Crafting Eye Candy!

Hello everyone,

It’s almost the weekend again. I was just having a little tidy up around the sewing room and I rediscovered my lovely Christmas crafting goodies so I simply had to share some photos of them with you. My family and friends know I love crafting gifts and they were so generous again this year.

In no particular order, first up is a pack of Bali Pops. This time they are in the Lorikeet colourway. I have no idea what I’ll be doing with them yet so they are sitting on my cutting table awaiting inspiration. You may remember that I made a large quilt top and a bag with the Brown Sugar Bali Pops my sister bought for my birthday last year and I still have some left. They really do go a long way! This pack is in lovely tropical colours.

CIMG3825 My dear friend Lin gave me these chocolates. What a fab sewing themed prezzie! The scissors are huge and white chocolate is my favourite :-) I’d actually given her a present including some craft embellishments in the form of buttons, cotton reels and scissors. So I couldn’t believe it when I opened my present from her.

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Also a knitting themed note pad. I love this cartoon.

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Lin has been raiding her stash again. She found these and decided she would never get around to using them. I definitely will! I’d never heard of waste fabric before (the one on the left) so I investigated and found out that it is for adding cross stitch designs to ordinary fabrics. You pin or tack it to the fabric, complete your cross stitch and then remove the waste fabric which is soluble. What a clever idea!

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The following fabrics were sent to me by blogging friend Claire from France. Aren’t those owls cute? These are Japanese fabrics and they are so fine. I can’t wait to use them and I’m looking for inspiration. Any ideas? Also, what is the name of the flowers in the centre fabric? I’d love to know.

CIMG3830Claire also sent a fabulous handmade Christmas decoration for my tree which I’ve now put away with the other decorations so you’ll have to wait until next Christmas to see that, sorry!

Next, my daughter has been travelling again and she is always keen to add to my fabric stash from wherever she goes which I very much appreciate :-)

She brought me these batiks in Bath, England. The one on the right has a sort of marbled design that you sometimes find on the inside covers of old books.

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There’s also some Christmas themed fabrics, all with sparkly metallic highlights…

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and a special surprise from Austria. Chickens!!!

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I have no idea why she thought of me when she saw the chicken fabric ;-)

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The chicken fabric is from Stoff Salon in Vienna, Austria. I’ve included the business card in the photo and if you go to the shop web site you will see that the lady in the shop really does look like this. I’ll certainly visit there myself if I ever go to Vienna.

Some of you may recognise the two log cabin chickens in the photo. The red one flew all the way to the North East of England from Stowe, Vermont, USA and it was the original inspiration for the Chicken Run. The green one came from Australia. It was made and sent to me by Carla over at Granny Maud’s Girl. Carla was the very first winner of the Chicken Run :-) She has an amazing blog with the most gorgeous patchwork you could ever imagine.

The latest leg of the Chicken Run, over at the amazing blog Knettycraft was won by Laura in Oregon from May Rose Sewing. She has now held her own giveaway and will be sending this little beauty to Theresa, the winner in Chicago :-)

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If you want to see all of the chickens so far, you’ll find the gallery here.

So, that was my crafty Christmas eye candy. I also received a selection of sewing machine feet and a large pack of spools. You can never have enough spools in my opinion.

My next plan of action is to delve into the box of Indian fabrics. I have finally decided what to make with some of them ;-)

Have a wonderful crafty weekend!

Avis x

Another Year Over!

Hi everyone, Happy New Year to you all!

Hasn’t the year flown by? I hope you found lots of time for crafting and that you now have several finished projects to show for it. I did a lot more hand stitching in 2014 than patchwork and quilting, not by choice, just that it was easier to pick up and put down hand sewing when I had spare time.

At the beginning of 2014 I launched the Chicken Run which is still going after a whole year! I have to thank you all for your support with that. There are now lots of handmade chickens all over the world. Also, a larger SAL group on my other blog has been formed for crafters wanting to finish a variety of projects. It started with only two of us, Claire and me, and now we are ten strong!

It’s been a very tough year for me in many respects and crafting has kept me motivated. There have been several occasions when I have been sent to the sewing room by my OH because he had decided it was time I had a break LOL. He was always right. It did me good to have a sewing break now and again.

Thanks to all of you who have liked, commented, emailed and read my posts last year. It’s always lovely to hear from you and even if you don’t comment, I know you are visiting the blogs.

Here are some photos of my completed projects from 2014. If you want to read the original posts click here and then click on the photo of the project you want to read about.

2014 Finishes collage

Here’s to a wonderful crafty New Year for all of us!

Avis x

Third birthday in December!

Hi everyone,

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas (if you celebrate it) and you are now ready for the New Year.

The title of this post is ambiguous. Does someone in my family have a third birthday? Or do we have three birthdays in December? The answer to both questions is yes. My Dad, sister and great niece all have birthdays this month and my great niece will also be three years old. She’s growing up so fast!

I sent an email to my nephew to find out whether she had a Santa list and, if so, what was on it. One thing she was hoping Santa would bring was a cot for her dolls. I did a bit of searching on-line and found several. After reading the reviews I decided to go for this one from John Lewis. I’m not being paid for advertising here. I’m just really happy with the quality of the cot. It came with its own pink bedding consisting of a thin mattress, a pillow and cover, as in the first photo below.

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As her birthday is also in December so I decided to make a patchwork quilt to match the cot as a birthday gift. My sister was concerned that I was burning the midnight oil (what’s new?) but I had to come clean. The real reason I chose to buy a cot from the list was so that I would have an excuse to sew LOL. I definitely don’t like dolls as you learned in my previous post.

Here’s the quilt I made, complete with 1960’s lace trim from my late Aunt Edith’s sewing box. Is that 4 generations? It’s a simple design with girly pink floral fabrics to match the cot.

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The reverse is crisp white with a gingham ribbon trim.

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There’s pillows to match.

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They look pretty together. Mix and match…

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Next, the five star hotel look…

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Or florabunda shabby chic Smile

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Anyway, I had so much fun making them and I hope she enjoys playing with them for a long time.

Happy New Year!

Avis x

A Birthday Bag!

Hi Everyone,

I can finally show you what I’ve been up to lately. It was my sister’s birthday recently and she had mentioned ages ago that she was looking for a new knitting bag. So I just had to make one and hope that she didn’t buy one in the meantime. I did consider giving her one of these three bags that I’d made earlier but decided that she had already seen them and that a knitting bag should be bigger than these.

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Then the scraps of a Bali Pops jelly roll were calling to me. My sister had actually bought the Bali Pops for me (for my birthday) and I’d already made a quilt top from them. There was still plenty left and I had some lovely matching solid fabrics to go with them. Maybe, she wouldn’t like the idea of me using a present from her to make something to give back…hmm. I decided I was only using the scraps and that way she would be getting fabrics that I knew she would love otherwise she would never have bought them for me in the first place Smile. I searched the internet for a bag pattern that was just right. However, I wasted a lot of time. I just couldn’t find anything the right size with all of the pockets that I wanted etc. After several days of thinking, sketching, measuring and head scratching I came up with this.

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There are three pockets behind the batik fabrics panel on each of the front and back. The middle pockets are the perfect size for knitting patterns or books. The base is flat and large enough for the knitting to lie down, even if it is on large chunky needles and there’s plenty of room inside for all of the yarn for a whole project.

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I used straight line quilting so as not to compete with the gorgeous fabrics. The quilting continues on the wrap-around base.

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There are two lined patch pockets inside. One is big enough to take large scissors and the other is for buttons etc.

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Plus I added a loop at each side to thread the yarn through.

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Once I’d decided how I wanted the bag to look and how to put it together, the sewing part was easy. The bulk of the work was in the design process. I’ll definitely make more bags like this one.

My sister really liked it which was good news too. That makes me very happy Smile.

Merry Christmas to you all!

Avis x

Giveaway/Swap Alert and Something Silly

Hello everyone,

I’m here to promote the latest chicken giveaway swap. Yes, it’s still going after almost a whole year. I can’t quite believe how wonderful everyone has been for continuing the Chicken Run. Thank you so much for supporting us so far and let’s keep it going for another year. If you want to see all the chickens that have been flying around the world so far, just go to the Chicken Run Gallery above.

Annett who lives in Germany has a fantastic blog over at Knettycraft and she is hosting the next giveaway swap. You can pop over to her blog to read all about her wonderful chickens but here is a sneaky peek.

knettycraft chickens

From the far left there is a chenille chicken (this has to be a first), then a log cabin version followed by the hexy patches one and finally a caramel one. Annett has really tried to make all kinds of chickens to share with you. She just couldn’t stop making chickens! I love her blog and all of her other crafty ideas too.

If you’d like to win one of Annett’s gorgeous brood, all you need to do is follow the instructions in her post here. You will need to agree to make your own chicken to giveaway to someone else around the world after you have received your prize chicken from Annett. Just a few fabric scraps is all it takes to make a chicken. Go on, make someone smile!

You have until the end of 30th November to enter so hurry up and visit Knettycraft Smile.

Now, I’m not going to bore you all with what I’ve been up to since I last posted. You really wouldn’t want to know and it hasn’t been that pleasant Sad smile. However, I did venture into the sewing room a few days ago and you wouldn’t believe how productive I was.

First, I machine embroidered the edge of a crisp white bed sheet using the most gorgeous quilting thread that has a beautiful sheen. Isn’t that pretty?

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Then I made pillow cases to match.

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 Then I started a duvet cover which morphed into a quilt.

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And what is a bed linen set without scatter cushions?

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Have you guessed yet? Have I been rumbled?

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Ha-ha! These are all 1/12 life size and would fit a double bed in a doll’s house. Do I like doll’s houses? No! Do I like dolls? Not at all! Why did I make these tinies? Why not? LOL

Maybe I’ve lost my marbles Open-mouthed smile.

I hope you didn’t mind me playing games with you there. Were you duped?

Avis x

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

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