Friday, November 17, 2017

{Free Pattern} Geo Placemats + Blush Fabric Blog Tour

A few weeks ago, the lovely Dana from Made Everyday asked me to take part in her informal blog tour to showcase her new fabric line Blush. I was thrilled to be asked and I have designed a new free pattern to share with you here on the blog.
So here it is, my new free pattern, Geo Placemats:
Maddi and her boyfriend Michael, have just purchased their first home (YAY!) and she asked me to make some placemats for their new dining table. She fell in love with the Blush fabrics when they arrived and requested I make something simple and modern, with a burst of colour to add to the neutral surroundings of their home.......challenge accepted :)
My inspiration came from a set of serving bowls she had purchased, and I kept the design simple, adding a vertical geometric element to only one side of the placemat. Doesn't it pop beautifully against that crisp white homespun?
The piecing is very easy and its a perfect pattern for beginners to try. Its also great for gift making because you can whip up a batch of these placemats very quickly. I chose two Blush fabrics for the placemats but you could mix and match colours depending on your own home decor.
The Blush line is from Art Gallery Fabrics. They always produce beautiful quality fabrics that are gorgeous to work with and the colours are so bright and vibrant. You can see Dana's entire Blush fabric line, HERE.
I kept the quilting very simple with some vertical lines and stippling in the geometric strip. There's plenty of space to play around with lots of quilting designs, so have fun finishing your placemats in a way that makes you happy.
I did back the placemats with two other Blush fabrics but I somehow forgot to photograph them when I did this shoot. I'm a little annoyed because the backs are just as pretty and Maddi could also use the reverse side to change the look of her dining table (I will try and remember to grab a photo or two when she unpacks).
For this set, I alternated the blue and orange binding fabrics and I cut my bindings to 2" to give the placemats a narrow edging which frames them perfectly. I also think that narrow binding gives smaller projects like these placemats, a more professional and polished finish.
As Christmas is creeping closer, now's a great time to start your gift sewing and these placemats would be perfect for neighbours, teachers, friends and family members.
If you would like to make your own set of Geo Placemats, you can download the free pattern HERE and start sewing today. And don't forget to check with your local quilt shop and grab some of this gorgeous fabric line; its just stunning. ♥
I hope you enjoy sewing my new free pattern. Maddi loves her new placemats and I can't wait to see how her table looks once they are unpacked and settled into their new home :)
Thanks so much Dana for asking me to be part of your fabric blog tour. I thoroughly enjoyed working with these gorgeous fabrics; your new line is fun, modern and simply stunning :)
Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Scrappy Crocheted Baby Blankets

Just like my fabric baskets, my wool basket is filled to the brim with leftovers from different projects so I decided to make some scrappy crocheted baby blankets for my Etsy Handmade shop, and use up some of this ever growing yarn stash.
First up is this sweet little blanket, which I call, Flower Garden. Its made up of 49 flower squares in a combination of seven beautiful colours which all work together so well. Each flower is surrounded with a simple white border, giving it that lovely lacy appearance.
I love babies dressed and wrapped in handmade woolens, they just look so cuddly and this blanket would be perfect for special occasions; a trip to grandma's or a special outing or maybe even a naming ceremony or christening. I just love this one ♥
I finished the blanket with a simple scalloped border to keep with the lace theme and it finishes at around 36" square, so its perfect to wrap around a newborn or to use in a bassinet or pram.
If you are interested in purchasing this gorgeous Flower Garden Baby Blanket, you can find the listing in my Etsy Handmade shop, HERE.
I've also listed this Scrappy Granny Square Baby Blanket. This blanket is a little more gender neutral, if that's what you're looking for and its perfect for tummy time play or to pack in the baby bag for those chilly winds that seem to come from nowhere when you're out and about.
This blanket is made up of 36 plain Granny squares in six colours and the layout is a little more modern but I think it works well.
I finished this blanket with a plain border to keep with its simplicity. I can imagine this blanket being dragged around the house and becoming a favorite of its new little owner.
If you're interested in purchasing this Scrappy Granny Square Blanket, you can find the listing in my Etsy Handmade shop HERE.
Both blankets are super soft and snugly and because of the acrylic/nylon mix of yarn it makes them perfect for multiple washes but please follow the washing instructions included to avoid any mishaps in the laundry :)
You can view all my handmade listings in my Etsy Handmade shop HERE and own one of my items which have been crocheted with lots of love ♥
I'll be back very soon with a new free sewing pattern for you. I've been playing with the new Blush range from Dana Willard and I can't wait to share :)
Until then, happy Tuesday :)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Meet The Clauses

I'm well aware that Christmas brings out the big kid in me but I didn't realise just how much until I saw a free pattern, designed for kids (and little kids at that), which had me running to my wool stash. I could say I crocheted these for "way in the future" grandchildren but in all honesty, they're for me :) Why can't we keep the magic alive even when we're grownups? And seriously, who doesn't love Santa and Mrs. Claus anyway?
I'm not the best at amigurumi crochet but the only way to improve is to keep trying, right? My biggest problem is achieving the right amount of filling to shape them nicely. I also struggle with giving them lovely facial expressions but I think I almost nailed that with this festive couple. Aren't they adorable? ♥
I used the free patterns from Ashleigh of Sewrella but I had to make a few changes as I went along so I thought I'd list them all here, if you want to try these yourself.
Most importantly, the pattern suggested two strands of yarn and a large hook so the end project is a large cuddly toy. I used one strand and my usual hook, to achieve a smaller result so I can use them as part of my Christmas decorating.
First up was Santa. Both of these patterns are designed to be a floppy, cuddly, drag around the house kinda soft toy, so they are meant to be stuffed lightly. I still had a few issues; I think Ashleigh's lightly might be my normal and I ended up with Mrs. Claus a little "fluffier" than Santa but that's OK. The body could have used more filling but its done now and I cant undo it without ruining the crochet.
I followed the pattern closely with Santa but I did make a change to his arms. I crocheted them as the pattern stated first but to me they were thin and out of proportion to the rest of Santa. So I re-crocheted them and in round 2, I added five extra stitches to make them more proportional. I prefer them this way but if you try this pattern, you decide for yourself :)
All in all, Santa was quick and fun to crochet and I managed to finish him in a weekend. I think if I was to change anything about this little cutie, it would definitley be the amount of filling in his body and I might need to trim that beard a little more, after looking at the photo's :)
You can find Ashleigh's free pattern for Santa HERE.
Now with Mrs. Claus I did make a few changes. First up, I increased the size of the arms as I did with Santa. I also changed how I crocheted the apron. In the pattern it is crocheted as part of the body but I was unhappy with how my colour changes looked at the joins, so I crocheted my apron separate, added some straps to connect with the tie at the back and I tacked it all to the body so it wouldn't curl. I'm not sure this was a smart decision but I it looks better than my first attempt.
I also added the buttons to the apron straps and I used buttons instead of bells for the holly.
I added French Knots instead of bells for the earrings and I think I made her nose a little large but anyhoo :). The hair gave me a few issues though. Its meant to be rolled into a bun or folded over and secured into a messy bun but after following the pattern the length of hair just wasn't long enough to shape very well, so I gave Mrs. Claus a simple ponytail and added some ribbon. It looks OK but I'd suggest you cut your strands longer than the suggested 8" to achieve a bun.
You can find Ashleigh's free pattern for Mrs. Claus HERE.
Despite a few minor imperfections, I'm so thrilled with these two. They were fun to crochet and I learnt so much along the way so I'm glad I gave them a try. They are so sweet and cuddly and they keep my Christmas magic alive. One day my future grandchildren might drag them around the house but for now they will become part of our Christmas decorating and will most likely sit under our tree.
Ashleigh has lots of great free patterns, so pop on over and be inspired.
Happy crocheting :)

Friday, October 27, 2017

Sundial Mini Quilt + Your Free November 2017 Calendar

Spring is definitely in full swing down under. The weather has been beautiful and we're spending lots of time outdoors, gardening, BBQing and resuming our nightly walks around the neighbourhood. After a long cold winter, its wonderful to feel the heat of the sun and to enjoy the time reconnecting with our surroundings.
Its also time for me to share my new monthly mini quilt pattern and your free November 2017 calendar. I'm so in love with this design and beyond thrilled to introduce the gorgeous Sundial to my pattern family:
Sundial is a fully paper pieced octagonal mini quilt pattern and its a beauty :) I've included three sizes in this PDF pattern (10", 12" & 14") so you can choose which size suits your needs best. I made the 14" mini because I needed a new quilt for my lamp table and this size fits perfectly.
There's not a lot of difference between the three sizes but a couple of inches smaller or larger may suit your needs better.
Navy is classic and hard to tire of and I seem to be using it in everything I sew lately. Blue has been my favorite colour since forever and the warmth of that navy just makes me happy. I use it a lot in my home decor and its works so well with that lovely coral and blue/grey fabric.
These fabrics are a mix of Charleston and Les Petits from Amy Sinibaldi and I think this palette is a gorgeous, sunny mix. My lamp table looks so pretty and it makes me smile every time I look at it.
I love the octagonal shape of this mini, but if its not your thing, I have also included instructions for squaring up your mini quilt. You can also use these instructions if you plan on using the design as a cushion front or for making multiples for larger quilts.
The PDF pattern includes full step by step instructions and diagrams to help you construct your mini quilt quickly and easily. It also includes a colouring sheet for planning your colours/fabrics prior to sewing and optional instructions for adding a hanging sleeve or corner hangers.
I stippled my Sundial mini quilt, which is quite dense but also perfect for a lamp table quilt. It makes the mini sit perfectly flat so my lamp and other bits and pieces sit even and safe. That's my personal preference for table mats etc., but I'm sure you have your own ways of finishing smaller projects like this.
If you would like to make your own version of Sundial, from today until the end of November 2017, PDF patterns will be available at the introductory price of $4.95 (AU) in my Big Cartel shop HERE.
Or if you prefer an instant download, PDF patterns are also available in my Etsy shop HERE.
I also have your free November 2017 calendar:

To download and print your free calendar, just visit HERE.
That's it from me. I'm off to plow my way through this huge list of projects I'm working on at the moment. In the next few weeks I'll have a new free project for you using some lovely new fabrics from Dana Willard, so stay tuned for that one :) Plus a look at some new projects I've finished recently, one of them is the Christmas present for Maddi and Michael I mentioned before ♥ I need to find some time to take some nice photos and this weather means I can photograph this blanket in the great outdoors :)
So until then.....Happy sewing :)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Preparing for Christmas

After two weeks of school holidays, Cohen started Term Four this morning. This means I have a mere ten weeks to bring you everything I have planned for Christmas. The time will fly by fast, as its always so busy leading up to Christmas but this is my favorite time of the year, so I'm excited.
To kick start my prep, I thought I'd link up a few of my past Christmas projects and also give you a brief rundown on what to expect in the following weeks.
So first up, the lovely team at FaveQuilts have featured another of my projects, and this time its my free block Christmas Star:
If you haven't seen this block before, its so pretty and you can use it for lots of Christmas projects. It's a paper pieced pattern and I've included templates to make four versatile sizes. You could use this block to sew place mats or table runners, or as a cushion front or a border for a Christmas quilt; the possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination.
The pattern is free and you can download your copy HERE. Have lots of fun with it :)
Also check out some of the other free Christmas patterns at FaveQuilts, HERE.
Another of my free Christmas patterns are these gorgeous mug rugs. They are quite simple but so pretty and make great presents for teachers or neighbours or your crafting friends. They're a great use of scrap fabrics and they look lovely on your side table or office desk.
The free pattern includes the paper pieced version shown above and an applique version if FPP is not your thing. You can download the free file, HERE.
Over in my PDF pattern shops, I have this cute little guy. This is my Nutcracker pattern and I just love hanging him near our Christmas tree. He brings a smile to my face every time I look at him and it just wouldn't be Christmas without him :)
This is a quick and easy pattern using lots of quick corners and there's loads of diagrams etc. to help you along the way. You can purchase the PDF pattern HERE.
Yuletide is another of my Christmas PDF patterns. I love this little mini and I have seen it sewn in many beautiful fabric/colour combinations. Its another great stash busting project and its fully paper pieced and very easy to construct.
You can purchase the PDF pattern HERE.
If you're like me and have to be super organised, I also have my free Christmas Planner which you can download and print. I love this planner and every year I reprint the pages and get to work on planning our celebrations. Even though our family is small, Christmas is huge for us and keeping all my lists, recipes, notes and plans in the one place, is essential.
Start your planning today and download your own copy of my planner HERE.
So what have I got planned for the coming weeks? Here's a little list of what I hope to bring to the blog to help you celebrate Christmas with your family;
  • my upcoming December mini quilt pattern will be Christmas themed (that's a given)
  • a new free Christmas pattern (and its a sweet one!)
  • recipes, lots of recipes, including some yummy biscuits presented 3 or 4 ways which will be perfect for gift giving.
  • a Christmas inspired crocheted coaster. I've been playing around with my own crochet design for a little while now and I think I almost have it :)
  • a quick and easy Christmas ornament which is perfect to pop in your Christmas cards to friends and family.
  • Maddi and Michael's Christmas gift. I have been working on this crocheted blanket for months and its epic! I've had a daily love/hate relationship with this one but very soon it will be finished and ready to share. And I looooooove it! Stay tuned :)
  • plus lots of links to free patterns I'll be using to add to our Christmas decor.
OK, I need to get all of this done in the next ten weeks so I best get to work; not that you can really call all that fun crafting, actual work :) I hope to bring you all of these projects (plus more if time allows) but if something doesn't make the blog then it just didn't work as I had hoped; I'm thinking it may be the crocheted coaster, we will see.
Happy Christmas preparing :)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Mira

The latest edition of the Australian Patchwork and Quilting magazine (Vol 27 No 8) is now available and on page 20 is my quilt Mira:
Mira is a giant red variable star found in the constellation of Cetus. Its unique in the way it pulsates to increase or decrease its own brightness. For this design I positioned my bright red star amid a sea of shooting comets and tiny twinkling stars as can be seen in all of the stunning constellations.
I used Cheery McGee fabrics for this quilt and they were absolutely beautiful to work with. I love the tone of that gorgeous red and the aqua's are to die for. The cute bird print is so pretty and I tried to showcase them in the square elements of the blocks.
I would like to link these fabrics for you but a Google search found nothing which wasn't very helpful at all :( and I can not remember who distributes them.
They make a stunning quilt though and even the trimmings looked super pretty :)
Once you sew the required blocks, Mira goes together quite quickly and easily. It finishes at around 54" square, making it a lovely lap quilt or a quilt to throw over the couch ready for those chilly nights. Mine is draped over our couch and its so lovely and snuggly but somehow the cat seems to have claimed it and trust me she is extremely territorial and the only one using it. :)
This latest issue of APQ is packed with lovely projects and the whole team do a great job showcasing our projects. If you want to grab a copy of this months issue see your local newsagents or you can order online HERE.
I'll share more about Mira next year when I add it to my PDF pattern range but for now its only available via the magazine :)
Happy sewing :)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Nanaimo's

Do you ever cook something just because you feel like a trip down memory lane? I felt like that last week and decided to make a batch of Nanaimo's. We all need a few no bake recipes in our collection and today I've got an oldie but a goodie for you. If you want something quick and easy and reminiscent of my 80's then your going to love these Nanaimo's:
Cue Madonna's "Holiday"; we're being transported back in time with this recipe ladies :) You're singing it now aren't you? ;)
As newly married wives, the girls from work would sit in the lunch room and trade quick and easy slice recipes which were indicative of our young culinary talents. Many of them contained chopped up lollies or melted chocolate bars; you know the type of recipes I mean, everyone made them.
We cooked them all and this Nanaimo slice has stood the test of time even though its a little different to the original Canadian recipe. I'm pretty sure it was served at every Tupperware party we went to during the 80's/90's :)
These Nanaimo's are packed with chopped pecan's, coconut, dark chocolate and shredded wheat biscuits with a super sweet icing smothered on top. I could eat a bowl of this icing by itself, please don't judge me :) I prefer to chop up extra pecans and sprinkle them over the icing but today I'm doing it like we did back in the 80's and using one whole pecan on top. Very retro :)
I cut my slice into 15 bars but cut them smaller if you wish. They would be perfect for high tea or as a plate to take to craft days and nibble on as you chat and sew.
This recipe is really all about those gorgeous pecans. They flavour strongly in this slice and combined with that delicious dark chocolate, Nanaimo's are the perfect substitute for that afternoon biscuit you have with your coffee. The icing should be soft and fluffy and just set, so adjust your icing sugar quantities to obtain a consistency your happy with.
Nanaimo's are in no way cake like, they are more of a biscuit so if they sound to your liking, you can download the recipe HERE or right click on the image below and save to your computer for later:
This batch of Nanaimo's did take me back to those lunch hours with the girls, scrawling down each others recipes in the hopes we'd found a winner. And to those endless Tupperware parties where most of us came only for the food and left with yet another batch of containers to put our cooking in :)
Happy baking :)
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