Thursday, 31 March 2016

Classes and happy, lovely thoughts ~ Bea and Hope

This is a mixed bag post... some news, some sewing and some life stuff!

I managed to complete a couple more hand pieced Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along blocks this week:

#11 Bea - This letter reminded me of the Diane Von Furstenberg quote, "Feel like a woman, wear a dress!". I have done this many times, just got dolled up for no reason other than to cheer myself up and I agree it "it's funny how different things look". I went with fun prints from Good Hair Day by Kim Andersson, perfect for "the Queen Bee in the hive!".

#43 Hope - I used to be a complete perfectionist about my house, cleaning and organising. After having my son I had to abandon a lot of my OCD tendencies and now I have 3 kids you would never think by looking at my house that I cared about cleaning!! So I'm all for the idea to "skip some of the daily tasks and make them weekly tasks, and enjoy my family while I still have them with me". I picked the brown and the gingham because they feel homely and represent the "home in spick and span order". The bright dots print is because "they don't care whether things are shiny spotlessly clean if they can have fun and see a happy face and hear mother join in on their jokes".

Saturday 2nd April is SALE DAY at Patchfinders and there's 20% off everything! I am working in the shop, so come along and say hi!

I've also updated my classes page, click here to see my upcoming classes - bookings are being taken at Patchfinders from Monday 4th April and places fill up fast.

For the first time myself and Jayne (dressmaker extraordinaire) are hosting evening sewing sessions and will be able to help people with sewing projects or offer advice for beginners. Perfect for everyone that can't make the day time classes! Check here for dates.

It's been a really lovely day today. I managed to sneak in a little quilting time, working on my watermelon Stitchy Pie needlecase:

I got an upgrade on my phone and opted for the new iPhone SE. I like having a small phone, I've had the 5s for a while and get on well with it so a more powerful phone that's the same size suits me perfectly! I went for the rose gold and will probably spend the rest of the evening setting it up.

Today there was an Easter service at church, it's so nice being able to go to kid's events and the whole school was there. Lois was dancing around to the organ music because she couldn't read the words to sing along with the hymns! Very sweet. The older two really like singing 'Lord of the Dance', which was one of my Grandad's favourite hymns.

At the end we waited for everyone else to go back to school and went to look at the flowers and display created by the children at the front of the church. On the way out we saw a little ladybird on the steps, we sat down and watched it and Lois giggled as it crawled on her finger. Those moments are so peaceful and wonderful. I am literally taking time to smell the flowers and live in the moment with my little girl before she starts school.

Live A Colorful Life

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

just some filler...

Time for an update on my Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt! Here's the blocks laid out almost as they will be:

All hand sewn - hand piecing, English Paper Piecing and appliqué. There was one large block missing and the pinwheels and filler blocks still to make. I want to add some darker navy into those filler blocks but on the whole I'm really happy with it.

Good job I got that picture when I did because the wind nearly carried the lot away:

 I finished the final large block the other day, Square Daisy:

Now I have lots of little pieces to cut up and sew. I will probably hand quilt it too so it will be a while before I have a truly finished quilt! A labour of love and a fabulous skill builder.

Sew Fresh Quilts

Monday, 28 March 2016

Fat Quarter Shop bundle winner!

I just have to say how fun it was reading all your comments for the giveaway - who knew you could find out so much just by asking about your two essentials?! I feel like I got to know you a bit better, many of the comments made me laugh and there certainly is a lot of coffee consumed by quilters! Thank you to everyone that entered :)

Congratulations Rochelle! I have sent you an email, enjoy your new fabric!

Thanks to the Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring this giveaway - check out their What's New section for lots of stunning new arrivals and the sale section is full of bargains (including yummy GLITZ!!).

Sunday, 27 March 2016

purfectly happy

We're enjoying a lovely long bank holiday weekend, chilling out and having family time (me losing at Monopoly). Happy Easter to all of you celebrating this weekend!

There have been some lovely stash additions arriving, with more coming next week - I've been a little online shopping happy.

I got these fabulous handmade panels from Peach and Pluto:

Joan is obsessed with pufferfish (I have no explanation!!) and we are trying to decide what to make with her panel - any suggestions? The Ginkgo panel is for me because gold on ice peach is such a delicious combination!

Lynne's new book Quick and Easy Quilts also arrived and it's full of beautiful quilts, I will be doing a review soon so keep an eye out for that...

Using my planner has been such a great help to me recently, reminding myself about what really needs to get done and keeping focusing! It's fun to make it pretty and I love The Reset Girl stickers. There was a sale and all orders (including international!) always get free shipping - just TRG stickers not any other products, but that's cool with me! I got a nice selection:

How cute are these planner honeys and the fun crafty reminders?!

I'm also a sucker for kawaii and got these sweet stickers from A Happy Blue Tree - fabulous customer service and really quick delivery too! The clipboards are for me to write kids school stuff that I need to remember and the trackers for vitamins (which I've recently started taking and am already benefiting from):

My adorable cat Amber turns 13 (or maybe 14?!) next month and she's been extra snuggly recently. She is half Persian (squished face) and half Tabby (you can see brown stripes in the sun despite her being black). Amber is very tolerant of the kids most of the time, she purrs when she hears me say 'good girl' and is just the sweetest cat. 

I will be spending the evening sewing with Amber on my knee and maybe jotting down some quilt ideas!

Head over to Mary Emmens for Sunday Stash this week - she's got a gorgeous giveaway too ❤

Molli Sparkles

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

the sweetest bunting tutorial

Spring has sprung and with Easter fast approaching it's nice to have some pretty decorative bunting to celebrate the season! I created this bunting for the Brother Crafts Challenge. The pattern is completely adaptable, having two rows means you can switch it up and easily change the words and patterns to whatever you fancy.

The tutorial below provides a link to the templates and instructions on how to sew the bunting, with tips and tricks to make it simple and fun!


Templates, click here to download
(13) 6 x 7.5" pieces of felt (or fabric, see bottom of post for how to!)
(2) approx. 90" lengths of double fold binding or ribbon
Fabric scraps for the letters and flowers
Fusible web
a pen
cotton thread
sewing machine

Begin by printing off the templates. Cut out the bunting shape template. Use the template to cut out 13 shapes from the felt.

Now you could either freehand letters or you can use PicMonkey - this is a fast and easy way to make appliqué letters! Don't be scared, it really is simple to create a great template for your letters.

Go to, on the homepage click the 'Design' button, I've circled it in the image below:

On the left click the 'Tt' button and then the 'Add Text' at the top. I chose Chelsea Market but you could use any font - be sure to pick one that is simple to cut out, so not too fussy. It is also easier to appliqué bold lettering so don't chose anything too skinny!

Type a letter into the text box and then adjust the size to make it bigger.

You want to adjust the size to fit nicely within the bunting shape. My letters were 2212 but check the size by holding the paper template up to your computer screen.
The most important thing to remember is to invert the letter - do this by clicking

Once you are happy with the size, hold the fusible web up to the screen (paper side facing out) and trace round the letter. 

Delete the letter and replace with the next letter of your bunting word, repeat so you have traced all the letters onto fusible web.

p x3

Roughly cut round each letter and fuse the letters onto your fabric.

Cut the letters out. For the inner parts of letters (i.e. the 'hole' in p, a and g) fold the fabric and make a cut in the middle of the circle, this makes it much easier to cut a neat circle. I recommend using smaller scissors for those bits!

Fuse the letters to the felt, you need to be very careful - use a tea towel or cloth over the top, dampen with a little spray of water and then press (follow fusible web manufacturers directions). If you find it won't stick try dampening the cloth a bit more.

Appliqué the letters - you could use a blanket stitch or zig zag stitch on your machine but since bunting is decorative I outlined the letters with a straight stitch using Aurifil 40 wt. thread.

For an extra touch I stitched around the edges of the felt with variegated thread, using my sewing machine's 1/4" foot. I used Aurifil Lana thread in colour #8009 with 50 wt. white thread in the bobbin. This is easy to do and quick if you chain piece (continuously sew without cutting threads). To follow the curved edge, look at the front right edge of the 1/4" foot and guide the felt round to meet that point as you sew. 

For the floral appliqué, print out the flower templates and trace onto fusible web. Position the flowers on the felt shapes and fuse into place (again follow manufacturers directions and use a damp cloth).

You can use some play with your sewing machine's stitches to appliqué the flowers, have fun and be creative! I used a darning foot to mimic the shape of the appliqué and also tried out different machine stitches with a regular foot.

Once all the appliqué and stitching is done it's time to put the bunting together.

Take one length of binding and find the centre, open the binding and position the middle letter (or two) centrally:

Pin into place and then repeat with the rest of the letters / flowers either side:

Neaten the short ends of the binding by opening it out, fold the edge over 1/4" and stitch in place.

If you are using ribbon pin the letters to the back of the ribbon.

Sew along the length of the binding / ribbon, top stitching along the edge.

Repeat for your second row of bunting and you are finished sewing!

Tie together to make double rows of bunting, interchange the words for birthdays or other celebrations and add a touch of sweetness to your decor!

You could use fabric rather than felt. You would need to cut the fabric using pinking shears to prevent fraying or top stitch the edges and have it fray slightly. Alternatively you could use 26 fabric bunting shapes - add 1/4" seam to the template - sew them right sides together using 1/4" seam and turn right side out to have double sided fabric bunting.

I hope you enjoy making this pattern your own and sewing the sweetest bunting!

This post is in collaboration with Brother Sewing - check out the website for events and free embroidery patterns.

linking up to finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Sunday Stash ~~ Fat Quarter Shop giveaway!

**Giveaway now closed**

Molli Sparkles was busy getting into the groove with Madonna this weekend so I'm happily hosting Sunday Stash. I have a few stash additions to share and will be giving away a fabulous fat quarter bundle thanks to Fat Quarter Shop!

Recently I ordered glue pen refills from Simply Solids. There is panic when I'm low on both those and the Styla pens, I like having back ups! They don't make for a great photo but it's okay because I couldn't resist some lovely fabric too:

I adored Pearl Bracelets and so the Mini Pearl Bracelets were a must for me, I was in a subtle mood when I got these two from The Village Haberdashery:

Mini Pearl Bracelets by Lizzy House in Heather and Sand

I got 2 metres of The Big One in Pepper, Carkai by Carolyn Friedlander from Patchfinders. I have plans for this! Any left overs will find their way into many other projects, this is a great neutral modern print.

I also got my third month of the Patchwork of the Crosses Quilt BOM from Sew and Quilt and Jessie nailed it again, such beautiful fabrics! I can't resist Liberty, it's so classic and pretty.

I have lots to be getting on with.

If you would like some pretty fabric to play with you're in luck because Fat Quarter Shop are kindly giving away this Essentials II by Pat Bravo Fat Quarter Bundle - 18 fat quarters! 

**Giveaway now closed**

Here's how to enter the giveaway:

1. Leave a comment telling me your top 2 essentials - it could be anything, quilting / sewing / life / handbag / beauty essentials, whatever!

2. Share about the giveaway on social media and let me know in a separate comment (optional extra entry).

The giveaway is open internationally, it will end on Monday 28th March and the winner will be chosen by 

You will not win if I can't contact you so for the love of fabric please check you are not 'no reply' and leave your email in the comment e.g. ireadcomments (at) goodmail (dot) com

Good Luck!

Now I'm looking forward to seeing your stash! Link your posts / photos below and go and peek at some of the other links while you're here :)

Molli Sparkles

Friday, 18 March 2016

smiles and fun ~ May and Charlotte

I am plugging away at my Farmer's Wife 1930's Sew-along blocks, no longer worried about catching up I am just picking out my favourites from the ones that have been released. There is going to be a slower pace for the whole sew along, as there will only be one block a week and I'm happy with that! 

These two blocks were English Paper Pieced.

#61 May - This letter is so true, my kids are hyper aware of my feelings. I'm often focused on what needs to be done and probably should have more laughs. "The troubles and burdens of the world will come to them all too quickly, and they will go from us to fight their own battles. Let's make our children happy while we can". I picked out fabrics that make me smile.

#23 - Charlotte "I decided to make this summer an enjoyable one for the whole family". I used the theme of games to pick fabrics for this block and used Cotton & Steel prints that felt happy to represent the "picnic playground"!

Yesterday I had a great time teaching a hand quilting class at Patchfinders, the ladies did an amazing job and came up with some really original and inspiring quilt designs! The stitches looked so good:

Today my son turned 8! He's a wonderful boy. So interested in everything, a voracious reader, an engineer - always taking things apart and figuring out how things work, a storyteller and such a thoughtful, sweet boy. He loved his new watch:

Being 8 was a lot of fun, I had brilliant friends and I remember learning to roller blade. I hope he enjoys 8 too! We are having his birthday party tomorrow (Kung Fu Panda 3 - at the same cinema I had a party to see Back to the Future 3).

Check back here on Sunday, there's going to be an excellent giveaway!

linking up to finish it up friday at crazy mom quilts

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

I'm working

The other day I hit a creative wall. What I was doing wasn't really working, I felt like I had no vision left and it was really frustrating. One of my biggest dislikes is feeling uninspired. It's so meh.

Then I taught a class at Patchfinders, making embroidered needle cases, and I enjoyed it so much. I had a lovely group and it felt nice to focus on the stitches. My demonstrative piece came home and I worked on it more, not worrying about perfection, just enjoying making a naive watermelon.

The bright pink of the Story by Carrie Bloomston print brought me cheer and made me start thinking about fabric. 

So I pulled out the stash for my green tea and sweet beans quilt and picked out fabric for my remaining four larger blocks. I'm trying to include prints I really love because the end is in sight. I have other projects to do before I get time to make them all so I had to write a post-it to myself to remind me what I decided on! I do this A LOT and only once have I switched things around. It's kind of nice to follow my own instructions.

This is the current block I'm working on (hand pieced), there are three of these Double Drunkard's Path blocks in the quilt:

Of course this is all procraftination to avoid working on projects that need to get done but at least my creativity has had a boost and the slow stitches give me a breather.

Sew Fresh Quilts