impressed with the upgrades they've made, it really is easy to find what you need and to browse through all the different craft categories. The search box is excellent and actually does find what you're looking for, perfect when you are in a hurry!

Of course they have a brilliant Quilting section, with great brands and everything you could possibly need. You can see what's new and also search by price, very handy.

And let's not forget the fabric... loads of it...

Fabulous basics like Klona cotton, which is 54" wide and only £7.99 per metre.

Fun Timeless Treasures prints, like this Keep Calm and Sew and they have cats in the cinema!!

They have Camelot Design Studio, Rowan and many more great designers and prints.
You can see all the quilting fabrics here, they also have a huge selection of dressmaking fabric and more. Don't forget the sale section!

Minerva Crafts have categorised all the sewing patterns so if you love dressmaking it is simple to find what you want and they have an amazing choice from all the big brands and the best independent labels:

Another fun addition is the gift cards, you can now customise a gift card and have it sent to the recipient on the day of your choice! Such a great idea and perfect for the forgetful amongst us (or our hubbies!!) 

Grab a cuppa, head over to Minerva Crafts and check out their huge range for yourself!