23 April 2017

A pretty cupcake Potholder....almost good enough to eat!

A couple of weeks ago I was cutting some 'Spinkles' fabric by Stacy Iest Hsu for a customer order, which got me thinking about cupcakes (as you do!) and before I knew it I had a whole new project on the go...all be it a little one.

I hand drew a simple pattern for the cupcake and then used the interfacing method to create the appliques.  As always I had fun adding all the little 'extra' details..... some lace, which I hand sewed to the cupcake case and then tucked the ends underneath as I appliqued it in place.  A polka dot button for the 'cherry on top' and a little decorative stitching in Aurifil 12wt.  The pattern for the potholder can be found in Sedef's lovely book, Quilt Petite and can be rustled up really quickly.  Would you believe I made this in an evening and then it sat there waiting for the ribbon loop to be sewn on for almost two weeks!  Am I the only one who does this?.....please say no!
This would be another great project for that overflowing scrap basket, but if you fancy making one like mine, I've put together a pretty fabric bundle which includes a FQ of each of the 5 fabrics I used. You can find this on the website HERE

The 12wt thread I used can be found HERE and I had 50wt Aurifil in Muslin #2311 in machine which I used for both the piecing and quilting, you can find that HERE.

and for pretty lace, take a peek HERE.

Quilt Petite by Sedef Imer can be found HERE.

I hope that you've had a lovely weekend full of Happy Stitches!

19 April 2017

Slow.....Slow....Slow weekend (and some important shop news!)

I do not think Easter weekend could have come at a better time....... I was absolutely pooped!  My plan for the weekend was simple......spending lots of time with the family, a little gardening, as little housework as possible whilst still maintaining a modicum of cleanliness and some slow hand stitches.
On the stitching front, I wanted to catch up with my Happy Flower QAL blocks.... I think Block 14 is my favourite so far.  I decided the pieces were way too small for the Interfacing Method of applique and needle turned all the petals and leaves.  When I previously needle turned, I have drawn the outline of the shape on to the right side of the fabric and used this as the guide to turn under the edge.  On this occasion, I tried out the authors Atsuko Matsuyama's freezer paper technique, instructions for which are clearly detailed in the book and loved it!

For the centre circle I used Sarah Fielke's method where by you cut out the finished size circle in card, place the fabric with seam allowance on top and then wrap silver foil around the whole thing carefully turning under the seam allowance.  Once you've got a neat little silver circle, you then press it and the heat from the foil keeps the seam allowance folded in place.  This worked a treat!

I used a glorious scrappy mix of fabrics, which were:

Light Blue Pin Dot from my stash
Lecien Fabric ~ Old New 30's ~ Floral in Pink and Yellow available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Old New 30's ~ Circles Pink available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Flower Sugar ~ Spray Roses Cornflower Blue available HERE
Moda Fabrics ~ Hop, Skip and a Jump ~ Bashful Blossoms Cherry available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Old New 30's ~ Dots and Daisies Pink available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Retro 30's Smile Child ~ Floral Blue & Yellow available HERE
Penny Rose Fabrics ~ Hope Chest ~ Dots Yellow available HERE
Windham Fabrics ~ Feedsack ~ Mono Floral Green available HERE

The pretty background dot is from Lily by Penny Rose Fabrics and is available HERE

I also finished off last weeks block......I have to say you can tell I was feeling a little bit peeky when I made this one, but I am sure when it one block amongst nearly 100 it will be ok!

On the home front...we're currently planning a new kitchen.  We moved in to our home when Jamie was six weeks old...... oh the naivety of being first time parents!  We moved from a Victorian semi to a nearly new build, which at the time only required a little decorative update.  But as Jamie approaches his 13th Birthday, it's now looking a little tired.  We are slowly working our way through the house, last summer we did the bathroom and ensuite.  So far this year we've tackled the living room, painted, laid new carpet and bought new sofa's....we've never looked to neat and tidy!  Later this summer the outside is getting new fascias and guttering etc.....not terribly exciting, but the kitchen certainly is!  

On Saturday we had a trip to a kitchen showroom where fingers crossed we have found the kitchen of our dreams..... think painted wooden units, oak worktops....sigh!  We softened the blow of kitchen shopping ...for some reason Poppy and Jamie are not quite so excited by the prospect of a new kitchen.....with a trip to the coast.  We went to one of our favourite beaches, it's between Skegness and Mablethorpe and is about an hour away from us.  It's perfect, you can park right next to the sand and all you can see is more sand and sea and not much else.  Obviously the boys are never happier than when they have a rugby ball to throw about....

.....and Poppy still loves to build sandcastles.....  I did partake in a little bit of both, but I had half an hour or so just sat in the car in the warmth of the sun all on my own..... doing nothing, not even sewing..... just watching them and the world go by....absolute bliss!
 On Easter Sunday we went on a Easter egg hunt...

and in the afternoon after finally working my way through trimming the HST blocks for Jamie's quilt,  I sat down for some more slow hand stitches.  I've been playing with EPP paper pieces and combining compatible shapes.  I'm planning a series of blog posts about which shapes can work with each other.  Obviously, I couldn't resist sewing a block...... 
which soon became two...... more are cut, basted and ready to be sewn together, but more about that another day.
The weekend passed by in a flash and mum and I were back to work yesterday packing all the orders that came in over the Easter weekend...thank you!  Before signing off for today, I just wanted to share some rather important news about our Ruskington Bricks and Mortar Shop opening days, for those of you who come and visit us in person....... with effect from the 1st May, our Ruskington shop will no longer be open on a Wednesday.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday opening hours remain unchanged. 

Obviously this is not a decision that has been made lightly.  We absolutely love having our Ruskington shop and the opportunity that it gives us to meet our fantastic customers in person.  We are however very aware that some of things that we are asked for on a very regular basis, we can not always do as quickly as we would like.  By not opening on a Wednesday, this will give us back a few additional hours to do some of those extra things.... more quilt kits, fabric bundles, more projects here on the blog etc which hopefully can be enjoyed by everyone.

You can find our new Ruskington Shop opening hours HERE.  Our website remains unchanged and is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year!

Right I'll be back soon as I have some finished projects to share!

Happy Stitches!

10 April 2017

Weekend Stitches

Not quite a finished block this week for the Happy Flower Quilt-A-long.... I really like this one, I think it's because I've used lots of red, which is my favourite colour.  As you can see the circles were made with the interfacing method and they will look much better, more circular, once appliqued.  The leaves will be needle turned and I'll share the finished block next week...pinky promise!

My fabric choices this week:
The background is an Essential Dot by Moda, available HERE
The little red gingham by Riley Blake is available HERE
The red circle print by Lecien is available HERE
The gingham for the leaves is available HERE

The main reasons I didn't get the block finished were because......

1/  I was distracted by hand quilting this pretty Half Square Triangle quilt......more about this very soon........
2/  The glorious weather..... we went out yesterday searching for new garden furniture, ours after 13 years sterling service has finally had to go.  We didn't get any furniture, but I couldn't resist these pretty Primula's......I'm not sure they're terribly football friendly, but we'll see how they go!
 3/  I started a new quilt as a surprise for Jamie, hopefully for his 13th Birthday in May.  I felt so guilty the other evening when, whilst watching me hand quilting the above HST quilt, he asked "when was I going to make him a new quilt?". I felt so bad, I have been promising him a new one for months/years to replace the one I made for him when he was a toddler.  He really is a gentle soul (apart from when he is playing rugby that is!) who doesn't ask for much at all and seeing that he his now inches taller than me, the toddler quilt really is cutting it anymore.  Rather happily and by good fortune, some new Liberty Gatherings fabrics (find it HERE) had just arrived that mum and I had chosen months ago, so the timing could not have been better. I grabbed a Layer Cake (perks of owning a quilt shop), some modern low volume backgrounds to keep it young and fresh, plus the Janet Clare plane print....a nod to Andy's 30 years in the RAF and as soon as I finished work on Saturday, I set too making yet more HST.  The benefit of always sewing means that he didn't even question what I was up to, although I'm not holding out much hope of a surprise, as Poppy did pay attention (I'm sure it's a girl thing) and twigged exactly what I was up to, so chances of him not finding out are very slim!  This quilt is definitely inspired by THIS ONE that very talented and extremely modest Carolyn made...you must take a peek at her whole Instagram feed it's beautiful...when I grow up, I want to live in her pretty cottage, surrounded by her beautiful quilts!!!!
I manged to get all 320 HST sewn together on Saturday..the wonders of chain sewing..... if only trimming them was just as quick....... I'll keep you posted on my progress!

I hope that you have a lovely week full of happy stitches....until next time!

4 April 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-long Week 5

It's such a pretty block for this weeks instalment of the Happy Flower Quilt-A-Long.... I just love Lily of the Valley.  I remember when we were on holiday in the Peak District a couple of years ago whilst out walking, we stumbled across a very pretty cottage and it's front garden it's borders were just full to brimming with it......... oh the smell was just heavenly.  I decided there and then the moment our back garden became a ball free zone, I would definitely be planting some!!!  In the meantime, I was able to dream and stitch...although sadly without the scent!

I managed to use the usual interfacing method for the leaves and the two little bells, but that teeny oval was needle turned.  In truth the pieces were so small this week, I think it probably would have been quicker and easier to have needle turned the whole thing, but hey ho!

Sorry there's only the one photo, I was struck down late last week with tonsillitis and I am only just starting to feel human again...good for the diet though...(I always try to look of the bright side!).   I used just three fabrics this week and I don't think my photo captures just what a pretty green the Lecien Pin Dot background fabric is, but you can see that better on the website HERE.  The flowers are also in a Lecien Dainty Dot, available HERE and the leaves were made in a pretty ditsy floral from the lovely Elea Lutz's Apple Farm collection, which you can find HERE.

Can I just say thank goodness for mum's, my mum (Penny) has been a complete star as usual and things at Pretty Fabrics and Trims have carried on completely uneffected by my absence...although I think she will be glad to have me back!!!

27 March 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-long Week 4

As you know from my grand plan in week 1, I'm not making the pieced blocks for the Happy Flower Quilt-A-Long so I feel a bit of a fraud calling this weeks block 'a block' as all I had to do was choose just one fabric for a fussy cut block.  There was no appliqued block this week.  If you're wondering I do have a plan for the pieced blocks, but more of that another day.  I've been loosely following the colours in the original quilt, so for my first 'fussy cut' block I chose a pretty floral from Lecien Flower Sugar collection, which is available HERE.  It's quite a large scale print, so I do think it is a good opportunity to show it off!

I used 3 Sisters Pink for the sashing, which it is, my intention to use for all the blocks.  Unfortunately as I type, we are currently out of stock (sorry!!), we had lots of orders for it back in week 1 and we're currently awaiting a big restock.  Normally this happens quite quickly, but I've been advised that Moda are also awaiting a big restock...eeeeek!  I will of course let you know as soon as it arrives.

In the meanwhile, I thought it would be nice to see the four blocks I have made so far together.

Next week, I'll be back to an applique block, which is a particularly nice one..can't wait!  The hashtag for social media is #happyflowerqal ...if you fancy a peek!

Happy stitches!

21 March 2017

Happy Flower Quilt-A-long Week 3

This weeks block for the Happy Flower Quilt-A-long has always been one of my favourites from the very first time I saw the sampler quilt on the cover of the 'Pink Book'!

Again I was able to use the interfacing method of applique, but I think this the leaf on top of the strawberry was just about as small as I could go using this method and hooray for my chop stick, which did sterling service helping me to turn through!

Ordinarily it usually takes almost as long to choose my fabrics as it does to actually make the block.....this week however, I knew exactly the look I wanted and is possibly my fastest fabric pull ever..... I used the following:

Lecien Fabric ~ Retro 30's Smile Child ~ Strawberries Ivory which is available HERE
Moda Fabrics ~ Vintage Picnic ~ Check Green which is available HERE
Lecien Fabric ~ Quilters Basic ~ Miniature Houndstooth Sage Green which is available HERE
Moda Fabrics ~ Bread 'N' Butter ~ Pot Luck Dot Red which is available HERE

This week also featured the first little bit of embroidery, for this I used Aurifil 12wt in #1114, which you can find HERE.

If you feel tempted to Quilt-A-long, you can find the book HERE.

I look forward to sharing next weeks block with you, it's my first fabric fussy cut one and I've just the perfect fabric in mind.  Don't forget to take a peek at the  #happyflowerqal ...there are some lovely blocks to be seen!

Happy stitches!

20 March 2017

Happy Easter Mini Quilt

I'm really excited to share my latest finish....which may seem a little familiar to many of you I'm sure!  Since the 'A Little Happy Sew Along' last year to make the Merry Christmas Mini Quilt, I've received lots of emails asking for some more seasonal versions.  So as I'm always up for challenge, (and excuse to sew!) here's my Happy Easter version.....  I hope that you like it!

Just like the original, it incorporates a variety of techniques ...applique, embroidery, machine piecing, English Paper Piecing and hand quilting.
New additions this time include a vintage inspired embroidery of a little Easter chick and a pretty appliqued flower, complete with a ladybird.  I used my scallop scissors to cut the felt circle at the centre of the flower, it would look equally cute cut out with normal scissors.......

.......and rather than little hanging felt decorations, I went for a mini size string of bunting, just like the cake buntings I use to make a few years ago!

If you would like to make this you will need to print off the embroidery patterns, applique templates and the bunting flag template HERE.   I used a selection of pretty 1930's reproductions along with a mix of pin dots, stripes and gingham's.  This would be a great project for those in our 'Flirty 30's Club', or of course, an ideal opportunity to do some scrap busting.  If however, you would like to make one just like mine, you can purchase a kit HERE, which will also include all the fabrics, felt, wadding, backing fabric, plus all the pretty buttons and bakers twine.  In addition, we've put together an embroidery floss set, which includes 5 skeins of Anchor stranded floss, you can order this HERE.

The Easter version was made in almost the exactly the same way as the Christmas version, the full instructions for this can be found HERE.  Here's a picture of the fabrics I used to make the Easter Mini Quilt along side the one I made for the Christmas one to help you with the cutting.  

In addition, for the appliqued flower and bunting fabrics you will need the following:

Bias Stem (1) 5/8" x 4" (put through a 1/4" Bias Maker) If you don't fancy making a bias stem, a pretty alternative would be some pretty ric rac or ribbon.
Leaves (1) 3" square
Flower Head (1) 3" square

You will also need 3 flower buttons, a ladybird button (optional) and some Bakers Twine

When it came to piecing the front, the only deviation from the Christmas version, being that I added the bias stem before I joined the top half to the bottom half, see the picture below...
Other than that, I added all the embellishments in the same order as before.  In addition to following the all the instructions from the Christmas Sew Along, you may also find the following  'A Little Happy Tutorials' helpful:

How to use a Bias Maker to make Flower Stems is HERE
How to stitch French Knots is HERE

The only other thing that you need to know is how I made the little bunting flags.  These were made by folding a small piece of fabric in half, pressing along the fold and then using the triangle template to cut out the flag.

I then folded this over the twine and stitched a row of running stitches to create a channel, that the bakers twine sits in.  Once all five flags were stitched on to the bakers twine, I then tied this around the buttons.  Easy peasy!

Obviously, it goes without saying that any Easter make requires mini eggs as an essential photo prop....... I couldn't possibly comment, but lets just say, I may need to buy some more before photographing any further Easter projects!

So there you go, I hope that you enjoy making your own version.  As always, mum and I would LOVE to see them so please remember to tag your photos with the #alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims

If you were popping in to view this weeks Happy Flower QAL block...I'll be back to share this tomorrow...I'm running a day late as Andy, myself and the children escaped to Centre Parcs for the weeked....we had such fun, but I think we now need a weekend off to get over the weekend away!

Happy Stitches!