Monday, October 16, 2017

Preparing for Christmas

After two weeks of school holidays, Cohen started Term Four this morning. This means I have a mere ten weeks to bring you everything I have planned for Christmas. The time will fly by fast, as its always so busy leading up to Christmas but this is my favorite time of the year, so I'm excited.
To kick start my prep, I thought I'd link up a few of my past Christmas projects and also give you a brief rundown on what to expect in the following weeks.
So first up, the lovely team at FaveQuilts have featured another of my projects, and this time its my free block Christmas Star:
If you haven't seen this block before, its so pretty and you can use it for lots of Christmas projects. It's a paper pieced pattern and I've included templates to make four versatile sizes. You could use this block to sew place mats or table runners, or as a cushion front or a border for a Christmas quilt; the possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.
The pattern is free and you can download your copy HERE. Have lots of fun with it :)
Also check out some of the other free Christmas patterns at FaveQuilts, HERE.
Another of my free Christmas patterns are these gorgeous mug rugs. They are quite simple but so pretty and make great presents for teachers or neighbours or your crafting friends. They're a great use of scrap fabrics and they look lovely on your side table or office desk.
The free pattern includes the paper pieced version shown above and an applique version if FPP is not your thing. You can download the free file, HERE.
Over in my PDF pattern shops, I have this cute little guy. This is my Nutcracker pattern and I just love hanging him near our Christmas tree. He brings a smile to my face every time I look at him and it just wouldn't be Christmas without him :)
This is a quick and easy pattern using lots of quick corners and there's loads of diagrams etc. to help you along the way. You can purchase the PDF pattern HERE.
Yuletide is another of my Christmas PDF patterns. I love this little mini and I have seen it sewn in many beautiful fabric/colour combinations. Its another great stash busting project and its fully paper pieced and very easy to construct.
You can purchase the PDF pattern HERE.
If you're like me and have to be super organised, I also have my free Christmas Planner which you can download and print. I love this planner and every year I reprint the pages and get to work on planning our celebrations. Even though our family is small, Christmas is huge for us and keeping all my lists, recipes, notes and plans in the one place, is essential.
Start your planning today and download your own copy of my planner HERE.
So what have I got planned for the coming weeks? Here's a little list of what I hope to bring to the blog to help you celebrate Christmas with your family;
  • my upcoming December mini quilt pattern will be Christmas themed (that's a given)
  • a new free Christmas pattern (and its a sweet one!)
  • recipes, lots of recipes, including some yummy biscuits presented 3 or 4 ways which will be perfect for gift giving.
  • a Christmas inspired crocheted coaster. I've been playing around with my own crochet design for a little while now and I think I almost have it :)
  • a quick and easy Christmas ornament which is perfect to pop in your Christmas cards to friends and family.
  • Maddi and Michael's Christmas gift. I have been working on this crocheted blanket for months and its epic! I've had a daily love/hate relationship with this one but very soon it will be finished and ready to share. And I looooooove it! Stay tuned :)
  • plus lots of links to free patterns I'll be using to add to our Christmas decor.
OK, I need to get all of this done in the next ten weeks so I best get to work; not that you can really call all that fun crafting, actual work :) I hope to bring you all of these projects (plus more if time allows) but if something doesn't make the blog then it just didn't work as I had hoped; I'm thinking it may be the crocheted coaster, we will see.
Happy Christmas preparing :)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mira

The latest edition of the Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine (Vol 27 No 8) is now available and on page 20 is my quilt Mira:
Mira is a giant red variable star found in the constellation of Cetus. Its unique in the way it pulsates to increase or decrease its own brightness. For this design I positioned my bright red star amid a sea of shooting comets and tiny twinkling stars as can be seen in all of the stunning constellations.
I used Cheery McGee fabrics for this quilt and they were absolutely beautiful to work with. I love the tone of that gorgeous red and the aqua's are to die for. The cute bird print is so pretty and I tried to showcase them in the square elements of the blocks.
I would like to link these fabrics for you but a Google search found nothing which wasn't very helpful at all :( and I can not remember who distributes them.
They make a stunning quilt though and even the trimmings looked super pretty :)
Once you sew the required blocks, Mira goes together quite quickly and easily. It finishes at around 54" square, making it a lovely lap quilt or a quilt to throw over the couch ready for those chilly nights. Mine is draped over our couch and its so lovely and snuggly but somehow the cat seems to have claimed it and trust me she is extremely territorial and the only one using it. :)
This latest issue of APQ is packed with lovely projects and the whole team do a great job showcasing our projects. If you want to grab a copy of this months issue see your local newsagents or you can order online HERE.
I'll share more about Mira next year when I add it to my PDF pattern range but for now its only available via the magazine :)
Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Nanaimo's

Do you ever cook something just because you feel like a trip down memory lane? I felt like that last week and decided to make a batch of Nanaimo's. We all need a few no bake recipes in our collection and today I've got an oldie but a goodie for you. If you want something quick and easy and reminiscent of my 80's then your going to love these Nanaimo's:
Cue Madonna's "Holiday"; we're being transported back in time with this recipe ladies :) You're singing it now aren't you? ;)
As newly married wives, the girls from work would sit in the lunch room and trade quick and easy slice recipes which were indicative of our young culinary talents. Many of them contained chopped up lollies or melted chocolate bars; you know the type of recipes I mean, everyone made them.
We cooked them all and this Nanaimo slice has stood the test of time even though its a little different to the original Canadian recipe. I'm pretty sure it was served at every Tupperware party we went to during the 80's/90's :)
These Nanaimo's are packed with chopped pecan's, coconut, dark chocolate and shredded wheat biscuits with a super sweet icing smothered on top. I could eat a bowl of this icing by itself, please don't judge me :) I prefer to chop up extra pecans and sprinkle them over the icing but today I'm doing it like we did back in the 80's and using one whole pecan on top. Very retro :)
I cut my slice into 15 bars but cut them smaller if you wish. They would be perfect for high tea or as a plate to take to craft days and nibble on as you chat and sew.
This recipe is really all about those gorgeous pecans. They flavour strongly in this slice and combined with that delicious dark chocolate, Nanaimo's are the perfect substitute for that afternoon biscuit you have with your coffee. The icing should be soft and fluffy and just set, so adjust your icing sugar quantities to obtain a consistency your happy with.
Nanaimo's are in no way cake like, they are more of a biscuit so if they sound to your liking, you can download the recipe HERE or right click on the image below and save to your computer for later:
This batch of Nanaimo's did take me back to those lunch hours with the girls, scrawling down each others recipes in the hopes we'd found a winner. And to those endless Tupperware parties where most of us came only for the food and left with yet another batch of containers to put our cooking in :)
Happy baking :)

Friday, October 6, 2017

It's A Blizzard (Part 2)

As promised, I'm doing another round up post of readers Snowflakes from my 7 Day Mystery Sew Along last month. There's only three but you really have to see these ones too, they are gorgeous:
First up is Analiese's snowflake and she is another of Trevea's grandchildren and she is 10. Wow! Analiese, your sewing is impeccable and what stunning fabrics you have used. I love the dark, textured background and your snowflake looks so delicate and pretty ♥
Great job honey, I'm so happy you joined in and had fun making your snowflake :)
Next up we have Marcus who is 13 and another of Trevea's grandchildren. He's also chosen a dark background and it looks like he's used an army print for his snowflake. All three of these kids quilts are pieced so perfectly, they blew me away! Marcus, your snowflake looks incredible and I'm so proud of you. I hope you have as much fun using your table cloth as you did making it :)
And lastly, here's Rosa's. I love the background fabric she has used, its just perfect for her snowflake. The tone of that blue fabric is just stunning and she has pieced her snowflake perfectly. Thanks for sharing with us Rosa, I'm eager to see this quilted and I hope you use it heaps during Christmas :)
Well I think that's everyone's Snowflake I have received but if I have missed yours please email me an angry, finger wagging message for being so remiss ;)
In other news, I have been asked to design a project showcasing some new Art Gallery fabrics so I'll be bringing you another free project very soon. There's no mystery with this one, just a straight forward "see it and make it" kinda pattern, so keep a look out for that early November. I'm excited!
Happy sewing :)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Sweet Prairie by Sedef Imer

Last Friday, the postman received another huge hug when he arrived at my front door with this gorgeous bundle of Sweet Prairie fabric from Sedef Imer of Down Grapevine Lane:
This range is just stunning you guys! I've had this bundle on pre-order for months and to finally see it in person, was well worth the wait. This is Sedef's second fabric range and its just as beautiful as her first line, Sweet Orchard which I used for my April Mini Quilt, Ma Petite.
The prints in this range are adorable and those soft colours are just perfect. I'm totally in love with the mint and yellow and that pink is so sweet. I love how she has teamed the pastels with the stronger red's, oranges and greys which will give a lot of contrast to projects. I haven't opened my bundle yet, but you can see all of the prints on the Riley Blake website HERE.
I'm looking forward to working with these fabrics and I do have plans for them but I must finish a few other things first so for now it will sit in the studio and inspire me to sew quicker :)
If you need some inspiration, you can visit Sedef's website and see some of her stunning projects HERE. Be sure to keep a look out for this fabric line, you wont be disappointed and think of all those gorgeous autumn inspired projects you can sew.
Happy sewing :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Baroque Mini Quilt + Your Free October 2017 Calendar

I'm not sure about you but to me its felt like September barely started and then..... poof, here comes October! What a month this has been; lots of sewing, lots of crochet and cooking, lots of planning for the months ahead and dad had two surgeries. Fortunately, school holidays start on Friday so it's time for a wind down and recharge and its also time for my new monthly mini and your free October 2017 calendar.
This months little quilt is a stunner. Please welcome Baroque to my pattern family:
I'm a huge fan of cross designs and this mini quilt reminds me of the carvings on my grandmothers vanity table. It was a huge, imposing piece of furniture with rich dark wood and it was full of all her "womanly" possessions. Even as a little girl, I could stare for hours at the intricate patterns in the wood, that was of course when I wasn't totally memorized by my own reflection in her mirror :)
Furniture was beautiful and ornate back then, so much nicer than the modern sleek pieces of today. Baroque will bring a touch of grandeur to my mini quilt wall.
Baroque denotes a style that is both exuberant and grandiose and the rich colours of these Playground fabrics from Amy Sinibaldi were the perfect choice for this mini. The fabrics are beautiful to work with and teemed with that crisp white homespun, they make a striking mini quilt.
This design would look gorgeous in any fabric combination and I think multiple blocks would make a beautiful full sized quilt; something else to add to my must make list! I'll be interested to see what colour combinations you come up with :)
Baroque is a paper pieced design and is constructed in easy units which go together quite quickly. You should be able to piece this quilt top in a day and it finishes at around 16" square, making it the perfect size to use as a table topper or cushion front.
As always, the PDF pattern includes a colouring sheet for planning your fabrics/colours prior to sewing, full step by step instructions and colour diagrams, full sized templates and optional instructions for adding a hanging sleeve or corner hangers.
I chose my "go to" FMQ flower design to quilt my mini because I love that gorgeous texture and I finished it off with that lovely burgundy binding which frames the design perfectly.
Baroque is a very pretty mini quilt and its definitely my new favorite design, although I think I say that every month. I'm sure you are going to love this quick and easy pattern :)
If you would like to make your own Baroque mini quilt, from today until the end of October 2017, PDF patterns are available at the introductory price of $4.95 (AU) in my Big Cartel shop, HERE.
If you prefer an instant download, they are also available in my Etsy shop, HERE.
And I also have your free October 2017 calendar featuring the gorgeous Baroque:
To download and print your free calendar, just visit HERE.
I hope you love Baroque as much as I do. I really enjoyed working on this design and it looks so pretty hanging on my studio wall. It takes me back to sitting in front of my grandmothers beautiful mirror, brushing my hair like I was a princess waiting for her prince :) And he did come, but not on a horse, he came in a bronze HX Holden ;)... love you Les ♥
Happy sewing :)

Monday, September 25, 2017

It's A Blizzard

The encouragement and support I received from you guys during (and after) my 7 Day Mystery Sew Along was amazing. Even though we were miles apart, it felt like we were all together sewing our Snowflake's :)
It's great to know that each installment was fun, that they kept you interested, that they were manageable and most importantly, that they kept you guessing until the very last installment :) Apparently I can keep a secret ;)
Thanks to those who sent me photo's. I do love to see what you make with my designs and I'm honoured to share them here with everyone. Lets have a look at some of your Snowflake's:
Vicki's was the first Snowflake I saw and she was so quick getting it quilted and bound. I love her fabric choices; its a perfect soft and pretty snowflake and it looks great on her table. The quilting looks amazing too, just perfect for this design. Great job Vicki, it stunning and I'm thrilled you love your new table cloth (and thanks for the encouragement during my mini panic attack on Day 2 ♥).
Next up is Chris's and she totally proved me wrong, blue was not the only option to use on this design. It looks absolutely stunning in red. It will be perfect for Christmas and how striking will it look on her table amid the festive colours of Christmas? Thank you Chris, I hope you and your family enjoy your tablecloth for years to come.
Anne Ida also chose red for her Snowflake and this one is gorgeous. Have a close look at her quilting; shes my inspiration when it comes to FMQing. Anne Ida has a knack for choosing the perfect quilting design for every project she makes and she very cleverly sections areas to makes the whole design pop! I love it hun, its gorgeous ♥
This is Cintia's Snowflake and its just perfect. Aren't those fabrics gorgeous? Its a stunning version of this pattern and I hope she has fun quilting it. Thank you Cintia, I'm so happy to know you had fun making the quilt top and look forward to seeing the finished quilt ♥
Kim's version is gorgeous too. I love these fabrics and they look so striking against the white background. Great job Kim, I love following you on IG and look forward to seeing what else you have to share in the future and to see this quilt top finished.
Skye's version stopped me in my tracks, its just stunning. I love the yellow and gold tone backgrounds and I think the Snowflake is pieced in a Liberty print, not quite sure ♥ Skye did all her own quilting as well and it looks fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing this with us Skye, I'm thrilled you learned some new techniques along the way and I imagine you can't wait for the Christmas season to arrive so you can use your new table cloth :)
Saru's version is soooo soft and pretty and I love these fabrics. That background print is adorable, wonder where she got that? The print on the blue fabric is so delicate and pretty and I'm so happy she loves her Snowflake :) Saru has added a plain border to float the snowflake and her quilting is just gorgeous. Thank you Saru for this stunning version of my design and you mentioned you made it for a gift, so I hope the lucky recipient loves it too :)
Trevea chose a black and white combination for her Snowflake and how awesome is this? Those fabrics are so pretty and its made a stunning quilt top. Great job Trevea, I love this one so much. ♥ Trevea has been busy sewing this mystery with her three grandchildren, Marcus (13), Cameron (10) and Analiese (10) and here's Cameron's finished Snowflake:
Wow! Wow! Wow! Cameron this is gorgeous :) Your fabric selection is perfect for Christmas and look how perfectly pieced this is guys. There's no way I was sewing like this at 10 :) He's done an amazing job with the quilting as well. I love it Cameron, thanks so much for sewing along with me and sharing your Snowflake. You should be super proud of yourself and Trevea, I'm thrilled this project was fun for all four of you :) Can't wait to see the others.
And lastly, here's Laura's Snowflake. This is another gorgeous red version. Ladies you have me sold on this red and white combo, I want a red snowflake too :) I can't wait to see how you quilt this Laura, its going to be stunning ♥
Aren't these ladies clever? Each of the Snowflakes are perfectly pieced and I'm so proud of all of you. It just goes to show, the simpler the design the more stunning the quilt.
Thank you again to everyone who participated, or emailed or commented and to those who shared their work with me. You guys are the best! Sharing this design as a mystery was so much fun and seeing the results has filled me with joy!
If you didn't get a chance to send me a photo before this round up, still send one. Id love to see your Snowflake and if I get enough photo's I'll do a second round up post.
I have a new monthly mini to share with you later this week, so stay tuned.......you gunna love this one ♥
Happy sewing my clever peeps :)
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