How to enjoy hot weather or Retail Therapy

Today was hot in Healdsburg. I mean this is the thermometer on my parent’s back deck in the shade at 5.30 this evening.

It’s pretty warm, and I LOVE IT!!

I did what any normal person does and I walked into town. There is a great little fabric store right on our main square. I may have purchased a thing or two. Supporting the local economy and small businesses is what I call it..

Just one or two fabrics including Kaffe Fasset and some Alexander Henry! Yay! I love them all! I mean look at that little animal family – so cute!

They are all 1/2 yard cuts which makes me pretty happy. And don’t the colors just play so well together? Now I need to borrow a sewing machine so I can actually do more than stare and stroke…

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a glass of white wine by the pool!

Quilt Finish! Clover & Violet QAL

Yay I finished my first full-size quilt! This was a part of the Clover and Violet Embroidery 101: Stitch and Quilt Along that I started last summer. To be fair though, I didn’t really do much with it until September. I finished the top in October but it got put to the side with Christmas coming up (and no money to buy backing fabric with!). Then, in April, I was inspired by Jenelle finishing her Embroidery 101 quilt and the realization that if I wanted to use Just Wing It (the fabric from the top) on the backing, I was going to have to get a move on it as it was going to disappear from shop shelves pretty soon. I have to say it was tough to find as much as I did!

quilt front

The quilt measures approximately 1.5 meters square, which is a nice cozy couch size. I quilted it in straight lines down the middle of each colored side of the boxes.. I probably should have done a bit more and quilted on each side of the seam – it’s pretty lightly quilted. As I don’t have a walking foot for my machine (yet!), I took it to Sew Over It in Clapham North to quilt it and it took me just over an hour to do it. Side note, if you need to sew something but want to get out of the house to do so, check them out – they’re great! I bound it in the same pink as I used in the sashing squares. It isn’t from the Just Wing It line, I just picked it up at a fabric shop when I finished the top – it was super cheap ;)

I love the back waaaay more than I thought I would. I was really nervous that it was going to be too jarring and bright. Now I absolutely LOVE it! I used the scraps from the top (I can’t believe I still had them!) as well as some of the extra pink from the binding to create the scrappy strip in the middle.

All the embroidery was done with perle cotton, which I now looove! It gives a really nice tactile yet really smooth appearance to the work. Love it :)

Top row of embroidered blocks – bird house, bunting/garden, and flower.

Middle row of embroidered blocks – wishing well, bird, and flowers.

Middle row of embroidered blocks – flowers, wishing well, and picnic.

I think it looks pretty good on the back of the couch – it might be hard to give away, but I know the person who’ll receive it, really deserves it. Plus, it gives me a reason to make another one!

Ooh! I also have a baby quilt that I started on Monday and I still need to finish piecing the top, assemble th back, quilt it, and bind it, all by the 13th! Wish me luck! I’m going to need it!

Linked up here.

Dreaming of summer – Colette Sorbetto and Garden Wall

One of my New Year’s goals (I don’t like resolutions, I just like to live well), was to make an article of clothing for myself. After much hemming and hawing, I have decided to attempt the Colette Sorbetto in a nice summery print.

I chose this lovely bird print from The Village Haberdashery. It’s a little bit out of my comfort zone – large scale print. But I love the color and think the print is really pretty.. I can’t wait to start sewing – the pattern is cut out and tonight the fabric is being cut.. always the scariest part! Hopefully I can have it done in time to bring to the LMQG meeting in May – then I would have 2 things to bring!

A tiny party dress for a sweet baby

My boss and his wife welcomed their third child, Astrid, to the world a month ago. I knew I had to make something for them as they the reason why I’m here in the UK. Seeing as this is their third child, I figured they had everything practical that they could need, so I decided to make them something they would want. So I made a little party dress :)

I used this pattern from Made by Rae. There are two sizes in the pattern – newborn and 0-3 month. Since she was a month old, I decided to make the larger one. Too bad little Astrid is so tiny she still won’t fit! I think I may have also made the skirt too long.. Oh well. She can wear it this summer.

I’m not sure what the material is on the bodice, but the skirt is some Liberty print I had left over from making little Noel’s baby quilt. I love that it’s girly without being pink. The skirt also has French seams to give that little bit of extra luxury and class that Liberty prints deserve ;)

I would like to make it again, but I think I would make the lining of the top be a different print to make it really stand out. I’d also buy pre-made piping and bias tape! I also have a little proto-type going around in my head to make one with a onesie/babygro bottom inside so that it won’t ride up. We’ll see if I get around to that though!

Since I couldn’t give something just to baby, I gave this with some homemade blackberry jam for her parents and siblings. It was all wrapped in kraft paper and topped with some hand-painted hearts as tags.

Pink Castle Blogger Bundle Competition

I love the idea of building my own fabric bundles and if I didn’t have to work and I had endless money and storage, I could do it all day long! So when I saw that Katy from i’m a ginger monkey has teamed up with Pink Castle Fabric to run a contest doing just that, I knew I was in.

The question was asked, “if you were chief bundle maker what would you choose?”

This is what I would choose:

Rows, top to bottom

  1. Wild Flowers in Blue, Wall Flower in New Day, Vines in Green
  2. Punctuation Dot in Black, Calico Cactus in Piney Woods, Meadow in Green
  3. Sundae Stripe in Gray, Herringbone in Lake, Rose Bouquet in Gold
  4. Heath in Chartreuse, Coreopsis in Sugar, Prairie Rose in Piney Woods

So what are you waiting for? Go make yours and post it here!

Weekend project – Quilt top

OK… I lied a little bit.. this actually took two weekends to finish. But it was surprisingly fast to put together (I went out for dinner and drinks on Saturday and I still got it done!) and I’m really happy with it. Happy enough to show you a little sneak peek I took with my phone.

Oh yeah, see that massive basket off to the left? That was supposed to be my laundry basket. I apparently got my metric mixed up and what I thought was millimeters was actually centimeters. When it arrived at work, I got some serious laughs. And I made Gavin carry it home for me. On the Tube. During rush hour. We were not popular. Anyways, the quilt:

I clearly am too excited to wait until the weekend when I can take better photos to show you this bad boy. You’ll get a double dose with better photos next week. Potentially, even with a back made.. I’m making that next weekend. Yeah. I’m serious about this guy.

The story with this guy is last year, I bought a fat quarter bundle of Riley Blake’s Hoo’s in the Forest from Stitch Steals. I was planning on using them for a quilt for Kitty, Gavin’s niece, for a Christmas present, but time (and money) got away from me so I decided it would be perfect for this year’s present.

I used Fresh Lemon’s Quilts Kaleidoscopic Kites pattern but didn’t use the rainbow theme – obviously. It was fun, but a bit of a mind-f**k to figure out the layout. Quick to sew up, no bias cuts, and really dramatic when it’s done!

Don’t forget to sign up for the Pay it Forward fun!

**I just realized that I pinned this quilt top onto my “make this” board so it’s eligible for the Pin Addict Challenge! Woo! Having this stuff “finished” makes me feel so accomplished!

Linked up to Sew Happy Geek and Canoe Ridge Creations

Valentines Coasters

I am not really one to decorate for (or even celebrate) “minor” holidays – Valentines Day, Easter, etc.. but this year I decided to break the mold. It also helps that my Quilt Guild is having a February challenge. And I needed coasters. I have a TON of fabric with iron on transfer left over from Suzanne’s baby shower. So I made these bad boys:

They have a heart in (cheater) reverse applique on the front, and then a four-square patchwork on the back. They came together pretty quick and I’m super happy with them. I think I like the backs the best :) And check me out.. using fabric that could be x’s and o’s.. so cute!

I’m thinking of maybe hand-quilting around the heart on the front to reinforce the ironed on fabric and to also add the cut out hearts to the back.. Not sure yet though! Any ideas or input are welcome!

I’m pretty happy with the fact that they fit our mugs! Go me and my measuring!

Don’t forget to enter in the Pay it Forward! I’m linking this to Sew Happy Geek and Lines Across my Face

Want to Pay it Forward?

Apparently my specialty in life is procrastinating… I signed up a while ago at Jenelle’s blog, Echinops and Asters for a Pay it Forward (PiF in bloggy/sewing speak!) and I hadn’t yet put up my post that gets the ball rolling. Read the rules (full disclosure, I borrowed these rules from Jenelle. She had put them so perfectly! Jenelle, if you mind, I’ll take them down/change them!) and if you are still interested, comment!

1. I will make a crafty gift for each of the first three people to comment on this post. This little gift is a surprise, and will arrive to you anytime within the next 365 days.

2. To sign up to pay it forward, you need to commit to the project yourself… so you can pay it forward too! Just post this, or something similar on your blog so others can get involved.

3. You need to have an active blog of your own…(or some other way to post up your PiF info like a flickr, pinterest, or facebook account. Basically you’ll need a place to announce your own PiF and to post some pics of the process.)

4. After commenting on this post, post something similar on your blog…so you can spread the pay it forward love. I will email you asking for your mailing address (and the online address where you are posting) so I can get your little treat in the mail. (Please make sure that your email address is visible on your profile or leave it in the comment.)

Jacket – Finished! Finally!

The Oliver + S Brunch jacket that I started forever ago is finally done! I am so happy with it and it’s hard to believe that I actually made it… I love it!

I was absolutely sh*tting myself when I started the buttons. I decided to do a row of 3 rather than four in square, like the pattern says (first ever pattern and I’m already changing it!), and I think it worked well. The buttonholes were actually really easy to do, just measured and marked about 8 times and then followed the sewing machines instruction manual to a T.. I felt confident with the buttons with this tutorial.

When it was about 99% done (I only had to stitch the inside facing to the body) I decided to embroider a little kitten face on the back where the tag would go. I think it makes the whole thing, especially as it’s a 2nd birthday present for Gavin’s (my?) niece, whose birthday was yesterday :)

The pattern was so clear and easy to understand that I totally want to get more! I might make another version of this jacket, but with two different fabrics… It only goes up to a 3T and I want to get my money’s worth! Someone better have a little girl soon ;)

Linked up here and here and here and here

Stockings for Kids

Lyanna over at Purple Panda Quilts is sponsoring Stockings for Kids which is a stocking drive for foster children in her area of Virginia. I thought it was such a nice thing that I immediately knew that I would participate.

I’m always looking for something nice to do for other people during the Christmas season because I become acutely aware of how lucky I am compared to so many. Even if I finish the month eating nothing tins of beans and stealing toilet paper from work (not that I ever would… or have…), I will feel better knowing that a child (or a teenager) has received a stocking that was homemade with love. That kid will also receive it stuffed with all sorts of goodies.. What sorts you say? Well… I actually have no idea other than they are good.

So, without further ado, here is my stocking:

I totally freehanded it and made it up as I went along. I do that a lot… Did you see my painting professional-fakery? But yeah.. there are definitely things I would have done differently. Like add a way to hang it up. Stupid me, I forgot the loop! I would also make the flap (fold? rollover thing? What the heck is that called?!) bigger so it didn’t look like an afterthought.. But all in all, I’m pretty pleased with it!

I have a tutorial I can add, but seeing as the stocking isn’t all that impressive, I’m not sure if it’s worth it!

Now I just need to make the advent calendar by next Wednesday! Eek! Gotta get a move on!

Oh.. and I’m linking up here