Friday
Jan242014

pinterest pouch - round two

Over my sewing career I've developed preferences for both construction methods and finishing techniques.  So when I try out a new pattern I often want to change things about it.  I love how this little pouch goes together, but the flap was a wee bit flimsy for me.  So I just added a piece of batting inside the flap - a quick and easy fix.  I like this version better.  So does my other daughter.  The next one I make will be for me ... I hope.

Here's a link to the Pinterest tutorial again, and I got the fabric here.  (There is still time to enter my Simply Sweet Fabric giveaway!)

Monday
Jan202014

a pinterest tutorial & a simply sweet giveaway

Pinterest. 

I'm trying to remember life without it. 

I can't.

Can you?

I found this Chinese pouch tutorial the other day ... I could not get to my sewing machine fast enough to start making it.

Here's how mine turned out. 

Daughter #1 called dibbs on it already.  Guess I need to make another one.  Or two.  Or ... you know ... maybe about infinity more.

Wanna know where I got the pretty pink floral?  From this, adorable Etsy shop Simply Sweet Fabric.  Such a fantastic selection of tiny florals and pretty prints over there.

Floral Prints Fat Quarter Bundle of 8, Cosmo, Japanese

If you'd like chance to win this delicious bundle of 8 fat quarters leave me a comment stating which print/color above is your favourite.  Giveaway closes on Sunday, January 26th and I'll announce the winner shortly after.  (Promise I'll remember this time!)

Saturday
Jan182014

a tisket, a tasket ...

a Yoko Saito basket!

You guys made me so happy with all your lovely comments about this project.  I'm thrilled you even bother to take an interest in what I do here, let alone anticipate a reveal.  And thank you for tolerating my incessant teasing, by the way.  I hope I always make the wait worth your while. :)

So I bought this book - "120 Embroidery Motifs" by Yoko Saito - maybe 3 or 4 years ago. 

I've poured over the pages countless times.  "Little Rainbows" is a project I've been wanting to make soooo badly but just never got around to ... until now.

I'm really happy with how it turned out.  The lining is a little "poochie" (how I describe fabric that's a little too loose so it doesn't fit smoothly), but I don't mind too much. 

Yoko used ricrac around the rim, but I just went with what I had in my cupboard ... this little bit of cotton lace. 

I hand quilted it too, like the original.  I just stitched random wavy lines.  I think maybe it's supposed to suggest the rain that is making the rainbows.  It didn't take too long - this basket is only 4" tall (not including the handle) and the base is 4" in diameter. 

And that handle?  Well ... let's just say it wasn't my favourite part - I made it twice - the scalloped piece really needs to be cut on the bias (I knew better but stubbornly tried to get away with a pretty striped print the first time around) - reattached it twice and had to undo/re-do several knots.  But it was all worth it in the end 'cause I think it turned out great.

I don't know what I'll use it for yet - maybe to keep some of my sewing accoutrement next to my machine or on my desk to hold pencils ... for sure somewhere I will see it often. :)

Monday
Jan132014

ellis & higgs ... and spoonflower!

I spent part of the weekend putting away Christmas ... but not quite everything Christmasy went back in a box.

Last month a dear friend introduced me to ellis & higgs.  It's become one of my favourite blogs to visit.  The first time I was over there I discovered that Nadra - the author - designs her own fabric on Spoonflower.  Her third collection Holly Jolly was just too adorable to resist so I treated myself with some fat quarters.

They arrived a few days before Christmas and oh my are they ever pretty!  I have no idea what I'm going to make with this yummy fabric, but it'll have a place of prominence in my stash until I dare take my rotary cutter to it!

*     *     *     *     *

I also totally forgot let you all know that Kathleen B in New York won the Sew Deerly Loved giveaway!  (Thank you Tracey for reminding me!)  I have another very nice giveaway coming soon so stay tuned, ok? :)

Thursday
Jan092014

more details ...

This Yoko Saito project I'm working on is quite small - the blue arch is only 1.25" tall.  But you know I like little.  So even thought there is quite a lot of detail here, I enjoy the short bursts of intricate stitching ... not at all overwhelming.  And the embroidery is all single ply, making the design so light and delicate.  Now on to the hand quilting.

Saturday
Jan042014

happy new year!

Hello hello hello!  Geez, I almost had to blow dust off the old keyboard here.  I've been gone longer than I'd intended. 

Hope your 2014 is off to a great start.  Mine is - with a little applique and embroidery.  Not sure how this project is going to turn out, but I'm liking it a lot so far ... :)

Wednesday
Dec252013

merry and bright ...

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a cheery holiday season.  xo k

Monday
Dec232013

2013 holiday tag-a-long: week 3

This week my tags were inspired by dreams of world travel.

It all started with the camera.  To be honest, that pattern was the main reason I bought this book - which ended up inspiring ALL my tags this season. 

I.love.this.camera.  Love it.  It's just so gosh darned little and cute!  Plus, as a blogger I use my camera a LOT so there's a sentimental connection too.

When I was flipping through the book looking for a few other designs to go with the camera, the Eiffel Tower grabbed my attention right away.  I like how the lacy ironwork texture is created with one strand of dark gray floss and one strand of light.  And those knots?  Whee!  Sooo so very simple and yet crazy effective. 

Sigh.  I've never been to Paris but it's definitely on my bucket list.  The super sweet ticking stripe is a new addition to my stash from here.

And then this clever little globe ... I simply couldn't not make it. 

In case you can't quite make it out, it's a view of the earth looking at Europe and Africa.  This blue floral - and the green plaid with the camera - are from the Pam Kitty Picnic collection.

Together I thought these tags would make the perfect present toppings for someone going on a trip - especially if they don't know it yet.  Imagine putting the Eiffel Tower tag on a pair of surprise tickets to Paris ... (sweet darling husband, are you reading this?  Hint hint!), the globe on a piece of luggage and the camera on a ... uh ... I think you get the "picture" ... hardee-har-har.

Now all that's left of this year's Tag-a-Long is to see dear Amy's last set, and then that's it!  I don't know about you but I think it went by too fast.  It's been nothing short of delightful getting in touch with my cross stitching roots these past few weeks. 

As I look at my collection of tags here, it's easy to pick a favourite.  I won't say which one it is but I will say that I've already gifted it to a very sweet friend.  So now I get to make another one for myself. :)

Thanks Amy, this was fun!  (How many sleeps until the next Tag-a-Long?)

Friday
Dec202013

gettin' down and crafty

So I was poking around the internet the other day and found myself here at one of my favourite places. 

A few days earlier, I'd bought a few packages of these at a local craft shop.

Impulse buy.  Didn't like the colour AT ALL ... my Christmas colours are predominantly white and silver (NOT dark green and gold).  But I've been wanting a set of little bottle brush trees for a long time so when I saw these, I got them.  And then thanks to Yvonne, I knew exactly how to make them my kind of pretty.

It's been a very VERY long time since I rolled up my sleeves and got down and crafty.  I really need to do this sort of thing more often.  I kinda felt like a mad scientist watching the dark green colour fade out of the trees as they bathed in the bleach & water.  It took a lot of restraint for me to not run back to the store and grab a bunch more trees ... just so I could play some more!

I also fell in love with those cute little putz houses since I first saw them a long time ago in a Martha Stewart magazine.  And after seeing Yvonne's adorable mantlescape, I was on a mission to recreate the same thing in my own home.

I spent the next few weeks looking for putz houses with no luck.  I finally gave up and figured I'd have to settle for a nice display of just trees.

Then BAM!  I was in the GROCERY STORE of all places and there they were ...  DIFFERENT WHITE & SILVER PUTZ(esque) HOUSES!!!  And they were only like $4 each!!!  (Sorry for yelling, but I'm trying to make you understand how awesome that moment was.)

"Ok Christmas, you can come now!"

Tuesday
Dec172013

sew deerly giveaway

Well hello!  How is your week going so far?  Are you ready for Christmas?  I'm not.  But then again I never am.  And yet Christmas still comes anyway and things always work out. :)

I've been doing a little pre-xmas shopping for myself ...

These pretties came in the mail yesterday.  When I emailed my friend Kerri at Sew Deerly Loved to tell her the fabric had arrived and how much I love it, she offered to do a giveaway for you, my dear readers!  I'm very excited for one of you to win this bundle of sweet Japanese fabrics. :)

Japanese, ATSUKO MATSUYAMA, 30's Collection, Fat Quarter Bundle of 14

To enter this fabulous giveaway to win 14 FQs of Atsuko Matsuyama's latest fabrics, simply leave me a comment saying what Christmas sewing (if any) you are doing, already did or plan to do (no one will know if you don't get to it!).

Comments close Sunday Dec 22nd and I'll announce the winner on Tuesday Dec 24th. 

Oh, and one more thing ... everything over at Sew Deerly Loved is 20% off right now so if you're looking for a gift for someone (like maybe yourself, possibly?) check out her shop.  I never leave empty-handed!

Monday
Dec162013

2013 Holiday Tag-a-Long Week 2

"O Tannenbaum, o tannenbaum, how lovely are your branches."

I started this week's tags with a simple, traditional green tree.  Easy enough, right?  Yes, I thought so too.

Until I decorated it with little red colonial knots ... looks more like a bad case of chicken pox, doesn't it?  LOL!

Oh well.  I think the pretty floral Victorian scalloped oval setting takes your mind off the poxes.  And I'm so happy to have found an opportunity to stick another bow on something. 

But then I developed a pink itch that I really needed to scratch ... so why not a pink tree?

I dug out my pretty crystal sequins and clear beads to decorate and then just fringed the linen edges a bit for some texture.  I picked the aqua ribbon because of the few tiny aqua flowers in the fabric.

And then I went all aqua with the last tree.

I had a harder time coming up with a good-looking garland.  I tried a few different things before settling on these flower sequins.  Ooooooh, do I ever love how they turned out!

Oh, and I backed all three tags with the Kraft-Tex I mentioned last week.

So that's that.  One tree, three interpretations.

How are your tags coming along?  Are you getting inspired?  Remember to visit Amy over at nanaCompany to see her batch of the week!

Amy and I are going to try to put together one more set of tags for next week.  Keep your fingers crossed ... unless you're busy making tags ... then never mind. ;)

Monday
Dec092013

2013 Holiday Tag-a-Long

That's right, it's back!  My homegirl Amy (of the beautiful and always inspiring blog nanaCompany) and I had so much fun with our 2012 Holiday Tag-a-Long that neither of us needed any arm twisting to do it again.  So we're kicking off this year's holiday season with another installment of gift tag inspiration. 

As with last year, our goal is to:

  • have a good excuse to make stuff (like we really need one, but hey ...)
  • satisfy our creativity with things we have lying around
  • inspire you to have some crafty holiday fun too

Last year we came up with a starter plan of templates and a tutorial for you to use (which are always available both here and over at Amy's blog). 

But when Amy and I were making plans for this round, we both wanted to branch out with different materials and tag shapes.  Remember, this is a "no rules" thing we're doing ... it's all about having fun and making things your way.

So that's all the business up front.  Now lets get to the party in the back. :)  (Yes, yes I did just make a mullet joke.  And no, Billy Ray Cyrus did not once cross my mind. tee hee)

This year, my tags started as "just because" cross stitching with the book I bought a few weeks ago.  I made a bunch of these little things for fun with no plan in mind.  Only after I'd made a few did it occur to me that I could make them into tags.

First up, the basket. 

Stitching this one up was all kinds of crazy fun.  The basket part is done with an offset "X" in alternating rows and result is this really neat basket weave effect.  And the handle?  Don't get me started.  (Too late.)  It's made with a loose loop of floss that's wrapped with a bunch of little knots.  Oh man it was fun to make. 

I was intrigued with how Amy used felt for her tags last year so I decided to give it a try myself.  And I think I was channeling my long-dormant scrapbooker self because I started layering.  SIX layers later (felt, gingham, blue floral, more felt, the basket and finally the fabric tape) I had a tag.  I thought it would be fun to leave the basket and felt layers free, except for across the top.  The stitchery is backed with fusible interfacing to help prevent fraying. 

Next is the puddle jumper. 

Only 4 layers here - I fused the striped fabric onto a piece of Kraft-Tex (awesome stuff!) so the tag itself is nice and stiff.  Then I stitched the boot to some felt and glued the boot onto the stripes.  My original plan was to use the red gingham fabric for this tag, but when I put them together they were too busy.  However my PamKittyMorning stash came to the rescue ... and inspired me to dig out my scalloped scissors.  And you know me ... I gotta stick a bow on something every once in a while or I start to get all twitchy in one eye.

And then the bicycle. 

I took a cue from my Scrumptious bundle and thought a red & aqua bike would be fun.  The white scalloped backing is also Kraft-Tex and the striped fabric is fused onto it.  Then I fused the bike on top.  The sequins were an afterthought ... makes it look a bit more holiday-ish, I thought.

But then I had no room for a grommet so I just glued the ribbon to the back.

All right.  Do yourself a favour and go check out Amy's tags.  And then I'll see you next Monday with another set.  Remember to check out our Flickr Group for more inspiration.  And please add your photos too if you make any.  Amy and I love love love seeing what all y'all come up with!

PS:  I got a few questions about my cross stitch last week so in case you're interested, I usually use 2 plies of floss (except for smaller details like the spokes on the bike) and I favour 32 count linen.  The basket and boot are done on Belfast linen and the bike is on Evenweave.

Friday
Dec062013

in a groove

I'm getting my cross stitch groove on like I haven't in ... sooo so long and I am loving it!  These littles are so quick and easy to stitch up. 

That boot?  Only 1 5/8" tall! 

These will be keeping me busy all weekend ... and taking my mind off our -40 degree weather (which, by the way, is the same in both Celcius and Fahrenheit).

Stay warm!  xo k

Wednesday
Dec042013

a to z

It is no secret I love the alphabet.  And letters.  And small designs & motifs.  And Japanese craft books.  This tiny treasure has all of that and then some!  So it's no surprise that I bought it about 30 seconds after I found it on Etsy.  (And then spent quite a bit of time browsing this entire shop!)  Cover-to-cover cuteness ... all in adorable cross stitch designs.

You know, I was a hard core cross-stitcher for about 20 years.  It was my needlecraft of choice.  My Home Economics teacher introduced me to the humble X when I was about 13.  I became an instant addict.  Oh the kits I made, the patterns I bought (did someone say Paula Vaughn?), the floss collection I amassed, the aida cloth I went through (until I discovered linen!!!).

It took a serious amount of discipline to write this post for you just now ... because it's delaying my start time on what I hope to be the making of something pretty!

Monday
Dec022013

quilty fun sew along & blog tour: week 5

Welcome welcome to Week Five of the Quilty Fun Sew Along by Lori Holt of Bee in My Bonnet and Fat Quarter Shop!  I was positively tickled when I got an invitation to play along. :)

If you're sewing along you've already visited the previous blogs on this tour to get your weekly assignments.  If not, you can check out Kerry's apples here, Amy's stars here, Rachel's Courthouse Steps here and Nanette's Baskets here.  You can also find a whole lotta inspiration on the Flickr Group ... tons of eye candy over there I tell ya!  If you're new to this sewalong, check here for all the details ... there's prizes every week, you know.  

So let's get to Row Five, shall we?

Flying Geese.  That is your assignment this week.  You'll find the instructions on page 26 of Lori's book and you can download the companion PDF here.

Now before I go on, I have a few things to say about flying geese.  I've made a lot of them over the years.  As in like a LOT a lot of 'em.  And I've made them with pretty much every method known to quilterkind.  So when I tell you that Lori's book has my favourite method of all time, I mean it.  There is no waste, no exposed bias edges ... I don't have to trim them to the correct size (which I almost always need to do) ... love it.

Not only that, but Lori somehow managed to make this method even easier and more accurate than I thought possible!  I love learning things that make my quilting life easier.  :)  One of her super smart tips requires a tool I don't own (but I have it on VERY good authority that Santa will be putting one in my stocking this year). 

It's December already (I know!) and I'm in the mood for a little festive colour.  So here are my super cute blocks in scrappy reds and whites.  I'm calling these my Christmas geese.  And these little fellas are ... well ... little! 

And now for this week's prize.  Fat Quarter Shop will be giving away two sets of Creative Grids Square Rulers, which include the 2 1/2", 3 1/2", 4 1/2" AND 5 1/2" rulers ... PLUS a package of their new Alphabitties!

So hurry up, go make your flying geese, and then upload them to the Flickr Page!  I'm dying to see them :)

Friday
Nov292013

worth her weight in gold

That is how I feel about my friend Laura.  I had the great fortune of meeting her several years ago when she was first starting her longarm quilting career.  Since then, she's become an extraordinarily talented longarmer.  I consider myself very lucky to benefit from her crazy mad skills. :)

For starters, Laura is an expert piecer.  Her own quilts are beautiful because she is meticulous and methodical and those qualities are in her longarming work too.  She has a deep understanding of the work and craftsmanship that goes into making a quilt top.  And as a quilter, she has a passion for patchwork.  She appreciates the art and the artists.

She also has a creative flair when it comes to longarm design.  She's always got great ideas to compliment and enhance your labour of love.

But my favourite thing about Laura is that she "gets" me.  She understands my style.  She knows my personality and knows what I like and don't like.  I never worry about leaving a quilt in her hands.  Ever.

(Funny little story ... if you have my book S is for Stitch, you can thank Laura in part for that too.  I had given her my original little girl quilt to topstitch after a few of my friends encouraged me to write a pattern for it.  I was in the process of making the boy version and happened to mention it to her.  She was expecting her first grandson and asked to see the boy quilt when it was done.  I showed it to her when I picked up the girl quilt and she loved it so much she asked if I would put together a kit for her.  Talk about a compliment!  Her appreciation and enthusiasm of my design really helped me muster up the courage to submit my designs to a book publisher.  So there's that story.)

I know many of her clients simply hand over their quilt tops to her and say, "Work you magic, Laura!"  That's exactly what I asked her to do with my Farmer's Wife.  I gave no other instructions.  And this is exactly what she did.  Every block is different.  But after admiring my finished quilt for a little while, I noticed something that fascinated and excited me about the top-stitching.  Laura artfully picked a few shapes, designs and motifs and then repeated them throughout the quilt.  I'd wonderied how she would stitch all 90+ blocks differently, but she did.  I'm sorry I don't have it in me to photograph every block individually. 

(I want to make huge postage stamp quilt with 3/4" finished squares JUST to have it all topstitched like the block above!!!)

I will be studying and enjoying her work on my quilt for a very long time.

I love the feathered border.  And I most especially love how she treated the sashing.

Thanks again Laura!  xo

And to all my American friends to the south, hope you're enjoying your Thanksgiving weekend!  I'll be out and about choosing window casing, baseboards and doors for the new house.

PS:  And for the record, I do NOT say "oot and aboot".  I do not know where that came from and I've never heard a fellow countryman say that for real.  It sounds hilarious when I hear an American making fun of Canadians about that.  It always makes me laugh.  But I want you to know that I don't sound like that.  Just sayin'. ;)

Tuesday
Nov262013

shabby fabrics giveaway

Today I need to show you something ... something really pretty.  I don't know if you know this, but Shabby Fabrics is one of my all time favourite online quilt store.  I became a customer when they were only on eBay!  That was a long time ago.  Since then, they have grown to be a trusted place for quilters to shop. 

At our cores, Shabby Fabrics and Pretty by Hand have the same passionate love of all things pink, feminine, romantic, cabbage rosy and sweet posy.  You can't imagine how proud I was that Shabby Fabrics was the first retailer to carry my patterns and was also the first business to sponsor my blog. 

So when they asked if I'd like to do a giveaway this week, of course I said YES!  Have you seen their latest Christmas quilt design?  It is offered as a Block of the Month project with the option of tradition or laser cut applique.

And they were very clever to figure out how to make the same design look quite different (day & night, literally!) with just a switch of one fabric.

Genius. 

I've made many quilts like this where each block is like a mini quilt all by itself - such a fun and rewarding process.  And then when you put them all together to make a big quilt, they become a show-stopping piece of artwork for your home.

This giveaway includes 2 items: the pattern set for this quilt AND the Embellishing kit.  The 101 piece Embellishing kit is pictured below.  Look at all the closeup photos and you'll see buttons, pearls, rhinestones, ribbons, jingle bells, snowflakes and charms ... everything you need to detail this quilt to perfection.

So if you would like a chance to win the pattern set and embellishing kit for this quilt, simply leave me a comment telling which version you prefer - Day or Night.  If you sign up for their newsletter here you can enter twice.  Or if you already subscribe, you can also enter twice.

This giveaway closes on Saturday 30st and I'll announce the winner on Sunday.  Good luck to you!  UPDATE:  Giveaway now closed.

Oh, and one more thing, Shabby Fabrics is having a Black Friday Sale this week ... details and coupons will be in their Friday newsletter.

Friday
Nov222013

the farmer took a wife ... 

 

... and then she made a quilt. 

These are only a few of the several dozen pictures I took the other day.  But it's the weekend already and I promised you something by now.  I want to write a more thoughtful and detailed post, mostly about the longarming artistry done by my friend (and I'm sure she has a magic wand in her sewing studio too), but I've run out of time.  So please know this is an abbreviated tour of my quilt with yet another promise to show you more next week.

Deal? ;)

Hope you have a good one!

Wednesday
Nov202013

s is for stitch giveaway alert

Hey!  I just found out that Quiltmaker Magazine is giving away books written by designers (including me holy cow!) who are featured in the latest issue of 100 Blocks ... how cool is that? 

Hop over to their blog and check out their pretty awesome giveaway.  You have until tomorrow (Nov 21st) midnight to enter.  Ooooh, I hope you win! :)

Tuesday
Nov192013

wallflowers

Ok.  No, this isn't wallpaper in my house.  I wish it was.  Isn't it just so pretty?  It is actually the back side of my Farmer's Wife quilt ... I thought I would tease you a little bit today before I show you the rest of the quilt later this week. 

Besides, these flowers deserve a post all to themselves, don't you think?