Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas Table Topper

I have never made a table runner. I have admired many but have never actually made one myself. Why? Because we have a square table. The whole 'runner' concept down the middle of the table just seems a bit funny to me when applied to a square. Unless you make a square table runner of course - or table topper as I prefer to call it in this case. Until now I hadn't been inspired to conjure up a square topper.

When I decided to participate in the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop hosted by Kristy and Alyce I was determined to finally make the two items that I just hadn't done yet - a table topper and a cushion cover. That's right - I haven't made a quilted cushion cover before either (because cushion covers that are made to take for naptime when children start kindy don't count!). More on the cushion cover later.

I had been saving a couple of Kate Spain's Joy charm packs for some months. When I saw Alyce's Ornamental block patterns I knew immediately that this was the project for my much loved Kate Spain fabric. Alyce's patterns also lent themselves to being arranged in a square pattern, as the 'ornaments' were non-directional. And so I began.

I will admit to having quite a few late nights as a result of working on this only when children were all in bed asleep (as lovely as quilts and crafting projects are, they still come second to my family!). That's why the photos are never great - it couldn't be my lack of photographic skills!

The back of the quilt, flapping in the breeze while hanging on the line!

And this is the end result. I am really pleased with it and look forward to popping it in the centre of our table. I kept the quilting simple, as I wanted to showcase the ornaments around the edge without distraction. I also chose a tone on tone white for the background with the aim of having the ornaments 'float' around the edge. The idea is to place the Christmas ham (or bbq offerings!) in the centre space of the table topper (all my serving plates are square) framed by those delightfully festive ornaments. I love it!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Scribble Initial Shirt

I recently came across this Scribble Initial T-Shirt Tutorial and thought it would make a great after school activity. Not because we aren't busy enough, but with the end of the school year getting closer I find that everyone is just a little worn out. A quick activity that produces a feeling of satisfaction and pride does wonders to help everyone to be patient and tolerant with one another. As does a swim in the pool after the school day!

I already had a few plain white t-shirts in the cupboard ready to be tie dyed, so I re-purposed them with a note to myself to replace them later! I followed the tutorial from Aesthetic Nest, replacing the freezer paper with contact (I didn't have any freezer paper and always feel good when I use what I have, rather than buying something specifically for a project!).

After some collaboration with the children we decided to use Cooper Black in 700 for the older children and 600 for Eli's smaller sized shirt.

We traced the letters on to Contact, cut them out, peeled off the back and stuck the outline or 'frame' of the letter on to the shirt. A piece of cardboard was placed inside the shirt so that the artwork did not seep through to the back. Then it was scribble time! Eli was delighted and scribbled away. Zoe decided to scribble in a very orderly fashion, while Lily (not pictured) coloured in block sections. We used Crayola fabric textas which worked fine, though any scribbling done with great excitement did have a tendency to move the t-shirt fabric around (the thicker the fabric the better). Gentle scribbling would be my recommendation! We did four shirts and the textas seem like they would be good for at least another round.

After heat setting the initials with the iron (and then letting each child wear their shirt until it was time for bed) I tossed them in the washing machine with a load of whites putting my full trust in Crayola and their assurance that the colours would not run. Guess what? The colours did not run. Phew!

This is a great activity that is quick, looks great, is cost effective (t-shirts for us ranged from $4 to $8. We already had the Crayola fabric textas, though I'd like some more! When the next person asks me what one of my children might like for their birthday I'm going to suggest them!) and my kids loved it. I loved it because it was no mess, no stress, can be prepared in advance and whipped out in 'times of need', took care of everyone from the ages of 2 to 10 years old, and we also have another great gift idea for others!

Zoe's interpretation of scribbling. It reminds me of fireworks!

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Beauty from Isa

Look at the stunning block that Isa made for me this month for Quilt Block Swaps Australia. I LOVE it!! At this time of the year it particularly reminds me of the Christmas star. My request from each of my monthly swap buddies is any star in blues and white. I am hoping for a quilt top with lots of variety - this block certainly fits in with my vision.

This was Isa's first block sewn using the paper piecing method - sewing pieces of fabric to a paper foundation following a numerical sequence. The paper is then torn away when the block is complete. This block is sewn beautifully. Isa also sent a tea towel (wouldn't you know - I am in the process of replacing all my tea towels - perfect timing) and a beautiful card.

Thank you Isa!

Monday, 19 November 2012

'Pretty' Charm Pack Giveaway

Pretty Charm Pack Giveaway sameliasmum

 Hey! Head on over to Samelia's Mum where Anorina is giving away these very pretty charm packs. All you need to do is leave a comment. While you're there, have a browse - Anorina has some great ideas!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Bon Bon Bag

 Zoe chose the bon bon block for her Christmas bag.
Kristy's patterns are great to work with. They come together quickly and look fabulous. When I sew the various sections of each block I simply finger press as I go along and then iron before putting the sections together. It couldn't be more simple!
I love the non traditional colours of Zoe's Christmas bag.

Sew Seasonal Blog Hop

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Minnie the Travelling Stash

 Have you ever heard of a Travelling Stash?
Meet Minnie. She is a fat quarter (50cm x 55cm) travelling stash who weighs a little under 3kg so she fits in an Australia Post satchel!). Minnie is making her way around Australia (I think she is currently in Queensland before moving on to NSW). At each stop she changes just a little as fat quarters are taken out and replaced by others (kind of like having an opportunity to shop for fabric at home!). When she has visited everyone on the list she will come back home to me. I am looking forward to seeing how much she has changed (though it will be quite some time before I see her again!).

If you are interested in joining a travelling stash you can join the Facebook Group here. Unfortunately it is only for Australian residents, though I am sure that groups such as this can be found in a lot of other countries.

Candy Cane Bag

I know I wasn't going to undertake any more projects until Zoe's quilt was finished, but I thought I'd sneak this one in anyway! Using a paper pieced candy cane block from Kristy at Quiet Play, I designed a cute Christmas bag for my Lily. She loves it and it accompanied her to church today. The bag itself is a simple design that can be put together quickly. The bag front can be as simple or as
intricate as you like. I showed Lily all of the blocks that Kristy was offering as part of the Sew Seasonal Blog Hop and asked her to select one. She chose the candy cane (I was not surprised - even though Lily LOVES her fruit and veg, every child loves lollies!). So a candy cane bag it was to be!

The sparkly trim was particularly well received! Of course, I had Zoe choose a block as well.  She chose the bon bon/Christmas cracker because "it looks like a big lolly". I do provide my children with healthy food. Really.

Stay tuned for Zoe's bag! 

Sew Seasonal Blog Hop


I have been wanting to make some bunting for quite a while now. I ended up with quite a few larger sized fabric scraps from the treat bags I sewed up for Lily's Carnival Party. The fabric was perfect for this bunting which is now hanging in Eli's room!

One packet of extra wide binding and a 60° acrylic triangle template made this come together very quickly. Even though I used a poly cotton fabric, the triangles did not need any reinforcing. Quilting fabric would be ideal for making bunting.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A Small Finish!

In my previous post I mentioned that I wouldn't be undertaking anything significant until Zoe's quilt was finished. Well, I sat down and began quilting it last night. I had stitched two lines in the ditch when the globe on my sewing machine blew. So it was all over before it had really begun!

All was not lost. I tucked myself into bed and hand stitched the binding on to the back of my pieced Christmas ornament. I am so pleased with it! I cut a length of pink ribbon that would not only work as a hanging loop on a Christmas tree, but also on a door knob. Not everyone decorates a tree at Christmas time (though I imagine my friend would welcome some Christmas adornments in her home), so I wanted some versatility built in.
If I were to make another I would cut the binding strip slightly wider at 1 1/2". The 1 1/4" was just a little too snug for my liking. The finished ornament (minus the hanging loop!) is 4" x 5" or 10cm x 13cm. A teeny, tiny quilt!

The pieced back.

Sew Seasonal Blog Hop

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Paper Pieced Christmas Ornament

When Alyce at Blossom Heart Quilts and Kristy at Quiet Play announced their Sew Seasonal Blog Hop I knew I wanted to be a part of it. Both Alyce and Kristy have designed Christmas themed blocks (some are pieced and others are paper pieced) that are free to download during the duration of the blog hop. Each day until the 13th of November there are numerous bloggers (23 no less!) lined up to show you what you might like to do with each (or all!) of the blocks.

If you link up on November 30 with your own finished products using Alyce and Kristy's patterns you can even be in the running to win some fabulous prizes.

Zoe's quilt is now backed and pinned. Ready for quilting!

Now, some of you may remember that I was working on Zoe's quilt. An enormous, very generous king single sized quilt with lots of overhang so that it is very easy for Zoe to make her bed in the morning! This thing really is massive. I'm tempted to stand on the scales with it just to see how much it weighs! I was having a conversation with myself about how it wouldn't be wise to start (yet another) project before finishing Zoe's quilt. In the end I decided that it would be fine to do a little project - start small so to speak - until Zoe's quilt was completed and then I could give myself permission to have a go at some of the fabulous projects that have been showcased on the blog hop so far, as well as a few of my own that have come to mind.

And so it was settled. A small project would be fine. But what to make!

Some months ago a lovely lady at church asked me if I wouldn't mind if she gave me some quilting fabric. She had quilted for many years a little earlier in her life, but was now at an age where she had long since stopped and the fabric was taking up much needed space. I think this kind lady felt as though I were doing her a favour, however it was I who was the recipient!

Some of the lovely fabric!

The fabric was beautifully folded and stored in baskets. In addition to the baskets (of which there were four) there was an enormous 'pickle pot' filled with scrap pieces. I was also gifted at least half a dozen quilt tops that were completed or near completion. It was like a dream!

When I saw Kristy's paper pieced Christmas blocks, in particular the Christmas gift, I thought of this kind lady and the gift she had given me. I thought it appropriate that I make her a Christmas ornament (starting small remember!) symbolising her generous gift to me. I chose fabrics that she had given me, in particular the soft pinks and shabby chic style that she loves so much.

Here is the progress so far.
Isn't this the sweetest?
The paper pieced gift came together very quickly. I decided to keep the quilting simple due to the size of the ornament and to ensure that the gift remained the focus. I use a variagated pink Aurifil thread to do one line of echo stitching. I also trimmed the block on the left and right to give it a more rectangular shape and to avoid it being mistaken for a coaster!

I have cut a 1 1/4" length of pink ticking for the binding. Alas, my 15 minutes of blogging is up and it is time to pick everyone up from school, so the binding will have to wait until this evening. A loop of pink ribbon at the top for hanging and it will be sweet and complete!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Fresh Squeezed Fabrics

Baking Day

Randi at Fresh Squeezed Fabrics is offering you the chance to design (and win!) your own beautiful bundle of fabric!

You choose 8 fabrics from Fresh Squeezed Fabrics, create a photo mosaic of your chosen fabrics and then name your bundle.  Then link it up here!               

I have named mine Baking Day - appropriate for me as I love to bake! I chose Everything is Nice--Baked Goods in Bright as my feature fabric and then chose other fabrics to represent what baking day means to me.  All the colours are pulled from the feature fabric. The yellow elephants (Savanna Bop--Elephants in Yellow) represent the shaped biscuits the children and I often make, the brown retro floral symbolises aprons and family traditions, and the utensils...well, all the washing up! The green with dots remind me of pearl necklaces, as women can be both practical and beautiful!

I love these fresh colours and the retro feel.              

Friday, 2 November 2012

Bee Block Tutorial

I have finally chosen my block for the Rainbow Bee I am participating in (and not too soon - I am Queen Bee in December!). It is the block from the Moda Bake Shop's Ruby, Pearl and Opal Quilt designed by Corey, from Little Miss Shabby with a minor change. I'm going with a black and white colour palette, with one tile in a vibrant, tone on tone rainbow colour.

So, let's get started!

This tutorial will yield TWO blocks 12.5" square. It is Corey, from Little Miss Shabby's tutorial with my photos so that you don't get confused with the change of colour palette!            


Scrap of vibrant, tone on tone in your nominated rainbow colour (I have used a Kaufman green in this case!).

Small pieces of 4 - 8 different black and white prints. If you don't have 8 different prints, then just double up on what you have - you will need a minimum of 4.

5 inches (15cm) x WOF or half a fat quarter of Black Homespun

Black Fabric Cutting Instructions:
Cut the black Homespun into the following rectangles (cut 3 @ 1.5" x width of fabric strips and then subcut, or use scraps/smaller pieces):

2 @ 1.5" x 12.5"
4 @ 1.5" x 8.5"
2 @ 1.5" x 5.5"
4 @ 1.5" x 3.5"
2 @ 1.5" x 2.5"

Suggestion: Cut the black strips 1/2 an inch longer than suggested and then trim to exactness to reduce 'fiddliness'.

Cut black homespun as per the list above (2 in each pile)

Black and White Print Cutting Instructions:

From the assorted black and white prints cut the following rectangular tiles (NOTE: If you are doubling up on prints (i.e. using a print more than once in each block) refer to the block layout diagram to ensure that the duplicated prints don't end up next to one another!):

2 @ 2.5" x 5"      (unit F)     
2 @ 2.5" x 3"      (unit G)   
4 @ 3.5" x 2"      (used for unit C)               
2 @ 3.5" x 3.5"   (unit A)    
2 @ 3.5" x 4.5"   (unit B)
2 @ 3.5" x 8.5"   (unit H)    
2 @ 5.5" x 3.5"   (unit D)    
2 @ 5.5" x 4.5"   (unit E)

***Before cutting, choose a tile - any tile - for your coloured fabric. For this tutorial, I have chosen the 4.5" x 5.5" tile (unit E).  Cut two of your nominated tile size out of your coloured fabric. Then cut all the rest of the tile sizes from the black and white prints.

***Cut 2 of the 3.5" x 2" tiles in one print and the other 2 in a different print - they will be joined together later to make unit C.

***It is a very good idea to label each unit so that you won't have to keep checking their size (like I did!) to make sure you are using the right one!

Prints cut as per the list above (2 in each pile)
After cutting you should have 18 rectangular tiles.

Piecing Instructions:
{All seams allowances = scant 1/4"}

This is the block layout.

With right sides together, sew together 2 of the 2" x 3.5" pieces. Ensure that they are different prints. Press seams open.

Trim to 3.5" x 3.5" blocks.  These will be unit C.

Unit C

Begin by sewing the A/B/C strip section section together with the 1.5" x 3.5" black strips.  Press all seams towards the black strips.  The completed strip sets will measure 3.5" x 12.5" and will be referred to as A/B/C strip set. If the strip set needs trimming, trim off at unit A.
A/B/C strip set
Sew together pieces D and E along with the 1.5" x 5.5" black strip.  Press seams towards the black strip.  These strip sets will be 5.5" x 8.5" and will be referred to as D/E strip set. If the strip set needs trimming, trim off at unit E.

D/E strip set

Sew together pieces F and G with the 1.5" x 2.5" black strip.  Press seams towards the black strip.  The strip unit will measure 2.5" x 8.5" and will be referred to as F/G strip set. If the strip set needs trimming, trim off at unit G.

F/G strip set

Sew together a D/E strip set, an F/G strip set, piece H, and the two 1.5" x 8.5" black strips.  Press all seams towards the black strips.  These strips sets will measure 8.5" x 12.5". If the strip set needs trimming, trip off at the end with units D/E.

D/E strip set added to a F/G strip set and unit H

Now sew together the strip set you just completed, the A/B/C strip set, and the 1.5" x 12.5" black strip.  Press seams towards the black.  These will be your completed blocks and will measure 12.5" square.

The finished block!

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