Monday, 2 March 2015

Thank you and Giveaways not to miss

First of all a big thank you to my friend who gave me this incredible mat for Christmas (we only just managed to exchange Christmas presents last week!). She really knows what I like and this mat is such a good way to start the (crafty) day, isn't it?!

An enormous thank you also to the Fat Quarter Shop for sponsoring Le Challenge. Thank you to Lucy @ Charm About You and Nat @ Made in Home for organising and hosting Le Challenge. I was so lucky to win the December edition Le Challenge #18 - Ink with this entry on Instagram:

 Ink Note Pouch - Ella and Nesta's Little Room

These are the fantastic fabrics I chose with the Fat Quarter Shop's gift certificate:

And now for the giveaways! If you're looking for an updated list of giveaways, Melissa @ Missouri Mel has transfered The Giveaway Roundup to a new location. You can find it here and she's hosting her own giveaway to promote the new site.

The Giveaway Roundup!

If you love pin cushions then you don't want to miss my friend Mara's giveaway at Secretly Stitching. Don't forget to vote for her lovely Fabric Frame at the Fat Quarter Shop's blog the Jolly Jabber. She is so creative!

Quilt #1 Fabric Frame by Mara of Secretly Stitching in Greece

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Saturday, 21 February 2015

DIY Set of Coasters on a Ring - Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Linky Party with giveaway

I'm joining the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Linky Party this month over at Threading My Way, where Pam has a lovely tutorial for making reusable drawstring gift bags. I love this idea: no waste here, you keep the wrapping too! Pam has a great site full of tutorials and they are very well sorted. So if you're looking for an idea for a present or for yourself, this is a really good place to look!

I thought I'd transform some log cabin blocks into a set of coasters as a present for Christmas. A big ring keeps the coasters together when you're not using them and you can use it to hang them up on a hook in the kitchen as a decoration.

From the 18th of each month this year you can join the Ho, Ho, Ho and on We Sew Linky Party, organised by Fiona at Celtic Thistle Stitiches and Paula at Mud, pies and pins. It's a great way to keep up with our Christmas sewing. Giveaways for the linky parties are the cherries on top! 

Celtic Thistle Stitches

So happy to have met my Lovely Year of Finishes goal I set at the beginning of the month too (with my Flickr foto, entry 125) with this set of Log Cabin Coasters! This is a finish that means a lot to me, after an unsuccessful January goal. I've warmed up now and am ready for more ALYOFs!

A Lovely Year of Finishes is at Fiber of All Sorts and Sew Bittersweet Designs.

A Lovely Year of Finishes

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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Lucky (and useful) Sunday Stash

I owe my Sunday Stash to the generosity of Pat at Life in the Scrapatch. I was so lucky to win her giveaway which was supposed to be the tree panel by Tracy Lizotte for Elizabeth Studio. Supposed to be because she surprised me by adding an extra panel with Tracy's incredible drawings of birds and nests. Thank you so much Pat!

This fabric is going to come in very handy because I'm joining the Tree Bird Blog Hop in March, organised by Sew We Quilt and with cheerleader Lana at It Seams To Be Sew. The theme fabric is this special Beautiful Bird collection

I also have a new sewing accessory! Oh no, not another pin cushion?! Yes, it's a "Wrist Pinny", a magnetic wrist pin caddy. I swear I haven't got one of these. It should be very useful because I sew upstairs in the "Little Room" but when I need space I have to go downstairs to the kitchen. My pins always seem to be in the wrong place when I'm going from one room to the other! This caddy should help solve part of my "going up and down stairs because I'm forgetful" problem!

Linking up with the always sparkling Molli: go and take a look at Molli's shiny posh Sunday stash!

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Saturday, 14 February 2015

How to make a Folding Envelope Heart Mug Rug - Tutorial

How about a Mug Rug you can fold up into an envelope? Slip a tea bag inside and you have a fun present or a special way to lay the table for a tea party!
We came up with this idea thanks to Ombretta at A Sunday morning with. A few days ago she posted free printables to make paper heart shaped envelopes. We decided to use her template to make a fabric Folding Heart Rug Mug. Ombretta kindly accepted to let us write a tutorial linking to her free printable.

So here's an easy tutorial for making a Folding Heart Mug Rug:

Heart Mug Rug

Folded Heart Mug Rug

Here is what you will need to make the Folding Heart Mug Rug:
  • Download a Heart shaped envelope to use as a template from A Sunday morning with (thank you Ombretta for the download!).
  • Two fabrics for the front of the Mug Rug (one is for the "flap"of the envelope);
  • Fabric for the back of the Mug Rug
  • Cotton Batting
  • Two heart shaped buttons
  • Elastic ribbon

To start, print a Heart shaped envelope from A Sunday morning with, enlarging by 20%.  Use the heart shaped envelope as a template to trace the heart shape on the fabric for the front of the mug rug.

The fabric for the "flap" of the envelope should be 2.5" high (higher than in the template because it's been enlarged by 20%). Leave the "flap" fabric wider than needed. Sew the two fabrics for the front together using a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Iron the seam open. Now, using the template, cut off the excess "flap" fabric.

Cut the fabric for the back of the Heart Mug Rug using the template. Place the pieced fabric for the front of the mug rug onto the fabric for the back, right sides together. Now place on top of the batting. Sew around the edge leaving an opening for turning. 

Cut off the excess batting and then cut little notches along the seam allowance, in particular on the curves and at the top centre of the heart. Trim the point of the heart. Turn right side out through the opening and iron.

Top stitch around the whole heart. Following the guide lines on the template for folding the heart into an envelope, sew three lines. You can use a piece of washi tape (see the not very good photo above!) as a guide for sewing the line in exactly the right position.

Check the position of the buttons and then sew one button at the centre top of the heart, placing the elastic ribbon underneath before sewing into place. Then sew the second button near the point of the heart.

And here is a fun Folding Heart Mug Rug, you can carry in your bag, hang up as a decoration, or make as a present for a special friend!

Thank you Ombretta at A Sunday morning with for inspiring this Heart Mug Rug and being so nice letting us link to your download. Don't miss Ombretta's blog because she has beautiful ideas and lots of free downloads.

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Linky Party 2015

Saturday, 24 January 2015

How to make a Two-Sided Magnetic (Fabric) Pin Cushion - Tutorial

Magnetic pin cushions are really handy for keeping your pins in one place, the only problem is... they're not made of fabric! Traditional pin cushions are very useful when you have to take a pin without looking (because you're busy working on your quilt...) and you don't want to hurt yourself!
So how about a Two-Sided Magnetic (Fabric) Pin Cushion? On one side of the pin cushion a magnet keeps your pins in place, on the other side you can insert your pins when you need too.

Here is what you need to make a Two-Sided Magnetic (Fabric) Pin Cushion:
  • A flat rectangular magnet (even a old one will do!)
  • 6 pieces of fabric, each one sized at least 1/2" longer and wider than the sides of the magnet. You can use scraps of fabric or a few 5" squares from a charm pack if you like.
  • Pincushion filling;
  • A glue gun
Seam allowances are always 1/4".

Before starting, check your magnet is strong enough to hold pins by placing a piece of fabric between the magnet and some pins. If you can turn the magnet upside down and the pins stay in place then your magnet is strong enough.

Start by cutting two pieces of fabric for the top and bottom of the pin cushion. Each piece must be 1/2" longer and wider than the magnet. 

Then cut four pieces of fabric to make the sides of the pin cushion. The length of each piece of fabric must be 1/2" longer than each side of the magnet. The width of each piece of fabric depends on how thick you want your pin cushion to be. For the pin cushion in the photos the sides are 2 1/2" high (including seam allowances). Sew the four sides together right sides together with a 1/4" seam allowance, making a ring (stopping a 1/4" from each corner).

Now sew the piece of fabric for the top to one side of the ring, stopping again a 1/4" from each corner. Iron the pieces you have sewn together.

Using a glue gun, put a line of glue just around the seam on the wrong side of the top piece of fabric and glue your magnet into place (magnet side towards the fabric). Leave to dry.

When the glue is dry, turn the pin cushion with the magnet underneath and sew the top piece of fabric and the fabric ring right sides together (always stopping 1/4" from each corner). Leave an opening on one of the long sides for turning the fabric right side out. The opening must be at least as long as the width of the magnet, especially if the magnet is too stiff to bend through the opening.

Turn right side out, using a chop stick (this is my favourite tool but you can use any other blunt pointed tool) to help you turn the points out. Stuff with pincushion filling and hand sew the opening closed. The magnet will make the base of the pin cushion flat and heavy enough, so you won't need to use crushed walnuts as a filling. 

And here it is, your finished Two-Sided Magnetic (Fabric) Pin Cushion!

The fabric used for the Two-Sided Magnetic (Fabric) Pin Cushion is Sew Yummy by Monica Solario-Snow for Cloud9 Fabrics. I was so very lucky to win a set of 5 inch squares of this fun fabric from Quilt Taffy. Don't miss Quilt Taffy's blog because they have lovely posts and weekly giveaways of wonderful fabrics!

Sew Yummy!

P.S. Remember there is a magnet inside your pin cushion: iron only with a very low temperature so you don't melt the magnet and don't put the pin cushion near any devices that can be damaged by magnets!

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Linky Party 2015

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Sewing: Italian Fashion and European Design

I love writing these posts about how sewing/quilting is influencing design and fashion. There are so many great ideas around. Feast your eyes on these outfits from the Valentino Resort 2015 collection:

(photo from fashionbombdaily)

(photo from laiamagazine)

Aren't they incredible? And don't they remind us quilting fans of something? I love the idea of putting zigzags together with squares, the same colours balancing everything. 

And how about a giant safety pin wall decoration by House Doctor, you can also use to keep your ribbons in order?! They come in different sizes. Ella gave me one as a present and it's already hanging on the wall over the fireplace. So fun!

Safety pins by Cox & Cox #workspace #storage #decoration #desk

Take a look at these Button Hooks by HK Living, Holland. My favourite is the natural wood one with white leather "thread". OK, I admit I bought myself one in the sales!

Fruen fra Trondheim: HK Living 2012

And how about some stunning 3D wall decoration flowers by MIHO Unexepected Things, Italy. Crafted from MDF in Germany, each flower arrives in a flat pack you can easily put together. There's some tweed and what looks like English Paper Piecing in there!

Winter Garden
(photo Zuloh)

If you'd like to look at some more Fashion and Design ideas influenced by sewing, have a look here, here and here!

P.S. None of the above are affiliate links, by the way. They are all products I like. If anyone wants to give me a Valentino outfit for free, I'm not saying no though! The links are to give credit to the creators of the designs.

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