Monday 31 December 2012

2012 Year in Review - post 1 of 2

Happy New Year!!! 

I've had a busy day today sewing but sadly it did not produce any more finishes for 2012.  With less than half an hour before the clock strikes 12:00, I shall call it a day year! 

So, in pictures, here is my first post of two of my 2012 Year in Review:

Completed quilts - fronts and backs shown.  I only completed five quilts in 2012 but have ten quilts-in-progress so those will get their own mosaic 'of shame'!

Left to right:  A Frayed Frog (shaggy quilt), Vintage Holiday quilt, Siblings Together
charity quilt, Scrappy Log Cabin quilt and Green-Grey-Teal-Turquoise quilt.
 Mini quilts - here are the eight mini quilts that I completed in 2012.  My favourites were the spool for Brit Quilt Swap 3 and the ticker tape wall hanging for a scrappy swap.

Some really bad rainy day/no sun pictures sorry! 
Left to right top row:  Brit Quilt 3 Swap, Tag quilt, wonky Star shoulder quilt, Figgy Pudding table topper.
Left to right bottom row:  Ticker Tape wall hanging, Queen of Diamonds mini quilt, Green Squares mini quilt, Doll quilt. 

Quilts in progress - yes, there are ten quilts in progress here!  One is basted and waiting for my attention, another is about to be basted (my least favourite part of quilting) and the rest are a long way away from completion. 

Tutorials - I managed three tutorials this year! 
-A Frayed Frog
-Christmas Card Gift Box and Gift Tags
-Jam jar Pin Cushion

What a year it was.  I started 2012 by joining the London Modern Quilt Guild, starting my blog and joining Flickr!  I soon opened an Etsy shop, went to Fat Quartery retreat and joined in many a blog-hop and swap and four bees!  I participated in lots and lots of giveaways (and amazingly won a few) and had five giveaways of my own.  I managed to entice 340+ followers to follow my crazy little blog and I am so happy that you follow me in my adventures in this sewing/crafting/quilting/baking/gardening journey of mine!

2012 was also a year full of sewn 'schtuff' for me, all of which I hope to share with you in mosaic form in post number two!  So, until then - here is wishing you and yours a VERY Happy New Year.  May it be filled with good health and much happiness. 

Amy x
Happy New Year!

Friday 28 December 2012

Jam jar pin cushion tutorial

The London Modern Quilt Guild is having a pin cushion swap at the January 2013 meeting.  It will be our ONE YEAR Anniversary - can you believe it!?  Being a part of this guild has been the most fun I've had and I have met the most amazing {and talented} people!  We are a varied group of ages, nationalities and interests and we all have so much fun when we meet! 

I decided that I would make a jam jar pin cushion for the swap - and here is a little tutorial for you too!  

Jam Jar Pin cushion

~Jam jar with a two-part lid -- I will call these parts the ring (which is the screw lid part) and the lid (which is the flat lid part wit the seal on it)
~Charm square (or any fabric about 5 inches square)
~Needle and thread
~Cardboard (cereal box or tissue box cardboard works perfectly)
~Ribbon (optional)

1.  Trace the lid onto cardboard and cut out, set aside.

2.  Take your 5" charm square.  With a needle and long piece of strong thread, make a loose running stitch all the way around in a circle.  Keep the needle threaded for later.  Gently pull on the thread to gather the charm square like this:

3.  Place the gathered charm square onto the ring and start adding polyfil into the cupped shape.  Some of the charm square will be through the ring now creating your pin cushion!  Optional: add a bead of glue to the inside rim of the ring before you put the charm in.

4.  Take the lid and place on top of the polyfil and take some time to poke all the stuffing in under the lid so the lid can be pushed down into the ring, with the pin cushion puffed out the other side.  Tweak the charm square so there are no folds are creases (not shown).

5.  Using the thread and needle, pull on the gathered stitch again but just enough so you can still run a bead of glue between the lid and fabric. 

6.  Finish gathering the thread on the charm square until it is a circle and sew the charm square from side to side to hold it in place.  Knot your thread.  Be sure the lid (now with charm square and polyfil added to it) is pushed flat against the ring in lid and set aside.  If you put the optional bead of glue in the ring, this step will ensure that the lid makes contact to the glue in the ring.

You can trim some of the excess charm square off if you want.
Sew from side to side - not a pretty way to do it but it works - to
secure the charm in place and to be taught against the glue.
7.  Place glue on the cereal box cardboard you cut earlier.

8.  Place this cardboard over the [quite messy] exposed charm square edges that you have sewn from side to side.  This cardboard becomes the bottom of the inside of the lid - a nice place to write a little sewing message for your recipient once it is dry!

9.  Take your new pin cushion lid and quickly screw it back onto the jam jar so the cardboard is held in place against the lid while it all dries.  Screwing it on holds the lid flush against the ring so the cardboard, glue and charm square become a secure unit.  Please note that using this glue means it takes a couple of days to become less whiffy.  After a few hours, I unscrewed the lid to let the inside of the lid have air.  Hot glue could probably be used but I have not tried it!

10.  Glue the ribbon along the edge of the lid if desired. 

11.  Once the lid and ribbon trim are dry and not so whiffy (!!!!), your jam jar pin cushion is ready to be used!

These jam jar pin cushions would make a wonderful little gift for a son or daughter on their way to college or university!  Just add some mini scissors, a seam ripper, safety pins, a needle and thread and a few buttons and presto - a jam jar pin cushion sewing kit! 

I hope you have fun making a jam jar pin cushion!  They are great because the glass jar gives the pincushion some weight so it stays in place on the sewing table while you pin, and the jam jar lid prevents the pins from disappearing into the pin cushion!  Once finished using the pins, remove them and store them away inside the jar - perfect!  The other great thing is that I am re-using jam jars that I already had here in the house!  Another great way to re-cycle, re-use, re-purpose and re-gift!

Have a great weekend! 

P.S.  I used two squares from my Sew Stitchy charm pack (Aneela Hoey) for my pin cushions. 


100 Day Hustle recap

Kelsey SewsOne hundred days have come and gone.  Wow - where did those precious days go? 

My 100 Day Hustle list had 25 things listed on it.  I managed to complete 11 things plus work on two others = 13 from the list.  Some of these were WiP's and some were things I had hoped to make before the end of 2012.  I am pleased that I got about half my list completed because I now have 11+2 things less to worry about when I step into 2013.  That's some logic huh??

My original list can be found by clicking on this link here.

Here is what I hustled to get done:

2.  Finish Vintage Holiday quilt - woohoo it was finished!

4.  Make Paramouthy Stitches Tote bag for Di - ahhh, done!  And a coin purse too!

9.  Complete Pretty Pleats Bag #2 - PHEW - done!  This is my current handbag - I love it!
A reversible bag.  I love the sign language print!
14.  Make feather Mug Rug friend at work - got this done but kept it so made her a blue one instead!

I gave her this one and she loved it!

15.  Make Open Wide zippy pouch for a friend at work - but I almost kept it for myself!!  This is a terrific pattern by Noodlehead - I will be making more!!

19.  Make a frame coin purse for UR Priceless Blog Hop - done and love it!

20.  Make Christmas decoration/ornament for secret partner in LMQG swap - she loved it!  I actually made seven of these quirky birds.

21.  Make a wine gift bag - finished and posted to Canada for my sister.  I put a vase I made at pottery class inside for her Christmas pressie. 

22.  Make Christmas pot holders for pressies - done and one given, one kept!

24.  Make a few Christmas gift wrap bags or drawstring bags - yay I made two mini ones and a candy cane drawstring bag!

25.  Make Christmas hanging dish towels - I sure did!  I kept one and the rest were sold or gifted.  I use mine all the time and plan to make more.

16.  Finish Wonky Stars lap quilt -- soooo close - it is almost done!!!  All the blocks have been sewn together, a white border added plus a scrappy border and it is basted and on the table beside Mr Toyota for quilting then binding.  I think I will quilt it this weekend.  Fingers crossed I can get it done before midnight on the 31st!

1.  Finish Mod Sampler Quilt - almost!  I made a pieced back so all I have to do is baste, quilt and bind and it will be finished!  Yay - so close!
The back is done - yay!  No excuses now!
All the seams pressed and threads clipped - ready to baste!

I shall now hustle over to Kelsey Sews to link up and celebrate getting this many things done in 100 days!  I got lots and lots of other things done in the last 100 days too so I am a happy girl!  Thanks for the fun motivation Kelsy and I hope you all managed to get some things completed too!

Happy finishing!

Thursday 27 December 2012

Christmas Card Gift Box and Gift Tag tutorial

Do you have 15 minutes?  Yes?  Then go and grab your Christmas cards and make some recycled gift tags and Christmas-card gift boxes with me!

Here are two easy projects that are great 'mom I'm bored' activities for the kids [and adults!!].  Don't throw away your cards - reuse them!  All you need are a few basic tools and materials.

Recycled Christmas Card Gift Box and Tags 

-Glue stick
-Used Christmas cards (or the good ones orphaned with no envelope!)
-Tag punch (optional) - just cut plain rectangles for tags if you want!
-Hole punch (optional)

To make the tags use your tag punch to punch out tags from your used Christmas cards.  Place the punch on the card in different ways to find the best image for the tag, making sure that the back does not have writing on it already!  Trim the card before punching if necessary to get the best image on the tag, as seen below.

Punch when you are ready then create the hole on the tag using a hole punch).  From this particular card shown, only one tag could be made because of the printing on the inside cover. 

Continue punching and trimming and presto - you will soon have a stack of fun tags!

Any bits of card not big enough for the punch can be cut into usable rectangles and/or squares for tags as well!  Punch holes if desired. 

To make the recycled Christmas Card gift box to hold your tags, take one of your larger cards.  Cut along the fold so you have two equal parts - one will become the lid and the other the base.  The inside of the box will have the writing in it! 

I have made a mosaic because Blogger is not uploading pictures properly.  So, from left to right, here are the steps:

Top row of images:
Cut card in half along fold, mark out 2.5cm and 4cm, draw the lines, score along lines with the tip of the scissors but do not cut through.

Second row: 
Cut the 4cm lines at each corner to create the tabs that fold inwards, fold up each side and bend the tabs inwards, NOTE that the 1.5cm extra needs to be scored (not shown in images) on the two ends of of the lid plus the two ends of the base so they can bend over the tabs to hold the walls of the box (closeup image), the folded ends over the tabs. 

Third row:
Folded ends and tabs are glued in place using glue stick, punched Christmas card gift tags are placed into the base/bottom of the box, lid put on top of base and job done - now go make a second one!

Images showing the completed box and the underside of the box - a nice snug fit.
These boxes can also be used as ornaments and as decorations to hang on your tree or used as advent boxes filled with treats!  They even make great little boxes to give jewellery in.  Use your imagination and recycle, reuse and re-purpose all of those Christmas cards! 

Happy creating!  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

If Blogger starts behaving itself, I may be able to add some more pictures.  In the meantime, feel free to contact me with any questions!

P.S.  Here is a bigger photo showing the drawn lines which are cut to create the tabs and the ends.  This is a 4cm line drawn at 2.5cm away from the edge on each corner.

Wednesday 26 December 2012

Lucky Stars BOM

Can you be your own Secret Santa?  Well I was!! 

You see, I purchased the Lucky Stars Block of the Month from Don't call me Betsy! a couple of weeks ago and with the excitement and busy-ness of the run-up to Christmas forgot all about it until I got an email today with the first pattern!!  I was thrilled and thought to myself 'how CLEVER am I to buy myself this?!!' (hahaha).   You can be a part of it too!  She has the Block of the Month on sale for $10 instead of $15 until the 5th of January.  

Image of Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club
Image from Don't call me Betsy
Nothing better than a bit of paper piecing to to keep you on your toes!!  I love stars -yay- but now I have to decide what fabrics I will use... perhaps I need to go shopping? ;)  It is Boxing day after all! 

Happy sewing!

Saturday 22 December 2012



I am ready.  

The tree is up and the decorations are on.

Gifts were wrapped and posted weeks ago and have arrived!

Sewing for the holiday - all done (I started sewing gifts in July thankfully!!).

Baking?  Banana bread in the freezer and Rice Krispie squares were made this morning!

Turkey is ready! 

Nibbles are 'in'.

Laundry done.

So let's sit down, put our feet up, relax, grab a drink of something and play some games!  

Some of my favourite memories of Christmas are of the holidays spent with the family in Stratford Ontario.  The house was in a snow belt area so there was always fun to be had outdoors.  Once we (all the cousins) exhausted ourselves making snowmen, having snowball fights, shovelling, tobogganing, making snow angles, 'igloos' and forts, we would go in for shortbread, satsumas, meringues, nuts -- basically anything we could find!  Once we warmed up we would play card games - Whoopee Whoopee Woo, cribbage, Snap, Old Maid, Uno and even have competitions to make the tallest card-towers in the carpet.  We would also play with clay that my great uncles had in their workshop and make ashtrays and pinch pots that they would glaze and fire for us!  There was so much to do but not a PlayStation, mobile phone or computer was in sight!  The most exciting 'technology' I can remember was Merlin and Simon Says!  There was a tv but my Great Grandmother had dibs on what we watched!  Those were the 80's and if I could teleport myself back to those days right this minute I would. 

Simple times.  Happy times.  Together times.

Merry Christmas to my family - I miss you all so much and wish I could be there to celebrate the holiday with you all.  Lots of love to everyone! 
Amy xx

Friday 21 December 2012

Ooops - a new project

Ooops - I did it again!  I started something new before finishing something 'old'... I am so naughty!  I wonder if Santa has been informed??  Anyways...  I still have 56% of my 100 Day Hustle list to complete (which means I have only done 11 of 25 projects listed) in the next 10 days so why did I start something new?  Because that's how I roll!  I'm THAT kind of girl! 

So far it is going according to plan!  I'm calling it the '4 Things' quilt and you will have to come back in January to see what the other three 'things' are as I am participating in the "In A Word" Blog Hop.  Here is the first 'thing':

Fingers crossed it turns out how I am imagining it to!!  And in other news...  I have finished work until the 2nd of January 2013!  Yay!!  I now have 9 and a bit days until the end of the year to sew and tackle my list(s) -- yippee!!  The only thing I have left to do for holiday prep is to buy the turkey.  This is why I am so excited to sew!

Ok - I'm off to have a clementine and a hot chocolate with cream before I go into the sewing closet to sew :)  Have a great Friday night!! 

Linking to Thursday Think Tank

PS - I want to say thank you to Marcia for sending me her 'Summer Tomatoes Pattern' along with 3 fq's to make a table topper.  It has finally arrived along with the white on white and flannel from the Pets On Quilts competition on Lily Pad Quilting.  Thank you!

As many of you know, I am a beginner paper piecer.  So I must say that I am thrilled to have won four Water Pitcher patterns from Gen X Quilters - I shall have loads of fun making those - thank you!!!