Wednesday, 29 June 2011

tumbler pillow tutorial

charm pack pillow

I absolutely adore the Bliss line of fabrics by Bonnie and Camille from last year. I bought a heap of charm packs, but no yardage. Not really sure why I did that. I had all the great intentions of making a quilt like this one but then I didn't. I still have a couple more charm packs left so I could buy some Ruby when it comes out and make it using both lines. That'd be sweet. 
But anyway, I'm digressing now.

I did, however, make this pillow using the Accuquilt GO! baby cutter using a charm pack and a couple of fat quarters. You can find the tutorial over on the Fat Quarterly blog today. Go see!

Of course, you could still make the pillow if you don't have an Accuquilt GO! baby cutter, here's what you need to make the tumbler shape.

Draw a square measuring 3 1/2"
Now, mark a point 1/2" in on either edge across the top line.
Draw a line that joins the marked point and the bottom left hand corner of the square. And again, a line that joins the marked point on the top right hand side to the bottom right hand corner.
Cut out and either trace onto cardstock or template plastic. Et voila! Now you have a tumbler that is pretty similar to the accuquilt Go! one, so head on over to Fat Quarterly and make your own!

tumbler template

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

hit me baby, one more time

(sorry about the Britney reference up there in the title. I couldn't resist)

You read the other day about my new (ok, I've had for a few months, so it's not entirely new) toy, the Accuquilt GO! Baby cutter, right?
Well, those nice people at Accuquilt have given me one for one of you guys to win as well. Isn't that awesome? Not just a cutter, you get to choose 3 dies from the huge selection as well. So soon we can cut, cut, cut together. Eeep! That's some cool prize, I'd like to win it myself, except I already have my cutter, so that'd be selfish and greedy.

The chance to win is super simple - just leave me a comment on this post and tell me what die is your favourite. Head on over to the Accuquilt website by clicking right here and come back and let me know. Simples, right? No singing, no dancing, no added extra chances for anything (although you could sing and dance I'd quite like it). My favourite is the 2 1/2" strip. It's just so dang useful. Although I'm itching to get me a half square triangle die too. I have it sat in my basket. I really need to click thru to check out.
Also - if you click on the little badge up on the right hand side of the page here...the one that says 'get 22 free patterns' and sign up to the newsletter you get 22 free patterns to make a whole heap of cool things.

GO! baby!!!!!!!!

So what are you waiting for? Just head on over to the Accuquilt site, have a look round then come back and tell me what die is your favourite. Simples!

Giveaway is open for one full week from today until July 5th and is open to anyone, just make sure I have a way to contact you should you win.

I made this cute little quilt the other day for Snoop dog using half a jelly roll (the other half is being used to make a quilt to match for his best friend Bailey Boo). It was so easy, the top only took me a couple of hours (it took a while longer to get round to finishing, of course). I think I'll have to get the Accuquilt Go! Baby out and whip up a few 'home made' jelly rolls and make some more.

a quilt for Snoop

Let me also tell you about a fantastic sale that Accuquilt have going on right now too. Because if you buy a GO! Baby cutter you get a free Alex Anderson die set worth $139 and 2 patterns as well. So if you can't wait til next week to find out if you've won my giveaway, you could take advantage of the offer while it stands (thru July 5th)


Monday, 27 June 2011

all the single ladies

single girl - it's a wrap!

She's finished!
The fruits of the quilt along have ripened and fallen from the tree and now I'm eating them all up. Yum.

I kind of wish I'd have gone bigger. But I can always make another, can't I?

single girl in the sun

To break some cool kid rules I used something that you don't see too often on the blogs of 'our crew' these days. They get sniffed at and usually result in sneers. I would bet big money that in a swap most of you have specifically said you don't want them used. (I hold my hands up - I have).

What are they?

single girl - close up


Yep. I mixed in batiks I got from the really great Flare Fabrics in Canada (Marlene has some really cool fabrics, not just batiks. You should check her out) with my favourite 3 lines from this past year. Sarah Fielke's from little things, Tula Pink's Parisville and Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush. The batiks really go well, I think. The colours blend in so beautifully and the beauty of batiks is the texture they add. The fabric is so different all over, so you can cut randomly and get a heap of different looking tones and shades.
I'm trying to think outside the comfort zone these days - hence the kona raisin as a background instead of failsafe charcoal and the batiks. I really, really love the result. I love how the different fabrics play together and I love the little surprise element of the batiks. Long armed Chris (my quilter) made a quilt using just batiks and innocent crush and I love it. I'll have to ask her if I can get a photo next time I go over. I think it's my favourite quilt I've seen in a long, long time. The colours are so rich and gorgeous and it's amazing - but just a simple churn dash block. It would go perfectly in my house too - maybe I could distract her by pointing to the ceiling and tuck it up my sweater like they do in cartoons? Chris is a 'proper' quilter, I'm learning a lot from her just from popping over and chatting for a little while when I drop off quilt tops. If I was single and about 10 or 15 years younger I'd try and snaffle one of her sons so I could have her as my mother in law.

In totally unrelated news - I've booked my flights and hotel for Quilt Market in Houston this fall. And my friend Lu is coming too. SQUEEEEEEEEE!!!!! (Yep, I'm pretty excited about that).

Saturday, 25 June 2011

a new toy

small yet mighty

I'm sure you've seen plenty of these little Accuquilt GO! Baby cutters popping up around blogland over the past year. When I was asked if Id like to review one on my blog I have to say I jumped at the chance. I was curious to see how they worked and whether they really were going to be something I used or something that just added to the ever growing pile of 'stuff' in my house.
In all honesty I was a little bit sceptical. They're not cheap - so if you are planning on making that kind of investment you really need to be sure about it, right? It has to be something that you will use on a pretty much daily basis.
Since it arrived I've had a lot of fun playing. I have a tutorial for the tumbler pillow you can just see in the photo up there on the Fat Quarterly blog this coming Wednesday (27th) and I'm working on a second tutorial for here (bear with me for this one - it's curved seams, I'm going as fast as I can).

I have been using the 2 1/2" strip die a lot. I think of all the dies I could buy that would be the one I'd use most of all. That was why I picked it. I make my bindings 2 1/2" wide, and I love scrappy bindings, so this is perfect for it. In fact, I used it to make the miles and miles of binding here and it was a breeze. It's worth it's purchase price for that alone, in my mind.


I kind of like cutting fabrics, but sometimes I need to do it at night when the kids are in bed and I would rather watch TV. That's the beauty of the accuquilt GO! baby cutter - last night I sat and cut out all of the blocks I need for my drunkards path project whilst sitting on the floor in my sitting room and watching some trashy TV. I had a little pail next to me for the waste and I sat and rolled and cut for a little while - it went fast, because you can stack up 6 layers of fabric at one time. I tried 6 and it was a bit tricky with the drunkards path shapes, but for the strips it works brilliantly. I found 4 layers worked really, really well for the smaller, more intricate shapes.
Another bonus with the strip cutter (for me personally) is that I can then cross cut the strips into 2 1/2" squares for the scrap vomit quilt. A 2 1/2" square makes me a happy girl. And I need a lot of them for a scrap vomit quilt.  I don't think there's a die for 2 1/2" squares for the Baby cutter...yet. But it's ok, cross cutting those strips the 'old fashioned way' isn't too much of a bind, you know.

The only prep I needed to do was to press my fabrics and cut them into strips the same size as my cutting mat and die - so 6" x 24" for the strips and 6" x 12" for the smaller shapes like the drunkards path or the tumblers. In all honesty, I could probably fold them over accordian style like Krista did when she cut her 2" squares, and that would save me a little job.

GO! baby!!!!!!!!

If you're in the UK Claire at Patch Fabrics sells the bigger GO! Cutter and a wide selection of the dies as well. Plus she's really nice, so you should make friends with her.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

a new obsession

a new obsession is born

The truly amazing and winner of the nicest person you could ever meet 1st place ribbon, Jennifer Paganelli, sent me some of her laminated cotton fabric to have a play with. I'd been thinking a bag to haul around groceries or to take to the beach would be cool...but I really wanted to make something really cool, you know? I also really really wanted to try making a purse with a frame because they look tricky but fun.
I used the easy peasy purse pattern by Lisa Lam (who, let me tell you, is awesome) and guess what? It's easy peasy! I'm doing a full on proper review on the Fat Quarterly blog in a couple of weeks (with a giveaway) but my brief review is this - easy peasy purse = 1 hour of your life. That's it. No hair pulling, no teeth grinding, not even a cuss word (and I've been known to be pretty free and easy with those mamas). The only cussing I did was when I stood back and admired my awesomeness in purse form and it was a good cuss.

In fact, it was so easy peasy I made 3. And now I'm itching for more. Christmas and birthdays are sorted forever - an hour a gift? Move over quilts, there's a new standard in the Monkey House.
These ones are hungry, look at their wide open baby bird mouths... 'squawk squawk squawk!'

hungry purses

So, because you'll ask -
Fabrics used;

::Amy Butler soul blossoms

::Jennifer Paganelli Sis Boom laminate (honey child)
Amy Butler laminate (Love) - that's the lining for the Sis Boom purse

::Echino spring 2011 collection (the latest stuff, basically!)
Lizzy House 1001 peeps (green bracelet print)

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

more tattoos...

my sleeve

gypsy lady close up

inside upper arm close up

tula pink owl tattoo

peek of owl

I realised I hadn't actually shown this off properly since it was finished (ages ago!)
If you want to see the pics better just click on them and it'll take you to my flickr and you can view 'em big. That's if you want to see my scrawny arm up close, of course (which I am not sure I do).
This sleeve and the frog prince on my leg are by Saira Hunjan who works out of Goodtimes in Shoreditch, London.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


Dodgy phone pic but....

I added to my collection of tattoos with a Tula Pink frog prince. We got the outline and the first part of the shading done yesterday, and I go back in July to (hopefully) sit for long enough to get the rest coloured in and all the little details added. I tend to wimp out after 3 hours, so we'll see. It's a pretty nice size, not so big that it looks like a crazy huge frog has taken over my body and not so small that you'll miss the details. I did say when I started it that this might be the last one...but I'm doubting that very much actually. I hate how addictive tattoos are. I would love to have the Marie Antoinette ship head (from Parisville) on my ribs, but I need to resign myself to the fact that it would hurt just too much and I don't really like pain. Best to think small.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Farmer's Wife Quilt Along - week something or other

Ok - I said on Wednesday I would be back the next day, but I totally wasn't. I even pinky swore. Thursday I spent the whole day in bed with a flu virus that knocked me sideways. Friday I was a little better and managed to drive over to the long armed Chris's to pick up my single girl quilt and today - well, I'm back.

Is it week 3 of the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along? I think so. I'm not really keeping score. I have 2 new blocks to show though...

farmer's wife quilt along

Numbers 4 and 111 (basket weave and wrench). I'm loving making these blocks but I admit I'm sticking to the simples so far because I cannot be bothered with printing out the templates. I have just one criticism of the book and that's the templates are all on separate pages and there's no measurements. If it wasn't for the quilt along I don't think I'd have bothered and would have most likely thrown my rattle out the pram and stomped about a bit. Maybe one of these days I'll write my own sampler book (yeah, right...) Luckily my super hero in a quilted cape, Pat Sloan, has hooked me up with a set of Marti Mitchell templates. I'm a sucker for rulers, I have a feeling I'll cope better with those trickier blocks with plastic templates as my weapon. (Just click on the link over to Pat's website - check out the pic of her in the header. Doesn't she look like the naughtiest person alive? Peering over her glasses with that 'hey, I'm totally up to no good here' look on her face. )

And I accidentally clicked on buy a couple of times this past week or so....

farmer's wife quilt along stuffs

I picked up some fat eighths of Liberty prints from Sunflower Fabrics and signed up to their monthly club (a bundle of F8s a month - that has to be a good thing) and some super awesome black prints by Lakehouse Dry Goods  from Fat Quartershop (which came so fast you'd be forgiven for thinking they were using magic to ship overseas).

Happy days.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

scavenger hunt goodies winner!

Thank you to everyone that entered the scavenger hunt that Thomas and I organised. There weren't many entries...I have to be honest, but we didn't really expect hundreds because it was a big old hassle of hunting for pics. So, for those (12) of you that did take the time and effort to trawl through flickr and blog land and email us. Thank you. Hugely.
Bee (that's Thomas's little one) was in charge of picking a winner and she chose number 2 - who is Marg from Victoria, Australia. Congratulations Marg!  Your winning goodies will be winging their way to you shortly.

And now, because I haven't got any pics of anything to show you right this minute, here's Snoop.....

more Snoop spam

I'll be back (as Arnie would say...) with other stuff tomorrow. Pinky swear.

Friday, 10 June 2011

they don't make 'em like they used to

I've wanted one of these for a while. In fact every week for most of this year I've been putting silly low bids on them on the bay of evil, never expecting to actually win. I've come really close a couple of times. Then on Sunday I was out with the family and some friends and I'd had a couple of beers when the 'an item you're bidding on is ending soon' text came through on my phone. I'd already been outbid on it earlier in the week, so I thought I'd just put a little bit higher, but still silly low, and didn't expect to win.

Look what arrived today.....

in need of TLC

Betty, as she will be known (after my Nan who was the one that nurtured my love of sewing with her hand crank singer) is in need of a little bit of TLC. She works, but she's got a slightly dodgy power cable, and smells of old. Until she's had a good once over and a well deserved spa day I'm not going to try and sew anything on her. Just in case.

Check out her glossy body -


...and the detail on the front -

they don't make 'em like they used to

They don't make 'em like they used to. That's for sure.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

I'm a Farmer's wife

Farmer's Wife - first 4 blocks

Well, not in real life, I mean in the quilty sense. Amanda and Angela have started a quilt along using the book 'The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt'. It's a long term project making only 2 blocks a week (there are over 100) and a good deal of the blocks are very simple (see my pic up there?) so I figure on some weeks I could maybe get 3 done and others just 1. I'm not too fussed about the end line, it'll just be nice to make some small blocks for once (they finish up at 6") and to challenge myself a little when it comes to the tough blocks (inset seams, anyone?)

I'm making my quilt in Liberty print tana lawns. And as scrappy as possible, so no real planning with the colours or the matching of prints. I'm hoping the dark backgrounds (I'll use mostly black and newsprints/texty fabrics) will help co-ordinate the 'eclectic' prints. If I'd have thought about it before I started cutting I'd have probably cut those newsprints on point so they read straight when the quilt's assembled. To save face (and to make it look intentional) I'll most likely mix it up a bit, cut some on point and some normal, so it looks like I planned it that way and I'm not just a jump in feet first and not think too much klutz. I have no idea about sashing. Maybe I'll use a small scale liberty print for that. Let's face it, I have a good year before I have to start worrying about that, though!

You can sign up too - the flickr group is here.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Snoop Doggy Dogg

There's a new addition to Monkey Towers. He's small, has googly eyes and makes little yelpy sounds.

After 13 years of badgering the husbeast finally relented and let me get a chihuahua. He's the first dog I've ever owned. He's incredibly cuddly and I have the sneakiest suspicion he'll be horrendously spoiled.

Meet Snoop (as named by Miss G).


I think you have to agree, he's pretty damn cute.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

peaceful stitches

peaceful stitches

It's the half term break here but today the husbeast has taken the childerbeasts out and I'm sat in my PJs alternating between hand sewing hexagon flowers and machine stitching little squares to little triangles. It's really rather lovely. I have absolutely no intention of getting dressed today, instead I'll sit and sew in the peace and quiet, with the sun (finally) streaming through the window. Bliss.

Fabrics are various liberty prints and a white klona cotton.

Don't forget the Quilt Market Scavenger Hunt giveaway is still on until June 5th. Tip - you can probably find most of the list in my photostream. Just saying.....

Check out my half of the prize here!

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