Sunday
Jun122016

splendid sampler ~ block 35

Have you been following this amazing Splendid Sampler quilt-a-long? There's something for everyone, that's for sure.  I still shrug my shoulders when I try to figure out how I was lucky enough to be invited to design a block for this epic venture by Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson.  Well done, ladies!  My hat is off to you.

I was asked to design a block for the "embroidery" category.  Perfect.  I love any excuse to pull out my boxes of floss.  But I was mindful that not everyone will be embroidering their blocks.  So I came up with something that would look equally nice with or without stitchery.  (How about using an interesting stripe to replace the embroidery?)

My "splendid" thing is a wishful garden.  If you've followed me for a while, you'll know that the few times I've mentioned gardening are usually to lament over my disappointing failures in the horticulture department.  I live in Zone 3.  If you're not familiar with climate zones, 0 is the arctic circle, so I'm not very far south from that!  LOL!  Anyhow, my beloved English cottage garden is pretty much impossible here.  I was getting sorta good at growing things for a little while, but then I became a mom and ... well ... gardening will forever take a back seat to my family and sewing ;).

However, I can stitch up rows of flowers in no time that will forever be in bloom (and will never need to be weeded)!  I went a little old school here with some traditional crazy quilt stitching, but I like how they look less crazy, more orderly in four straight rows.  And what a lovely thought to have a strawberry patch at the end of every garden path.

I hope you enjoy making this block, with or without embroidery.

You can find the free pattern for this and all Splendid Sampler blocks here. Also, find both piecing and embroidery tutorials on YouTube by Penguin and Fish here!  xo k

Tuesday
Jun072016

garden path slim case ~ a little summer project

Hexagons. 

They just never get old, do they.  Especially when they're Engish paper pieced. ;)  Here's my latest pattern featuring a mere 33 hexagons and measuring in at just 1/2" each. 

If you're intimidated by little, please don't be!  I hear that comment so often from quilters.  For some reason, many very skilled sewists and quilters shy away from smaller sizes because ... well, I'm not exactly sure why.  I suppose for cutting and machine piecing, accuracy is more important - or rather - smaller pieces are less forgiving.  I understand that. 

But when it comes to EPP, the technique is indential to larget pieces.  And as far as I'm concerned, smaller seams are faster!  LOL!  (Although yes you have more of them in a larger project she said speaking from experience. ;)

Anyhow, I made this case last summer when I was on a holiday in Palm Springs.  It was published in Love Patchwork & Quilting (Issue 28) last December and now it's finally available in my shop here. (PDF only)

I designed it to fit pencils, but I deliberately didn't call it the "Garden Path Pencil Case" because it can be used for so much more ... makeup brushes, sewing notions like scissors, rulers, etc., lunch utensils for the office ...

When I was deciding on prints for the feature hexagon path, I found the prettiest FQ cheater panel in my stash by Atsuko Matsuyama.  It was the easiest thing to cut out a few hexagons that looked scrappy by coordinated perfectly.  Love that.

I couldn't NOT add a few embroidered knots, but you don't have to if you don't want to.  Totally optional.

The closure? Easy peasy lemon squeezy - a simple snap.  No zippers, no magnets, no button holes ... just the most basic, utilitarian snap. 

Oh, and by the way, this little case would make a great teacher gift. ;)

Sunday
Jun052016

quilted bags & gifts ~ a giveaway

I'm really happy about this news.  Akemi Shibata's book is finally available in English and I happen to have a spare copy to give away.  Zakkaworkshop kindly asked me to help as one of the English editors and I'm really proud to have been involved in bringing this lovely book to the English-speaking part of the world.  It has so many beautiful and fun projects.  I've already made two (including the coolest bag I've ever made ;) and I plan to make more cute things.

Ok.  To enter this giveaway, just leave a comment here stating your favourite season. That's it!

Happy Sunday, all!

xo k

PS:  Zakkaworkshop - along with selling the book in their online shop - will also be selling all the cool hardware that is used in this book.  I'll let you know when!

Saturday
May142016

arguably the coolest bag i've ever made

From the second I laid eyes on this quilted bag in a Japanese book I was editing, I KNEW I was going to make it.  My curiosity demanded it.  I'd never seen anything quite like it and I loved everything about it ... the shape, size, handles, patchwork, colours, monogram with embroidered outline, and of course the super cool swivel hook clasp.

At a glance, it looks pretty straight forward.  The patchwork is made from simple sashed squares set on point.  The body is mostly just top-stitching (also should have been done by hand).  Add a quick appliqued letter and throw on some handles and boom! there you have it.

However, like many clever Japanese designs, this one requires a little more attention than you think.  The squares are an odd size, and the patchwork pieces are cut with templates.  So when you're cutting/piecing them together, if your seam allowances aren't precise, the wheels fall off. 

About the appliqued letter - the book only comes with a template for "A", I'm assuming after the author Akemi Shibata.  So I had to find a font on my computer, get the correct size, and make my own template from there.  The gorgeous fabric I was given by Lecien is just so lovely to work with, but it's a thicker woven that isn't usually used for applique.  It took a little more attention to get the corners right.  Not gonna lie, the embroidered outline hides a little of my .. er ... less then perfect points. ;)

About the colours.  I know, I know, NOT something you'd think I'd like, right?  But I was kinda mesmerized by the interesting mix of black, brown, blue, green, and yellow.  So I dove into my stash and found it surprisingly easy to come up with these prints - 3 of each colour - and (almost) all from Lecien.  The original bag also used a fun book/letter print for the sashing so when I found this one in amongst all my "script" fabrics (of which I have several, so it turns out), I knew it would be perfect.  Don't be surprised if I end up making an entire quilt with these colours.  I won't be. LOL!

And then the hardware.  Love it.  Love it, love it, love it.  But here's the thing.  I needed to use dark thread to go with the leather, but the lining of the bag is very light.  I didn't want the stitches to show through and I didn't want to applique a "bandaid-cover-up patch" over the stitches on the inside afterwards.  Soooooo, I just took my time and stitched the handles and swivel hook - which have pre-punched holes - very slowly and carefully by only catching the top layer of fabric and batting with my needle.  Somewhat tedious, but well worth the results.  For me.

I got several questions about the red handles from my last post.  All the hardware from both of these bags will be available very soon from ZakkaWorkshop, the company that is publishing the English version of Akemi's book, "Quilted Bags & Gifts".

Happy weekend to you! xo k

Monday
May092016

they call me "the bag lady" ...

For a time, I worked at a quilt shop sewing shop samples, teaching classes, designing projects, and writing patterns.  My favourite thing was to make and teach bag classes - especially Japanese designs from books and magazines.  For me, they provide the perfect balance of design and interesting bag construction.  I learned something new from every project and was always eager to start the next one.  It didn't take long for me to earn the nickname "the bag lady".  So many times I'd be introduced to a customer and they'd say, oh YOU'RE the bag lady!  LOL!  It was fun, and I enjoyed it.

Ironically, I don't like carrying a purse.  Never have.  I'm good with just a wallet.  And for evenings out, my husband's suit pockets work great. ;)  I reluctantly carried around a tote of sorts when my girls were babies.  But now?  Not so much.  I've been going to a fitness place 3x/week now for almost 4 months and I carry my sneakers in a plastic shopping bag!  LOL!  I'm totally not kidding you.  My girls make fun of me saying that for someone who makes/owns so many bags, I have no excuse to NOT use a cute bag.  Excuse?  I don't even have an explanation.

I finally replaced the plastic bag with a cloth one last week, but it was a gift with purchase, not even one I made.  I know.  Again, no explanation.

That was my lead-in to this latest project ... a Japanese bag from Akemi Shibata's book, "Quilted Bags & Gifts" that will be available very soon in English!  I had the pleasure of working as a technical editor on the book, and was also asked to make a few bags for quilt market.

This little beauty is called "Two Way Hexagon Bag" - two way because it has both hand handles and a shoulder strap.  Oh how I love this bag!  Among the more obvious and charming features, it has a hidden pocket in the front, a zipper installed by hand, and I love the little finger tab on the end of the zipper.  And then there's the lovely red leather handles and strap!  I used Lecien's Mrs. March scraps from my stash that I've collected (hoarded) over the years. 

To me, this is not a 100% true rendition of a Japanese bag ~ I had to cheat a little with this one because of time.  I made the hexagons slightly larger so I had less EPP hand-stitching, and I wish I had time to hand quilt the hexagons too, but I had to settle for machine.  In fact, ALL the quilting should have been done by hand.  (Sigh.)  I machine-stitched the zipper bindings down rather than hand stitched them.  And the zipper tab was supposed to be two covered buttons, but the store was out of the correct size so I used a technique I'd learned from other patterns and that didn't require anything special.  And in the interest of FULL disclosure, the little loops to hold the D-rings for the shoulder strap also should have been hand-stitched in place.  I just caught them under the top zipper binding.  Ok, those are all of my sins confessed for this project.

I made another bag from Akemi's book that I'll show you soon.  It has a fighting chance of becoming my official "work-out" bag ... when I get it back after Quilt Market. :)

xo k

Friday
May062016

a spoonful of sugar ~ book tour

Lisa Cox has been a fixture in our blog community for many years and she never fails to delight us with beautiful photographs, pretty fabrics, and inspiring projects/tutorials.  I was over-the-moon happy when I heard she was writing a book!

It's finally here and I have great pleasure of showing you one of the projects from "A Spoonful of Sugar".

You know, I've been meaning to make a sewing portfolio for ... a really long time.  My sister even asked me to make one when her store-bought one was falling apart (back in the 90s or early 2000s ... I wasn't kidding when I said a really long time!).  I just never got around to it, I guess.  So when I saw Lisa's verison, I simply needed to make it.

I used all "Flower Sugar" fabrics by Lecien.  The main fabrics on the cover and the inside are from the newest collection that's coming out later this year.  But the handle fabric is about four years old and the binding fabric is from five years ago!  That's one of the things I love about Flower Sugar - it mixes so well from year to year.

Oh, and the solid pink is a Lecien Flower Sugar basic.

My first fabric pull for this project was pink for the main fabrics and yellow for contrast.  But at the last minute, I remembered my recent apology to yellow and a promise to myself to use it more often, so I did a last minute switcheroo.  I love how sunny and happy it looks.  Yellow is just cheerful.  Period.

A few "full-disclosure" items:

One - the original pattern in the book has a delightful hourglass patchwork cover, but sadly I didn't have enough time so the cover of this one is just something I made up on the fly, it's not in the book. 

Two - I'm really naughty about reading instructions carefully.  I'm embarrassed about that, but it's true.  It's quite ironic too, because if you've ever bought one of my patterns, you may have read the "Please Read Carefully" clause on the first page!  LOL!  Gotta love karma ... I got caught with this pattern.  One of the photos of the finished project shows what I thought was a decorative measuring tape ribbon stitched to the inside.  I thought it was a sweet and clever design detail, and I just so happened to have such a thing it my ribbon box.  I realized later that it is an actual measuring tape that's supposed to be functional!  (I'm such a donut sometimes, honestly.)

Three - I fussy cut a pretty rose for the tab closure and decided to use a magnetic clasp rather than a snap that would hide some of the rose.  That's just the way I roll.

I hope you are inspired to make one of these super handy portfolios for yourself, or even for a gift for a sewist you know.  If you've never sewn with plastic before, don't be scared!  The sewing machine goes through it like butter. 

I'm only one of many stops on this book tour.  Here's a list of all the blogs you can visit to find out more about Lisa's book that I think belongs in every sewist's library. :)

April 26 – Jodie Carlton from Ric Rac

April 28 – Melissa LeRay from Oh How Sweet

April 29 – Jemima Flendt from Tied With a Ribbon

April 30 – Beverley McCullough from Flamingo Toes

May 2 – Sedef Imer from Down Grapevine Lane

May 3 – Nadra Ridgeway from Ellis and Higgs

May 4 – Amy Morinaka from Chick Chick Sewing

May 5 – Caroline Critchfield from Sew Can She

May 6 – Me ;)

May 7 – Bronwyn Hayes from Red Brolly

May 9 –  Anorina Morris from Samelia’s Mum

May 10 – Peta Peace from She Quilts A Lot

May 11 – Faith Essenburg from Sarana Ave

May 12 – Angie Wilson from Gnome Angel

May 13 – Sharon Burgess from Lilabelle Lane Creations

May 14 – Stacy Olson from Stacy Olson

May 16 – Ayda Algin from Cafenohut

May 17 – Jennie Pickett from Clover and Violet

May 18 – Wynn Tan from Zakka Art

May 19 – Lisa Cox from A Spoonful of Sugar

Lisa, thanks a million for inviting me to participate in this book tour.  Your work delights and inspires me always.  Congratulations on a lovely book.  Looking forward to your encore publication! ;)  xo k

Friday
Apr222016

strawberry biscuit blog hop

Hello and welcome to my stop on the Strawberry Biscuit blog hop.  The designer of this fabric - Elea Lutz - has become such a delightful friend of mine and I'm completely honoured that she asked me to share with you some things I was inspired to make with her adorable fabric collection.  I'm pretty sure that you'll be inspired too.  The designs are bright, happy, sweet, adorable, cute, with lots of pink and bows and flowers ... what's not to like?

I've had so much fun sewing with these pretty fabrics.  First up is a cosmetic bag that's pink with lace and strawberries and a little "handmade" label.  It's basically everything my "grey/skull pouch" daughter didn't want. ;)

These pouches are just so darned fast and easy and PRACTICAL, I thought it'd be fun to make another one in the blues from Strawberry Biscuit.  I threw in a little yummy citrus lime solid (also Riley Blake) for a little contrast.

Next up is a tote from a Japanese book by Atsuko Matsuyama.  The original pattern has a cute little patchwork pocket on the front.  I immediately thought the patchwork print in this fabric collection would substitute perfectly - as well as save me some piecing time.

Last, but not least, I found another perfect project for the patchwork print (so cute!) ... one of my own patterns called "Thank Heaven for Little Girls".  (Click here to find the pattern in my shop.)  I've literally made dozens of these sweet little purses over the years for my daughters and all their friends.  I've never met a little girl that didn't like to put all her tiny treasures in a purse to carry around, whether it's just in the house, to a play date, running errands with mom, or to church.

This "cameo" charm was fussy cut from one of the prints ... sooooo vintagy-retro-y cute!

Well, that's it for me, for now. ;)  Hope you enjoyed my Strawberry Biscuit makes.  Click here for a list of all the blogs to visit and the dates of this tour.  There are so many talented sewists and beautiful projects ... I promise you won't want to miss a single day of it!

xo k

Friday
Apr012016

flower sugar christmas

I don't need to SAY anything about this new Christmas Edition of Flower Sugar by Lecien.  You know how I feel about it. :) 

I made this pouch last nite instead of going to the gym.  (It's hard to feel guilty when I'm sewing with pretty fabric!  LOL!)

xo k

Wednesday
Mar302016

iPad mini + epp = :)

Issue 33 of Love Patchwork & Quilting is out in the UK (and online) today and will hit America next month.  I'm a little excited because I've got a project published in it that I hope you'll enjoy. :)

It's always fun to see your work in a magazine.  It seems surreal that something you design and plan and make with your own hands and then pop in the mail miraculously appears four months later on the other side of the world ... all ... I don't know ... like something someone else did ... in the pages of a fabulous, glossy, trade publication.  I would love to be a fly on the wall of readers when they turn the page and see my thing.  Where are they when they read this magazine?  Are they in a favourite comfy chair in a corner near a window?  In bed?  On a train commuting to work?  On a coffee break?  Do they like it?  Do they linger on the page, or perhaps even read about it?  Does it inspire them?  Are they drawn to the fabric, or the technique, or the finished project itself?  Will they actually make it?  Will it be kept or gifted?  Will a recipient love it and use it?  I'll never know the answer to any of these questions, but it's fun to imagine that I might - in some small way - make someone happy.

I made two versions of this project - one traditional and one a little modern.  (I'm stretching myself and it feels good!)  The editors at LPQ chose the modern version (above) with Lecien's Minny Muu collection and a touch of grey (not my usual white).  Here's the other one.

(Skeleton keys?  Really?  LOL!  They have absolutely nothing to do with the subject matter.  I'm just getting a little bored with my go-to scissors and spools of thread, but I needed something to fill that blank space and I thought you'd appreciate something new ... plus I kinda like the juxtaposition of the old-world tool with the high-tech gadget.)

As you might have guessed, it's "girly" with a mix of my beloved PamKitty prints from Lakehouse, as well as a handful of assorted Japanese prints of little flowers in bright colours that I never tire of (and at this rate will also never run out of, either!) 

(That PamKitty bird with a parasol ... how could I NOT?!)

Lace, of course lace.

And I fussy cut a bit of fabric to make a rose fabric tab on the side.

By the way, if you're looking for English paper-piecing templates, please check out my sweet friend Jessie's shop here.  In addition to a great online source for templates, she has lovely Liberty fabrics and a super adorable Block of the Month club ... check it out!

That's all for today.  Hope you're having a great week and that your Easter chocolate tooth was satisfied.  Mine sure was! xo k

Monday
Mar212016

COSMO painted embroidery hoops ~ and a giveaway!

It's no secret that I love COSMO embroidery floss.  But today I want to share with you a new product by COSMO - these beautiful painted cypress wood embroidery hoops.  They're so pretty!  Make It Yourself magazine features them in the Wish List of their Spring/Summer 2016 issue (on newstands today).

The purple hoop inspired me to stitch up a sweet sprig of lavender.  Funny thing, though.  When I was finished the embroidery, I suddenly remembered a conversation I had - literally a week ago - with a friend about how much I love the colour combination of aqua and lavender.  So I switched the hoop and ... voila!

(The beautiful lace print fabric is from "Centenary Collection 21" by Yoko Saito for Lecien.)

I wanted to add a bow somewhere to my embroiderey piece in the.worst.way.  I auditioned both aqua AND purple ones.  Tried many positions, too ... above the word, below the word, on the flower, on the metal closure of the hoop ... but my daughters are doing their best to "modernize" me and convinced me that simple is better.  So I settled for having a bow in the photo instead.  A happy compromise. ;)

And now I have a super fun giveaway for you.  I have THREE sets of all four coloured hoops.  Yes, three sets.  That means three winners. If you'd like a chance to win, please leave me a comment telling me your favourite colour.  It's just that easy.  Giveaway closes March 28 (day after Easter) and is open to all.

Happy Easter! xo k

Sunday
Mar062016

dear yellow, i am so very sorry

Dear Yellow,

I am so very sorry that I've never given you due consideration or credit.  You know how much I like using you as an accent for things like flower centers, or other smaller details.  But I never really appreciated your full sparkly potential, and especially how wonderfully you play with my beloved pinks and aquas.

I am always quick to admit when I've been wrong.  I was wrong about you.  You are not just an extra.  You are a star!

I wish I could take credit for having this revelation on my own, but I must thank Stacy for putting you in my sights.  Now that I've seen how wonderful you truly are, and how much personality you can add to my projects, I promise that from now on, I will look to you when I do fabric pulls for future designs.

I hope you will forgive me.

Yours truly, Kristyne

(same print touching ... grrr)

Although I quite enjoyed the skull pouch challenge, this ... this is like coming home from being away for a while and crawling into your own bed with fresh sheets.  Soooo comfortable. 

This is my comfort zone.  Pretty much everything I was NOT allowed to use for my daughter is in this round pencil case (pattern here!).  And I love it.  I will even get over the touching fabric - which is more irritating when you know that I made the pink ends with two different prints specifically to avoid that problem.  But apparently when it's after 10:00 pm and my daughter is on an airplane somewhere half way across the continent, my concentration is dodgy at best.

Hope you have a sunny, yellow week!

Saturday
Mar052016

a mother's love has no end ~ and a winner

Ok, winner first.

I deeply apologize for not announcing to all the winner sooner for the Paperie Blog Tour.  But I did contact the winner already.  Congratulations to Tricia C! You have an "Amy's Pockets" kit coming your way. :)  Thank you so much to all who participated.

*     *     *     *     *

Your child is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get.

I think most people assume/hope(?) their kids will be a lot like themselves. I did. As it turns out, not so much. My first daughter is lovely.  She's 14.  She's kind, sweet, gentle, sensitive. (In those ways, she is like me, I think.)  However, her style is about as opposite from mine as one could possibly get. And don't get me started on the whole music thing.  I don't get it.

But I love her and I respect her individually. She is teaching me a lot and I am a willing student.

So.

She is going on her first trip away from home alone and I wanted to make her a little something special to remind her that I am always thinking about her while she's gone. 

This is how my research went.

Me: Can I make you a cosmetic bag for your trip? 

Her:  Can you make it big enough to fit my hairbrush?

Me:  Of course!  I can do anything. ;)

Her: Ok, but not pink.

Me: What colour would you like?

Her: Black.  Or grey.

Me:  Can I use an accent colour?

Her:  Navy.  But only if you have to. And nothing with flowers, stripes, polkadots, words, animals ... just p.l.a.i.n.  But if you have fabric with skulls on it that would be awesome.  (She said that as a joke knowing full well I have no such thing in my stash LOL!)

Me:  Can I at least add a label or something?

Her:  I'd rather you didn't (trying not to hurt my feelings too badly).

Me:  And how about some top-stitching.

Her:  No.

Me:  Ok.  Let me see what I can do.

I pulled some fabrics and got her final approval.  She's fine with the lining.  But I kept the applique a secret.  When she came into my sewing room to check on my progress, I had to quickly hide the evidence!

Two hours later I presented her with this.  I'm happy to say I surprised her a LOT.  She didn't know I had it in me to do skulls.  And she is cool with the red tab, thank goodness.  I took a risk there.

Sigh.  I love her so much.

And I'm going to be a weepy mess for the next 7 days.  How did mother's survive such things before texting? I salute you!!!

Saturday
Feb132016

a blog tour, a new pattern, and a giveaway (oh my!)

Hello hello!  And welcome!

Have you been following this tour? Every day I gasp with amazement at all the lovely creations being made with Paperie.  Love them.  And the fabric.  And my dear sweet Amy.  We've been pals since we were both newbie bloggers.  (Hey Amy, can you believe it's been almost 5 years now?!) She was the first blogger friend that I met in person.  I was an instant fan of her work and style, and an instant fan of her as a super nice person.  I'm honoured to call her friend (sorry for being so corny, but it's true).  And I know how hard she worked to realize her dream of designing fabric for all of us to be inspired to make pretty little things.  So I'm super excited that today is my turn to show off Amy's debut fabric collection, and the pattern I wrote specially for it.

Back Story ... because, you know me ... what's a blog post without a back story? ;)

Some 25 years ago (wait, what? seriously? that can't possibly be right! and yet, it is ...) when I started working at a Laura Ashley shop, it was at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.  And like most stores, Laura Ashley shelves were stocked with specialty holiday items designed for easy and affordable gift-giving.  One of my favourite such gifts was a little set of 3 cosmetic pouches made in coordinating fabrics and tied with a ribbon.  It was always popular with husbands and boyfriends because they didn't have to worry about it fitting. ;)

I gave and owned many of these sets and have been meaning to make them all these years because they are the perfect combination of pretty and practical.  In fact, I still have a few surviving pouches that I use for travelling.  So this finish feels pretty darned awesome because A) it's finally DONE, B) I got to use Paperie, C) it turned out super cute, and D) now I have my new favourite quick gift to make for daughters, sisters, moms, friends, teachers, hostesses ... ... ... ME!

Sometimes these pouches were made with coordinating zipper binding (as I've made mine) and sometimes they just had plain, exposed zips.  Of course the binding takes a little more time and attention, but I think it look so much prettier, and it's more fun for me to play with more fabric. 

Consider adding a layer of clear plastic to the lining if yours are going to see some heavy-duty makeup use.

And as with anything handmade, finishing details are the icing on the cake and can be whatever you want them to be.  I've shown a few simple ideas here, but you can satisfy your inner muse with patchwork, applique, and embroidery to name a few more ideas.

Pattern is available here. (PDF download only.)

Now I also have a little giveaway today.  I had enough leftover fabric and notions to make up a complete kit for someone to make exactly these three pockets. Everything is included - fabric, ribbons, label, d-ring, zippers, and pattern.  All you need to add is batting and thread.

Here's the deal. (I was going to make this exclusive to Instagram, but I think some of you don't use it.)  So.  If you ARE on IG, like my Paperie post and leave a comment tagging a friend.  Just one friend.  If your name is chosen, you will win the kit and your friend will win a Paperie charm pack from Amy. :) If you are NOT on IG, then just leave a comment here saying so and you will be entered to win the kit.  Anyone can enter, no matter where you live, and entries close Feb 15th.

Good luck! xo k

Wednesday
Jan272016

true love pinnie

Hey!  Just popping in real quick to show you this sweet little pincushion I whipped up in less than an hour this morning.  Seriously.  Cheri made it for Amy's Paperie blog hop and I just couldn't help myself.  I needed to make it more than I needed a cup of tea. ;)  True story.  Find the tutorial here.

Monday
Jan252016

paperie blog tour!

Hello everyone!  I'm pretty sure you know Amy Sinibaldi of nanaCompany.  And I'm pretty sure most of you have seen her first fabric collection "Paperie".  When I heard she was organizing a blog tour, I begged her to let me join in the fun. :)  (Obviously, she said yes.)

The tour starts today so hop over to Amy's blog for details.  My date is Feb 13th - the day before Valentine's.  I made up a cute little project (three, actually) and wrote a pattern for it too.  AND, I'll have 2 giveaways for you as well.  This is gonna be fun! 

Thanks Amy, and congratulations of your first of many beautiful and inspiring fabric collections.

xo k

Monday
Jan042016

you know I had to do this sooner or later, right?

So depending on your point of view, I'm either "later" as in Christmas is SO over already, or I'm "sooner" as in Christmas is still another 11 1/2 months away!  LOL! 

I actually had this finished before Christmas, it just took me this long to show you.  (The short daylight hours of winter here in the Great White North known as Canada are NOT my favourite thing.)

I don't have a ton to say about this version ... you already know how I feel about pink.  I made this one a bit smaller - it doesn't have a border because I opted for a lace trim instead. 

And that little ribbon/lace/button addition in the top left corner?  Uh, that is there to hide a little oopsies.  My cutting table was (is) a bit of a disaster and it seems I accidentally ran my rotary cutter into the fabric by an inch and a bit.  So that little embellishment is more of a bandage than an intentional design detail.  But works.  And it makes me giggle.

Hope your New Year is off to a good start!

xo k

Monday
Dec282015

new pattern - just in time for the new year

I wrote this pattern a while ago for a workshop I taught last month.  Because it was dated 2015, I figured I'd better get this published before the new year so I didn't have to change the date. ;)

It's available as a PDF only in my shop.  You can find it here.  It went through rigorous testing and all the ladies in my workshop (thank you again, Alberta Quilt Study Society gals!) were very happy with their new shopping bags.

If you are as much of a fan of Robert Kaufman's Essex linen in "Natural" as I am, this is the perfect project to use some of that gorgeous fabric.  The end result is a fun take on the traditional brown paper bag.  Paired with your favourite print - and you don't need to use much! - the linen really shows off the feature fabric.  And there's a lot of opportunity to personalize this pattern, too.  Do whatever you like to make it your own.  It's a super roomy bag to tote around a lot of stuff fron the market, to your next quilting class, to the beach ... one can never have too many pretty bags!

xo k

Tuesday
Dec222015

whoever said "it's the little things in life" could not have been more right, even though this is probably not what they meant

What would you do if a very dear friend sent you a key chain (or scissor fob, as I've turned it into) that has a wee little skein of pink COSMO embroidery floss and a wee little embroidery hoop?

Would you squeal like a teenage girl at a Justin Beiber concert?

Well apparently I would.

And did.

Thank you N!!! xxx

Sunday
Dec202015

santa hat mini free pdf

Merry Christmas to you from me. :)  Just click on the image of the pattern to download it for free.  I'll put a link to this post under tutorials and free patterns so you will always be able to find it. 

I hope you have fun with this one.  I could easily see it as a cushion cover.  Or even just use one hat on a gift tag!  Use pompoms or little jingle bells instead of buttons, go crazy with your colours and embellishments, or just keep it super simple.

xo k

Saturday
Dec192015

letting cats out of bags ... and a rather unexpected preamble

Quick, go get yourself a hot cup of coffee or tea and a small plate of Christmas baking or a handful of chocolates ... you're gonna need them!  I've gone through two cups of Chai tea and a half a dozen truffles writing!  LOL!

*   *   *   *   *

Before I get started, I have to say that I've had THE biggest kick out of your reponses to my question yesterday about Martha Stewart projects.  Talk about a trip down memory lane.  I don't think it would be a stretch to describe me as a Martha disciple from the mid 90s when I discovered her to about the early 2000s when I had kids and no time to have that sort of fun anymore.

I used to record her show and watch each episode several times.  I loved everything about it.  I learned a lot and was constantly inspired.

Suz, you are quite right.  Classic, understated elegance is everywhere! :)

Rosemary, no question some of her projects were VERY intense.  I remember reading in an anniversary issue that said of all her "good things" projects, the one rated most difficult were these little lidded, nexting boxes made with paper.  I had to laugh because I went to town with a neighbour friend with those!  The measurements were finicky, but I thought the boxes were fairly easy because I had all my quilting equipment.  My mat, ruler, and the bone folder I bought because of her (that thing has come in so handy over the years!  Among other things here and there, I use it all the time for turning out corners on my sewing projects) for scoring the fold lines made that project so much fun.  I remember photocopying sheet music to make the boxes.  Because they were made of regular paper, they slowly succumbed to use and abuse over the years, but I kept office suppies in them on my desk in my home office for a long time.  Loved them.

Marcella, so sorry for you/happy for me to hear that the buckwheat hull pillows were noisy!  LOL!  I wanted to make those too, but they were too expensive (although that cranberry wreath cost me a pretty penny!).  Thank you for permission to no longer regret not making those.

Stacy, realistic is how I feel about it now too.  I can't bear to get rid of all my old issues.  But I have no time for new projects.  I know that if I am ever in the mood to do something crafty, I have 10 years worth of Martha to go through to satisfy myself. :)

Pam, yes I remember that cake. :)  But more importantly, YOU HAVE BEEN TO TURKEY HILL???!!!  Lucky duck. (Hard Copy!  LOL!!!  I would have been right there with ya!)

Sue, your dogwood wreath sounds absolutely dreamy with the hand painted blossoms.  Sigh.  Her mom really was adorable.  What a no-nonsense, entertaining lady.

Jenn, oh those Christmas specials!  I always looked forward to them.  So dreamy and lovely.  I miss them.  I have most of her Christmas books.  Geez, I should pull them out and put them on my coffee table right now!  Funny thing, before I was a mom and didn't have worry about how I decorated my coffee table, I would keep a stack of my Martha magazines out and I'd switch them every month.  All the Januarys in January, etc.  Yes, I used them as decoration.  And I read and reread them countless times.  (Wow, was I ever nerdy!)

Sherri, O.M.G. that marzipan garden cake!!!  I LOVED that cake!  That picket fence?!  Oh I wanted to make little marzipan things in the worst way.  But I didn't have the tools.  I actually toyed around with the idea of making them with Fimo, but I suck at sculpting, I found out. :(  Funny story, just a few weeks ago my daughter asked me what marzipan was made of.  First thing that popped into my head was that cake.  Too bad marzipan tastes so gross (apologies if you like it).

Ann, those gilded walnuts.  I remember those too.  Who else other than Martha would think to pair walnuts with pearls, I ask?  Gorgeous.  Something else I wanted to make.  Not sure why I didn't.  Glad you did, though!  It's fun doing things like that with a friend.  Even though you only have 2, they put a smile on your face every year when you remember that afternoon, don't they? :)

Helen, the world is full of so many other lovely creative and inspiring people.  You will never want for that sort of entertainment, now that the internet gives you access to all!

Holly, oh I wish you would tell me stories!  I love them.  I have most of the baby issues too.  I remember embroidering burp cloths when I was pregnant, thanks to the first issue.  How ridiculous that sounds to me now!  LOL!

Sigi, your wreath sounds absolutely delightful, Martha or not.  I do give her credit for teaching me to appreciate wreaths in all forms.  This year I actually made a cedar bough hanger for my front door.  Turned out a little wonky, but it's fine for one season.  Would never have done that without her inspiration.  I think the first wreath I made from fresh branches was from a Mountain Ash tree in the backyard of our first house.  I got a wire frame and a paddle of green floral wire, as per her instructions, and made a pretty awesome fall berry wreath for my front door.  It actually lasted a few years!  I also learned to wire all the glass ornaments on my tree from her.  I keep that same paddle of wire in my xmas decoration box.  And yes, I wire every single glass ball ornament (100+) to my tree.  I like how it looks like they "grew" off the branch.  (Am I starting to sound like a total nut job?!  LOL!)

This may make me sould like a bad mom, but I've never let my girls decorate the tree before.  I mean, I always put on all the breakable stuff first, and then I let them put all their special ornaments on.  This year, my youngest, who is 12, really wanted to do the tree from the beginning.  So I showed her how to wire the ornaments to the tree, starting with the large ones at the bottom, medium size in the middle, and small at the top, etc. 

Then I went through all my "rules".  I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I surprised myself at just how neurotic I am about decorating the tree.  Ornaments have to be free hanging, placed according to size, colours evenly distributed, no crowding, no hanging ornamants from the garland, all ornaments with a front need to face front, angels near the top because they are flying ... I have a TON of rules.  I think I need to lighten up a bit.

Anyhow, she finished one box of balls and was so proud of herself for finishing them ... until I pulled out the other 7 boxes!  Poor thing.  I ended up finishing the job alone.

Anita, that ribbon poinsettia wreath was FABULOUS!  So happy you made it.  I think you should dig it out, dust it off and enjoy it again.  I know you put lots of time and effort into it!

Please keep your stories coming.  I love reading them. :)

*   *   *   *   *

Hello?

Did I lose anyone?  That was a rather long preamble that I didn't expect to write.  Thanks for sticking around.

*   *   *   *   *

One of the reasons I haven't been here as often as I'd like is because I somehow got myself some magazine work this year.  Getting published is always fun, but it means I have to keep my projects a secret until the magazines are published.  So now that all the cats are out of the bags, here they are ...

First is a table runner I made with Little Joys by Elea Lutz for Penny Rose Fabrics.  This design is a coordinate for this stockings pattern I published a few months ago. 

Super simple, super quick, machine applique, glue on some buttons and there you go!

Next, the stockings I showed on IG.  These are my favourite.  Also made with Little Joys from Elea Lutz.  May was a busy Christmas month for me!  LOL! 

A few things about these ...

See the lace cuff on Stocking #1?  Jodi at Pleasant Home gifted it to me a few years ago.  That was such a special surprise.  Read about it here

And then just yesterday, my adorable friend Greg from Greydogwood Studio used this pattern as a jumping off point for a cute rendition of Lori Holt's Granny Squared improv!  Oh they turned out so cute.  You really need to check them out here.  This sort of thing right here is what makes our amazing online community so wonderful.  :)

Ok, next is a little EPP hexie pencil case I made for Love Patchwork & Quilting.  I remember finishing this off in August while on vacation in Palm Springs this summer.  Good times. :)

And finally, Australian Homespun.  I can't say that this one took me any time to do.  They asked if they could publish this project that I blogged a few years ago.  Here's the original post.  Those cute little leggings are long gone now, and the weird thing is that I can't remember which one of my daughters belongs to the legs in the photo! LOL!

So there you have them.  I hope you're inspired to make one, a few, or all of these projects.  They all came from my heart and hands for you.

xo k