It’s time to make Christmas Decorations

Good evening everyone,

You may remember that I started making Christmas decorations early last year.

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I’ve finally got around to putting a photo tutorial together for this one. All you need is two small pieces of fabric, a button, ribbon, thread and a needle. I made mine on the Green Mean Sewing Machine but you could make some by hand if you wish.

Cut one circle of about eight inches diameter from each of two contrasting fabrics. I drew around a pan lid but you could use a small plate etc.

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 Pin right sides together.

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Sew a quarter inch seam around the edge, leaving about two inches open for turning.

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Turn inside out and smooth the edges with a pen or other blunt instrument.

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My opening is at the top of this photo.

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Turn the raw edges of the opening to the inside and hand sew to close it. Then top stitch one quarter of an inch all the way around the edge.

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 Fold in half.

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Fold in half again. Finger press the folds at the very edges of the circle. You will need the positions of the folds for the next steps.

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Sew through the fold positions from front to back close to the edge.

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Sew through a couple of times to secure it. Don’t break the thread.

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Re-fold, if necessary, to find the next stitch point.

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Now sew through the right fold from front to back.

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Pull the thread until the right hand side meets the previous stitches. Secure with a couple of stitches. Don’t break the thread.

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Now sew through the left fold from front to back.

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Pull the thread so it comes together like this.

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Secure with a couple of stitches. Don’t break the thread. Flatten the back to make a square with the four petals standing up.

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Open out one of the petals.

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 Turn it to the back.

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Tidy it up. Repeat with the other three petals.

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You’re almost there…

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Sew a button to the centre and add some pretty ribbon to the top for hanging then you are done.

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Off you go and make a few for your Christmas trees now. Has anyone been Christmas shopping yet?

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial Smile

Avis x

Pretty little zipper pouch

Hi everyone,

Just popping in to say hello and show you what I’ve been up to lately. Not nearly enough in the crafting department I’m afraid!

Anyway, after using the batik fabrics on my last project, I remembered that I had a few scraps of other batiks in my stash. I haven’t had time to tackle a quilt top but found a lovely tutorial for this zipper pouch and I couldn’t resist making it.

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I used different fabrics on the front and back. From the other side it looks like this.

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The main fabric here isn’t a batik but it matches very well.  The inset fabric is my favourite Moda Bella solids which are available in my shop.

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It is also fully lined with white Moda Bella Solids.

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Did you spot the pretty lace? Well, that belonged to my late Aunt Edith so it is probably from the 1960’s. It would have been left over from one of the bridesmaid’s dresses that she used to make. If you’d like to make this bag, pop over to Pattydoo where you will find the pattern and a fab tutorial. I know I’ll make many more bags using this pattern so thank you very much to Ina for sharing Smile.

I’ve also just finished stitching a card for my daughter’s birthday which you can see over on my other blog Sewing Beside the Sea. It would be nice to see you over there!

Enjoy the rest of the weekend,

Avis x

How could a chicken be so lucky?

Hi everyone,

I’m still rather busy up here by the sea but the Chicken Run Giveaway Swap is still chugging along in the background.

Carla, the latest winner from Dancing Moon, has made lots of funky chickens and one of them could be flying off to you. If you’d like to win, pop over to see how to enter.

Here’s a sneaky peek at the quilt I’m working on at the moment. It’s the one with the Bali Pops. My sister is going to love it because she bought me the fabric. I’m such a lucky girl!

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It’s the Brown Sugar colourway………deeeelicious and it was so worth doing those partial seams.

Bye for now,

Avis x

Wibbly wobbly…

Good afternoon everyone,

Does anyone else remember the song we used to sing while playing “two baller” against any available high wall when we were kids?

It went like this……

Jelly on a plate, jelly on a plate, wibbly wobbly wibbly wobbly, jelly on a plate.

Next verse….

Fly on the wall, fly on the wall, knock it off, knock it off, fly on the wall.

Do you know any more verses? There were lots. I bet you knew loads of other two baller or playground songs too.

OK that’s the nostalgia over for today. I have a problem which I suspect cannot be solved. However, if you can help me solve it, I’ll be over the moon! Here goes.

Look at the state of these cutting mats.

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My new mats are on the bottom, centimetres on one side and inches on the other Smile but I love my old mats. They’ve gone all wibbly wobbly Sad smile. Now, I can hear you all telling me off for doing the unthinkable and I know it’s all my fault that they’ve ended up like this. Have I made your blood pressure rise? The time has come to replace them anyway because they aren’t repairing themselves as they used to but I’d still like to make use of them on my sewing table next to, or even under, my mean green sewing machine. Any suggestions on how to get them flat again will be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

I’m still working on the batik blocks with partial seams from the previous post and they are looking lush. I’ve got 18 finished and I need 35. Then I’ll decide whether to include sashing. No need to rush decisions is there?

Finally, just a quick mention to all my lovely new readers from around the world. Welcome aboard! If you haven’t already found me on Facebook and Instagram, see if you can find me over there. You’ll get more sneaky peeks of up and coming projects and I’d love to see what you are up to as well. I bet you can guess my name ;-)  I love to read your comments and emails so keep them coming. Isn’t blogging fun?

Avis x

A finish and a new project

Good morning lovely crafters!

The sun is shining and it’s blowing a bit of a bluster outside today. What a perfect day to do some patchwork. Yesterday, while I was working (playing) in my sewing room, the rain was bouncing off the windows. I love listening to rain. I went to my table by the window to cut more fabric as the sun made its appearance and, as I looked across to the sea, there was the biggest, brightest rainbow I have ever seen. I stood for what seemed like forever, staring at it and trying to find both ends, wondering where the pot of gold would be and then I came to my senses and went to get the camera. Typical! Flat batteries! Oh well, I’ll have to be content with the lovely memory but I’m quite sad not to be able to share it with you today. Hopefully, you can all remember being mesmerised by a rainbow wherever you are in the world. Aren’t they magical?

So, what have I been up to? I could share such a long list with you but I’ll stick to the crafting. You might remember a few weeks ago that I showed this photo of some fabrics waiting for a project.

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Well, I eventually decided to make some modern blocks and actually got the quilt finished much quicker than the time it took me to decide what to do. That often happens with me. I rarely use a bought pattern, preferring to do my own sketches and maths. Then, away I go to hide in the sewing room with my green mean sewing machine.

I came up with a simple design with clean lines, just what this fabric needed I think. I’m in love with these prints, so subtle and calming, most unlike me Smile.

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I reserved some of my favourite print from this bundle for the binding and decided on a crisp white backing. The quilting reflects my coastal location Smile.

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I found making this quilt very therapeutic. I have no idea why. Anyway, it’ll soon be for sale in my shop and will hopefully make someone else feel good too Smile.

What else have I been up to? Well, most of you will already know that I love to sew in all sorts of ways. My cross stitch on my other blog is coming along very nicely. It’s now time for me to think what I want to hand sew next as the current SAL project is almost complete. There are so many ideas and much inspiration out there, especially on all of your lovely blogs, that it makes it so much harder to decide. I just want to do everything!

Next up, I have news to report on the Bali Pops that my lovely sister bought for me. They have worked their way to the top of the fabric pile and now must be made into something beautiful. I love these colours Smile.

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I’ve spent several days, spinning ideas around in my head and sketching design ideas. I eventually decided that these fabrics would look fabulous with solid black. Yes black! I was thinking stained glass, wrought iron….yes, black would work great with this block.

Then my other half pulled a face! He had planted the seed of dilemma. Usually, he says things like “Don’t ask me, you know best when it comes to colours.” or “You decide, I’ll like whatever you choose to make” but this time I got a pulled face. Do your friends and family generally leave the decisions up to you? Do you ask for an opinion about fabrics and designs?

Anyway, I changed my mind and decided on teaming them up with my beloved Moda Bella Solids white. However, next time…. Winking smile

I was really pleased with how the block turned out on paper but then wrestled with how to put it together. It’s all very well, liking what you see on a sketch but transferring it into an actual, physical collection of patches of fabric is another matter as you know. I knew what I wanted to do but there were going to be too many seams for my liking. Partial seams were the answer. I hadn’t done those before but I know several patchworkers who hand stitch and they know all about partial seams. In fact, I’d say they are experts! You can see their wonderful work here, here and here.

Anyway, here are some of the blocks I’ve sewn so far.

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The partial seams were nowhere near as difficult to do as I’d built them up to be in my own head. Minimising the number of seams has been well worth the effort for the finished effect. It’s nice to be challenged now and again and it feels so good to have worked things out for yourself doesn’t it? What’s your latest challenge/achievement, crafting or otherwise?

Today, I’m going for a walk along the cliffs and then, when all of the cobwebs have been blown from between my ears, I might treat myself to sewing together a few more of these batik blocks.

Whatever you choose to do today, enjoy! I’ll be catching up with you all very soon Smile.

Avis x

Chocolate Meringue Cakes

Oh Sew Tempting:

Do you like chocolate, meringue or cake? Look no further! YUM :-)

Originally posted on Sun and Cake:

An interview with the Great British Bake Off team that a friend posted on Facebook gave me a kick into the kitchen today. As Terri is writing an essay at my house I thought it would be nice to provide a sweet treat as well. I have often used recipes from Sue Lawrence’s Book of Baking and have found them to be absolutely fantastic. I adapted this recipe today and had an attempt at individual cakes rather than the standard sandwich cake. I made the mixtures for the Chocolate Lemon Meringue cake as usual, but added six Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments roughly chopped into chips. I also ran 15g short of cocoa and left out a little milk to compensate. I didn’t make the mixtures one after the other, but made the cake mix up to the point of adding the flour, then made the meringue and quickly finished off the cake.

View original 335 more words

Funky chickens and a sneaky peek!

Good morning everyone,

Just popping in this morning with two announcements. Firstly, I’ve been buying more fabric in greys, lemon and olive green. They are most unlike me! I usually go for bright designs but it’s nice to have a change sometimes.

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I can feel something modern coming on Smile. In fact, I’ve already started making something but you’ll have to wait a while to see what it is. I know, it’s a bit of a tease!

Secondly, I’d like to introduce Anne in Texas. She’s new to blogging and she won the last Chicken Run. This is just a couple of the chickens she has made for you to choose from if you win the giveaway/swap. There’s a really funky one that would be my first choice but you’ll have to go and look for yourself to see it. Details are on her latest post at Peacock Hill. So, please hop over to support her blog soon!

Anne from Texas

That’s it for now. Many jobs to be done here, so no sewing today Sad smile.

Have fun,

Avis x

Is it a mug rug?

Good morning everyone!

What a glorious sunny day it is here in the North East of England. I hope you are all well and that crafting is keeping you happy. For me, it’s just been work, work, work these last couple of months so I’m very pleased to be back here with my crafty friends at last.

I finally had a day off yesterday and decided to finish a little project that I’d started weeks ago. Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I don’t like scraps of fabric. If I make something, I cut the pieces in the most economical way and often achieve no-waste projects. It takes an awful lot of planning but the pleasure I get from having used every square inch of available fabric makes me very happy.

So, not having any particular project in mind, I decided to get rid of a few scraps. I had several strips of blues leftover from bindings so I split them up the middle and began to sew them together not knowing what it was going to turn into. Before long I had two different rectangular blocks that I thought would make a nice mug rug or maybe a mini quilt table topper.

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It is actually rectangular in real life Smile.

Well, just before the binding was sewn on I had a brainwave (which doesn’t happen to me very often). My tablet could do with a case! So I turned it over, grabbed some more scraps, made a lined pocket and HEY PRESTO! It’s a tablet case Smile.

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I also added a fabric tie.

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Look at that wobbly edge at the bottom. That happened because I stretched the front block as I was attaching the lining Sad smile. I used nice thick wadding/batting to protect the screen.

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I think I like the back the best.

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Here’s my tablet, all snug as a bug in a (mug) rug Winking smile

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Some of you may remember my previous scrappy playtimes. Here’s a quick reminder.

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All proof that you can make it up as you go along. Have fun scrap busting! I did Smile.

Avis x

Another giveaway swap!

Hi everyone,

I’m too busy to sew at the moment but my blogging friends around the world are still crafting YEY!

The winner of the last chicken called Lovedove from Wanda’s Life Sampler, was Sarah over at Here We Are. Sarah has been sending me photographs of all the chickens she has been making while she patiently waited and entered (for five months!!) for her turn to win one of the Chicken Run swaps. You can see them all in the Chicken Run Gallery above. She just couldn’t stop making more and more chickens!

I would like to introduce you to her latest little brood from the USA. You could win one of these beauties if you follow the simple rules on her blog here. Sarah is allowing the winner to choose one of these four as their prize.

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She has also included a fantastic photo tutorial on how to make a log cabin chicken. So come on, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t visited Sarah’s blog before, now is the time to grab a cuppa, put your feet up and hop over to see what else she gets up to while you decide which fabric scraps to use to make your own chicken.

Have fun!

Avis x

Some things are so cute!

Hello blogging friends!

I’ve been away for a while and haven’t done a great deal of machine sewing recently. Life just gets in the way sometimes. The cross stitch and knitting are progressing on my other blog but the sewing machine has been gathering dust waiting for me to get time to do a repair. Actually, I did give it a good old service last week and I managed to get a new belt from The Man Who Can.

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The rubber belt at the right hand side was the original from the 1950’s and it was shedding rubber dust and kept jumping off, especially when I was refilling the bobbin. So I went to see if my trusted sewing machine fixer man had a replacement that would fit. Well, it was a very tight fit and it was hard to believe the original had stretched so much. In fact, it was also a real pain getting the original one off because the screw holding everything together was so tight. I was about to give up when I noticed the housing for the motor was adjustable so it was out with the screwdriver and on with my mechanical head. So now the motor has been repositioned in two directions and everything is working perfectly again. The machine is now humming rather than doing impressions of a tractor and I no longer have unsightly black dust spraying about every time I sew. I was itching to test it on a new project Smile.

My daughter has been getting a new mobile phone that has a large screen. She asked me a couple of weeks ago whether I could make her a slip case for when it is in her bag. She chose the fabric from my scraps and it stayed on the cutting table until this morning. It’s taken so long to get time to make it. Anyway, the brief was to make a simple lined case with wadding for protection. She didn’t want any fasteners at all so it had to be a perfect fit otherwise the phone would fall out. I didn’t want any of the seams to show so this is what I came up with. I knew it was going to be fiddly and it certainly tried my patience. Anyway, it fits perfectly and the phone doesn’t drop out on its own.

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I like the metallic leaves on the fabric design and the wadding works well.

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The case hugs the phone and my daughter is very happy with it. It might be a small finish but it’s still a finish Smile. However, I’m pleased I don’t have to make phone cases for a living as I wouldn’t get many made in a day!

So that’s all I’ve managed to achieve recently in the sewing department. Now for the cute bit!

The weather here has really improved during recent days. I’m already complaining about the temperature at 21 degrees. Two days of sunshine and I’m looking for the shade. I was busy working the other day, with the doors to the garden wide open and who should I spot on the grass? Spring is definitely here. This little chap spent about an hour foraging out in the open before disappearing off under some shrubbery. I got very little done.

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How cute is he/she? I love hedgehogs because they let us get up close to take photos. Do you have hedgehogs where you live?

That’s it for now. I’m off to catch up with your blogs Smile.

Avis x

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