Sunday, 29 January 2012

Another quick one!

I have been amputated!

At 9.22pm I took a notion to start piecing my Made in Cherry, off I slunk to the sewing room, hoping hubby wouldn't notice me disappearing at that late hour!

5 minutes later I was back, my machine wouldn't turn on! I had tried unplugging it, a different socket, deep breathing, all to no avail. I ran to my husband trying not to panic. 2 hours later it is still not working. It is dead :(

I brought it second hand from my lqs about 6 months ago. Husband thinks a resistor has blown in the control foot. A new foot is £89, pennies I do not have. I am going to pop into the store to ask if they have warranty policy on their used machines. They do not open until Tuesday. Tuesday is the day my friend Mary is coming to sew with me for the day. Oh the bother.....

Fabric help!

Just a quick post tonight, we have been re-building the decking at the new house and are all very sore from the heavy manual labour!

I'm getting ready to start my mouthy stitches plan but I need a little help.

Where can I buy a good fq of text print, like newsprint? I love text print, but don't own any and neither do I know of any lines! Any help is greatly appreciated, thanks!

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Pouchy Love

Wow, where did the last 9 days go? Well I think it went in a flurry of parcel opening and sewing and nursing poorly children, there may have been a bit of a grown up sleepover with friends thrown in at the weekend, thank goodness!

The charms for the Rainbow swap rounds 1 & 2 have been flowing in! Its so lovely to have such wonderful fabric popping through the door almost every day. Some of the lovely ladies have been super generous and sent me thank you gifts for doing all the organising along with their charms.

See this pretty mug rug, made by the lovely Sarah at Chic Quilt Geek?

Well, its mine now! I am one lucky lady, especially after the cheeky fashion in which this arrived to me! Sarah very sweetly said if there was anything she could do to help me with the swap to let her know. I had just been looking through her photos and said she could send me the Lotta quilt she had made (I did say it was cheeky) I was kidding of course! But the wonderfully generous Sarah sat down and made this mug rug just for me! Thank you Sarah, I LOVE it!

Then another lovely Sarah, these Sarah's are very nice people, sent me a charm pack of Cape Ann!

 I just LOVE Cape Ann and its one that I keep putting in the online shopping basket and then taking out because I am trying 'to be good'. Sarah doesn't have a blog yet, but she should, especially with the lovely quilts in her flikr photostream! Hopefully there will be more soon using her charms from the rainbow swap when I sent them out.

I also got a few other goodies, I am a lucky lady, thank you all so much. I must say that it may be some time before I run another swap, they do take over with all the sorting, paperwork/speadsheets and postage payment collecting/organising. Hopefully the remainder of the charms will be here soon and I can have the two corners of my sewing room back! Plus it is a super test of will power having all that wonderful fabric within reach!

When I've had a few spare minutes I've been filling it with 'checking off the list sewing'

I made my blocks for the Sew.Happy.Quilt QAL and I am now up to date, hurrah!

And most importantly I have been practicing pouch quality control ready for my Mouthy Stitches swap. The wonderful Nicky set the ball rolling with her commission, that's right, I got a commission! She kindly commissioned me to make a pouch to go with the Needlebook I made her in Cindys goodie swap last year, all in aid of my Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat Fund, isn't she lovely!

So I set to work to make her the best pouch I could possibly ever make (hopefully)

Eeek, look at my horrible stained ironing board! Actually, don't! Just pretend you cant see it ;-) Look at that cute Dala horse instead! I knew Nicky loved Dala horses and I had the perfect Lecien fabric for her.

I filled the pouch full of thank you goodies for Nickys order and sent it on its way, I was very pleased that it was so well received and I'm hoping not only to meet Nicky in person at the retreat in June but to see her using her pouch and needlebook too!

No sooner had I sent my first commission out, I received another! This time the lovely Lucy at Charm About You commissioned me to make a pouch to celebrate the awesome Fugly Fabric Party she is hosting over at her blog - go and see it, you wont want to miss it and the fugly fun!

I had such a hard time making something with fugly fabric, I wanted it to be so fugly it was cool, but I worried if I didn't get it just right it would be just plain ugly!

There is a bit of fuglyness on the back too, apologies to anyone who has and loves any of these prints, to me they are fugly! Well except the black spotty with pink flowers, I couldn't help but let a little niceness creep in!

I hit the fugy jackpot when I found this lining lurking at the bottom of my stash, I have a bit left over which I may offer up in the fugly fabric party!

This one is off to Lucy and of course I have another to make for my secret swap partner, 3 pouches and not one to keep for myself, that won't do. So of course I made myself one!

I am really pleased with how it turned out AND I get to keep it! It also checks one of my boxes on the Finish Along  because I have been procrastinating on how to use this fabric panel I made last year for months now. I think that it why I love it so much, I am pleased I did the panel justice!

And on the back I used some of the lovely scraps (much nicer than what I have in my stash) I have been sent by bloggy friends in various swaps.

So now I just need to go off and plan out my partners pouch for the Mouthy Stitches swap, after a bit of serious stalking that is!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Resolved to Sew 2012

Have you seen the amazement happening over at Very Berry Handmade? No? Get yourself there now, go quick, well perhaps be polite and stay and read my offering first!

Ali has the most splendiferous pile of prizes on offer, all you have to do is hop over there and comment, whats stopping you?! And if you are a blogger you can be in with a chance of winning the bloggers prize, first pick of the amazing goodies on offer, just by writing your own blog post and linking back! I personally would choose the £40 voucher to spend at Fancy Moon - a guilt free shopping spree? Yes please!

My 2012 sewing resolutions are quite simple, stop taking on too much (like umpteen swaps I cant resist!) and make time for the things I put off! Like the phone pouch my husband asked for last year! Learn paper piecing and improv piecing, practice more fmq and get machine binding down to a tee. So basically more practice in what I am afraid off!

So that's me, I'm off to sew up a phone pouch right now, honest I am (as long as the Sew.Happy.Quilt QAL block for this week doesn't get posted in the next hour or so!!)

Monday, 16 January 2012

A Thank you Tutorial - Flower Pincushion

Hey everyone, I want to say a hugemungus thank you for all the lovely sweet comments on my last blog post. Not one of you told me to 'pull myself together' you were all most sympathetic, which left me wishing I was going to the FQ retreat even more so I could meet some of you lovely ladies!

I got my mojo back!

It didn't take long, I know sewing heals the soul and I got down to some good old fashioned stitchy therapy! After having put up mosaics for the Mouthy Stitches Swap, the For The Love of Solids Swap and catching up on admin in the Rainbow Charm swap too.

I made my self a cute little bag that I've been dying to make for months now, photos soon I promise! But today I have a mini tute for you all, sort of stitchy, sort of crafty. Its a great way of using up pretty scraps you'd like to show off and would make a really cheap/quick gift for someone.

So sweet right?!

Supply List:

Flower paint palette (I got mine from a local discount store for under £2, I did want a porcelain one but they were hard to find and expensive, this plastic one still looks good)
Scraps of Fabric
Polyfill Stuffing
Glue Gun
Needle & Cotton
Circular Template
Pen & Scissors

First of all make a circular template, I just used a glass bowl, which I to draw around on the wrong side of my fabric. My template was approximately 5" in diameter but it will of course depend on the size of the wells in your palette.

Cut out the required amount of circles, one for each well.

Make a long running stitch around the outside of your circle.

When you get back to the starting point with the running stitch, gather it up until it looks like a cute mini shower cap! Leave the needle and thread in for now.

Stuff it very full with polyfill stuffing, then using the needle and thread which is still attached, pull the circle closed as much as you can, criss-crossing over the opening to secure. I found it was helpful to try it in the well of the palette at this stage to check it was full enough and had a good shape to fit.

Now liberally fill the well with hot glue and push the ball you have just made down firmly, holding for a short while until secure. Continue until all the wells are full. I left my centre well empty for buttons, safety pins etc. The beauty of this pin cushion is it has so much space I can have one for bent pins, one for dressmaking, one for quilting, one for needles...well you get the idea!

Now, fill with pins and admire!

I hope you like my mini-tutorial, Id love to know if you make one!

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

I have a heavy heart

I'm not usually one to share moans and groans on my blog (ok, maybe just a few!) but this I just cant keep inside. So if you're ready for a bit of violin action read on, if not and you think I'm a wimpy bugger then feel free to go off and read some cheery quilty post instead, I wont be offended!

I have been secretly squirrelling away money for my golden ticket to the fq retreat, selling little bits and pieces from the old house that we're no longer needed. I was very proud of myself and my lovely husband offered to give me the remaining money when he gets paid at the end of the month. Wonderful, all I had to do was hope there were still tickets available.

Then this morning we had a delightful walk in the orchard, in the sunshine after pancakes for breakfast, I thought what a wonderful world I lived in.

Then the dog started making funny choking noises, next thing I know we are rushing off to the vets to have a stick removed from the roof of his mouth. It was badly lodged up in the bridge of in mouth and needed sedation to be removed. Thankfully it didn't damage his mouth and silly poor Charlie boy is sleeping it off.

The snag being that my lovely little pot of retreat money is now empty. In fact more than empty, I had to steal some temporarily from the bill account (shhh!). Now I know that as a dog owner I should be prepared for/expect these costs but the truth is moving house just wiped us out and we are going to take a few months to get back on our feet.

I also know that missing a sewing retreat inst the end of the world (and I really shouldn't have cried!) but I had so been looking forward to it after the ups and downs of the last few months. So, if you are feeling charitable, share a word of encouragement with me, either that or tell me to 'buck my ideas up' lol! I'm not in the mood for sewing now today but I'll leave you with my giant star quilt I've started from vintage sheets, it makes me smile.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Calling bloggers PLIMA & GENEVIEVE


Hi Plima & Genevieve, you commented on the rainbow charm swap wanting to take part but you are a no reply blogger so I cant add you or contact you. If you do want to take part please email me (emilylevey @ yahoo . co . uk) so I can have your email address to send all the details too.

I have others wanting to take part in the swap waiting on standby so if you don't want to continue please let me know.

To everyone else, I'll be sending out your colour assignment very soon, keep your eye on your inbox and have your card ready to go and shop!

Monday, 9 January 2012

Rainbow Swap Kicks off, More Spaces avaliable in Round 2!


(Edited 11.1.12)

Wow, what a busy weekend! We have been dry-stone walling, painting barn doors, gardening and a little sewing was squeezed in! I managed to make up my first two blocks for the Sew.Happy.Quilt QAL with my new Hope Valley fabric. Had to use it quick or it would have stayed on the shelf to be stroked!

Woven Block

Snowball Block

The Rainbow Charm swap also filled up really quickly and by Friday I was giving the green light to all the ladies to go shopping for their very own little bit of rainbow.

In fact the response was more than I expected and I have several ladies who missed out on spots. Because they are all so keen to take part I have promised I will run a second swap group if we can fill the 28 spaces again. So If you missed out on the first group here is your chance! Comment to sign up, make sure if you are a no-reply blogger to leave your email.

Full swap details are in the original post here

You are more than welcome to take multiple spaces if you fancy getting yourself a bumper stack of rainbow charms, just remember you will need to purchase 1 meter for each space, so if you want 2 spaces and 112 charms you need to buy 2 meters in you assigned colours (each a different fabric).

Please help the ladies get round 2 off and running by spreading the word and blogging the swap. Im sure they'd be really grateful.

Friday, 6 January 2012

Calling blogger LILYSMUDGE !!

Hi Lilysmudge, you commented on the rainbow charm swap wanting to take part but you are a no reply blogger so I cant add you or contact you. If you do want to take part please email me (emilylevey @ yahoo . co . uk) so I can have your email address to send all the details too.

I have others wanting to take part in the swap waiting on standby so if you don't want to continue please let me know.

To everyone else, I'll be sending out your colour assignment very soon, keep your eye on your inbox and have your card ready to go and shop!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

I love my postie!

Well, truth be told not my postie actually, just all the goodies he brings me. OK so he is not bringing them out of the goodness of his heart, it is his job AND I have paid for them myself :-)

It is like Christmas all over again here. I got this cute parcel from Saint and Pinners yesterday

Cute wrapping huh, just that alone would have had me happy but look what was inside....

Oh yeah, Hope Valley. It maketh me smile big time! I love this and plan on using it for the SEW.HAPPY.QUILT Along. Outstanding service too, this arrived only 2 days after I ordered it (which was on a Bank holiday too!).

Someone else who does fantastic service is M is for Make. More Hope Valley and a fq of Loulouthi Hugs and Kisses, all at great prices in the sale.

Then later in the day a lovely courier man brought me a huge parcel and the poor guy had been driving around for ages looking for the farm! I must get around to making up a sign for the house!

But look at the goodies he brought me!

I wouldn't normally count this in my list of shopping haunts but it all came from Abakhan. I was tempted to go there when The Sewing Directory posted on Facebook to say they had 70% off their daylight lamps and lighting. I scooted on over! I have always wondered if a daylight lamp would make hand embroidery easier, oh boy does it! It is fantastic! I would highly recommend it and at the sale price it was a really great buy (and meant I wasn't worried about wasting a LOT of money on a lamp if I didn't like it)

It is a neat little clip on lamp that has a long flexible neck, great for clamping on the table, on the sewing machine, anywhere you like in fact. Its a godsend in my new house, with its tiny sash windows and lack of natural light. I've taken a photo of it in use and you can see from the darkness around it, it certainly makes a difference! The bonus being there is no glare. And its arrival was very timely as I had just started to get on with my Birdie Stitches block for Rhonda's Finish Along.

So if you have a little money burning a hole in your pocket and a dark dingy house, head to Abakhan.
I also bagged a bag'o'zips for very little money indeed, lets hope they are all useful! A very cheap embroidery hoop and packet of embroidery cotton both for less than £1! Finally, a lovely piece of quilting cotton for only £1.15 a half meter, I wanted more to back my Hope Valley quilt but the website wouldn't let me, perhaps I had the last?

In other news, there are just 7 spaces left in the Rainbow charm swap!!! Get in quick if you want to take part, they are filling up fast.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

2012 Finish A-Long (I hope!)

Well, I'm trying not to be too ambitious with this, but....although I only have a few UFO's they are mostly hand stitching/embroidery and I know it will take me an age to do them! AND I have signed up for at least one quilt along (maybe 3 if I am being honest) and then there is the quilt I want to make from the rainbow charm swap, that can wait for another day though!

First of all my crazy Christmas quilt needs a binding, we have been lovingly using it all the holidays with just the zig zagged edge. I must say I have grown to love my fuzzy soft edge but it does need binding or it wont last the test of time. I have plumped for a shop brought binding because I wanted a simple solid colour after all the pattern on the quilt and because I am being lazy and cheap! The whole 7 meters of binding only cost me £2.03! Imagine the cost if I had made it up from yardage. I just need to get it sewn on now.

Then there is this cute little panel, I made it up months ago meaning to turn it into a pouch but didn't! Mostly because I put so much work into it because the pieces are tiny only to realise I had left myself with hardly any seam allowance. I didn't want to hide any of the design as it took me so long and so I just left it on the side hoping inspiration would come to me, it hasn't! But, there is no point loving it and hiding it in the cupboard, I have to make it into something and use it!

Then there is this tea cosy sleeve I brought in a charity shop last year. Its so rare to find something with the pre-printed pattern on that hasn't been started already. I got going on it straight away, I soon got bored! I must get on with it, its just that all that hand embroidery overwhelms me!

This is going to be a Dresden cushion, honest, its a well known fact that fmq Dresden's need at least 3 months airing before they can be made up into a cushion! Seriously, why did I do all the hard work and stop when all I need to do is throw a back on it? This is being done as soon as I find some nice backing.

Finally, my nemesis! The June block for the Birdie Stitches quilt. Cindy so knows what I am talking about here! Why did I ever start, I hate this quilt. I'm hoping that means I will love it the most when it is finally done. I'm not going to list my July-December blocks as ufo's because I haven't even started them and I don't plan on doing it any time soon, I need a breather from it. But I do need to finish this block, it is taunting me lol!

So there it is, I'm hoping I can look back at the end of the quarter with a sense of achievement, no greater dismay than I am in now!

There are still a few spaces left in the Somewhere Over the Rainbow charm swap, sign-ups are here. Be quick though, 15 spaces went as soon as I posted the swap, leaving only 13 and sign -ups haven't even been running 24 hours yet!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Want an excuse to shop the sales? A Rainbow charm swap sign-up!

Here it is, all the deets on the Rainbow charm swap!


The Modern Christmas Charm swap was such a blast I couldn't wait to organise another. I figure a new year should be bursting with fresh vibrant colours, what better than a rainbow swap.

1)  There will be 28 spaces, each person is to purchase a meter of 100% quilting weigh cotton in their assigned colour (red, pink, purple, blue, aqua, green, yellow, orange)

2) Post your photo in the flikr group (to avoid any doubling up of fabric choices between participants)
Please do not choose solids, make sure that that you choose something that reads as your assigned colour, ie when you look at it from a distance it is most definitely that colour. Pay attention to scale, large scale prints don't often work well as charms.

3) Cut your meter into 56 5x5" charms. There is a great tute on how to do this over at Elizabeth Hartman's blog if you are nervous!

4) Mail your cut charms to me, please place them in a plastic bag along with the fabric info (ie designer, line, colourway) REMEMBER TO INCLUDE A PRE-PAID RETURN ENVELOPE. If you wish to participate and live over-seas please let me know and I will arrange a paypal invoice for your return postage costs.

5) I will work my rainbow magic and send you back your very own rainbow of 56 charms along with a complied list of all the fabrics, should you wish to purchase more.

So, who wants their very own rainbow? If you do just comment below and I'll sign you up. Remember if you are a no reply blogger you MUST leave your email address or I wont be able to contact you with the mailing details.

I cant wait to get going, here is what I will be making once I have my charms:

Ive been admiring this quilt from Netties blog A Quilt is Nice for an age now. Here Baby Stripes quilt tutorial inspired me to make my first ever quilt. I plan on using the rainbow charms to make the little panel in 2.5" squares and sash it in either white or grey solid. I'm both excited and nervous to try the circular quilting. It rocks! Then again, done badly by me, maybe not so much!

Remember to join the flikr group!

And grab yourself the button  from my blogpage (if I've got it working lol!)

Chocolates and tissues!

Phew, what a break I've had. Almost 2 weeks since I last blogged and practically as long since I last sat at the sewing machine. Christmas was lovely, so relaxing and peaceful, so nice to spend time settling into the new house.

The house looked beautiful with all its decorations, all warm and cosy. We barely left the house for a week except to walk the dog. Then new year arrived, along with the germs! It has worked its way through the children and then yesterday I was the next victim! I was so devastated. My darling husband spend the morning putting up new storage in the sewing room and no sooner had I unpacked and arranged and re-arranged my supplies than the runny nose and shivers started. No sewing for me :(

Today I managed to do a little sewing, but not much (I mostly ate chocolates!) and I used my extra spool holder on the machine to hold a toilet roll in case of cold related emergencies - no photo, sorry!

So without further ado, as greatly requested by my bloggy mate Cindy, here is my new sewing room. Before:

Not the best pictures, I kinda forgot to take photos before we started! Basically you get that it was a BIG room with not much furniture. I used an little folding table my MIL got me for craft fairs, it was rammed full with all my bits and they were not easy to get to or use. Also the table is only about 2 feet high so far too easy for little hands to get at.

That's better! We didn't decorate because a) I couldn't be bothered and b) there was nothing really wrong with the paintwork and magnolia works great if I decide to change the 'theme colours' in the room. Right now its a shabby chic kinda vibe because that's what I mostly had already. It was easier to add a few cheap shabby bits of furniture from the recycling centre for now to bulk my storage out.

The wall immediately behind the sewing machine (where you can just see my 'make do and mend' sign hanging) is going to be my design wall, eeeepppp! I cant believe my room is so big, I am mega lucky!

This is our favourite piece of furniture, I stole it for my room ha ha! Its a beautiful arts and crafts sideboard we picked up for a bargain price years ago and sitting on top is my wall unit I paid £20 for and restored. I just love that I have somewhere to display all my fq's. You can just see my little owls and bowl of selvedges. This is one of the little touches I've loved putting in. Ive always been 'squatting' and never really had my own room. It was so fun being able to make it stylish as well as purposeful!

This unit is my mega bargain! The base I picked up for £12 last week at the recycling centre, its missing its shelf but Hubby promises he will cut me one soon. I painted it cream as it was a rather dated 80's high gloss teak effect. The book shelving at the top is my display stand i made for taking to craft fairs. It is made from 4 pieces of old picket fence and 3 lengths of old skirting board. It cost nothing. I love it!

I am in love with this part of the room! This is an old coat rack I made for our first house together. It didn't have a home when we moved here because there were already big racks in the boot room. So, it was headed for the tip. But then yesterday I had a brainwave! OK so I don't really need storage for quilts I've made. And yes I did go around the house and steal them back just so I could hang them and look at them but why not?!

Doesn't it look cosy? The tree is now naked and waiting to be taken outside. I will miss it, having my own sewing room tree has made me feel very special indeed!

Another brainwave, again pulled out of the pile for the tip! This time a seagrass CD rack, turned on its side and hung on the wall. Now home to my jars of buttons. Hubby is going to cut the feet off the bottom (on the left hand side) but for now I've hung tote bags from their that I've made so they may stay!

The little 'shroom hooks below it were only £1.50 and my only purchase for the sewing room other than the bookcase, so in all I spent a grand £13.50! Meaning that money my husband said I could have to kit the room out at the end of the month isn't needed. I wonder if I can convince him to let me use if for fabric to full up the new storage?

I'll leave you with a pic of some of my handmade Christmas gifty makes, not all got photographed in the mad dash to unpack, sew, wrap and gift! I'll be back soon with all the details for my rainbow charm swap and hopefully my link-up to Rhondas 2012 finish-along.