Postie calls…

Hi everyone,

Something other than patchwork here for a change. Regular readers will know that I also have a blog for everything other than patchwork here. That’s where this post really belongs but I thought, if I show cross stitch here, just for once, it might encourage all you quilters to get out a needle and thread and do some cross stitch or embroidery for a change, that is if you don’t already enjoy other crafts. What crafts do you do when you don’t have much spare time?

I haven’t been blogging much lately, either reading or writing. I haven’t really had time to do any patchwork but I have managed to do quite a lot of cross stitch in short bursts. Anyway, I was happily stitching away on this project the other day and keeping myself out of trouble, as you do.

IMG_20161012_140140590 Then my postie rattled the letter box. This is what he brought.IMG_20161012_140112453Yes, it’s another kit from Claire from the same series of decorations. She really does spoil me but I appreciate it 🙂 She’d spotted these kits at a bargain price and simply couldn’t resist. Dimensions kits are such good quality. Lucky me!

I’d already finished Holly and Ivy a long time ago…

IMG_20151019_121023508 …and Claire then sent me more kits for Christmas which are still waiting in my stash. So now I’ve got the full set 🙂 It’s been nice to work on something small in between stitching for the SAL. Anyway, this one is now all stitched and waiting to be finished with felt and ribbon. IMG_20161018_144223985 I’m considering making all of the others first and then finishing them off as a job lot. I reckon it’ll be quicker that way. How long will it be before I get the other four stitched I wonder?

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

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

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

Two mini finishes!

Hi everyone,

I hope you are all well and happily crafting this week! I’ve got a couple of small projects to show you.

Firstly, I made another log cabin chicken and sent it to my friend Claire for her birthday.

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She has called her Twinkle because she has stars in her eyes Smile I attached a felt circle and a star-shaped bead for each eye. I wasn’t too sure about adding them but I’m sure Claire can cut them off and recycle them if she wishes. I filled this one with split red lentils so it is nice and heavy too.

Now, if you know Claire and visit her blog, you will know that she prepares for Christmas all year long. She’s always making little things which she squirrells away for presents and stocking fillers. In fact, she had me making things for Christmas last October!!! I’m usually the kind of person who is still running around on Christmas Eve. Anyway, as a surprise, I also made Claire a Christmas decoration and sent it to her wrapped in Christmas paper. Yes, I do know it is February Winking smile She could choose to open it or keep it until Christmas 😆 I bet you can guess what she did.

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I’ve seen these decorations many times on the internet and in magazines and they are really simple to make. This one took me less than half an hour so I know I’ll be making many more. Let me know if you’d like a tutorial and I’ll post it here for you very soon.

The news from my other blog is that my ripple blanket is now finished. Hurray! If you haven’t seen it yet, pop in and take a look over at Sewing Beside the Sea 🙂

I’d also like to give a shout-out to my dear friend Teje who has just published a wonderful pattern for a crocheted scarf on Craftsy. The pattern is full of clear photographs to show you every step of the way, as well as having written instructions, and I can’t wait to make it myself! You can find out how to get the pattern from Teje’s post by clicking here. Here is a sneaky peek. You’ll have to go to Teje’s blog for lots more colourful photos and to find out who is modelling the scarf. I wonder…. Enjoy!

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It’s almost the weekend and I’m on holiday next week YEY!! I’m going to sew, sew and sew some more Smile

Avis x

Another year over…

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the quilting zone. I’ve been concentrating on lots of hand stitching over at Sewing Beside the Sea. I’m sure the quilting bug will find me again when my sewing room warms up a bit. At the moment it is far too cosy in the living room sitting with my feet up, doing a bit of blackwork, cross stitch, knitting and crochet….not all at the same time of course!

I was just updating the “Finished 2013” page above and I can’t believe how many things I managed to complete, especially as it has been such a busy year for me apart from sewing. I’ve enjoyed every single project as well as reading all of the lovely comments and emails from people along the way. Your blogs have been very inspirational too, so I have many ideas stored up for future projects in 2014.

Here is a little gallery of my finished projects this year. Please note that from May onwards, I only included patchwork and quilting projects on this blog. So, if you’d like to see the hand sewn projects from then on, just hop over to Sewing Beside the Sea. If you’d like to visit any of the posts relating to the pictures in the gallery, just go to the “Finished 2013” page above and then click on the photo.

Happy New Year to you all. I hope you have lots of exciting projects lined up for 2014 🙂 Now….where did those chocolates go?

Avis x

On the 12th day of Christmas….

I can hear you singing!

Hi everyone, I’ve been making more patchwork stars to decorate the Christmas tree this year, 12 in total. I decided to try to make a Christmas tree shape out of them just to get you in the mood for Christmas. Once again, we have a dull autumn day here up north so the colours are not as bright as they should be but I’m sure you get the idea.

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These stars are very easy to make and they are a great way to use up fabric scraps. They finish at about 4 inches across, not counting the hanger. Here’s how I made them.

1. Cut one and three quarter inch strips from a selection of fabrics.

2. Trim the end at a 60 degree angle. Continue to make further cuts every two inches along the strips at 60 degrees. This makes your diamond shapes.

3. Sew them together in groups of three diamonds to make half stars. Press the seams and then sew the halves together. Press again.

4. Pin the star to a piece of backing fabric which is just bigger than the star, right sides together. Don’t trim the backing fabric yet.

5. Sew together close to the outside edge of the star. Leave two sides open so you can stuff the star.

6. Trim the backing to the same size as the star. Snip the points off (be careful not to snip your stitches) and make a snip at each of the inside corners (don’t snip the seam) to give a nice flat star when it is turned the right way out. I use a blunt pencil to very gently push out the points.

7. Stitch up the side seam. This bit is quite fiddly! Sew a button in the centre and add a ribbon hanger.

Stand back and admire Smile

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I’ve also been making up another one of Claire’s free charted cross stitch Christmas decorations which you can see by clicking here. I’ve got a photo of those on my other blog Sewing Beside the Sea if you want to take a look at them.

I’m linking to the Woolhogs Made It Challenge this month. I hope you will also pop across there with me to see all the lovely things everyone has been making this month. As usual, there are some real beauties and, who knows, you might (no I’m sure you will) find lots of new blogs to visit. you might also want to share a link to something you have made this month. Go for it!

There are only 37 crafting days to Christmas folks!

Have fun,

Avis x

I’m seeing stars!

Hello everyone, I know it isn’t Christmas time yet but I also know that many of you are already making preparations for the festive season, so I thought I’d share what I’ve been up to.

The front cover of the latest edition of Fabrications magazine inspired me to make a star to hang on my Christmas tree….

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but I couldn’t stop making them!!

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The magazine provides the template for the diamond but I didn’t use it. I had lots of Christmas fabric scraps in my stash so I just cut strips one and three quarter inches wide and then made a 60 degree chop every 2 inches along the strip. I pieced the front and attached almost all of the back by machine, taking care to position the hanging ribbon so I didn’t catch it in the wrong place with the stitching. Leaving a two side gap allowed me to turn it the right way and stuff it with poly batting scraps. I then sewed up the gap and attached a little star button to finish.

My buttons are from Bobbins & Buttons here in the UK and the service was first class! They had lots of other cute buttons etc. and I’ll definitely return to their shop soon.

My next sewing project is also for Christmas but isn’t patchwork and quilting. If you want a sneaky peek, pop over to Claire’s blog. She has been very busy creating gorgeous Christmas decoration designs and is sharing the charts with all of us for free. Please, please, please leave a comment for her if you download the charts. I’m sure that will make her smile inside. I’ll be making up one of her cross stitch decorations this afternoon and it’ll appear on my sewing blog Sewing Beside the Sea very soon.

I also need to say a huge “Thank you!” to Deborah for nominating my blog for this award:

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I need to tell you some things about me….what is it that you don’t already know?

1. I used to wear shoes like the ones above.

2. My Dad wanted me to be a chiropodist because he was convinced everyone would have “bad feet” in future years and I’d never be out of work.

3. My car needs to be replaced and I can’t decided what to buy with my very limited budget.

4. When I grow up, I want to be a lady of leisure with 25 hours a day to craft.

5. I hate the cold weather. My knees ache with the cold. Remedies gratefully accepted.

6. I would love to travel more and wish I could just teleport myself to visit other countries.

7. I like leftovers more than the original dinners.

My nominees are:

Claire for designing and generously sharing her free cross stitch charts.

Gun for sharing sooooo many links to projects that I must make.

Katherine for sharing 25 hours per day inspiration.

Trish because I love everything she makes.

Mary because she finishes huge projects.

I’m off to catch up with reading all of your wonderful blogs now. What have you been up to while I’ve been away? I wonder….

Avis x

STOP PRESS!! Voting has started over at Woolhogs. There is a record number of entries this month. Don’t forget to take a look at all the lovelies and vote for fun 🙂

Rain, rain, go away! and four little lovelies!

Hi everyone! Happy weekend to you all 🙂

Hopefully, if you are celebrating Christmas next week, you will soon be able to put your feet up after completing all of the very necessary preparations 😉

I’ve had such a busy week that I haven’t been able to think about Christmas as my Mum has had a bit of a flood in her house. We managed to contain it to a tile floored area of the house but there were a couple of inches deep of water which needed constant mopping to fight the latest weather here in the UK. We kept repeating to each other that we were fortunate not to have worse flooding as many homes in the UK have been evacuated for the fourth time since September. Mum is in her 80’s so she has found it all a bit too much to cope with. I don’t remember rain like this in my lifetime. The water table is so high that even a shower is flooding major routes. Today, the rain has been lighter and the wind has changed direction and strength, so we have had time to get outside and put temporary defences in place ready for the next time. We have more heavy rain due over the next few days so fingers are crossed that it stays on the correct side of the doors this time!

I did, however, get time to make the label for an I-Spy quilt for my Great Niece. I made a red one and a blue one last year as we didn’t know whether her Mummy was having a baby girl or a boy. Well, Dani will soon be one year old and she will finally be getting her I-Spy quilt from Santa very soon 😉 I hope she likes it! There are lots of animals and brightly coloured patterns so she can play I-Spy with her parents when she is a little older.

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I love the rainbow thread wiggly quilting which shows up so well on the reverse. I think Dani might want to follow the line with her finger 🙂

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The only part I did this week was the label.

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And here is the first of my four little lovelies today,  Dani…..having just found her treat in my sister’s handmade Advent calendar 🙂

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Three more little lovelies delivered by the postie this week are hanging on my Christmas tree. Do you recognise them?

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Well, these two were made and sent to me by Claire in France. You can find many more that she made here with instructions on how to make them.  Her blog is well worth a visit. Claire posts about cross-stitch and many other sewing projects including patchwork and quilting, as well as sharing tales about her cats and dog. There’s something for everyone. Go and see for yourselves.

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Do you see the little red berries in the photo above? Two of them have been nibbled by a mouse in my garage where we store the decorations. There was also a pile of sunflower seed husks just outside the box. Looks like little mousie has been collecting from the bird table too!

Last but not least, my final little lovely 🙂

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This snowflake pinwheel blew all the way from Crete 😀 It is the creation of  Teje who writes a great blog about her sewing projects, knitting and crochet. She is often joined by her assistants, two dogs and a cat. You can find the pinwheels here. The rest of Teje’s blog is full of lovely ideas with beautiful sunny photographs. So if you would like to warm up this winter, pop over for a browse.

As soon as we have a day with some reasonable daylight, I will photograph and post about my latest finished project. Hopefully there will also be some time to sew this weekend.

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my previous scarf post, where you saw my knitting for the first time. I wish you all a wonderful Christmas around the world. Also, I wish for you and your families, a very happy, healthy new year 😀

Best wishes,

Avis x

 

 

Another secret revealed!

Hi everybody 🙂

Happy birthday to my sister!!

At last I can reveal my sparkly scarf project which I made for my sister’s birthday. A few weeks ago we took my Mum to Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show and my sister admired the sparkly scarves on display at one of the stands. She would have bought one but we quickly realised they were selling the yarn to make them and not the finished articles. Everyone is so busy at this time of year. She knew there would be no time to knit for herself so we walked away.

Then, I had an opportunity 😉 I rushed back to the stall while my Mum and sister were “lost in the crowds” and bought the yarn. To be honest, I didn’t relish the thought of knitting with it as the texture is quite lumpy bumpy. However, it is a lot softer than it looks and it knit up really fast on large needles. I am really pleased with the result.

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It would have looked better modelled on a black outfit…..but I don’t have one ha-ha!

I hope you are all well and still have a little time to craft before the holiday. Lots of you must be holding back secret projects until after Christmas. Looks like it is going to be a very revealing New Year 😀 I can’t wait to see what you have all been up to!!

Avis x

 

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