Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 - off you shoo!

I think this year has been the biggest of my entire life. It's been the busiest year in regards to work, that's for sure. Although 2010 was the first year I had a job since getting pregnant with Grace in 1998 (yikes!) 2011 was the year that things started to really pick up with both Fat Quarterly and for myself as an individual. I got asked to submit to a couple of books (which aren't out yet, so I can't share projects from them - boo hiss), had a tutorial on Sew Mama Sew (which makes me so giddy inside, because that blog was probably one of the first sewing blogs I ever read and one I refer to all the time) and started to really feel I knew where my life was going, like this was how it was going to be, that I actually can say I make quilts rather than I'm a mum that hoards fabrics.

I made a heap of quilts. Way more than I thought I'd made.

2011 in quilts

I also started stuff and didn't finish it. Or I ignored stuff that I'd started before this year that could be finished really fast if I could be bothered. I get distracted easily. (Actually a couple of those pics are just ready to be quilted - the giant star in the first pic, and the flannel quilt).

WIPS and UFOs

I hung out with the best set of people, my sewing group (that rarely does sewing) Lynne, Brioni, Mandy, and Justine. We have such a bloody good laugh together. I feel truly blessed to have this lot as my real life friends. Next year I will get to hang out with them more - that's my goal.

Oh - and the biggest thing? That....

eeek!

That still hasn't quite sunk in. Not sure when it will. Maybe when I get a real copy in my little paws. Til then I do go look at it on Amazon most days. Saddo.

2011 was amazing, if 2012 is as good I might burst.

Happy New Year to you all - I wish you heaps of happiness and good health and all your dreams to come true. xxxx

Thursday, 29 December 2011

resistance is futile

I'm a sucker for scrap quilts. I think all my favourite quilts are scrappy in nature. And I have a scrap bin that is out of control, despite making this and being so close to finishing a second.

I've set myself a challenge, I will finish the quilt tops below by the end of January and as a reward to myself I'll join in with Brenda on her Bust Yo Scraps Quilt Along. 

All the bits are ready for sewing in order to finish this one....

New year finish. I will. By end of January.

And I am only about 8 blocks away from getting this finished too....

scrap vomit part deux grows

So my reward is this pretty little ditty. Why don't you join in too? Go on, do it do it do it! Brenda says there'll be giveaways. Ooooh. I love giveaways.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Thank you for your comments, or for your visits and non-comments (I like those lurking types just as much as the commenting types!) over the past year. Thank you to those that come back again and again. Thank you for the advice when I've needed it, for the support and the follows and for being there.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season, however you may spend it. I shall be in the kitchen making sausage sandwiches for everyone in the morning (and endless cups of tea), with Snoop attached to my leg trying to steal a bit of sausage.

Until then, as is the tradition in our house on Christmas eve, we all get to open a gift from under the tree, the kids get new jammies, we watch a movie (this year it's Elf) and we chill out.

Merry Christmas from our house to yours x

Friday, 23 December 2011

Brrr!

Brrr!

Laurie sent me some of her next line of fabrics with Kaufman (not out til next June - how long is that to wait? SOOOO long!) to have a play with and I got so excited after I saw them in the flesh (as it were) that I thought I'd share a sneaky peek with you.

I'm not a huge fan of Christmas fabrics. I kinda don't like Christmas fabrics much at all. There, I said it. I'm sorry Christmas fabric lovers.
But these I would totally buy and I'd do it without even realising I'd bought Christmas fabrics, because there's not a Santa or Reindeer or Holly sprig to be seen.
There's a dotty stripe - how awesome will that be for bindings?
There's a snowflakey doily that isn't snowflake-like at all when you take it away from the Polar Bear and will be so beautiful as a focal point in a block.
In fact, the Polar Bear himself has no hint of Christmas, he's carrying a flower. He could be on a trip to Hawaii for all you know. It might be July for him. He might be sick to the stomach of you assuming it's Winter where he lives. In fact, do you know what? He's never even been to the arctic. His grandmother left on a steam cruiser for New Hampshire back in the 20's and they moved to Florida in the early 80's when this cute guy was just a cub. And you know what else? They all just LOVE the sunshine state because the weather is so great and the sunshine keeps them so pure white. Not like the dirty polar bears you see at the zoo with their yellow-white fur. Those aren't like this bear and his family. Oh no. Heck, they wouldn't even cross paths with those kinds of dirty bear. This bear has class. He takes his mama bear a flower every week, just because he loves her. He's holding it in his paw. Go to Laurie's blog and you can see him better. Isn't he a handsome guy?

So, yeah, I got sidetracked there a little bit with my bear story. Where was I? Ok, yes, the colours are great - Christmassy enough for Christmas and that time of year but they won't look out of place in the park for a picnic in the middle of Summer. Red and aqua and green and white. Yum yum yum.

I'm going to be making something with these. Then I might just have a little treat for you guys too. But you have to wait a couple of months. Sorry about that. C'mon people it's Christmas - I'm busy with the family and stuff. They get all grumpy if I sew all the time.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

hey - that's not a quilt!

Well, here's a change from the normal routine, but I thought you might like a recipe for a side dish that is simple and always totally impresses people. Plus, you can serve it as a the vegetarian option if you use a cheese other than parmesan (which contains rennet so it isn't vegetarian...although whether your veggie guests eat parmesan or not depends on how 'true' to the cause they are. Some do. Just check first, ok?)

Leek and butterbean bake with parmesan cream. (serves 4 as a side dish)
You will need 3 leeks, washed really well and sliced into circles about 3/4 inch thick.
A clove of garlic, crushed
A knob of butter and a glug of olive oil, melted together in a heavy based frying pan or skillet that has a lid (mixing the butter with oil helps prevent the leeks burning and tasting nasty)
A small pot of double cream (heavy cream in the US, I think? The kind you would pour on your pie - thick but still runny.)
A 400g can of butterbeans (or a half cup of dried butterbeans, soaked overnight)
Handful of finely grated parmesan (or another sharp, hard cheese)


Sweat the leeks and garlic in the skillet, covered, and on a low heat until soft. Around 10 or 15 minutes.  Totally don't rush this bit, because you'll burn the leeks and then they taste really awful. You want them soft, but not browned in any way. Stir frequently and if the oil/butter is bubbling too much turn the heat right down.


sweating leeks


Add the butterbeans and the cream. You want enough cream to make a sauce, but not so much that the mixture is swimming. Heat through gently, but do not boil.
Transfer to an oven proof dish and sprinkle the cheese over the top.


ready for baking!


Pop in the oven on a medium to high heat until the cheese has browned and the cream bubbles.


ready to serve!


And that's it. 

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

last minute comfort sewing

flannel pillowcases!

I have no real need for new pillowcases. Although, if we're going to be talking about what I have no real need for I should include quilts and most definitely fabric in that list too, but I'll skip over those and pretend I didn't even mention it.
It's cold. I get incredibly grumpy around Christmas, not because I don't like it (because I LOVE it), but because of a few things. Firstly the pressure. I feel I have to out perform myself. I need to make delicious food and create feasts for everyone (that involves dealing with allergies, people that don't like certain foods, people that drink, people that don't, people that love spices, people that hate spices, people that are incredibly fussy and hard to please). I want everyone to have the perfect gift. With the perfect gift, I have now accepted that it probably involves shop bought and not made by me although I do try and sneak a couple of hand made things in. Just to keep me happy. I loathe shopping (other than internet shopping). Add in crowds and wannabe popstars hanging out on every corner crooning (murdering) Christmas songs with those mini amps and a hat open for change (or record deals) and the inevitable rain (this is England) and I'm cranky as hell.
What would make me happy? Something soft to sleep on. Thank you Ashley for your fool proof (I have proven it) tutorial. Thank you Karen for your $5 a yard flannel. Thank you Husbeast for being genuinely pleased about our new, completely non-matching, softer than soft, flannel pillowcases.
And breath.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

crazy in love.....

crazy love

It's no secret I have a complete crush on Jennifer Paganelli. So when she mentioned she was sending me a little gift I got crazy excited. When I saw it was a bundle of Crazy Love (her next line for Free Spirit) I was crazy, crazy excited.
I've got all these FQs pressed and I'm getting ready to sew, hopefully I can make a start over the crazy Christmas period when I need to regain my sanity. An hour here and there, surely that's ok?

Crazy Love ships next Spring. If you like Sis Boom, you will LOVE this. It feels a little like all the best bits of every previous collection have come together for a party and this is what that party looks like. I wish I could go to parties that looked this fun. Why don't I ever get invited out to fun parties? Maybe I should hold my own, with my Crazy Love bundle and we could drink mimosas and eat those tiny, tiny crackers with fancy stuff on served to us by handsome waiting staff.
Hey purple Crazy Love FQ, shall we sing on the karaoke? I'm Mariah - you can be Luther Vandross.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

A winner and some piped pillows!

SOOOO MANY COMMENTS! I couldn't believe it! Thank you to everyone that entered and welcome to my new followers and readers. *waves* I'm super stoked to have you here!
Without any delay, let's find the winner, shall we?........



it's...... Kelly. I'll email you today to have a chat about what kind of fabric you like and get on with making you your purse!

In other non giveaway winning news...have you been checking out the 12 days of Ruby Star over on the Fat Quarterly blog? Each day a new tutorial. I made these piped pillows....

piped pillows!

I like piping. It looks cleverer than it is. Possibly like me. Although I don't look all that clever actually. Anyway, you should check it out. There are loads of fun ideas on using Melody's awesome fabrics (although you don't need to use Ruby Star anything, obviously, you could use what you want)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Merry Christmas to me

After making this quilt top and this pillow I got myself all in a frenzy for flannel and the apparent need for flannel pillowcases on my bed. Whilst looking online for yardage I came across this shop and her crazy $5 a yard sale.

These arrived today....

Merry Christmas to me

(Karen even slipped in a copy of Quilt Sampler magazine with a feature on her gorgeous store!)

I may have accidentally bought a stack of Anna Maria Horner velveteens on sale too...

my pretties...

Sensory overload. I wish you could reach in and touch them. Just play along with me and do it - stroke the pretties. Nice, huh? Put your face up to them. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, doesn't that feel good?

touch me

Merry Christmas, Katy. You've worked so very hard all year long, you keep such an exceptionally tidy home, and always make wonderful 3 course meals for your family. You never get any treats, you truly deserve this. (I'm sorry - can I hear you lot coughing and spluttering? What exactly do you mean by that, hmm? *hides the toast she was planning on feeding the family tonight and kicks the mess under the carpet*)

baby it's cold inside

Because you know how I always feel better if I've made you buy stuff, have you been checking out the daily deal on Fat Quarter Shop this week? Every day a new deal that is just for that one 24 hour period. I'm not ashamed to say it's the first thing I check when I wake up. Addicted? Me? Pah.... I got an awesome deal this week - 9 yards of Bonnie and Camille Ruby dot for $48. (I realise 9 yards is quite a lot but I'm entirely positive it will prove incredibly useful - I don't even need to half convince myself.)

Oh - and because I'm sure someone will ask - the beeswax in the little pot in the pic there is from here. I'm waiting for a couple of mugs for Christmas presents too. One for this bird. I should chase them up, she'll sulk if she doesn't get something to open on Christmas day.

Monday, 12 December 2011

sew mama sew giveaway day

on a purse tip

I almost forgot about sew mama sew giveaway day! Phew - luckily I'm not too late.
So - here's the good stuff....

One winner will win a custom made framed purse, like the ones in the pic up there but in your choice of fabric (from a selection, of whatever I have in my stash - I'm pretty sure I'll have something to keep any single person happy...I'm a little bit of a fabric whore, it has been said). They're nice and roomy and can fit all sorts in. I have my make up in mine, and even the brushes fit. Deceptively spacious little things, those purses.

The giveaway is open until this Friday (Dec 16th) 5pm PST (which is about midnight or 1am the next day or something for those of us living in the UK), so let's say until Saturday morning when I wake up, yes?

I told you there'd be another giveaway soon. Bet you didn't think it'd be this soon, did you? (No, neither did I).

QUICK EDIT - open to anyone and everyone, where ever you may be!

Look - here's me busy making purses.....

Busy busy busy

and the winners are....



Winner number 1 is UpstateLisa!!! You get first pick of the 2 bundles, Lisa!

And number 2 is......



Hadley!

I'll be in touch with both of you today and get your addresses (and your choice of the 2 bundles, Lisa).

Congratulations to the winners and I'm really sorry I couldn't send a package out to everyone. We'll have another little giveaway verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry soon though, ok?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

one jelly roll quilt class

beginner's quilt class

I'm heading back down to Lowestoft after the Christmas manic stuff is over and done with (Saturday February 11th) to teach a beginners quilt class where you can make a simple lap quilt from one jelly roll in a day.

Well, not the whole quilt (I don't expect miracles in a one day class), but the quilt top. The quilting and finishing bit you can do at home with nice clear instructions I shall leave you with (or maybe back at Patch with Claire in a second class?)

beginner's quilt

All you need is a single jelly roll and a sewing machine.

If you're not a beginner quilter you can still come, it means you get to concentrate less and chat more. Also, I'm going to drive from Ipswich (from my parents) so if you live in Ipswich and want to hitch a ride with me, just shout. (M - let me know if you're still up for that!) 

perfect beginner quilt

Full details will be on the Patch website soon, but if you have any questions or are interested, give them a call on 01502 588778 or email claire@patchfabrics.co.uk. Claire and her team are super helpful.

Quilt deets -
lap/baby size quilt - 48" x 54"
made with one jelly roll (I used dogwood trail by Moda)

Friday, 9 December 2011

Hexy MF

Hexy MF

I can't even begin to tell you how happy I am with this quilt. I loved it from the moment I started making hexagons, but now it's quilted (by rock star quilter and total genius, Angela Walters) and bound, washed and in use I can't help but smile every time I look at it.

Hexy MF

This thing is HEAVY. I had to send it to Angela in 2 packages - one for the quilt top and one for the backing to keep it at any kind of reasonable cost (it was still a fortune to mail). Fortunately I picked it up from her in person at Quilt Market and carried it home in my suitcase otherwise I dread to think how much shipping would have cost with all that quilting.

Angela, in her usual mind blowing way, has totally exceeded all of my expectations. Each flower is quilted differently. The borders are densely quilted with feathery swirls and down one side she quilted Hexy MF in fancy, scrolled letters.

I honestly cannot recommend her enough for out of this world quilting. If you have a quilt top that is special and you want to have that wow factor added to it, send it to her. I want to make something nice and simple for her too, so all you see is the awesome quilting. That's my mission for the new year. Maybe I'll make another constellation quilt. All that negative space quilted by Angela would be unreal.

I tried to fiddle about with the exposure in this pic so you can get a better look at the quilting - hexy MF is down the left hand side in this pic. Can you see it?

Hexy MF

Thank you Angela - you're amazing and constantly amaze me.

If you're braver than me and enjoy quilting, instead of being very, very afraid of it, Angela has written a book that is available for pre-order here. It's bound to be amazing.

EDITED TO INCLUDE QUILT DEETS:
(I couldn't find a tape measure earlier!)
finished size - 69" x 82"
all fabrics for hexagons are Anna Maria Horner from Good Folks, Bohemian and little folks (voiles). Centres of flowers are either Anna Maria Horner little folks dobby dot or an orange shot cotton (that I'm not really certain where it came from or what it is)
I used hexagons that were 1 1/2" for all of the main flowers and then a mix of 1 1/2" and 1" for the border flowers.
When I get some time free I'll do a tutorial for the whole thing. I will. It's on my list of things to do.


EDITED AGAIN:
in case you're wondering, Hexy MF is named after this (by my all time favouritist musical genius).  You probably thought it was, and you were completely right. I did sing to it when I was sewing it. 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

roll up, roll up - get your tickets!

weekend


"Do you enjoy sewing? Do you like hanging out with like minded people? Yes? Then the Fat Quarterly Sewing Retreat is for you!


We have planned a fun filled weekend of silly games, sewing challenges, tutorial workshops and more! Come and meet the Fat Quarterly team in their entirety (yes we will ALL be there!) and make lots of new friends in the quilting community.


Bring along your WIPs, or start something new! Take part in some of the tutorial workshops or hang with friends! The choice is yours! We can’t wait to meet you all".

Where:
Baden Powell House
When:
Saturday 2 June, 9am to 11pm
and
Sunday 3 June, 9am to 5pm



oneday

I have to admit, I am giddy as heck about this. Firstly, it's the first time John will have been to England (and I am so excited about forcing him to try marmite and stuff), it'll be very first time we're all together at the same time (seriously - we have never been together in one place at the same time), I get to hang out with people that love the same things as me for a whole weekend without feeling like a dork, and I'll make new friends as well as meeting old friends that have lived in my computer for some time. I don't know which part excites me more.
Please come and be dorky with me!

(you'll find the giveaway post if you click here til Monday 12th)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

fun with Melody

a sneaky peek

Melody Miller is going to be huge. Mark my words. Not huge in physical size (because she's not huge at all, and is actually perfectly formed. I will admit to having a bit of a crush on her, she's quite magical), but she will be huge in the design sense, her work is perfect for so many different things. I want a Melody Miller tea set, dinner plates, bed linen, curtains, stationary, luggage, and furniture (just in case any licensing types are lurking - not that they would be, but you never know).

Over on the Fat Quarterly blog we've organised a designer challenge, similar to the one we did recently with Daisy Janie fabrics. I'm having immense fun playing with some Ruby Star Spring and Ruby Star Shining.  I'm not allowed to show much off yet, not until the challenges and tutorials that go with them are revealed later this month...but I thought I'd give you a little sneaky peek of what I'm up to. Tonight I'm going to sit in front of the TV with some cosmo threads and stitch stitch stitch.

(The Robert Kaufman FQ bundles giveaway is still going on over on this post in case you haven't entered already!)

Monday, 5 December 2011

call me Santa

giveaway!

It's nearly Christmas, so it is surely time I had a little giveaway to celebrate.

The 2 bundles of delicious fabric above are up for grabs - two winners, a bundle each.

The first winner picked out gets to choose first between Print and Pattern's (real life name Marie Perkins) Happy Home  or Robin Zingone's Stockholm. Both collections are from Robert Kaufman Fabrics and are due for release early 2012, so it really is a super duper Christmas present!

Rules are as follows and involve multiple chances (I don't normally do this, but it's Christmas and I want to give you all extra chances).

1 - leave a comment
2 - leave a second comment if you follow me
3 - leave a third comment if you have blogged/tweeted about the giveaway

Please please please make sure you have a contact email linked to your profile or leave it in the comment - if I you're a no-reply blogger and I can't contact you then you miss out. Boo hiss.

Giveaway is open for a full week from today (December 5th to 12th)

COMMENTS ARE NOW CLOSED!

Good luck and Merry (early) Christmas!

I also wanted to mention about the stocking drive that Lyanna organised and I made a couple of stockings for. I was in a rush to get them mailed in time for the deadline and didn't get a good pic. Typically. Here they are though in a pic from my phone.

Stockings for the purple panda drive

The original plan was for 50 stockings. She ended up with 219!!! Isn't that amazing? Man, I love this community and it's caring, sharing nature.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

toasty

cozy toes

It took me a while to be convinced, but I've finally succumbed to the flannel quilt. Seeing the Loulouthi flannels at quilt market tipped me over the edge and when Kate at M is for Make got some into the shop I bought a little. Before splurging on every single Anna Maria Horner flannel print I could find in Pink Castle Fabrics and then whipping this up in one evening and a morning (a day?). Super fast. Got to love those kind of quilts.
The pattern uses FQs. 20 to be exact. I tried to get as much use out of each FQ, and just rearranged the fabrics to mix up the blocks and rotated them as I laid them out to get a nicely even distribution of colours and prints.

The skinny 2.5" strip (as shown in the pic below) I'm not using as a border, though. I used those to make that pillow. It'll be a whole snuggly festival of coziness when this is all finished. Sadly not in time for Christmas though, because Long Armed Chris is too busy so I'm not even going to ask (in case she chases me out of her studio with a broom and banishes me forever).

high tech quilt diagrams

So, with the leftover bits and bobs that should have been the border, I threw this bed size pillow together. By bed size, I mean the kind that you sleep on - not the kind you throw decoratively onto your bed and then spend a half hour removing before you go to sleep. It's 18 x 28" and the pom-pom trim was a bitch to sew but worth it. That stuff is stretchy and this particular trim wasn't behaving. We got there eventually though. Thankfully. Because I've bought enough pom-pom trim to adorn every pillow I make from now until eternity.

somewhere soft to rest my head

I've got flannel pillowcases on the brain now, though, and stocked up with a few yards from Karen's shop because she was having a $5/yard sale. How convenient was that when I was hunting for flannel? Incredibly convenient - I believe that's called fate. Or the Gods smiling on me, or something. I'm not sure if the sale is still on, but there's all sorts of good stuff in that shop and a sale section TO DIE FOR. Treat yourself, it's almost Christmas (I will use any excuse).

Also - I have to show you this amazing quilt that Emily made from my scrap vomit tutorial (scroll down when you've clicked on that link a little to get to the tutorial). Don't you just love it? Click on over to read her blog post and check out the photos of the quilting. It's out of this world. I did the happy dance when she told me about it. Oh, happy days. It was a pure warm and fuzzy moment.



My scrap vomit (part deux) quilt needs to be given some time and attention. It's sat in my pile of WIPS looking so very sad and neglected. Maybe I can get my game on this holiday and start the new year with a fresh quilt top? I'm pretty sure I resolve to make every New Year the year I bust those WIPs. Funny how that never really happens. I think Emily has kicked my butt into gear though, I need to get my scraptastic baby finished.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Christmas in the bag

Christmas Gift Bags

One of the fabrics I picked up at sample spree this quilt market was meet the gang by Marisa Anne of Creative Thursday for Andover fabrics. (Kathy at Pink Chalk has it for sale here and so does the intrepid thread). I'd seen it on paper at spring market in Salt Lake City and met Marisa there too. She's a wonderfully inspiring person - so incredibly talented as an illustrator (her etsy shop sells some wonderful prints, cards and also fabric). She has a kind of calmness about her that  just makes you warm to her right away, she was like an oasis of calm in the manic surroundings of quilt market. And now Marisa is a fabric designer as well.

I knew I wanted to make some gift bags for small gifts this Christmas, but to be quite frank, I'm not a huge fan of Christmas fabric. Meet the Gang is PERFECT - it's wintery, can be for a girl or a boy, and because it's not Christmas fabric you could use these bags all year round for all sorts.

I made the 3 in the photo above using a pattern in John's brand new book, Pretty in Patchwork : Holidays,  that is now available as an e-book from Zinio (will be available in print form next summer). I bought the book on Tuesday morning just before I took Ginge to school and had made those 3 bags by 11am! Click on over to check out more of the projects on John's blog. There are 32 projects in total that range from simple quick projects like these bags to some stunning quilts, and fun tree ornaments and gift ideas. It's a wonderful book, and I'm not just saying that because he's my friend. I mean it - I bought the book, it wasn't given to me, he hasn't asked me to review it, this is my honest opinion and I stand by it. I think if you love the holidays (all of them, not just Christmas) and patchwork, then it's a book you'll refer to year after year.

The 2 bags in the picture below I made using Jeni's tutorial on her blog.  Another lovely easy to read tutorial and so quick to make. I love drawstring bags - I don't really need a tutorial to make them, but sometimes it's better to take all of the thinking away and just follow someone else's instructions. Jeni's instructions are incredibly good - and her bags are a nice size too with squared off bottoms to make for easy standing up.

Drawstring bags

I can't wait to get our christmas decorations up now, pin name labels to the bags and stuff them full of treats for some special people. I've used up all my meet the gang fabric, so I'm going to have to rummage around for something else that will look as cute under the tree. It's going to be a tough act to beat, though, I think.

ENABLER ALERT -
The girls over at Lola Pink Fabrics have a fun holiday sale going on this week - spend $25 and get 10% off, or spend $50 and get 20% off.
PLUS shipping in the US is now no more than $5 ever AND automatically save 10% when you buy a 3 or more yard cut of any fabric (bundles are priced with the 10% discount already added).