Saturday 30 June 2012

Procrastination flower

I am a procrastinator.  I do love a deadline but since I found out the 2nd Quarter linky will be open for a few more days I started to procrastinate for a little longer on finishing my quilt!  I made this flower brooch instead of doing what I should have been doing:

One happy camper!! 
Bad picture, hence why it is so small!
Procrastination flower, yes, but I needed to make it because it will decorate my new white linen jacket for my holiday!  What a true procrastinator eh?  I can justify any action/non action! 

I used some yummy fabric from Annie at The Village Haberdashery by Laura Gunn called Garden Wall - Gypsy Vine in Sky.  The pattern I used was from a blog called Gone to Earth and it suggested covering a button in matching fabric but I don't have any so I went through my yummy button tin and added just a regular green button.  Even my husband was impressed with the flower and thought that it looked great on my nice white-clean-new jacket.  Yay for me!  I'll be making a few more in different colours I think :)

Yesterday I received Issue 3 of the Modern Quilting Magazine!  A lovely surprise and it made my chaotic day so much better!!  The magazine has recently been taken over by different people so yay for all of them and yay for all of us!  My subscription has been honoured which is such a relief! 

UPDATE:  It is now in the name of the sister of the girl who was running it before!  It is still being run by the same family! Yikes!!

Issue 3 ~ Modern Quilting Magazine

This week I also received some buttons I won from Button Mad.  Thank you - they are so sweet, esecially the thimble button!!  And the fabric I won during the 'Fugly Swap Party' with Charm About You arrived too!  Prints to Polka Dots sent me my prize and it was worth the month long wait!  I got some really lovely fabrics including a coupe of prints with veg on which I will be making something kitchen-y out of!  Thanks so much!  One more thank you goes to Nicole Ferguson of who sent me the most amazing weiner dog coin purse!!  I love it - many thanks!!  Check her wares out - she makes some awesome things!

And that's it for now!  I'm in the middle of making a June projects mosaic so I will post that tomorrow, hopefully! I shall be excitedly be linking up with these fabulous linky parties:

Friday 29 June 2012

Texting while Sewing

This sounds like so much fun!  I have my sewing cap thinking cap on already!!!  Check it out!

Too full

My brain hurts today because it is too full (no jokes from the peanut gallery please - you know who you are!).  Too many things going on in my world and in my head so I'm all over the place!  It's CHAOS!  And to add other problem to my too-full brain I discovered this:

Naughty dog!  The dog was a VERY BAD BOY.  He dug my veg patch up and wrecked most of my plants!  Grrrr....  There were even tiny purple beans on some of those bean plants - so I actually had beans growing and he wrecked them!  And this is AFTER I gave him a nice yummy knuckle bone.  Ungrateful pooch!  

This was the thing that tipped the scales in my brain today.  Frustration took hold and the day went downhill from there!     

Once I replanted what I could salvage (the garlic chives survived and some yellow bean plants survived - phew!), I continued to quilt my Green-Grey-Teal-Turquoise quilt thinking that was a good thing to do!  LESSON - do not quilt when you are in a 'state'.  I broke a needle, did several wonky 'straight' lines, had thread tension issues, had to use the seam ripper...  And now that I am almost done quilting it I find that I am still not happy with any of it! Oh my brain hurts - too full!  So when in doubt - take a break.  A Kit Kat break:

As you can see, I am still on my peanut butter kick and have recently discovered these tasty crunchy yummy peanut buttery treats!  They seem to satisfy those crazy peanut butter cravings I'm having!  Does anyone know if they sell these in Canada?  Just wondering. 

Despite the chocky bar, I just couldn't face more quilting/ripping and the mess in my sewing room was distracting and very annoying [especially to Mr Crafty Shenanigans], so I did a tidy up.  It looks a wee bit less chaotic now so that's helping me get focused again.

Here is my sewing space BEFORE:

And AFTER a wee tidy up:

It feels good to make piles and shove carefully place everything in some sort of order onto the bookcase.  It's sort of like making a list and I LOVE lists!!!  They help focus my too-full brain! 

Not sure if I am ready to get back to finishing that darn quilt just yet so maybe some baking will help?  I'm still hoping to finish the quilt tomorrow and attach the binding and spend all day hand finishing it.  Will it get done in time?

Come back tomorrow to find out!

Pink Chalk Studio

Thursday 28 June 2012

TNT twit

Happy Thursday and TNT to you!  That's Try New Things - which I have!!

Today I signed up to Twitter and tweeted for the first time!  I've made one tweet, therefore I have become a tweeter, or perhaps a twit?  Whatever they call people who tweet, I am there and you can follow me!!!  I believe I am called "amycansew".  I CAN sew, yes I can, but the ID name I really wanted was long taken so I am lucky to have that ID name!!  Not ideal but that's ok by me!  Here is a link - possibly to me if I do this correctly [I am very very new to this world of twitty tweeting stuff so bear with me as I fudge my way through it all!]: 

So that is what I tried today.  Proud of myself - it means I will might be able to follow the Fat Quarterly gang tonight!  Here is what Lynne of Lily's Quilts blogged today which was what prompted such crazy behaviour from me to become a Twitter member [I am not 'up' on technology so this is a huge thing for me to be doing!!]:
Tonight and every Thursday from 9pm to 10pm, come and join the Fat Quarterly gang for a twitter chat about life, quilting, the universe and everything! Tweet it for us and spread the word.  #fqchat

Wednesday 27 June 2012

WiP it good

Wednesdays sure come 'round quickly - means we are that much closer to the weekend - yay!

This week I accomplished several little things with no real tangible results, if you know what I mean!  I got fabric cut and posted for not one but TWO bees that I am in [I'm Ms July in Bee Europa and Ms July in Running with Scissors].  Spent LOADS of time tending the garden so fingers crossed the fruits of all that labour will produce soon!! 

The best bit of the week was that I basted a quilt and am just about to start the quiltng...

I did finish another pot holder this week using some scraps I had on hand.  I love the Sherbert Pip dogs!  Confession time - I put the hanging thingy on the wrong corner so when it hangs, the dogs are sideways practically upside down!!  Doh.  Nevermind.  It proves I'm not a robot and improv sewing needs thinking through!

Not sure where that odd colour combo came from either!!  Ok, I love red and I love green but these two shades of red and green together is kind of wonky/wrong but I kinda-sorta like it anyways!! Reminds me of the colours I picked for my craft apron a week or so ago!! 

Anyways, on to THE LIST! 

Current WiP's:
Green-grey-teal-turquoise quilt - currently quilting it! 
Zakka round potholders
Mod Sampler quilt
Modernista Sewing Room item(s) - one more item to make

Here is my June Small Projects list [of things I hope to make - if I do, I do - if I don't, I don't]:
  1. Zip Organiser DONE
  2. Tweed Pouch DONE
  3. Neckerchief thing
  4. Folding card wallet
  5. Teapot hotpad 
  6. Mix Master hotpad 
  7. Patchwork Pot holder DONE
  8. Another 241 Tote 
  9. Pretty Pleats Reversible Tote - Pattern laid out just need to be brave and cut it!
Linking up to:
Freshly Pieced WiP Wednesday
Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday
Such a Sew and Sew June Finishes

A Quilter’s Table
Linked up

Monday 25 June 2012

I hate basting!

On Sunday I went to the pictures (translation: the movies/the cinema) at Westfield (translation: BIG HUGE MAHOOSIVE mall on the outskirts of London) with Mr Crafty Shenanigans instead of doing any quilting... However, I did manage to baste my Green-grey-teal-turquoise quilt. 

I HATE BASTING!!  But it is done now, phew!  I soooo want to complete this one for the 2nd Quarter Finish-Along with Quilter in the Gap but basting sucks!  If I lived somewhere even a fraction bigger it might be considered an 'ok' process, but small houses are not suited for basting quilts [even small quilts], let me tell you!  If I can finish this quilt, it would mean I managed to get 2 out of 3 on my 2nd quarter list done.... and that would make me happy!  I have Friday off work this week so I know I have a day to complete it if I don't get very far in the evenings.  Not sure what I will use for the binding... need a day to think about that. 

Yesterday I made some Mars Bar Squares - yum!!  I had a craving for these super sweet, crunchy squares - no peanut butter involved this time.  You couldn't find an easier recipe than this one!  The first time I made these squares was in Ottawa in 1999 when I lived with my best friends.  We made them A LOT!  The recipe was from one of their chocolate cookbooks so I'm sorry I don't know who to credit these to. 
Mars Bar Squares
~4 Mars Bars, cut up into small chunks, added to 1/2 cup butter in a pot on medium heat.
Stir until chocolate bars are completely melted and add to 3 cups of Rice Krispies in a big bowl and stir well.  
~Put mixture into a greased 9x9 Pyrex dish.  Flatten down and spread out into corners with the back of a spoon.
~Melt some plain/semi-sweet chocolate chips and butter and spread on top of mixture.
~Leave to cool, slice, eat. YUM!   


Yay - I finally made my sample block for the Running with Scissors Quilting Bee (the burried block is the lime green from the Sweetwater Reunion line).  I'm making the "On the Go Quilt" by Melissa Corry (pattern found on Moda Bakeshop) which has been on my list for ages!  I love it!  I posted all my fabrics today so hopefully the girls get them for the beginning of July as they were all going to the USA. 


A few months ago I didn't possess a single pin cushion so I decided to make one in order to get my pins out of a Tupperware container.  I made the huge square block scrappy one in the picture below.  Then Zakka came into my life and I made a second one using Vanessa Arbuthnott and Joel Dewberry fabrics with a nice green button - yum.  Then I made a third one for the Zakka sewing kit.  Since then I have been given six more to add to my awesome [and growing] collection!  From zero to nine in a few months is pretty good going I'd say.

Middle pin cushion - Susan.  From top clockwise:  mine,
Sue, Hadley, mine, Sue, Danielle, FQR.
They are all soooo different!!  Colour, size, texture and even the stuffing varies from cushion to cushion.  So - a big THANK YOU goes to Sue -Caesarea Scrappers for my Zakka text fabrics pin cushion with lace and matching finger ring pin cushion, Hadley -Flying Blind on a Rocket Cycle for my Cath Kidson inspired mini pin cushion, Danielle -DJ Coolbear for my purple and blue felt English Paper Pieced pin cushion, Susan -Canadian Abroad for the Gnome pin cushion in red and the Fat Quarterly Retreat goodie bag for the floral pin cushion with scissors.  I am now a collector of pin cushions without even realising  it :) 

What sewing/craft related item(s) do you collect??

Linking with these lovely people and their crafty blogs:
A Quilter’s Table
Linked up

Friday 22 June 2012

Modernista Homemade

Friday night and the football is on so guess where I have been?  Yup, in the sewing room finishing this:

ModernistaThis is one of two items I am making for a [secret] partner in the Modernista Homemade swap.  The first  room we are tackling is the sewing room so I made a 'weighted pin organiser' for my partner which is sort of what [secret partner] wanted according to her mosaic.  I used a free tutorial by Elizabeth Hartman found on Sew Mama Sew.  My seam ripper was used in a few places because I wasn't reading the instructions properly (I should have read them left to right not top to bottom) but it eventually came together quite quickly.  I'll add a colour photo soon - I don't want to give away the colour combo just yet!!  I still have to make a second item of my choice for my partner and I think I know what I will be making but I may change my mind once I do a little more stalking ;)  These aren't being mailed out until the end of July so I have some time!

In other news -- The fabric diet I was on didn't last long!!  I think I went 3.5 days... not bad really, considering there is soooo much yummy fabric out there!!  This time I bought the fabric to go on the back of my Mod Sampler quilt - another project that I am hoping to have finished by the end of the month!  It probably won't happen as I simply dread the basting process.  But I am determined to get one of the two done so wish me luck!!

Tonight I am linking up to these wonderful linky parties:

Wednesday 20 June 2012

WiP - slowly getting there!

WiP Wednesday - again!

This week I've been prepping to send out my fabrics and instructions to the Bee Europa gang as JULY is my month!  I sewed one and a half blocks at FQ Retreat so I decided I should finish the half block (yay - a WiP completed) and do an additional one as a tester to see if I've included enough fabric in each baggie/envelope.  I think I've got the right amount so now the bundles are now [almost] ready to be posted next week.  This is my first ever month being a 'queen bee' [trying something new] and I can't wait to see what the Bee Europa  'worker bees' sew up for me!  I love wonky as you may already know, so here are my three blocks so far: 

They get progressively wonkier as I make them!!  I think the quilt will look great once all the bee blocks are together and I can't wait for this quilt to be sewn and on my bed -- I've wanted to use my green, purple and grey fabrics for ages (some are actually considered 'my precious' as well) - woohoo!!  I'll be making more blocks so that it is big enough as I don't think 12 will be enough to cover my bed [King size].  Here are all the bundles in the baggies:

And now for even more exciting WiP news!!  Today I managed to sew the back for my Green-grey-teal-turquoise quilt top made way back in March - yay!!  Feels good to be one step closer to another finish, which I will hopefully get finished by the end of the month so I can link it to the 2nd Quarter Finish-Along.  I promise I ironed it and those are nice straight seams and edges -- it was the way I pinned it to the line and the wind that makes it look odd and wrinkly and not square ;)

I used my wonky block from my Sew into Solids Flickr project and a whole lot of Kona!  I love how simple it is and with the straight grid quilting I plan to do it should look even better once it is done.  Looking back through this post I can see that there is a lot of green and grey in my life! 
Anyways, here is my updated WiP/UFO list:

June Bee Europa block DONE
Zakka Tweed Pouch DONE
Finish Green-grey-teal-turquoise quilt PROGRESS - the back is sewn -- next to baste and quilt and then bind!
Finish Mod Sampler quilt - no progress PROGRESS - fabric ordered for the back (so much for my fabric diet!  I lasted four days!)
LMQG Inspired by Art item for July DONE
Modernista Sewing Room item(s) PROGRESS - but I can't show anything YET!
Running With Scissors Bee fabrics PROGRESS - have picked the block now need to prep fabric and post

Current WiP's:
Sew into Solids Blocks DONE  (will probably make more though!)
Zip Organiser  DONE
Wonky log cabins PROGRESS - made one and completed another

Long Term WiP's [no progress]:
Wonky houses and trees
Wonky stars
Porthole blocks

UFO list [definitely no progress!]:
Paper pieced Union Jack pillow case
Union Jack blocks
Half Square triangle mini quilt
Neckerchief thing
EPP Pencil case
Amy Butler Love Quilt top

Here is my June Small Projects list [of things I hope to make - if I do, I do - if I don't, I don't]:
  1. Zip Organiser DONE
  2. Tweed Pouch DONE
  3. Neckerchief thing
  4. Folding card wallet
  5. Teapot hotpad 
  6. Mix Master hotpad 
  7. Patchwork Pot holder
  8. Another 241 Tote 
  9. Pretty Pleats Reversible Tote - Pattern laid out just need to be brave and cut it!
Hope your list is shorter than mine!!  I'm linking to these fabulous blogs:

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Modern art inspired sewing

Today I got some homework done.  It isn't due until the 8th of July but it feels good to get it done and crossed off the 'to do' list! 

At the May London Modern Quilt Guild meeting, we set the folks a challenge to make something (a quilt, bag, potholder, pillow case - anything they wanted!) inspired by a piece of modern art.  The challenge was to use solids as well.  So today I created my project inspired by an oil on canvas painting by Ben Nicholson.  Here is a photo borrowed from eHive of the Ben Nicholson painting:

1939 (composition), Ben Nicholson, 1939, L2008/5
"1939 (Composition)" By Ben Nicholson - photo from eHive 
 And here is my interpretation of the painting made into a coin purse:

I used my printout from the computer for the dimensions and did some improv cutting and sewing to get it to the right size for a coin purse.  I did not do borders as the purse was big enough without them - it measures 5.75" x 4.5".  For the back of the coin purse I used a light grey with black floral print (not a solid I know!!) but it was something I got in the Fugly Fabric Swap at the FQ Retreat and I didn't think it was ugly at all!  At least the grey/black fabric hides any dirt better than the white on the front!  The red isn't solid either, nor is the white as the white has an overall white pattern printed on the top. Ok, so I didn't follow my own rules exactly but that's what's so fun about doing the challenge!! 

These pictures show the printout with my fabric selection, the printout cut up into the sections that I pieced together by machine, and the finished product with the printout - a pretty close interpretation, don't you think!?  All in all I quite like it!  I wasn't going for a 100% copy - I was going for the essence of his painting and I think I achieved that.  I used scraps from my scrap bin so this didn't cost me anything extra to make and I used a zipper and interfacing that I had on hand as well.  Sweet!!  Oh yah by the way - I'm trying very hard to be on a 'fabric diet' so this is why I'm so pleased with myself for using things on hand!!  Not sure how long I will last...

What would you make if you were set the same challenge?

Peanut Butter seems to be on my brain at the moment as I just can't get enough of it.  The reaction to my peanut butter, bacon and jam sandwich was so funny!  I'm still giggling about all the comments and yay for all of the supporters (all three of them!) of my crazy sandwich.  I'd make one right now but I haven't got any bacon in the fridge.  Oh well...but I do have peanut butter!!  Here are some good old fashioned [no bacon or jam] peanut butter cookies.  Yum.  Just how my mom made them.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup shortening (or butter)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda (bicarb)
2 1/2 cups flour
Bake at 375* for 15 minutes

A Quilter’s Table
Linked up
TOP TIP:  Make balls of dough and press with a fork to flatten them.  Dip the fork tines in flour before you press the cookie so it doesn't stick.  Some people use icing sugar instead of flour.  The flour disappears in the baking so don't worry if there is flour left on the cookie dough.
Enjoy your day - happy sewing and baking!  Linking up with Tuesday at the {summer} table, Frontier Dreams Keep Calm Craft On, Canoe Ridge Creations {sew} Modern Monday, Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday, Sew Happy Geek's Manic Monday, sew many ways sew darn crafty party and June Finishes.

Saturday 16 June 2012


Busy as a bee today - finally completed Miriam's 'Box Block' for Bee Europa.  I will get it into the post tomorrow morning.  She chose some cute 30's prints for her fabric.  The pattern for this block can be found here.

I also managed to get the Zakka Orchard Path Tweed Pouch done.  However, I shall re-name mine 'Zakka Hexie Pouch' because I used a yummy green linen instead of tweed and a little bit of Kaffe Fassett for my ONE hexagon.  Confession time - when I enlarged the pattern 200% as it says to do, I assumed it meant the corners and hexagons as well.  So when I made my first hexie I soon realised how awfully large it was so I just went with one!  I had to re-cut the corner shapes to a more realistic size too!  Whoops - learnt something new today -- when you READ the instructions you should make sure you UNDERSTAND them too!!  hehehe - proves I'm not a robot anyways!

I put a little piece of ribbon as my zipper pull.  One of these days I will buy some of those neat ones from Zipit!  I impressed myself at how my linen corners matched up.  Three out of four of the joins are great but one is a few millimetres out.  Oh well :)

Can you see that I used a variegated thread?  King Tut - I used it on my Zakka House Pouch too.  Adds a little extra 'something' to the pouch I think. Don't you just LOVE linen? 

And instead of hand stitching the hexie to the linen, I used some awesome Wonder Under so I could just top stitch it in place after I stuck it down.  Worked a treat - much better than if I had done it by hand!!

And the yummy interior - some chevrons:

What a relief to work on an comparatively easy project compared to last week's complicated Zip Organiser!  Oh yah - I used fusible fleece (one of my purchases from Tikki a couple of weeks ago) for the first time and like how it gives the pouch some body - more than regular wadding I think. 

I will be linking up to LR Stitched Zakka Sew Along, Pieceful Life Little Quilt Mondays, Color me Quilty QED, Think Pink Sundays and amylouwho's sew & tell Friday.  Have a great weekend!

June Finishes

UPDATE: 2nd September 201 ~ added to the Festival of Hexagons.

Festival of Hexies 

Friday 15 June 2012

Crafty apron & Brit Quilt Swap Round 3

I've been wanting to make an apron or a tool belt that I could wear while sewing to make my life easier.  I thought the scissor lanyard I made a while back would do the trick but what I needed was pockets! 

Let me tell you why!!!  I live in a tiny cottage which has funny levels.  It reminds me of Faulty Towers where they go up 6 stairs off the lobby area to go down 6 stairs to arrive at the bedroom level!  Crazy!  Where I sew is in our 'closet room' (box bedroom with IKEA wardrobes).  It has our wardrobes, ironing board, computer printer, my small sewing desk, the shredder and my fabrics.  Anything more and we wouldn't be able to get to the closet for our clothes (and even now it is a struggle!)!!  This means I sew and iron in there but have to cut fabric in the kitchen on our tiny table.  If I want to baste anything I have to use the living room floor - and that's all the space I have basically.  To go from the sewing room (closet) to the kitchen I go down 1 step into the front door hallway and then almost immediately up 2 steps into the living room to get to the kitchen.  If I forget my pins or scissors or whatever in the sewing room, I'm up and down those stairs traipsing through all the rooms disturbing Mr Crafty Shenanigans!   

So I made a 'Crafty Tool Belt' which has 3 big deep pockets and 3 shallow but wide pockets and hey - it holds a lot of stuff!!  Now I just have to train myself to keep replacing the things into the pockets!!  It only took a couple of hours to put together which includes deciding on what fabric to use!!  The floral fabric is 100% cotton home dec weight, printed in England by Clarke & Clarke called 'Freya' and the other two are yummy Kona!  I love the colours together!  There is a smoky blue in it as well which is hidden by the angled pockets.  I'm quite pleased with it anyways and it will be happily worn while doing all my crafts!! 

On the pockets I sewed a double vertical line for some detail/interest and to hold the back panel to the front panel with pockets.  I sewed/quilted around the large red flowers just to keep all the layers together.  Though it was an easy tutorial, it totally lends itself to reinterpretation!

Ellison Lane Quilts

As you know, I like to participate in lots of different things!  What can I say - I like being busy!!  I've joined Brit Quilt Swap Round 3 group.  We will be making mini quilts [12"-24]" for our secret partner.  This is my inspiration board so my partner can stalk me!  Click here to see this mosaic on Flickr and the links to where the images are from.  Yup - I love green, red, navy and aqua and birds, feathers, wonky stars and wonky cabins!  That's me :)  Ok partner - here it is:
Aren't those birds the best!?  But so are the snail trail quilts, and those curved mod bud flowers - yum!! Can't go wrong with a wonky star either (you know I those making those!!).  But look at those Anna Marie Horner FEATHERS!  Cool!  Anyways, lots to pick from - maybe too much!? - but I know I will have fun making a mini for my partner!

What bees, groups or sew alongs have you joined lately?

A Quilter’s Table
Linked up

I made a 'Double Chocolate Chip Cheesecake' the other night from the "Great British Bake Off" cookbook (the one with Mary Berry on the front smiling) but it was only ok.  I didn't have the white chocolate that the recipe called for so I just added more plain chocolate chips but it all sunk to the base instead of being throughout the cheesecake.  Oh well - it was a learning experience!  I don't own a spring form pan either so I made it in a 9x9 Pyrex baking dish.  Worked fine but I can see the appeal of the spring form.  Not sure what I will make/bake next... stay tuned! 

Happy sewing, joining and baking!