Friday, 28 October 2011

Fantastic 50 and a broken camera!

Whoooooo I've got 50 followers (probably back down to about 40ish after that childish outburst of celebration!)

I don't know why it matters to me, but it does, so thanks every one of you for following me.

Today my post will be rather un-interesting owing to the total breakup of one rather important SD card. See without it I cant take pictures, I may have a super swanky expensive camera sitting on the sideboard (which I have no clue how to use other than point and press the button, which is clearly evident in my photos!) but  with an SD that has a big crack down the middle its no use to me!

I will share a few old photos and tease you will projects to come!

I had done my Bright Star FMQ for Cindy's Free Motion Friday last week when the camera was still working, yay, but no, I did not take pictures at the time so I cant share! Doh!

I got a super lightening fast parcel from U-Handbag yesterday. I must big them up massively! Ordered on mid-morning Wednesday, arrived Thursday morning and made purses by Thursday evening, phew! I will defiantly be ordering again. I am a little against the clock at the moment with my first Christmas Market just over a week away so Its full steam ahead here at Patch HQ to make stock. Hopefully I can share some pictures soon as I'm really proud of my first frame purses :)

Last weekend I had a little break from stock-making, which can get rather dull, and did some pattern testing for Cecilia over at So Tei-Tei, if you haven't been over there go and check out her blog, she has some really cute patterns! I tested the Ben and Mia pants for her on my two girls

I made a cute red velour pair for Jools all ready for Christmas parties. She may be a girl but she certainly needs something practical, girly party dresses don't cut the mustard and these pants are perfect. They are a lovely wide fit, I love the piping detail on the pockets and the buttons on the belt loops


The pattern was so easy to put together and follow, I had these done in a couple of hours. The other great bit is they are really economical with fabric.

Well that is unless you let your 6 year old choose her own fabric. I have a feeling I may have made a pair of trousers that will never be worn! I did question her when she picked it out, but she was insistent that was what she wanted. So, I made them up and presented them to her and I got 'oh' in return! I don't think she likes the fabric after all. In her own words 'they look like I'm going to a 60's revial'!!!

Still, it proved that the pattern works just as well for a lightweight fabric. I can totally see this made up in a ditsy cotton floral for the summer with a vest top. And I did manage to get one picture of her reluctantly modelling them!

Why not pop over to Lily Bird Studio and see what other patterns Cecilia has, there is even a giveaway going on at the moment!

Don't forget there is still time to vote in the Scrap Bag Challenge for your favorites!

Disclaimer: I was given the above mentioned pattern to test free of charge. I received no other product or monitory compensation. All opinions are mine and mine alone and are unbiased

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Fingers on your buzzers!

So voting is now open for the Scrap Bag Challenge!

You can hop over to Sarah at Pings and Needles now and nominate your choice, if you have managed to decided from all the wondrous makings!

I'm super excited to see who wins, its been so great taking part. A huge thanks to Sarah for organising the challenge!

I also wanted to take a moment to give a huge thank you to all the lovely people who comment on or read my blog, I'm still stupefied that anyone would be interested in my ramblings! I read each and every one of your comments and try to reply to as many as possible when little miss patch gives me time! I find it incredibly motivating to receive your comments, I certainly wouldn't be sewing at the level I am today without all your encouragement so merci buckets! ;-)
Ive been having a super social day today catching up with a lovely friend from University. We took my girls to a pottery painting studio and they loved it! So did we, must not leave it so long next time!

I finished up my impromptu Christmas cushion the other day, having a practice run at an invisible zip for my Brit quilt pillow swap. Not bad but will hopefully be better for the main run!

Ahoy, its that ships wheel again!!!

I love the way that because I have literally stuffed an 18" feather pillow form into a 15.5" pillow its made my stippling show up rather interestingly. I'm really liking the little 'puffs' in the 'pockets' of the stippling (is anyone making sense of this!)

And the super bonus to fiddling with nasty zips, I get a back I can use as a front. So in fact my Christmas cushion can be used all year! My mother-in-law gave me this fabric years ago, loads of it. At the time I hated it to be honest! Now though, I cannot get enough of it and sadly I only have a tiny piece left. Funny how we change like that!

(p.s I apologise for the liberal swinging from using pillow to cushion in this post, can you tell im a tad confused, or Americanised!)

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

My two lots of 15 minutes of fame!

OK so I know that's technically 30 minutes but I'm so excited by the recent happenings that I just have to give them the 'standing on their own two feet' allotment of 15 minutes each!

Firstly today I've been featured over at Pings and Needles for the final installment of the Scrap Bag Challenge! Remember my Tutorial?

It was my entry to the challenge. All winners of stage 1 were sent a scrap bag of Japanese fabric from the Eternal Maker with which to create their entry. I made a laminated lunch bag for my smallest girl who is off to pre-school soon. I wanted her to have something special and mummy-made to take with her that was also sturdy and clean-able!

Well from tomorrow you can vote for your winner (me if you like!) The winner of the challenge will win a membership to the Eternal Makers Scrap Club, how cool is that!

I'll let you know tomorrow when voting opens and give you directions to vote for me get over there :-)

So that's my first 15 minutes, the second fleeting glimpse of fame came last Thursday, I so totally forgot to put this in my mammoth newsathon post on the Friday. I cant think why, it really should have made the headlines!

Anyhooo, on Thursday a local press photographer came over to take pictures of me sewing, in my studio! I know! I'm expecting the local paper to run a small piece on me and the Handmade Christmas Market I have organised in our local town. I'm not sure when it will be but hopefully I'll be able to share it with you soon. Don't worry I wont let it go to my head, of course I will expect you to address me in a formal manner now that I am famous hahar!

So all in all, its been more excitement in the world of Strawberry Patch. Today I managed a little bit of sewing, I whipped up a quick pencil wallet for Eloise to take to a birthday party on Thursday. I didn't want to pay for the pattern (why, when I could buy a present for about the same?) so I made it up as I went along! Very pleased I am too. It turned out rather well (see the fame isn't going to my head at all!) which was such a relief because I didn't have more of the requested fabric to do it again.

Well that's my 30 minutes well and truly used up, good luck to all the other entries in the challenge, their are some amazing makes!

Friday, 21 October 2011

this blog post will read like the 6 o'clock news.....

...with lots of stories to tell, some of them you will be interested in, most I suspect you will not!

Firstly, the reason why I have been so absent this week:

Yes that's my eldest girl off to her school Halloween disco, no she is not ill, its face paint and yes, she has grown up faster than I can comprehend!

We have been busy this week putting together her outfit. I've also re-discovered what it is like to have a social life! I have been out no less than three evenings this week and another planned for tomorrow, oh my. Bring-a-dish Italian Dinner at a friends house on Monday night, Hosting the Meet and Make workshop on Wednesday night then an Ice-cream and foot spa night at one of my Besties last night.

All this gallivanting about has left little time for sewing. I did however have a major score last weekend. My wonderful husband took both the girls out on Saturday and Sunday leaving me to sew to my hearts content, and boy I did! I made a start on my Modern Christmas Table Runner for the Swap on Saturday and by Sunday I was all done!

I tell you what, I hope my partner loves it more than anything in the whole world because I am so mega mega pleased with this one. I think it is quite possibly the best thing I have ever made, I am in love with it.

In order to make the separation process easier I quickly made up an ornament to go with it today and got it wrapped and in its packet pronto before I could think of stashing it in some secret place behind the sofa for myself!

Another finish this week was my Sew Happy Geek Swap item, a wall hanging. This was a strange process for me, because I was trying so hard to make it perfect for my partner I went right out of my comfort zone and don't actually like the result! I do hope that means that I've got it just right for my partner, not that it is awful!

This too is sitting patiently in a jiffy bag, waiting for the mailing date.

With 2 big jobs crossed off my list I moved onto my weekly fix of free motion quilting, courtesy of Cindy's Free Motion Friday! This week we had to practice slate tiles. This is what it should look like

And this is what mine did look like: 

the back is not so great, I forgot to trim my threads at the start and one got pulled about but other than then just a very slight tension issue.

Whilst I was on a roll I had a go at next weeks 'Bright Star' but I will save that for next week ;-)

I seemed to get into a real productive run after that with a few makes for Christmas

The little hoop is inspired by one over at OCD and the stocking tutorial is over at Diary of a Quilter.

Lots of news too in the Christmas Fabric Swap department. With 22 of the 28 fabrics here I am sure it wont be long before I can send them back out. It seems that being a swap host can be quite a sweet number, that I never realised. My pal/partner for the goodie swap Nicky is a gem, not only did she send me her beautiful fabric but she also sent me this awesome mug rug!

She is rather clever isn't she! I am also one super lucky lady! I think know I actually went EEEEEEeeeeeppppp when I opened her parcel. Not only that but another wonderfully lovely present from Helen, a scrumptious lip balm (that lady must know I have the driest lips ever in winter)

I am certainly being spoilt, I thought all the work of organising the swap would be made worthwhile with a bounty of lovely fabric at the end, I never dreamed I would get presents too!

And in final news.... I seem to be having a design block when it comes to my Brit Quilt Pillow Fight swap! I had run up a test pillow top with a Dresden plate but I'm just not sure its right for my partner. Perhaps too autumnal?

So I thought Id make the most of that productive streak and have another go today. I was feeling in the mood for festiveness and saw this tutorial on Diary of a Quilter and used it as a jumping off point. Only problem is I appear to have made a festive ships wheel! Oh crikey, that is the least flakiest looking snowflake I have ever seen!

Back to the drawing board AGAIN, for the third time, that is unless by some miracle my partner likes festive ship's wheels??!!

blog, whats a blog?....Oh yes....

that's right, I have one of those! Hmmm, I think I should really write something on it! I will, tomorrow......

That's what Ive been saying for the last 7 days! I will tonight, most definitely, once I have done some sewing that is, Ive had the most crazy week ever (I've been out 3 times, yes that's right, 3 times and all after dark, wowzers!) for now I just need to sew........

Friday, 14 October 2011

A flurry of charms, a gaggle of geese & Free Motion Friday

Wow, Ive had a busy week!

I knew it would be when I realised I had to start work on projects for 3 swaps, plus my own Christmas charm swap kicked off, all this on top of getting a tutorial ready for a workshop next week!

Firstly, my postman is much beloved at the moment, I've had the first flurry of charms popping through the letterbox already, what quick ladies there are in the group!

Aren't they just fab! I'm so lucky being the swap host and getting to fondle all these yummy fabrics before anyone else!

Mary at Handmade By Mary was so sweet and put in a little gift for me with her charms

Isn't it adorable, it even matches the charms! I've secretly been wanting one of these for a while now so Mary must have read my mind! In fact had I known she would send me one I would have set up the swap just to get my hands on it ;-)

Today is week 2 of Free Motion Friday and I'm linking with with Cindy for drop art practice!

Strangely enough I got going really well. It usually takes me a little time to relax into the flow of fmq, especially with curves but I'm pretty pleased with my first attempt! I realised I forgot to show you the back of last weeks examples. So here is the back of my drop art

Goodness me that tension is awful!

And here is the front of my second attempt:

I'm pleased with the nicely defined stitched, just not the shape of my blobs drops!

And the back of try 2, yet more hideous tension. Secretly I rather like that effect you get on the tight curve of the drops, I know its technically terrible but I like it and that's my excuse (which I am sticking to!)

Pop on over to Cindys FMF and give some of the other linky ladies some encouragement too!

Finally onto that gaggle of geese......midweek I started my swap item for the Sew Happy Geek Runner/wall hanging swap. My partner likes batiks, lots of contrast and Kate Spain, here's what I came up with

To be honest, I hated it! It is such a departure from my usual style I just couldn't judge if it was any good or not. I'd tried so hard to make it perfect for my partner. I duly popped a photo in the flikr group and await comments. I had lots of lovely comments, mostly telling me how they thought the construction and design were great (hurrah!) but that they really didn't like the batiks with the Kate Spain Terrain (poo poo). But then a miracle - my partner commented and she likes it! She suggested some ways forward with it and I found myself tackling a gaggle of geese for the first time.

Man are geese time consuming! And wasteful. I hate to throw fabric away, especially when it has cost good money, so throwing away all those little triangle offcuts from the geese was painful for me. They were too small to save but all I could think of was how much terrain was wasted when you put them all together. Never mind, the end result was enough to make me forget the pain (a little like childbirth!)

I love the geese and think they have really turned the wall hanging around

Its all basted ready for quilting with the backing, I did a scrappy pieced back because I didn't have much fabric left. We also had to label our work so I decided to do this before quilting for a change. I hate it when my labels look like a stuck on after thought. This time I went for a complete change of direction and stamped the quilt using Versaink and set it with the iron.

I'm mega chuffed with how it came out, but you know I couldn't make it look that good again if I tried!

Anyhoo, I need a little help! After all that designing on the quilt top I'm a little drained and cannot for the life of my think how to quilt the monkey! Ive never done such a dark top before so I guess I will have to go out and get some darker thread. I did toy with doing fmq flowers in the dark purple batiks with a lovely orangey variegated thread but I'm not sure I'm brave enough! If I mess it up it will be so obvious with the contrast. What are your gut thoughts?

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Warming up for a pillow fight!

I'm super stoked tonight because I got my partner through for the Brit Quilt Pillow Fight. She's one cool and sassy lady although I'm not allowed to reveal who she is, I hope I can make her something she will love.

This week I've been practicing pillows, having only ever made cushions before harhar - I actually picked one up to show my husband when he came home and said do you like my new pillow? He looked at me like I was crazy, it is a cushion!

I decided that I should try HST having not done them before, of course why stop at one new thing when you can try two at once?!

Here is my first ever go with HST, using Moda's farmyard charm pack to match my table runner and inspired by the fall pillow over at Little Miss Shabby.

I'm really glad I took the extra time to quilt all those straight lines, I think it really makes the pillow.

And I'm a sucker for a well mitred corner, is that too big headed? I just get super proud when I do something well!

I wimped out on the back and used some of my 'ugly' fabric from my stash and some ribbon ties. I will try harder on my pillow fight swap pillow!

Spurred on by my first success with HST and to make sure it wasn't a fluke I dived straight in and made this today. I couldn't sleep last night and dreamt up the design in bed, I couldn't wait to get going today. I also tried another first and popped in a little hand quilting.

I'm pretty proud of those point too (head growing warning!) but don't worry - it didn't all go well....

Hmm, I think I need to practice zippered closures! It was fine until I put the pillow form in! I think find a good tutorial and follow it to the letter is the way to go rather than my approach - make it up as you go along lol!

It seems I used up all my good charm on the pillow fronts today and I then went and put petrol in our new diesel car. This is so un-me and I was mortified to have to call my husband and tell him. So that's me housebound for a few days until it is (hopefully easily) fixed. Lucky my husband works in a garage! Oh well, I suppose I can pass the days with more sewing!

Monday, 10 October 2011

Free Motion Friday (and yes I know its Monday!)

Recently Cindy at Fluffy Sheep Quilting mentioned she'd like to get more practice at FMQ. I said I'd practice with her, along with a few other bloggy mates and TA Dah, Free Motion Friday was born.

Every week Cindy will be setting us a challenge, week one was Shadow Waves. I'm a little late joining in but Ive done it and boy was it testing! This is supposed to be beginners stuff!

My first go was jerky, I couldn't get my arms into the groove! I love free motion embroidery but I always find it takes me a little while to loosen up and go with the flow. By my second go I was feeling the motion of those waves a lot more clearly and I'm really pleased with my attempt. Just don't look at the tension on the back - but that's why we use a patterned backing for quilts right? To hide the mistakes!

Hop over to Cindys to give the other Linky girls some FMQ encouragement!

Next week, or rather this week as I'm behind we will be quilting drop art, well my interpretation of it anyway, this drop art may turn out to be a bit on the impressionist side of art!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Christmas is Coming!


Well, I'm back from my 'holiday' climbing mountains in Wales, many photos to share and lots of sewing to tell about but I the only memorable souvenir I have from my holiday is the heaviest cold! So, tonight I am keeping it short and sweet.

Christmas IS coming, sorry but its inevitable! If you are a lover of all things festive like me then you'll love our swap. Even if your not a huge fan of the season then the swap if the perfect way to bump up your festive stash for goodie making without having to get yourself all out crimbo'd! I'm organising a Modern Christmas Fabric Swap. Its so simple to join in. All you have to do is buy 1 meter of modern Christmas fabric, cut it into 56 5" charm squares and send it to me.

We will have 28 participants, each receiving 56 charm squares back with 2 in each design. We already have 20 lovely ladies signed up, some of whom I have gotten to know through swaps recently and I know they have impeccable taste. There are going to be some amazing fabrics in this charm swap! So why not grab one of the last few spaces and join in, just comment on this post or have a read of my original post here for a few more details.